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AED5 DECEMBER 2007

Sexy

42 and Still The Madhuri hype!

AFTAB

Disappointment wont get him down!

PASSION WINS John-Bipasha speak on their love

HRITHIK’S

Super hero interview!


Publisher & Managing Editor Yogesh Radhakrishnan Business Head: Rajeshree Iyer Advertising Sales: Keshav Karve Jishnu Warrier Rupa Wahi Marketing & Corporate Communication: Manoj Mathew Zeeshahn Fezi Niladri Mondal Production and Distribution Coordinator: Kashif Bashir Art Director: Vahiju Content Contributors: Key Note Media Pvt. Ltd. Sampurn Photographers: Rakesh Shrestha, Dabboo Ratnani, Subi Samuel, Vicky Idnani, Viral Bhayani Owned by:

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Super hero Speaking

Tel: +971 4 4264100 Fax: +971 4 3625386 Web: www.zeebollywood.com Distributed by:

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While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.


Inside 16 Cover story Very few stars can have the kind of effect Madhuri has even after staying away from the glitz for a good six years. We speak to the actress who makes a comeback at 42.

24 Home Truths 4 Talk of the Town The latest news

12 Madame X: The Juiciest Gossip

22 Shooting Stars: The Hottest Pictures

24 Home Truths: Ashmit Patel

47 Take 3: Masumeh Makhija, Upen Patel and Kim Sharma

54 In the picture: Neha Oberoi

57 Tele Talk 74 Down Memory Lane: Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi

77 Star Gazing: Shekar Suman

78 Tele Tales

Bachelorhood has got Ashmit Patel organised enough to run his home efficiently with a little help from his domestics. Ashmit loves his spacious flat with striking neatness along with tasteful décor.

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28 What’s Cooking Riya Sen is not your typical fitness freak. She loves her food and knows all there is to know about cuisines across the world. Here she talks about the yummy quotient of food.

34 Focus Hrithik Roshan’s last release Dhoom 2 had him steal the hearts of the critics as well as the viewers. Will he be able to repeat the magic with Ashutosh Gowarikar’s tale of love and war? We put the actor in focus.

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38 Style Check Kangana Ranaut talks striking a balance between style and comfort, and what she loves her man to wear.

42 Frankly Speaking Besides being in the news about his relationship with Yana Gupta, Aftab has other things on his mind. Meet Aftab Shivdasani who has big plans in store!

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60 Director’s special Some directors who weren’t exactly expected to make blockbuster movies came up with surprises this year. Here’s presenting the young promising men who made a mark in 2007

66 Feature Is Bollywood getting older or just sexier? All our superheroes today are happily in their 40s. And even those who are getting there are in their 30s. The year 2007 belonged to the men who made their debut way back in the 80s and 90s.

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talk of the town

Bhansali’s verbal attack

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is upset with Shah Rukh Khan’s comment, “I will destroy them!” Them in this case being Bhansali and his film Saawariya. Shah Rukh said this in a pre-release interview of his film Om Shanti Om which released along with Saawariya. Post the release Om Shanti Om has defeated Saawariya both in terms of critical responses as well as box-office collections and Bhansali is naturally upset with Shah Rukh’s comments. “Who is he to destroy us?” Bhansali asks angrily. “Media manipulations won’t kill my film. Some people are making a film by poking fun at legendary actors and critics love it?” Bhansali concludes. A case of sour grapes?

Bipasha’s new year deal

Farah hits back

Motor mouth Farah Khan isn’t one to take criticism lightly, so what if the person is once upon a time best friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali. When quizzed if she’s upset with Bhansali’s scathing remarks on her film, Farah let out a laugh and said, “I’m cool. My film is a big hit and I’m too busy taking congratulatory calls. I don’t have time to react to negativity.” Farah and Bhansali go back a long way. While Bhansali assisted Vidhu Vinod Chopra in 1942 A Love Story, Farah choreographed it. They were even co-judges on the celebrity reality show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

Bipasha Basu has scored a big one over Mallika Sherawat. Bipasha will be the star attraction at J W Marriott’s New Year Eve celebrations this year and has been paid a whooping Rs. 90 lakhs for it. Mallika had clinched the deal last year for Rs. 50 Lakhs. This is the first time that Bipasha will be performing at a New Year’s Eve function, “I had made a rule that I would never work on New Year’s Eve but I’m breaking it now because I wanted to begin the New Year with a change.” But is she being paid more than Mallika? “I don’t know what Mallika got, that’s not my business. Since this is the first time I’m performing on Dec 31st I deserve what I’m asking,” answers Bipasha.

Salman-katrina fight

Katrina Kaif’s new found success after Namaste London and Partner is, apparently creating trouble in her relationship with Salman Khan. Katrina is reportedly at her wits end with Salman’s constant interference in her career. A source reports that she had been offered a great film opposite John Abraham but had to give it up on Salman’s insistence. He dislikes John. The latest buzz is that tired of Salman’s interference in her career Katrina went ahead and signed a Rajkumar Santoshi film opposite Shahid Kapoor, yet another Salman enemy. This irritated Salman no end and we hear the couple had a big fight, with Salman ordering Katrina to quit the film! Apparently Sallu also dislikes Katrina wearing revealing outfits on-screen and getting cozy with her co-stars. Promos of her dancing in short dresses in Welcome opposite Akshay Kumar has created more friction between them. Hope this couple is not going the Shahid-Kareena way.

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talk of the town

Bachchan’s pray for baby

The last time rumours of her pregnancy were doing the rounds, Aishwarya Bachchan swiftly denied them saying that she was busy till 2008 and couldn’t think of having a baby. It seems she’s had a change of mind. Ash along with husband Abhishek offered flowers and silk at the Amen Peer Dargah in Hyderabad last week. The buzz is that the couple was praying for a baby Sources close to the Bachchan family say that Jaya Bachchan’s keen that Ash-Abhi have a baby by December 2008 because astrologers have predicted that starting from 29th of this month to next December is a auspicious time to have a baby and that children born within this span will be lucky.

Kareena roots for ranbir

Celina covers up

Celina Jaitley is going from sexy to simple and will be seen in a complete de-glamourised look in Golmaal Returns, the sequel to 2006’s runway hit comedy Golmaal. Celina who will be playing the romantic interest of Shreyas Talpade in the film appears to be completely charged up for her new project, “my character’s very crucial and important in the film. Everyone is running after me for some reason and for that you’ll have to watch the film!” Celina says that this film is in complete contrast to the glamorous roles she has done till date

After keeping away from the Kapoor family for ages, Kareena took the first step forward by attending the premiere of Saawariya. Moreover, Kareena is gushing about Ranbir ever since “he’s a rock star and we Kapoor’s are here to rock!” said Kareena. In the past Kareena, Karisma and mum Babita always maintained a safe distance from the rest of the Kapoor clan. In fact, they chose not to attend Ranbir’s older sister Ridhima’s wedding. But the ice is finally thawing; Ranbir too has reacted positively to Bebo’s generous compliments. “Both Lolo didi and Bebo didi have made us all proud and I hope I’m able to do the same,” he says.

Sonali bares back

Actress Sonali Kulkarni best remembered for playing Saif Ali Khan’s girlfriend in Dil Chahta Hai is also going in for a makeover, but unlike Celina she isn’t going to cover-up. In director Anand Rai’s forthcoming film Strangers, Sonali has done a semi-nude scene. “I could do the scene because I had full faith in the director. Moreover I had to prove to myself that I am a versatile actor and I can do whatever is required of me as an actress,” says Sonali. Sonali further shocked everyone by turning up wearing a sheer skintight outfit at the premiere of Saawariya.

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www.rahmaad.com

Mouth watering Fusions of the Far East


talk of the town

Award for yash chopra

In his long list of achievements producer-director Yash Chopra has added one more; the Zenith Asia Award for contribution to cinema. The award was conferred upon him at the recently concluded 5th Asia Film Festival in Pune. Popularly known as the King of Romance, the 75-year-old filmmaker said that awards are a humbling experience, “this award belongs not only to me but to all the people who have worked for me and with me. It is also for the technicians, actors, singers and every single person connected with Yashraj films.” In the past, the Zenith Asia Award has been given to actordirector Aparna Sen and Iranian director Majid Majidi.

Sonam opposite abhishek

Emraan hates clean shoes

Heard of people hating cockroaches and unclean surroundings but ever heard of someone hating clean shoes? Emraan Hashmi does. The actor says he just can’t stand a pair of clean and polished shoes, “right from my childhood I have had an aversion towards wearing clean and well polished shoes. Before wearing a new pair of shoes I toss them in dirt and ensure they aren’t clean,” says Emraan. We hope his wife is able to save her new shoes from him.

While co-star Ranbir Kapoor walked away with the accolades, Sonam Kapoor is slowly making high profile filmmakers take note of her. Apparently, director Rakyesh Mehra has signed for his next Dilli 6 opposite Abhishek Bachchan. Sonam has also received compliments from Shekhar Kapur who has said that among the current crop of Indian actress she’s the best, “Sonam has tremendous screen presence and is the best of the current lot!”

Tough luck for rani

If all her films flopping one after the other this year wasn’t enough, Rani Mukherji has been duped of Rs.33 lakhs for a plot of land that she bought in Shirdi, Maharashtra. Rani had bought approximately 1,100 square meters of land in Shirdi with the intention of building a farm house; however the land belonged to the State Farming Corporation, a government body. Apparently the person who sold the plot to Rani didn’t tell her that the land belonged to the State government and this person is now missing. Maybe the person who sold the land to Rani got inspired by Rani’s conning act in Bunty Aur Bably !

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talk of the town

Sunny days for sunny

While the tearjerker Apne, with Papa Deol and brother Bobby Deol was a no show at the box-office, Sunny Deol managed to catch the attention of showman Subhash Ghai. Sunny’s been signed by Subhash Ghai for a big-budget multi-starrer action thriller which will go on the floors in early 2008. Apart from that Sunny is also shooting for Mukta Arts Right Ya Wrong directed by debutante director Neeraj Pathak. Right Ya Wrong also stars Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen. We hope the film does well as both Sunny and Ghai need a hit desperately.

Faisal to direct film

Madhur’s fashion stuck

Madhur Bhandarkar’s ambitious project Fashion, an expose on the Indian fashion industry is stuck because no actor is willing to play the male lead in the film because the character is homosexual. Madhur says that he approached a few big actors but all turned down the offer because they didn’t want to portray the role of a homosexual. Says Madhur, “I wonder why nobody wants to take up such a challenging role?” Madhur is now on the look out for a theatre actor to play the male lead.

While big brother Aamir Khan’s directorial venture Taare Zameen Par will release this December younger brother Faisal Khan plans to direct an autobiographical film. Faisal, who recently came into the news when he accused Aamir of forcibly treating him for a psychological illness, will write, direct and act in the film. Their father, producer Tahir Hussain who has been given Faisal’s custody will produce the film. The film will display Faisal’s life from his childhood days till date and will also star Aamir and Faisal’s stepbrother Hyder Ali Khan for the first time on the big screen.

Tara sharma-roopak saluja

Actress Tara Sharma married Roopak Saluja on November 23,2007 at a simple yet elegant wedding in Mumbai with a reception in Delhi thereafter. Tara met Roopak two years ago and proposed to her last January. Designers Priya Awasthi and Ashley Lobo designed Tara’s trousseau. The couple will go on their honeymoon in December, as they are both busy with completing their work commitments. Tara will continue acting in films and will now also play an active part in Roopak’s ad film production company.

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madame X Hello darlings and welcome to this month’s version of entertainment from me! Bollywood seems to have gone back to childhood with everyone playing naughts and crosses – to cancel each other out! But yet they grin and pat each other on the back… That’s called true diplomacy, what? Connect with me pets; I have lots to tell you…

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’m sorry if Om Shanti Om and Saawariya are coming out of your ears, but apparently we’re not done with the gossip around these films yet! Even as Sanjay Leela declared, “I can’t go wrong with Saawariya…” Shah Rukh pipped him at the post and is now soaring what with his Chak De India bringing him a double whammy! This film swept the V. Shantaram Awards (akin to the Oscars in India) for Best Film, Best Director (Shimit Amin), Best Actor (SRK), Best Editor and Best Sound! Shah Rukh is of course thrilled with this, Om Shanti… and his new body! He grinned to me, “I recently went swimming with my children. When I came out of the pool, I thought I had turned into a dude! Whenever I see myself in the bathroom

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mirror, I feel happy.” While all Sanjay Leela Bhansali is left with are memories of his towel song with Ranbir Kapoor… I’m told the retakes were many, unnecessary and had discomfort showing largely on Ranbir’s face even on screen! Oh yes, Bhansali also has a new plagiarism charge to deal with from Tamil film director Jananathan! While the latter agrees that his film Iyarkai was also an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s ‘White Nights’ he firmly states, “I had made many changes in my script to suit the Tamil audience, while Sanjay Leela Bhansali has straightaway lifted my script!” Incidentally, Iyarkai was released three years ago and won Jananathan the National Award! And while everyone’s praising Rani Mukherjee for her superlative performance, some of that credit should go to Rakhi Sawant as well! Rakhi was invited to the Saawariya sets one day, where Sanjay and Rani took a keen look at the way she speaks and her body language and borrowed from these… The sporting Rakhi says she noticed this on screen but doesn’t mind, since she’s a big Bhansali fan! Tension ran high among the unit members of God Tussi Great Ho, when it was known that Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan were shooting together… After all, they didn’t want their set to be reduced to Ashes… But the Bachchan gave Salman a big hug and now the two sit and discuss paintings in between shots. This is a true example of naughts and crosses darlings – the younger Bachchan couple has just managed to steal Bajirao Mastani from under Salman’s nose. So while Amitabh was dishing out generous hugs, Salman simply grinned and bore it! I did hear from inside the Khan household that Katrina and he are nowhere near a break-up though. They may have career fights but I’m told Katrina’s mom recently flew down from London and had a nice private chat with Salim and Salma Khan. Is that a sign of finalizing this relationship darlings? Just a word on Abhishek and Ash while I’m at it pets. Normally, it’s the moony bride who sits home and longs for her husband to get back but Abhishek has reversed all that. People say he’s even neglecting work for his love! While at an ad shoot at Karjat, he arrived at 1.00p.m instead of 9.00a.m – courtesy Ash shooting nearby for Jodhaa Akbar. Obviously the unit soon broke for lunch and Abhi was hopping across to his wife’s sets. Not only during the break but also at every lighting change that the ad guys had to set up! And somewhere along the way, Mahima Chowdhury who’s happily married to Bobby Mukherji decided to appear in


public in Delhi. She was in the capital to launch a popular brand of winter clothing along with five-month-old daughter Aryana. Mahima says she simply adores her Barbie doll baby and is still testing herself on motherhood. After which, “I will start writing a book, which will centre around motherhood,” she says! Nice and normal don’t you think sweets? Everyone but everyone and especially Manayata, is awaiting November 27. It’s the big day for Sanjay Dutt, when the Supreme Court will hear his appeal for bail… Quite hogging the limelight right now with his new slim self is Adnan Sami on TV reality shows. Today he recalls from where he got his weight reality check. “The doctor panicked my family by saying I was a walking time bomb, that it’s a miracle I was still alive. He said, ‘Within six months your family will find you dead in a hotel room’. I hated the man. I never wanted to see him again!” But it definitely woke Adnan up pets and he grins at the thought of his last BIG MEAL. “It was a huge potter-house steak with mashed potatoes with butter and a huge New York cheese cake to top it all, on June 6, 2006. I ate it all on my own. Then I just gave up food. Now, I hate the sight of fatty food!” Also heard talk that Preity Zinta had a massive fallout with the Chopras and YashRaj Films… An insider says that it’s due to all the attention centering around their favourite, Rani. So these two girls who were friends at one time and then fell out, seem to have one more reason for war… But ask Preity and she’ll tell you, “Just the way they have the right to offer me whichever film they want, I also have the right to say a no or yes to any film they offer me. Don’t ask me details; I don’t even want to go there… But Aditya is fair; when he has something for me, he’ll come to me…” And darlings before I go, I must leave you with the sensational cutie all the girls are going nuts about… Yes, that is definitely Ranbir Kapoor who tells me he thinks Sonam Kapoor is so pretty that he found it so easy to romance her on screen and “I love Sonam to death!” Here’s a little teaser on his frankness too… I hear you still get pocket money from mum? Ranbir: Yes, she gives me Rs.1500 per week!” Who is the better actor – Amitabh Bachchan or Rishi Kapoor? Ranbir: Rishi Kapoor. Who is the bigger Khan – Shah Rukh or Salman? Ranbir: Salman Khan. Can you help but adore him pets? I know I do! See you next month…

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cover story

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the Diva

returns

As soon as she stepped out of the airport in Mumbai when she returned for the promotion of Aaja Nachle, she was swarmed by well wishers, fans and media—her hundred-watt smile still making their hearts go dhak dhak! Very few stars can have that kind of effect even after staying away from the glitz for a good six years. “It’s always a warm feeling to touch Mumbai’s soil. The people, the air, and things around, all have a sense of familiarity. It’s an extremely comforting feeling for me,” says Madhuri Dixit Nene. Yes, the dazzling beauty is thrilled to make a come back at the age of 42, and standing at second position in the Hottest Asian Women World list by a UKbased newspaper 17


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nd why not? The arc lights beckon and the center stage is all hers. Yash Raj Films’ Aaja Nachle, ace cinematographer Anil Mehta’s directorial debut has Madhuri Dixit Nene as the hero of the film. And she looks as fit and beautiful as ever! The credit for which she gives to the lifestyle she and her 18

husband Sriram believe in. “We have always felt that if you want to live a good life, you have to be healthy. And if you want to establish a good example for your kids, you have to do it first. So we are living healthy and working out and our kids are health conscious too.” And then goes on to confess that she had put on some weight when she

was in Denver after completing the Aaja Nachle shoot. “Diwali in Denver is a time to gorge on sweets. And I ate so many, put on so many calories, that I was afraid to come back here like that. Fortunately, I could get rid of the weight as well. I am coming here to promote my new film and I can’t afford to be seen with any extra flab!”


“I am very proud and happy with the film. And even though I have seen it all, there is still a sense of anxiety, excitement and nervousness before a new release, that’s because the audiences can always spring a surprise,”

Along with the freshness, the excitement and anticipation is written all over her face. “I am very proud and happy with the film. And even though I have seen it all, there is still a sense of anxiety, excitement and nervousness before a new release, that’s because the audiences can always spring a surprise,” says the gorgeous actress

with her new found chirpiness, making it obvious that there is a sea change in the way Madhuri interacts with people these days. “Those close to me say that I’ve become more talkative now. I feel I’ve become more expressive about my feelings. Perhaps I was like this in my childhood and then changed over the years. I’m not sure. Perhaps in the last few years I was so busy working that there was never any time for communicating. Anyway, I like my new self so does my family.” Does that mean that her attitude towards her work has also changed? “My kids have made me a fun person. My sons keep me on my toes. Besides that, all the experiences that you go through in life make you mature enough to realise life doesn’t have to be taken seriously all the time. Also, earlier there was this constant pressure to prove oneself and later to sustain the success. Every day was filled with trepidation. Every time I signed or refused a film I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision.” Yes, the change is evident. But looking at the promos of the film, one can make out that when it comes to being in front of the camera, the actress has taken off from where she left. “I was excited, nervous and very emotional when I came back on a film set. The first day, very honestly, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was facing the camera after six years and two babies. The first day was daunting. I kept feeling, ‘Will I be able to go through this all over again, will I be able to get it all back?’ I even thought, ‘What am I doing here?’ That distracts you from your performance. But as the days go by, you start

getting into your performance. It’s like swimming and cycling – no matter how long it’s been since you last did it, you can’t forget it. And after the first day, I got back into a comfort zone, and then on everything was smooth sailing.” She agrees that the process of filmmaking has changed drastically since her last film but it only made her life better. “Shot taking remains very similar but everything else has changed so much. Technologically, we have advanced so much, the equipment is so superior, the camera operates on a remote. What movements used to take ages on trolleys have been speeded up by use of jimmy jibs and other advanced equipment. Things are faster, much faster. You know what you’re going to look like in every scene— the look has been decided already. There used to be times when we reached the sets and didn’t know what dialogues we were going to be saying. Now everything is so different.” By the looks of it, choosing Yash Raj Films’ Aaja Nachle for a comeback film seems to be the most obvious choice for the actress since she is a Yash Chopra favourite. “Yashji has worked wonderfully well with married actresses before. Whether it’s Raakheeji in Kabhi Kabhie or Waheedaji, or Kajol in Fanaa, he’s aware and sensitive to the schedules and needs of an actress who’s a wife and a mother. Things may be a little out of the timetable once in a while. And I feel comfortable with them.” And the other thing that the Bollywood queen is comfortable with, is dancing. Everyone would have loved to have her team up with her favourite 19


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choreographer Saroj Khan, but it’s Vaibhavi Merchant that she finally worked with. “I have not interfered with anything Yash Raj has done. They decided on Vaibhavi Merchant as the dance director and I have to go by what the producers of the film say. Just because Vaibhavi is doing this film, people are insinuating things that Sarojji and I have fallen out. Whenever we meet, it is with great love and warmth. We cannot just write away everything we’ve had together because of such rumours. And frankly, I’m not even bothered by them. Nor is she.” Madhuri remembers the dance sequences in Aaja Nachle with great fondness. “We had fun. Vaibhavi was good to work with. She’s very clued in to what’s required in today’s films and she’s technically also good. It didn’t take us any time to get off together once we started rehearsing on the sets. She’s very sure of herself and definite about what she wants. I think people should just watch the film.” Madhuri says that beyond dance Aaja Nachle has a bit of everything. “Hopefully it will be something that people will like to see me back in. Firstly, when they narrated the script to me I was deeply excited. I felt this would be the right film to do after a long break. In fact, Aaja Nachle has spoilt me. Yash Raj treated me with such care. Now what I do next will depends a lot on what’s offered to me and where we shoot. It could be in Mumbai. Or maybe they could shoot it in the US. But the script has to be something special.” Madhuri may do one film a year. “Maybe even less. But I wonder if the experience would be as pleasurable! And if my kids have kept me relaxed, the entire crew of Aaja Nachle has been an inspiration and delight. They’re so young and bright and raring to go. Such wonderful actors and people! I’m so lucky I got to work with them.” She is all praise for director Anil Mehta too. “He has a wonderful eye for detail. Having been a cinematographer with so many directors he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it from every artiste.”

She confesses that though she did miss the craft of acting, never the paraphernalia that comes with it. And it is because of the support of her husband, family and kids that she can come back to her craft when she feels like. “Ram is fully supportive of whatever I do. He feels I should’ve no regrets in life. He feels one’s talent shouldn’t be suppressed. When I decided not to work and have kids, he was all for it. Then when I opted to do Devdas he was still supportive. And now he’s with me all the way.” In fact, her in-laws came down to India twice during the shooting and her mom was with her throughout. Her husband also came down to Mumbai twice because he missed the kids and the kids missed him. This time round though, she came down alone since she had only 40 days and loads of friends, relatives, and promotions to attend to. But the last time her kids were here they had a blast. “They came to the sets some times but they would go around playing since there is lots of space to play at Yash Raj. I had also enrolled them in play school so that they don’t get bored. Aryan has learnt a smattering of Hindi as well, and because the older one is speaking Hindi, the younger one has started imitating him at home. They’ve learnt all the key phrases, like ‘Ghar jaana hai, jaldi chalo, mujhe yeh chahiye, khelenge, khana khana hai etc etc,.” The kids also got to spend a lot of time with Madhuri’s parents and her siblings’ kids since they were also in town. “They’re all nearly the same age so they got to spend a lot of time with their cousins which I think is wonderful.” Madhuri confesses that she loves all three roles—that of the actress, wife and the mother equally. “I love my art. The best thing about acting is that you can be so many different people in one lifetime. I always wanted to get married and settle down, and when that happened it was like living one of my dreams. Being a mother was another extension of everything I had dreamed of. God has been very kind to me. There are no regrets and no complaints. Today, I feel complete and happy.” 21


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shooting stars

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Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Big B at Gangotri music launch. Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor at the Saawariya premiere. Shammi Kapoor launches the music of Aamir Khan’s Tare Zameen Par. Shiney Ahuja and Soha Ali Khan dance at Khoya Khoya Chand music release. Ajay Devgan and Vidya Balan at a press conference for their film Halla Bol. Hrithik Roshan inaugurates new outlet of B’Blunt salon run by Adhuna Akhtar, wife of Farhan Akhtar.


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7. Vidya Malvade at Planman’s bash to celebrate The 4Ps Business Marketing Advertising Awards. 8. Anu Malik’s birthday celebrated with song recording along with Pankaj Udhas for Maan Gaye Mughale Azam. 9. Riya Sen promotes Lokhandwala Shopping Festival on the back of a truck on the busy streets of Mumbai. 10. Priyanka Chopra at the Lux Crystals launch. 11. Shah Rukh Khan cuts a cake at his residence Mannat on the occasion on his birthday.

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home truths

homing in

on 24

ashmit!

As we visit his spacious flat, the one thing that strikes us is the neatness all around, along with tasteful dĂŠcor


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or Ashmit, home is a bachelor pad in the queen of the suburbs – Bandra. Originally meant to house his sister Amisha too, when she left the family, Ashmit found that he had the flat all to himself. And though he makes the most of bachelorhood, he’s still nostalgic about his parents’ posh Marine Drive home in south Mumbai… “It’s only because of work convenience that I shifted to Bandra. Bandra has its own charm too and being in the heart of the industry, it saves me a lot of commuting time.” So he does what suits him best – makes the best of both worlds and visits his parents as often as he can! While in his own home, this bachelor Patel spends all holidays in leisurely fashion. “I wake up really late and have breakfast in bed. I watch DVDs, listen to music, read and catch up with friends. I have a close circle of friends and a career which is enviable. Life is good at the moment!” Leaving home means spending time at Salman Khan’s gym, training under the latter or just visiting local Bandra restaurants with friends. As for design elements in his home Ashmit admits, “My mom did up the place for me so it reflects more of her taste. I believe in minimalist furnishing. For me, less is more…” And he is thinking of redoing his place. “I would like to do up my home with a Mediterranean feel, like pastel colours, colourful walls and linen curtains.” In keeping with his rule of no clutter, the place where he sleeps at night is most important. So if you walk into his bedroom you’ll find that, “It’s very sparse. I need space, I need room to breath. There’s a television set, my music system and two side tables. This is somewhere you can come to after a hard day’s work; be completely relaxed and comfortable. You can de-stress here and unwind.” Ashmit’s living room speaks of culture in terms of antiques which he informs you “are picked up by mom from all over the world – London, Paris… She’s 25


I thank God that I’m not shooting! Every other day I see a pimple on my face because of the make-up so I don’t use make-up when I’m not working collected all these over the years.” As for the tasteful paintings that adorn his walls, you will definitely find the works of M.F. Hussain dominant. “M.F. Hussain happens to be a family friend – he was a good friend of my grandfather Rajni Patel, who played a major part in his being a big name today. My personal favourite (that you see on that wall) is the portrait he painted of my mom and me together. I also like his series of world religions like Islam, Christianity and others. But honestly speaking, I don’t understand art much!” But as we said earlier, when he gets nostalgic on an off day from work, it’s off to his parents’ place, because “I miss all the pampering. My parents cannot obviously make it to Bandra much because they are older and there’s not much energy left.” Taking as important a place in his life is his “Leela Bai, who has literally brought me up. She’s very emotional about me. It’s like having had two mothers while growing up. She’s wonderful. Leela Bai misses the fact that I don’t live here anymore and she can’t cook for me, but mum keeps sending me the food she cooks. I love her sai bhaji, varan bhaat and her delicious kababs! I break my fitness routine only for her and gorge on her food!” Cooking at his home however, involves a strict regime. He admits that he’s not great at rustling up much in his functional kitchen except “I can make myself breakfast – eggs, toast. And probably pour myself a glass of juice! Beyond that, I don’t often visit the kitchen . But I plan to soon learn cooking; it’s a good way of de-stressing. I am very picky about my food and give instructions to my Man Friday on how to 26

cook it – no oil, butter or fried stuff.” Harmony is maintained via “a lot of lounge music. Buddha Bar is my personal favourite after a hard day’s work. I like a good fragrance in the house, and love incense sticks. It gives me a spiritual feel. I also love nature. I have a lot of plants at my home – I call them my babies – and water them every morning before I go to work.” The only collection he’s sentimental about is his “photographs which are in cardboard boxes. Whenever I feel nostalgic, I open a box and sift through the pictures. I prefer not to display them on the walls.” Ashmit sure carried one habit from his parents’ home and admits that I am compulsive and obsessive about cleanliness. I have no problem cleaning up my place myself. Also, no one is allowed to touch my wardrobe in my absence. I like to stack my things systematically.” A look into his wardrobe proves this! “I have special hangers for my jeans and trousers, so that they don’t crease. My t-shirts are on one side, my shirts on the other. My suits and jackets hang in another cupboard so that they don’t get crumpled. I have a special cupboard for my footwear, concealed by a door. I am into headgear a lot – hats, caps, headbands. I have a drawer in which my sunglasses and any expensive stuff like my belts and watches are stocked.” Not bad for a bachelor who actually hails from a family where he probably didn’t have to lift a finger! But then living on your own is a different ballgame altogether and Ashmit’s parting shot is, “It’s good to have your own domain of peace…”


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what’s cooking

the big foodie She is not your typical fitness freak. She loves her food and knows all there is to know about cuisines across the world—from Nepalese and Burmese to Tripur and Kolkata. Bengali beauty, Riya Sen talks about the yummy quotient of food.

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I’m not a breakfast person But whenever I do have breakfast I love to eat eggs, toast and sausages. I love continental food or the usual home cooked Bengali food for lunch. Prawns, squids, trout fish, red snapper and crabs are in my list of favourites. Despite being a Bangali I’m not very much of a fish eater. I can eat other seafood but not fish. I’m a big time foodie and can binge at any time of the day. If you were to ask me to choose between food and sleep, it would be the toughest one for me. Though in the end I think I would go with sleep. I hate Mumbai fish That’s because I hate sea fish but I can eat river fish like the ones you get in Kolkata. I also hate eating liver. Apart from these I am not fussy about my food. I can eat anything. My favourite cuisine would be Burmese food made at home. Also I love Thai Curry, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. I also love Nepalese food but the one that’s cooked at my place. I cook only rarely We have certain recipe books passed down by our ancestors. So I love making something from there. My aunt makes lovely Nepalese food. I have also eaten a lot of Tripur food since my Dad is from there. He makes it at home and he’s an amazing cook.

In Kolkata, I love going to the China pockets where the Chinese food is authentic and I mostly have the changra. Apart from that, the puchka’s in Kolkata are amazing. They are the best in the country I would say. I also love this place called Cookie Jar. You get yummy pastries and desserts there. Actually there are some very good bakeries in Kolkata. I like the Kolkata street food as well. The chicken mushroom puffs are the best ever. Also kaouti kebabs and kakori kebabs on the streets of Kolkata are awesome. Royal China is my favourite food place in Mumbai. I don’t enjoy Mumbai’s street food. Bhutanese food also is good for its spicy pork curry and potato in cheese and chilly. Singapore is one place I love visiting especially for the food. The Chinese food there is prepared very well and you can find it all over the place. Even the stuff you get at a food mall is tasty. Actually street Chinese food in Bangkok is also very good. I’m a hardcore non-vegetarian Among vegetarian food what I can enjoy are potatoes, channa, spinach, cabbage and lady fingers. I can’t do without a generous helping of garlic in my meals.

I freak out on sweets My favourites are chocolate fondue with almond on top, tiramisu and chocolate mousse.

When I’m shooting I order Pizza from a nearby Dominoes outlet. The thin crust pizza is my regular favourite on the sets. But I enjoy eating food that comes from my home. Also, if someone else has got good food from their home I enjoy sharing it. I just can’t eat unit food unless it’s something out of the ordinary.

I also enjoy eating ice-creams and drinking hot chocolate after meals.

I can’t live on junk food when traveling. I need a proper meal to keep me going.

In starters I love eating Carpacio which is basically raw beef.

Amongst drinks my favourite is Chinese tea. I also like Virgin Bloody Mary. I really love Oreo Milkshake. My favourite place for the milkshake is the US but in Mumbai I’d say Brio and even Mocha are good.

My favourite place to eat is my home I feel that the quality of food in Mumbai is not that good compared to Kolkata. The food there is much better. So when I’m in Mumbai I’d much rather eat at home since I have super cooks at home.

Diet according to me is a strange concept I don’t diet. I never have. I eat everything and at anytime I want to. Luckily for me, my 31


metabolism is such that I tend not to put on too much weight. As a kid I used to freak out on the food in my grandmother’s house. It is typical Bengali food. Whatever she makes, may it be mutton or chicken, it’s the best. In Bengali food the Koshomangsho— essentially chicken curry or a mutton curry cooked in custard oil and chillies— is my all time favourite. I cook sometimes as I find it a good stress reliever. I enjoy making chicken curry, Mexican food, pasta and continental. It’s strange, but I can’t cook rice and dal. A family recipe passed down from my grandma is a Bengali dish called Shitho Bhaat. This is a delicious mix of boiled rice, boiled vegetables, onions and butter, cooked in mustard oil. My grandma used to make it and she taught my dad since my mother does not cook, and he used to make it for us. My dad is the best cook in the house. He can taste anything and tell what is missing in seconds. The food cooked on my father’s side is yummy. The mutton with red chilly has been passed down by generations. I know the recipe but we do not give it out. It’s a family secret.

The best thing cooked in my home is the white baked fish which my dad makes. He fillets it in milky white sauce, carrot slices and beans. The only time I eat fish is when he cooks it in this manner. I had gone to Shiva-Som health resort in Bangkok with my family and I got my whole quota of fitness for that year and the years to come! It was basically to detox your body. Whether it is pampering or weight loss, stress reduction or relaxation, every facet is catered to.

This health resort is one of a kind and is far more superior to hotels here with spas or health facilities. It has yoga, aqua aerobics, cardio combo circuit and many other classes taught by experts. The resort’s aim is healing by water, which is everywhere - saunas, steam rooms, jacuzzis, cool plunge pools, waterfalls. We did boxing, dancing, got different kinds of massages and got hair and skin therapy, ate calorie free food like vegetables, liquids, lemon grass, wheat grass, apple cider and teas. We ate more than ever at this spa.

Favourite recipe Ingredients 500 grams cooked minced meat 900 grams potatoes 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion 1 tablespoon oil 2 /3 cloves garlic clove (optional) 50 grams butter 150 ml milk Freshly ground black pepper 75 grams grated cheese Salt to taste

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Method Peel and halve potatoes. Place in a saucepan of cold and salted water. Bring to a boil and cook till tender. Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and cook for about 10 minutes. Peel and crush garlic cloves. Add garlic and cooked mince to sautéed onion and stir-fry for five minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F

(220C). Drain boiled potatoes of water and mash with half the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grease ovenproof dish. Cover the base of the dish with the mince. Then layer it with the mashed potato. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with remaining butter and bake for about 15 minutes or till the top is browned.


focus

Shooting and dubbing for Jodha Akbar done, Hrithik Roshan’s chilling at home playing doting dad to son Hrehan and loving husband to wife Suzaane who will give birth to the couple’s second child next April..

the

super hero speaks

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H

rithik Roshan’s last release Dhoom 2 had him steal the hearts of the critics as well as the viewers. Will he be able to repeat the magic with Ashutosh Gowarikar’s tale of love and war? We put the actor in focus. Shooting and dubbing for Jodha Akbar done, Hrithik Roshan’s chilling at home playing doting dad to son Hrehan and loving husband to wife Suzaane who will give birth to the couple’s second child next April. Meanwhile filmmakers are wondering what would be Hrithik’s next move! He’s turned 36

down the Adlabs deal, Zoya Akhtar’s Kismet Talkies and Rakyesh Mehra’s Dilli 6, “just waiting for the right script,” is all that he’s saying. Buzz in the industry is that Hrithik is following his Dhoom 2 and Jodha Akbar co-star Aishwarya Bachchan’s footsteps and eyeing Hollywood. Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, who handle Brad Pitt. They have now signed Hrithik and have offered him roles in high profile Hollywood films but the actor is biding his time and waiting for the perfect script. But quiz Hrithik about this he maintains a stoic silence.

Hrithik’s name has become synonymous with perfection. While shooting for his latest film Jodha Akbar where he plays the Moughal Emperor Akbar, Hrithik learnt horse riding and sword fencing and has once again performed all his stunts himself. Isn’t he scared after the risky fall he had while shooting for Krissh in Singapore, we ask? Letting out a musical laugh Hrithik questions us, “tell me one profession where risks aren’t involved?” He goes on to explain, “my passion for my work drives me. The only way to perfection is to fall and rise. If you don’t fall, you


I’m happy with what I have but there are miles to go before I rest. I think I’ve worked hard to reach this stage and I deserve this success

never know the pleasure of rising. A child needs to stumble before he learns to run. I guess God and the prayers and wishes of my fans are always with me. I’ve had bad accidents but thankfully nothing severe or serious has ever happened to me.” And what does wife Suzaane have to say about his daredevil stunts, “oh she doesn’t like it much. Though I prefer not to tell her about all this because she tends to worry a lot,” Hrithik explains. Currently riding high on the success of two back-to-back hits Dhoom 2 and Krissh, Hrithik’s happy with his

achievements, “yes, I’m happy with what I have but there are miles to go before I rest. I think I’ve worked hard to reach this stage and I deserve this success,” he says. In Krissh he played a super-hero

who saves the world and in complete contrast in Dhoom 2 he played a street-smart thief. In his forthcoming film Jodha Akbar he plays a romantic warrior and emperor, “it’s been a conscious decision to avoid repetition. I want to grow as an actor and that would be possible only if I experiment with different roles!” Hrithik explains. His pairing with Aishwarya in Dhoom 2 spelled magic and their chemistry set tongues wagging. Did he expect such adulation, “I always knew that our pairing would work but strangely some people were of the opinion that we wouldn’t look good together on screen because both of us have similar features, light eyes and fair skin. Some even went on to say that we’d end up looking like siblings. But I don’t think I’ve looked better with any other actress.” What next after Jodha Akbar, yet another superhero film with dad? “I haven’t thought about my next move yet. Dad’s busy with our homeproduction Krazy4 and is going through various ideas.” Industry grapevine, however says that Hrithik will turn script writer –cum-actor for Krissh 3 and is currently working on it, though the actor doesn’t confirm this talk. So what is his dream in ten years from this day, “hopefully I would have had my fill as an actor and would have played a wide spectrum of roles. I guess I might be preparing myself to direct a film. Directing a film is a huge responsibility but coming from a family of directors and I’ve assisted dad too, I think it would be the natural thing to do. But right now I’m enjoying acting!” 37


style check

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Kangna Ranaut My Favourite Outfit Depends on the occasion. I love gowns for a formal occasion. If I’m gong to a movie or something casual, it’s jeans and t-shirt or ganjis. My Favourite Outfit when I am driving to a Shoot If I’m heading for the shoot after gym, which is usually the case, I wear track pants and a T-shirt. If I go after my dance class then a salwaar kameez. If I’m too tired I just wear shorts. My Favourite Evening Wear A body hugging dress For Formal Dinning If I’m going out with someone from work I wear trousers and a tube top. But if I’m going on a date with somebody, I wear a stretch hot and elegant dress. To a Party at a Friend’s Place Jeans and T-shirt or track pants and T-shirt. My Favourite Outfit for a Formal Occasion Gowns or trousers and a tube top. I Like to Sleep in Minimum possible clothing. My Favourite Colours are I wear all colours as each colour has its own beauty.

My Favourite Fabrics are Lycra My Favourite Brand in Jeans are Mango, B&G and Guess fit me the best I have a Collection of I don’t believe in collecting things. Though I do buy a lot of stuff. I have a Fetish for Perfumes. I always end up buying one when I go shopping. And I finish them quickly too. My Favourite accessory is Belts and something around the neck. My Wardrobe is incomplete without Leggings I look best in I think everything. Only when I don’t feel good about something I’m wearing do I feel ugly.

I would like my man/ woman to be dressed in Trousers and shirt. Very formal clothes basically. I can’t take a shabbily dressed man— someone who wears torn jeans, torn T-shirts and torn everything

I would like my man/ woman to be dressed in Trousers and shirt. Very formal clothes basically. I can’t take a shabbily dressed man—someone who wears torn jeans, torn T-shirts and torn everything.

MISSALANIOUS The Best Dressed Men & Woman in the Industry George Clooney and Nicole Kidman 39


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For the first day of my Shoot I wore White coloured chiffon top and skirt I pick up my clothes from Dubai. I lose my mind when I go shopping in Dubai. You’ll see me with at least 50 bags in my hand in every other shopping mall. I go mad in Dubai. I never leave my house without My wallet and my mobile

My Hairstylist is Maria does my hair for shoots, otherwise I do my own hair. I admire/envy the Hair of Dimple Kapadia My Haircare Routine comprises I oil them once a month. My hair goes through too much torture, in the form of too much use of different products and chemicals, straightening, so I oil my hair and steam it regularly to repair the damage.

MAKE-UP My Wallet always contains Money, bills and currencies from various parts of the world since I never exhaust them when I go traveling, few credit cards, chains, visiting cards and a 10 rupee note which is my lucky charm. The Brand of the watch I wear I don’t wear watches.

When I am not Shooting I thank God that I’m not shooting! Every other day I see a pimple on my face because of the make-up so I don’t use make-up when I’m not working.

In Shoes I have every possible brand except Valentino

My Favourite Brands in make-up are Chanel

Haircare

The features I like to conceal when doing make-up Dark circles and spots.

My Shampoo is L’Oreal for curly hair My Conditioner is From Body shop My hair is Curly and very very long The Texture of my hair is Thick The Colour of my Hair is Burgundy red I Like my Hair streaked in I don’t like streaking and colouring my hair At Home I Like my Hair to be I have to keep them tied or else I won’t be able to see a thing, they’d be all over my face. For Formal Occasions I leave my hair open At Night my Hair is Tied up.

My Favourite Shades of make-up are Pink and peach effect suit me best

The features I like to highlight I don’t believe in making your eyes look bigger than your nose and things like that so I don’t highlight any of my features. I only moisturize my skin, use lipstick, eye-shadow, mascara and I’m done. My Favourite perfume D& G Glow My handbag at any time consists of My handbag is somewhere between a hand bag and travel bag. It contains shades, perfumes, 2-3 books that I read at the same time, bills from all over, and diet and fitness charts which I never follow. My Favourite Brands in Bags and Shoes Mango and D&G. 41


frankly speaking

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frankly speaking Aftab Shivdasani There no guessing why. He’s having a great time shooting with long time buddy Ritiesh Deshmukh in E Niwas’s De Taali. We catch him on the sets of the romantic comedy, and a positive and peaceful Aftab obliges in his usual sincere style What do feel about Speed? It kept getting delayed? What do I say about the film? It got delayed but finally it’s out so I’m happy. It is a film I committed to and I have to complete my commitments. It got delayed because of the circumstances. These things happen and it’s not the first time that a film is getting delayed. In situations like these you can’t help it.

in 1999. Would you say that your career has gone as planned? Honestly, after my first batch of films, I realised that things were not going as I would have liked them to. So I stopped predicting and planning too much. When things don’t work out the way you want them to, you need to stop strategising. I have been going with the flow. I don’t have strategies.

You have done around 25 films in eight years since your debut

So how has Aftab changed in eight years?

I have become more patient as an actor. There was a phase recently where I was not signing any films. I was staying at home and spending more time with myself. Sometimes you need to come out of your own shadow and view yourself from the outside. That’s when you get a clear picture about where you are going and what you are. It makes you see things in perspective. This phase actually rejuvenated me and made me focus on things important to me.

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Have your recent flops dampened your confidence? No. These things cannot be controlled. And you cannot let success or failure control your moods. When I had seen Ankahee before the release, I was overwhelmed. But I was prepared for it to go either way. It wasn’t a run-of-themill film. Earlier, I had banked heavily on Shukriya. After it flopped, I decided I’d never bank on a film. How important is it for you to make public appearances and be in the news. Do you believe you need to be in the public eye constantly? It depends on what kind of a person you are. If nothing is happening on the professional front, what is the use of making public appearances? I am not a person who likes to be in the gossip columns or in Page 3 parties. I would rather be in the news for my work. If my film is releasing I don’t mind going for events and be seen for the promotion of my film. I want to be a part of constructive news for my films. Why have you been doing so many boy flicks and multi-starrers? If you see my last four releases, there are two multi-starrers and two solo movies— Life Me Kabhie Kabhie and Speed were multi-starrers and Ankahee and Red were solo. So I guess that makes it 50%. It’s a coincidence; not something I have been doing consciously or have been forced to do. If I love the script and the set-up enticing enough I take it up. I’m not insecure. Are you comfortable doing intimate scenes like the ones you did in Red? I’m an actor and when I’m acting in front of the camera I have to be comfortable. I would be apprehensive of doing intimate scenes if the actor working with me and the director don’t make me feel comfortable. Before Red I was a little hesitant doing intimate scenes. It’s very important to have a cooperative co-star and a good director. In the case of Red, I trusted my costar Celina and my director Vikram Bhatt. Also, I knew that Vikram would shoot the scenes aesthetically. How easy or difficult was your first on-screen kiss? My on-screen kiss with Celina was difficult on paper! But when we actually went ahead and did it, it was not that bad, it was in fact quite nice because there was certain level of comfort involved, and we were just two professionals doing our job. We wanted to make it look really nice and convincing; we didn’t want to make it look like just another screen kiss because it does not make sense. If you want to keep all your ruminations aside and do something out of the ordinary so to speak, make sure that it looks extraordinary and that is what we intended to do. Why didn’t you ever speak out about Yana and you? Firstly I’m a very private person. And secondly, I don’t want to be in the news for my private life. I have always maintained a certain silence as far as my personal life goes. So would you go into the details of how the two of you split? No. Yana said to the media that she split with you because she realised you are not the kind of person she wanted to be with. How do you take that? I respect that completely. She is a different individual and she has the right to speak her mind. She is intelligent and she knows how to conduct herself.

u


So is there any truth about you and Minnisha Lamba? It’s not true at all. I have met her only twice. The entire incident that was reported about us going to the disco and getting cosy, is a figment of someone’s imagination. This incident never happened. Are you capable of PDA (public display of affection)? I’m capable of affection and of being intimate in a private space. But not in public places. Why would I get cosy in a disco? Give me break! I have that much sense that I wouldn’t go around hugging and kissing in a nightclub or a pub. I know that I’m a known face and I’m responsible enough. Did the gossip affect you and Minnisha?

We’ve met only twice and have hardly interacted, so it was a little odd. I made a courtesy call to her and told her I was sorry about the rumours. We just laughed it off actually. But it makes you wonder if two famous people can ever meet and socialise without being linked. It’s scary. But well, you got to live with it. What is the status on your plan to start a production company? It’s on the backburner right now. And are you still keeping your food business plans top secret? (laughs) That plan is nowhere on the scene yet. You can say it’s on the backmost burner. All these things are suddenly making news because I have been speaking to the media since Dus Kahaniyan is on the verge of release.

But I have actually been contemplating these things for some time now. The thing is, these are things I want to do and I’d like to do. But haven’t really started going about them. You are doing only one film at a time now. Is that a very conscious decision? Yes, it is. All of us, whether it’s you or me, need to step out of ones shadow and look at ourselves from the outside. When you are constantly working and are on the move, you don’t understand where your life is going. The time I took off and stayed at home, I spent time alone and managed to do that. I could restrategise my career. I realised I’d rather do one film that allows me to spread my wings as an actor than five which expect me to repeat myself.

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3

Take

Sanjay Gupta Upen Patel Kim Sharma

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take 3

‘I’m here for the long term’ 48


When did you know you wanted to act? My mother always knew I was going to be actress. There was one incident that mom tells me which was the defining moment for her. I was around five years old. Mr India had just released. I wore this blue sari, went out in the rain and started dancing and singing the song kaate nahi kat te. The moment my mom saw me in that avatar she said that I was going to become an actress when I grow up. How did the contract with Sanjay Gupta happen? Hansal Mehta was casting for his short story in Dus Kahaniyan. He told Sanjay Gupta that he wanted to cast me in it. He in fact said that he wanted to use me and only me. Sanjay said he was free to cast whoever he though suited the role. It felt great to know that someone believes in you and your talent. It reinforces the fact that in the long term all that matters is your talent. No matter how much marketing you do but unless you have the talent you cannot survive. You can do marketing and stuff to fulfill your short term goals. But I’m here for the long term and want to be known as a good actress. Sanjay also signed me for Alibaug later. How is Sanjay Gupta as a director? Alibaug is good film. The experience has been very good so far and we are having fun. It doesn’t feel we are shooting for a film. The atmosphere on the sets is great. Did the talks about his unprofessional behaviour affect you? What behaviour? None of us know what all this talk is all about. Nobody got that kind of feeling at all. Sanjay has been very professional. What’s your role like in Dus Kahaniyan? I can’t really reveal anything about my character but Dus Kahaniyan is a fun film. There are 10 short films—a

From the demure girl in Chupke Se to the sizzling hot babe in Sanjay Gupta’s Dus Kahaniyan— Masumeh has come a long way. In news for signing two films with Sanjay Gupta, Masumeh is looking forward to making a mark in the industry and come to be accepted as a good completely different concept. It takes a lot of guts to come out with something like that. Sanjay is someone who thinks out of the box and also executes it. The film plays with various relationships and emotions and genres. You think this concept will work with the audience? Absolutely! Viewers are constantly looking for something original. Same cheez dekhne ka kya matlab. The 70’s and 80’s films worked in its time, but imagine if you had to watch the same kind of stuff even today. Your initial movies like Chupke Se and Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav haven’t really done well at the box office. You didn’t manage to make your mark in the industry. Was that disappointing for you? I am the kind of person who welcomes everything that comes my way, so whatever came, came. None of my movies have done well commercially, but I am satisfied with them. Today, it’s an advantage for the young actors who get a lot of recognition and publicity before the movie is even released. Thanks to the media they are hyped so much.

say I want to do this or I won’t do that or I’m not going to do this. Why are you an actor then? I want to do challenging roles. More challenging the role, the more you get to do as an actor. In Dus Kahaniyan I’m playing one of those young girls who gets drunk and does exactly what they want to do—like walking on the footpath in the middle of night. My character is of someone like them who just wants to go have some fun. The story basically says that everything you do has repercussions. What do you do when you are not shooting? I am a trained dancer and martial arts student, so I either dance or do my martial arts when I get the time. So does that mean you not seeing anyone? (laughs) I was waiting for this question. But no, I’m not seeing anyone right now.

Have you signed any more films? I have signed a film but I can’t talk about it just yet. In fact, a lot is happening right now. What kind of films and roles are you looking forward to doing? I haven’t really thought of anything specific. I’m out there, and open to anything that catches my fancy. I can’t 49


take 3

‘I know where I stand’ He is aware that he is only three films old and is known more for the cleft on his chin than his acting prowess. At the same time, he is super confident of his forthcoming films, and growth as an actor. That’s Upen Patel for you. He chats about the big banner films in his kitty, his bad boy image and a lot more

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Where did you disappear after Aryan? I was looking for good films. And I have managed to sign some.

Russia where we bonded. Even after the movie got over he used to advice me on my career. But now he doesn’t give me much advice because he knows that I have become comfortable now.

Why has there been such a huge gap between Aryan and your next? I have had a gap between my earlier films too. There was a big gap between Lucky and Aryan. The thing is after my first film I was confused about which direction I should take. I knew I didn’t want to waste my time doing crappy films. Any big banner would be happy to sign someone who has done good movies even if a few. I’m not in any hurry. Age is on my side. So if good films don’t come, I won’t sign any film.

Did you ever contemplate getting back to your studies? I was in my 12th grade when I did Lucky. So after completing the film I completed my 12th grade. After that there was no point doing any further course since I wanted to pursue films. I’m looking forward to doing some course that will help me in my acting career though. Did the constant comparison to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan affect you? I’m tired of the comparison, that’s all.

Which of your films are you banking on to change the course of your career? I think Sangeeth Sivan’s film Click with Shreyas Talpade. I have just shot for a week with him and he’s a very good director. Apna Sapna Money Money and Kya Kool Hai Hum were really funny films. What is the status with Gandhi Park? It was announced a long time ago? There were immigration problems since we had to shoot most of it in New York. But Tom George Kolath, the director of the film, has sorted things out. We will begin the New York schedule early next year. We have already finished the Goa schedule. I will be working with Anupam Kher, Vikas Kalantri and Branden Sommers in this movie. Any other projects? I’m keen on working down South. I’m already doing one with A Karunakaran. He has given six hit films in the past. I’m also in talks with some big banners over there. Apart from that I have Tarun Kumar’s Kash Aap Mere Hote. Another film which is in its post production phase is Shravan’s (of Nadeem Shravan fame) small budget film that will see Rajesh Khanna make a come back to the big screen.

You had said that acting was an accident? Have you begun taking it more seriously now? After Lucky I had decided I don’t want to do any films. I rejected some good offers because I wasn’t interested. But I realized that I had no choice. I have to continue doing films. I’m happy with my decision.

After Lucky you are out there on your own? Scary? Yes. I have to make all decisions on my own. I don’t really have anybody to turn to for advice within the industry. I do turn to my parents sometimes. They tell me something only when I go to them for advice. They have a lot of confidence in me. Salman was your mentor when you made your debut in films. What kind of relationship do you share with the Khans? Though I worked with Sohail in Aryan, he used to always be caught in production work. So we never really became close. I am very very close to Salman. We did a long schedule in

What is the difference between the Sneha during Lucky and the Sneha now? I was a baby back then. I didn’t know a thing. Now I care about time and money. So are you more prepared to wear revealing clothes now? You had made a statement earlier that you wouldn’t expose? I still won’t. I stand my ground. So no item numbers for Sneha Ullal? An item number? I don’t think anybody will ever offer me one. How does Sneha spend time away from tinsel town? I used to visit my Dad when he was in Muscat. I spend time at our bungalow in Lonavla and I also hang out a lot with my friends. 51


take 3

If anyone is unconventional it’s Kim Sharma. She does things on her own terms and is not interested in numbers or the rat race. But yes, she does admit to taking her career more seriously now. Here’s a newly packaged Kim!

What new films are you doing? I have an English film called The Whisperers written by Rahul Bose (who’s also acting in the film), which is doing the foreign festival circuit right now. It’s a psychological thriller, where I play a pop star and the epitome of the other woman. Then I have an action film directed by Yagnish Shetty called Boomerang, along with Amrita Arora, where we sort of play a version of Charlie’s Angels. And the third is with Jimmy Shergil, called Khafaa, which should be releasing anytime now. Is anyone helping you handle your career now? Well yes, I have been with a management agency for the last six months. I also have my own film manager and my team around. While all this might bring in work and suggestions, I still have the final say on what I want to accept or not. Life is a lot easier and more organized now. I have peace of mind and the comfort of not having to handle everything by myself. You didn’t take your career seriously earlier… 52

Yes that’s right in a sense that I never went out there and pushed myself. I always thought if people wanted me for work they would come to me. I felt it was a bit demeaning to go out and push… But I’ve changed that – the childishness has gone and a maturity has come in. But I will say one thing for whatever work I did – I was never dishonest towards it – my dedication and honesty to work has always been there. You came in with Yash Raj Films and Mohabattein– doesn’t it help to be part of a camp? Yes, I did come in with Yash Raj but at that age, I was not able to consolidate myself as part of that camp since I didn’t know how to. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind. So I didn’t take up that opportunity. Yes, it does help to be part of camps since you’re assured of a certain amount of work coming in and you can relax. But I was just too young and not the kind of person to actively manipulate myself. What’s the best film you’ve done recently? I think that would have to be Tom,


Dick and Harry… It’s a character people enjoyed and it gave me scope to do something. Is your image a setback to people not taking you seriously? I have been misunderstood in that way… people who work with me have told me that they had an altogether different idea of me. I’d say this image was largely media created and I don’t bother to get into clarifications with people. With me what you see is what you get and I didn’t ever think about projecting myself in a certain way. What’s the worst thing you have heard about yourself? It does bother me to hear that my attitude towards my work was not right. It bothers me a lot. I have been as true as I can be to my work. Beyond that, I don’t really care what people think of me as a person. Personally, I have a great set of friends who know what I am. And those are the people whom I choose to let enter my circle. Beyond that I really couldn’t care less what people think – I’m not here for a congeniality contest! Has it harmed you that you are not diplomatic or behave like the conventional heroine? Possibly, yes it has. But I will still stand by that route since it works for me. At least people can’t say I’m sly, manipulative or dishonest. Diplomacy is an art and I’m not well versed in it. At the most what will people say about me – that I’m straightforward or in your face? I can live with that. I’m happy to be discerning about what I want to or don’t want to do and I believe in what I stand by. How busy are you these days? Oh, I’m always busy with events, shows and making appearances… Right now I’m busy shooting for Boomerang. But it’s not like I want to only sound busy with work – I have a life apart from films too and that keeps me happy and busy! 53


in the picture

the

oberoi facts! Her entry credentials into Bollywood are impressive to say the least! She starred in a Telegu movie, Baalu, opposite superstar Pawan Kalyan and won Best Supporting Actress for it

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Birth Date: May 29. School: “Durello Convent, Bandra, where I was my house captain, a brat and always in trouble!” College: SNDT College; studied science for two years Graduated From: Kalina University Fav Book: ‘The Secret’ Fav Music: “All old Hindi music, especially Kishore Kumar’s songs. Also hip-hop and Rihanna Her entry credentials into Bollywood are impressive to say the least! She starred in a Telegu movie, Baalu, opposite superstar Pawan Kalyan and won Best Supporting Actress for it. She stars opposite Aftab

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Shivdasani in Dus Kahaniyan in a segment called ‘Lovedale’. She is filmmaker Sanjay Gupta’s niece and bagged his Woodstock Villa from White Feather Productions. She goes by sheer instinct while facing the camera. “I have never attended any acting classes but I draw on the real life experiences of people I know. I haven’t seen that much of life but whatever I have, I put into my acting if the scene requires it. Sometimes, I literally put myself in other people’s shoes…” Refreshingly different besides being pretty, Neha does not tell you it was her childhood dream to be an actress. “But some years ago, when I was about 17 or 18, I did a music video called ‘Sajna hai mujhe sajna ke liye’ with the model Indra Kumar. And the first day I walked on to the set, I knew this was what I wanted to do

with my life! I loved the atmosphere, the glamour, the fame, the bustle on the sets – everything!” Her favourite films and actors somewhat go together. “I loved Rani Mukherjee in Black. Then I loved Bebo (Kareena Kapoor) in Jab We Met! I loved Munnabhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munnabhai and also Rang De Basanti.” And her impression of fame has now changed… “Earlier, I just saw it from the outside. Actually people have a lot of misconceptions about actors that it’s just the fame and glamour. I’d say now that there’s a lot of hard work to be done! And while that work is physical too, I’d say it takes far more out of you mentally, since you have to think out and perform your characters as believable… But I’m ready for it all!”


tele-talk

Li’l Stars shining bright Aneek Dhar’s victory in the ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007’ has maintained the show’s reputation of churning out the best amongst the best, to be absorbed by the music industry. “This is definitely not the end of the journey, but a new beginning in search of new voices,” declared Punit Goenka, Business Head, Zee TV announcing the commencement of the new series of the same talent hunt show, but for kids. True to his word, the channel now offers a fresh series of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs’. The show has 28 young aspirants, from across the globe, contending for the title. In spite of the fact that the originator of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ Gajendra Singh is not at the helm, the show has been doing pretty well and things too have gotten only better for ‘L’il Champs.’ Last year, Zee had showcased the talent of youngsters like Sanchita, Diwakar, Sameer, Abrokanti, Pawni and others, but this year, the channel has traveled around the world in search of fresh talent. International auditions were held in the UK, Dubai, USA, South

Africa, Malaysia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Singapore, Fiji, Kenya, Australia, Israel, and Hong Kong. In India, auditions were held across eight cities. These extensive audition sessions prove that the channel truly believes in a show that has no boundaries. There is a slight change in the line-up of judges, though. While Sonu Nigam and Suresh Wadkar are judging the little

ones, Aitya Narayan, still popular from the previous show, ‘Challenge 2007’, is hosting this one too. In fact, Nigam had complimented Aditya on his hosting ability. “He told me you are doing a fabulous job, and I am very satisfied,” gushes Aditya. “He believes that I know my job well, and so it was great fun to work with him,” adds Aditya. While acknowledging the effect that ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007’ has had on his popularity Aditya says, “Everyone knows my style, my look, my way of talking, and so I think I have achieved my objective.” Last year’s winner Sanchita and runners- up Sameer and Diwakar have already scored in terms of singing assignments in the industry and the hopes are high for this year’s participants as well. If the records of the last time are any measure, this show will have a huge audience, too. And, along with the avid fans, the stalwarts of the Bollywood music industry would also be closely monitoring their future breed of little singers. 57


Take 3 tele-talk

antakshari Middle east - Pakistan Masti

2007

Auditions promise an exciting season ahead

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P

re-registration for the auditions of Antakshari Middle East – Pakistan Masti 2007 were a clear indication of what Zee TV could expect to see at the venues. Doctors, Chartered Accountants, students, Engineers, Marketing and Media Executives, Housewives, and many more. An exciting mix of people came over to the special auditioning for the upcoming show in Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. Each year the aspirants to participate in the programme get bigger and better and this year was no exception. Proof of the talent within the region was the quality of participants. Each one showcased their skills by truly understanding the needs for being a part of the show. Knowledge of songs, genres of music, quick reaction time, multiple positive traits showcased by the participants will make the season a roaring success. A difficult time for the jury who will be short listing the finalists from the region. The final participating teams Deewane, Parwaane and Mastaane will compete with each other through different rounds covering a broad array of music games from yesteryear songs to modern day rock and their good natured rivalry frequently overflows to animate audiences. 12 years of phenomenal success in India and abroad, this energy packed show will focus on talent in the Middle East and Pakistan. The one hour programme is well known as a concept amongst South Asians across the globe and is film song based. Enthusiastic participants sing songs that start with the letter of the alphabet that the previous song ends with.

With this music based programme, Zee TV shows utmost commitment to nurturing talent the world over. Some participants of the past have had the good fortune of being able to enter the entertainment industry and have created a name for themselves. Hosted by the gifted duo Twinkle and Sharad, actors and singers in their own rights, they bring with them a youthful effervescence as programme anchors and will compliment each other to the

fullest. No newcomer to the programme, Twinkle will be hosting the programme for the second time in a row and Sharad a talented TV actor and a singer at heart will prove his skill on the Antakshari Middle East Pakistan Masti 2007. Joy Alukkas, one of the most prominent jewellery retailers is the presenter of the show. The season will consist of 13 thrilling episodes with 9 preliminary rounds, 3 semi-finals and a grand finale.

With this music based programme, Zee TV shows utmost commitment to nurturing talent the world over. Some participants of the past have had the good fortune of being able to enter the entertainment industry and have created a name for themselves

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Take 3 special directors

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trail blazing

directors!

There were some directors this year who weren’t exactly expected to make blockbuster movies but they came up with surprises. Not only did their film do well at the box office but they were also lauded by the critics. Here’s presenting the young promising men who made a mark in 2007 SHIMIT AMIN Shimit Amin’s first job was as a sound editor in a Hollywood-based production house. After that he moved on to developing scripts for another company for a year. He even worked as a cameraman, hopped production companies, worked as assistant editor and then editor before becoming a director in Bollywood. He has also won the Filmfare award for the best editor for Bhoot. Shimit’s first film Ab Tak Chappan starring Nana Patekar was based on the subject of fake encounter killings. The film produced by Ram Gopal Verma was lapped up by the audience and critics alike. After directing the first film for Ramu’s factory, Shimit was invited by Aditya Chopra to direct a film for Yash Raj Films. Shimit loved Jaideep Saini’s idea of working on the subject of hockey though he did not have a clue about the game. He researched extensively on the subject and roped in 16 girls and Shah Rukh Khan for the film. Chak De India became on of the biggest hits of the

year and ran on sheer word of mouth. The script of the film has now been included in the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (Oscars). Shimit Amin says— Where did the concept of Chak De India come from? The women’s hockey team had won a gold medal at the Commonwealth 2002. Jaideep Saini read this small article on some end pages of a newspaper. He wondered why such a prestigious victory was given such a small space. So he started investigating into the team that had won, and the script took birth. I had known Jaideep for some time before we actually worked together. You said that you didn’t know a thing about hockey until you started research for the film? Isn’t it a disadvantage to work on a subject that you are not intrinsically passionate about? I think it works both ways. There is a plus side to each. I think you can be

more objective when you are making something you might not have seen or known before. But I guess if you know a subject inside out you might bring something to it. Both perspectives could be different. But it’s challenging when you have to work hard and when you have a handicap. You have to prove it to yourself. Would you make a film on a subject you passionately feel about? I’m sure I will. I do make films on ideas that catch my interest. I hate certain ideas sometimes. I think it is an evolving process. Were there problems sticking to the script while working with Shah Rukh Khan? I have tremendous respect for people who have made more films than I have. I would be a fool not to learn from them. Shah Rukh is one such person. Shah Rukh’s character was well etched out and we followed the script to the T. I respect what Shah Rukh and Yash Raj Films brought to the project. If I look back, it is the harmony that worked.

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Are you still taking up Hollywood projects or are you focusing on Bollywood? I’ll go where the work is. Make whatever kind of movies people want me make. Have you now shifted base to Mumbai then? I have a lot of family in the US actually. I keep shuttling between India and the US. I have a base in both places and it does get difficult at times. You started your career as a dialogue editor, a concept quite alien in the Hindi film industry. I did dialogue editing for a year. To put it simply I was the person who takes the recorded sound and puts it together. I would piece the dialogue together and edit it. The company I worked for made a movie a week. It was crazy. Now we have much more advanced technology for this. Since you have worked on every aspect of film making which one 62

fascinates you more? I never consciously thought of directing but I guess it was on my subconscious. If something comes up, I do it. I still don’t think about it. With my first film I thought I had got this one chance to learn about making movies. I am a big fan of directors and I never thought of becoming one. I love working on any aspect of filmmaking. Whose works in the recent past have you liked? Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhan Akhtar, Karan, Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap, Farah Khan, Shriram Raghavan, Sakib Chaoudhary, Rakeysh Mehra, Sudhir Mishra, Madhur Bhandarkar, Pradeep Sarkar, Mani Ratnam, Nagesh Kukunoor. Phew! The list is long and they are all fabulous. It is an exciting time for Hindi films. A lot of discussion is happening about movies. Around the world things are waning a little bit but people are talking about Hindi movies everywhere.

Which film this year impressed you? Johnny Gaddar, Jab We Met and Om Shanti Om impressed me. I have only watched films that have released after September. I have to catch up on a lot of movies. Which actors would you love to work with? Everybody actually! All actors today are starving for good roles and good scripts. There are so many talented actors who can be put in the right kind of role.

To his credit… Ab Tak Chappan (2004) Chak De India (2007)

IMTIAZ ALI Imtiaz Ali went through the regular grind of sleeping at the station and looking for a job before he landed up as a production assistant. He wanted to make movies but the only way of


getting into it was through television. He first directed a television serial called Purushetra followed by Imtihaan and many others. His first foray into film direction was with Socha Na Tha in 2005 which was Abhay Deol’s debut film and was produced by Sunny Deol. Critics and audience alike appreciated the film, but it failed to make a mark at the box office. He went on to write the script and screenplay for Sivam Nair’s film Ahista Ahista, again starring Abhay Deol, which won critical acclaim. He also appeared on screen in the form of a cameo for good friend Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday. For his next project he managed to get producers like Shri Ashtavinayak and actors Shahid and Kareena, who were desperately in need of a hit. Following the Shahid-Kareena break up, the film was not expected to do to well. But Jab We Met became successful and has now brought the talented director into the big league. His simple storytelling and believable characters clicked with the audience, and the film became a super hit.

Imtiaz Ali says—

Jab We Met was a surprise hit of the year. Had you expected such a great response to the film? Yes, the response has been overwhelming. I expected a good turnout but frankly the way Jab We Met has eventually performed at the box office is beyond my expectations too. We went for the kill and increased the number of prints in the third week even after the release of the two biggies at the time of Diwali. None of the multiplexes have removed the prints of Jab We Met completely and screen the film in at least 2-4 shows a day, if not more. Socha Na Tha was also loved by critics and audience but it wasn’t a commercial success. But neither Jab We Met nor Socha Na Tha was made keeping the commercial aspect in mind! There was never the case of me thinking that my film should be making an X amount of money at the box office. What always held paramount importance was to make a good film from my heart. I had to do an honest job and that seems to have now paid off well with Jab We Met. Did you start getting feelers about the film being a potential success at

some point of time? Though during the film’s making I was concentrating on just doing a good job, I started getting convinced about it around two months back once the promos came on air and good feedback started rushing in. I am happy that people have loved the film beyond the promos too and giving it a repeat watch already. How does it feel that finally your film has been appreciated by critics and audience, and has also done well at the box office? Whatever work of art you put forward there’s always some negative views. But up till now there’s no negative view for Jab We Met. I keep going back to cinema halls and people are reacting very excitedly. You have written and directed both Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met. As a writer and director, do you feel conflicted about the choices that you have to make? Not really. I was never a writer. I became one by default. As a director, I want to tell stories that interest me. Sadly, the way things are in Bollywood it’s

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difficult finding a good story…so I write them myself. The conflict never arises, because I think like a director even when I write. I have a visual idea of what I want, and I only have to put it in words. There were reports that you will be directing a film for Saif’s home production while a trade magazine in its latest edition has stated that you are replacing Sriram Raghavan as the director of Agent Vinod? No. Sriram is a very good friend. It’s a small industry. I don’t know what I am going to do next. Talk is on with many people but nothing has been decided. I haven’t signed anything. I want a break for the time being. Now there are certain expectations from Imtiaz Ali films. People will want to see a certain kind of film from you from now on. On the face of it, there’s no harm in making the type of films that you’re suitable with. I’d much rather make the kind of cinema that I’m able to make. As long as I’m not stopping others from making their films, I see no problem in making mine. The audience will only have more to choose from.

To his credit… Socha Na Tha (2005) Jab We Met (2007)

SAJID KHAN Hit of year- Heyy Babyy Sajid Khan started his career as a television actor with comedy shows such as Ikke Pe Ikka. He was well known for taking potshots at industrywallahs and his sense of humour which was sometimes slapstick and even vulgar at times. The actor ventured into direction by directing an episode in Ram Gopal Verma’s Darna Zaroori Hai. But his sudden foray into directing a full-fledged commercial film did surprise a lot of people. Heyy Babyy was expected to be a naughty comedy by most, keeping in 64

mind Sajid’s television avatar. But Sajid surprised the audience with his sensible and sensitive approach to a starstudded comedy. Akshay Kumar, Ritiesh Deshmukh, Fardeen Khan, Vidya Balan and Boman Irani ensured a bumper opening. And the story revolving around three men and a baby worked well with the family audience. In fact, it ended up becoming the biggest success of the year until his own sister Farah Khan over took him with Om Shanti Om. Sajid saysAre you over Heyy Babyy now? Have you started thinking about your next project? Yes I have. I’m currently working on the script for my next film. My genre is making family films. My sensibility of cinema is that it should be a complete entertainer for whoever walks into the theatre. You had said that you’d make an action film next? I want to make an action film. But I think there is a little more time for that. If I make an action film it will be a huge action film, a film that will shock Hollywood. But I think it will take five more years to achieve that level, technologically and financially. A lot of people were surprised to see you direct a film. When did you realize that you wanted to move into direction? I think at heart I was always was a

director. I used to script and direct a lot of my shows on TV. I guess everyone in the audience can be a director. I would come out of a good film feeling I wish I had made it. I wanted to be a director since I was a child. It was only now that I have put my thoughts into action. What was the biggest challenge for you as a first time director? I had shot an episode for Ram Gopal Varma earlier but I wasn’t even taking myself very seriously then. I shot it in three days. I haven’t been to a film school or assisted any director. I have learnt film making from just watching films and listening to commentaries of directors. One doesn’t need to go to a graduate school or do honours in film making to become a good director. You just need to be passionate about cBut the most challenging part of Heyy Babyy was working with a baby. They say you should not work with a baby, a child or an animal. But I did it in my first film and the baby girl connected with the audience. People had expected a no brainer from you but you came up with quite an emotion-packed film. I knew that people were expecting that for me and that’s precisely why I didn’t make that kind of a film. I think audience love to be surprised. I like it when a film is taking certain tone and suddenly it changes direction. I respect such films and makers. Yes, people thought I would do an out and out gag filled film. That kind of stuff it alright for television but when you are making a Rs 40 crore film and working with a huge star cast you have to be sensible. The screenplay was the most important. I worked very hard on it. In fact, even the comedy was not slapstick, it was very situational. People were pleasantly surprised. What kind of comedy do you personally prefer? I like the Golmaal, Chup Ke Chup Ke kind of comedies. I don’t enjoy vulgar comedies, films that are made for titillating the audience. I like it to be intelligent or very easy or very slapstick like Half Ticket. Movies are like huge


buildings and I wanted to make the foundation strong with my first film. I most strongly believe in making a successful film. I will promise to make an even bigger film next. Spielberg failed only with his 5th film, the moment he attempted something outside his genre of filmmaking. So the audience shouldn’t expect a serious or a non-commercial film from Sajid? I wouldn’t make a non-commercial film. I believe in the magic of big cinema— big actors and value for money. I want to give Akshay Kumar dancing with Shah Rukh Khan. I’m not curing cancer or creating world cinema here. I want to make films which kids, youngsters and elders would like. There is an art versus commerce aspect. Art should be achieved keeping commerce in mind. Not everybody who loses money on a film appreciates art.

To his credit… Darna Zaroori Hai (2006) Heyy Babyy (2007)

APURVA LAKHIA Hit of the year- Shootout at Lokhandwala Apurva Lakhia began his career in Bollywood as an assistant director to Ashutosh Gowarikar in Lagaan. He had assisted directors in several Hollywood films before coming down to Mumbai. In 2003, he made Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost with good friend Abhishek Bachchan in the lead, but film bombed at the box office. He followed it up with Ek Ajnabee starring Big B and Arjun Rampal which also failed to make a mark with audience and critics alike. But even after his first two failures he made news for his third film produced by Sanjay Gupta—the main reason being that he had managed to rope in a huge star cast— Sanjay Dutt, Vivek Oberoi, Amitabh Bachchan, Suniel Shetty, Tusshar Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan and Amrita Singh. The

film aroused interest as its story was based on the true encounter killing of Mumbai’s famous don Maya Dollas and Vivek Oberoi’s portrayal of the character. The film not only brought people to the audience but also managed to make some money. Apurva is currently busy shooting his most promising movie so far—Mission Istanbul based on terrorism. It is being shot entirely in Afghanistan, and Srinagar, and stars Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, Zayed Khan and Shreya Saran. He has also directed a short story for Sanjay Gupta’s Dus Kahaniyan. Though he hasn’t found a place in the list of B-towns best directors, his future projects show tremendous promise. Reportedly Lakhia has been paid Rs 10.25 million by Suniel Shetty’s Popkorn Entertainment for directing this film. Apurva says— Where did the idea of Shootout at Lokhandwala come from? Sanjay Gupta approached me with the idea. I didn’t know about the incident of the encounter since I’m not from Mumbai. But the concept interested me a lot and I wanted to know why it took 300 cops six hours to capture five boys. I began researching on the subject and as I did the conspiracies and theories started coming out. How do you manage to get such huge star casts despite box office failures? Actually, I won’t take the credit for managing to rope in huge stars for Shootout At Lokhandwala. The credit for this goes to Sanjay Gupta, the producer of the film. Once we decided to tackle the script, it was really important that we get a star cast otherwise it would be very difficult to make a movie like this. It was a true story and with this film, we were getting into unfamiliar territory. Therefore it was imperative that we get a very good star cast so we went to each and very actor and requested them to play a part of the film and they were kind enough to agree. Some were

friends whom we took favours from and some really wanted to do the film and we bought all of them together and made this film. Mission Istanbul has already come into news since it has Viveik Oberoi and Abhishek working together. There have been reports of their problems with each other on the sets. Is there any truth? There have worked together in the same film even before (Shootout at Lokhandwala). They are professionals. They had problems even back then but nothing unwanted happened on the sets. They do not get into politics as they are actors. We do not tell them to sign a film to become friends. There have been no problems whatsoever. You began as a director with a rural based film (Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost), then moved into a slick and stylish film based in Bangkok (Ek Ajnabee) and then a realistic film (Shootout At Lokhandwala), now a film on international terrorism. Is it the subject that drives you or your creative restlessness, which makes you do diverse films? As far as I am concerned, I will do any film at any place in any language if it excites me. I don’t have a genre I want to follow. People thought my first film Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost was a very stupid idea about a television coming into a village but I was very passionate about the script. It didn’t do well at all and sank at the box-office. Then I told people I wanted to make Man on Fire in Hindi because I wanted Amitabh Bachchan to be an action hero. He was my hero ever since childhood. As for Shootout…, I found it very interesting when I heard the one line story so I did it. Whenever I find something interesting I will do it.

To his credit… Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost (2003) Ek Ajnabee (2005) Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) Dus Kahaniyan (post production) Mission Istanbul (under production)

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bollywood at 40

Sex appeal at 30 plus! The BIG question is: is Bollywood getting older or just sexier? All our superheroes of today are happily in their 40s. And even those who are getting there are in their 30s. The year 2007 belonged to these men who reign at the box-office and are at the peak of their careers. Whatever happened to the teeny bopper trend?

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the reigning

superstars Shah rukh khan

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There is no doubt that this man has been ruling Bollywood and is still the reigning king at the box-office. He is perhaps the only actor who can assure a bumper opening for each of his films, in India and abroad. This year, SRK acted with Deepika Padukone who is half his age, but the audience lapped it up. The King Khan had two releases in

Aamir khan

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He is perhaps the only actor who can be counted among the top stars in a given year in which he does not even have a single release. Rang De Basanti and Fanaa were clear cut hits in 2006 and had done enough to keep the actor in the top spot. He does one film at a time and the audience is always looking forward to his next films. His strategy has been used by a lot of younger actors to make their mark at the box office. While Gajini is one of the most anticipated films of 2008, Taare Zameen Par a Christmas release is already getting a positive feedback

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2007—Chake De India and Om Shanti Om. While Chak De India went on to become one of the biggest hits of the year, Om Shanti Om went on to become Shah Rukh’s biggest hit ever. To give your biggest hit at the age of 42 is no easy feat. He even stunned everyone by coming up with six-pack abs at this age and is experimenting freely with his looks now. And by the looks of it, SRK still has a lot to offer his fans and the unparalleled energy to go on for some time to come.

for the actor. In the promos, he looks young and raring to go with his new hairstyle. USP: It has been Aamir’s ability to get into the skin of the character along with making changes in his physical appearance that has drawn his audiences to him. He enjoys personal interaction with fans and lets his films speak for themselves. First hit: He got his first hit in 1989 with Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, four years after he made his debut in the film Holi. He was instantly loved by everybody and became the chocolate boy of Bollywood.

USP: It has been SRK’s unconventional looks, his unique personality and sheer star quality that has won him fans right from the time he came into this industry. First hit: He made his entry with as big a bang with a huge hit in the form of Deewana in 1991. And he followed it up with films like Baazigar and Darr in negative characters which surprised the audience as heroes never played such roles before.


Salman khan

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With a body to die for, Salman Khan surely doesn’t look like he’s 42 years old. He has been giving fitness and body building tips to everyone from Ranbir Kapoor and Boney Kapoor’s son Arjun Kapoor to Govinda in recent times. He’s fit and looking as hot as always. His films always open to packed houses and his fans have remained loyal to him through his ups and downs and his issues with the law. Most of his films go on to becoming money-spinners. He has had two hits this year in the form of Partner and Saawariya, and his upcoming films include Sohail Khan’s Main Aur Mrs Khanna with Deepika Padukone, God Tussi Great Ho and Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraj. USP: His shirtless act has women drooling over him while the men are fida on his style and effortless acting. First hit: He made his debut with a small role in Biwi Ho To Aisi in 1988 which almost went unnoticed. But it was his second movie Sooraj Bharjatiya’s Maine Pyar Kiya which not only became a huge success but established Salman as an actor.

Akshay Kumar

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This year Akshay Kumar had a 100 per cent success rate with all his releases— Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Heyy Babyy and Namastey London becoming hits. He has even been labelled as the silver jubilee Kumar. Earlier, he was known as the action hero of Bollywood what with several Khiladi movies under his belt. He was more in news for his personal life at that time and wasn’t really known as a good actor. It was with Hera Pheri that he

changed tracks and began to be hailed as one of the best actors of his time. He went from action to romance and now comedy. At the peak of his career today, Akshay is being raved about for managing to achieve success without becoming a part of any particular camp. He has a developed a huge overseas market and now each of his films are guaranteed a great opening. He will soon be seen in Yash Raj Films’ Tashan and Aneez Bazmi’s Welcome and a challenging character for Nagesh Kukunoor’s Eight By Ten.

USP: Along with his daredevil stunts and his impeccable comic timing, it has been his ability to charm the audience with sincere performances and his versatility that has guaranteed him hits at every stage of his career. First hit: His first release was Saugandh in 1991, but it was Abbas Mustan’s Khiladi that did wonders for him. The film became a huge success and Akshay Kumar came to be known as the Khiladi Kumar for u years to come. 69


Sanjay Dutt

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most awaited film at the moment.

Dutt saw success in the form of Dhamaal and Shootout At Lokhandwala and was highly appreciated in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Eklavya this year. Sanjay Dutt’s career like his personal life has seen several ups and downs. After working in hits like Saajan, Sadak and Khalnayak, Dutt was overawed by his personal life and went through rough patches in his career as well. He made a huge comeback with the heart touching comedy Munnabhai MBBS, and won over more fans. Though most of his films are stalled at the moment many filmmakers are,

USP: His unique style which includes his walk, his talk and his body language have been instrumental in his success along with his sincere performances and constant growth as an actor.

in fact, waiting for Dutt to come out of his legal hassles so that they can start shooting. Munnabhai Chale America, the next in the Munnabhai series, is his

First hit: Though he made his debut with Rocky in 1981 which did reasonably well and followed it up with Vidhaata in 1982, Sanjay Dutt had to make several comebacks. It was Saajan in 1991 after his drug problems and Munnabhai MBBS in 2003 after his jail term which got him back into the reckoning.

Govinda

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The actor who had almost lost his way, is back in the race with two consecutive hits— Bhagam Bhag and Partner. Govinda, who became the comedy king after starring in a huge number of comedy films, had a string of flops after the year 2000 owing to his wrong choice of films. He even tried his luck at politics before he realised, he needed to come back with a bang. The actor is now losing weight, getting fitter and being careful with his selection of films. Filmmakers are eager to work with him again. Govinda now has some very exciting offers and will once again be seen in comedy films like Ganesh Acharya’s Money Hai To Honey Hai, and Ravi Chopra’s Banda Ye Bindaas Hai. USP: His amazing comic timing, his dancing style and his dress sense have made him popular with the masses over the years. First hit: Though his first hit came in the year 1986 in the form of Ilzam, he had mix success after that, before finally making his mark with David Dhawan’s Shola Aur Shabnam in 1991.

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Hrithik Roshan

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He wasn’t expected to make a mark but he became a superstar with his very first film Kaho Na Pyar Hai. Though he had a tiny rough patch in between, he is now one of the most bankable stars and has literally become the first superhero of Bollywood with Koi Mil Gaya and Krissh, again his father Rakesh Roshan’s films. The super choosy actor had no releases this year but he had blown everyone away with his super-hot looks and style in Dhoom 2 in 2006. His Jodha Akbar and Krissh 2 are being awaited with bated breath. First hit: His debut film Kaho Na Pyar Hai, directed by his father, put him right on top with several best actor awards and superstardom.

Abhishek Bachchan

Above 30 and

getting there John Abraham

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He has always been written about more for his perfect body, his killer looks and his long locks. A model turned actor, John has tried to carve a niche for himself by being a part of films that he believes in. For every Dhoom he has done a Water, and he is now known for his interesting choice of films. He is also slated to work with Rachael Wais in Deepa Mehta’s Exclusion, a big

Hollywood project. Though No Smoking bombed at the box office, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal has performed decently. His forthcoming films include Sooni Tarapoewala’s Little Zizou and Nagesh Kukunoor’s Aashayein where he plays an aids patient.

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He was weighed down by people’s expectations when he first came into the industry as a star son. He had to brave a string of flops before making a mark as an actor. With films like Yuva, Sarkar and Guru he has proved that he can act and that he is a star in his own right. He had Guru this year which took him to new heights as an actor. Drona and Mission Istanbul are two of the mostawaited films of 2008. First hit: He had to wait for 13 films before getting his first hit in the form of Mani Ratnam’s Yuva.

First hit: His debut film was the low budget Jism which managed to do well. His hot body and his sizzling chemistry with Bipasha Basu won him instant fame. 71


passion play

Bipasha &

John

right back together!

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Obviously though there’s that special something that brought Bipasha and John right back together! Talk about PASSION and this couple seems to be IT! John hinted of the Milind Soman rumours… “I guess there’s a lot of happiness when two people are together. Your partner brings a lot of love, understanding and other things as a package. You learn a lot, you enjoy a lot. You may hurt a lot too. But even that hurt has its own happiness. You’d rather be hurt and happy than be without it all.” Bipasha said of his women… “I know how things work in the industry. I trust John and these rumours are not going to change my opinion of him, so people should just give up trying. The media has been largely fair to us but they’ve linked him with Tara Sharma, Udita Goswami, Lara Dutta and now Esha. All I can say is what a man I am with... Wow!” What kept them together was… BIPASHA: “John is not a part of my life, he is my life. Everything revolves around him. After pack-up, everything I do revolves around him… Whether it is his food, his work, everything; I like to look after him. John is what I wanted and I have him. With all his imperfections and shortcomings, John is the man I fell in love with and that makes him perfect in my eyes. “We don’t have to prove anything to anybody. Let them say what they want. I love John and no one else.” JOHN: There was a time when I gave everything to the relationship and ignored my career. Now I am giving everything to my career. Bipasha scores over me in that department because she doesn’t neglect either her career or me. “But our bonding is strong enough to withstand any storm. We never expected this kind of attack on not just our relationship but also our characters. People can say what they like. But we intend to remain together.” Then came Vidya Balan for John and Bipasha said… “It’s so foolish and self-defeating to keep reacting to these periodic talks of links and breaks-ups. Today we’re being

linked with particular people. Tomorrow it’ll be someone else. We can’t let these things affect us. And we don’t.” John’s take on fidelity was… “Fidelity is a state of mind. As much as we may deny it, physical wants are beyond rational thinking. So you have to be very honest with yourself and understand that you can be loyal only if you want to. For men, the mind works in one direction, the heart in the other and the body in the third. So it’s all about co-coordinating the three and behaving yourself!” So what about Sheetal Menon? BIPASHA: “This time the rumours got really mean. I can take it and even answer back. But John isn’t comfortable being attacked; and for what?” JOHN: “Sheetal Menon is just one in the long line of link-ups. People will take advantage of these imagined link-ups and try to break my relationship with the woman I love. Yesterday it was Vidya Balan, today it’s Sheetal Menon. Tomorrow it’ll be someone else.” The relationship was breaking and Bipasha found Saif’s shoulder… BIPASHA: “John speaks on behalf of both of us that we are still together. I’m hoping it would stop this crazy chaos of idle gossip. I’m really tired of all this. It doesn’t effect either of us, or our relationship. But I’m tired of being scrutinized all the time.” JOHN: “We are both very simple people and when our morals are questioned we feel we’re being slapped around for nothing. There has always been gossip about our relationships with our respective costars, mine far more than hers, but this time the talk went

overboard…” The problems escalated… JOHN: “Look, every relationship has some problems. I don’t deny we had a bit of a problem, but in this case the problems weren’t so massive as to be written about as the end of our relationship. “Every intimate relationship has a fair share of ups and downs. Why pull us up for it? I think some people took undue advantage of the fact that we had a bit of a routine problem. Bipasha and I both want to say … please respect our relationship.” But a patch-up won through! JOHN: “Like I said, everything is fine between us. She’s coming to join me in Pondicherry where I’m shooting. In fact, I’m staying at a hotel of her choice. If you remember, we shot our first film Jism in Pondicherry and now she joins me here. It will be just like old times…” BIPASHA: “I think by now it’s obvious that John and I cannot live without each other. Yes, we’re still together and it’s going to remain that way…” Their thoughts on marriage are… BIPASHA: “We are both keen on marriage. But it’s for a future date. We are not in a casual relationship. We are committed to each other. Our families know about it. The whole world knows about it. “Marriage is just a piece of paper for us because we are committed to each other in a very deep way. But Bengali women are known for marrying late!” JOHN: “It’s nice to see her happy. If you really care for someone, you would want that person to smile always. I’d like to see Bipasha smile for the rest of her life. “More than love, I respect Bipasha. I would be very happy to marry the woman I love and respect” g 73


down memory lane

&

feminist perfectionist Lyricist Javed Akhtar calls his wife Shabana Azmi a “hard-core perfectionist,” while his actress and social activist wife describes him as a “hardcore feminist.” The couple who will celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary next month reminisce about their relationship and tell us what is it that keeps their “phone-marriage”, so successful

T

he thing that attracted Hindi film industry’s talented and critically acclaimed actress Shabana Azmi towards an already married Javed Akhtar

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was the similarity he shared with her dad, activist and poet Kaifi Azmi. “My dad was a hard-core feminist and Javed is also one. In fact he’s more of a feminist than my dad!” While

husband Javed may not remember the first time he saw her, he recalls it was her sensitivity that touched him. Once she moved a flower from the window because it was too windy! That touched

my heart, says Javed. However, their coming together wasn’t easy and in the early 80’s their relationship raised quite a few eyebrows. But as they say true love conquers all. 75


Javed divorced wife Honey and tied the knot with Shabana on December 9, 1984. But after more than two decades today Shabana, Honey and Javed are the best of friends and Javed’s children from his first marriage, Farhan and Zoya Akhtar are extremely close to Shabana. “In fact my daughter Zoya is very much like Shabana. They share the same views, thoughts, opinions and are very close to each other.” Ask Shabana to describe Javed and she exclaims, “he’s very seductive! He may come across as a casual person but he’s extremely serious and always gives more than one option to his directors. He’s a very intelligent man and I cannot imagine being married to anybody else but him,” adds Shabana. Javed on the other hand describes Shabana as a perfectionist who loves to get to the root of things. “If she’s promoting a tea brand she starts using that tea before she actually starts shooting for it,” raves Javed. Javed non-chalantly goes on to tell how the couple argue and debate on every other thing. “Now we’ve finally reconciled that there are a lot of things and topics on which we disagree. I believe that there’s no point in living with someone who is just like you because then one is enough. Also if two people are entirely different from each other then there is no point in living together because you won’t be happy and will always be fighting. So you need certain similarities and certain dissimilarities, and this tension is interesting.” The secret to their happy marriage says Javed is their rock solid friendship, “the words husband and wife carry a lot of baggage. I’ve always maintained that Shabana is my best friend. It is our friendship that has brought us this long. She’s been a great positive influence and support system to me.” Meanwhile Shabana says, “we give each other lots of space and freedom. Javed lets me be myself and I let him be the way he is!” Theatre, politics, films and social work, Shabana handles a lot of roles with élan and that keeps her away from home and Javed, “ours is a phone marriage but we do meet each other 76

at airports sometimes,” she jokes. And what does she miss most about Javed when she’s away, “I miss everything about Javed when I’m not with him. I miss his sense of humour the most.

Javed has this ability of being intelligent as well as flippant at the same time. He can create magic with words and sometimes nonsense as well,” says Shabana with a laugh.


star gazing

Shekar Suman 7th Dec.

Amithabh of small screen. He is heading for major change in life. He will explore new avenues and territories. He lanuched his musical album which surpriesed everyone. Sun- Mercury combination on his ascendent as given him immense fame through his communication skills and humour. His moon main period for ten years has started this year, promissing lots of recognation and success. He is heading for his peak.

Gemini (May 21 - June 20) This month is said to be somewhat a tough month for you. Though during the first half, you would utilize your professional capability and expertise in a better manner, however during the latter half, you might face challenges in career front. On the contrary, personal life would be easy. You would be able to manage your professional difficulty.

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21) This month, you are going to enter into a very good phase of your life. The entrance of Jupiter on 22nd of November would help all the Sagittarians who are associated with any kind of intellectual work. If you are related to academic field, then your work could give you very good reputation in the field of your subject. However, you should try to manage your romantic life with a balanced approach.

Stars: Amisha Patel, Shilpa Shetty, Dimple Kapadia

Stars: Govinda, Arbaaz Khan, Dharmendra, John Abraham, Arjun Rampal

Cancer (June 21 - July 22) You might enjoy this festive month professionally as well as personally. Some of elderly Cancerians might complete the responsibility related to progeny during latter half of this month. Financial and social aspects of life would be also good. Some good opportunities on business front might come in your way. You should be ready to grab that opportunity.

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19) You should move ahead with a cautious approach in professional life as well as in personal life during this month. There is indication of good success in career front in first half of this month. However, during the latter half, you might face competition or tough opposition in professional life. Though you would enjoy a good social life, but try to manage your social life well.

Stars: Karisma Kapoor, Kumar Gaurav, Naseeruddin Shah

Stars: Salman Khan, AR Rahman, Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna

Leo (July 23 - August 22) You might have experienced some hardships during the last month. However, you would find situations improving with the progression of this month. The latter half of the month may give you some financial worries. You are advised to maintain balance between your income and expenditure. The major transit of Jupiter for next one year would fulfil the desire of having children for those couple who are planning for family expansion.

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18) You would experience mixed results during this month. In professional life, you would do better. However, some of worries related to children or family life would really make it difficult for you to maintain balance between professional life and personal life. You should avoid any major investment during this month.

Stars: Sonu Nigam, Sanjay Dutt, Rajeshwari, Kajol, Suneil Shetty, Manisha Koirala

Stars: Preity Zinta, Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Jackie Shroff, Urmila

Virgo (August 23 - September 22) Though you might not face external hardships, but you have to fight the negativity within your personality. During this month, especially after the 4th of December, you might feel frustrated and irritated as well as somewhat low in confidence. If you are a Virgo woman, then the intensity of jealousy and criticism might become high.

Pisces (February 19 - March 20) This month will play a favourable role in every aspect of your life. In professional life, there would be expansion in your responsibilities as well as in your authority. However, you should pay attention towards your health. You should especially remain cautious while driving a vehicle during the latter half of this month.

Stars: Viveik Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Rakesh Roshan, Mahesh Bhatt

Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Pooja Bhatt, Fardeen Khan

Libra (September 23 - October 22)

You would utilize this month very well. You would be successful in developing lot of professional and personal contacts during this month. You would make use of your communication skills in a better way. Those Librans who are in the field of Journalism or in Entertainment industry might gain good rewards and recognition for their work. Your public life will make you feel happy.

Aries (March 21 - April 19) This month will produce mixed results for you. The first half of this month would be very good work wise. You will remain focused. In addition, you will properly utilize your workforce. However, during the latter half of this month, negative energy will increase. As a result, you might face backward situation in professional life due to retrogression of planet Mars this month.

Stars: Yash Chopra, Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Om Puri, Sunny Deol

Stars: Rani Mukherjee, Ajay Devgan, Jaya Bachchan, Arshad Warsi

Scorpio (October 23 - November 21) You may have to manage this month very well. Those Scorpions who are holding a high or responsible position in any organization would play a major role to expand the size of business in their organization. You should play your power game diplomatically. Take advantage of this month in this specific aspect.

Taurus (April 20 - May 20) This month is somehow difficult for you. You may become the victim of unnecessary jealousy and criticism. Especially Taurus women should remain cautious about their image and public life. Those Taureans who are holding high position in any organization would experience mixed results in their professional front.

Stars: Raveena Tandon, Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen, Tabu, Esha Deol

Stars: Bipasha Basu, Madhuri Dixit, Pooja Bedi, Kamal Hassan

Star Gazing is brought to you by Sundeep Koachar, an internationally acclaimed celebrity astrologer based in Delhi. Sundeep treats astrology as a sacred science and not purely as a matter of commercial pursuit. Having studied at AIFAS and Lal Bahadur Shastri Sanskrit Vidhyapeeth, he is currently pursuing M.Phil in the field of astrology. He has had an interest in palmistry right from his childhood days and is quite adept at face reading too. Thanks to his honest answers, using a combination of astrology, palmistry along with the study of the face, Sundeep has a loyal following of celebrity clients including film stars, cricketers, politicians and industrialists. He has made his mark in both the print and the electronic media, having successfully hosted live TV programmes both in India and abroad. For more details about Sundeep log on to www.astro4you.com

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tele-tale

Smriti ‘Tulsi’ Irani!

It has been a while since Smriti Irani left ‘Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. There were rumours about a fall out with Ekta Kapoor, too. In the meantime, Smriti has played roles that are as different from Tulsi Virani as possible, although she has not really been accepted as anything other than Tulsi. Now the household name will be seen on 9X in ‘Mere Apne’, as Sharda Pandey. And viewers have a lot of expectations from this character, more so because it is closer to Tulsi than Smriti’s recent roles. Also, it is possible that she will imbibe some of the characteristics that Tulsi was known for. Smriti, however, denies this, saying, “I always look forward. It is not in me to look back at the past.” The actor adds that she has given seven years of her life to the character of Tulsi, and she is done with it. The character of Sharda is that of a woman of strong nerves outside, but made of wax otherwise. She may not look into her past too deeply, but the fact remains that Balaji has not been able to forget its original Tulsi. The Balaji team is willing to welcome her back into the fold, with open arms. To prove this, Ekta Kapoor made sure that she was amiable with Smriti at the recent Telly Awards. Smriti has a different version to put across. She says, “I never left Balaji. If they are willing to invite me gracefully, I will go back.” Smart words from the epitome of a perfect bahu.

Guru Dakshina

Shocking! But true. Finally, the soap queen has decided to shed her image of a saasbahu serial maker and this time around, she is getting ‘romantic’ with her new serial ‘Kuchh Is Tara’ to be aired on Sony Television. It has been touted as a modern love story of a young girl meeting her Prince Charming, and the anti-love, cynical hate-guru. Says the television czarina, “I have put my heart into this show. ‘Kuchh Is Tara’ will be counted as one of the best shows that I have made. It is a turning point in my career and is completely different from all my work till date. With this show I have broken all norms of daily soaps. There is no melodrama, no extended family and not too many twists. The story revolves around a happy family, lots of light moments, love and sweet romance.” Ms Kapoor had once said that she is inspired by some real life incidents to make her serials. One wonders if this time too, she is inspired by some true experiences. Hmm, can anyone smell love in the air!

When Divyanka had a great fall

A serious scene was being shot recently for Zee TV’s ‘Banoo Main Teri Dulhan’ where actress Divyanka Tripathi’s co-star Sharad had to lift her who was supposedly unconscious in the scene. While climbing the stairs, Sharad’s foot got entangled in the carpet and Divyanka whose eyes were shut, went flying on the floor. And what followed was the major chaos with everyone getting worried at once. But the most worried was the producer who had to catch the telecast and shooting this scene was very important. And as she was contemplating changing the scene, Divyanka actually took her by complete surprise by standing up laughing as if nothing had happened. She assured that the shoot must go on. Says the giggling Divyanka, “I am strong enough to handle such situations. Although I have a mild sprain on my back which needs to be taken care of, I am feeling alright.” When asked if she has been motivated by the character ‘Vidya’ that she plays in the serial to be a tougher person, she retorted, “It is the other way round. It is me who has made ‘Vidya’ a very strong character who can bear such sprains without much difficulty.” It seems one can overcome such sprains, but what about the sprains that get imprinted on your heart? Give it a thought, guys!

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December