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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sonakshi Sinha irks Pakistani fans

Sonakshi Sinha could never imagine that her one playful prank could make her fans angry. The actress posted a morphed image on her Twitter account, and her Pakistani fans started unfollowing her. What was there in the image that angered her fans so much?

It showed Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi getting whacked on his butt by an Indian batsman, and Sonakshi added the caption ‘De ghumaaaaake! Hehehehahahaha.’

Phir kya! her fans from Pakistan couldn’t stand the image and the caption.

They flooded her account with hate replies. One message read: “u shouldnt be doing dis, ur father never did dis kind of thing, not even sallu bhai, learn something from them.” Another message said: “Sonakshi just because of this cheap act of yours . . . I am unfollowing you.” Some even said that Sonakshi doesn’t have any class.

“You should be a goodwill ambassador between your country and other countries, itna har waqt salman khan salman khan karti rehti ho..usse hi kuch seekhlo tum” reads another reply. But Indian fans liked her zeal and guts and praised her for ‘Dabangg’ act.

Sonakshi soon realized that she has hurt the feeling of her fans from Pakistan, and asked them to take the tweeted image in good spirit: “Pak fans very upset. jung ke maidan mein ladne se toh accha hi hai khel ke maidan mein ladein! I am all for love thy neighbour. Be a sport yaar.”

Do you think the image posted by Sonakshi was in good taste?

Three days to go nude: Poonam

Model Poonam Pandey on Thursday reiterated her promise to run in the buff if India wins the cricket World Cup here on Saturday.

Pandey tweeted: "3 days to go to Complete my Promise to INDIA :)"

Her tweet came a few hours after India thrashed Pakistan by 29 runs in the semifinal held in Mohali, near Chandigarh.

India will now play Sri Lanka at the final that takes place in Mumbai on Saturday.

Pandey is not the first one to pledge to go naked if her country wins.

Model Larissa Riquelme had promised to run nude if her country, Paraguay, won the football World Cup last year. Paraguay lost, but she ran naked anyway.

Gilani misses a date with Ash

Pak PM Yousuf Raza Gilani is apparently actor Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan's ardent fan — but she won't be in Mohali today.

Though many from Bollywood will be in Mohali to watch the face-off between India and Pakistan in the World Cup's semis today, actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, it is learned, will not be there. Pak Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will miss out on meeting Ash, apparently his favourite Bollywood actor.

The Pakistani PM has reportedly confessed, time and again, that he is a great fan of the doe-eyed beauty. Not only that, Gilani has also apparently written about his admiration for Ash in his book that he wrote when he was imprisoned during the regime of former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

"Gilani has clearly written in his book, Chah-e-Yousuf Saay Sada, that he used to watch Aishwarya's movies on his laptop while he was in prison (during 2001-06) during the Pervez Musharraf regime. Since then, he's been an ardent fan of the actor. We had discovered that while doing our research in scheduling his meeting with the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2008," says Pranab's former aide.

Aishwarya's films had earlier played a part in diplomacy in 2008, when Pranab Mukherjee visited Pakistan. He had carried a DVD box of Ash's movies. "It was a pleasant surprise for Gilani who has always listed Aishwarya and Shahrukh Khan as his favourite film stars. He was very happy and described it as a 'pleasant surprise' when he opened the box," reveals the aide.

But, as luck would have it, Ash and Gilani will apparently not meet even as the Pakistani PM lands in Mohali for the India-Pakistan semi-final today. According to a source, Ash and Abhishek had originally planned to watch the match in Mohali. But "Aishwarya and Abhishek won't be going to Mohali to watch the match this time. They might be at home watching the match," says a source.

Hence, even though Indian officials would have loved it, Ash and Gilani won't be meeting this time. However, rumours that efforts are on for arranging a meeting were doing the rounds. "This news (of Aishwarya meeting Gilani) is completely false. She was never scheduled to meet any (Pakistani) dignitary," texted her spokesperson in response to our query.

SRK jumps for joy

Exactly an hour after Zaheer Khan picked up the last Pakistani wicket last night, the King Khan stepped out of the cricket party at Mannat, climbed on to the gate and cheered for team India.

He waved to the media, who were anxiously waiting outside to catch a glimpse of the star.

Salman's newfound interest

Just recently we heard that he is growing fond of Brit model Hazel Keech, and now one hears that Kangana Ranaut is Salman Khan’s newfound interest. Along with enjoying his single status, it seems Salman is meeting different gals too. This Khan is always a favourite among the ladies.

The recent buzz in the tinsel town is that Sallu likes to spend time with the Tanu Weds Manu star. While shooting for the promotional photoshoot of his film Ready in Mehboob Studios with co-star Asin, Salman came to know that Kangana was nearby. So he tried to wrap up the shoot fast and catch up with her.

As a source is quoted by a tabloid, “He’s extremely fond of her. The fact that he was extremely eager to spend time with her on the sets, speaks volumes.” Salman likes to bond with the talented actress.

Bipasha smokes up a fiery storm

A firm anti-smoker, Bipasha Basu had put her foot down when asked to smoke while shooting for Dum Maaro Dum. But then, director Rohan Sippy wanted her to look authentic in her role as a hippie and hence wanted her to practise lighting a joint. It was after much persuasion that Bipasha agreed to smoke just once so that her director gets the best shot. But things didn’t seem to go as planned. Incidentally, after making Bipasha go through the entire process of rolling up the joint and lighting it, Rohan apparently decided to chop off the entire scene, leaving Bipasha fuming over the whole episode.

“Here I am spending an entire day rolling nicotine into paper and trying to make a cigarette and there Rohan goes ahead and completely cuts off the shot,” says Bipasha, adding, “I was so angry with Rohan and I asked him the reason behind all of this. But he had no explanation to offer. I was really upset for the time wasted and the psychosis I had to go through because of smoking.”

It took a while for Bipasha to regain her composure. “I then made it very clear to Rohan that I would not try this again. Just going through it once was bad enough for me, so he better not change his mind,” says, the actress with a smile. Now, here’s one true blue fitness freak.

We'll win the final also: Shah Rukh Khan

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who caught the historic India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal with his friends at his residence Mannat, said India was going to win the final as well.

King Khan is going to watch Saturday's India-Sri Lanka final at Wankhade Stadium with his children.

"We will win the final also. I have bought an extra T-Shirt for that... so I have to go there and watch the final Inshallah! The kids want to go and see," Shah Rukh told reporters at Mannat.

In the high-voltage match, master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar missed his 100th international century by 15 runs.

The actor, sporting a Team India T-shirt with denim jeans, said such great players shouldn't be put under pressure.

"Sachin is the peg for the team and I think 85 is a great score. You know, for Sachin Tendulkar you needn't worry if he misses century once. I think we shouldn't put such pressure on him. He doesn't come under any pressure because he is used to it," he said.

Shah Rukh was watching the match with Karan Johar, Farhan Akhtar, Sussanne Roshan, Karishma Kappor, Sanjay Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Arjun Rampal, Prateik Babbar, Chunky Pandey, among others.

No Koffee for KJo, Salman

Karan Johar is shooting his finale episode of Koffee With Karan. And it won't be Salman Khan as planned. KJo has decided that much as he wants the actor on that couch, he doesn't want to pay him to be a guest on his chat show.

Says a friend of the filmmakers, "He is happy to give any amount of money to Salman's charity, but he doesn't want it to be a condition for him to come on the show.

Also, it is not fair to other stars like the Bachchans and Shah Rukh Khan who have appeared on the show in every season, if one pays one actor and not them. So, he decided to leave Salman out for now."

Ranbir's tribute to Raj Kapoor

Ranbir Kapoor is paying tribute to his grandfather – the legendary Raj Kapoor in Anurag Basu's Barfee. The actor has four looks in the film and one look is inspired by the hit comic character Mr Bean.

Though he plays a deaf-mute in the film, the movie is essentially a comedy with the feel of a Charlie Chaplin movie. Ranbir has been telling people on the sets that the film reminds him of how his grandfather tackled the genre of comedy and he was looking to do exactly that. Now, he has certainly got us eager hasn't he?

Kangna to play Abhi's wife

Kangna Ranaut will essay the role of Abhishek Bachchan's soul-mate and wife in Ram Gopal Varma's film Department.

The director met Ranaut, on Monday, to finalise her for the film. When asked about his decision to cast the actress, Varma explains, "I wondered why we haven't worked together as yet! Kangna very much fits into my vision as a filmmaker.

She is intense and emotional on screen. I've wanted to work with her, from the time she appeared in Gangster and Woh Lamhe.

But I didn't want to cast her in anything insignificant. The role had to justify her presence."

The rest of the cast includes Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt. Ranaut is the only major female character in the film. As Varma explains, "It is very much a guys' film, with only one major female character.

The story is about three cops and the extra-constitutional activities they engage in to maintain a civil society.

Kangna is the only person in the world that Abhishek's character can share his agony with. She plays a very intense role in this dark, gritty and real drama."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Karan Johar to get married!

We are still reeling under the shock. Karan Johar, blockbuster filmmaker and one of the most successful and eligible men in Bollywood is getting married. From what we hear, the lady in question is 31-year-old Vandana Melwani, a gorgeous New York-based girl, the daughter of a family friend.

We now know the secret behind his long disappearances from Bollywood to New York and London, ostensibly to “write scripts” – they were all to meet his lady-love and cement the relationship that took flight almost a year ago.

After all, if a confirmed bachelor, one who has always maintained over and over again that marriage is not for him, is planning a lavish wedding, then there is definitely reason to celebrate.

Shahid to wait for his Heer a li'l longer

Due to a fight between the producer and director, Kapoor’s next project has gone back to the storyboard

Sajid Nadiadwala's Heer Aur Ranjha has been sent back to the storyboard. And the leading man Shahid Kapoor's dates that had been confirmed for the film will now go to waste.

A contemporary take on Romeo and Juliet set in New York, this film has an approximate budget of Rs 55 crores. And that's exactly why the producer Nadiadwala is not taking any chances with the film.

Recently, he had a massive showdown with the director Sabir Khan and ordered him back to the storyboard.

A source reveals, "Though Sajid liked the basic story idea of Heer Aur Ranjha, he was not too convinced. He told Sabir directly to work on the script again, even if it meant rescheduling Shahid Kapoor's dates.

He even told Sabir to get the script ready on time or the project would be called-off."

While Sabir chose to shy away from commenting on the subject, citing a ‘family emergency’, Sajid Nadiadwala was frank enough to admit that Heer Aur Ranjha has gone back to the storyboard.

"The second-half of the script was not working. I've asked Sabir to work on it and deliver by April 30. I can take this liberty with Sabir.

However, there was no showdown or anything," said Nadiadwala.

Currently, the search for a new face for the female lead opposite Shahid is on. And, no, Nargis Fakhri is not that face.

Rana protects Bipasha from Molestation !

It is usually the job of a hero to save the heroine from goons and rapists onscreen. But here is one man who seems to have done it off the screen as well. He is none other than Daggubati Rana and the woman in crisis was none other than the Bollywood bombshell Bipasha Basu.

On one hand, rumors are making rounds about Rana- Bipasha having ‘something…something’. As if that is not enough, when Bipasha was in Hyderabad for a promotional event of ‘Dum Maro Dum’, Rana was reportedly all over her protecting her from enthusiastic fans and perverted fans trying to touch her.

Those who were present there said “Rana has got the height and personality to shadow Bipasha but given his status, it was not necessary. Anyways, he is trying to be chivalrous which is good but let us hope he doesn’t give an impression like bodyguard. As such…who can say no to a hot body like Bipasha, maybe that’s why Rana became the hero protecting Bips from getting molested.”

Rana, who bagged the role of the Dum Maaro Dum baddie because of his raw sensuality, admits that even before he came into Hindi cinema he was already Hyderabad's "pin up boy." When it comes to his personal status though, the actor says, "I'm very much single. Bipasha is a senior. I respect her a great deal. She went out of her way to make me comfortable while shooting, that's it."

He admits that Bips and he even shot some steamy scenes for the film. "Again you have to look at the whole thing as a part of story telling. There were 300 others on the set when we were shooting these scenes."

Salman will not watch India-Pakistan clash

Trust Salman Khan to be different. While most of India and B-Town will be watching the India-Pakistan World Cup semi final, Sallu will pump iron at his gym at his farmhouse in Panvel. And it isn't for any film.

Not as interested in the game

"Salman has never been as interested in cricket as his brothers Sohail (who's watching the match at home) and Arbaaz (who's flying to Mohali with sis Arpita).

He has been staying alone at his Panvel farmhouse for the last few days working out at his specially
constructed gym for two hours each day."

He might be coming back today but not to watch the match.

Bollywood couples patch-up for love or money?

Bollywood power couples who’ve split up are being brought together by big budget endorsements and films

Nobody in Bollywood is ‘just good friends’ anymore. The A-listers have drawn inspiration from the bold and the beautiful Sushmita Sen and no longer hide their ‘on and off’ relationships. After all, it does have its advantages the much coveted media attention, big bucks from endorsements together and also the occasional publicity for a film.

And though, post breaking up, a star couple earlier would refuse to work together (Shahid-Bebo, Ash-Salman), these days money and movies motivate the exes to patch up real soon.

Recently John and Bipasha signed a one-year contract with a hair colour company. One of Bollywood’s longest standing couple, John and Bips, broke up recently. They signed this deal post their split primarily because of the big money.

They were offered approximately 5 crores. Moreover, they are still under a few ongoing contracts and have to continue their togetherness, at least on screen for the junta.

Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra had called it quits in February, finally, after going back and forth for quite some time now. Although they have parted ways, they will be doing Kunal Kohli’s next. Shahid is being paid approximately 6 crores, and Priyanka approximately 2 crores for the film.

An industry insider said, “Even though they have parted ways, they cannot decline projects coming their way. Priyanka is one of the top actresses and so is Shahid. Obviously, they will be offered big and good projects at some point of time, which they cannot always ignore.”

Salman and Katrina who continue to be friends even after their breakup, and her alleged affair with Ranbir Kapoor, will be soon doing Yash Raj’s film to be directed by Kabir Khan.

Salman will be receiving a huge amount for his role plus 33 percent profits from the film.

Though recently, we heard that Sallu is trying to get Katrina out of the Kabir Khan project (Mumbai Mirror, March 29, 2011), we are sure for that kind of money, a little ‘lost love’ won't hurt him either!

Anushka’s bohemian makeover

Anushka Sharma is the latest to experiment with her looks, especially after her string of girl-next-door appearances. For her next film Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, she is going through some serious transition, to play a character who is grungy and bohemian.

“In each of her films so far, Anushka has played a girl-next-door with middle class sensibilities. In Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, she was clad in a salwar-kameez for most part of the film; in Badmaash Company she donned Western outfits but they again belonged to a girl-next-door. In Band Baaja Baaraat she went totally casual while in Patiala House too she couldn’t experiment much as it was a family drama,” says a costume designer.

Since the film is being shot in Goa, it has a stylish setting. Also, the film is about a man (Ranveer Singh) who cons women till one day he finds his match (Anushka). “I can’t talk much about the look,” says Anushka, “I can confirm that this will be a stylised film with different body language.”

Aishwarya's international manager quits

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's international manager Simone Sheffield has parted ways after over a decade.

Sheffield did not cite any reason for the split on the record but announced that she was terminating their business relationship.

"I introduced her to the international market and wish her well and our time together, business wise, was as productive as possible," said Sheffield.

Over the 10 years that Sheffield has handled Aishwarya's career in the US, the former Miss World has gone on to secure a lucrative promotional deal with L'Oreal cosmetics; appeared on '60 Minutes' and 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' twice; and made to the cover of Time magazine, as well as being listed among their 100 most influential people in entertainment.

Aishwarya, 37, attended her first Academy Awards ceremony here last month via an invitation through Sheffield's contacts.

She has also appeared in several Hollywood movies including The Pink Panther 2, The Last Legion opposite Oscar winner Colin Firth, Bride and Prejudice, Mistress of Spices and Provoked.

The actress also collaborated with some of the world's leading fashion designers including the houses of Armani, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Elie Saab.

Kat upset over Sonakshi

Katrina Kaif is fuming. She hates the fact that Sonakshi Sinha is constantly on her case. Kat was overheard telling a few friends that she fails to understand why so many Kat-Sonakshi stories are making the rounds.

Now, everyone is aware that Sonakshi is getting publicity by telling the world that she has replaced her in certain brands but the truth is that Katrina's contract with these products had either expired or (in case of a clothing brand) she was not even their brand ambassador.

The two ladies share a common link with Salman Khan. When Kat's relationship with Sallu was in the docks, the superstar had grown very fond of Sonakshi, something Kat certainly didn't take lightly. One knows that Kat is leagues ahead of Sonakshi in her career today. However, one wonders whether this rivalry is stemming from their troubled past?

A bikini is serious: Ameesha

Ameesha Patel was sure that if she wore resort wear then it would have to be something that matched international standards.

She and her designer friend Komal Shahani came up with the concept of the crystalised bikini and they worked on it together.

Says the actress, "I didn't want to get into just any bikini. It had to a premium fashion product suitable for a beach in the South of France or in Goa. It isn't even ideal swimwear; it's more like something you wear on a chaise lounge.''

Her mind was made up about the bikini, but she admits that she was extremely nervous about the shoot. "Getting into a bikini is serious business,'' she says. "You have to look perfect in it because you cannot hide anything; whether it is your midriff or thigh there can be no flab anywhere.''

The Bollywood beauty then goes to bust a few myths on what to do and what not to before one gets into something so skimpy. Says she, "I was warned not to drink too much water the night before the shoot; I was asked to starve. But I did nothing of the sort. Since I maintain a healthy lifestyle with regular eating habits and a daily-gym routine, I have a good metabolism. I even managed to eat a club sandwich with French fries, ketchup, mustard etc before I got into the bikini!''

Says the petite actress with a near perfect-10 figure, "I have never advocated the size zero. I'm of the opinion that a woman should have curves. Size zero sends out wrong signals to youngsters who either end up being anorexic or become bulimic. I feel weight loss should also be handled scientifically. They say a woman can never be too shapely and a man can never have too much money. Well it's true, but I can say it is up to women to try and get the right curves.''

The designer says:
"Ameesha is blessed with a super petite frame and an excellent body. Being a designer and a close friend, I have always admired her. Ameesha added exotic appeal to my resort collection including the copper embellished bikini encrusted with crystal stones that she has posed in. Besides her, in my opinion, the other women who have the best bikini bodies are Penelope Cruz, Gisele Bundchen, Katy Perry, Lara Dutta and Deepika Padukone."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Salman blocks Kat's career

Salman, it seems, is doing all he can to hinder his ex-girlfriend’s career

Salman Khan seems to have been offended by Katrina Kaif’s open declaration of her love for Ranbir Kapoor and how she would never go back to her ex-flame.

Out to avenge his lost emotions, Khan is now making sure that he proves to be a major hindrance in Kaif’s career graph.

According to our source, “Salman Khan has done everything in his capacity to make Katrina a leading star.

However after their break up and her alleged relationship and break up with Ranbir Kapoor, Salman is out to seek revenge.

He has already asked people close to him not to work with Katrina. If anyone dares to work with her, clearly, he will not be a part of the project.

In fact, during the shooting of Ready, an A-lister actress was needed for a cameo but Salman suggested Zarine Khan’s name in spite of Katrina being in the discussions.

Salman, it seems, has also told Kabir Khan that he would not want to work with Katrina in his film and Priyanka should step in.”

Another source added, “Salman has never been like this but he is definitely not happy with Katrina’s behaviour. It was evident during the shoot of Bigg Boss when Salman had taken digs at her. The anger has only multiplied.”

However a source close to Katrina said, “There is no tension between Salman and her and everything is fine. She still considers Salman as one of her closest friends in Bollywood and will always continue to do so.”

When Nargis Fakhri was rejected

Rockstar actress Nargis Fakhri was actually shown the door on the reality show America’s Top Model when she put her pretty foot in her mouth

The team behind Ranbir Kapoor’s Rockstar may be trying hard to keep their ‘find’ Nargis Fakhri under wraps.

But the half-Pakistani, half-Czechoslovakian 5’7 ½” beauty has already had her run in with reality TV after she was dumped twice.

The 27-year-old swimwear model had participated in America’s Next Top Model in Cycles 2 and 3, hosted by supermodel Tyra Banks.

The show, which pits several aspiring models against each other in a hunt for the hottest thing on the ramp, had invited Nargis for her fab body and exotic looks.

A resident of Queens, New York, Nargis was the first Pakistani girl to be on the hugely popular show, but her catwalk was cut short by her Quixotic honesty.

Fakhri, who looked and sounded confident before the camera, reportedly put off the judges with the air of familiarity with which she greeted them.

Worse, Nargis told a stunned Tyra, that she was not really “interested in fashion or modelling” -duh? While eliminating her, Tyra said she did not really have the drive for modelling.

Screenshots of Nargis in America’s Top Model

Maybe Tyra had not seen Nargis’s scorching bikini shots for Atul Kasbekar. Or had the smoky-eyed girl already trained her sights on Bollywood by then?

The 27-year-old swimwear model had participated in America’s Next Top Model in Cycles 2 and 3, hosted by supermodel Tyra Banks.

The show, which pits several aspiring models against each other in a hunt for the hottest thing on the ramp, had invited Nargis for her fab body and exotic looks.

A resident of Queens, New York, Nargis was the first Pakistani girl to be on the hugely popular show, but her catwalk was cut short by her Quixotic honesty.

Fakhri, who looked and sounded confident before the camera, reportedly put off the judges with the air of familiarity with which she greeted them.

Worse, Nargis told a stunned Tyra, that she was not really “interested in fashion or modelling” -duh? While eliminating her, Tyra said she did not really have the drive for modelling.

Bebo upset with Saif-Deepika!

Kareena Kapoor gave a surprise to the cast of “Aarakshan” by landing on the sets of the film in Bhopal, where her beau Saif is shooting with Deepika.

Her surprise visit on the sets has resulted in a subject of gossip in B-town. A close source from the Aarakshan unit stated “Kareena heard that Saif would be shooting some intense romantic scenes with Deepika, including a long kissing scene.”

He said further, “It is widely believed she rushed to Bhopal to ‘monitor’ the scenes. She was not too happy to hear about the kissing scene.”

Saif and Deepika developed a good rapport ever since they were casted together in “Love Aaj Kal”.

Kareena who is very possessive about Saif was a little upset with the steamy scenes. But Saif tactfully handled the situation.

Sanju's daughter Trishala to enter Bollywood!

Sanjay Dutt’s daughter Trishala Dutt is ready to make her foray into the world of Bollywood. Daddy’s girl Trishala who is all of 21 spoke her mind when she said she wants to make a career out of acting in B-town films. Despite dad Sanju disapproving her decision, Trishala aka Trish made it clear to her dad that acting is what her calling is and there’s no stopping her now that she has decided to get into Bollywood.

Talking about dad’s objection, young Trishala said, “He’s not okay with me joining Bollywood. We have not had an opportunity to seriously discuss it and understand each other’s perspective. But ultimately, the decision is mine ... I will do what I think is best for me and what makes me happy.”

“Of course, you should listen to your elders’ advice and take that into consideration, but the decision should be yours at the end of the day. I love my dad, and I would love to make him happy, but if he does not support my decisions and certain steps that I take in life, all I can do is say ‘I’m sorry’,” said Trishala, who lives with her maternal grandparents in New York and is busy preparing for films after acquiring a degree in criminal justice.

Calling Salman Khan as her favourite Indian actor, Trishala said, “I joined Atlantic Theater Acting School to pursue my passion for acting. I might be joining NY Film Academy as they will be taking students to India for an intensive course on filmmaking. One must understand all aspects of the business.”

Confident that her father’s fame will not be an impediment in her Bollywood journey, Trishala said “I don’t want anything on a silver platter. I want to make my standing from hard work as my grandfather (Sunil Dutt) did. I miss him very much and he knew I wanted go into acting. One day, I will make him proud.”

Minissha mobbed by crowd at a photoshoot

Minissha Lamba recently shot for a men's magazine cover at a beach in Goa. Soon enough, an over-entusiastic mob got clicking and shooting her on their phones as she was in beachwear. The shoot was quickly shifted to another location. "Yes, the crowd was getting a little out of control but quick thinking saved the day," says Minissha when quizzed about the incident. Some days are more Lamba than others.

Bipasha is a senior: Rana

Rana Daggubati, who is currently in the news for breaking up with south siren Shriya Saran and dating our own Bipasha Basu, doesn't shy away from controversies.

Of course he insists that too much is being read into his act of chivalry a few days ago in Hyderabad. Says he, "Bipasha was there to promote our forthcoming film. Naturally I was very protective about her and wanted her to feel safe. But that hardly amounts to a relationship. I would be chivalrous with any girl who is in my company. We Naidus are made that way. We protect women."

Rana, who bagged the role of the Dum Maaro Dum baddie because of his raw sensuality, admits that even before he came into Hindi cinema he was already Hyderabad's "pin up boy." When it comes to his personal status though, the actor says, "I'm very much single. Bipasha is a senior. I respect her a great deal. She went out of her way to make me comfortable while shooting, that's it."

He admits that Bips and he even shot some steamy scenes for the film. "Again you have to look at the whole thing as a part of story telling. There were 300 others on the set when we were shooting these scenes."

What about Shriya? Surely he was dating her? Rana says, "I have known Shriya for 12 years, but I haven't been dating her. She's a good friend, nothing more."

Aamir Khan flying to Mohali

While the rest of the media has been reporting that Aamir Khan is taking on his arch rival Shah Rukh Khan by throwing a cricket bash at his house at the same time when SRK is having a bash at Mannat.

Fact is that Aamir has cancelled the shooting of Reema Kagti's untitled movie and is flying down to Mohali to see the high octane India-Pakistan cricket match live. Remember you read it here first!

Shah Rukh has also cancelled all his appointments to watch the Indo-Pak match with his close friends. The guest list includes Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar, Arjun Rampal, Sanjay and wife Maheep Kapoor, Chunky and Bhavna Pandey.

Shilpa-Preity are friends again!

Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta have buried whatever differences that had crept in between them after the two became owners of two IPL franchises.

Most importantly, they have become friends again and behave like giggly school girls whenever they meet each other. The two actresses had distanced themselves after a misunderstanding. Apparently PZ had asked someone from the industry how SS manages to wear expensive designer wear, bags and jewellery, and enquired about Raj Kundra's financial status.

Wasn't long before Zinta's singer reached Shilpa's ears, who retaliated by asking who was supporting her. Everyone thought words would be exchanged whenever the two fiery girls crossed paths. But recently they were together on a long flight together, and they sorted out all the differences. Now, two hot actresses-turned-team owners have learnt how to handle awkward situations. So proud of them. Cat fights are for newbies.

Saif doesn't regret being wild

Most interviews with Saif Ali Khan feature Kareena Kapoor, quite prominently. But Saif's journey from the geek in glasses to 90s' Bollywood star kid, to 'hey, he can act!', to producer and father of two, is a fascinating story, rarely discussed.

After this long and candid chat, though, Saif laughingly issued something of a disclaimer, saying, "Just because you're good at being an actor, it doesn't qualify you to be an expert on anything else.

But we tend to wax eloquent often, on life and politics, and people listen, because we're successful sometimes, and they won't contradict it unless there's a bigger star who'll tell you to shut up! It's very important to remember that."

So in his cut-through-cheese diction, attractively sprinkled with a slight English accent, this is Saif Ali Khan waxing eloquent on his life and work.
You're shooting your home production "Agent Vinod" in Delhi, "Love Aaj Kal", which you produced, was also set here...
"Love Aaj Kal" was shot here because Imtiaz (Ali, the director) is from Delhi, and I think part of the romance of coming back to Delhi from England, rather than Mumbai, suited our story, so we set it in Delhi, and it had that feeling of shaadis in winter and all that... There's a distinct feel to Delhi, and Imtiaz likes the vibe here, the open spaces, the parks. "Agent Vinod" is being shot here because Delhi is the seat of government. The film is geo-politically as accurate as we could make it. We tried to think of big problems for Agent Vinod to deal with, and the biggest, the most sensitive, and closest to home we could think of involved something in Delhi. He's saving the world, but he's doing it in Delhi. If something goes wrong here, the subcontinent would be in trouble. This place has a mixture of a sense of grandeur and raajneeti – if you shoot a convoy of cars amid the buildings that have that political power and majesty about them. Also, like any big city, it has a slightly seedier underbelly, like the Kashmere Gate area, where we can also shoot crucial stuff, and Old Delhi, with its beautiful Mughal influences, which is a very cinematic place – we're here to capture all three. We're also shooting at Nirula's in CP, but with Army helicopters, which I've never seen before.

If people were to watch your films from the 90s, it might make some cringe...
(Chuckles) It makes me cringe also a little bit sometimes, but only up to a point. But seriously, I watch it and I think I worked very hard. I was laboriously dancing away in various songs. The high jeans, the hair, I know – I think cinema, particularly with changing trends and (thanks a lot) cable TV and satellite rights that pay us now (I'm saying sarcastically), serves as a reminder of our fashion bloopers. They'll always come back to haunt us. But it reminds us of the hard work we've done.

I think it's only very recently that Hindi films have become quite cool and we've become fashion-wise quite competent, internationally. Earlier, there was a class divide among people who watched Hindi cinema, it wasn't considered for everybody. I think it's become more pan-Indian now. Nobody now says 'What, Bollywood movies?' That was when people were associated with white-suit producers – people used to say producers are like that. Now we're the producers, and we're quite hip (grins).
The word 'slump' is sometimes used to describe that period in your work, from 90s till "Dil Chahta Hai" – is that correct?
I think so, yes. I started out not so great, in "Parampara". "Aashiq Awara" was okay, "Yeh Dillagi" was good – my first hit, great music, sweet love story, and that secured me a bit. "Main Khiladi..." was immediately afterwards, and that was wonderful. Then there was a massive slump of about 17 bad movies, with just enough to keep you around. Then came "DCH", that moment where the dialogues in Hindi films changed, and sensibilities changed, and Farhan Akhtar ushered in a slightly new, urban character who didn't have to be a version of an Amitabh Bachchan character to be a Hindi film hero – up until then, there was still a hangover of that 70s superstar stereotype. People enjoyed "DCH". It was also a disciplined atmosphere – other people in the industry used to laugh at us for how organised we were.

Why did they laugh at you?
They just thought – like people do – that we're too cool. Everyone had walkie-talkies, and there was pin drop silence and you could hear each other breathe. You could hear your own spit being swallowed. And then you start speaking at true tones. That's what actually cinema can be about – what it is about for Excel and Farhan, and what it should be about for Illuminati – but it's the directors who set that tone. On the other hand, you should also, as a Hindi film actor, be able to work in chaotic circumstances. It's a very diverse industry, you have to be able to cope with various environments. Some are international, some noisy, for lack of a better word...

Was the set of "Omkara" also like that?
There's a whole section of the industry which is Vishal's (Bharadwaj) domain. I'm glad they promote this rural, rugged cinema, which is the closest we can come to a Western. Films like "Ishqiya" – noir kind of movies. The small town kind of dialogues that Vishal writes – he's a representative of a school of Indian thought and values. In "Omkara", he condensed an entire scene once, by removing all the dialogues, and he boiled it down to one action – the one in which I break a mirror and anoint myself with my blood. But there was a dialogue there, a whole scene, me saying that I've been scorned and I'll take revenge and all that. He said, 'You don't need to say that, what you do is you look at yourself in the mirror, and do that thing with the gulaal.' He wanted me to do it naked, I said I'll do it naked if you direct me naked, and he refused, but that was what he did to that scene. It spoke a thousand words – it's a mark of genius. Who thinks of that? I have to respect that.
With films like "Omkara" and "Being Cyrus" that there was a second shift – from cute, goofy lover boy to 'an actor'...
I think I didn't trust myself also. And it takes a maker to sometimes trust an actor to see something... and now, I think it's important once to associate with roles that are not in the least associated with you – characters like Langda Tyagi, "Being Cyrus", or like in the movie "Aarakshan", more importantly, a Scheduled Caste teacher from a basti whose mother irons clothes for a living. Like the Sikh in "Love Aaj Kal", I wouldn't have ever thought of myself playing a Sikh. But it is fun to put yourself in scenarios that are out of your comfort zone.

Why did you agree to do "Being Cyrus" – a noir, English language film?
I have no idea. Homi (Adajania, the director) came up to me and told me the story, and I thought I wanted to have a career that's based on interesting choices, and not following... We in the film industry live in a superstitious and a slightly frightened environment. People would say, don't get a vanity van, it was supposed to be bad luck for your career. Or don't change your hair... But it's not just the industry – I think we're a superstitious country, with the concept of nazar and everything – we're very aware of the supernatural. I do what I want to do, that's all. I'm not trying to make point with that. I just thought it'd be nice to have a mixed bag of films in your repertoire – body of work – that's varied and interesting.

You're wearing glasses (huge tortoiseshell ones). Are they for effect, or are they real?
I find it amusing to wear spectacles for effect. The effect, in my case, is the required effect of magnifying my vision, it's not cosmetic. I've had glasses since perhaps I was 12 or something. I wore them during my films as well, just not on camera. I look very intelligent when I wear specs, I got voted into all the societies in school when they had those orientation things. I looked like a brainy Indian scientist, and it took them a couple of days to realise that I'm academically, like, challenged. I had these National Health glasses that the English government gives you for free, but they're not very attractive.

You were apparently into literature in school?
Yes, yes, it was my favourite subject, that and history and art history. I was completely uninterested in Math. I have an aversion to figures of that sort. Thank God it's over! I look at Sara (his daughter) working sometimes, and I shudder. In "Aarakshan", I have to write these 'equations' on the board – and oh God, I was getting annoyed just doing it! I had to learn them and explain them. I teach Maths in the film – yeah, it's pretty ironic.

At school and later, you're also rumoured to have been something of a wild guy...?
That's probably true. Actually, if you go back a little bit, we're an extremely traditional Muslim family, and a very serious one at that. We haven't been brought up like that at all – we're very secular and extremely cosmopolitan and easy-going because my father is, and my mother has also brought us up like that. Even they have an inter-religious marriage – I think they just look at it as a marriage, nothing else comes into it. But I think it's exposure to England early that led to me being a little rebellious and a little... doing the sort of thing that nobody much in my family had done, really, because most of the family was brought up in this traditional academically Islamic environment.
Soha also has been exposed to England, but Saba's very religious and... I'm telling you, most of them in our family are very religious people! But that's how young people... I'm not regretful.
After your health trouble, you've become pretty fit...
In fact, I recently got this MRI done. I wanted to because I was watching Charlie Sheen in " Two And A Half Men" (there's a series where his fast-living character has a heart attack, and fears that he doesn't have much time left), and he was doing a battery of tests. My doctor says I have the lungs of a non-smoking athlete. I haven't smoked for the past two years since that terrible scare, which was the best thing that happened to me, and with yoga and diet... I don't eat much red meat, since I'm trying to be fit. My doctor says there are no heart issues, the arteries are rocking.

After living that life, how did you take fatherhood?
I think it was the greatest thing in the world to see Sara being born, and Ibrahim. I think it comes naturally to human beings – when you see a little baby that's yours – to take to it.
But the most beautiful thing about it is, when they grow up to share the same values as you. That's an amazing feeling. Like, Ibrahim doesn't agree with the death penalty. He discusses it with me. He'd like to have one girlfriend only. I'm not sure if he's going to manage that last one, though. But I admire his purity.

Your relationships are discussed very widely in the media, your work is very demanding, and you're separated from the mother of your kids. Have you had to work harder to ensure that your children have a life away from all these pressures in life?
I'm sure we would all have preferred it had life been more disciplined – one imagines like a family unit where there isn't this kind of separation for children – but I'm quite comfortable with myself, in the sense that my kids have all my love and attention. And that's what's most important – a connection with my children. To laugh with Ibrahim or to talk to Sara, and have her come and visit me on the sets in Bhopal... She wants to go to New York.
She's 16 now – aren't you worried about boyfriends?
No, she talks to me about them. We talk a lot. It's very important to make time, and the most important thing is that connection. When I've given a proportionate amount of time to my children, my work, my parents, and my relationship.

When there's an imbalance, I feel a discomfort, and sometimes I attain this magical balance. Most of the time I'm struggling to attain it while I'm working, and I think that's my life. I think I've explained it beautifully to you.


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