Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra seems to be going places and now she will be seen on the cover of a top music magazine Blender, that launched its first Indian cover. In fact Priyanka, who was recently addressed to as ‘The Sexiest Indian Actress’ by Shah Rukh Khan, had featured on the cover of Maxim India’s launch edition three years ago. Maxim is the Blender’s sister publication.

The former Miss World, who recently tasted success at the Box Office with two back to back hits Fashion and Dostana, has been portrayed as a performer. One gets to know the musical side of the actress, something, which is not known to everybody. International singers like Britney Spears, Leona Lewis to name a few have featured on the cover and now Priyanka is on this list as well.

Blender is a music magazine for the now generation. It was born out of a technology-inspired shift in the way music is consumed when gadgets such as the iPOD, the ubiquity of Internet penetration in the urban landscape and the emphasis of essential devices such as the cell phone, on music, have realigned the musical focus from albums to singles and listening to music, from a stationary activity to music on the move.

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DC comics’ superhero Batman who breathed his last in the latest comic Batman R I P gets murdered by a man claiming to be his father, who he thought was dead.

Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who by night is crime-fighting superhero Batman, is killed by Simon Hurt, the leader of the Black Glove organisation when he is stopped from escaping by the cape crusader, according to reports.

Hurt claims he is Dr Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne’s father), saying he faked his own passing when Bruce was a child.

“This is so much better than death. People have killed characters in the past but to me, that kind of ends the story. I like to keep the story twisting and turning. So what I am doing is a fate worse than death. Things that no one would expect to happen to these guys at all. This is the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman,” said writer Grant Morrison.

“Batman will live on though, with another character filling his Batsuit. Two likely contenders are Dick Grayson – the original Robin or current Boy Wonder, Tim Drake,” he added.

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Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is set to be conferred the Malaysian title of ‘Datuk’, akin to the British knighthood, on Dec 6 and he is expected to receive the honour in traditional Malaysian attire. The traditional Malaysian black costume with a waistband, a songkok and a black cap is the official attire to receive the award from the Malaccan royal chief, Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

The actor will receive his Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka award at a ceremony at 10 a m at Dewan Seri Negri, Ayer Keroh, in the presence of 1,000 invited guests, The Star  newspaper said on Tuesday. The actor, who was to have received the award on Saturday, had to reschedule his trip due to his tight working schedule. He is scheduled to be in Malaysia for three days.

State Secretary Omar Kaseh confirmed that Shah Rukh would be in Malacca for a day.

The actor is immensely popular among Malaysians and had shot the film one 2 ka 4  and a song sequence from his blockbuster Don in Malacca.

His being conferred the Datukship had stirred up much controversy with many questioning whether he really deserves it. Critics had asked what Shah Rukh had done for Malaysia to deserve a Datukship. They also took up cudgels on behalf of local artistes.

Malaccan authorities, however, say Shah Rukh’s shoot in Malaysia had benefitted the country immensely, giving it global publicity without any money being spent. Indian films are popular in Malaysia that has an estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians.

Batman to die a grisly death?

November 26, 2008

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DC comics’ superhero Batman is set to be killed off after 70 years of fighting crime. Rumours are rife that in the next issue of the comic, published on Thursday, Bruce Wayne, the face behind Batman’s mask will meet a grisly end, according to reports.

However, the latest Batman movie The Dark Knight, starring Christian Bale as Wayne and the superhero, was a box-office smash and another film is said to be in the offing.

Out of the closet and into mainstream cinema, not as a serious statement on sexuality but as breezy comic fare – with Dostana, homosexuality may finally have rid itself of its taboo status in Indian films. As John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan keep the audience in splits, it is tempting to believe that Bollywood may be ready to break away from the tried and tested. Some have hated the film, saying that it just perpetuates the gay stereotype, others have loved it.

But Dostana is well on its way to becoming a super hit. It has tickled the funny bone of viewers with its story about two strapping young men pretending to be gay and their friendship with their landlady Priyanka Chopra. Parmesh Sahani, editorial director of Verve magazine, India, is upbeat about the change. “Films like Dostana are playful and funny that bring sexuality as a dinner table conversation piece. Bollywood is open to diversity in terms of subjects including sexuality and the audiences are ready to accept diversified subjects,” Sahani said.

“The texture of Bollywood has changed drastically over the past few years and even our society is changing. People are becoming comfortable with the fact that it’s perfectly all right to love someone from the same sex.” Directed by Tarun Manuskhani, the film sees Abhishek and John’s open innuendos about their same sex affinity in a rib-tickling fashion. “We took a topic that is still considered taboo in our society and used it as the impetus for a hilarious comedy. No one’s cringing at the image of Abhishek and John frolicking in the sand, and no one’s walking out of cinema halls in discomfort,” Karan Johar, who has produced the film, wrote on his blog mynameiskaran.com.

“Our male lead characters are playing gay to their advantage, quite the opposite of those who feel the need to stay in the closet because of the narrow-mindedness that exists in our country,” added Johar. The first Indian film to explicitly depict such an issue was Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996) that triggered protests by right-wing Hindu groups for its uncensored depiction of homosexuality after its release in India in 1998. The after-effects of the controversy injected apprehensions among Indian filmmakers, who became hesitant to focus on the issue in films.

But they did not flinch from weaving gay sub-plots in the stories to evoke cheap laughter. An example is Johar’s 2003 hit Kal Ho Naa Ho  that made popular the scenes between Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan where they were incorrectly assumed to be a gay couple. Since then films like  Rules: Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula(2007) and  Girlfriend (2004), Kalyug (2005), Page 3 (2005), Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007) and Fashion (2008) dealt with the issue in minimalist appeal with the exception of Onir’s My Brother Nikhil (2006) where a family comes to terms with their son being gay and HIV-positive.

Vikram, an activist with the ‘Gay Bombay’ group, said: “The film industry is a commercial entity, it has to show something that sells. But it is for the first time that Bollywood is showing two people openly accepting that they are gay and that too in a way that says it is not bad to be a gay.”

However, homosexuality still remains taboo and an offence in India with punishment up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code treats sexual relations among people of the same gender as “unnatural” and a criminal act.

Ad-guru Prahlad Kakkar thinks that though the movie has opened barriers for other filmmakers with its bold attempt, it is very unlikely that it will act as a catalyst in society’s acceptance of gays.

Dostana has dealt with the gay issue in a funny way without making fun of gays but of the characters. But, suddenly after the movie, if people think that gays will be acceptable in Indian society, that’s not true because middle-class people are horrified of such issues,” he said.

Some of the other critically acclaimed films made on the gay theme are director Sridhar Rangayan’s Yours Emotionally and The Pink Mirror, Happy Hookers by Ashish Sawhny and Manan Singh Katohora’s When Kiran Met Karen.

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Sean Penn believes that fewer gay men would have died of AIDS if San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk hadn t been assassinated in his prime. Penn, who plays Milk – America s first elected gay public official – in Gus Van Sant s new biopic, thinks former US president Ronald Reagan would not have been able to ignore the AIDS epidemic if Milk had lived. Milk was killed in 1978.

Reports quoted Penn saying: I think less people would ve died of AIDS. I think Ronald Reagan would ve been forced to address AIDS.”

“It was a tragic loss. Milk wouldn t have stood quietly. He was a leader and he happened to be focussed on the gay movement. Because the popular notion was that AIDS was a gay disease, certainly huge numbers of homosexuals died. I think he would ve advanced that argument. I think people are dead because he died too soon.”

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Katrina Kaif is no doubt riding high on the success of Race and Singh is Kinng, but the actress is quite nervous about her next big release Yuvvraaj. The reason being not only the grand canvas of the movie but also because Yuvraaj is her first movie where she has been pitted as the leading lady opposite beau Salman Khan, though they have worked together in couple of films earlier as well.

In an interview Katrina said, “Some of the most intimate moments in the film are between Salman and me, and what you see on screen doesn’t come across as forced.”  Director Subhash Ghai is also in agreement with the actress, he said, “The Salman-Katrina magic is all set to cast its spell on the audience.” He added that they rock as a couple and are lucky for each other.

David Dhawan was the first one to cast them together in  Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and they sizzled on screen. Both Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and later partner  were huge hits at the Box Office and the actress is keeping her fingers crossed for the third one too.

The audience too can’t wait to watch the real-life couple romancing each ther on the big screen. Yuvvraaj, is about relationships, and Katrina plays a musician. She is a very strong girl, who believes in the power of love and music. The movie has been shot in the beautiful locales of Prague and has the music of the music maestro AR Rahman.