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Acclaimed actress Nandita Das’ directorial debut film Firaaq is all set to hit the screens on 23rd January.

Apart from the Nandita Das connection, the film also boasts of an equally talented crop of actors, like Nasseruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Dipti Naval, Raghubir Yadav, Sanjay Suri and Tisca Chopra.

Named after an Urdu word meaning separation and quest, Firaaq tells the story about strained human relationships  in the times of communal conflict.

The film provides an insight into five stories, which show the helplessness and broken feelings during a war. Though all the five stories have different backgrounds but in a way they all raise their voice against violence.

According to Nandita Das, “The film is not about war rather it focuses on the aftermath of the human problems and their relations. I have tried to highlight the human mindset after a war.”

The film has been recognized in various international film festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, London Film Festival and Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Firaaq will also showcase some new talents like Shahana Goswami and Nowaz.

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The stars may not be shining for actor Sanjay Dutt on the political front. Prominent astrologers and tarot card readers

have warned that politics does not bode well as a career for the Bollywood actor.

“His Jupiter is not strong and I do not see him getting into power and if he, by any chance, manages to win, it will bring him a bad reputation. Otherwise things are very good for him. He is an entertainer and should stick to only that,” said astrologer Ajay Bhambi.

“He is a blue-eyed boy of the industry because in spite of doing so many wrong things in life, he is still loved by everyone. He is the hero of the common man as he has come out victorious from the hardships that he has faced all through his life. But dabbling in politics will do no good to his image,” Bhambi said.

The astrologer was referring to Dutt’s chequered personal life which has seen him battle  drug addiction and being convicted for arms possession in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. In what could be a new chapter in his life, only days ago the Samajwadi Party had claimed he would be its candidate from Lucknow in the upcoming general elections.

Tarot  card reader Poonam Sethi says that she does not see Dutt being directly involved in politics. “My cards say he will not get involved in politics directly, his wife might take the plunge but I do not see him getting active in politics,” Sethi said.

“In case he manages to get into it, it will not last for a long time; it will just be an unsuccessful stint in politics,” she added.

Seema Midha, another tarot card expert and numerologist, agreed and said Dutt’s political career did not seem bright. In fact his wife Manyata seems to have brighter chances than him, she said.

“He is doing so many things right now and it will be very difficult for him to balance everything; hence his political career looks very doubtful and I do not think his move in politics is a good one,” said Midha.

However, she added, while this year would be “a bit difficult for him, this move could reap him benefits in the coming year,” she added.

Astrologer Bejan Daruwalla refused to comment on his chances in politics but said his career would pick up from April.

“He is a Leo and is full of talent and energy. As an actor he has proved his mettle. All I can see and make out from his horoscope  is that from the month of April, his career will pick up and he will be a happy man,” said Daruwalla.

“Politics is a part of life. As I have said he will be a happy and successful man, and that means in all his future endeavours, he will get success.”

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2008 has been a decisive year for Govinda. After working with Mani Ratnam he has decided to work only with directors of a certain caliber.

And now in 2009 Govinda has far more to look forward to. His daughter Narmada will finally be facing the camera and that too with a home production.

Confirming these radical developments in his life Govinda says, “After weighing all the pros and cons I decided I’m the best person to do the needful. I don’t want anyone else no matter how well-meaning to take the credit  for launching my daughter. So yes, Narmada will finally be launched anytime in 2009.”

The director to do the needful for Govinda will be finalised in the next couple of weeks. Those on Govinda’s wishlist are Nikhil Advani and Shaad Ali.

“Ideally,” says the anxious father, “I’d have liked Narmada to be launched by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He’s among our best. But since that’s not possible we’re looking at some other names. My daughter has to be directed by someone who has a vision and an aesthetic sense and also respects the work that I do.”

Continuing to speak on his favourite subject Govinda says, “I’ve struggled all my life and I continue to do so. All kinds of strange stories are planted about me. The question is not, why. But by whom? Narmada has also faced very harsh and hurtful incidents (she was involved in a terrible road accident) so early in her life. I feel today she’s emotionally equipped to face the camera.”

While focusing on his daughter’s career Govinda has also taken some hard career decisions for himself. “Six of my releases are ready. But now, after my so-called comeback I’ve again stopped signing new films. After working with Mani Ratnam I can’t go back to doing chalta hai roles in routine films. I’ll work only with directors who are as organized and disciplined as Mani Ratnam. He’s clear-headed about everything.”

Shooting in the jungles wasn’t easy. “But it wasn’t so tough either,” laughs Govinda. “I’ve spent my childhood in a village. So I’m used to being in cut off from city life. Shooting in the jungles with Mani, Abhishek and Aishwarya was very invigorating.”


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American choreographer James Martin Kudelka who has been roped in Ken Ghosh’s next to instruct Shahid Kapoor with some international dance moves can’t stop raving the actor for his ability to perform.

Best known for his work with high-profile pop musicians such as Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Pink and boy band N’Sync, Kudelka is thoroughly impressed with Shahid’s ability to pick up things fast and his interest for his work.

“Marty (as he is fondly called) thinks Shahid is a fantastic dancer and a fast learner. He thinks that Shahid is incredibly focused and enthusiastic about his work and one of few good dancers he has come across, said a source from the production house.

The source added: He likes the fact that not only is Shahid a quick learner but also that he has left no stone unturned to get into Justin’s super flexible moves. Everyone on the set was mesmerised after watching his moves. They can’t stop talking about him thanks to Marty.

Shahid’s last two hits were Jab We Met and Kismat Konnection.