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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. 

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Indian television’s Ugly Betty  Mona Singh, who is set to make her big screen debut with Aamir Khan-starrer Three Idiots, says she is excited but also nervous about working with the superstar.

“Aamir is so good. It’s not even funny. He makes me so nervous. In fact, the thought of working with any of the big stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan makes me very nervous. But for now, I am excited,” said Mona.

In Three Idiots, which is based on Chetan Bhagat’s best-selling novel Five Point Someone  and is being directed by Rajkumar Hirani, Mona plays Kareena Kapoor’s sister.

“I play a very bubbly character in the film and my look is very different from what I look right now. My role is really good and I have a major part in the climax of the film,” said Mona.

She became extremely popular when she essayed the role of ugly duckling Jassi in Sony TV’s Jassi Koi Nahin. Her true identity was kept under wraps in the initial months of the show. Mona managed to win the viewers’ heart as Jassi.

Now she is back to being in disguise on a new reality TV show Arre Deewano Mujhe Pehchano.  She would be competing with celebrity contestants Rakhi Sawant, Shweta Keswani, Mahesh Manjrekar, Yash Tonk, Gulshan Grover, Divya Dutta and Mandira Bedi to win the title of Master Of Disguise.

Commenting upon the format of the show, she said: “The show is all about stand-up comedy actually. It’s about how well we can conceal our identity and find a scapegoat on the streets. It’s quite a challenge for all of us and a very refreshing show.”

Winner of two dance reality shows – Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena,  Mona is quite confident of her success on the show.

She said: “I think I will be good. I had successfully remained in disguise for Jassi… so I might perform better than others. But my voice is a big giveaway. When I speak in Hindi, it has a very strong Punjabi accent so I have to work hard on it.”

Right now Mona is seen in NDTV Imagine’s hit soap Radhaa Ki Betiyaan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi. “I found the character interesting, so I took it up. Also, Radhaa  is a very simple and sweet show and I used to watch it regularly,” she said.

For now, Mona is concentrating on Arre Deewano Mujhe Pehchano  and Three Idiots  and says some “interesting offers” are coming her way.

Sexiest sari acts

December 23, 2008

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It has taken us in India a while to realise this, but our most traditional outfit – the sari is among the most sensual dresses in the world. Check out Bollywood’s top beauties in this deadly combination of formal and sexy at the same time.

Katrina Kaif took her time in adopting the sari, but once she did, she is seen wearing it at every second occasion. Her height gives the sari a great fall and she looks simply stunning!

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has seen some fashion disasters (remember year one at Cannes), and she has now reached the conclusion that she cannot go wrong with the sari. A number of formal occasions abroad (and given her international appeal there are a lot) see her clad in the six-yard.

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Another tall lady who does justice to the sari is Shilpa Shetty. She looks good in almost anything she wears, but a sort of grace engulfs her when she is in a sari…and we think she knows it now.

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After a successful 2008 Priyanka Chopra will look appealing in anything she wears, but her height gives her the extra edge when she wears a sari.

5Kareena Kapoor is one lady who adopted the sari fairly early in her career. Yes, we are talking about ‘Chameli’. Seeing how good she looked in it, she decided to wear it more often.

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Bollywood’s kitty of tall women has grown considerably in the last few years. Deepika Padukone made her entry in Bollywood with ‘Om Shanti Om’ and has therefore been used to people loving her sari avataar.

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Preity Zinta is rarely seen in a sari, and she made up for that in one long sari-sequence in her last film ‘The Last Lear’.
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Hottie Bipasha Basu is rarely seen in a sari, but here is a picture of her looking very unglamorous, but very dignified in a Tamil flick.
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Rani Mukherjee is among those women in Bollywood who wears a sari most regularly. She has been seen at award shows, chat shows, movies and many other occasions donning a sari.
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It was only post-marriage that Kajol started frequenting the sari. Now that she is comfortable in the drape, she wears it on every other occasion.

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Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s production company Red Chillies Entertainment that churned out hit films like Main Hoon Na  and Om Shanti Om,  is now venturing into television production with a children’s awards show.

Titled Li’l Star Awards Show , the show for kids will be hosted by Shreyas Talpade and Javed Jaffrey.

Child artistes Dheirya Sonecha, Shriya Sharma, Aishwarya Majumdar, Vineet Singh and Amey Pandya are in the judges panel, which is being headed by actress Neetu Singh.

Awards have been divided into 19 categories including best dialogue, best friend and best comedian.

Shah Rukh, Kareena Kapoor and cricketer Yuvraj Singh will perform at the award function.