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February - March 2007


Film, Art & Culture

by Kishan Sharma


On 14 January, makar shakranti day, the engagement of much talked about pair of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan was announced. They will be married on the 19th February 2007 at The Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. Though some people still donot take this news seriously, since Aishwarya Rai has in the past ditched Salman Khan and Viveik Oberoi, and Abhishek Bachchan also ditched Karishma Kapooror vice versa. But, looking at the Aishwarya Rai’s visits to Varanasi and Pushkar temples and Ajmer dargah, it seems to be a true story now. Aishwarya’s Pushkar temple visit created another controversy and the temple priests cleaned the temple with Pushkar’s holy tank water and Ganges water after it was known that Aishwarya’s bodyguards were drunk and they misbehaved with the crowd. The entire Bachchan family – Amitabh, Jaya and Abhishek, traveled on foot without shoes, for almost 15 kilometers, to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha at the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai. Like any other common man, they were also frisked by the policemen before allowing them to enter the temple. Incidentally, Aishwarya Rai is facing another problem from the Enforcement Directorate. She has to clarify her position to the authorities in the cases of huge amount of unaccounted cash received by her through hawala. It might be interesting to mention that Mumbai has said a resounding “no” to Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan marriage in a recently conducted survey by a news paper. However, people are looking forward to the 19th February 2007.



Actor Salman Khan has turned to another art form to fulfill his creative urges. Salman has taken to painting seriously. Inspired by his mother, Salma, he has been painting away furiously. Salman is said to be good at sketching and painting , but he never spent time following it up as a passion. It is nearly a year now, since he has taken up painting again in a big way. Again, inspired by his writer father Salim, Salman has also started writing scripts, and he is getting good offers from many producers to write for their next projects. Incidentally, Salman and Aishwarya Rai had tough time when they came face to face with each other at the Baabul premiere. They both started moving in opposite directions. John Abraham entered the venue just when Salman was leaving.



Whereas Sanjay Dutt starrer Lage Raho Munna Bhai has clicked everywhere, he is facing difficult times in his life. He has been visiting various temples and religious places to seek blessings. He has to appear in the court to hear the court verdict in the arms case in January. He has been granted time to surrender but has been held guilty under the Arms Act for illegally possessing a prohibited AK-56 rifle and a 9 mm pistol. Some film people planned a signature campaign in support of Sanjay Dutt, but had to call off the campaign under the threat of a contempt notice. In the mean time, Sanjay Dutt is learnt to have decided to forget his girl friend Nadia Durrani from Lahore. The reason for the split is not known to even his friends.



It is reliably learnt that the Bollywood girl Shilpa Shetty is likely to be evicted from the “Big Brother” just seven days after she entered the reality show. Shilpa Shetty became the first Bollywood star to participate in the original British reality show. It is feared that she is up for eviction by a public vote. Shilpa says that she is not aware of programme organizers’ surprise move. Shilpa Shetty is up against Jermaine Jackson, Jade, and her boyfriend Jack, and, Jade’s mother Jackiey. The main problem seems to be the fact that most of the British viewers are not even aware of who Shilpa Shetty is.



Shah Rukh Khan is not leaving any opportunity to take over Amitabh Bachchan. After his Don received mixed reactions from world over, he is now set to host Kaun Banega Crorepati, which was earlier hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. To train himself for the new job, Shah Rukh Khan is said to have converted his bungalow into the set of Kaun Banega Crorepati, and rehearses the programme for at least five hours every day with his close friends like Karan Johar and Farah Khan. Amitabh Bachchan was trying to copy the host of the original English programme and now Shah Rukh Khan has to follow Amitabh Bachchan. He is trying to create new stock-phrases for the programme in place of Amitabh Bachchan’s popular words like “computerji” and “lock kiya jaaye”. The Star Plus channel is said to have signed a 52 episodes contract with Shah Rukh Khan for an undisclosed high amount.



Probably for the first time, singer Jagjit Singh performed with singer Anup Jalota in U.K. recently. Anup Jalota has performed with singer Ghulam Ali, singer Talat Aziz and others in the past in USA, UK and other countries. But Jagjit Singh, who prefers giving his solo performances most of the time, presented a lively concert with Anup Jalota. Now, Jagjit Singh has started performing on the stage with lyricist Gulzar, who has penned lyrics for Jagjit Singh’s latest album.



Actress Bipasha Basu was actually approached to attend the event to highlight the commitment of sex workers in preventing AIDS. She said “no” to attend the event, and made the organizers feel happily surprised when she said, “I will not be present just for the name sake. I will dance with the sex workers.” The organizers almost fainted at her such warm response. She will dance with 8 sex workers on the stage on the popular song – Beedi Jalai Le. Bipasha Basu said that dancing on stage is not something that comes easily to her, but she thought it would be a good idea to dance with these women as they would feel encouraged.

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