I don't have any kissing scenes in Raaz 2

All excited about his next release, Raaz 2 The Myster Continues, Emraan talks to us about his role in the film, his fears and the fact that he won't have any lip locks in the movie.

Role in the film - I play a painter whose name is Prithvi and he can foresee the future of a model Nandita played by Kangana Ranaut. And in my character the audiences will find different grey shades which surely can be spooky. I'm quite excited that finally I'm the part of a horror film. I had always wished that my debut film should be a horror film but didn't happen.

What scares Emraan - Believe it not but I am scared of kisses in the films that I have to do. Also I am scared of the dark so whenever I sleep I always have one dim light on and I am also scared of empty corridors after watching The Shining.

No kissing scenes in Raaz 2 - I don't have any kissing scenes and that's why I'm feeling very relaxed. All the kissing scenes are done by Adhyayan Suman!

On his new lean look in Raaz 2 - Mohit told me to reduce my weight as it was the requirement of the character and so I gave up on all junk food, switched from aata to nachni rotis and gave up bread completely.

Six packs - I am not much of a fitness freak and hate this six pack - eight pack business. I would like to admit that I am a very lazy person when it comes to body building. But I feel all this is just a fad. It is okay if one has to do for a particular role otherwise its silly to flaunt it every now and then in films.

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I admit I have no friends in Mumbai: Deepika

Being a star at 23 is not easy. Deepika has no friends in Mumbai. And she doesn't have any qualms in admitting it.

So busy is the stunning actress that she went off for the North American and London premieres of Chandni Chowk To China just when her sister Anisha was playing at a national golf tournament in Pune.

"Yes Anisha who's five years younger to me and the baby of the family was playing in Pune just when I left for my premieres. I'd have definitely liked to watch her, " says Deepika wistfully.

"But then maybe having family around to watch her play would make her selfconscious. She needs to find her own identity away from the family cocoon. And for that we need to leave her along to swim in the waters and face the storms. So in a way it was good that I wasn't around when she played."

Deepika has been traveling unchaperoned all through the year. "Both me and my sister have been taught to be selfdependent. I am 23 and very proud of it. I'm young and raring to go.

Age has nothing to do with maturity. I started traveling alone at a very young age (12) as a badminton player. That made feel responsible from a very young age. I learnt to travel in a team share dormitories and bathrooms.

You could say I've roughed it out. My parents made sure my sister and I were brought up with normal workingclass values."

She says she isn't into celebrations. "I've never been the partying type. I'm not much into celebrations ever since I moved to Mumbai to become an actress. I don't have any friends to call over.

Earlier when I was in Bangalore I used to call all my friends over for my birthday over and then take them bowling or to watch a movie…"

She trails off. "Now all my free days are spent with my family. My entire family comes down from Bangalore to Mumbai for my birthday every year. It becomes a family reunion time. The came to visit me around my birthday. My Dad, mom and sister were here. We also paid a visit to Tirupathi for my birthday this year."

And now Deepika travelled all across the US, Toronto and London, all on her own.

"Why do you say that? " she shoots back. "I had the Chandni Chowk To China team with me. We were hopping from city to city. The only sleep I got was on flight."

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Kareena, Katrina and Yana to dance at beauty pageant

Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Yana Gupta are set to add a dash of glamour at the grand finale of PC Jewellers Miss India Worldwide pageant to be held at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, on January 31.

"There will be a mix of beauty, talent and glamour at the finale of the pageant, with Bollywood beauties shaking a leg with the participants; it will be an evening to remember," host Deepak Tijori said at the press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Deepak's Tijori Entertainment is hosting the show with Kaleidovision.

The 20 finalists will go through a 10-day grilling regime.

"Training is not going to be a cakewalk for them. They will have to go through a tough and hectic regime of around 14 hours a day, which means they cannot take it easy," said Mehar Bhasin, who will look after the grooming of the contestants.

"The finalists will undergo an exclusively designed training and grooming regime that includes fitness, diction, psyche, aptitude, hair and make-up sessions. The training will enhance their confidence not only for the finale, but for further rounds to be held on the international stage as well," she added.

Beauty expert Blossom and Samantha Kochhar will take care of their beauty and hair, while fitness tips will be given by model-turned-actors Milind Soman and Rahul Dev.

Designer duo Rahul and Rohit Gandhi of the label Cue will design cocktail and evening wears for the participant. Madhu Jain and Milind Soman of the label M will design Indian traditional wear for the grand finale.

What makes this pageant different from other beauty pageants is the fact that even short girls may take part.

Tijori said: "This pageant is not restricted by banalities like physical shortcomings; the absence of height criteria and swim suit rounds makes it different from the conventional pageants.

"Majority of the Indian girls do not match the height criteria of other beauty pageants. Though they might have oodles of talent one shortcoming ruins all their chances of applying there. We understood this thing and came with a concept that will cheer up many beautiful and talented girls all over India."

Miss India Worldwide started 17 years ago and the contestants were primarily selected from the Indian diaspora. But it was felt that the pageant without a participant from India would be incomplete.

Then Tijori Entertainment and Kaleidovision took its franchisee from the Indian Festival Committee (IFC), a pioneer organisation conducting Indian pageants and fashion shows, in the US and worldwide.
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Men still find Aishwarya a desirable woman

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is proving to be an ageless beauty. She's made to the sexy, hot and beautiful lists around the world many times. Now she's been voted as the most desirable woman in the world. Age han't deterred this woman in any way.

The happily married actress has been ranked 48th in the annual survey titled 'Top 50 Most Desirable Women in the World' conducted by leading men's portal AskMen.

Though her name features towards the end, she still managed to outshine an internationally renowned face like that of singer-actress Beyonce. Ash is the only Indian beauty in the top 50.

Voters were asked to select their ideal partner based on 'intelligence, charisma and ambition' in the survey.

The list is topped by American actress Eva Mendes followed by other names like Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie, Heidi Klum and Jessica Alba.

Two years back Ash was voted the 9th most beautiful woman in a survey by Harpers and Queen.

But even after marriage and at 35 she's considered piping hot.

Ash has also cleverly managed her career after marriage.

She has movies like Mani Ratnam's 'Ravana' with hubby Abhishek Bachchan, 'Endhiran' (Robot) with Rajinikanth, a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film opposite Hrithik Roshan, a Farhan Akhtar-Ritesh Sidhwani production co- starring Abhi and a film with Akshay Kumar.

Well, this dame seems to deservingly have all the luck.

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Slumdog Millionaire - Movie Review

Starring: Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Dev Patel, Freida Pinto
Director: Danny Boyle

Anil Kapoor stood up and cheered lustily into the camera when Danny Boyle won the Golden Golden Globe last weekend. I wish I could share his enthusiasm for Danny's phenomenal flight into frenzy. After all the accolades and awards Slumdog Millionaire (SM) proves to be a deafening blow to the year that saw Mumbai go numb with terror.

SM takes nasty below-the-belt potshots at the underbelly of the city, portraying Mumbai as the armpit among the metropolises.

Mira Nair once paid a warm endearing homage to the street children of Mumbai in Salaam Bombay.Long before, Satyajit Ray in Pather Panchali portrayed rural India as poor but never as a gutter of misery.

It's now Danny Boyle's turn to do a 'Slam' Mumbai. The coming-of-age tale about three orphaned chawl kids bears just a passing resemblance to Boyle's rightly-celebrated Trainspotting where the director trailed a bunch of misfits through the streets of Edinburgh.

Slumdog Millionaire is Trainspotting on steroids. It's a beefed -up look at the scummy side of Mumbai, bewildering in its obsession with discovering life in the chawls of Dharavi (curiously the protagonist Jamal is referred to as "the boy from Juhu") as being a facsimile of that drain-inspector's report which Mahatma Gandhi had discovered American journalist Katherine Mayo's account of India in Mother India to be.

Slumdog Millionaire is worse. It looks at Mumbai as a swarming slum of sleaze sex and crime with characters who seem to have jumped out of Rakesh Roshan's and Manmohan Desai's cinema bruising their deep-focussed emblematic quality while making this huge global leap from 'Bollywood' to 'Hollywood'.

After seeing Boyle's much talked-of film it's crystal clear why this murky and squalid portrait of Mumbai has the Americans preening in delight.

At one point after being thrashed mercilessly our hero Jamal tells American tourists, "You wanted to see real India? Here it is. "

"Now we'll show you the real America," the American lady replies handing Jamal a 100-dollar bill.

This, without any apparent sense of irony.

This isn't the 'real' India. This is India as seen through the eyes of a Westerner who's selling desi squalor packaged as savvy slick entertainment.

There is a very thin line dividing slick from scum. Slumdog Millionaire doesn't stop to make those subtle distinctions. It moves at a frenetic pace creating a kind of sweaty energy that one sees in marathon runners in the last lap of their journey.

Boyle is constantly busy whipping up a hysterical banshee of sights and sounds in Mumbai denoting the embittered angry generation of the underprivileged class that grows up in the slums dreaming of the Good Life.

Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle shoots Mumbai with a gun rather than a camera. Every frame conveys the killer instinct. Every shot ricochets across eternity solidifying sounds and feelings that are otherwise intangible.

Yup, this is a film on a mission. It wants to exploit the Mumbai slums as a hotbed of tantalizing images conveying the splendour of squalidity.

And to think every prominent of the cast and crew went around proclaiming Slumdog Millionaire would do wonders for Mumbai's tourism industry!

Yeah, right. It does as much for the cause of Mumbai as Rolamd Joffe's The City Of Joy did for Kolkata. That much-vilified film at least secreted a core of humanism under its pretentious surface. Slumdog doesn't even pretend to care for the city that it so unabashedly cruises in search of imperialistic tantalization.

From Frame 1 Danny Boyle goes for the jugular. Every scent and stench of the city is converted into a liquid asset.Groups of defecating young boys running out in otherworldly ecstacy when they spot Amitabh Bachchan's helicopter hovering abovehead becomes a celebration of lowly life.

Our protagonist Jamal dunks himself into excreta from head to toe and wades through the disgusted crowd to get Mr Bachchan's autograph.

The star signs calmly, as though exceptionally smelly young boys covered in human waste are the odour of the day.

Such moments define Boyle's attitude to Mumbai. He sees it as city where humour emerges from human waste.

But who's laughing? Even communal riots are not spared of this tantalizing trivilazation of abject misery. Rioters descend on a Muslim locality like Bandits attacking a village in the Chambal valley. A mean Mumbai Mafioso (Ankur Vakil) gouges out orphans' eyes and makes them beg on the streets singing what appears to be his favourite Bhajan Darshan do ghamshyam ad nauseam.

Even Madhur Bhandarkar got it better in Traffic Signal.

There's absoloutely no sense of historic sensitivity in the narrative.

"If it was not for Ram and Allah, my mother would be alive," says our regretful hero Jamal after the riots.

Such corny dialogues, so much a part of Vikas Swarup's novel is minimized in the film. But not enough. Some of the outrageously filmy plot maneouverings from the novel like the game show host (played in the film with cheesy relish by Anil Kapoor) turning out to be Jamal's illegitimate father, are done away with.

But the film nevertheless remains as wedded to kitsch and as ridden with coincidences and implausibilities as any formula Hindi film. In fact the two runaway brothers from the chawl being called Salim and Jamal seems like a backhanded homage to Salim-Javed the pair that wrote the hit films of the era that Slumdog Millionaire adopts, the 1970s

Every sequence is punctuated and edited to accentuate the cinematic aspect of the drama. Each time game-show host Anil Kapoor has to provide our callow hero Jamal a clue, a flackback highlighting the theme of the quiz-question, is conveniently arranged in the plot.

Squalour never appeared designed than it does in Slumdog Millionaire. Bollywood has never been more audaciously honoured. This is an over-hyped and disappointing film that insults Mumbai, culminates with a Bollywood –styled item song on a railway platform.

Mike Myers does it far less self-consciously in The Love Guru.

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Raaz - The Mystery Continues - Movie Review

Rating: ***1/2

The team behind Raaz - The Mystery Continues have often clarified that it's not a sequel to RAAZ, one of the most interesting cinematic experiences, besides being the biggest Hit of that year. Yet, you cannot but draw parallels with the first film of the franchise.

Horror as a genre hasn't been tapped to the optimum in India. We've witnessed spooky fares in the past and some of them have succeeded in making you break into a cold sweat (BHOOT stands tall in this list). Last year's PHOONK and 1920 were scary movies as well.

There's tremendous curiosity to watch Raaz - The Mystery Continues, but does it scare the living daylights out of you? Fortunately, yes!

The story (Mohit Suri) is absorbing and Mohit treats the subject like a veteran, as if he knows the genre very well. There're moments that make your heart beat faster, you watch the events with eyes and jaws wide open.

Sure, there're blemishes as well, but they don't overpower the plusses or make you change your opinion about the film. While the beginning and the middle of the film is engrossing, it's the end that could've been better thought of.

Wanna get scared? Wanna get goose pimples? Buy the ticket for Raaz - The Mystery Continues pronto. It lives up to the hype and expectations completely.

A brooding artist Prithvi (Emraan Hashmi) experiences mysterious and distressing visions about Nandita (Kangna Ranaut), a woman he has never met, while he paints on canvas. Intrigued by these visions, Prithvi tracks her down and warns her that these are not merely paintings of her, but accidents that are waiting to happen.

At first, Nandita refuses to believe him and dismisses him as an eccentric stalker. However, the striking resemblance between Prithvi's paintings and the near-death incidents in her life is hard to ignore.

Now, one of Prithvi's paintings has revealed her as dead. The only way she can change her fate is to unravel this mystery with his help, at the risk of alienating herself from her boyfriend, Yash (Adhyayan Suman). But he refuses to believe in Prithvi's premonitions. Will Nandita risk her love and her life to unravel this mystery?

Most of us have heard, witnessed or perhaps had a first-hand experience of supernatural. The present-day generation may, perhaps, term it as wild imagination or hallucination, while the believers may have their point of view. Mohit and screenplay writer Shagufta Rafique's characters in Raaz - The Mystery Continues are believers and non-believers, both.

Mohit smartly builds up the atmosphere. Sample these: Emraan and Kangna's first encounter at a mall and minutes later, inside an elevator; the New Year bash when Kangna is 'attacked' by spirits; Kangna's experience in her bathtub and also when she looks at the mirror; Kangna almost jumping off a cliff; the highpoint sequence, when angry bulls attack Emraan and Kangna. Incredible sequences all! Mohit has handled the most difficult portions with panache.

However, the entire flashback part, towards the pre-climax, is not as convincing. The ending too could've been better in terms of writing, although Mohit has filmed it exceptionally well.

Mohit's choice of the subject as also the actors is right. This is, without doubt, his finest effort to date. Shagufta's screenplay is watertight at most times. Like always, the Bhatts come up with a lilting musical score and at least two songs -- 'Soniyo' (Raju Singh) and 'Maahi' (Sharib-Toshi) -- are first-rate compositions. Ravi Walia's cinematography is up to the mark. The effects are impressive.

On the acting front, both Emraan and Kangna vie for top honours. Emraan is excellent. He conveys a lot through facial expressions and that's the sign of a proficient actor. He's just getting better and better with every film. Kangna is top notch.

After FASHION, this one's another power-packed performance from the actress. Adhyayan Suman is super-confident and registers a strong impact, especially towards the climax. He shows promise. Jackie Shroff is quite okay in a brief role.

On the whole, Raaz - The Mystery Continues is rich in the horror quotient and that is one of its major USPs, besides the highly competent performances by its principal cast and a lilting musical score.

At the box-office, this one will continue the winning streak of Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt's Vishesh Films. The 4-day weekend (Monday, January 26 in a holiday) will only cement its status further. Go for it!

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