What John, Celina, Shilpa have in common

John Abraham, Celina Jaitley, Shilpa Shetty and Malaika Arora Khan have something in common apart from their celebrity status. They have come forward to endorse a message for animal welfare in the country.

Whether it is turning vegetarian, binding themselves in chains, getting inside cages or going out of their way to provide shelter to animals - the actors have done their bit to promote awareness about cruelty against animals.

"When it comes to raising awareness for animals, the celebrities are available at a click for the cause. They do it for free and give us time from their tight schedule knowing what they are standing for, " Anuradha Sawhney, chief functionary of PETA India, told over phone from Pune.

Sawhney said PETA India did not, in fact, try to rope in celebrities just for the sake of it, but noted that when a known face says something to people, the impact is greater.

Launched in 2000, PETA India is the Indian chapter of the US-based animal rights organisation People for Ethical Treatment of Animals.

The celebrity involvement in campaigns for animals started in 2001 when actresses Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit wrote letters to people in South Africa and Assam appealing for the endangered black rhino and elephants respectively.

Since then, celebrities like Rahul Dev, Ameesha Patel, Eesha Koppikhar, Yana Gupta, Raveena Tandon, Gulshan Grover, Shamita Singha, Jiah Khan, Rahul Khanna and controversy queens Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra have shed their inhibitions to wear outrageous outfits, sometimes, just leaves or red chillies to spread the message that animals must not be killed for commerce.

Celina Jaitley, who appeared in a torn and tattered grey vest and was tied with chains for a PETA ad to save elephants from captivity, said: "I have been an animal lover all my life...they are the most loyal and unconditional givers of love...they complete us and bring joy to us with their crazy antics. But we humans don't understand their value and treat them with cruelty for our own purpose, which is wrong."

Shilpa Shetty, who reflected her concern for the misery of circus animals through a print commercial, told via text from South Africa: "Just the thought of getting into the cage for the PETA ad made me so uncomfortable...just imagine what animals who spend their entire life in cages go through."

Another actor who has worked relentlessly for the cause is John Abraham. He provided a helping hand in creating India's first elephant village in Maharashtra, for which he was even awarded an EcoWarrior award in 2008.

"Real men are kind to animals. If we don't treat our animals and the habitat with kindness today, it'll be not long that we lose both, " John said.

The celebrity involvement did not go in vain.

"We had a tremendous response when John got into a cage to show the dilemma of caged birds. We even had a fabulous response for Shilpa and Rakhi's ads where they got themselves caged to show the plight of circus animals, " said Sawhney.

"Children from schools wrote to us pledging not to visit any circuses that had any animals. The response has been fabulous and it increases each time a celebrity does a campaign. Even when the Big B was voted the hottest vegetarian three times in a row (2002-2004), the response was huge and his fans even asked us to help them turn veggies, " she added.

While actors like Raveena Tandon and Lara Dutta are "very anti-fur and anti-leather", said Sawhney, other indirect efforts by celebrities to stop atrocities against animals have been by promoting vegetarianism.

These efforts have involved Aditi Govitrikar, Mahima Choudhary, Rajniesh Duggall and Devang Patel among others.

Actor R. Madhavan and Kareena Kapoor were also voted the "cutest vegetarians" of 2007 with Kareena even bagging the crown for 2008's "sexiest vegetarian".

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Gul Panag tears Mahesh Bhatt apart in public

High drama took place during the book reading session of Varon BK Sharma’s acclaimed novel Assasination of George Bush at Crossword’s Juhu branch. Actress Gul Panag, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and filmmaker cum activist Ashok Pandit engaged in a verbal duel which led to early wrapping up of the book reading session.

The high voltage book, Assassination of George Bush written by actor turned novelist, Varon BK Sharma has been fast gaining popularity and to celebrate its success a book reading session was organized.

It saw a decent celebrity turnout of Bollywood town folks such as Mahesh Bhatt, Gul Panag, Shefali Shah, Ashok Pandit, Suchitra Pillai, Roza Catallano, Aman Verma and socialite Nisha Jamwal.

Since the celebrities present had already read the book, a healthy discussion began on its content and the issue of global Islamic terrorism it deals with.

One thing lead to another and when the topic came to why there are few Muslims in Indian army; a heated argument took place between Gul Panag and Mahesh Bhatt. Gul comes from an army background and she therefore put up her views more strongly.

Ashok Pandit too chipped in voicing his opinion on the topic. Mahesh Bhatt known for his command over such issues, for once appeared cornered. Soon their voices raised as their argument continued and it was all happening right in front of the present media and the guests present.

The Crossword store official sensing that the matter would go out of hand intervened and hurriedly announced the end of the event. Bhatt was seen leaving the venue in a huff post that.

When asked, Varon who has also written the critically acclaimed film directed by Subhash Ghai, Black and White, said, “I feel it was a healthy debate and nothing much should be read into that. The matters of the book are explosive so some sparks are bound to fly.”

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I'm going to Cannes with Sylvester Stallone: Bebo

Sajid Nadiadwala is taking his new big-budget film Kambhakt Ishq to Cannes.

And he isn’t going alone.

The film’s luscious lead will accompany him. Akshay Kumar who’s currently shooting in Singapore and Kareena Kapoor who’s in New York will be in Cannes to walk the red carpet with our glamorous pair.

And giving them company would be Sylvester Stallone who plays a key role in the film. Stallone has been making discreet inquiries about the release of the film. When informed of producer Sajid Nadiadwala’s plans at Cannes Stallone apparently readily agreed. He’s extremely fond of both Akshaya and Kareena.

“Is he?” chuckles Akshay from Singapore. “That’s flattering. When in my early years I was working in Bangkok I had three posters in my room, that of Sridevi, Bruce Lee and Sylvester Stallone.”

Adds Kareena, “It would be lovely to walk the red carpet with Sylvester Stallone. How many of our actors would get that privilege?”

The details of the historic waltz at Cannes have almost being worked out.

Says Sajid cautiously. “We’re working on it. It will be in place soon.”

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Get ready for Mr. India 2

As a four week special, today we bring a writer par excellence - Kamlesh Pandey, who talks about his most ambitious film to arrive in the near future because he believes, "Good writing can change minds, and great writing can change the world."

Writer/Story: Kamlesh Pandey

Film (tentatively titled): Mr. India 2

Producers: Shekhar Kapur and Manmohan Shetty

The Concept:

"Shekhar and I have been meeting forever. He has directed many advertisements for me while I was into advertising. Ads like the Lux commercial with Aamir Khan, Chocobix commercial, etc. Now this was more than a decade back. I was writing Shekhar's film called Champion which was going to launch Bobby Deol as an actor.

But somehow the project never conceptualized. After that, he went to Hollywood and got busy filming in the West. But every time he used to visit India, we both often met for lunches at my place.

After watching Rang De Basanti, he came home one day when we had the delicious Sarson Da Saag and Maake Di Roti. After RDB, he started staying back in India a lot more because his daughter was also growing up. Shekhar has this habit of keeping in touch with what I am doing.

Time went by and just six months ago I got a call from Manmohan Shetty's office saying that Shekhar wanted to meet me. I went to meet him and he asked me the golden question, "Would you like to do a sequel to Mr. India?" I replied, "Why not?"

Now not many know that after getting inspired by Sridevi's role in Mr. India, I had written Chalbaaz for Pankaj Parashar."

Casting of Mogambo:

"If you go to see, Mr. India, back then, was considered to be a superhero film in a way. My first question to Shekhar was, "The soul of Mr. India was Amrish Puri. He is the guy who made the film what it is today.

Sridevi has always been good. There is no doubt about that. She has been dependable and reliable. But where do we get the soul of the film from?" I am not going to detail how we've replaced Amrish Puri. Today there is no one of the stature of Amrish.

I don't think any media knows how Shekhar explained the role of Mogambo to Amrish Puri. Shekhar told him, "Imagine you're doing King Lear on the stage". Amrish caught it immediately back then as he had done a lot of theatre in Mumbai and Delhi.

The whole flamboyance you see in Mogambo was that of a typical Shakespearean actor. So our worst nightmare was not writing Mr. India 2, but to decide who would bring back the same as Amrish Puri did in the sequel.

The most obvious option now was to take a big hero today and make him a villain, which is not unusual in today's time."

The Story:

"Shekhar believes that the first draft is the best draft because at least there is something to react to on paper. I mean, you cannot react to a blank paper, can you? So I wrote the story and he reacted instantaneously. He then added a few ideas and finally the story was complete.

I will not be letting the story out but will brief you a bit on the problem we faced while scripting. Mr. India was released in 1987. We are bringing him back after almost 23 years now. So where was he all this while? What did he do? These were the questions which we had to find answers to.

By the way, the original Mr. India was highly inspired by the old classic Kishore Kumar film Mr. X in Bombay. That was the first film in India to bring the invisibility aspect into films.

Mr. India was a novelty then but now the invisible aspect isn't going to be the USP of Mr. India 2. It has to be something else. Speaking of the earlier story of Mr. India, more than a superhero film, which it was, it also tackled the issues of common people of India and those issues were very real.

So now in the sequel, we need to tackle the real problems what we are facing today."

The Director:

The next big question after the casting of Mogambo was - Who will direct Mr. India 2 because Shekhar himself does not want to direct as he is to busy with his dream project, Paani. He really wants to get Paani out of the way. Shekhar's Paani is very much a Mumbai film set out of India.

It's a science fiction story located in the future. The film tells the story of a city divided into two. Those few who can afford water and, those who cannot and have to fight for it. And those who can afford it protect it with armed might. It tells the story of one year in the life of this city.

From one Harvest festival of Holi to the next. So now you can imagine how busy Mr. Kapur is with the film. Shekhar met many directors till he roped in one but at the last moment, he opted out. Can't name him.

Now that we had the script and the story in place, I wanted the director in place because it makes sense to do the screenplay along with the director as I didn't want to bother Shekhar all the time.

Right now we are without a director and we are desperately looking for one. We have many good directors who are technically very sound but we need someone who has the spirit of directing something like Mr. India 2. Shekhar is in search for that spirit."

Anil Kapoor, Satish Kaushik and the Kids:

"Anil is very excited to be a part of the sequel to Mr. India, and in order to do justice to the sequel, we have also kept some of the characters real and have roped them in from the previous film.

Like Satish Kaushik as Calendar, Ahmed Khan, etc. Mr. India still exists, Anil Kapoor still exists. Whether his appearance has changed or not, is something for which you'll have to wait and watch. What's funny is that he has even got the same cap and the same old coat which still fits him.

Anil is the only actor who still looks the same as he used to while he was in Mr. India. In the last decade, many people have seen Mr. India on television channels and they all must've already set a mental block for the film. So bearing in mind all these things, the characters also have to be designed.

Anil has now become fantastic and a brand name after Slumdog Millionaire. My second film as a writer was Tezaab. So we know each other since then.

In fact, he was not the hero of Tezaab initially. It was Aditya Panscholi who was to do the lead role. He is definitely going to bring a lot of maturity to the sequel of Mr. India 2."

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I've never posed in the nude: Kangana Ranaut

The forever-flighty Kangna Ranaut returned to Mumbai from a gruelling month-lomg shooting of a Telugu film to horrifying rumours of how she had done a nude scene down South.

Kangna is enraged. “Nude? I’d never do a nude scene in my entire life even if someone makes me to do it at gun point. I come from a very conservative background.

If my parents were to ever see that I’ve crossed the line of morality they’d drag me back to Himachal. Yes, I’ve done aesthetically-shot pictures which reveal my physique. And why not? I’ve worked really hard on getting my body muscular and toned.”

But nudes? “No way. I’ve never posed in the nude, never will, no matter how right the zeroes on the cheque are.I’ve an inbuilt censor code.”

So how did these rumours of going ‘all the way’ start? “You tell me. Journalists started calling up my Telugu director Puri Jagannath in Hyderabad while we were shooting. He, poor man, was so scandalized he almost had a heart attack. Puri is one of the most successful and respected filmmakers of Telugu cinema.”

Clarifying that there are no nude sequences in the Telugu film Kangna says, “Even the much-hyped ‘nude’ scene in Raaz 2 was a hoax. I wore a body suit in the bath tub. I don’t think taking off all of one’s clothes is a cool thing to do.”

Kangna is back in Mumbai for a couple of days only for costume and makeup trials for Ekta Kapoor’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbai.

“I play the only glamour element in the otherwise-dark film. This would be my most glamorous role. My look has to go from the late 1960s to the 1970s.”

Kangna’s clothes are being done by Manoshi Nath who did the ‘stylized’ look on Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky Luck Oye.

Says Kangna, “The challenge in Ekta’s film is to look glamorous without any body exposure. I think it’s possible.”

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John to do love scenes with director's wife in 1-800-Love

After director Sam Mandes' spectacular spousal success directing his wife Kate Winslet in the richly resonant Revolutionary Road in '1-800-Love' John will be romancing his director Abbas Tyrewala's wife.

And he is cool about it. "I know Abbas and Pakhi well. They make a beautiful couple. There's absolutely no awkwardness about doing a love story with the director's wife.

Pakhi has co-written the script and knows her character and mine, in and out. She's an unknown face and extremely pretty. These are her biggest advantages. A beautiful woman whom the audience hasn't seen."

John is dead serious about this project. "I'm going to sit on script readings with Abbas, do workshops and rehearsals with Pakhi, just like Abbas did with the cast in Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. 'm hungry for acting challenges.

But most of the time my physicality comes on much too strongly on screen. People haven't really seen the performances I'm really proud of, like No Smoking, Kabul Express, Zinda and Aashayein.

My physicality always takes precedence. But you know what? I'll change that. I've been in this industry only five years. People have started looking differently at me after Dostana. The body was talked about. But when they praise my performance it really feels good."

Where next? "Nagesh Kukunoor's Aashayein. I'm very proud of it.Yes, it has been delayed. There's a problem between Reliance and Percept that needs to be sorted. We're working on a solution.

Aashayein is a beautiful film and we have to release it. Another film I'm really excited about is Kabir Khan's New York. I know I've got it right this time.

Kabir says so. It's an awesome film. And I'm thankful to Aditya Chopra for showing faith in me at a time when I didn't have Dostana."

John describes himself as an off-roader. "I travel my own road. Like I'm doing Abbas Tyrewala's 1:800 Love. When he offered me that film he was directing Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na. The film's producer Madhu Mantena had Ghajini in the making and I was doing Dostana.

By God's grace we all have a success on hand. So we're a proud team and very comfortable with.

It's my intense love story and it's such a wonderful space to be in. Before Dostana I was only doing films that kept me within my comfort zone. Now I'm going to test myself as an actor as much as possible."

When questioned whether he would feel any awkwardness directing love scenes between his wife and John, Abbas Tyrewala said, "I hope not! If I can't remember they're acting then I lose the moral ground to ever a direct a girl in a love scene. Luckily I've never written explicit love scenes in my film.

The only explicit love-making scene I've conceived was for Vishal Bhardwaj's Maqbool.

That apart I like my writing to be benign. It doesn't matter whether my wife is acting or not. I can't forget my parents will be watching my film."

Kiddie times again for Aamir

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I couldn't let Shyam sir down: Minissha Lamba

Minissha Lamba has just returned from a gruelling one month outdoor schedule of WELL DONE ABBA. Though she is chilling out at the moment and catching up with friends and family, she looks back quite fondly on working with director Shyam Benegal.

“Much before beginning to shoot for the film, I was sure about one thing that I couldn’t let Shyam sir down”, says Minissha with respect in her voice for the veteran film maker, “Here I was working with a man who has been directing for 35 years now so I had to be nothing but perfect with my performance.”

With such a senior person calling the shots, wasn’t it intimidating to take directions from him?

“Honestly, it wasn’t intimidating because Shyam sir is a pro in working with actors. He knows how to take care of them and extract the best out of them.

This is why I didn’t even know how an entire month passed by and the shooting got over. More than him calling the shots, what was really unnerving was the kind of immense pressure that I had put myself into. For me, every day was a challenge as I had to give my very best”, she shoots off.

“With such an ensemble cast in the film, you have to be on your toes all the time. There were some scenes in particular which were quite challenging and I didn’t really know where I was and what was I doing.

But as I said, Shyam sir gets it going for his actors at the end of the day. I can only say that working in WELL DONE ABBA was an educative trip for me and I only came back a little more well versed in cinema”, signs off Minissha.

With Boman Irani playing the title role of ‘Abba’ and Minissha Lamba as his daughter, the film also stars Sameer Dattani (as Minissha’s love interest), Ravi Kishan, Ila Arun, Salim Ghouse, Sonali Kulkarni, Rajit Kapoor, Yashpal Sharma and Ravi Jhankal. A BIG Pictures production, the film has lyrics by Swanand Kirkire, Ila Arun and Ashok Mishra with music by Shantanu Moitra.

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Many people may not know but I am married: Sampada Vaze

Q. What qualities would you look for in your man?
A. I get along invariably with men. I see how they talk and whether they know what they are talking. He should be well spoken and well informed, aware of the rest of the world as well. I have a great admiration and respect for self mad man. He should have respect for women and most importantly for my family.

Q. Does looks matter to you?
A. No, not at all because I don’t rate high looks to anyone and very often good looking men or women have ego problems, which I have invariably found. I don’t think looks matter at all and that parameters are high on that part.

Q. Your take on ‘love at first sight’…
A. I don’t believe in love at first sight at all. I think it’s more like attraction and you build up on that.

Q. Your first crush?
A. I was in the sixth standard or something and there was a very cute boy in my club house, who was a good swimmer and had a very unusual name, Dussand. And after so many years I don’t remember his face but his name (laughs).

Q. Do you believe in going out on dates to know a person?
A. Yeah! Absolutely because other than that how will you know a person. Our parents and our grandparents did not have that luxury but we have got it and we should use it and should make a conscious choice.

Q. Should your man woo you with flowers and all the other chivalrous trappings?
A. I am not very impressed with all these. I am a very instinctive person and I think I like those who do more straight talking and one who talks sense. And moreover when I was in college I used to get tons of flowers, so I don’t get impressed by flowers at all honestly.

Q. Are men and women different?
A. Yes, very different. But I don’t say they are radically different. I won’t say men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Q. Is it possible to find the perfect man?
A. I don’t think there is a perfect woman so like wise there is no perfect men. So you only be lucky if you find a perfect men or women.

Q. There is a lot of talk about giving space in a relationship, what’s your definition of space?
A. I am a strong believer in that. You definitely need to give the other person space to grow. By space I mean definitely following separate profession as I don’t believe in forcing someone in doing something which he may not like.

You and your partner can have separate friends and there should be faith and belief on one another giving proper space. You can have separate interest and when you have that there are many things to talk about.

Q. Would parental consent be important?
A. Yes it’s very important because whether we like it or not, we all are product of our parents and if our parents don’t agree with us, I mean on logical basis not on the religious basis, then it would definitely cause you to think ten times.

Q. Given a chance to date a historical character, who would he be and why?
A. Oh my God! It has to be John f. Kennedy, he is so charismatic I have read his books I think he is amazing.

Q. What do you think about the institution of marriage?
A. I am definitely a believer in it, but if some one prefers to have a live in relationship she should not be forced to get married. But I personally feel that marriage is important.

Q. What would you do if your man turned out to be a gay?
A. I would congratulate him for keeping the secret for so long because I think he will have to be quite a smart guy if he manages to deceive me. I will probably feel less offended because he preferred another man and I can’t be a man. And I would kill him for sure in the clauses.

Q. Is sense of humor a must?
A. Not a must, but it would be nice if he has a sense of humor.

Q. Is there a Mr Right hiding in the closet?
A. I have found my Mr. Right. Many people may not know but I am married.

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I don't think I am a youth icon: Raghu Ram

He is known for his aggressive demeanour in the hit reality show "MTV Roadies", and for thousands of youngsters Raghu Ram is the ideal rough and tough man. But Raghu dismisses any talk of him being a youth icon.

"I don't understand the whole youth icon thing. We (he and his brother Rajiv Lakshman) are workers. We work very hard 24X7," Raghu told.

"Once in a while, we do get a hysterical reaction from people on the streets and all that takes us by surprise. People approach us if they recognise us at the airport and say a lot of intimate things about themselves. But I don't think I am a youth icon," he added.

Raghu is the producer and brain behind the youth-centric adventure reality show. He came to prominence six years ago for conceptualising "Roadies" which has developed a cult following among youth.

Raghu was in the capital recently with his brother Rajiv to talk about their association with portal MySpace India's campaign "India Fights Back".

The brothers are trying to urge youngsters to vote actively during the Lok Sabha elections, through their exclusive blogs on the site.

Raghu is confident about the power of youth in India. On more than one occasion, he has said the contestants on his show mirror the true image of youth in the country.

But if the entire Indian youth is abusive, money-minded, manipulative - just like the Roadies contestants - how can one trust the generation to vote responsibly?

"The show is not just about the kind of mind game you can play. It is also about inculcating the importance of performance. We have always told our contestants that performance would get you more respect than politics and they do appreciate these lessons. I think this generation is the only generation that can bring change," he asserted.

Raghu, who also features in a music reality show "Sitaron Ko Choona Hai", says he wants the youth to become the biggest vote bank in the country.

"We need young leadership and new ideas to progress. If youth feel that something needs to change in the country, I urge them to vote and remove the corrupt politicians," Raghu said in his trademark style.

He said he was disturbed by the low voter turnout in Mumbai and added that citizens need to understand that if they want change, it can't happen if they choose to sit at home.

"There are a lot of youngsters who have no respect for leaders and most of them don't feel that anything would happen even if they vote. But they should first try voting - sideline those who are doing nothing and are corrupt.

If you don't know who the politicians are and what they have done, use the Internet to find out - there are ample sites giving such information.

"And for those who just want to sit back and crib, please do not express your helplessness. If you want change, please act," said Raghu. "Reject the old and accept change - give democracy another chance."

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Not without my Mother: Soha Ali Khan

The glamour of tinsel town has always been irresistible for girls who want to make it big as heroines but with the reputation of casting couch existing in the industry most of the heroines are accompanied by their mothers on sets and while meeting producers.

Despite the fact that shootings generally happen in a friendly atmosphere mothers are always particular that their daughters do not fall prey to unreasonable demands. On the occasion of Mother's Day falling on Sunday, let us take a look at a few mother daughter relationships in connection with Bollywood.

During the yesteryears, actress's mothers would always accompany their star daughters. Nargis used to be often accompanied by her mother, Jaddanbai who was also Bollywood's first woman director.

It can be recalled that Sharmila Tagore, then broke the myth and started coming to Mumbai all alone for her shoots would generally stay alone at the Taj in South Mumbai.

Like her mother, daughter Soha is also quite independent. Soha is always on her own when she is shooting and also lives alone in Mumbai. "Yes I do take Amma's advice and bhaiya's (Saif Ali Khan) advice but when it comes to taking our career decisions we are all very independent" Soha had earlier stated.

Mala Sinha was one more actress who was particular when her daughter Pratibha came in Bollywood.

The yesteryear actress would always accompany her daughter everywhere and used to make sure that she would go through the scripts before her daughter signed on the dotted line. She never let Pratibha make her own decisions.

Ultimately Pratibha started losing a lot of work and she was left with no films on hand. Pratibha has now completely retired from Bollywood.

Hema Malini's mother also often accompanied her on the sets of the films that she signed. It was said that her mother took the decisions right from choosing the scripts to the actors she worked with.

But the same cannot be spoken of Hema Malini. She never accompanies her daughter Esha on the sets. She had once told us in an interview, "I often take my mothers advice on the script but ultimately it is my decision. She leaves it to me. She often tells us that we have to fight our own battle"

Sridevi could always be seen with her mother on the sets. She was famous for her line – "Ask my mummy" whenever any journalist posed questions to her.

In fact Ram Gopal Varma had even carried a spoof on Sridevi and her mother in his Rangeela (1995) with Shefali Shah and her mother played by Shammiji mocking the ex super star actress and her momma.

Madhuri Dixit used to be sometimes accompanied by her mother but her parents never interfered in her work. It was always her secretary Rikku Rakeshnath who took care of all her work including the scripts that she chose.

When Madhuri had to shoot the bold lovemaking scene with Vinod Khanna for Dayavaan (1988) she made sure her mother was not present on the set.

Babita never went with her daughters on the sets but she always interfered in their work. She made sure that she went through all the scripts before her daughters signed the film.

When Kareena Kapoor was signed by Rakesh Roshan's Kaho Naa Pyar Hai it was Babita who made huge demands and finally asked her daughter to opt out of the film.

Even when her elder daughter Karishma had signed Raja Hindustani, during its launch in Lonavala when Karishma was asked by a journalist whether she or her mother chooses her scripts, she had ended up in tears and left the press conference midway.

It was Aishwarya Rai who broke the trend of being accompanied by her mother on the sets.

Very rarely her mother used put in an appearance on the sets. It is said that Ash was far too head strong to let her mother interfere in her work. So is Sushmita Sen.

The Ex Miss Universe had once stated, "I love my mother a lot but have always been independent when it comes to work. She has been the backbone of my life. She is always there when I need her. She comes running to me but also has a family and life of her own."

Amisha Patel's mother used to accompany her on the sets and had even got herself a role in her daughter's debut film directed by Rakesh Roshan.

But problems followed thereafter and now Amisha refuses to acknowledge her parents anymore. She has cut ties with them following financial irregularities with her income.

Actress Amrita Rao is often seen accompanied by her mother on the sets. It is her mother who has always been instrumental in taking her career decisions that include right from choosing the films, her co-stars, directors, the PR and her interviews.

One has always experienced that Amrita Rao is a tough nut to crack because her mother is always overpowering her. Amongst other actresses of the current lot, VJ turned actress Sophie Choudhary is many a time accompanied by her mother.

Till she was very active in Bollywood, Ayesha Takia was also always seen with her mother on the sets or at film functions. Her stand was, "I make sure mummy is on the sets with me. I feel comfortable if she is around.

The decisions are always mine. I make sure I take decisions that don't hurt them but I bring her on the sets because I feel there's someone to take care of me when I need something not because I cannot make my own decisions"

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Sonal and John together

She made her debut in Jannat, and now the pretty Sonal Chauhan is all set to star opposite heartthrob John Abraham in her next film.

The actress has signed up for a film to be directed by Tony D’souza, who is currently working on Blue. The actress turned down a number of films before accepting M F Husian’s son Owais Husain’s film. The actress reportedly suffered a burn on the sets.
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Sexy Mallika's a 'pure soul'

If apsara Menaka could seduce sage Vishvamitra, then our Bollywood seductress Mallika Sherawat too could distract a ‘mutt’ful of sadhus!

But that was not why Shreemad Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shree Shree Raghaveshwara Bharathi Swamiji, the 36th pontiff of Shree Ramachandrapura Mutt, sent a special invitation to the actress to visit his ashram in Karnataka.

The sizzling actress, who has apparently been approached to play a celibate yogini who bonds with Jesus Christ during his journey to India in Australian director Drew Heriot’s The Aquarian Gospel, was referred to by the mutt’s guru as one with “a pure soul”. And in her honour, he organised special pujas by a number of high priests from Kerala and Mangalore. The mutt was even decorated with 600 lotus flowers.

Her ‘purity’ apart, Mallika has another connection with Karnataka and that’s not a “myth” — she shot for Jackie Chan’s film The Myth in Hampi in which she played an Indian princess.

Mallika, of course, couldn’t turn down the Shankaracharya’s request and flew down from LA where she was busy with post-production of her film Hisss. After the pujas, Mallika with her bare hands dug up the land where Brahmachari Lord Hanuman’s largest monument — over 15 stories — will be built.

After the Shankaracharya showed the hottie his kindness, it was Mallika’s turn to show her generosity. She invited him to the US. If the pontiff accepts her invitation, he would be the first Shankaracharya in the history of the mutt to have travelled to the US.

Mallika is completely in awe of the Shankaracharya. “After having spent most of my time recently in the US, it was a great honour for me to make a special trip back to India to meet the Shankaracharya. In a very special way it reconnected me to my Hindu roots. The experience was truly one of the best ones of my life and I will never forget it,” said the Menaka, oops, Mallika of Bollywood.
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Katrina's wish is her command

She demands seven costume changes instead of three for a music video for New York

Coco Chanel once said: 'Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.' Recently , Katrina Kaif made sure she got her way and did the latter. Katrina put her foot down and said that she needed seven changes of clothes for a music video in Yash Raj Films' New York. The incident in question happened at Yash Raj Studios, Andheri.

Initially, Aditya Chopra and choreographer Ahmed Khan had decided on three costume changes for Katrina. But keeping in mind her glamorous image, Katrina asked for four more.
When Ahmed reached the sets, Katrina told him that three changes wouldnt be sufficient. A surprised Ahmed did not agree with Katrinas demand. Moreover, he knew that he would have to inform Aditya Chopra before giving in to Katrinas wish. However, when Katrina politely told Ahmed that she would have it no other way he had no choice but to call Aditya who was busy in his office upstairs .

Aditya told Ahmed that he was okay with seven changes if the choreographer had no problem. Thereafter, Ahmed told Katrina that she could have what she wanted.
Once the green signal was given by Aditya, four additional costumes were arranged much to Katrinas delight.

Ahmed confirmed and said, Yes, Katrina wanted seven changes in the music video. I wasnt too excited with the idea initially, but when I saw the final result, I think she was right. The music video has worked out brilliantly.

However, I made it clear to Katrina that seven costume changes should not eat into the time of the shoot, and it didnt , he added.
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Dus ka dum, 50 percent kum!

Salman Khan is now talking business with Sony TV;

he is set to host the second season of Dus Ka Dum. But this time he will not be as involved with the show as he was last year.

A source said, "This is a result of the huge pay cut that has happened this season. It is believed that Salman was paid Rs 89 crore in the first season, but in the second season he will be paid only Rs 44 crore. And with the pay cut, Salman has also cut down on his involvement. He has refused to use his clout with his star friends and colleagues to get them on the show."

A source close to the actor said, "Salman recently had a meeting with the programming heads. He made it very clear that he would no longer be responsible for inviting his friends and celebs as guests on the show. He will do his job of hosting and that will be about it."

Danish Khan, Vice President - Marketing Sony Entertainment said, "Salman has a star attraction and he'll be seen in great style as usual; a big dhamaka entry is planned for him."

When questioned about Salman's decision to not ask celebs to participate, given the drastic cut in payment for the 2nd season, he said, "I am not aware of this. He is involved in the production but there is no hard and fast rule as to what he is supposed to do. We are in the process of talking to a lot of celebs from all walks of life and we will let you know the line-up soon. As far as money is concerned, as a policy we can't disclose the amount paid for either season."

Star power does a lot of good to any show. The source said, "Salman's word carries a lot of weight and that's how he managed to get top notch actors and star friends like Rani Mukerji who is rarely seen on TV, or Govinda-David, Ranbir-Deepika, or his brothers together on the show. Getting people together on a television show is not always possible unless you are a Salman Khan or a Shah Rukh Khan."

The shoot for Dus Ka Dum will begin as soon as Salman is back from London where he is shooting for Veer.
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Arbaaz Khan and wife Malaika shoot a seductive number for flim

Malaika Arora has shot for a seductive, sensuous number with husband Arbaaz Khan in Goa for Indrajit Lankesh's Prem Ka Game, (earlier titled Shaadi Ke Side Effects).

The song is called Mere dil pe tera hi haq hai where Malaika plays the temptress and the song has been choreographed by Piyush.

Arbaaz Khan says, "It's a dream sequence where I am fantasising about romancing this beautiful woman. I knew that Malaika was perfect for the song and I wanted her in the film as I believe she's my lucky charm. It's our first performance together." Malla does not have a role in the film, she only appears in the song. Khan adds, "Both of us have always wanted to do a film together but haven't been able to get anything which suits both of us."

Prem Ka Game is a light-hearted comedy about a married man, Prem (played by Arbaaz). He says the film deals with the roadblock in marriages called 'The Seven-Year Itch', "In one scene, he dreams of his fantasy woman (Malaika) and how he would seduce her and that's what our song is about."

Arbaaz says he felt no discomfort getting intimate for the camera with his wife, "I was extremely comfortable. But of course, there are no prizes for guessing who is the better dancer obviously Malaika is!"
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Kangana Ranaut sheds clothes again

Kangana Ranaut has been known for her bold scenes. She did a nude scene for ‘Raaz-The Mystery Continues’ and had also no qualms about doing the wardorbe malfunction scene in Madhur Bhandarkar’s ‘Fashion’. She was also seen giving a sneek peak at her bare breasts in Daboo Ratnani’s 2009 calendar. Now, the babe is once again ready to shed her clothes and go nude, but this time not for a Bollywood flick but for a Telugu movie directed by famous director Puri Jaganath.

Puri Jaganath had directed the famous movie Pokiri, which is now being remade in Hindi, titled ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ starring Salman Khan.

If Kangana’s nude scene in the Telugu flick survive the snip-snap of the censor board, only till can say….

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John and Priyanka give their voice for Alibaba

UTV’s 3D animation fantasy ‘Alibaba And The 41 Thieves’ can boast the voice cast of some of the big Bollywood stars with the likes of John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ashutosh Rana, Atul Kulkarni, Saurabh Shukla and others. The film, which deals with the story of a boy who gets embroiled in the legendary Arabic tussle, is being produced at Chennai based Accel Animation Studios and has been written and directed by Soumitra Ranade of Jajantaram Mamantram fame.

The film has a modern twist to the legendary Arabian tale of ‘Alibaba And The 40 Thieves’ wherein a kid from Mumbai reaches the fantasy land. The film is about his interaction with Alibaba (John Abraham) and the villain Abu Hasan (Ashutosh Rana), the evil and brutal leader of the 40 thieves. Priyanka Chopra has given her voice to the character of Marjinah.

The director is all praises for its production house and says, “UTV is an amazing production house. Once they take on a project, they believe in it completely. In the last few years they are the ones who have given us Rang De Basanti, Jodhaa Akbar, Aamir, A Wednesday and Dev D besides so many other very interesting and commercially viable films. They give you adequate creative space. There is a certain civility with which they make their films. And believe me they will make a serious mark in animation too. Both Alibaba and Arjun are very high end films not just formally but more importantly content wise.”

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RGV takes up the task of re-launching Vivek Oberoi

Vivek Oberoi had created stirs with his role as Chadu in ‘Company’. After a long gap of seven years, RGV has again taken up the task of proving the actor’s worth by casting him in the lead role of rebel-turned politician Paritala Ravi in his ambitious venture ‘Rakta Charitra’ and says the film will re-launch both of them in Bollywood.

“After thinking hard on every actor both known and unknown, I finally zeroed in on Vivek Oberoi as the most ideal choice to play Paritala Ravi,” Varma, who has almost finished the shoot of Agyaat and is busy wrapping up Rann, said.

Ramu expresses his trust in Vivek stating, “For me, Vivek is the perfect choice for the role. Also, I know for sure that no way can Vivek get a better role than that of Paritala Ravi and no way can I get a better story than ‘Rakta Charitra’ to be told. This is why the film would be re-launching both of us.” he added.

“He has remarkable intensity in his eyes which I noticed during the making of ‘Company’. He has a voice which commands attention, there is an arrogance in his demeanour and an enormous power in his stance. Moreover, there is also a certain vulnerability, which makes one instantly warm up to him, which is what is needed to fit into Paritala Ravi’s profile,” the director explained.

The story of Rakta Charitra will span 12-15 years during which Vivek would be seen in different looks- From being a rebel in the jungles to a political strongman.

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Gauri faces harsh weather conditions for ‘Frozen’

Where none of the producers are taking the risk of releasing their films amidst the extending cold war between the producers and multiplex owners, ‘Frozen’ a black & white film by Shivajee Chandrabhushan, has been released in the single screens.

Newcomer Gauri makes her debut with the film along with Danny. The film has been shot in Ladakh, in the harsh bitter winter and really extreme conditions at the base of Rhizong. During one shot, it had snowed the day before and the ice was slippery and Gauri was made to stand in the snow at one place for almost 3-4 hours!!!

Needless to say, Gauri was close to tears after the scene, as the -25 degree temperature had seeped into her body and her shoes and socks had become wet!

But the pain has been worth the gain coz the girl is getting rave reviews for her performance in the film.

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Farhan Akhtar demands to feature on magazine cover

If you thought only A-List actors are quirky and hi-maintainance, here's an eye-opener. Farhan Akhtar, who has been on several magazine covers, is one fussy cover boy.

After the actor agrees to have his face grace the cover of the magazine, the editor gets a mail from the actor or one of his PAs with a list of demands. And there are requests for specifics that are not subject to any change. While we understand why he'd want his own make-up person and hair stylist (A specific hair dresser from his wife Adhuna's salon) one fails to understand what stops Farhan from carrying basic things like tissues and water.

That's not all...
The actor even decides how much each of the staff members would be paid. There is also a fee for his driver to drive him to the venue, which is within city limits! Makes you wonder if the chauffeur gets paid at all or if his salary also comes from the publishers' bank accounts.

Akhtar also asks for chocolates Twix and Mars chocolates to be stocked at the studio before he arrives for the shoot. No one will dare ask, 'why not bring your own?' And lest you ruffle the feathers of the temperamental actor, make sure you have mints ready (a particular brand) and water at room temperature. And the final request is for a box of tissues!

Want Mr Off-His-Rocker Akhtar on the cover of your rag? Here's what you need to stock up on!

Farhan's email for his staff payments, lists the following...
Driver Rs 1,000
Make-Up Rs 8,000
Hair Rs 7,000
Spot Boy Rs 2,000
Total cost Rs 18,000

Gobble, gobble...
Mineral water At room temperature Rs 20/- per bottle
Twix Chocolates Rs 50/- per bar
Mars Chocolates Rs 25/- per bar
Tissue paper Rs 50/- per box
Mentos Ice Blue Rs 10/- per bar
Total cost Rs 155/-
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Minissha Lamba sizzles on the cover of The Man

After her sexy bikini act in Kidnap, Minissha Lamba is every man's ultimate fantasy. Hence, it comes as no surprise to see the Bollywood hottie feature on the cover page of popular men's magazine 'The Man'.

Minissha, who features in 'The Man' magazine's May issue, talks about a number of interesting things right from how she would like to be wooed to her choice of films. The actress, who started out as the simple Kashmiri girl in Yahaan, also talks at length about how people within the industry and outside have started looking her differently post her glamorous avatar in Bachna Ae Haseeno and Kidnap. Most importantly, she also talks about things that give her an adrenaline rush (And just in case you are wondering ...she is referring to adventure sports like bungee jumping and kite surfing).

Minissha also gives a sneak peek of her character in her forthcoming film- Shyam Benegal's Well Done Abba. All these are good enough reasons for you to rush and pick up a copy of 'The Man' at the earliest. After all... you can then have Minissha by your side 24X7.

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Vaada raha... i promise - Frist Look

Vaada raha... i promise, Bobby Deol,Dwij Yadav,Kangna Ranaut,Atul Agnihotri

Vaada raha... i promise, Bobby Deol,Dwij Yadav,Kangna Ranaut,Atul Agnihotri
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Karma - Crime Passion Reincarnation - First look

Karma - Crime Passion Reincarnation, Alma Saraci,Carlucci Weyant,Vijayendra Ghatge,Claudia Ciesla,Shanda Renee,DJ Perry,Smita Hai
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In Pics: John Abraham Endorses Garnier Men

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