24 July, 1996
One, Two, Three... Going
WHEN she hit the big screen with Abodh, there were few she made an impact on. One Subhash Ghai, one "Ek do teen...", one Saroj Khan later, reigning queen Sridevi was eclipsed. Madhuri Dixit, an updated version of Madhubala, in colour, became the nations first woman superstar. But having ridden the crest of a wave for so long, wags are wondering if she is running into a trough? They suggest its pack-up time for the star who, though all dressed for Mohabbat, her next film, has nowhere to go. With box-office booboos like Yaarana, Raajkumar and Prem Granth and pretenders like Kajol and Manisha close to the crown, the dhak-dhak girl seems to be losing her winning beat. Running into the wrong stars as heroes, her own stars becoming unfavourable. But if the buzz is to be believed, on the personal front, she has met her match. The suitable boy, besides being suitably rich, is based in the US. Star secretary Rikku Rakesh Nath dismisses it as a rumour. But look at it this way: unlike other losers, the smart girl can still be all dressed up and have somewhere to go. In any case, she can afford to retire when the time is right, unlike some other over-the-hill stars.
ASIAWEEK has listed Dhirubhai Ambani among Asia's 50 most powerful people. Placed 26th, he's been described as an old school, hard-driving businessman with a knack for spotting (and buying) talent. He glibly persuades millions to buy his shares, but takes offence easily, says Asiaweek. (Also attracts SEBI sleuths, we may add.) Other Indians in the top 50 are Deve Gowda and L.K. Advani. The top slot goes to Indonesia's Suharto, who's been elected President six times without ever facing a challenger.
It Aint Me, Babe
DEEPAK Chopra, bestseller author and health guru with such clients as Demi Moore, Michael Jackson and Liz Taylor, is filing a lawsuit against the Murdoch-owned Weekly Standard and The New York Post. The latter quoted an article in the Standard alleging that the author had sex thrice with call girl Judy Bangert and paid for it twice by credit card and once by cash. Chopras legal team promptly sued the two papers and the journalist who penned the piece, for US$ 15 million. The lawyers claim Chopras passport shows he was in India when the incidents allegedly occurred. And say the hotel receipts are fake as the hotel didnt exist under the name stated in 1991. While upset about how his parents will take the allegation, Chopra is going ahead with the opening of his centre of ayurvedic and eastern healing techniques in August in California. To heal his battered ego, may be?
The Private Hell of Raj
BOLLYWOOD will find it hard to play down its desertion of Raj Kiran, while he was locked up in Bangalore Central Jail for over a month. Known for his roles in Arth and Karz, Kiran had been locked up since June 5 for trespassing, after three attempts, on Satya Sai Baba's Vrindavan Ashram near Bangalore. None of his Bollywood friends helped. His father, who read about Kiran in press reports, came to the rescue. The actor has reportedly been mentally unstable after his wife and two kids left him to settle in the US. "I don't believe in godmen. My children are my gods," says he.
A Close Shave
FOR ageing star Mithun Chakravarty, hairdos seem to be gaining paramount importance. Why else would he reject a plum role in a Mani Ratnam film? The actor was initially selected for playing the second male lead in Mani Ratnam's Anandam, starring Aishwarya Rai and Mohanlal, but poor Mithun had to turn down the bald terrorist's role because the hairdo wouldn't have gelled with his other producers. The role has had a series of rejections. Nana Patekar kicked it because the money wasn't good. Madhavan looked too young. And Mithunda decided to save his pate.