Downtown :The Delhi-Mumbai Gazette

Kamalahaasan fireworks put on hold, Charlie's new angel(s) and a few designer blues...
Downtown :The Delhi-Mumbai Gazette

Fear Is The Key, Kamal
Kamalahaasan has been ready with his new techno flick Abhay for quite a while. Based on a novel written by Kamal himself, the film has him in a double role—as a commando and a psychopath. The soundtrack, with some weird music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, hit the market a month ago and has already made it to TV countdowns, but the producers have been dithering over the film’s release. First, the Batman-Superman-inspired special effects, done in collaboration with Australian experts, took some time. Then the extended success of Lagaan and Gadar meant a problem in showing in the desired theatres. Finally, the film was to hit the screens on September 28 but that would have meant just a 46-day run till Diwali, a crucial day when the exhibitors would have yanked it off from important cinemas to make way for the newer films. And the unwritten code of filmdom is that a star’s film has to run for 100 days whether people watch it or not. So now Abhay is set for a Diwali release. That is, unless another cracker bursts on the way.

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Charlie’s Challenge
Filmmaker Pankaj Parashar is a bit confused. The fourth estate has gone out and declared that he’s making a Hindi version of Charlie’s Angels with Sushmita Sen, Shilpa Shetty and Raveena Tandon as the terrific trio. That’s not true, says the techno-whiz, best known for Karamchand, Jalwa and the disastrous Rajkumar. Not Charlie’s Angels, Parashar claims he’s doing one better. His ‘version’ will have not three but four angels and no Charlie. Challenge will be a rare action flick without a hero. Instead, it will have four girls who hate each other but are thrown together by circumstances. "It’ll be a lot of fun," promises Parashar. Sushmita and Diya Mirza are already in, negotiations are on with Raveena and Shilpa. Buzz has it that the four-member team will be sent to Hong Kong for a crash course in karate. Is Jackie Chan playing teacher?


Reality Bites Part II
A sequel needs a story. Which is why Hindi cinema hasn’t thrown up any Part IIs. Mahesh Manjrekar’s Pratibimb or Vaastav II bucks the trend. In Vaastav Sanjay Dutt is a gangster who dies in the end. In Pratibimb, he’s back as the gangster’s son. Namrata Shirodkar, Dutt’s wife In Vaastav, is now his mom; Shilpa Shetty, his lady love. "I focus on how a gangster’s family lives on with the stigma," says Mahesh. Gangsta rap, is it?

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Monumental Effort
Delhi Tourism Development Corporation (dtdc) is doing a good thing this winter. It’s organising a 52-week festival which will have prominent artistes performing before some of the city’s 1,300 known and unknown heritage monuments. The event will serve a dual purpose—as a cultural soiree and a fund-raising event for the maintenance and upkeep of the historical properties. Starting mid-November, the year-long megashow has a lineup of classical music legends like Kishori Amonkar, Ustad Amjad Ali, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia and Pt Jasraj as well as contemporary performers like Shiamak Davar and Ashley Lobo. "Performances in the backdrop of such gigantic structures have a different feel," says Rajiv Talwar, MD, dtdc. Agreed.
Shantanu Guha Ray


Designers Cooperative
Sure he’s a looker enough to model the clothes that he designs but Ashish Soni is not walking the ramp as our picture would have you believe here. He, along with fellow designers Manju and Bobby Grover, Raghuvendra Rathore, Rajesh Pratap, Puja Nayar and Aparna Suneja, came out with the Rhythm in Blues collection, the new line of Indo-Western outfits for Raymond’s exclusive pret-a-porter design studio, Be. Obviously, the common thread was the shades of blue—angel blue, Alaskan blue, sky blue, indigo and deep ultramarine. Other fashion statements: denim was back, be it in flares, skirts, trousers or capris. Knit tops in white, lilac and blue and embroidered short silk kurtas in blue, lilac and black completed the look.


Trash Of The Fortnight : Asoka
The Making of Asoka is a visual feast, it’s also an Amar Chitra Katha worldview into the Asoka myths. Most importantly, it’s a tackboard for all the behind-the-scenes trivia—such as how the casting director gawked at Kareena. In fact, that is the inherent problem with the book—it’s an inhouse diary masquerading as a coffee-table book. A kind of book that works only if the film does well. Mushtaq Sheikh should have waited to see if the film evokes the kind of curiosity Sholay achieved decades after its release. Moreover, the chatty, giggly style is fine for a film mag, but marks a sharp drop from the ideal tone of the coffee table format. So, buy it for the Shahrukh Khan and Kareena pinups, the Santosh Sivan stills and, maybe, the Husain sketches. But not for the coffee table!
Priya Sahgal

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