OUTLOOK Monday 11 June, 2012
Not You, Me, Me, Me...

The scene: the Rajasthan Fashion Week at Jaipur. Dressed as loudly as humanly possible, actors Akshay and Sonakshi prance round each other, promoting a new film to a star-struck audience. At times, it seems the ill-bred genie let out by Dabangg will never be bottled.

For His Holiness

The one religious shrine universally respected for being a centuries-long symbol of communal amity, the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer Sharif, saw yet another high-profile oblational obeisance when Union minister Kapil Sibal offered prayers, a chadar, and released a stamp on the 800th Urs of the Sufi saint.

Kitsch is For Ever

It all follows a pattern with actresses: hushed rumours, gradual acceptance, star-studded baby shower and the final ‘coming-out’ with baby. Thus Shilpa Shetty, seen here in Mumbai with husband Raj Kundra and her new boy whom, for some reason, she calls ‘Baby K’. 

Of New Glitter

After appearances on the Cannes red carpet for a decade and dazzling the world’s best in showbiz, India’s numero uno diva of recent times has been out this year with a pleasing embonpoint brought on by motherhood. When not hiding away her baby from prying eyes, Aishwarya struck old poses.

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  • Bollywood must be dreading  the Calcutta International Film Festival—a stentorian call from the CM...the unenlightening prospect of a day full of drumbeats. However, there is no respite for Shahrukh (Amitabh fell ill at an opportune  period). Though flanked by filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, Mamata herself and Sourav, the stage-show was stopped by the bonhomie between Rakhee and SRK: singing along a pat­riotic Rabi­ndrasangeet and reminiscing  about the sets of Baazigar.
  • As a snarling Dirty Harry teases out criminals in LA; as Frank Serpico goes und­ercover in New York, Chulbul Pandey does age-old, comic acrobatics to hurt ‘baddies’, then giggles around his lady love. Flogging the same masala, here comes the trailer of Dabangg 3, at the launch of which Salman points at the same direction, while Sonakshi Sinha and Saiee Manjrekar prepare to follow the leader with loving attention.
  • What do they actually do in Bigg Boss—that synthetic morass of shape-­shifting loyalties, gro­up­­ings and couplings by people clinging on to the skirts of fame, dragg­ing along an endless stream of stragglers agape before their boxes? At least Boman Irani, Rajkummar Rao and Mouni are doing something specific—horsing around joyfully, canvassing for their film Made in China. Major domo Sal­man, of  course, is there at every step, falling in and out with practised difficulty.
  • If you’d like to stitch together a Hollywood dream team, it has to have Marty, Bob and Sonny. The BFI London film festival saved its hushed breath for The Irishman—a gangster drama by the man who helped define the genre in Goodfellas and The Departed. Yet, in this autumnal light, Frank (De Niro) and Jimmy (Al Pacino) are just not snarling desperados, six-shooters at the ready. Time is also spent on sombre reflection—old reg­rets, moral reckonings and the one important thing that finally matters: mortality.