OUTLOOK Monday 23 February, 1998
Indias Wordstar

THE Bengali translation of Javed Akhtar's poems from his audio book Tarkash by Sunil Gangopadhyay and Ain Rasheed has set off a chain reaction. Amit Khanna's Plus Events roped in artist M.F. Husain to give form to his words. Mehfils will be held at Ahmedabad and Bangalore to work on regional translations. That is, once Akhtar can make time, since these days he's either busy garnering awards for his film lyrics when he's not busy debating politics on DD.

Songs of Stardust

THE Paree has spread her wings—and taken a shot at films. But the Dinesh Gandhi-produced, Akshaye Khanna-starrer, Laawaris, has not put stars into Suneeta Rao's eyes: "I'm doing a guest appearance. The hero interrupts my performance, then wins me over and I sing a couple of lines." Will she, like scores before her, bite the star-dust? "Why should I join Bollywood? I'm doing what I love best. If I do, it will be for something wonderful that I'll give up singing."

In the Limelight

ABHISHEK Bachchan, whose lanky looks leave no doubt about his parentage, is all set to face the arc lights as have mother Jaya and father Amitabh. The big question is whether he will match his parents in creating celluloid history. Bachchan Jr will debut in J.P. Dutta's next film. Not that Dutta's spilling the beans: "I know you want to know about my new project, but I'm not talking to anybody right now. Call me in a week."

Spice of Life

DISSATISFIED with a menagerie of piranhas and bulldogs as pets, Bharat Dabholkar now wants an entire circus. He along with his Bottoms Up team have been rehearsing After Zen Hours on the new revue which will have 36 items commenting on all things sugar-and-spice.Dabholkar says these take-offs on Spice Girls and not-nice politicians will change with the events every few weeks. The revue's purpose is to make a song-and-dance about Barbie or babudom and between guffaws, chew up the world.

Among the Believers

THE surprise visitor at Outlook's press conference on criminalisa-tion of politics was V.S.Naipaul, widely considered one of the world's greatest living writers. Sir Vid-iadhar, who won the Booker Prize in 1971, and has won every literary prize in the world barring the Nobel, for which he is in contention every year, is holidaying in India with his charming wife Nadira. He's again beginning to think of India as a wounded civilisation, and there are hints he might be back for another book soon.

Futuristic Designs

RASEEL Gujral, daughter of artist Satish Gujral, is all set to tie the knot this month. Raseel, who has made her mark as an interior designer, marries long-time beau Naveen Ansal who she works with too. This should give the Gujrals, uncle I.K. Gujral included, a much-deserved break from the elections.

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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.