THE past is dicey, it's the present that matters. So Aakhiri Mughal has been shelved and Refugee is being rustled up. Papa Bachchan felt a period film wasn't the right launchpad for son Abhishek's debut. So director J.P.Dutta found a more contemporary subject. Refugee will also mark Karishma's sister Kareena's debut. Jackie Shroff and Sunil Shetty will be the others in the cast.
MIXED reactions to mega-opus Jaya have not miffed theatre diva Lillete Dubey, who is now producing Mahesh Dattani's On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, a play which grapples with the still taboo subject of homosexuality. Scheduled to open in November, On a... will be published after the production. "It will have the Dattani brand of humour," promises Dubey.
HE wowed women in that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan music video Afreen Afreen. Now model Himanshu Malik, along with partner Manish Singhal, has started a paragliding school near Delhi. While studying for engineering, Malik drifted into modelling, and on one of his jaunts to France took to this sport. After clocking 40 flying hours, the natural progression was this camp called the Mahindra Rush Paragliding Camp, where Malik promises not just training in the sport but also joyrides. Anyone for one?
PRETTY Preity Zinta's star is in the ascendant. "The industry has just loved her performance in Dil Se..," declares secretary Pankaj Kharbanda. Meanwhile Shimla girl Preity is sitting pretty in New Zealand shooting for a Telugu film, with Venkatesh. This film's release will coincide with Soldier, a Bobby Deol starrer. Other projects she's busy with: a Kundan Shah film and Farz, opposite Sunny Deol.
THE Pepsi pantheon continues to grow. After an impressive debut early this year in the Pepsi Triangular Series, ace bowler Ajit Agarkar has been signed on by the soft drinks major. The Mumbai 20-year-old joins teammates Mohammad Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Ajay Jadeja and Rahul Dravid, all of whom endorse the choice of the next generation.
ANOUSHKA Shankar definitely seems a chip of the old block. Pandit Ravi Shankar's talented 17-year-old daughter has been signed by EMI Classics for an exclusive contract to produce an album. The recording was done when Anoushka was only 16 years old and has a solo by her on the sitar. To be released next month, the album will be released worldwide beginning with the United States of America.