OUTLOOK Wednesday 20 March, 1996
Cast in a New Role

DANNY Denzongpa travelled long, from Sikkim to Bombay, to make it in filmdom. He goes several steps further with the role of a ruling regent in a film on Tibet, directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Jean Jacques Annaud, recently in the capital to inaugurate a festival of his films. Seven Years In Tibet will catapult the Bollywood baddie into Hollywood's Hall of Fame. Well Danny, now that Annaud is here, can an "Oscar" be far behind?

Riders Who Raised a Storm

THERE was wine, women and song at the Irungattukotai motor racing track outside Madras, venue of the first Formula Asia International Series motor race. Also eight young sporty tycoons; CEOs of leading Indian industrial houses who participated in the four-lap race won by Gautam Singhania. Third ranker, United Breweries Chairman Vijay Mallaya, flew to the Guidy Racecourse the minute the car race finished. This time, to race his horses. Ah, the horseplay of prize studs.

Daddys Darling

SHOMU Mukherji says he's feeling "on top of the world". He has good reason to be. One of his little girls has just won the Filmfare award, while the other, Taneesha, is a star already. "There were as many people rushing for her autograph as Kajol's at the award function," gurgled the proud papa. Not only does he feel good, he also plans to make good now that he has two stars in the family. "I'm planning to cast Kajol in two forthcoming ventures." That's all very well but what with Kajol jacking up her price to Rs 45 lakh, the question industry wags are asking is: can he afford her?

Love Conquers Gloom

THE new book is still some way off. A new wife though, Sir Vidiadhar Naipaul, 63, may be acquiring soon. The 'deep despond' that descended on the writer after the death of his English wife Patricia has lifted. Lady Sunshine, who's broken through the gloom and right into his heart, is Nadira Alvi, a thirty something divorcee with children and columnist for the Pakistani paper The Nation. They met at a Lahore party when Naipaul journeyed to Pakistan to research a new book on Islam. Well, he's certainly come to grips with his subject.

Shooting Again

FOR Sanjay Dutt it was the rekindling of an old passion never forgotten. Yet, ex-flame Madhuri had little to do with it. His first day of shooting (no AK 56s here please) for the incomplete Mahaanta after being arrested in 1994, was an overwhelming experience for the blue jeans and dark blue T-shirt clad Sanjay. Hordes of press and public hoardings proclaiming undying love and heaps of firecrackers marked the return of the 'angry young man'. And what did he do? Just stood and watched, as Dixit danced to a tune. A far cry from the days when he danced to hers.

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  • Couldn’t she have had a better hairstyle than one which makes her hair stand up in ungainly tufts, like that of a bird soaked to its skin in the Mumbai monsoon? Couldn’t he have worn a jacket without those offensive stripes, often an indicator of a perfect marriage of bad taste with sudden money? But Rahika is soaring after the success of Andhadhun; Ali Fazal, too, is gearing up for his role in a Hollywood production of Death on the Nile, the Poirot mystery. They smiled reassuringly at the ‘IIFA Rocks’ event; they had a lot of fun.  
  • Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla started designing trousseaus fit for a princess for the catwalk when designers weren’t famous in their own right. Thi­rty-three years on, they are well-known now, and celebrated with a show in Mumbai, They dressed up the reliably gorgeous Deepika in this intricately woven, ivory-embellished lehenga. At the end of the walk, she broke into a jig. For joy, certainly. But, given an inch, Bollywood will out!
  • With every conceivable sporting activity speedily shuffled up into a corporatised league for maximum milking, it’s unsurprising that the annual boat race on the Punnamada lake inaugurated the Cha­mpions Boat League. Sachin, outrigged by Kathakali dancers, spoke of Kerala’s resilience in the face of floods and its passion for cricket.
  • For all his Bhangra moves, Justin Trudeau had a diplomatically disastrous tour of India, but the boyishly handsome Canadian premier  rem­ains a darling of the masses, especially swooning womenfolk. It was no surprise then that at an informal gaggle of world leaders at the G7 summit, Melania turned to  him for a peck, as the weight of the world kept the scowl fixed on Donald’s face. As a Twitter wag put it: “Find someone who looks at you like  Melania looks at Trudeau.”


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