OUTLOOK Monday 03 June, 2002
Wooing his Muse

Time was when Urmila Matondkar was Ram Gopal Verma’s favourite. And then they fell out—remember that much-talked about showdown with Ramu’s wife some time back?—only to kiss and make-up well in time. Company couldn’t accommodate her and Verma sort of compensated for it with the sizzling title track. And now, Ramu is reportedly teaming up with Urmi, again—in his just-announced flick Bhoot. And continuing with his loyalty to his protegés, Verma is most likely to include Vivek Oberoi in this film also. Hope Urmila makes the most of this “second life”. Is the film too about it?

Directing the Urge

Two years ago when Girish Karnad went to London as the director of the Nehru Center, many wondered if it was a waste of such a talented man. But Karnad hasn’t disappointed anybody—he used his time penning a new play, Bali—The Sacrifice, based on the Jain epic Somadeva Suri. The play, about man’s inclination towards violence, opens at the Leicester Haymarket next month, and promises a top cast, including Naseeruddin Shah.

Bollywood Check-Out?

We’re still awaiting his tinseltown debut, but in the meantime Ajay Jadeja’s on to a different inning. He’s now trying his skills in the hospitality industry by opening an Italian restaurant-cum-bar, Senso, or the sixth sense, in the capital. He’s upbeat about the project—the venture boasts of an Italian chef, and a veritable menu including Insalata (lettuce with mixed salad), Salmone (oven-baked salmon fillet with vegetables)... But Ajay, what’s up with Bollywood?

Suspended Animation

Wonder what’s Javed Akhtar doing in an animation film. The grapevine has it that he’s been signed on by Crest Communications—one of the top animation filmmakers in the country—for a film on the lines of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? But this one’s with the typical Bollywood twist. Apparently, the film’s a cross between a love story and a comedy. Did somebody say it was a hackneyed formula? Keep watching.

Traffic Diversions

At least someone’s thinking of the social uses of Bharatanatyam. Padma Subramanyam wants to pull the art form out of stale academies and auditoriums and bring it to the roads. Literally. Her current off-season job: training Chennai’s 2,000-odd traffic cops in using hand signals. For a change Chennai’s cops will be dancing to the tune of someone other than Jayalalitha, who, incidentally, was also trained in Bharatanatyam.

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  • They might be exultantly posing around a broodingly resplendent red planet, but do you, pati­ent assessors of Bolly­woodian verisimilitude, see determind space scientists  in Sonakshi, Nithya Menen, Taapsee, Kirti Kulhari, Vidya and ‘mission director’ Akshay? Mission Mangal’s cast, who impersonate the ISRO team which sent Mangalyaan on its way, had better stick to the antakshari made pop­ular during its promotion. What next? Spuds growing on Akshay’s poop on Mars?
  • That England is an immigrant country is evident from its cricket and football teams, and prominent young people from all walks of life—from politicians to activists, from artistes to academics. Add beauty queens to that. At Miss England, is Bhasha Mukherjee, 23, took the top laurel. But this was just a lazy aside,   almost an afterthought for Bhasha—a doctor with two medical deg­rees. Disabusing us of our hidebound ideas about pageant divas, she says she tried it “to balance out my studying”. Whew! What a winner!
  • And the Indian bridal fashion par­ade continues: a sumptuous reh­ashing of the same designs with new nomenclature. This  latest, gorgeous line by an old master at the game, Tarun Tahiliani, goes by the name of ‘Bloom’­—a richly det­ailed whirligig meant to represent a “synthesis of cultures and values” meant for “young spirited” brides. That’s some change, so take note—if you’re sprightly enough, you deserve this.
  • There’s debate if the seasonal Hollywood blockbuster—that sac­­­red tradition—has run out of ideas: an endless parade of fra­nchises with ass­ured collection from new audiences as well as millennials living their childhood once more. Be that as it may, Aven­gers: Endgame is now the biggest movie of all time, grossing over $2 billion and pulling clear of Avatar. Disney needs a new cash chest!


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