OUTLOOK Monday 01 July, 2002
Guarding Ethics

For once Prime Minister Vajpayee refrained from peppering his speech with his characteristic humour. Instead, it was a more serious Vajpayee, asking the media to avoid sensationalism, while presenting the Panchjanya Nachiketa award to economic journalist Bharat Jhunjunwala. Pioneer editor Chandan Mitra and I&B minister Sushma Swaraj, among others, were present at the PM’s house.

Pitch Report

Doesn’t he look groovy with his pencil-thin French beard, sideburns and a new hair-do to boot? Anil ‘Jumbo’ Kumble has turned chic to reflect the ‘new age Indian’ as he struts about in Indigo Nation’s new line of men’s wear. The hoardings and video clips on television would be rolling when Anil resumes his career at Old Blighty later this month. Cricket’s surely going savvy, huh.

Kama Chameleons

The Ambassador car parked outside the Apollo Victoria theatre showing Bombay Dreams in London last week gave the paparazzi an idea of who’d be filing past. They couldn’t recognise Shahrukh Khan or Naseeruddin Shah. But they spotted, and clicked, Denise van Outen, the TV presenter, who arrived wearing a diamond necklace priced half a million pounds and a white mini dress with pictures from Kamasutra painted on it. Invitations had, after all, asked guests to wear a touch of Indian, and nobody said don’t wear more than a touch of it. Lady Lloyd Webber instead wore a skirt made in Bombay by Manish Malhotra. There was Baby Spice, former Miss World Diana Hayden, Sir Michael Caine with his Indian wife Shakira. An evening with plenty of watching of the scenes off stage.

Nightingale Blue

Now, get a load of this. American singer Truth Hurts’ R&B single Addictive, which made it to the Billboard Top 10 this week, has an old Lata Mangeshkar song running in the background. What’s more, the video too shows mehndi-adorned hands of models in Indian mudras. Saare jahaan...

Twinkling Starlight

Move over all pretenders to Rajinikant’s throne. Someone who has been on the margins for ten years and is pushing 40, Vikram (Kenny to his friends), is an unlikely contender for the top slot in Kollywood. But his fourth hit in succession, Gemini, has single-handedly revived the Tamil film industry. In its eighth week, it’s running in 130 theatres, with the entire state, from the Assembly to Acharapakkam, chanting O Podu, the film’s anthem.

  • Chinese audiences’ app­etite for Bollywood drama rages unabated. The latest one to have the Peking boys sta­m­pede into the theatres and Shanghai’s dames squeal in pleasant fright is Sriram Raghavan’s suspense thriller Andha Dhun (marketed also as Piano Player, shades of Truffaut crime caper here) starring Ayushmann and Radhika. Rs 219 crore in two weeks is a handily handsome strike rate. Long live our ‘soft power’.
  • CSK Watch In this glad season for the Chennai Super Kings, ace atta­cking spinner Imran Tahir has been a sight to behold—his tight-fisted, spread-armed sprint after a wicket popular as ever on and off the field. After another easy win, skipper Dhoni dared Tahir’s son for a race. We don’t know who won, but it dissolved into a softly-softly celebration. Can Uncle Cool do it like Dad? We doubt it.
  • A midfield sultan meets a ruling badshah on the sidelines of an amphitheatre. That would be Shahrukh’s London meeting with Arse­nal’s central scimitar, Mesut Ozil. After damning the hypocrisy in German mult­i­­cultur­ism, Ozil is in a smoother space. SRK, who is huge in Turkey,  where Ozil’s roots lie, got a (rather formal) welcome in Hindi too.
  • The Lok Sabha elections draw near, so does the biopic of the country’s prime minister. Perfectly timed its rele­ase might be, but PM Narendra Modi has  earned the ire of lyricist Javed Akhtar—he was wrongly credited for work in a project he wasn’t involved in. Then there’s scepticism about how good a likeness is a shapely Vivek Oberoi for our most prominent politician. Ah, but just go in for the old-­fashioned songs: Ye desh nahin mitne dunga, sings a pat­riotic Modi in the film.


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