OUTLOOK Monday 26 May, 2003
Cherry on the Cake

The day will be when Cherie Blair wears a sari and no one notices. But that day is still far away. At the evening of the Asian Women Achievement Awards in London last week, she turned up in a cream and much zari-ed sari with Begum Inaara Aga Khan, and everyone noticed. Cherie has stepped into Indian evenings in a sari before, and everyone knows she has never looked better. Next, a posed picture with her in a sari and Tony Blair in the Nehru jacket he wore in Bangalore. And a long holiday in India that might come sooner than they planned.

Copy Wrong

After Karishma Kapoor’s much-publicised debut on TV was nixed following an equally-publicised stay order this week, the battle, it seems has just begun. Author Barbara Taylor Bradford, who has alleged copyright infringement on her work Woman of Substance by the producers of Sahara TV’s Karishma: A Miracle of Destiny, has vowed to fight Bollywood’s “hour by hour” rape of foreign works, from Danielle Steel, Sidney Sheldon and many others. Says her husband, Robert: “They’re stealing and pirating property. And then they have the gall to seek Indian rights for the film in the US!”

Greek Holiday

Now you know it was a serious affair. Abhishek Verma, he of FERA violations infamy, will soon have a new claim to fame: friends reveal the London-based businessman is to marry Miss Greece 2001, Evelina Papantoniou. The ‘grand’ wedding is being planned aboard a ship in Goa in traditional Indian style, with the Greek bahu in a sari and tika, followed by a “crazy” party for 3-4 days.

World Music

You’ve known her better as the gritty MEA spokeswoman. But did you know that Nirupama Rao was more famous in her college as the one half of the singing Menon sisters? Later this month, Rao will regale music lovers with her rendition of operatic arias, jazz and gospel music in Delhi. No stage fright for her, surely.

Soap Opera

This is the stuff real-life soaps are made of. Guess what actor-turned-entrepreneur Mithun Chakraborty is busy with these days? His recently-launched three brands of detergent powder—Khushi, Pakhi and Cygnus. The press release for the launch ran thus: Megastar Mithun Chakraborty who has cleaned the dirt and squalor of innumerable movies, is out to do it again, literally!


  • Supermodel Claudia Schiffer and her three-month-old son, Caspar, are recovering after a serious car crash in London.

  • In 1998, she was fined for her racial comments. Brigitte Bardot has done it again, with her new book, A Scream In the Silence.

  • 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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