OUTLOOK Monday 10 November, 2003
Heir Charming

Delhi pulled out all stops to woo the heir to the British throne on Wednesday: photo-ops with Miss International 2003 Shonali Nagarani and others at Majnu Ka Tila, an exchange on knowledge and belief with President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and a talk on the relevance of human linkages and a shared past at the British Council. Wearing a dark pin-striped suit and a faint smile, if a greying Prince Charles was bothered about Princess Di’s butler’s damning book circulating in the UK and the letter (see inset) Diana wrote where she feared being killed in a car crash, he didn’t show it.

Courting Controversy

For Manisha Koirala, it’s just another chhoti si controversy. After all, she’s bagged one of the most talked-about roles in Bollywood in a long time—she’s playing Indira Gandhi in Nitin Keni’s film, Indira Gandhi—A Tryst With Destiny. The casting elicited the usual crop of carps from busybody party moralists. The question raised was: how can she play Indira after doing a prostitute’s role in Market? “I am amused. I am an actress and free to portray any role. I am just doing my job. As an actress, my roles should have variety, no? In this day and age, I expect people to be more broad-minded,” was her repartee.

Fuel To Flames

Who do you think is hotter—a bikini-clad Celina Jaitly in Janasheen or the ten babes specially flown down from Hollywood for an item number in the film? Here’s what Celina says: “I can make temperatures rise even when I am fully clothed. Indians still lust for dusky skin. I am sure nobody can outshine me here.” Touche!

Top Gun

The heavyweight guest-list of this ceremony said it all. Deputy PM L.K. Advani presented the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year award to Tata group chairman Ratan N. Tata in Delhi this week. Infosys chief N.R. Narayanamurthy, who got the award last year, was also present with industry minister Arun Jaitly, E&Y chairman K.N. Memani and a large number of top industrialists.


  • Nicole Kidman’s dreaming big for her beau Lenny Kravitz: a five-storey, 21-room, $21-mn home. Is marriage on the cards?

  • Tom Cruise has made history of a different kind. He’s the first man ever to pose for the cover of women’s magazine Marie Claire!

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  • Bollywood must be dreading  the Calcutta International Film Festival—a stentorian call from the CM...the unenlightening prospect of a day full of drumbeats. However, there is no respite for Shahrukh (Amitabh fell ill at an opportune  period). Though flanked by filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, Mamata herself and Sourav, the stage-show was stopped by the bonhomie between Rakhee and SRK: singing along a pat­riotic Rabi­ndrasangeet and reminiscing  about the sets of Baazigar.
  • As a snarling Dirty Harry teases out criminals in LA; as Frank Serpico goes und­ercover in New York, Chulbul Pandey does age-old, comic acrobatics to hurt ‘baddies’, then giggles around his lady love. Flogging the same masala, here comes the trailer of Dabangg 3, at the launch of which Salman points at the same direction, while Sonakshi Sinha and Saiee Manjrekar prepare to follow the leader with loving attention.
  • What do they actually do in Bigg Boss—that synthetic morass of shape-­shifting loyalties, gro­up­­ings and couplings by people clinging on to the skirts of fame, dragg­ing along an endless stream of stragglers agape before their boxes? At least Boman Irani, Rajkummar Rao and Mouni are doing something specific—horsing around joyfully, canvassing for their film Made in China. Major domo Sal­man, of  course, is there at every step, falling in and out with practised difficulty.
  • If you’d like to stitch together a Hollywood dream team, it has to have Marty, Bob and Sonny. The BFI London film festival saved its hushed breath for The Irishman—a gangster drama by the man who helped define the genre in Goodfellas and The Departed. Yet, in this autumnal light, Frank (De Niro) and Jimmy (Al Pacino) are just not snarling desperados, six-shooters at the ready. Time is also spent on sombre reflection—old reg­rets, moral reckonings and the one important thing that finally matters: mortality.