OUTLOOK Monday 08 August, 2005
Spell It, Prez

Even as the White House geared up for Manmohan Singh’s visit, Bush had an appointment with a distinguished Indian-American—Anurag Kashyap, the 13-year-old National Spelling Bee Champion. (“Say dude, what’s ap-po-gi-tu-ra?” “An ornamental music note, Mr President,” replied the boy.) This was the word that helped him beat 272 other contestants in the 19th round. Last year, Anurag entered the competition for the first time and tied for the 47th place. Interestingly, this year the other three toppers too were NRI kids—Aliya Deri, Samir Patel and Rajiv Tarigopula. But this eighth standard guy is quite a celebrity—scholarships, $28,000 in cash and gifts from Encyclopedia Britannica. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to shake his hand and even offered him the in-house lexicographer’s position.

Pick Me Up

Meet Heyley Cleghorn. Way back in ’83, she was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s co-star in Fight to Death. Now you’ll see her ‘topless’ act in the Bollywood flick Pick Me. Hang on, Heyley isn’t here for the money. The rich ‘Indian culture’ drew her here. Just check out the Hindi “jaldi karo”, “pani lao”. She’s even learning the item jhatkas. Game for more? Sure.

Wait Till U C Me Sizzle

Sonal Chauhan won us Ms Tourism ’05. Will Naina Dhaliwal, our Ludhiane di kudi, fetch the Mrs Globe too? Just last year, the voluptuous vixen walked into the Gladrags Mrs India contest flaunting her wedding choodas and won hands down. But her tryst with Bollywood hasn’t been a cakewalk. After the blink-and-you-miss-roles in Amavas and Madhoshi, she walked out of Dand. There’s Jackpot too. The next silver screen explosion: Gandhi Se Pehle Gandhi. We’ll wait with bated breath.

Rich And A-Loan

Wipro’s reigning czar, Azim Premji exuded good humour as he played down the departure of Vivek Paul as vice-chairman. But asked about his housing loan, the smiles waned. Turns out, the country’s wealthiest man drew a Rs 2 lakh subsidy for interest payment on a housing loan as part of his annual compensation of Rs 2.29 crore for fiscal ’04-05.


Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? It was in the air. Her maternal instincts drew him to her. Now we hear of a September wedding. She’s met Brad’s parents and his divorce with Jennifer Aniston is finalised. The road is clear, go forth, fill your home with kids.

  • There’s no reason, we agree, to gaze again at the lovely faces of Ananya and Tara at another promo for Student of the Year 2. But this one is for that lithe, mean, dancing-fighting machine, Tiger Shroff. The man who can kick aside the whole lot of simpering actors is set to reprise his role (“a larger-than-life, shirtless hero”) in the next instalment of Baaghi.
  • 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.


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