OUTLOOK Wednesday 18 December, 1996
Perfect Late Cut

Sunil Gavaskar, the legendary opening bats-man, may have hung up his cricketing boots way back in the late '80s but his bat still makes good business sense. An Australian company is offering a portrait cricket bat personally autographed by the Little Master. Each bat will have two hand-painted oil portraits of Gavaskar priced at Rs 29,595. Sunny, who marketed himself well in his heydays, continues to do so. For all those hard-core cricket buffs who want a piece of cricketing action, this personally autographed bat is the perfect investment.

Waiting In the Wings

Madhu Sapre has something to stalk about. Namely, the love of her life, Milind Soman. Going by the offers he has been getting—first from teeny boppers and now from tinseltown, Milind is set to go places. Having run away from the ramp over six months ago, Milind has decided to dedicate his good looks to the big screen: "After seven years, modelling doesn't hold any excitement any more. It comes so easy that it is no work at all." With three films under his belt, Milind does have a mouthful of offers but where do Madhu and marriage fit in? "Both of us are not yet stable professionally. It shows on the personal front too. Marriage will happen though we can't say when." Seems like Madhu will have to wait awhile to be a wedding belle!

Weighty Loss

It's just not profitable to put on weight—as actor Naseerudin Shah discovered. It took a lot of serious gorging to put on those extra kilos to play the role of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for a Channel Four film on the former Pakistan premier. And now he finds he has to work it all off. Channel Four wanted a token financial involvement of Pakistan in the film. But the government, even under daughter Benazir, refused to show more than a passing interest in the project.Stumped for money as well as support from the powers that be in Pakistan, Channel Four's commissioning editor decided to 'kill Bhutto'. That the film has been laid to rest is something to mourn about. As for Naseer, he's been left holding all that extra weight.

Filming a Legend

Award-winning filmmaker Gautam Ghosh is currently working on West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu's life and times. He accompanied Basu on his recent trip to Bangladesh. Basu reminisced about his childhood spent in Calcutta and occasional visits to what is now Bangladesh in close-ups to the director. Ghosh can't be faulted on his timing: Basu, in his early 80s, has found the going strenuous and has told close friends that he would like to retire sometime soon.

A Party Postponed

Sometimes life can be full of party poopers. For socialite Bina Ramani, the party was all planned. Converting an old haveli into a lifestyle complex, she was all set to open shop in the next few weeks. But the Archaeological Survey of India spoilt it all by filing a complaint—the haveli is a stone's throw away from the historic Qutab Minar. Says Ratish Nanda, a consultant with the Delhi chapter of INTACH: "Converting a haveli in itself is not a big deal. But firstly, it's not aesthetically done and, secondly, it's too close to the historic monument." Ramani, who earlier 'discovered' Hauz Khas Village for the social set, put it down to personal vendetta and said, "I have not seen any complaint. My conscience is clear. I am doing the best thing possible". A point not everyone will agree with.

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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.