OUTLOOK Wednesday 12 March, 1997
The World of Soumitra

SATYAJIT Ray's favourite actor is finally getting the recognition he deserves. Soumitra Chatterjee, who appears in 15 Ray films—remember the shy and sensitive Apu in the maestro's Apur Sansar (The World Of Apu), the witty and energetic Amal in the classic Char-ulata (The Lonely Wife) or the refined detective in the whodunits Sonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) and Jai Baba Fel-unath (The Elephant God)?—is now the subject of an hour-long documentary himself. Directed by the Paris-based documentary maker Katherine Berge and produced by Ismail Merchant, the film traces Chatterjee's chequered career. The avuncular fiftysome-thing actor who works in cinema and popular theatre production, must be hoping that the film reaches Indian audiences soon. Is DD listening?

Singing in the Reign

NOBODY says no to Thackeray. Not even India's golden-voiced Lata Mangeshkar, who has agreed to a request by the Sena-chief-in-waiting Raj Thackeray to perform live, after years of shunning stage performances in her home country. For the young Thackeray, this is one way of getting rid of the muck that stuck after the Michael Jackson show. The Mangeshkar show, scheduled for later this month, will also contribute towards the Shiv Udyog Sena Charitable Trust. But this time around, there should be no hiccups.

Arranged Marriage

AS the broken hearts of her ever-hopeful suitors litter Marine Drive, where the Jazz By the Bay is located, the bubbly BPL Oye's Raageshwari will be marrying its owner Sanjay Narang. Her beau also owns the Croissant chain and was in the news for jazzing up Talk Of the Town restaurant with more than a new name. When breaking traditions is the norm and love-at-first-sight and divorce-in-hindsight is the rule, the Raageshwari-Narang tie-up is an 'arranged' one. They were brought together by mutual friend, the emerald-eyed dreamboat, Lisa Ray. A formal engagement has been postponed, so that it does not outshine the much-hyped release of the actress-turned-hostess-turned-singer's pop album. Once this snag is cleared, the Narang-Raageshwari news will be the talk of the town.

Khan, the Pyromaniac

SHAH Rukh Khan does it. So do Akshay Kumar and Ajay Devgan. Do their own stunts, we mean. A while ago, Kumar busted his back, taking on a WWF champ. Khan burnt his fingers (literally), trying some fiery feats on the sets of Koyla. The films shooting is almost over, but witnesses swear that his bravado on the sets was no pre-launch publicity stunt. At Film City recently, as stuntmen gawked and villain Amrish Puri glowered, the plucky Khan leaped through a ring of fire. But the protective water gel failed to shield him and his hands, back and ego were singed. But nothing that wife Gauris ministrations would not heal.


TEARS, drama, infidelity, passion, it was all there in the TV soap Tara. Now Tara sports a new face. Navneet Nishan is to be replaced by Preeti Narayanan who plays Nishan's daughter in the soon to be aired sequel. The producer and writer feel that the audience is already on her side as they have seen her being pushed around by her mother. So stay tuned, for Tara Junior.

Fashion Conscience

SHE objects only to animal products, not motifs. Activist Maneka Gandhi had made a statement through designer Sangita Kathiawad’s clothes. She underscored it this week with Asha Modi’s Art Karat jewellery. The proceeds from each gold-plated piece sold will be used to rehabilitate animals. While Anupam Kher, Mario Miranda and others urged invitees to develop ‘fashion-conscience’, Maneka made animal rights palatable by serving it with fashion and cocktails at the Taj, Mumbai last week.

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  • When elders were struggling to lift, let alone read, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, most of us were in shorts or babbling in the cradle, if we were there at all. Good for us that now Mira Nair is in charge of a BBC-backed series based on it, and that Tabu (seen here with Ishaan Khatter in this ‘first look’) will probably play Lata, bride of the titular boy. “...Epic tale of an unseen India,” says Nair. Unseen, eh? Let’s see.
  • Everyone who’s hurt those  sharply slanted eyes, spurned those ruby-red lips, has had cause to reg­ret. For over a decade now, Taylor Swift has turned all heartbreaks and slurs into award-winning lyrics—everything is grist to her songwriting mill. The result is 29  wins at the American Music Awards (six this year, and five more than Michael Jackson managed). Plus  fanatical fans would rejoice  at her being named both artist of the year and that of the decade. If these boys are asking her to ‘shake it off’,  they’ll have cause for regret.
  • Two women sitting on laps of men, glad, artificial grins plastered over their faces...you’d be forgiven to think such things are embarrassingly passe in the 21st century. It’s evidently not in Bollywood. And so, the comedy Good Newwz, starring Kiara Advani, Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay and Kareena, will possibly live up to its tagline: ‘the biggest goof-up of the year’. A comedy about IVF, did you say? We shudder in anticipation.
  • 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.