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FORMER Miss World aspirant Rani Jeyraj is emerging out of the cold storage to which she had been consigned. She is looking forward to anchoring a music show for Asia Television Network titled Right On. She has already shot three episodes for the copy-cat show which, like international music channels, will focus on western music. "The script is very interesting, full of tid-bits on the score's background, because its writer is deep into music. I also relate to it, since it's the sort of music I like," Jeyraj enthuses. Unlike her more flamboyant predecessors Aishwarya Rai and Sushmita Sen, who evinced a keen desire to emulate Mother Teresa but embraced films instead, she has turned her back on Bollywood. "I have said no to films just now. Television is something I wanted to do since I was 12," says Jeyraj, hoping Right On doesn't prove she's on the wrong track.
GRAPEVINE has it Dr Naresh Trehan, who's put many a celeb on the road to good health, Shabana Azmi, the actress who needs no introduction, and veteran pen-pusher Kuldeep Nayar are likely to be nominated to the Rajya Sabha. As per the Indian Constitution, the President can nominate people with "special knowledge or practical experience in the field of science, arts and social service". From upper echelons to the Upper House?
RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka is pulling out all stops in celebrating 50 years of Independence. First, the group brought out five audio-cassettes, with HMV, featuring 62 melodies from Hindi films. Then there is the twin exhibition, with a scintillating line-up of 59 artists like Arpana Caur, Laxman Shreshta, Samir Mondal, Anjolie Ela Menon, Akbar Padamsee, Satish Gujral and Jehangir Sabavala celebrating "50 Years of Freedom of Expression". Toasting the same theme at another venue will be the works from 27 photographers from around the country. After 15 months of organisational effort, the mammoth show is finally on. The selection, as Goenka confesses, is subjective. But the objective, of reminding people that they live in a free country, is reached.
IF you are a history buff, or even if you are not, it's time for you to visit the Maurya Sheraton lobby in Delhi. For suspended from its centre is a 45-feet freedom scroll with the original script of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Tryst with Destiny speech displayed on it in his very own handwriting. The display is made of gold tissue and is appropriately edged with gold and bronze tassels. Fitting tribute indeed to India's 50th year of Independence.
THE lady tried to be calm, but turned catatonic. Pamela Rooks, co-producer and director of Train to Pakistan, is seething at the censor board's call for cuts in the film. The film's all-India release has been stalled and even its August 15 world premiere on Star wasn't spared the scissors. In Mumbai, co-producers Ravi Gupta of NFDC, R.V. Pandit and writer Khushwant Singh joined her lament. Dubbing the board's attitude "hypocritical", Rooks asked: "Where has freedom of expression gone in the 50th year of Independence?" Suggested cuts include knocking off expletives, deleting nudity in torture shots and toning down love scenes. We left Rooks still ruing over freedom.