OUTLOOK Monday 01 September, 1997
Right on Track

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.

Simply Upper Crust

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?

Goenka Goes For It

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.

A Brush With History

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.

Minor Derailment

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.

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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.