Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 (Movie Review)

The trailer of "Kung Fu Panda 2" claimed that the film comes with 'double the awesomeness'. For a change, the final product indeed lives up to the tall claims of its trailer with a film that is both funnier and darker than its prequel.

Our fat, lovable and perennially hungry Panda Po (Jack Black), though accepted by his dragon warrior mates is not accepted by master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman).

Meanwhile, China has to contend with the rise of Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who has a master weapon with which he is bent upon destroying Kung Fu and bringing China under his power. The only ones who can stop him is our motley gang of warriors. But the secrets to Po's quest for his parents will threaten their mission.

"Kung Fu Panda" took upon the well-known concept of the different fighting styles known in Kung Fu and instead of humans doing the different animals' styles, had the animals do their own styles.

It invented gags and situations that left the audiences laughing. This part not only takes the elements from the first that made it so popular, but builds upon it to humorous consequences.

The film is also an example of how despite being limited by the idiosyncrasies of the characters and situations set in the first part, the modifications and adaptations can be simply wonderful and original under the careful pen of imaginative writers and the camera of a skilled director.

The film is funnier, yet the emotional search of the Panda's roots and an evil, power-hungry villain makes it much darker than the original while also making it engaging for serious adults as well. Also, the metaphor of the film, against modernity and destructive science, is extremely serious and 'adult'.

History tells us that the genesis of gunpowder, that changed the world, its politics and science, was in China. However, while the Chinese never went beyond using it for fun and fire works, it reached Europe through the Arabian traders.

Europe, and Christianity, was going through its dark age then and was engaged in a prolonged religious and economic war with Islam. What interestingly turned the tide in their favour was when the Europeans figured how to use gunpowder in guns. The rest as they say is history which saw Europe colonise most of the remaining world, including China.

"Kung Fu Panda 2" makes an allegory of the same in the form of Lord Shen (Gary Oldman) who, like the Europeans, figures out the use of gun powder in canons and sets out to destroy China itself. However, while unarmed Kung Fu fighters are able to prevent him in the film, the reality of what Europe did to the world with their new found power is much more destructive.

Besides your usual voiceover, the film also features the voices of some other martial arts favourites, include Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jackie Chan to the delight of martial arts fans.

The force is definitely stronger with this sequel that expands upon the vistas of the original and whose end foretells another instalment. In itself, it is a film not to be missed by young and old alike.

Amitabh Bachchan creates new record by singing title track in 'Acapella' style

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan created a new record by singing the title track of his forthcoming film 'Bbuddah - Hoga Terra Baap' in 'Acapella' style -- the first ever in India.

Acapella music is a solo or a group vocal or singing without any instrumental sound.
Interestingly, music directors Vishal-Shekhar had been planning to do something unique with Mr Bachchan since quite sometime and they came up with the idea of using the acapella style to create a memorable number for ‘Bbuddah’. When the duo approached Mr Bachchan with this suggestion, the actor immediately agreed to do it, a release said here today.

Music director Shekhar Ravjiani said ''We wanted to try something new with this song. We did the basic setup and then Mr Bachchan replaced every track with his voice. He recreated the sounds of approximately 10 to 12 instruments, from drum to bass to the snare to the chorus. In a nutshell, he did everything required to make a song.'' Produced by Viacom18 and AB Corp, ‘Bbuddah-Hoga Terra Baap’ is written and directed by Puri Jagannadh and also stars Hema Malini, Raveena Tandon, Sonu Sood, Sonal Chauhan, southern actress Charmi and South Indian baddie Prakash Raj.

‘Bbuddah’ releases on July one, the release added.

Sonakshi Sinha new face of D'Damas

"Dabangg" actress Sonakshi Sinha has been announced as the new face of the D'Damas diamond jewellery brand. She has taken over from Preity Zinta.

"Sonakshi Sinha is the face of the new Indian woman who is confident, versatile and has got tremendous self-belief. She has the charisma, grace, beauty and the attitude that goes perfectly with the brand image," said R.K. Menon, COO, D'damas Jewellery India Pvt Ltd.

The 23-year-old is also associated with brands like Dyna Soap, Colgate toothpaste and Provogue's women wear line where she is seen endorsing the products.

"I connect with D'Damas because I personally live each moment to the fullest and believe in celebrating life. D'Damas adds celebration to both ordinary and even the everyday special occasions," said Sonakshi.

‘Pirates 4’ still top pick at box office

LOS ANGELES: The fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie ruled the foreign box office for a second weekend, fending off strong debuts by the "Hangover" and "Kung Fu Panda" sequels.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," playing everywhere overseas, captured $123 million during the weekend, raising its total to $471 million -- more than three times its domestic gross ($153 million).

"The Hangover, Part II" pulled in $59 million from 40 markets. Warner Bros. said the opening is three times higher than the comparable opening gross of the original 2009 hit in the same markets.

The comedy drew huge numbers from its No. 1 U.K. bow ($16.4 million), while Australia chipped in $11.6 million and France $5.8 million. Germany and Russia will open this week.

"Kung Fu Panda 2" in 3D followed closely with $57 million from just 11 markets, mostly in Asia.

The sequel to 2008's "Kung Fu Panda" finished in the top spot in nine markets, with China ($18.5 million), Russia ($15 million) and South Korea ($13 million) leading the list.

This week will see "Kung Fu Panda 2" adding 11 markets as it rolls out gradually over the summer months to capitalize on school holidays.

No. 4 on the weekend was "Fast Five," which grossed $13.3 million in 61 territories, pushing the foreign total for the turbo-charged street-racing sequel to $346 million.

"Rio" came in at No. 5 with $3.8 million from 37 markets for an overseas total of $321.9 million. (Reuters)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Kucch Luv Jaisa (Movie Review)

On paper, this must have sounded like a terrific idea -- to showcase the amazing talent of Shefali Shah, who plays a disenchanted housewife whose husband has forgotten her identity, not to forget her birthday.

She sets off on a day of adventure with a mysterious stranger, and discovers reasons to love herself. Wish we could love her as much as we want to. Wish we could share her zest to seize the day. The storytelling, sad to say, distances us from the housewife's zany confusions.

The idea of a woman's 24-hour journey into self-discovery needed more careful packaging and a mastery over the emotions that she has to pour out into the script to give the sensitivity that it aspires to achieve.

While Barnali Ray Shukla's writing sparkles, she is unable to put the situations on film in that inviting spiral of compelling situations that would make the housewife's predicament endearing and empathetic.

Once we get over the initial excitement of watching the housewife overcome her initial boredom, the narrative pretty much settles down to letting the protagonist find her own centre in a story that doesn't quite know how to get going. The narration moves forward in fits and starts.

Some episodes hold our attention for the effervescence that Shefali Shah brings into them. Here's an actress who is always in command of the material provided to her. Often we have seen Shefali go beyond the requirements of the script.

However, that isn't a luxury afforded to this consummate actress on this occasion, as we see her struggling with dialogues and scenes that seem to have been written with much warmth but little conviction.

What sees the film through is the intelligent camaraderie that Rahul Bose establishes with his co-star. This a road movie with the traffic in a state of chaos. We know the neglected housewife Madhu is out for a day of defiant adventure in the company of a sullen gangster who has just been betrayed by his girlfriend. Beyond that, we aren't really allowed to care for the two misfits.

By the time the two unlikely companions reach their destination, the plot has reached a dead end. Ironically, the film's best sequences comes towards the end. It's a stolen moment between the mother and her rebellious teenaged daughter in the rest-room where the older woman wants to know if her daughter has ever had sex.

This is the only time this sex comedy mentions the 's' word.

"Kucch Luv Jaisa" is a dissatisfying film about a dissatisfied life. It is littered with situations that had the potential to ignite into furious displays of intuitive intimacy. The moments are mostly squandered in trying to appear sassy, stylish and savvy.

A bit more of sincerity and intimacy would have gone a long way into making this film on unrealised dreams blossom into a work of ambrosial possibilities.

The pretentious songs on the soundtrack serve as a reminder of how much this film craved for more occasion to cheer the housewife's efforts to rise above her deadlocked existence.

Shefali takes the character as far as it can go. Beyond a point, there is little she can do with a script that doesn't quite find its centre.

Mallika: I won't do it with older actors!

Mallika Sherawat adds another tantrum to the list. Apparently for Shalu, an item number in Bin Bulaye Baraati, she refused to shoot with other actors.

Veteran actors like Gulshan Grover, Om Puri and others like Rajpal Yadav, Mukesh Tiwari and Johnny Lever were to be a part of the song. Most wouldn't be dancing, but would simply be watching Madame M dance.

This was the initial plan, but Mallika apparently, wanted to do the item number on her own, without these actors around.

Notes one of the actors, "It was shocking. We had gone for the shoot thinking we'd be filming together.

The choreographer Ganesh Acharya shook hands with us but when we went to get our make-up done, he had vamoosed. The film's director, Chandrakant Singh took over and directed the song."

As it turns out, Acharya had been pressurised to only choreograph Mallika on a separate day. A unit member says, "This must be historical. The other actors were shot separately and then added together with the item number."

However, there was a dance step which Mallika had to do with Aftab Shivdasani and Priyanka Kothari. The source adds, "That was one shot Mallika agreed to do with them and that was done on a later date."

Ganesh confirms that he shot separately with Malli but denies that she demanded it. "There was no such problem. Mallika was supposed to shoot alone with the rest of the actors joining her at the end of the song."

Gulshan confirms that he shot separately with other actors but expressed ignorance on the reason. "Om Puri, Mukesh and I shot separately along with many other actors.

I don't know about the reason. It could be due to convenience, time constraints, cost cutting or date problems. But it was a bit strange to shoot separately, " he says.

The film is scheduled to release on 8 July 2011. A source close to Mallika states that she never put forth any such condition.

The Tantrum queen
Mallika threw tantrums on the reality show Chak Dhoom Dhoom and was later shown the door.
Had issues wearing a bikini in Double Dhamaal.
Reportedly gave Kangna Ranaut the cold shoulder while working on Rascals.

Credit :Mid-Day.com

Shakira considering album in Arabic

RABAT: Colombian pop singer Shakira said Saturday she would one day like to sing pop songs, if not an entire album, in Arabic.

The native Spanish speaker, who also has global hits in English, was speaking at a news conference in Morocco, where she was headlining the Mawazine World Rhythms music festival.

"It would be a challenge to do an album in Arabic. I would first have to learn Arabic," she said. "I am completely open to that experience. ... At some point I would love that to happen in my life."

Born in Colombia of Syrian origin, Shakira said she grew up listening to the Arab world's premier divas of the 20th century, Egyptian Umm Kalthum and Lebanese Fairuz.

Shakira often uses eastern dance, also known as belly dancing, in her acts, and her hit Spanish language single "Ojas Asi" relies heavily on a Middle Eastern melody. Her eastern origins and musical influences have made her popular throughout the Middle East.

She admitted, however, that she only speaks a few words of Arabic, including "ateeni boosa" or give me a kiss, provoking laughter among the mostly Moroccan crowd of journalists.

Morocco's 10th-annual Mawazine festival of world music concluded Saturday after eight days of music that saw bands from 60 countries, including Kanye West, Lionel Ritchie, Egypt's Amr Diab and Senegal's Youssou N'Dour. (AP)

Robert Pattinson tops 'Gossip Center Hot 45 List'

Not only has he won many a popularity poll, but also reached the zenith of his short career by winning a number of fan favourite awards, and this time it was no wonder that Robert Pattinson did it again as he rose to the peak position on the 'Gossip Center Hot 45 List'.

The ‘Twilight’ heartthrob garnered the number one spot for the second time in the past month.

He ousted fellow attention-grabbing famous faces including runner-up Justin Bieber and third place finisher Carla Bruni, reports the Fox News.

In spite of having a relatively quite start to the week, Pattinson enjoyed a late, yet overwhelming surge upon the release of the first on-set photo from his latest project ‘Cosmopolis’.

Diana Hayden to launch her book

Some beauty tips from former beauty queen Diana Hayden?
She is to launch her book “A Beautiful Truth” in Septemeber and says it kept her engaged for the last two years.

“I have put my two years of hard work and research into this book. There were days when I used to work for as many as 20 hours. I think after Miss World, it is my book on which I have worked so hard on,” Diana told reporters.

“Everything in this book is done by me, be it research or anything. The book is like an encyclopedia for women, who will find every information about make-up or body shape in it. So let me clarify that it is not only for models, but for every woman out there,” she added.

After making an appearance in the second season of reality show “Bigg Boss” (2008), she had been dormant of sorts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger 'wants second chance'

Arnold Schwarzenegger has reportedly begged estranged wife Maria Shriver for "one last chance" to save their marriage.

The pair separated earlier this month after 25 years of marriage following the revelation that Schwarzenegger had fathered a secret love child with a former family housekeeper.

However, unauthorized Schwarzenegger biographer Ian Halperin claimed that the former California governor is desperate to reunite with his wife and avoid a divorce.

"He's actually shed tears. He knows he's done wrong, and he's begging on his knees for forgiveness and one last chance," Halperin told Extra "Arnold has been making calls to Maria repeatedly, asking her for one more chance."

He went on to say that Shriver has not been responsive to the pleas, adding: "Maria wants no part of it."

It was recently reported that Shriver plans to file for divorce from Schwarzenegger in the upcoming days.

Schwarzenegger has put his film career on hold following the scandal.

Ciara: "I have this new obsession with nudity"

Ciara has confessed that she has an "obsession with nudity".

Talking to Us Weekly, the 'Ride' singer revealed that she often walks around naked when home alone and enjoys the feeling of "embracing the body".

"I feel the sexiest when I'm by myself, walking around nude," she explained. "I have this new obsession with nudity, it's really weird... I just really love embracing the body."

She went on to say that while she tries to maintain a balanced diet and exercise routine, she is not obsessed with being overly thin and looks after herself for the health benefits that the lifestyle provides.

"I can lose weight easily and I don't like to do that. I'm not trying to lose and get small. I just want to keep shape and I just want to focus on abs and glutes," she said.

Ciara previously confessed that she was hoping she would be dropped by LaFace Records as she believed that the label was responsible for the disappointing sales of her last album Basic Instinct.

Rihanna plays down New York concert attack

Rihanna has attempted to play down an altercation with a male fan during a New York concert.

The Barbadian singer was performing her single 'S&M' on the streets of the Big Apple for Friday's edition of the Today show when a member of the crowd grabbed her and pulled her into specially erected metal barriers.

The 23-year-old was quickly released, unharmed, from the man's grip by her accompanying dancers and escorted to the main stage outside the city's iconic Rockefeller Centre.

Despite the sudden and shocking nature of her attack, the star appeared to recover quickly and later joked about the incident on Twitter.

When asked by a follower what was going through her mind during the on-air clash, Rihanna replied: "sumn like 'THIS muhf**ka better not f**k up my weave'" (sic).

Rihanna went on to perform her hits 'Only Girl (In The World)', 'What's My Name' and 'California King Bed' during the special gig, which launched the NBC programme's 'summer concert series'.

During her Today stint, Rihanna also brushed off criticism of her "overtly-sexualised" duet with Britney Spears at last weekend's Billboard Awards.

Love U Mr Kalaakar (Movie Review)

Tch tch.Boy is an artiste.He is humble, generous, kind and compassionate. But what the heck! He can’t keep his sweetheart in the lap of luxury. Girl’s Dad makes the Kalaakar, a cartoonist with a penchant for looking for warmth and humour in every cliché if life, an offer he can’t refuse. “Join my family business, prove yourself as a profiteer and you can have my daughter’s hand.”

This, then, is the old-as-the-hills love story into which Tusshar Kapoor and Amrita Rao are thrown together. To their credit the pair gets into the mellow mood of the old-fashioned romance almost as though they’ve grown up watching the Collected Works Of Sooraj Barjatya.

Having read some of the savage and dismissive reviews of this film, I am quite surprised to encounter a film which is innocuous and sweet, uncluttured and unassuming in its intentions.Neatly scripted it could do with some trimming in the last 45 minutes of playing-time. However director S Manasvi succeeds in infusing an even rhythm to the proceedings.

It is Harindranath Chattopadhyay who said, “It’s very difficult to be simple.” It takes a lot of guts to make a film as simple, honest and and transparent as Love You…Mr Kalaakar in this day and age when Munni and Sheila are happily letting it all hang out and.And Ragini’s love is lost in the lust and greed of an MMS mess.

Love You…Mr Kalaakar has a quaint oldworld charm to it. It doesn’t try to be anything but a story of love and trust set against the corporate kingdom. The dialogues though adhering to the film’s ‘filmy’ manoeuvres, are at times enormously moving.

Tusshar and Amrita Rao convey a great deal of unalloyed charm in their collaborative romance.While Tusshar has recently found his niche as an actor one wonders why Amrita Rao has not found a place under the sun yet.

The film gets a dash of added credibility from Ram Kapoor in the stereotypical part of the heroine’s disapproving father.Kapoor infuses a part belonging to Madan Puri and Pinchoo Kapoor with heart.And the Phool Aur Kante girl Madhoo has now matured into playing the leading lady’s aunt. And a dapper glamorous and sexy aunt at that.

One wishes Madhoo had not packed in so many expressions in every shot. Maybe she was making up for lost time in a film that doesn’t try to live up to definitions of contemporary cinematic entertainment.

Love You…Mr Kalaakar is just happy being itself.No hang-ups about its lack of innovativeness.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lady Gaga hunting for Iglesias look-alike?

Pop star Lady Gaga is apparently hunting for Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias' look-alike to star in her forthcoming video.

Gaga is preparing to shoot the promo for her new single, "The Edge of Glory", this weekend and the casting bosses are hunting for a suitable match for her to kiss in it.

According to the notice, obtained by E! Online, the star wants an attractive, "Puerto Rican or Dominican type bada**... who must be willing to kiss Lady Gaga...think Enrique Iglesias."

Lindsay Lohan under house arrest

Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, who showed up three weeks early at Los Angeles' Lynwood Jail, is now under house arrest.

Contactmusic.com reports that she was immediately determined eligible to serve her time at home, so she was fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet Thursday and released.

She is now at her home in Venice, California, but cannot leave until June 29.

"She is now confined to the interior premises of her home at all times," said Steve Whitmore, the Los Angeles Sheriff's spokesman.

The actress was last month ordered to to undertake three years probation, serve 120 days in jail and complete 480 hours of community service for jewelry theft and breaching the terms of her 2007 probation.

Home detention aims to reduce the prison population by allowing non-violent offenders to serve out their sentences in home confinement.

Lohan, who pleaded no contest to stealing a USD 2,500 necklace, had until June 17 to report to the prison but it is thought she wanted to do it sooner rather than later so she can begin shooting her new movie, "Gotti: three Generations".

Sandra Bullock 'buys $22m Beverly Hills house'

Sandra Bullock has reportedly purchased a $22 million (£13.3m) Beverly Hills estate.

X17 Online reveals that the Blind Side actress recently closed a deal for the "8,110-square-foot, seven-bed, eight-bath Tudor-style mansion" in the Holmby Hills neighbourhood.

The property occupies 4.1 acres and offers amenities such as an in-house screening room, library, staff quarters and a pool-side pavilion, as well as "stunning 270-degree views" of the ocean.

The house has had several famous owners, including movie star Marlo Thomas and record executive and film producer David Geffen.

Bullock previously donated $1 million to help aid those affected by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

It was announced earlier this month that a New Orleans high school class she had sponsored saw 100% of its students graduate this year.

Elton John shortlisted for dad of the year award

Singer Elton John and his partner David Furnish have reportedly become the first gay couple to be shortlisted for Britain's dad of the year award.

Contactmusic.com reports they will compete against soccer star David Beckham and singer Rod Stewart.

Australian singer Peter Andre - who took the title last year - has also been nominated, along with British pop star Gary Barlow.

"Peter Andre, the reigning champion, has once again made the shortlist, so it will be interesting to see if he can become the first dad to win the title two years in a row," said a spokesperson of the contest.

The winner will be determined by public vote and announced on Britain's Father's Day next month for the Premier Inn Celebrity Dad of the Year prize.

Ragini MMS (Moview Review)

When Dibakar Banerjee took a previously done concept to make "Love Sex Aur Dhokha" (LSD), he not only created cinematic poetry but its commercial success made its studio greedy enough to replicate the formula.

Sadly, what the studio did not realize is that unlike science, in cinema, formulas can not always be replicated. Proof - "Ragini MMS", a clone between LSD, Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity.

Uday (Raj Kumar) takes Ragini (Kainaz Motivala) to a secluded house rigged with cameras. He intends to shoot a sex video. What he does not know is that the house is haunted. The sexy twosome, soon turn into a murderous threesome.

There are too many things wrong with the film - the jump-cuts are often jarring, there are no subplots, it abounds in all cliches of the horror genre, though the performance of the lead pair is convincing, the others are bad, the ghost may not be wearing a white bed sheet and a candle, but her hazy, ugly witch avatar has been done to death before, the ghost is seen so much that she stops being frightening and the audio during the horror scenes is so loud that instead of the scene, it's the sound that scares etc.

"Ragini MMS" does not seem to be the work of one or a few creative soul, rather it looks like the handiwork of many heads trying to break creativity together that end up breaking apart the film instead.

One of the most key elements of a horror film is silence. The simplest trick in the horror filmmakers manual is to punctuate the film with lots of silent moments raising a false alarm in the minds of the viewer and striking horror when least expected.

There is so much loud background noise put into the film that any sense of nuances is completely lost. The lack of a credible back story or subplots ensures that you don't empathize with your butchered couple.

Raj Kumar who almost essays the same videotaping voyeur's role he played in LSD, is underutilized and though a feeble attempt is made at the end to make you empathize with him, it's too late.

Also the concept of horror in the film is of western origin - that of pure evil. The Japanese version of horror, which is gaining currency in Hollywood after dozens of their horror films have been remade, is that of empathy for the ghost as well where the film also become a mystery, besides being a dumb slasher movie.

Also for horror films, besides a notable exception in Paranormal Activity, linear plots don't work. The unexpected twists in the story do.

Ekta Kapoor, who after landmark films like LSD and "Shor In The City", has the chance to become the patron saint of creative directors, needs to remember that a director and his team is hired for their creative vision. She needs to learn to trust them for that.

Also, she needs to remember that you can copy a format and a formula, but not style and panache.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Aishwarya Rai 'reduces asking fee'

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has cut her fee for new Hindi film project Heroine.

The actress, who launched the Madhur Bhandarkar venture at the Cannes Film Festival, will instead take a share of the profits, Mumbai Mirror reports.

A source revealed to the tabloid: "Every actor including Aishwarya Rai, Arjun Rampal and even Madhur Bhandarkar himself have slashed their fee."

Bhandarkar's earlier films Page 3 and Fashion received critical acclaim for the work of female lead actors Kangna Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra and Konkona Sen Sharma.

"It's a sensible business decision. Ash and Arjun will be sharing the profits of the film. They are confident of Heroine's prospects at the box office," added the source.

Rai Bachchan recently made her tenth appearance at Cannes.

The actor accepted the controversial role after Kareena Kapoor unexpectedly withdrew from the production.

Priyanka Chopra rivalry 'delays Barfee shoot'

Priyanka Chopra and Ileana D'Cruz have reportedly fallen out over the size of their roles in Barfee.

South Indian film star D'Cruz is making her Bollywood debut in the movie, which co-stars Ranbir Kapoor.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirrror, an insider said: "After seeing how powerful Priyanka's role is in Barfee, Ileana is being warned by her friends that she might be reduced to a has-been like Kangna Ranaut in Anurag Basu's Kites."

D'Cruz is reportedly worried that her role in the film will be cut out and has delayed shooting until the issue is sorted out.

Chopra took on the role of a girl with learning difficulties, while Cruz is playing a more conventional female lead in the movie, which is billed as a "romantic murder mystery".

Arnie's divorce could cost him GBP 155m record payout!

It has emerged that if Arnold Schwarzenegger's estranged wife Maria Shriver goes ahead with divorcing him in light of the recent scandal, she could land 155million pounds as divorce payout, making it the biggest settlement in showbiz history.

The mum of four is tipped to file for divorce in days.

Hollywood action hero Schwarzenegger, 63, has a vast property portfolio including an entire shopping mall, plus shares in Coca-Cola and Starbucks - and an 8million pound LA home.

'The Terminator' star's wealth has been estimated at 310million pounds and Shriver , 55, could be entitled to half.

It would dwarf the 100million pounds basketball star Michael Jordan paid ex Juanita Vanoy in 2007 - the current celebrity record. And it is more than twice the 65million pounds Tiger Woods is said to have given Elin Nordegren in their split.

Maria has hired a private eye to probe Schwarzenegger's finances.

"She'll get every last penny she is entitled to," the Sun quoted a source as saying.

"Arnold is an extremely rich man - no one is quite sure how rich but Maria's team will find out. He seems to have invested wisely and could be worth 500million dollars," the source added.

The couple split after 25 years when Schwarzenegger admitted fathering a boy, now 13, with a housekeeper.

Leopard enters Hema Malini's bungalow, vanishes

A leopard strayed into Bollywood actress Hema Malini's bungalow here Friday morning and created panic in the area, an official said.

The leopard was sighted in the bungalow premises in Malad by a security guard and a domestic help around 7.30 a.m.

The big cat's presence caused panic in the vicinity and the people from the neighbourhood contacted the forest department for help, said Chief Conservator of Forests (Thane Circle) S.A. Thorat.

"We had sent a team of forest officials to the place equipped with tranquilisers and a cage to try and trap the leopard. However, we thoroughly searched the premises and the surrounding areas also, but it had apparently escaped into the forest," Thorat told IANS Friday afternoon.

Hema Malini was not at home at the time and nobody was attacked by the animal.

Thorat assured people that leopard does not normally attack humans unless provoked or it is scared. It generally runs after small prey like dogs and pigs, and can travel long distances of 30-50 km in a single night.

The Sanjay Gandhi National Park, spread over around 100 square km in northwest Mumbai has over five dozen leopards and many other wild animals living in the thick cover of the forest.

Leopards often stray into the sprawling housing complexes, the Film City, the Aarey Milk Colony, Dahisar, Borivli, Kandivili, Malad, Goregaon and other western suburbs and Mulund, Bhandup on the eastern side.

There have been at least five instances in the past couple of years of leopards, chasing preys, getting run over by speeding vehicles on the Western Express and Eastern Express highways.

Bipasha Basu charged for excess baggage

Bipasha Basu has been required to pay tax for excess baggage, following an overseas trip to the UK.

The actress, who was last seen in Dum Maaro Dum, claimed to have overspent while shopping in London, Mid Day reports.

In an official statement, Basu commented: "It was just a routine check at the airport and many others were being checked as well. I paid Rs.12,000 (£165) as tax against some personal goods."

The star added that she had no complaints against officials at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport

"I think the customs team is doing an excellent job," Basu said in an official statement.

Minissha Lamba was recently stopped for 16 hours after returning from Cannes with undeclared jewellery.

404 (Movie Review)

In one word, stunning! That’s the impact of Prawaal Raman’s supernatural thriller. No creaking doors, no dolby-driven demoniacal sound effects, no half-naked girls running around with banshee shrieks and provocative protests, none of the trappings of the horror genre. And yet 404 (why the prosaic and uninspiring title?) is one of the most terrifying movie experiences in recent times.

Leaving behind the gross audio and visual excesses of the horror genre 404 creates a universe of subdued and muted terror within the normal milieu.

The music never rises to a crescendo even as the narrative peaks to an all-time high of smothered terror. 404 is the most natural supernatural thriller you are likely to see in Hindi. The excesses of the genre are quietly set aside for a tone of narration that constantly favours understatement.

Prawaal Raman is not new to the supernatural-horror genre. In Darna Manaa Hai and its sequel Darna Zaroori Hai Raman never got it so right. In 404 he goes for the jugular and clamps a terror-band around your throat with the fear of the unknown stalking the mind rather than the film’s physical landscape.

It isn’t easy to create a sense of foreboding from within the intangible places in the characters’s mind and heart. From the first frame when the film opens at a medical college in a quaint hill station (ah terror in tranqullity, that’s one cliché from the horror genre you don’t mind!) the narrative generates a feeling of darkness and danger lurking in the imposing corridors.

And yet the film is never gloomy or dull in mood or visuals. Maybe it’s the luscious art work. More likely, it is just intelligent writing rather than cheap and gimmicky horror tactics that are usually applied to the genre.

The smartly-written screenplay about a doughty medical student who befriends the boy who killed himself in the same room has echoic shades of Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat which had the painter Aamir Khan moving into the house of a woman who commits suicide.

Dhobi Ghat romanticized the link between the present and past. 404 imbues a sense of tragic regret and doom in the relationship that forms between the present and past room-mates of the hostel room.

Lording over the eerie link is a professor of psychology—a true inherior of Shakespeare and Kafka’s legacy, if ever there was one-- battling over his own demons, struggling to keep the wall between the supernatural and rationale up firmly in place, watching it collapse in a noiseless but horrific heap.

In the role of the professor who is rapidly losing a grip on reality filmmaker Nishikant Kamat (Dombivli Fast, Mumbai Meri Jaan) turns in the kind of evolved and involving performance that makes all other recent directors-turned-actors look like a harem of hams.

Kamat builds the character’s troubled inner world with evocative gestures. His nervous restless eyes and fidgety body-language suggest a profound bonding between the terror in the mind and its manifestation in the outward physical world .

Tisca Arora as his supportive colleague and wife is as usual, excellent. As is the newcomer Rajvvir Arora as the boy who can ‘see’ the dead.

The film opens as a look at the sorry repercussions of ragging (done here with far more restraint than in Manish Gupta’s over-the-top Hostel) and then builds into an elegant but emphatic treatise on the guilt, memory, regret and grief.

The cinematography by Savita Singh is richly layered suggesting deeper meanings in even the most routine moments. The editing by Sarvesh Parab is tight . But economy is not an obsession here. Getting the mood and pace right are predominant.

In many ways 404 is an exceptional journey into a mind that sees beyond the physical world. The narrative is blissfully freed of humbug.

The shots, even the ones expressly designed to generate horror, are remarkable for their aesthetic precision, warmth and emotional austerity. . At the end this highly original and engrossing work you are left with thoughts on mortality, after-life, death and other jokes.

404 takes the cruel joke that’s life and converts it into a forceful and spirited comment on the world of the spirits. Yes, there’s someone out there waiting to connect with you. 404 takes us on that journey into the unknown with such confidence and warmth that you start believing in an after-life.

And that after-life is called cinema.

Irrespective of whether you’re a fan of the supernatural-horror genre or not, don’t miss this one. After watching this film you’d never want Ragini to send you an MMS, promise!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Robert Pattinson wants to get married

Robert Pattinson has revealed that he plans to spend old age in a retirement home with his wife.

The actor, who is dating Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart, insisted that he is a "romantic" at heart.

He told Glamour: "I want to be with my wife. Sitting on a deckchair, sipping some tea, and reading books in a retirement home, in a beautiful and warm place. I'm a romantic guy."

However, recent reports have claimed that Pattinson intends to split from Stewart because he wants to be single.

A source told Closer: "Rob may soon be a single man - he loves Kristen, but has suggested they have less in common.

"He seems to be finding the relationship tough at the moment - sometimes Kristen just wants to stay in watching films or listening to Bob Dylan. Their hectic work schedules mean they're spending less and less time together and things seem to have become more distant between them."

Jane Seymour "misquoted" over Schwarzenegger

Jane Seymour has claimed that the press distorted her recent comments about Arnold Schwarzenegger's admission of infidelity.

The James Bond actress appeared to suggest that she had first-hand knowledge of other children Schwarzenegger fathered out of wedlock during an interview with CNN.

"He was obviously jumping the gun before everyone else told the world the news. And from what I gather there will be lots of information coming people's way," she said at the time. "I heard about two more children. I met someone who knows him well."

Seymour has now insisted that she was misquoted by the news agency and never meant to imply that she had direct information about Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver's marriage.

"I was highly and purposely misquoted by the press," she told TheWrap. "It pains me enormously."

Seymour explained that she'd simply seen reports in the media alleging that Schwarzenegger possibly fathered other children outside his marriage.

The former Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman star went on to express sorrow that her comments could have added to Shriver's emotional trauma.

"I obviously said the wrong thing... I feel terribly sorry for Maria and the kids. It must be incredibly hard, particularly for the children," Seymour lamented. "In retrospect, going down that press line, I should have just shut my mouth and said nothing."

Shriver could begin divorce proceedings as early as this week, it has been reported.

Lady Gaga's promotional blitz for new album offers new business model

NEW YORK, The release of a pop star's album usually comes with the typical cross-marketing splash — strategic magazine covers, a few major TV appearances, and perhaps a cosmetics or fashion deal to remind the public a new project awaits.

Yet the social media-powered blitz connected to this week's drop of Lady Gaga's third album, "Born This Way," is bordering on epic, with partnerships ranging from Starbucks to FarmVille, and virtual giveaways of the album's 17 tracks. It also represents the kind of bold, new business model that could help rejuvenate a deflated music industry.

Gaga already had a slew of magazine covers, from Rolling Stone to Vogue, and appeared on every high profile show, from Oprah Winfrey to "American Idol" to "Saturday Night Live," as well as her own HBO concert special.

But she hasn't stopped there. Starbucks — typically home to easy-on-the-ears artists like Emmylou Harris — is selling her album as well as launching a "digital scavenger hunt" for Gaga-inspired goods; Google Chrome debuted a commercial with Gaga with a track from the album; the online fashion outlet Gilt Groupe partnered with Gaga to offer Gaga-inspired clothing and VIP performances; Best Buy is giving away the album to anyone who purchases a mobile phone with a contract; and Zynga, creator of the popular online game "FarmVille," created "GagaVille," which allowed fans access to exclusive Gaga songs.

As if that wasn't enough, on Monday, Amazon.com sold "Born This Way" for just 99 cents as a promotion for their new music cloud service, creating a demand so strong it disrupted the online retailing giant's servers for a time.

And it looks like the campaigns are paying off: Gaga's album is estimated to sell anywhere between a half-million to a million copies when the top album charts are revealed next week.
"It was really about expanding the distribution on this album and going into as many non-traditional retail partnerships and non-traditional marketing partnerships as possible," Gaga's manager, Troy Carter, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Just with the diminishing music labels, you want to find quality partners where you know you can reach new audiences and being able to push boundaries as well."

Among the promotions connected with "Born This Way" is the Disney Mobile Tapulous game Tap Tap Revenge, which gives fans access to the entire album and other content if they buy the game,"Born This Way Revenge," for $4.99. It's the first time Tapulous has put out 17 tracks with a game for that price.

Tim O'Brien, vice-president of business development at Disney Mobile, said this was the third deal with Gaga, resulting in the total sale of five million songs so far.
While they've worked with other pop artists with their Tap Tap Revenge app, he said Gaga — who has 10 million followers on Twitter and was recently crowned Forbes' most influential celebrity in part because of her tens of millions of followers online — is an act with unique appeal.

"I've never seen anything as powerful as when Gaga hits her social media channels compared to anyone else that we've worked with," he said. "I've never seen anything like it in terms of how she's utilizing social media."

In pop history, there have been plenty of attention-grabbing publicity campaigns for debuting albums: Who can forget the huge statues Jackson had erected of himself and placed across the world for his "HIStory" album, or when the Backstreet Boys hit six continents in four days to promote "Black and Blue"? Then there was Jay-Z, who performed in seven cities in 17-hours for his comeback album, "Kingdom Come."

But Bill Werde, editorial director of Billboard, calls Gaga's promotional efforts "more of a landmark campaign" for the new music industry.
"There's nothing about Gaga that's subtle, so I don't see why her marketing campaign would be any different," he added.

One of the more unusual promotions was Amazon's decision to sell the MP3 version of Gaga's album for 99 cents on Monday, the day of its release, as part of its Amazon Cloud Drive, which gives consumers personal digital storage space on a remote network or cloud; 20 gigabytes of cloud space came with the album. However, there was such a demand it caused delays for Amazon's customers, a spokeswoman said.

Though some people questioned the decision to basically give the album away, Carter wasn't concerned at all, calling the promotional idea "incredible."
"I am more concerned about piracy and people stealing the music. If you can get somebody to experience the music at that sort of price for one day only, I think it gets a lot of attention for the album," he added.

Werde said that's key in an age where album sales are deflated and serve more as a promotional tool for the artist's other money-making projects, including touring, in an industry more focused on what is called the 360-model of generating revenue.

"It's one of first big superstar releases that really grasps the potential of the new music business that everybody is talking about," he said. "For a superstar artist like a Gaga, the sale of recorded music — not the quality of the music, mind you, but the sale of recorded music— really gets sort of assumed as a marketing cost to drive this 360-engine."

Carter says his data indicates Gaga may sell over 500,000 copies in the first week, and perhaps 700,000; Werde said "Born This Way" could go as high as one million.
But Carter says the unique marketing tools used leading up to and during the album's release wasn't just to achieve monster sales for the album's debut.

"Nobody ever pays attention in the second week," he said. "For us it's about being in this album cycle for the next 18 to 24 months."
It seems Gaga-mania won't be easing anytime soon. Source: The Canadian Press

Kashmakash (Movie Review)

How does one go about adapting a popular Rabindranath Tagore novel that’s filled with melodramatic coincidences without making it look like a distant cousin of a Hindi potboiler written by Gulshan Nanda rather than Tagore?

Ghosh has earlier done a delicately-drawn Tagore portrait on celluloid in Chokher Bali. Some of the cast in Kashmakash was also part of Chokher Bali. Raima Sen is common to both. And honestly one can’t tell the difference between her two personas in the two Tagore adaptations by Ghosh.

Gosh seems to have dressed Raima up in the same sarees and jewellery in both. Sure, she plays a far more educated and urbane woman in Kashamash. But the physical reality of Raima’s character is determined in both cases by the director’s Bangla aesthetics rather than the demand of the theme. The sarees are more Tollygunj than Tagore.

The eye for detail remains impeccable. Ghosh creates the turmoil of the Bengal in the 1920s with glorious gusto. If God lies in the details then Kashmakash is a psalm in silvery shades. Tragically a devil of a mundaneness shrouds the film’s breathtaking recreation of an era when women exuded grace and men inhaled that grace without getting libidinous.

Though there are two weddings in Kashmaksh there is no sex. Not that Rituparno Ghosh has ever been shy of depicting love-making. In Antar Mahal he had made Jackie Shroff do unmentionable things to Soha Ali Khan in a bed that creaked suggestively.

In Kashmakash there’s no scope for carnal collisions. It’s the story of fugitive intimacy between a man and a woman who are thrown together as man and wife during stormy circumstances. The rest is a mishti mystique filmed in vignettes of stolen giggles and heaving bosoms.

Ghosh builds up the storm nicely. But eventually it appears restricted to a teacup. It’s a very elegant cup but nonetheless pretty emasculated in its epic energy.

What ails Kashamaksh is the absence of a sexual energy. Jishu Sengupta, a fine actor and a Ghosh favourite, portrays the anguish of an ‘educated’ (read: inhibited) man married to the wrong woman, with the kind of bridled decorum that you wait to break free. It never does.

Kashmakash builds up to a storm that culminates in a wimpering winter of pale shades.

The use of Rabindra Sangeet in Hindi is as botchy and misguided as any effort to translocate a fragile cultural artifact from its roots to an alien landscape. The Rabindra melodies that usually bring an ache in your heart here leave you with a pang of embarrassment. Turn the page, please.

Riya Sen takes care of the rest. As the timid bride who ends up in the wrong bed her voice is dubbed by whiny wimpy woman’s throat that sounds more fake than a bottle of cognac filled with hooch. Voice apart Riya is hopelessly miscast.

Prosenjit in a thanklessly abbreviated part is effective. So is the capable Dhritiman Chatterjee as Raima’s father. The father-daughter scenes exude the scent of serenity and graced, sadly denied to the rest of this feeble adaptation.

What redeems Kashmakash and finally makes it worth a lingering dekko is the warmth and romance that Rituprano Ghosh brings to his celluloid adapatation. The directly clearly loves his characters and actors.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vidya Balan to wear butt-pads for Smitha role?

Vidya Balan has reportedly been told to wear butt-pads to enhance her hips for the biopic of South Indian star Silk Smitha.

The actress is playing Smitha in Ekta Kapoor's upcoming Dirty Picture.

Since she has taken on the part, the star has reportedly been encouraged to put on weight to resemble the tragic Bollywood icon.

According to Mumbai Mirror, Balan will have to wear the cosmetic enhancers as production begins on May 30th.

She was recently told by director Milan Luthria that she needs to become more "comfortable" with her body for the role, as Smith was known for her easy on-screen sensuality.

Balan had confessed after signing up that she has reservations about playing Smitha, who died in September 1996 at the age of 35 after failing to become a producer.

Kapoor has said that she expects "unbelievable critical acclaim" for the picture and has also predicted that Balan will receive an award for her portrayal of Smitha.

Katy Perry was bullied at school over breasts

Katy Perry has claimed that she was always bullied at school because she had big breasts from a young age.

Perry said that she was often called names because of her figure, and pointed out the irony of now being thought of as a sex symbol.

"In middle school they called me 'over the shoulder boulder holder'," Perry tweeted. "Now they call me hot."

Despite the fact that she was teased, Perry previously admitted that she had often prayed to have big breasts.

"I remember really vividly kneeling by my bed as a 9-year-old, saying my prayers, and asking God to give me boobs that were so big that if I laid on my back I wouldn't be able to see my feet," Perry said. "Eventually that request was granted."

Earlier this month, Perry became the first artist to remain in the US Billboard Hot 100 top ten for 52 consecutive weeks.

Preity Zinta 'looking for LA management'

Preity Zinta is said to be looking for a new manager in the US.

The actor reportedly stated that she has been looking for representation in LA so that she can get work in Hollywood.

According to a source for The Times of India, Zinta said: "I don't have a manager in LA. I used to have one, but now I don't. I'm looking for a manager in LA who can handle some international projects for me. LA is wonderful."

The Indian film celebrity was overheard talking to cricket player Adam Gilchrist about her plans to find a new manager, as well as her recent Cannes trip.

"Do you know about the Cannes Film Festival? It's really big," Zinta explained. "The French are really classy - it's not like the Americans, who are, like, more informal. It's, like, very glamorous and everything."

ZInta told DS last year that after her two-year break from Bollywood she is planning her return to commercial Indian cinema.

Madame Tussauds denies Kareena Kapoor rumour

A wax model of Kareena Kapoor is not scheduled to feature at Madame Tussauds, an official has confirmed.

A spokesperson from the London attraction told DS that current media reports regarding Kapoor's inclusion are false.

"Madame Tussauds London can confirm that a figure of Kareena Kapoor will not be launched at the attraction this year," the spokesperson revealed. "In January of this year, a figure of Hrithik Roshan was launched, so we are very much concentrating all our efforts on this activity for 2011."

The company stated that it has already decided which figures will be included in its museums up until the end of 2012.

"Madame Tussauds now operates 12 global attractions and are delighted that Bollywood fans are able to visit their idols in other locations," the official continued. "We are sure an announcement regarding the next Bollywood star to have the honour of being immortalised at Madame Tussauds will follow shortly when it is appropriate to do so."

Actors Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan are all featured at the London venue. Credit: Digital Spy

Elizabeth Taylor Bel Air mansion up for sale

The late Dame Elizabeth Taylor's Bel Air mansion has been put up for sale at the price of $8.6m (£5.3m), it has been announced.

The two-time Oscar winner died in March at the age of 79, after suffering from congestive heart failure.

Now, Taylor's son Christopher Wilding said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal that his late mother's sprawling 7,000-square-foot estate is on the market.

Describing the five-bedroom mansion as "where [the family] all gathered, especially at Thanksgiving and Easter", Wilding insisted that his mother was determined to live out her last days in the house even as she grew ill.

"She never entertained the notion of moving," he added.

The property features an English garden, a koi pond and violet-upholstered master bedroom.

Taylor's home had previously been owned by 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin'' singer Nancy Sinatra.

Earlier this month, a Vanity Fair article claimed that Taylor and friends Michael Jackson and Marlon Brando took a cross-country road trip together in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. A former assistant to Taylor later denied that the star ever actually embarked on the journey.

World premiere of Salman's Ready in Dubai

The world premiere of Salman Khan-starrer Ready will be held in Dubai on June 1.

The Dabangg star will be joined by co-star Asin, on the red carpet of the Grand Cineplex here, followed by an exclusive after-party at a local nightclub, said organisers.

The film also has a Dubai connection as Kubra Sait, a local model, former radio jockey and a TV presenter is making her Bollywood debut with this film.

Ready is a remake of a Telugu film and sees Khan play a romantic at heart whose mission in life is to unite lovers.

He helps Asin escape her own wedding and promptly falls in love with her. The rest of the film sees the couple unite their families into accepting their relationship.

Khan and Asin were earlier in Dubai in 2009 for the world premiere of their film London Dreams.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The secret of a franchise, besides the usual elements that makes the original click, is to have enough elements that can be improvised, improved and recreated to ensure that the same audience isn't bored by it despite having seen it all. "Pirates of the Caribbean", with its fantasy, quirky characters and explosive action, is a perfect example of the same.

In the fourth outing of the franchise, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) gets the undivided attention in a full film dedicated to him. With its love angles, brawny pirates, the kings' armies, guns and magical lands, the film becomes the perfect adrenalin rush thanks to coordinated work by the film's team.

This time we see Captain Jack Sparrow in search of the fountain of youth, with a former flame Angelica (Penelope Cruz) conning the master conman into her ship. The idea is to procure life for her father - an evil pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), who it is prophesied will meet his end at the blade of a one legged man - Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).

Together they battle killer mermaids, a Spanish army and treacherous jungles and seas to claim eternal youth. But everyone has their own secret agendas and caught between them all is our very own, shaky, lovable pirate - Jack Sparrow.

"Pirates…" is a film every action, adventure film should be - a nonstop adrenalin rush with enough brawny men and twists, even though expected, to keep you rollicking in your seat for the duration of the film.

The casting is perfect. Depp reprises his role of the swashbuckling though shaky pirate who lands in funny soups. And though he is as good as before, he seems a tad too conscious in the film unlike in its first instalment.

Penelope is no stranger to sword fights. However, it is Rush and McShane who shine in the film.

Rob Marshall takes over the directorial chair and though he is new, the strain does not show. Hans Zimmer is again spot on with the background score which does an apt job not only to give verve to the action, but also to fill the many gaps in the movie.

The only major drawback is perhaps a very linear plot and very cliched subplots. But if you take the film as seriously as the film takes itself, which it does not at all, you will have a fun two-and-a-half-hour ride filled with sexy golden mermaids, witty dialogues, humour, charm, daring escapades and everything that you have come to expect of the franchise.

Thus, the film may be called 'On Stranger Tides' but looking at it you will realise it sails on safe waters. You can expect another sequel to sail on the same waters soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taylor Swift is Top Artist

Honored with the grand prize in the Billboard Music Awards, Taylor Swift was crowned as Top Artist at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday evening (May 22).

With the ceremony being held at the MGM Grand, the country darling took home the trophy after beating out fellow nominees Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

As for the show, the Ken Jeong hosted Billboard Music Awards featured performances by big names including Ke$ha, Nicki Minaj, the Black Eyed Peas, Lil Wayne and numerous other top acts.

With presenters including Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas and Matthew Morrison, the Billboard Music Awards also featured a special tribute to Beyonce Knowles - as she was presented with the Billboard Millenium Award for her undeniably successful career achievements.

Neither Ashmit nor I believe in marriage: Veena Malik

Contrary to the reports from Pakistan, Veena Malik has not been injured in a road accident

In an accident involving the Pakistani actress Veena Malik while she was travelling from Islamabad to Lahore, the actress has declared herself to be unhurt, opposing the claims of the Pakistani media.

According to Pakistani media reports, Veena was recovering in a hospital.
"Not true, " said Malik, "Miraculously, I didn't get a single scratch. Although the vehicle is completely mangled we managed to escape unhurt. I think there is a guardian-angel watching over me."

The incident, however, has resulted in one good aftermath.
Her boyfriend, Bollywood actor Ashmit Patel and she are together again. Ashmit has been on the phone constantly inquiring about Veena's well being, specially since the reports in the Pakistan press were fairly alarming.

No wedding bells
Prodded about marriage, Veena chuckled, "Neither Ashmit nor I believe in the institution of marriage. The day marriage makes sense to us, we will take the plunge."

Veena returns to Mumbai in two weeks. "I've accepted three movie projects and will talk about them when I return to India."

Source: Mid-Day.com

Pyaar Ka Punchnama (Movie Review)

"Pyaar Ka Punchnama" packs in a precocious punch. In telling the story of three friends-cum-flatmates who get into 'serious' relationships with three self-serving working-class female monsters of the concrete jungle, debutant director Luv Ranjan gives us a film that's fresh, flavourful and finally hugely rewarding.

Not that the film attempts to say anything we've not seen before. That's the beauty of this sometimes-embarrassing sometimes- disturbing, often-funny and never-dull peek-a-boo at youthful life in the metropolis where human values are frequently sacrificed for the sake of a trendy lifestyle or maybe just to get even with a fast-moving materialistic city that doesn't care how much you carry in your heart as long as the credit-cards keep working their mall magic.

Meet Rajat (Kartikeya Tiwari) who, alas, meets Riya and his life changes forever. Wish we could say, for the better. In terms of an emotional graph and dramatic momentum, Kartikeya is the screenplay's most appealing and inviting character.

That the actor plays his character with great gusto, just adds to the charm of the proceedings. No doubt the Rajat-Riya track conveys echoes of the Saif Ali Khan-Suchitra Pillai lamb-and-bully equation in Farhan Akhtar's "Dil Chahta Hai".

It's not novelty for which this film wins extra points. It's the sheer energy, exuberance and sardonic humour that the director invests into building a case against young men in the city 'falling' (with a humping thud) in love with girl so ambitious they would climb the highest peak at the slightest pretext. And we aren't talking about the Himalayas.

Though there's a delectable sexual subtext to the relationships, Ranjan keeps the proceedings surprisingly free of crassness. The vast eclectic material is nimbly edited in a criss-cross of fast-moving vignettes taken from a suburban immorality tale.

Apart from an inexplicable fixation on urination in the dialogues of the first reel, the spoken lines communicate the musk of masculine prattle without getting over-lurid or picturesque.

For a first film, Ranjan shows a remarkable grip over his characters' destiny. If Rajat's track moves at a vibrant volition, the nerdy Liquid's (Divyendu Sharma) one-sided devotion to the selfish office colleague Charu (Ishita Sharma) reeks of a desperate romance that Somerset Maugham described in his novel "Of Human Bondage" decades ago.

More recently we saw Omi Vaidya do the hangdog Romeo in Madhur Bhandarkar's "Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji".

Divyendu is a solid actor. He gives to his wimpy cranky character an easily-recognisable profile.

The plot involving Chaudhary (Raayo Bhakhirta) and his promiscuous lust-interest is the feeblest of the three love-tracks. And it suffers only in comparison with the sturdy momentum that the director allots to Rajat and Liquid's rather sordid love stories.

Deftly written and edited with words and situations straight out of real life, "Pyaar Ka Punchnama" is the kind of rugged romantic -comedy that brings the smile back into the genre. The performances specially by Kartikeya and Divyendu are rock-solid, imbuing the light-hearted but never-frivolous goings-on with flavour and strength.

Kartikeya's four-minute-45-second improvised monologue on how confusing feminine conduct gets for the male species is priceless in its piquancy.

Peppery and pertinent, this is a film that no one should miss. True, it is a story about the below-the-belt follies of the young. No matter what your age you will see a slice of your own spousal relationship in the vicious circle that the plot creates around its three heroes.

The ultimate horror flick? You got it! This one is about how scary the man-woman thing gets because most of the time men don't know what women want.

You see, woman don't want men to know. That's the secret this devilishly-delightful film lets out.

Rajinikanth fine, don't spread rumours, says wife

Superstar Rajinikanth is "fine" and "doing well", his wife and doctor announced outside a Chennai hospital on Thursday as legions of ardent fans prayed for his recovery.

The actor is still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sri Ramachandra hospital but there is no reason to worry, said wife Latha Rajinikanth. "He is fine. It was an infection that has created an imbalance. He has been moved to ICU only to give more protection and give proper treatment because it's a sterile area," she said. "He is fine now."

Latha urged the 61-year-old actor's fans and journalists to give her family privacy and not speculate about his health.
"Rajinikanth is a human and he has a normal body. Please do not create news that may cause tension to his countless fans. I cannot respond to all the news items and gossip that are in circulation, but please do understand that he is a normal human being and like normal human beings he has a normal body that is prone to infection. Please allow us some privacy and peace," she told scores of mediapersons thronging the hospital.

Latha denied rumours Rajinikanth suffered renal failure. "Abosultely not, no kidney disorder," she said.
Dr S Thanikachalam, senior doctor at the hospital and a member of team that is treating the actor, denied that Rajinikanth had renal failure or a heart problem.

"He (Rajinikanth) had an infection. It created an imbalance in the body, which is being corrected. We had to examine all that and conducted a thorough check up. Today he is hale and healthy," he said.

Dr Thanikachalam said the actor was shifted to the ICU for a "sterile environment" and will be moved out this evening or on Friday.

Rajinikanth was moved to ICU on Wednesday to improve his breathing. Rajinikanth, a former bus conductor turned actor, fell ill on the first day's shooting of his new film Rana (The Monarch) at the end of April and has been admitted twice to hospital.

He has been in the private Sri Ramachandra hospital since last Friday. Medical sources said he is being treated for pneumonia and a kidney ailment.

On Monday, doctors removed fluid from his chest that was causing breathing difficulties.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kareena Kapoor 'to have Madame Tussauds model'

Kareena Kapoor is said to be the next Hindi film star to get a wax replica displayed at Madame Tussauds.
Kapoor will be the newest Bollywood star at the London attraction, following Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan.

A source for The Times of India said: "[Kapoor's] thrilled, but doesn't want to confirm before going through all the formalities.

"After meeting the Tussauds management she will then sit with the creative team and decide the look for the figure. There will be measurements taken and then the process begins."

The actress, who is presently undertaking filming commitments in south India, is expected to travel to the UK shortly to sit for the model-making process.

"She's in Pondicherry shooting with Aamir [Khan] for Reema Katgi's film and her schedule is pretty packed. However, she plans to take time out and head to the UK," added the insider.

Hrithik Roshan's recently-unveiled waxwork model was launched by the actor in January.

Dabangg bags Best Film award, Salman thanks fans

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan thanked his fans on Thursday for making 'Dabangg' a grand success after his film was honoured with the prestigious National Award. The film won the coveted honour for the 'Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment' category. Khan showed his gratitude before hundreds of fans after receiving the award.

The 58th National Film Award ceremony was held in Mumbai where Salman attended the function along with music director Pritam Chakraborty and singer Shibani Kashyab. While addressing the cheering audience, Salman thanked his fans and called it a reward.

The lead actors in the film included Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Dimple Kapadia and Vinod Khanna.

Anna Paquin: 'Nude scenes make me work out'

Anna Paquin has said that having to shoot nude scenes for True Blood helps motivate her to stay fit.

The actress, whose character Sookie Stackhouse is well known for her tight T-shirts and hotpants, revealed that knowing that she will be filming in skimpy outfits ensures that she rarely misses a workout.

"If you're going to be spending literally every single day of your working life wearing clothes that barely cover your body, you're gonna be extra-diligent," Paquin admitted to Health magazine.

"There's just a little extra motivation of, 'Hmmm, teeny white shorts and a bikini top? I think I will go to pilates this morning'."

While freely admitting to enjoying exercise, Paquin also said that she needs to learn to relax more.

"I'm very hard on myself," she added. "Sometimes it's like, walk away from the elliptical machine. Go sit outside. Do something relaxing."

The fourth season of True Blood begins on June 26 on HBO.

Schwarzenegger has another love child

Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be bracing for more sex cheat claims as another woman has claimed she had his secret love child.

The actor has admitted his marriage collapsed because he had a baby with a housekeeper 14 years ago but hid the truth from his wife Maria Shriver.

And sources close to the action movie hero said the Shriver is horrified by the possibility of more women coming forward.

It has been reported that one woman has contacted a lawyer claiming Schwarzenegger is the father of her daughter and has asked for a DNA test to prove paternity.

She has claimed that she met the Terminator star at a club eight years ago and had a brief fling.

She has no evidence to prove the actor is the father.

"Arnie faces the possibility of more and more women claiming they had a relationship with him. It will be an increasingly tough time for both him and Maria,” the Mirror quoted a source as saying.

Rebooted 'Pirates' sets overseas box office record

NEW YORK (AP) — The reengineered "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise has sailed again at the box office, as the "On Stranger Tides" sequel took a record international haul of $256.3 million, according to studio estimates.

Walt Disney Co. said Sunday that the fourth "Pirates" installment earned $90.1 million domestically. That gives it a worldwide total of $346.4 million, the fourth largest global opening.

The new film jettisons co-stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, but brings back Johnny Depp as Capt. Jack Sparrow. Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane introduce new characters.

"On Stranger Tides" was the only new film in wide-release on the weekend. In its second week of release, the acclaimed comedy "Bridesmaids" was second at the box office with $21 million.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lady Gaga hatches new album, to mixed reviews

Pop provocateur Lady Gaga unveils her second full-length album this week, three years after taking the music world by storm -- but while sales will likely be huge, early reviews are mixed.

True to her social media-friendly form, the 25-year-old is releasing "Born This Way" in unconventional style by posting some songs on online social game Farmville ahead of Monday's launch, as well as other singles already issued.

The title track was released in February, shortly before Gaga -- real name Joanne Angelina Germanotta -- caused a storm by turning up inside a giant translucent egg at the music industry's annual Grammys awards show.

"I want to celebrate and share 'Born This Way' with my little monsters in a special way that's never been done before," Gaga said of the release of excerpts on her in-game "GagaVille" farm last week.

Her "little monsters" are the legions of fans who worship the star, whose hit singles from her first album, "The Fame," included "Bad Romance," "Paparazzi" and "Poker Face."

Gaga has sold over 15 million albums and 51 million singles worldwide, won five Grammys and was included in Time's list of the most influential people and the top 10 of Forbes' world's "100 Most Powerful Women," her website says.

Compared by some to chameleon-like pop legends David Bowie and Madonna, she has rocketed into the pop stratosphere despite only having made one full-length album, "The Fame" in 2008, followed by 2009's eight-track "The Fame Monster."

So the spotlight on her new record is intense.

But despite a massive publicity blitz and the likelihood that her fans will buy it in huge numbers whatever critics say, pre-release reviews have been decidedly mixed.

Britain's Guardian newspaper gave it four out of five stars, lauding Gaga as "the most exciting, confounding and mind-bogglingly creative artist on planet pop," while MTV talked about the album's 14 "darkly sumptuous tracks."

But Entertainment Weekly, noting that the album has leaked online already, called in "an inconsistent blend of icy techno-pop and greeting-card empowerment that's more a triumph of production than songwriting."

The LA Times sniffed: "Say what you want about Lady Gaga, but nuance is not one of her strong points, nor is musical adventure. She's unsubtle in her message, unsubtle in her dress, and most important, unsubtle aesthetically."

The New York-born star's ability to drive fans into a frenzy is already legendary, helped by her being a leader of the first generation of stars to use social media to connect with her audience.

Last week she became the first person with more than 10 million followers on Twitter, while she was the first artist to top a billion views on video sharing website YouTube.

The singer has quickly become part of the pop star firmament: in April Elton John revealed that he and his partner David Furnish had chosen Lady Gaga to be their newborn baby boy's godmother.

She has also made waves on political issues: in November she used her celebrity platform to press for repeal of a US law forbidding gays from serving openly in the military.

But for all her ubiquity, critics say she should focus on the music.

"If Gaga had only spent as much time on pushing musical boundaries as she has social ones, 'Born This Way' would have been a lot more successful," said the LA Times.

The Washington Post's reviewer was more blunt, lamenting: "Whether by fluke, curse or cosmic coinky-dink, Lady Gaga's new music is everything that she's not. It's boring." (AFP)