Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Burlesque' Movie Review

'Burlesque' Movie ReviewFilm: "Burlesque", Director: Steven Antin; Cast: Cher, Christina Aguilera, Alan Cumming, Stanley Tucci, Cam Gigandet; Rating: ***

Much like the 'nautanki' in India, burlesque was a form of fun music, dance and comedy that kept America entertained from the mid 19th century to the 1960s. The film, that takes its name from this form does just that, without being serious about itself.

Aspiring to become a dancer, Ali (Christina Aguilera) leaves her small town and moves to Los Angeles. There she finds the club 'Burlesque' owned by Tess (Cher) and is mesmerized. She wants to dance there, but not getting the chance, she takes the job of a waitress with the help of Jack (Cam Gigandet), while also living with him, but platonically.

The club has dwindling business, and only a miracle will save it from being taken away by the bank to which it owns money. Even Ali does not know that she is that miracle.

At the onset, it has to be observed that "Burlesque" is no "Moulin Rouge", for it does not have that grand sweep of love and neither is it anywhere close to the stunning cabaret with its grand sweep of history. Instead, "Burlesque" is an ordinary film of our time about a girl's aspiration of becoming a star. And it is about nail polish, lipstick and shoes.

Yet, the film is entertaining enough for the general audience. It is quick and witty, with snappy dialogues. The songs are foot tapping, and that's the least to expect from a musical. Cher is often too busy trying to ensure her face does not show too much of her wrinkles. Christina Aguilera is surprisingly good in her debut. Stanley Tucci keeps the humour going in his imitable way.

Burlesque as a form is old and exists only as a novelty, rather than a commonality that it was. And so is the tradition of spoofing and humour that was a part of it. The film seems to make an appeal towards helping the old survive, while taking in the new. This is epitomized by Cher, the old star, versus Christina, the current one.

The music, in the beginning, is old. As it progresses though, it gets a touch of the new till in the end, it blooms like a full moon.

Yet, what the film lacks mostly has a grand intention. It aims not for the stars, but for the next rooftop and manages to get there. And that does indeed seem like a waste, considering it has an ensemble of talented actors and dancers.

But in its predictability and cliche, is the comfort of the known which can be either lilting or entertaining, depending on one's preference.

'127 Hours' Movie Review

'127 Hours' Movie ReviewFilm: "127 Hours"; Director: Danny Boyle; Actor: James Franco; Rating:****

French auteur Jean-Luc Godard had said "all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun". If you consider British filmmaker Danny Boyle, all he needs is a man and a boulder. And like Aron Ralston, whose hand is trapped by a boulder, you will find yourself trapped in your seats - thankfully not for 127 hours, but just for the 94 minutes of the film.

Aron (James Franco) is the loner with a penchant for extreme sports. He goes off hiking to Grand Canyon but a little accident causes his right hand to get trapped between a bounder and a solid rock wall. He tries to get it free and after five odd days with his food, water and energy out, he has no option but do the unthinkable - to try and cut his hand off before he slowly starves to death.

It was easy for Godard to say what he did, but try making a film like that and you know how tough it is, especially to keep the audiences glued to the seats. Thankfully Boyle has many tricks he has used in delightful films like "Trainspotting", "Millions", "Sunshine" and his Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire".

He uses multiple split screens, dreamy flashbacks, bright hallucinations, macro photography, film speed variation and quick zooms. He thus travels not just within and outside his imprisoned character, but into his past and future, while giving you a macroscopic view of his surrounding present. This heightens his incarceration and claustrophobia.

It was definitely not an easy film to make, and it isn't an easy one to watch. A few scenes will make you squirm so bad in your seat, as if you too are a prisoner there. Thankfully the Indian censors have been intelligent enough to let the scenes be. Without them the film would have lost its impact.

James Franco proves himself to be an actor with reckoning. After the immature "Spiderman" to the mature "Milk", he transcends himself as the man trapped not just by a boulder but by his own selfishness. The 127 hours trapped by the side of the rock become his time to not just question his life but to find a possible resolution to it, a meaning.

One thing Franco and Boyle tell us is to pause a while in our life, lest our life speeds past us. You don't have to be trapped for 127 hours under a boulder or go to a 10-day silent Vipassana to do it. You can pause your life daily to reflect on it.

"127 Hours" is a film, as Aaron discovers, about the choices we make in life. Your life is a sum total of your choices made or not made. And your entire past has conspired to bring you to this moment. For Aaron it is a moment that will lead to his death-trap. Obviously he regrets the choices he made that led him here.

This 127 hours-long near-death experience leads him to inspect his entire life, and his motivations and through his hallucinations and desire to give up, he finds the strength to do the unthinkable to not just survive, but for once in his life, really live.

'Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji' Movie Review

'Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji' Movie ReviewFilm: "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji"; Starring: Ajay Devgn,Emran Hashmi,Omi Vaidya,Tisca Chopra,Shazahn Padamsee,Shruti Haasan, Shraddha Das; Directed by: Madhur Bhandarkar;

Rating: *** ½

Ummm….Picture to achcha hai jee. Disregarding the rather strenuously upbeat ending "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji" (DTBHJ) turns out to be quite a charming and clever concoction. Though this time Madhur Bhandarkar, one of the strongest celluloid creators of contemporary times, veers into virgin territory, the trademark Bhandarkar touches, like the almost-incestuous use of sex as a bartering point between the sexes, are evident everywhere in this multi-plot story of love, sex and betrayal during times of laughter music and backchat in Mumbai.

The writing (by Bhandarkar, Anil Pandey and Neeraj Udwani) weaves skillfully through the hearts and conscience of our three heroes who are designed to be a study in contrasts and yet so believable, you can touch their lives by just watching them stumble, fall and redeem themselves in tentative, sometimes funny, sometimes moving ways.

This, then, is the story of three house-mates wading through the concrete jungle of Mumbai in search of love, sex and, yes, a sense of belonging. Their houses, hearts and environment look believable. They are shot to resonate reality.

Though projected outwardly as a comedy, DTBHJ has deeper, darker resonances that we cannot miss even if we are too busy laughing at the protagonists' clumsy attempts to get lucky in love.

Bhandarkar's narration communicates that sense of empty enjoyment that you can feel under all the glitz and noise of Mumbai's racing pulse. Omi Vaidya, who plays the most idealistic love-seeker of the triumvirate, says to the go-getting struggler from Mumbai(Shraddha Das) at a pub, "How can people talk in here?" She of course doesn't hear him. She's lost in the pursuit of her wanna-shine dreams that take her further and further out of reach of true love.

Vaidya is in splendid form here, far more in control of his character's destiny than in "3 Idiots". In the way he hybridizes his yankee accent with Marathi and a sense of earnestness with a subtle tone of mischief, Vaidya is absolutely endearing. So is Emran Hashmi. Playing the character with the steepest graph, Hashmi goes from Tisca Arora's toyboy to the new-age Devdas rejected in love by the savvy NRI chick who has social conscience and a practical attitude to men.

When Shruti Haasan (looking so lovely you know she's found her metier in Hindi films) turns around and tells the philanderer, "Yeah, so we slept together. So what? It wasn't your first time nor mine," you know that Bhandarkar has not abandoned his scathing and savage exploration of urban values which made his heroine-centric dramas from "Chandni Bar" to "Fashion" so unforgettable. He's only added laughter to his cinema.

In DTBHJ, Bhandarkar walks a tightrope. He has to balance the laughter with the dark underbelly of Mumbai's beautiful, but alas, desolate people. Besides the powerful writing (Sanjay Chel's dialogues are tongue-in-cheek and sometimes killing in their effectual demolition of the sacred cows of urban conduct) and razor-sharp characterization (barring the caricatural people in Devgn's office), the film gets high marks for dead-on casting.

Every actor breathes life into the constantly mutating comedy. If we care for all the three love stories that run in criss (never crass) cross it is because the actors enacting the love relationships go beyond their own personalities in search of the people they play. While Omi Vaidya and Emran Hashmi make a great impact, it is Ajay Devgn, echoing Amol Palekar's Common Man from the 1970s, who must be congratulated in the loudest voice for abandoning his 6-pack mean-mirth-machine image to play a mousy middle-aged divorcee with the hots for his comely secretary.

Among the female cast, Shazahn Padamsee is extremely easy on the eyes and fits her bubbly ingenue's part like a chic glove. Tisca Arora as the bored socialite who strays into a lust liaison with an ever-ready glorified gigolo, lends a certain weight to the proceedings with her fiery eyes.

DTBHJ is a true-blue sex comedy that doesn't lapse into unnecessary passages of vulgarity and innuendos. Though Bhandarkar has sought inspiration from the romantic comedies by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee, the style of storytelling and the tantalizing merger of libido and urban morality would have flummoxed those wondrous comedy makers.

Times have changed. So have the films. Thankfully we still have filmmakers who believe the story is the hero. This is the world of Bhandarkar's "Page 3" coming together with the laughter of Blake Edwards' rom-coms.

A must-see film with enough meat in the plot to keep us engaged till the end. And three heroes who never take off their shirts even when they are sweating in nervous anxiety.

Love is like that only.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tamil Actress Asin Wallpapers

1: - Hot Asin Wallpapers
Tamil Actress Asin Wallpapers
2: - Hot Asin Wallpapers
Tamil Actress Asin Wallpapers
3: - Hot Asin Wallpapers
Tamil Actress Asin Wallpapers

'Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji' Movie Preview

'Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji' Movie PreviewNew Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) They say men never grow up and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is exploring this pyche of men in a humorous way through his new romantic comedy "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji" releasing Friday.

Starring Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi and Omi Vaidya, "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji" is the slice of life movie that talks about three men and their encounters with love. Shazahn Padmasee, Shruti Haasan and debutante Shraddha Das will play their love interests respectively.

Naren Ahuja (Ajay) is in his thirties and is going through divorce. While nursing his broken heart following a failed marriage, Naren meets vibrant and bubbly June Pinto (Shazahn) and can't stop himself from falling in love with this young girl.

Milind Kelkar (Omi) is a naive poet and idealistic lover. He develops a liking for an ambitious and practical Gunjan Sarkar (Shraddha) who is determined to follow her dreams.

But Abhay (Emraan), a charming casanova, is different. His mantra in life is money and women. But his life too takes a turn after an encounter with Nikki (Shruti), a modern girl who knows her needs and speaks her mind. He too experiences love, an emotion he had always stayed away from.

According to director Bhandarkar, the film is a funny take on love, with real-life relatable characters, and shows to what extent people would go to achieve it or avoid it.

Bhandarkar is known for making hard-hitting and realistic films like "Chandni Bar", "Fashion" and "Jail" which garnered critical acclaim as well as box office success.

"Chandni Bar", starring Tabu and Atul Kulkarni, depicted hardships of women working in dance bars, while "Fashion" explored the glamorous but dark world of modelling. The film starred Priyanka Chopra in the lead.

His last outing "Jail" put the spotlight on cruel realities faced by prisoners in jail. Although the film didn't do well at the box-office, it was indeed applauded by critics.

With "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji", Bhandarkar attempts to move away from serious cinema and take the audience on a laughter ride. However, the filmmaker is adamant that his stamp and signature style will be evident in the film.

Just like his director, Emraan, known for playing edgy roles in "Murder", "Gangster - A Love Story" and "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai", is trying comedy for the first time.

Omi has expectations riding high because this is his second release after blockbuster "3 Idiots" and the actor admits this has been a challenging role for him as he plays a Maharashtrian and he had to ensure that his accent is perfect.

Last year brought a mixed response for Ajay's films. While "Golmaal 3" and "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai" and "Raajneeti" were hits, his home production "Toonpur Ka Superhero" and "Aakrosh" failed to impress the audiences.

Ajay hopes to start the new year on a good note with "Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji", which is the solo release this week.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

'Somewhere' Movie Review

'Somewhere' Movie ReviewFilm: "Somewhere": Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning; Director: Sofia Coppola; Rating: ****

The visual medium today has become one of noise and relentless action. In such times of high expectation from visuals, it has become difficult for a director to fill a second with 24 frames of silence and yet pregnant with the ringing of many voices. Trust Sofia Coppola to do that with aplomb.

In straightjacket terms, "Somewhere" is the character study of one guy, successful actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff). He is a star with fans and haters alike. He is an average, hugely successful star and takes everything that comes with it without a second of thought - women throwing themselves at him, fans adoring him and press making a hullaballoo of his lifestyle.

What these people don't know, but the audience does, is that his life is as empty as any 'life' can ever get. There is sense to life, nor purpose.

His 11-year-old daughter from a previous marriage fills a few of his days, but after her departure he is back walking the barren landscape of life.

Thus, there isn't much happening on screen and it is an indication you get with its opening long shot where on an empty stretch of road somewhere, a Ferrari goes round and round till it stops and a man comes out of it. At that very instant you know this is a different ride that might seem slow and 'art-house' to those who have not yet experienced loneliness, but become a searing achievement to those that have.

Yet, this - the attempt to capture emptiness and desolation on screen and a story that is almost a non-story without a formal resolution in the end - has been tried before. What is unique is Coppola's direction, a glimpse of which you see in her film "Lost in Translation".

In many ways "Somewhere" is similar to "Lost in Translation", becoming a kind of prequel and parallel-story at the same time. While in "Lost in..." we were given a glimpse of an ageing actor who is a spent force, here we see one in his prime, and we see exactly where the older actor in the first film must have spent his force.

Sofia's penchant for long shots is scintillating. In one of the most surreal shots of the film, the star is sitting with white foam (used for makeup) fully covered up till the neck with only his nostrils left open. The makeup artists leave him with the white paste to dry and in that empty room, the camera very gently zooms into his white face, with the sound of his breathing filling in. The symbolism of claustrophobia is gently, yet vociferously made.

Mahatma Gandhi also makes an appearance in the film, in an obvious comparison - the emptiness, excess and purposeless of Johnny is compared to the fulfilment, frugality and sense of purpose of the Mahatma. Perhaps Sofia, in this scene, as in the entire film, intends to make the same comparison with the lives of folks who will watch the film someday, somewhere.

'Little Fockers' Movie Review

'Little Fockers' Movie ReviewFilm: "Little Fockers"; Director: Paul Weitz; Actors: Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba; Rating: **1/2

The universally uneasy relationship between a woman's father and her boyfriend/husband was taken to the hilarious extreme with "Meet The Parents". With its sequel "Meet The Fockers", the same uneasiness between opposing sets of in-laws was tackled.

The third instalment of this popular series goes back to the original idea, but with twists, and the next generation thrown in. Yet if your idea is only to relive the old times this one works, but if you're looking for original, new gags this one proves boring.

Gaylord 'Greg' Focker (Ben Stiller), now proud father to a boy and a girl, may have got his father-in-law Jack's (Robert De Niro) trust, but is still not out of his suspicion radar. After suffering a minor heart attack, Jack wants Greg to be the 'man' of the family but suspects him of having an affair. The two men collide with each other, trying to gain control of the family. Does 'nurse' Greg have it in him to retain control over his own life?

One of the many problems with "Little Fockers" is it is not really about the little ones in the family. The rivalry between Greg and Jack is back, with the same humour thrown in that we have come to see in the first two parts. Only this time Greg, aware of his father-in-law's methodology, manages to gives it back to him.

There are some funny moments in the film, but overall if you have seen the first two, there isn't much that you can expect from this. The same jealousies, insecurities and gags are back, and sadly without the comfort of wearing a different garb. The film lacks new wit, and the little it has like the term "god-focker" instead of godfather is overdone.

Perhaps the director's chair, helmed this time by Paul Weitz with original director Jay Roach now acting as the producer, is another problem.

Or perhaps it is the problem of the film's space, where there isn't much original left to explore between the relationships of the people who inhabit it. So the film relies upon some stunts, like a friendly appearance of Deepak Chopra or Jessica Alba in a role that's almost like a cameo.

Yet it is a watchable film that flows smoothly enough without much jerk of narration or story or acting glitches from an ensemble cast of some of the best actors in Hollywood.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

'Dhobi Ghat' Movie Review

'Dhobi Ghat' Movie ReviewFilm: "Dhobi Ghat"; Cast: Aamir Khan, Prateik Babbar, Monica Dogra, Kriti Malhotra; Director: Kiran Rao; Rating: **** 1/2

Every year literally hundreds of thousands throng to the city of dreams, Mumbai. To cover so many dreams in a small span of an-hour-and-a-half calls for some brilliant filmmaking. And watching "Dhobi Ghat" will make you realise that there indeed have been very few debuts as stunning as this one.

"Dhobi Ghat" is the story of five characters - Yasmin (Kirti Malhotra), Arun (Aamir Khan), Shai (Monica Dogra), Munna (Prateik Babbar) and the city of Mumbai. After a one night stand with Arun, who is a painter, Shai, an investment banker from America and an amateur photographer, obsesses over him, while her dhobi Munna pines for Shai.

Arun, meanwhile, discovers a few tapes in his flat from the previous tenant and, watching them, falls in love and find a muse in the woman who has made them - Yasmin. Each of the character is thus looking for something in one another, while the fifth character, Mumbai, simply stares blankly at them without comment or prejudice.

One of the best things about the film is its casting. Each of the actors complement the film, its director, and the city of Mumbai perfectly. Each is believable in his or her own garb. Prateik is bound to become the heartthrob of the generation, while Kirti Malhotra's innocence has to be seen to be believed. Real life singer Monica brings out the uncertainty of her character beautifully.

The only one who is a little out of place, and hence the small sore point of the film is actor Aamir Khan. He begins shakily and is self conscious, unable as he is perhaps of shaking away two decades of Bollywood's acting baggage. By the end of it though, he manages to get into the film's rhythm and gives a believable performance.

It is hence not Kiran Rao's luck that she got superstar husband Aamir to act in the film, but Aamir's luck that he is in this film, which will go down in the history of cinema as one of the best character sketches of a city and its people. Very few people in the world have sketched any city with such tender love, care and affection. And to add to the lilting melody that is Mumbai in the film is composer Gustavo Santaolalla who gives a haunting background score.

Director Kiran Rao brilliantly manages to find a physical representation of Mumbai city, in the old woman who blankly stares at all the characters, but says nothing. The metaphor is simple but powerful - Mumbai is a dying, decaying city, but one that is definitely alive and watches over all.

And like the character of Arun who becomes a voyeur into the life of Yasmin, it is Kiran Rao that has played voyeur on the city of Mumbai.

Another good thing about the film is that nowhere does it slacken or lose pace. On the contrary, it unfolds almost like a mystery, like a rose bud, only to scintillate the senses in full bloom. It thus might become the low budget indie Indian film that will finally make money like big-budget Bollywood fare.

In the end though, that wouldn't matter much to the audience who will find themselves somewhere in the film. Each one of the characters in the film is like Mumbai, and Mumbai is like each one of us who inhabit it.

'Tangled' Movie Review

'Tangled' Movie ReviewFilm: "Tangled"; Voiceovers: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy; Director: Nathan Greno, Byron Howard; Rating: ****

You know that a film is good when despite it being based on an ancient story, it has been twisted to incorporate modern sensibilities but you not only fail to notice it, and instead see the altered one as the real version. Based on the fable of Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm, "Tangled" is one such delightful fun ride of a film.

After discovering a magic sunlight flower that restores her youth every time she sings to it, Mother Gothel kept it for herself. However, one day the king's men searching for the same plant for their dying, pregnant queen, take the flower away. The queen gives birth to a daughter whose hair has the same magical qualities that are lost if cut. So, mother Gothel kidnaps the girl and keeps her locked in a tower with only her long hair to lead her up, till one day a thief, losing his way, discovers Rapunzel.

One of the most delightful things about the film is a story that even though you know, you realise you did not know. That is because the story has been twisted to match modern sensibilities. Consider this: in every version of the popular fable, Rapunzel is a commoner while her lover is a prince. The film tangles the story to reverse it with the girl being a princess and the boy, a thief.

Two delightful side characters and their antiques remind one of the imaginations that made Disney popular in the first place. The first is a horse that is not only more of a dog with great sniffing capabilities and ability to wag his tail, but can also fight with a sword better than a man. Next is a chameleon, whose idiosyncrasies, colour changing abilities and long tongue provide much laughter.

The beautifully written story and script also does not shy away from drawing up an analogy. Here it is of maternal envy. Though it is obvious that the motivation of Mother Gothel is mainly to keep Rapunzel for herself, it is can also be seen to denote mothers who scare their children with needless fears thus preventing them from reaching their full potential.

"Tangled" is fun, witty film with characters that are as real as we find them in our life and yet charming. It has a story and execution that will not only please the majority, but also the discerning audience and critic. That in itself is a rare achievement.

The 80-odd-year-old company Disney has been undisputed pioneers in the field of animation. Sadly, in the last two decades, with the advent of computer animation, they were finding it hard to find a solid footing. With their 50th animated feature "Tangled", it does seem that they have once again found their groove. Hopefully, they will delight audiences once again, with films like "Tangled" that is bound to go down in history as one of their finest works. That in itself is a very tasty proposition.

'Season Of The Witch' Movie Review

'Season Of The Witch' Movie ReviewFilm: "Season Of The Witch"; Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy; Director: Dominic Sena; Rating: * 1/2

It is not necessary for a film to have a point. But for one to be so pointless and clueless about its own existence makes for a supernaturally horrific experience for the discerning audience.

It's the age of the crusades, times when witches are burnt at the stake. Behmen (Nicolas Cage) and Felson (Ron Perlman) are knights fighting and killing in the name of Jesus. But when they have to kill women and kids, they desert the religious army and try to wander back home only to be captured at a village that is in the throes of a plague.

Here they are given the chance to redeem themselves by escorting a woman suspected of being a witch, to their main monastery.

This one is a film full of loopholes, one of the main being that an opportunity for either suspense or to make a statement against the insanity of religious wars is royally wasted.

The film would have become much more interesting if the first few minutes that show a witch with supernatural powers were removed. This would have left a doubt in the audience's mind, as it is not made clear throughout the remaining film whether the woman being escorted is indeed a witch.

In the end, the film does pit the sins of the devil versus the sins and killing done in the name of Jesus Christ. Yet the dialogue at the end of the film where the devil makes a reference to this point ends up being nothing but a lame and desperate defence.

The scenes and flow of the film are also unbelievably done. Yes, it is a fantasy film. But even a fantasy film is based on certain logic. It cannot simply function on the whims of the writer or director. For instance, whereas in the entire film it has been shown that the devil can move things by sheer thought, Behmen very conveniently manages to pin him down while another man reads the spell to destroy him.

The only saving grace, if you could call that, is the cinematography and special effects, neither of which leave much to be desired.

Finally you do end up wondering, what was indeed the point of the film even though you are perfectly okay with many films not having any point whatsoever.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Top 10 Tamil Actresses Pics

1:- Vandana Menon
Tamil Actress Vandana Menon
2:-Tashu Kaushik
Tamil Actress Tashu Kaushik
3:- Bhavana
Tamil Actress Bhavana
4:- Shruti Hasan
Tamil Actress Shruti Hasan
5:- Rima Kallingal
Tamil Actress Rima Kallingal
6:- Ragini Dwivedi
Tamil Actress Ragini Dwivedi
7:- Mithra
Tamil Actress Mithra
8:- Asin
Tamil Actress Asin
9:- Archana Veda Sastry
Tamil Actress Archana Veda Sastry
10:- Ann Augustine
Tamil Actress Ann Augustine

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Turning 30!!!' Movie Preview

'Turning 30!!!' Movie PreviewNew Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Aging skin, fading glow, white streaks in the hair and uncertainty - audiences will get to taste a slice of life in "Turning 30!!!" that talks about women either hitting a subconscious halt or turning a new leaf at the milestone age.

Produced by Prakash Jha, the light-hearted outing is the directorial debut of Alankita Srivastav, who has been a long-time assistant to Jha.

With former beauty queen Gul Panag in the lead, the young urban woman-centric love story also features Purab Kohli in a pivotal role. Made at a budget of Rs.3.5 crore, the film will hit over 125 screens Friday.

Dharmendra and his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol-starrer "Yamla Pagla Deewana" is also releasing the same day, but the first time director has no apprehensions.

"Not at all! I love Dharampaji. In fact we are all going to watch 'Yamla Pagla Deewana' together with 'Turning 30!!!'," Alankrita told IANS over the phone from Mumbai.

"It is a completely different kind of film and there is space for both the movies. They are in completely different zones and genres," she added.

Set in Mumbai, the movie revolves around Naina (Gul) who, in the face of her 30th birthday, grapples with a heartbreak and a crisis in her advertising career. A hilarious and heart-warming journey of a young woman who is blossoming into a woman of substance, the movie then deals with the hurdles in her life and how she overcomes them as a mature person.

Gul, who herself touched the 30-mark last year, says apart from the physical changes that one experiences, a lot of self-assessment starts poking women in the head at that age.

"The skin starts showing its age, the glow might start fading, the tightness and firmness on the skin starts to feel the change. Expectations begin to hover in a self-assessment procedure and also by your near and dear ones," she said.

"But the people who are stable in their lives don't really realise much of these things. But the ones who haven't been able to establish themselves go through this phase more than the others," she added.

Having already generated some buzz courtesy its slick trailer and a different subject, the movie is expected to receive niche footfalls.

"Usually people in rural settings are settled in their lives with their family and work and just have an aim to earn more and live a happy life. But in urban settings, we are so disorganised. Women are not married, might be unemployed, they have no permanent accommodation at times and, on top of it, the physical changes start worrying it is something to be anxious about," said Alankrita.

Monday, January 10, 2011

'Life As We Know It' Movie Review

'Life As We Know It' Movie ReviewFilm: "Life As We Know It"; Cast: Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendrick, Hayes MacArthur; Director: Greg Berlanti; Rating: * 1/2

If you consider the title of this rom-com, the least you'd imagine it to be a slice of life. Sadly, despite a few funny moments, it's far from it.

Holly (Katherine Heigl) and Eric (Josh Duhamel), best friends of Peter (Hayes MacArthur) and Allison (Christina Hendrick), can't stand each other. Trouble begins when Peter and Allison die in an accident and leave their infant child Sophie in their joint custody and care.

Not wanting to give the child of their best friends away to social welfare, they try burying their differences to raise the infant. But the double whammy of their absolute incompatibility with each other and the inexperience of raising a child would prove to be the greatest challenge of their life. Somewhere in between, love will smile upon them.

The film begins shakily, and far from raising a laugh, actually seems disjointed. However, once it gets going it becomes a comfortable ride, yet not a ride that is unexpected anywhere or funny.

The chemistry between Heigl and Duhamel is decent, but it is the script that lets them down. The film fails in its attempts to merge two sub-genres - that of opposites repel then attract and bringing up a baby. There already have been enough movies on both that there's hardly anything original left to do here.

Yet, the film does have its few funny moments, mostly raised by the antics of the baby Sophie, played delightfully by triplets, Alexis, Brynn and Brooke Clagett. The triplets are the delightful casting coup of the film.

Katherine Heigl, who has emerged the latest rom-com girl after a string of romantic films like "The Ugly Truth", "27 Dresses" and "Knocked Up", plays her usual do-gooder, the Betty type girl from Archies comics.

The other problem with the film is that it is at least half an hour too long for the attention span of an average Indian viewer. In the end though, more than the length, it is the banality of gags that have all been used before in other films that truly does the film in.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

'Paranormal Activity 2' Movie Review

'Paranormal Activity 2' Movie ReviewFilm: 'Paranormal Activity 2'; Director: Tod Williams; Cast: Sprague Grayden, Brian Boland, Katie Featherston, Molly Ephraim; Rating: ***1/2

For those who remember the story of "Paranormal Activity", and not just the chill, would remember that not much explanation was given for the paranormal events in the film. "Paranormal Activity 2", which is a parallel prequel, tries to offer that explanation, which perhaps becomes the failing of the film.

The second part tells the story of Katie's (Katie Featherston) sister Kristi (Sprague Grayden), who is facing a similar kind of unexplainable ghostly activity in her house occupied by her husband Daniel (Brian Boland), step daughter Ali (Molly Ephraim) and infant son. Ali is one of the first ones to personally experience it. But her pleas fall on deaf ears of her father, safe as they feel in the knowledge that the entire house is rigged with cameras.

The daughter meanwhile finds out more and discovers, tackily through research on the internet, that the paranormal activity is because someone in the family had sold his soul to the devil for riches, on the condition that the first born male child in the family would be given to him. Sadly, in almost a century, her step brother was the first male born in the family.

The success of the first part, despite no external sound or effects, was because of one word - anticipation. The film had built up the ante with stillness punctured by gentle unexplainable activities, till the grand finale shook everyone.

This part follows this well and does raise a few chills in the minds of the audience through the steady shots of the house. However, for those who have seen the first, there is nothing new here. Also, the tacky way in which the explanation of the horrors is given leaves a lot to be desired.

Yet, at the root of both the "Blair Witch Project" films and the two "Paranormal Activity" films, are the simplest and the most identifiable of human emotion -- raw fear. It is refreshing to see once again that a film does not rely on cheap gore and blood to scare audiences, boding well for cinema in general.

Filmmakers should thus take a cue from both the series, and pay more emphasis on a good story and their own skills, rather than effects. And if nothing than for that reason alone, "Paranormal Activity 2" is a must watch.

Natalie Portman barely ate during 'Black Swan'

Natalie Portman barely ate during ate 'Black Swan'London, Jan 8 (IANS) Actress Natalie Portman says she had an exhausting regime during the shooting of "Black Swan" when she hardly had time to eat.

"It was more difficult than anything I've ever experienced before. I like to go home and be myself but with this one I didn't get the chance. It didn't leave me." quoted Portman as saying.

"I was barely eating, I was working 16 hours a day. I was almost method acting without intending to. I do wonder now how people can do this kind of role when they have a family," she added.

The 29-year-old actress Portman lost 9 kg for the role, spent up to eight hours a day in dance rehearsals, and had even dislocated a rib during the shoot.

Shweta Tiwari first woman to win 'Bigg Boss'

Shweta Tiwari first woman to win 'Bigg Boss'Lonavala, Jan 8 (IANS) Popular TV actress Shweta Tiwari Saturday walked away with the crown of "Bigg Boss 4" and the prize money of Rs.1 crore at a grand finale here after her dignified and balanced behaviour for 14 weeks in the house. She is the first woman to win the show.

An overwhelmed and emotional Shweta, dressed in a fuschia-coloured sari, burst into tears after seeing her daughter and mother when she came on to the stage.

"I have won because of your love. I am very happy," she said to the audience after being announced the winner.

Earlier three seasons of the show were won by actor Rahul Roy, reality show winner Ashutosh Kaushik and Vindu Dara Singh, respectively.

The actress, once regarded as small screen's favourite bahu (daughter-in-law) after she gained fame with "Kasautii Zindagii Kay", pipped finalists WWE wrestler The Great Khali, actor Ashmit Patel and Dolly Bindra who is infamous for her bizarre behavior, to win the reality show.

Though the decision was based on viewers' votes, Shweta's inmates like Samir Soni, Manoj Tiwari and Aanchal Kumar felt she was most deserving owing to her patience in dealing with the verbal fights with loud mouthed co-participant Dolly, who walked away as the third runner up.

Khali was declared the first runner up and Ashmit the second runner-up.

Celebrity astrologer Bejan Daruwalla, who came on the show, predicted that either Shweta or Dolly will win.

All three runners-up took home a bike each, while actor-model Sameer Soni received a Chevrolet Cruze as a special prize for being the boldest and most stylish participant of this season.

The grand finale saw performances by Sara Khan, Veena Malik, Aanchal Kumar and Manoj Tiwari. The star host, Salman Khan too regaled the audience with his energetic dance.

"Bigg Boss 4" started with 14 contestants, and had two wild card entries in subsequent weeks, with a three-day guest appearance by Hollywood actress Pamela Anderson. The show was quite full of controversies throughout its run, but kept the audience entertained.

Will Salman Khan be the host of 'Bigg Boss 5'?

Will Salman Khan be the host of 'Bigg Boss 5'?Lonavala, Jan 8 (IANS) The fifth season of reality show "Bigg Boss" is not even in talks yet, but celebrity astrologer Bejan Daruwalla has already predicted that Bollywood star Salman Khan has a lot of chances to host it.

Age-defying 79-year-old Daruwalla came for the finale of the "Bigg Boss 4", dressed in a red kurta and cream pyjamas. He was in his true spirits as he danced and cracked jokes.

When the show host, Salman asked him who will win the show, Daruwalla said: "I see there is a tough competition between Shweta Tiwari and Dolly Bindra."

Then he laughed and quickly added: "But I can see that you (Salman) will host the next season as well."

One wonders if the prediction turns out to be true, especially because no host has ever been repeated in the past seasons of "Bigg Boss". Actor Arshad Warsi was the first to host the reality show in 2007, followed by "Celebrity Big Brother" winner and actress Shilpa Shetty who hosted the second season in 2008. For the third season in 2009, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan was roped in.

Shweta Tiwari win 'Bigg Boss 4'

Shweta Tiwari wins 'Bigg Boss 4'New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) After raising far too many eyebrows along its 14-week run, "Bigg Boss 4" has ended. With over-the-top cat fights, verbal abuse galore, a much publicised wedding, and romance that was often too intimate for viewers' comfort, the season did in a way live up to its promise of being bigger. But was it better?

Colors' "Bigg Boss 4" had newer attractions, a state-of-the-art house, a live wire host in Bollywood star Salman Khan, interesting contestants, including two from Pakistan, and special appearances by film stars.

Season four saw incessant verbal abuses hurled over trivial matters, a sensation caused by the televised wedding of participant, actress Sara Khan with her beau Ali Merchant, and then the government hauling it up for "offending good taste".

It started with 14 contestants, including Mumbai terror attack accused Mohammad Ajmal Kasab's former lawyer Abbas Kazmi; thief-turned-detective Devinder Singh alias Superchor Bunty; actor Ashmit Patel, who was involved in an MMS scandal; former dacoit Seema Parihar and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt's son Rahul Bhatt, who was friends with terror operative David Headley, accused of scouting targets for Mumbai attack.

There were two contestants from Pakistan - actress and former girlfriend of fast bowler Mohammed Asif, Veena Malik, and cross-dressing diva and television personality Begum Nawazish Ali, apart from Indian TV actresses, Shweta Tiwari and Sara Khan, former MTV "Splitsvilla" contestant Sakshi Pradhan and model Aanchal Kumar, who hardly managed to raise the glamour quotient.

Others who participated in the competition of survival in a secluded house without any communication with the outside world, were Bhojpuri superstar Manoj Tiwari, model-turned-actor Sameer Soni and model Hrishant Goswami, later joined by WWE wrestler, The Great Khali and subsequently by the boisterous Dolly Bindra.

Hollywood bombshell Pamela Anderson was flown in to raise the mercury level as a special guest for three days on the already heated show!

This season courted quite a few controversies and troubles - starting Day 1 with Superchor Bunty's ouster following unruly behaviour in the house. Then followed objections by the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against inclusion of Pakistani celebrities on the show.

The entry of The Great Khali, whose humungous size of 7'1 and heavy voice, sent jitters down the spine of other contestants. The atmosphere in the "Bigg Boss 4" house was quite calm, cool and friendly until Dolly Bindra made a wildcard entry, and shook the atmosphere with her loud and overbearing nature.

Abuses, fights and melodrama became a way of life after Dolly and Shweta began to settle personal scores violently. The fights got others like Ashmit, Sameer, Khali, Veena, Sara and Manoj involved too. In fact, Sameer and Dolly were asked to leave the show for their bad behaviour, only to return a few days later.

Where illwill was flourishing between many, romance was also in full bloom with Rahul-Aanchal's silent chemistry, Veena's one-sided attraction for Hrishant as well as Ashmit and Sara's growing closeness there for the public to see.

The Ashmit-Sara angle didn't last long - how could it when her long time beau Ali Merchant entered the show and proposed marriage to her. The two were set to say 'kabool hai' on national TV - but even that was replete with controversy.

The show was in a mess as the Sara-Ali love story took an ugly twist when Sara's family claimed that both Sara and Ali were already married, and a petition was filed in court against them for cheating the public.

Then the information and broadcasting ministry stepped in. The ministry sent a notice to Colors for "offending good taste" and for the use of vulgar language in the show, and even went to the extent of asking it to shift the telecast time after 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, love was brewing elsewhere too - Veena changed loyalties and shifted focus to Ashmit, who willingly reciprocated. The two cosied up under a blanket, kissed and hugged each other often and shared sweet nothings, until Veena had to bid goodbye to the show.

After Sameer's elimination in the 13th week - four candidates remained - the consistent Shweta, loud mouthed Dolly, confused and restless Ashmit and The Great Khali.

But it was Shweta who finally emerged the winner and walked away with the trophy and a cash prize of Rs.1 crore at a befitting, star-studded finale.

All in all, a controversial - yet entertaining season of "Bigg Boss"!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

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Salman Khan, Vidya Balan win top honours at Star Screen Awards

Salman Khan win top honours at Star Screen AwardsMumbai, Jan 7 (IANS) Salman Khan not only rocked the box office with his blockbuster "Dabangg" but also triumphed at the 17th Annual Star Screen Awards by bagging the best actor trophy for the action-comedy. Vidya Balan walked away with best actress award for her bold and critically appreciated performance in Vishal Bhardwaj's "Ishqiya".

Overall, "Dabangg" bagged six awards, including best music (Sajid-Wajid), best new talent in music (Mamta Sharma), most promising newcomer (Sonakshi Sinha), best choreography (Farah Khan), and best action (Master Vijayan) and emerged as the most awarded film of the evening.

However, the surprise element was the tie between "Ishqiya", "Band Baaja Baraat" and small budget film "Udaan" - all three received four awards each.

"Ishqiya" also won best supporting actor for Arshad Warsi, best male playback singer for Rahat Fateh Ali Khan Vidya Balan win top honours at Star Screen Awardsand best lyricist for Gulzar. "Udaan" was the winner in categories like best film, best director for Vikramaditya Motwane and best actor in negative role for Ronit Roy and best child artiste for Ayaan Barodia.

"Band Baaja Baraat" grabbed most promising male newcomer for Ranveer Singh, most promising debut director for Maneesh Sharma, best dialogue for Habib Faisal and best editing for Namrata Rao.

Apart from this, the popular choices awards were bagged by Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif for best actor and best actress respectively.

Ramnath Goenka Memorial Award was bestowed upon "My Name Is Khan" and a special jury award for spectacular cutting-edge technology was given to "Robot" at the gala event Friday evening.

'No One Killed Jessica' Movie Review

'No One Killed Jessica' Movie ReviewDirector: Raj Kumar Gupta; Actors: Vidya Balan, Rani Mukerji; Rating: *** 1/2

On April 29, 1999 a shot was fired from a .22 bore pistol whose loud reverberations lasted over a decade. The shot that killed a vivacious, aspiring model Jessica Lall was fired in the presence of more than 100 'socialites' present at a party in New Delhi. Yet, accused Manu Sharma walked free in 2006 prompting a newspaper headline that read "No One Killed Jessica".

In the ensuing decade, Venod Sharma, father of the accused and a high profile congress leader, paid millions of rupees to silence witnesses. It was not until the Tehelka Magazine did a sting investigation and Star News aired the footage that justice was finally served.

"No One Killed Jessica" faithfully follows the case to emerge a winner.

Almost everyone knows the story. Yet, the film makes some interesting departures to keep the momentum going. A Barkha Dutt type character has been introduced in Rani Mukerji though the former did not have much to do with the case or its reinstatement. However, Rani lacks the intensity to pull off such a strong role and the strain shows.

On the other hand, Vidya Balan soars with the unglamorous, distraught and hunchbacked portrayal of Jessica's sister.

Director Raj Kumar Gupta makes direct comment on the society we live in, its voyeuristic tendencies and the judiciary's disregard for justice. Everyone knows the extent of corruption and rot in the system as symptomised by the acquittal of Manu Sharma, but the question as always is who would bell the cat if the police and judiciary do not.

In this case Tehelka, who did the sting investigation and Star News (and not NDTV that walks away with the praises in the film) that aired the footages did manage to right a wrong. But the question is not just of Jessica Lall, but the thousands like her whose cases have not had the light of justice shine upon them.

The Jessica Lall murder thus became an emblem of the rot in the democracy, police and judiciary.

The truth is, the culprits were not just Manu Sharma, his friends and his family, but Shayan Munshi who redacted his statements leading to Manu's acquittal and Bina Ramani, both of whom continue to have successful careers, one as an actor-model and the latter as a heedless socialite. The culprit is all of us who stay silent to the injustice all around us.

The injustice done in Jessica's case has been corrected, but the question remains of the millions of other cases of injustice in the country.

Gupta's film on a true incident bodes well for Bollywood, which is normally not too keen on reality, and the concept of justice itself. Yet, the question is not who killed Jessica Lall, but as the gross miscarriage of injustice in Kashmir, central and northeast India and the thousands of pending cases in the country show -- it is: who killed justice in India?

'Fair Game' Movie Review

'Fair Game' Movie ReviewFilm: "Fair Game"; Cast: Naomi Watts, Sean Penn; Director: Doug Liman; Rating: **** 1/2

What do you do when you know an indisputable truth, but everyone around believes the lie? If you are one not blindly focused on meek self-preservation, you'll speak out.

Valerie Palme (Watts) faithfully served CIA for 15 years. But when her ex-US ambassador husband Joe (Penn) writes an article in 2003 exposing the Bush administration's lie about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in Iraq, thus making the entire invasion illegitimate, she and her family become fair game (easy target) for everyone.

Despite having been let down by her own agency, she maintains her silence while her husband wages a lone war. This brilliant film asks us -- who benefits from silence of the ones who know the truth and what is our individual duty in such a situation?

The truth, much as we deny it, is that governments lie -- proven endlessly by history with the legitimacy of almost every war of the last 100 years marred by what we now know were lies. Even the biggest war of this millennium - the Iraq war - is based on a huge and fabricated lie, that of WMDs.

Yet the greatness of the political thriller based on two books on the true story of CIA agent Valerie Palme is that it does not take the easy path of entirely blaming the administration. Instead, it sets out on the proven assumption that governments lie but it is upon individuals to keep their lies in check by exposing them.

And that is where Valerie fails. She is afraid, and rightly so. After all, how can two people take on the might of an entire nation without being buried alive in its repercussions? But sometimes individuals have to sacrifice personal safety, for the true greater good.

Political thrillers are many, but one that covers so many perspectives, without losing focus on any, is a rare achievement. "Fair Game" achieves that with delicate aplomb, mixing the political with the personal with an adroitness, which has rarely been seen in cinema.

The film is filled with brilliant moments which sharp minds will not miss. In one, a father and son inside a car in Baghdad hear gunshots. In just that brief minute's scramble, without showing a gun or blood, director Doug Liman gives us a glimpse of the horrors of war.

In yet another, the film shows how governments use semantics and 'Chinese whispers' when after a news report about the discovery of aluminium tubes, people discuss how tubes 'filled with uranium' have been found in Iraq. It subtly tells us that while the truth is putting on its shoes, the lie travels the world and comes out bigger and stronger.

The film brilliantly goes beyond cliches to juxtapose real footages of George Bush lying about WMDs with fiction asking the question who was made fair game - Valerie, citizens of the US or the entire world?

The suggestion in the end is that those who have the privilege to know the truth are dutybound to say it. That is the only way to ensure that one makes a game fair and not make fair game of others.

Madhuri, Govinda groove again to 'Makhna'

Madhuri, Govinda groove again to 'Makhna' New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Dancing diva Madhuri Dixit and comedy king Govinda relived their more than a decade-old memories as they danced together to their popular number "Makhna" for an episode of reality show "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4".

The song from the 1998 film "Bade Miyan Chote Miyan" became a chartbuster for its peppy tune and catchy dance steps by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda and Madhuri. So, the two actors didn't miss the chance to dance to the song again when they met on the sets of "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4".

While Madhuri is a judge on the show, Govinda came to support his nephew Krushna Abhishek, a participant in the dance competition.

It was at Krushna's behest that Madhuri and Govinda took to the dance floor on the song, said a source.

The episode will be on air on Sony Entertainment Television Monday.

Actress Shweta Salve to co-host 'DID Doubles'

Actress Shweta Salve to co-host 'DID Doubles'New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Popular actress Shweta Salve, a dance enthusiast, is now set to co-host Zee TV's reality show "Dance India Dance Doubles" along with actor Jay Bhanushali, and she is extremely upbeat about it.

"I am very excited to be part of this iconic show because this is the only show which is for the aam janata (general public), who get a larger than life platform to showcase their talent.

"Getting to host a dance reality show is a different high altogether as I know how contestants feel on stage before and after their performance because I have been a contestant once and can relate to their feelings," Shweta said in a press statement.

"Dance India Dance Doubles" will see three judges - Geeta Kapoor, Rajeev Surthi and Marzi Pestonji, apart from 'mahaguru' Mithun Chakraborty.

Shweta, who was the runner-up in the first season of "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa" in 2006, says she is passionate about dance, and is looking forward to learn a lot while hosting the show.

"I have worked with all three judges in the past and know their individual strengths and I am looking forward to learn not only from them, but also from the contestants, who I believe are far more talented than I can ever be," said the actress, who is a trained classical singer.

She started her career with Zee TV's "Hip Hip Hurray", after which she did a host of acting and modelling assignments.

Among her popular serials are "Lipstick", "Saarrkar" and "Left Right Left". She made her Bollywood debut with "Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi".

Hollywood star Brad Pitt in talks to play John Lennon?

Hollywood star Brad Pitt in talks to play John Lennon?London, Jan 7 (IANS) Hollywood actor Brad Pitt is reportedly in talks to produce and star in a biopic about the life of legendary Beatle John Lennon.

The 47-year-old actor is believed to have met Yoko Ono, the widow of the late Beatle, to discuss playing the role. Yoko Ono was impressed by his plans to learn to sing and master the Liverpool accent, consequently giving the project her "blessing".

"Brad already has a writer working on the script. And Yoko has given the project her blessing so long as it's true to John's life," quoted a source as saying.

"Brad wants to do all the singing himself and plans to take voice lessons. If he can't pull it off they'll use John's own voice."

According to reports, no director has been named for the project based on the "Imagine" hitmaker who was shot in 1980 in New York by crazed fan Mark Chapman.

Pamela Anderson still hot: David Hasselhoff

Pamela Anderson still hot: David Hasselhoff London, Jan 8 (IANS) Even years after sharing frame with Pamela Anderson in "Baywatch", actor David Hasselhoff feels she is as hot as ever.

"Pamela was incredibly hot. Still is," Hasselhoff has been quoted as saying by

The 58-year-old actor admits he could have been romantically involved with Anderson, 43, if they weren't already committed.

"Me and Pam are close but she was always running and I was always running. I was married and she was always hanging out with Tommy Lee. But every time we look at each other we have a deep attraction. She is very funny and very sweet," he added.

Singer Rihanna's debut fragrance to show her personality

Singer Rihanna's debut fragrance to show her personalityLondon, Jan 8 (IANS) Singer Rihanna's first perfume, Reb'l Fleur is "not a shrinking violet kind of fragrance" but will reflect her strong personality.

Rihanna's fragrance will be befitting of her independent character and designers behind the perfume say she has been more hands on than most in coming up with the perfect scent.

Kathleen Galvin, vice president of marketing and advertising at Parlux, which has developed the perfume with the star, said: "This is not a shrinking violet kind of fragrance." reports, the title of the scent is a reference to a nickname Rihanna's grandmother gave her when she was growing up in Barbados, and she has also had it tattooed on her.

The fragrance will debut in US stores Jan 25, and it is hoped it will be introduced to international markets within three months.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Tom Cruise is an amazing kisser: Gwyneth Paltrow

Tom Cruise is an amazing kisser: Gwyneth Paltrow New York, Jan 6 (IANS) Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who locked lips with Tom Cruise in 'Austin Power, describes the star as an amazing kisser.

"I did a little cameo once at the beginning of 'Austin Powers 3', I think it was, and I got to make out with Tom Cruise. He was an amazing kisser!" quoted Paltrow as saying.

Paltrow's recent outing is "Country Strong" and she enjoyed stepping out of her otherwise regimented life for her role as alcoholic singer in the movie.

"You just get really drunk all the time. Which is awesome! At least I did anyway, it's not very professional. There's a Bloody Mary at 10 a.m. and keep it going all day!" she said.

"It was actually very liberating and amazing to play somebody who just didn't think about consequences because I'm so responsible with my life, and too worried about everybody and my kids and where's everybody going," she added.

Johnny Depp wins best actor trophy at People's Choice Awards

Johnny Depp wins best actor trophy at People's Choice AwardsNew York, Jan 6 (IANS) Actor Johnny Depp picked up the best actor gong for "Alice in Wonderland" at the People's Choice Awards.

The actor won the top honour at the award function in Los Angeles Wednesday night by beating "Twilight" stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

"Eclipse", the latest instalment of "Twilight" series, was the big winner which picked up four awards - favourite movie, favourite drama movie, favourite on-screen team and best actress trophy for Kristen Stewart, reports

Actor Zac Efron won favourite movie star under 25. Adam Sandler won favourite comedic star trophy, while his hit flick "Grown Ups" was named favourite comedic movie.

'My Name Is Khan' leads Apsara Award nomination list

'My Name Is Khan' leads Apsara Award nomination list New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) Shah Rukh Khan's "My Name Is Khan" leads the 6th Chevrolet Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards nomination list with 13 nominations followed by Salaman Khan-starrer blockbuster "Dabangg", which is named in 10 categories.

Shah Rukh and Salman are competing with each other for the best actor trophy and both the movies will also vie for best film honour.

Other actors competing for the best actor gong are Ajay Devgn ("Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai"), Hrithik Roshan ("Guzaarish"), and Ranbir Kapoor ("Raajneeti").

In the best film category other nominations are "Raajneeti", "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai", "Band Baaja Baaraat" and "Ishqiya".

"Dabangg" is also nominated for best dialogue for Abhinav Singh Kashyap and Dilip Shukla; best choreography for Farah Khan for "Munni Badnam" and Mamta Shrama has got the best female singer nomination for the same song; best music for Sajid-Wajid; best lyrics for Faiz Anwar for the song "Tere mast mast do nain" and for the same Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has got best male singer nomination; best performance in a negative role for Sonu Sood.

The action filled funny cop drama is also nominated for the best special effects for Alagar Swamy.

"My Name Is Khan", set in a tumultuous post 9/11 America and which sees Shah Rukh's character suffering from Aspergers syndrome, has been nominated in the best story category for Shibani Bathija; best lyrics for Niranjan Iyengar for 'Tere naina" and Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan has got the best male singer for the same Sufi number; best music for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; best female singer for Richa Sharam for "Sajda"; best director for Karan Johar as well as the best film; best female actress for Kajol; best editing for Deepa Bhatia; best cinematography Ravi K. Chandran; best sound recording Dileep Subramaniam; and best special effects for Red Chilles VFX.

In the best female singer category Sunidhi Chauhan has got two nominations for the hit song "Sheila Ki Jawaani" ("Tees Maar Khan") and "Ainvayi Ainvayi" ("Band Baaja Baaraat"). Others vying for best singer trophy are Tulsi Kumar for "Tum jo aaye" ("Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai") and Sona Mahapatra and Shreya Ghoshal for "Bahara ("I Hate Luv Storys").

Newcomer Anushka Sharma is competing with Kajol in best actress category for her role in "Band Baaja Baaraat", Kareena Kapoor for "Golmaal 3", Vidya Balan for "Ishqiya" and Aishwarya Rai for "Guzaarish".

The nominations for best director include Prakash Jha for "Raajneeti", Milan Luthria "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai", Dibakar Banerjee for "Love Sex Aur Dhoka" and Sanjay Leela Bhansali for "Guzaarish".

Small-budget movies like "Peepli Live", "Well Done Abba" and "Love Sex Aur Dhoka" have also won nominations in various categories.

"The Indian Film industry has had a thrilling past year with the likes of both small and big budget films reigning equally at the box office. It is very thrilling to watch varied movies like 'Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai', 'Dabaang', 'Peepli Live', 'My Name is Khan', 'Love Sex Aur Dhoka', 'Golmaal 3', 'Ishqiya', 'Guzaarish' and 'Tere Bin Laden'," Ramesh Sippy, president of Film & Television Producers Guild of India said in a statement.

"All these films have done very well and I anticipate that the producers would have a tough time deciding a winner. Bollywood's golden era has arrived," he added.

Knotty affair: Ratan Rajput to show her real side in 'Swayamvar'

Knotty affair: Ratan Rajput to show her real side in 'Swayamvar'Mumbai, Jan 6 (IANS) No controversies, no affairs and not even a distant beau to contribute to her history -- small screen's petite daughter Ratan Rajput is all set to get 'knotty' on Imagine's "Ratan Ka Rishta: Swayamavar - Season 3" and the actress can't wait to come out of character and be the "real me".

"The USP (of my 'Swayamvar') will be that people will get to watch the real me and not any character from any show. I'll be here the way I am in real life. It won't be scripted. Things that happen in 'Swayamvar' will make audiences watch the real me and I am sure my wedding will be a success," an elated but visibly nervous Ratan told IANS.

Women chit-chatting over henna sessions and getting customised lac bangles to adorn their wrists, fragrance of the Rajnigandha mingled in air and a decked up palanquin waiting for the bride-to-be, made it look like a Delhi pre-wedding ceremony.

Lavish and grand, the self-confessed "Ghar ghar ki beti" (every house's daughter) sat on a sinhasan sporting a citrus orange highly embroidered sleeveless choli with a lehenga and dupatta, not to miss the coy smile.

Six well-rounded women thumped dholaks with their oversized palms, filling the air with "Shaava Shaava-Balle Balle" under numerous massive chandeliers dangling from the frescoed ceiling of The Club at Andheri.

"This is a chance for me, you know. I am having a mixed bag of emotions that every girl goes through during her marriage. I am feeling a slight fear, some nervousness but I am confident that I will get the right partner for life," she said, nodding like her character Laali from "Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo".

Audio-visuals of actor Sachin and his wife Supriya Pilgaonkar who gave her a break with "Radha Ki Betiyan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi"; her first co-stars Mona Vasu and Ragini Khanna, and Ratan's eldest sister Seema Chauhan came laden with blessings sandwiched with skits on Bollywood songs like "Rock n roll soniye", "Mehendi hai sajne wali" and "Meri banno ki aaegi baraat".

Asked for the obvious one - the qualities she's looking in her Mr. Right, Ratan said: "He should be caring, supportive and understanding. He should like lauki (bottle gourd) like the way I do and should respect everyone and be independent… aage sab wo thik karega (god will take care of the rest)," she said.

Why not? After all, she credits the almighty for having come a long way from a remote corner in Patna.

Paul McCartney to sing at Prince Willaim's wedding?

Paul McCartney to sing at Prince Willaim's wedding?London, Jan 6(IANS) Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton have reportedly asked Sir Paul McCartney to perform at their wedding reception.

The Beatles legend has been approached to perform at Buckingham Palace after William and Kate's April 29 nuptials because the couple believe his music has universal appeal, reports

"William and Kate have chosen their wedding list and Paul McCartney is their number one choice to perform," said a source. "They can't think of anyone more perfect to kick off proceedings."

McCartney, 68, is said to have confided in pals that he feels "privileged" after receiving the invitation a few weeks ago.

'Pavitra Rishta', 'Pratigya', 'Taarak Mehta' lead Apsara awards nomination

'Pavitra Rishta' lead Apsara awards nominationNew Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) "Pavitra Rishta", "Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya" and "Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah" are leading the 6th Chevrolet Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards list with five nominations each.

Star Plus' "Mann Ki Awaaz Pratigya", a show on based on eve-teasing, has garnered nominations for best drama series-fiction, best director fiction for Yatin Dang, best writer for Pearl Grey and best ensemble cast.

The show's protagonist Pooja Gor'Pratigya' lead Apsara awards nomination is also vying for the title of best actress in a drama series.

Zee TV's "Pavitra Rishta" has also been nominated in best drama series category. Both the lead actors Ankita Lokhande and Sushant Singh Rajput are also up for the trophy of best actress drama and best actor drama respectively.

The show's director Kushal Zaveri is nominated in best director fiction category, while writer Rajesh Joshi has been nominated in best writer category.

SAB TV's "Taarak Mehta 'Taarak Mehta' lead Apsara awards nominationKa Ooltah Chashmah" has also been nominated in best drama series - fiction, while Disha Vakhani, popularly known as Daya and Dilip Joshi as her on screen husband Jethalal, are also nominated for best actress and best actor award respectively. The show has also been nominated for best ensemble cast.

Writers Raju Odedra and Rajen Upadhyay have earned nomination for best writer for the comedy show.

Also vying for the trophy of best drama series fiction are Sony's "Baat Hamari Pakki Hai" and Star One's "Dill Mill Gayye".

In the best actor category, Ronit Roy will compete with Sushant, Dilip, Barun Sobti of "Baat Hamari Pakki Hai" and Kanwaljeet Singh of "Sabki Laadli Bebo" in the best actor category for his role in "Bandini".

The best director category includes Nikhil Sinha for "Baba Aiso Varr Dhundho", Pradeep Yadav for "Balika Vadhu Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Rishte", and Dharmesh Shah and Khazaan Panesar for "Ek Veer Stree Ki Kahani Jhansi Ki Rani".

"Baat Hamari Pakki Hai" and "Dill Mill Gayye" have also been nominated in best drama series fiction.

Other nominations in best actress category are Rashmi Desai for "Uttaran" and Reena Kapoor of "Woh Rehne Waali Mehlon Ki".

The nominations in the best non-fiction category are "Dance India Dance Season 2"; "Big Boss - Season 4"; "Zara Nach Ke Dikha-Season 2"; "Entertainment ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega" and "Koffee With Karan - Season 3".

The awards ceremony will take place Jan 11 and will be shown on Colors Jan 23.

Amy Winehouse ready for comeback

Amy Winehouse ready for comeback London, Jan 7 (IANS) Singer Amy Winehouse is gearing up for her comeback as she will be performing new songs during her live concerts in Brazil starting Saturday.

The 27-year-old has rarely performed live and never with a full backing since 2008, so fans are hoping this "one off" tour is a sign she is ready to make a comeback, reports

In the last two years, Winehouse has been battling drug addiction and shared a complicated relationship with ex-husband Blake Fielder Civil, but now she is said to be trying to curb her partying lifestyle and focus on her singing career.

The "Rehab" singer will perform at Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo and singer Zalon, who is working with Winehouse and her band, has promised fans can expect to hear new songs at the concerts.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Shah Rukh, Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra set to rock Durban

Shah Rukh, Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra set to rock Durban Mumbai, Jan 5 (IANS) Durban is in for some real Bollywood flavour when stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra will groove to their hit numbers Sunday at an event to celebrate 150 years of India-South Africa friendship.

The concert, which promises to bring together the world of cricket and entertainment on a common platform, will be hosted by actor Anil Kapoor.

This friendship concert is an initiative by AAMEDIA, a South African corporate, and Cricket South Africa. It is being directed and executed by Wizcraft International Entertainment and Cineyug Productions.

"Wizcraft has had a very warm and welcoming relationship with South Africa. The second IIFA Weekend and Awards were held in Sun City in 2001 and we returned for the fourth edition of the same in 2003 in Johannesburg forging a strong relationship between the two countries," Wizcraft director Sabbas Joseph said in a statement.

"The hospitality extended to us was touching and overwhelming. South Africa holds a big place in our hearts," he said.

"We have made new friends and fond memories and now an opportunity to come back and produce a concert in Durban. Celebrating Indian cinema and cricket is truly a privilege," he added.

The event will be held in commemoration of the arrival of the first Indian labourers in 1860 to work on the sugarcane plantations in South Africa.

The concert will also honour Sachin Tendulkar and Makhaya Ntini - two great stalwarts of cricket from India and South Africa respectively.

Several South African artistes are also scheduled to perform at the event, including Liquideep, Locnville, Drum Cafe, HHP, and 1st Project.

Wizcraft is looking at many other events in 2011. It is set to produce a concert for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Sri Lanka and also has been selected to execute the opening ceremony of the event to be co-hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka.

It will also produce the 6th Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards Jan 11.

A.R. Rahman excited about British release of '127 Hours'

A.R. Rahman excited about British release of '127 Hours'New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Oscar winning music composer A.R. Rahman, who has got a Golden Globe nomination for his work in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours", is upbeat about the film's release in Britain.

"I'm very excited about '127 Hours' releasing in the UK...and what makes it even more special is that we scored the music London (sic)," Rahman posted on his Facebook page Wednesday.

The soundtrack of "127 Hours" includes the popular song "If I Rise", a collaboration between Rahman and pop star Dido. In fact, Rahman was lauded for his work by American mountain climber Aron Ralston, on whose life the film is based.

The Chennai-based composer is competing in the Original Score for a Motion Picture category at the Golden Globes with the likes of Alexandre Desplat ("The King's Speech"), Danny Elfman ("Alice In Wonderland"), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross ("The Social Network") and Hans Zimmer ("Inception").

The ceremony will take place Jan 16.

Jane Fonda says she wasn't a good mother

Jane Fonda says she wasn't a good motherLos Angeles, Jan 5 (IANS) Veteran actress Jane Fonda says she wasn't a good mother to her children.

The 73-year-old actress, who has daughter Vanessa, 42, with her first husband Roger Vadim, and a son, Troy, 37, with activist Tom Hayden, couldn't spend much time with her children as she was too busy in her anti-Vietnam War efforts.

"I don't think I taught them much. I don't think I was that good of a mother. But I did always tell them the truth and I hope they can always learn from my mistakes," quoted her as saying.

The actress now treasures the close bond with her grandchildren as she feels they have given her a "second chance" to repair her relationship with her kids.

"That's what's so great about being a grandmother - it gives you a second chance," she said.
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