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Bollywood Buzz

First ‘Dus,’ now ‘Cash’

Ajay Devgan will now be seen with Zayed Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Aditya Pancholi besides four leading ladies in a film called “Cash.” It will be produced by Anubhav Sinha (of “Dus” fame) and directed by Sohail Maklai. It will be a thriller and revolve around a heist. A novel strategy has been planned to launch “Cash.” A promo for the film, yet to be shot, will be launched at an awards ceremony in a foreign country. Years ago, “Khuda Gawah” and in recent times “Kaante” also were launched in a similar fashion, with proms being made even before the commencement of the shooting for the films. By the way, “Cash” will have music by Vishal Shekhar who had created magic with ‘Dus Bahane’ for the same director.

Arshad Warsi

Minissha Lamba
Arshad signs up

Arshad Warsi has been penciled in to be a part of the star cast of Raj Kaushal’s next film. Also in the cast include Sanjay Dutt, Anusha Dandekar, Gulshan Grover and last but not the least Minissha Lamba, who received acclaim for a performance in her debut film “Yahaan” last year. According to Raj Kaushal, the film will be a music thriller with accent on comedy too. Raj hastens to add that he did not cast his wife Mandira Bedi in his film because there is no suitable role for her. Himesh Reshammiya will compose the music for his film.

Gulshan Grover
In telepathy Gulshan trusts!

Gulshan Grover has started believing in telepathy after director Karan Razdan signed him to play Mahima Chowdhary’s husband in his forthcoming film “Souten.” “It was incredible when Karan rang me up just a day after Mahima had come home for dinner with me and I had told her that it would be nice to play a good man and that too opposite a pretty actress like her after playing the bad man in film after film,” reveals the filmi bad guy. “Mahima also said that though it was highly improbable, she too was eagerly looking forward to some filmmaker coming forward to cast us as a pair together.” Gulshan never dreamt that Karan was going to consider casting Mahima Chowdhary as his wife in the film. “He spoke to Mahima in the afternoon after he had spoken to me in the morning,” says Gulshan. “Mind you, I did not suggest Mahima’s name at all. What is interesting to note is the fact that though I play a good husband who is passionate about his wife, Mahima strays and has an affair with my own daughter’s boyfriend. It is a very challenging role that both Mahima and I are playing in ‘Souten.’ ”

Amol Palekar
Amol Palekar’s ‘Quest’

Amol Palekar is undaunted by the fact that his film “Paheli” failed to bag the Oscar. Quietly, he has gone ahead and launched a bilingual film in English and Marathi called “The Quest.” The film sets out to tackle man-woman relationship with a great deal of sensitivity. It will star Sachin Khedekar and Mrinal Kulkarni in the main lead. Mrinal hastens to add that though the film is bold, there would be no scenes of physical intimacy. Instead, the film will unravel the various layers, which exist in man-woman relationships in a sensitive manner. Though Amol has made several films earlier in Hindi as well as Marathi, this will be for the first time that he will be making a film in English.

Laxmi Rai
Aishwarya Rai in the making?

Around four years ago, none other than Aishwarya Rai played the romantic lead opposite Priyanshu Chaterjee in “Dil Ka Rishta,” which was written by her mother and produced by Tips Music Company. Now, yet another pretty and petite Rai – also from the South – Laxmi Rai is playing the romantic lead in a film called “Doshi,” written and directed by Arshad Siddique and being produced by Laxmi Narayan Pandey 'Gurujee'. By the way, though it is her debut film as a heroine in Bollywood, Laxmi Rai has acted in quite a few notable films down South such as “Karksad” [in Tamil], “Valmiki” [in Kannada] and “Kanchan Valva” [in Telugu]. Laxmi is impressed with Arshad Siddique because he has written several women-oriented subjects like “Market,” “Lal Salam” and “Memsaab.” “Doshi” also is a female-oriented film, which is being shot in various places in the North, including Allahabad and Ranikhet. What is interesting to note is that the name of both the producer as well as the leading lady of “Doshi” is Laxmi!

Caption: Sanjay Talwar and Anita Majumdar as Kamal and Apsara in “Bombay Black.”

Simply told, Canada-based Cahoots Theatre Projects’ “Bombay Black” is a love story between a mysterious blind man and an exotic dancer. The Brian Quirt-directed play is set in a present-day Mumbai seaside flat where an angry old woman Padma (played by Deena Aziz) takes money from men so they may watch her daughter, Apsara, (Anita Majumdar) perform mesmerizing dances. Against this background, a blind man, Kamal (Sanjay Talwar) visits for a private dance before unearthing secrets from the past.

“Bombay Black,” which opened recently at the Theatre Centre in Toronto, is essentially a love story, as well as a revenge story. The makers aren’t catering to any one type of audience. They believe that so as long as you tell a story that is extremely human, it is relevant to all audiences.

Playwright Anosh Irani, a native of Mumbai who moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1998, had an image of a woman dancing and a blind man lurking in the shadows for quite some time. “I am glad with the sold-out response we got to our shows at The Theatre Center here in Canada for ‘Bombay Black,’ ” says Irani, who has watched and liked the similar-topic film “Chandni Bar” by Madhur Bandarkar. “But dance bars are a part of Mumbai culture,” he says. “When I was in Mumbai, we occasionally went to bars and had a few drinks, a few laughs. But I was always interested in the personal lives of dancers more than their dancing -- where did they come from? What made them dance in bars? Did they have family?”

The 31-year-old previously wrote the play “The Matka King,” a story of a vicious eunuch named Top Rani who runs an illicit lottery (Matka) from his brothel in Mumbai’s red light district. “It was based on a short story I wrote,” says Irani. “The character of the eunuch interested me -- I wanted to tell a villain's story.”

His first novel “The Cripple and His Talismans” was about a man in search of his lost arm. “The Cripple started out as an image of amputated limbs hanging from a ceiling in a dungeon that was the lair of Baba Rakhu who sells arms and legs,” says Irani.

Irani is gearing up for the release of his second novel, “The Song of Kahunsha” in April, about a 10-year-old boy who gets caught up in the 1992 Mumbai riots. “Till then, Mumbai was a fairly tolerant city with people coexisting peacefully,” says the Byculla born, who visits the city of his birth every two years. “I have noticed Mumbai is still crowded and congested while other cities such as Bangalore have undergone drastic changes. But the charm of Mumbai is still there.” “The Song of Kahunsha” will be published by Doubleday in Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Israel.

Irani readily admits that most of the research that has gone into his literary work is just growing up in Mumbai, where he was born and raised. “It is a city that provides a rich landscape for stories,” he says. “I learn from novels that move me. Anything that hits me in the gut is well written. A balance between emotion and intellect is required.”

The irony of it all is that he grew up in a tough neighborhood, Byculla, which is close to the red light area. “So, just living in Mumbai exposes you to a lot -- the stories, the drunks, the prostitutes, the socialites, the movie stars, the lepers -- its home, and it's a wonderful teacher.”


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