Preity Zinta

Preity Zinta celebrated her birthday at northwest Mumbai restaurant Rain with 12 friends recently. The group included boyfriend Lars, secretary Inder Maulik, actor Hrithik Roshan and wife Suzanne Khan and director Karan Johar who joined them briefly. Did anyone mention Preity having an affair with Aamir Khan?

Also spotted Bipasha Basu who must have jetted back to Mumbai soon after meeting ex-beau Dino Morea. The actor recently met with a car accident at Kullu Manali. The actress was enjoying a quick meal at Mumbai's Taj Land's End with designer Rocky S, former veejay Sophia, fitness expert Deanne Pandey and, of course, beau and Jism costar John Abraham.

We heard murmurs about friction in their relationship. Wouldn't have guessed. The duo looked much in love and were uncaring of all eyes on them.


In the seat
Raveena Tandon is thrilled with the rave reviews Satta has got her. "Madhur [Bhandarkar] told me he hadn't received such great reviews even for Chandni Bar [which starred Tabu]."

About the film's poor initial response at the box office, she said, "Even Chandni Bar picked up after the opening weekend. Besides, none of the three films [Baaz, Khushi, Satta, which released on the same day] opened well."

Her next release is Sangeeth Sivan's Sandhya, which will be followed by her home production Stumped.

Raveena is busy dubbing for another film Pehchan and Stumped. "I have been travelling, dubbing and working," she declares. "One can just put in the money, time and effort. What happens after that is out of my control. It's only a film. Tomorrow someone can die -- like Kalpana Chawla did. It's not the end of the world if the film does not do well."


Rarely are actresses critical of their work. Kareena Kapoor was recently overheard telling her friends at a preview of Khushi, "I hope you are not getting bored. The second half is much better than the first."

She then asked, "Fardeen [Khan] is so good, isn't he?"

Kareena left well before the movie was over; she had an 8 am shoot the next day. Our sympathies with Shyam Benegal and Suneel Darshan who sat through the three hours with a straight face.

Anoushka Shankar

Dream debut
Sitar player Anoushka Shankar couldn't be happier that shooting for Pamela Rook's Dance Like A Man will end just in time for her to fly back for the Grammy Awards on February 23 in New York. She has won a Grammy nomination along with her sister Norah Jones, the blues singer.

Anoushka says she is working her "ass off dancing" and says she is quite excited to be working with Rooks. "It [acting] is something I have always wanted to explore. While it is difficult to compare the sitar with acting, I am enjoying the thrill of being in the movies. If I click, I may take up more assignments."

Govind Menon

After the recent fracas with the producer over his directorial debut Danger, Govind Menon is back with his second offering. Starring Himanshu Malik, Shivaji Satam and newfind Mallika Sherawat, the film is a take off on a married couple.

"After making Danger, a songless thriller, many advised me to make a musical. Only romantic dramas lend themselves [to music], so I began to write Khwaish." The film deals with a Saathiya-like post-marital situation.

"This love story has a relationship with a beginning, middle and an end."

Menon confesses he had to scan thousands of pictures to find his heroine, and screen tested 50 girls. "We rehearsed for three weeks and shot the film."

But for Menon, the best part about the romantic caper is "Asha Bhosle agreeing to sing our songs. We are over the moon."


Monika Baldwa

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