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March 18, 1997


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The right spirit

Manisha Koirala. Click for bigger pic!
Manisha Koirala is now on a new high. Provided not, as usual, by her bottle, but by one Mani Rathnam, who praised her dedication while acting in his film, Dil Se.

Mani is a hard taskmaster on duty and, in the Bombay days, used to wake up Manisha at 3 am every day. Now that she's acting with him again, Manisha makes it a point to get up and be ready by 3 am, before Mani plants his knuckle on her door. To achieve that, the Nepali Mani -- Mani is what Manisha's called up in the Koirala khandaan -- had to forego a few grogs. And the sacrifice has amazed one and all. And provided proof that there is much of the right spirit in the lady.

Boor taste

Salman Khan. Click for bigger pic!
Looks good, sounds bad, behaves worse. An apt description of Salman Khan, of course, discreetly glossing over his acting.

The tale we have to tell you is about the time he biffed the stuffings out of Siddharth Koirala, kid brother of the Manisha we've mentioned just above the bit about how Salman looks, sounds and behaves.

The reason Salman plastered Siddharth was because he had a tiff going with Manisha. If all that's a little confusing, here are the details:

Happens that after Khamoshi, Manisha and Salman don't speak to each other. The reason for that being that in one of her interviews Manisha said nasty things about the film.

Finally it came to a point that Salman, never known to be urbane and unflappable, used to go into paroxysms every time the Nepali nymphet hove to.

And on one such occasion, due to factors other than gravity and mutual affection, they landed up at the same party. The urbane and cultured Salman naturally had things to say. Things that Siddharth happened to hear.

The young 'un asked Salman to either take it back or put 'em up. But the Khan, known more for muscle than mush, not only put 'em up but pushed 'em forward too -- causing a markedly negative effect on Siddharth.

Now Siddharth keeps clear of Salman, and the Khan has notched one more victory in his effort to make everyone on the planet hate him.

Fodder for thought

Paresh Rawal. Click for bigger pic!
Paresh Rawal loves playing real-life characters, no matter that it sometimes borders on the burlesque.

Paresh played Sardar Vallabhai Patel in Ketan Mehta's film, the eunuch Tikku in Mahesh Bhatt's Tamanna and now he plays what looks uncannily like Laloo Yadav in the upcoming Dandnayak.

Paresh plays the villainous owner of a cattle-shed who looks, walks and talks like Laloo Prasad Yadav. The difference, for Paresh Rawal, is that this time, even in caricature, he resembles the real thing.

Southern success

Shilpa Shirodkar. Click for bigger pic!
Shilpa Shirodkar has risen from the ashes. Again.

The girl who made her debut with Kishen Kanhaiyya and went on to do films like Brashtachar, Hum and Khuda Gawah before fizzling out is back with a bang. First Kamal Hasan signed her on for Ladies Only. Then Mani Rathnam roped her in, if only for a sexy number in Dil Se. Now the girl has over half a dozen films down south and for sums that would make her contemporaries writhe with envy. She is planning to stay there for quite some time.

Now all that's lacking on the lady is a suitably thick layer of flab. Rumour has it that the more a lady puts on, the more the southern audiences love it.

They take to different hills

Dharmendra. Click for bigger pic!
When it comes to hill stations, Dharmendra and Mithun Chakraborty have different ideas about which one is the right for a shoot. And their differences can sometimes mess up a film schedule.

Mithun wanted the shooting of the execrably named Love Station shot in Ooty. That way, he felt, he could also manage his hotel there during his time off. But Dharmendra's studio is located close to Pune and so he wanted it at nearby Lonavla. Both didn't bother to ask director Sanjay Sharma what he thought. Or maybe the cringemaking name of the film had him out for the count. At least for a while.

Anyway, when all seemed lost, the director drew himself up and decided he ought to do something about it. So he went and cried at the feet of the more reasonable Mithun.

Mithun finally relented, and said, "If it is Lonavala, then so be it."

But Paaji, a little more dense about the woodwork, had to rub his victory in. So, in the most patronising manner possible, he told Mithun, "Kabhi senior logon ka lihaz karna chahiye. Shabash, tum ek din achhe insaan banoge."

So who claimed that the spirit of Raaj Kumar was dead?

Beguiling babe

Pooja Batra. Click for bigger pic!
Pooja Batra is one smart woman. But sometimes, she's too smart for her own good.

Eager to purchase a house of her own, the star of Virasat, Vishwasghat. Bhai and Saazish wanted some money to buy a house befitting her new-found star status. The trouble was that, star or no star, she lacked the bank balance to buy it.

Then she heard that Parag sarees wanted a new model after Bhagyashree to star in their new ad. Those who have not seen it must know that this campaign works on irritating the viewer to the point of leaving the house, and then buying the saree because the ad is all they can remember. Back to Pooja and her dubious ways.

She caught hold of model co-ordinator Anisha Oberoi and begged that she get her the job. Anisha obliged and moved heaven, earth and a few Parag sarees, to get Pooja the contract.

Pooja earned her Rs 1.4 million but somehow, in her haste to set up house, forgot that she had to pay Anisha 20 per cent of the amount.

Anisha was upset enough to consider suing the blot on the Batra escutcheon. That worried Pooja, since the courts were more than she'd bargained for. Last heard, she was profusely apologising to Anisha. But we're not sure if she's coughed up.

-- V S Srinivasan

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