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Sunday, December 27, 1998
Bollywood Bhelpuri
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She needs her beauty sleep
By Madhur Mittal

ANYBODY who calls up Shilpa Shetty in the mornings is bound to be either greeted by the answering/message machine or the major domo gruffly saying that "Madam is sleeping". And no, it’s not some time as in 6 a.m. or 8 a.m. I’m talking about; she would still be in the Land of The Nod even at 11 a.m.!

Shilpa ShettyWhat’s up now, huh? A starry ploy to put off unwanted callers?

Negative. Nowadays, Ms Shetty rarely wakes up before noon because she’s been doing a lot of late-night shoots which tire her out so much that she simply can’t open her eyes. Neither does she get up for bed tea, nor for breakfast. Why does she keep working so late into the night, anyway?

"Very simple," grins Shilpa. "All the heroes I’m co-starring with these days happen to be the most popular and most busy actors. So, if I want to ensure that my movies with them are completed (and released) as soon as possible, I’m putting in extra hours, see? Consequently, I wake up late. And now that winter nip is finally in Mumbai’s air, I just feel like staying cuddled up in my cozy bed!"

Besides, she may well have added, to keep glowing and looking gorgeous, the lady needs her beauty sleep to the full, surely!

For a change, he’s smiling!

Honest. Believe you me, the normally sulking, frowning Ajay Devgun is actually smiling all over town! Rather abnormal of this young honcho, I thought until I discovered the reason for it.

It’s the success of Pyar To Hona Hi Tha. You see, Ajay was away in Hungary for quite a few weeks shooting for Sanjay Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and returned just recently to find, happily surprised, that his film was still running to packed houses in Mumbai and other centres. "I couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling welcome back to India — what a red carpet arrival, man!" And he smiles again.

The Fire of dissent

My colleagues scoffed at me when I opined that Deepa Mehta’s Fire was likely to land itself in trouble. Many of them even told me that I was still living in the Dark Ages — a snigger that only grew in volume after the film was duly certified for exhibition!

Well, I have no wish to have the last laugh ... but, at the same time, the inevitable has happened, right? Starting with the Shiv Sainiks in Mumbai storming theatres and forcing the suspension of screening, the (violent) protest spread to Pune, New Delhi and elsewhere — almost like wild ‘fire’! Will the movie get to be seen eventually? Amidst heated exchanges between the pros and the antis, nobody can say for sure right now, at the time of writing.

The clincher is that women do want to see the movie (with its lesbian backdrop) but the men do not! What a ‘shameful’ fate for a sensitively directed film which has bagged 14 international awards.

Raw deal for Sanjay Dutt

I wrote about Sanjay Dutt’s downhill slide sometime ago. But the bad news is that things are getting worse!

It’s a well known fact that marquee billing carries clout. In fact, there have been star wars (quite literally) on account of this who-comes-before-whom caper. Today, Sanju is being given second (even third) billing in terms of popularity priority by the producers. Not fair, not done. I mean, doesn’t it sound so strange when the Dutt comes after Jackie Shroff, Salman Khan and (incredibly) even Chandrachur Singh?

This fortnightly feature was published on December 20, 1998


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