How unfair!
While dark complexion is attractive, a majority of people equate only 'fair' with beautiful
Ashima Sehajpal

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

So, we have over a dozen fairness creams and an equal number of celebs endorsing them. We have foreign models walking the ramps flaunting Indian creations. And, we have an airbrushed Aishwarya Rai on the cover page of a fashion magazine looking much fairer.

Last of all, we have her contemplating filing a suit against the magazine for their racist approach! Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? Talent, virtue or intellect makes no sense because what looks good, sells better. "And good looks in India, to a large extent, are about a fair complexion," says former Miss World, Diana Hayden. She adds, "Why else do we have so many brands of fairness creams in the market? You can't just the blame these products. They find a huge clientele here because only fair is beautiful in India."

Meghna Naidu
Meghna Naidu

Diana shares her personal experience. "I wasn't considered pretty due to my dusky complexion, but I gradually learnt how to deal with people's stares." There are enough examples—Halle Berry, Bipasha Basu, Deepal Shaw, Parul Chauhan (of Bidaai fame) - of women with darker skin tones doing well in the glam industry, but there's also an incident like airbrushing Aishwarya Rai that opens up the old debate—is only fair beautiful? Krishna Somani, a leading model, questions why foreign models are flown in to walk the ramp for creations of Indian designers. "Especially when the creations are made keeping the Indian clientele in mind." She suggests that the only way out is making young girls feel comfortable in their skin. "That can only happen if parents, relatives, friends, neighbours…society at large accepts wheatish as the actual Indian complexion." Krishna regrets that several leading cosmetic firms use foreign models to promote their products.

Rajashree Thakur, who was seen in Saat Phere-Saloni ka Safar, feels people's perception of dusky complexion has changed for better. She played the lead role of a dark girl who doesn't let her skin colour bog down her spirits. "We have exceptions like Smita Patil and Bipasha Basu, who minus the conventional beauty did well for themselves. Today, the television industry is full of actors who aren't even average-looking." On the other hand, she feels the perception hasn't changed much in the smaller Indian cities.

It was for the unusual pairing of a fair boy and a dark girl that made Bidaai a hit TV soap. Kinshuk Mahajan, who played the husband of a dark girl, Ragini (Parun Chauhan), says that people appreciated the cause but didn't support it. "It' a known fact that even today a mother looks for a beautiful, fair, girl for her son.”

Well, a pleasant change came in the form of Meghna Naidu's item number Kaliyon ka Chaman. The item girl with dusky looks became famous as a sex symbol. "People suddenly started attributing sexiness to a dark complexion, which wasn't the case before. I created a niche for myself in the industry that was dominated by only fair girls. But if you look at the ratio of dusky to fair girls, the latter would any day outnumber the former." Thought provoking! [email protected]

With Deepti on a wintry day
Nirupama Dutt

One word bothers me - Love
Try to find a substitute for it
I go through pages and pages
Of the black & white print
Nothing fits
The closest I can get to it
Is Death

—Deepti Naval

A cold winter day, hot coffee and the poems of Deepti Naval make for an ideal combination. Poetry buffs in the city can have their fill of it as this woman of many talents comes face to face with them at a poetry reading at the British Library on Tuesday afternoon.

Actor, painter, photographer and poet, Deepti made a charming cinema debut in the 1980 film Ek Baar Phir with Suresh Oberoi playing her husband and a Chandigarh young man, Pradeep Verma, her lover. It was a daring film for its times and although Pradeep faded away from films, Deepti made a little niche for herself that still remains fresh in the memory of cinegoers. She did several roles that made an impact but she is best remembered in Sai Paranjpe's Chashme Baddoor (1981) playing the girl next door selling a detergent powder called Chamko. However, the smiling Chamko girl went onto do some very serious films including Kamla, Mirch Masala, Damul and many others.

However, there was always more to Deepti than just acting. A daughter of academics, she had the artistic and literary flair. Studying in Hunter College in Manhattan in the US of the seventies, Deepti picked up many skills and concerns. She recalls: "We moved to New York in the early 70s when US was ablaze with Vietnam war; marches and protests on the streets was a common site." She learnt painting and always kept a diary in which she penned her poetic thoughts in Hindi. She was an admirer of the poetry of Faiz and Sahir like many who grew up in the seventies and just loved the Hindi film songs of yore, which were penned down by some of the finest poets.

Her association with poet and filmmaker Gulzar brought her in touch with the grand dame of Punjabi letters, Amrita Pritam. Deepti recalls: "I started writing in New York in Hindi. The choice of language was more as an identity with a desire to showcase my native language. My first book was Lamha Lamha in Hindi, which Amrita Pritam loved and encouraged me to publish them. The book came out in 1983."

The frail, charming Deepti was nevertheless a woman of substance and in the rough and tumble of stardom and personal loss; her poetry remained a source of strength and survival. She is only one of the two woman poets who were also cine stars, the older being Meena Kumari who wrote some fine nazms and ghazals: Chand tanha hai asman tanha, dil mila hai kahan kahan tanha. (The moon is alone and so is the sky, where won't you find a heart alone?) Meena, the big star, was like a candle burning at both ends and moving to sadness and death. However, Deepti, who was empowered and educated when she entered the Mumbaia cine world, looked for other ways of creating and this is reflected in her poems.

In 2004, she published an anthology of poems called Black Wind and Other Poems from which she will read in the city.

Bits about bytes
Rose in another language
Roopinder Singh

People are going to access the Internet in their mother tongue in greater numbers as it becomes more and more pervasive. In India, we have many languages that are mother tongues of our people, and in the recent centuries, English has emerged as the lingua franca, which means a language used to communicate between persons who "do not share a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both persons' mother tongues".

Since English is also the lingua franca of the Internet, we have an advantage of a significant base of English-speaking individuals and thus we have been able to make major inroads in the world of information technology, where English rules. Here we have a distinct advantage over China, something that is now being steadily eroded because of the emphasis that China is placing on teaching the English language to its students.

In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

What about rose in any other language, it not only smells the same, it is also a major literary device used by poets in other languages with as much élan.

What would Urdu poetry be without references to 'gulab'? But how would we read Urdu poetry if we don't know the language? In English translation? Much would be lost and in fact if we could read Urdu script in Hindi language, we would be nearer the original in culture and context. Gulab would still be gulab, but it would be written in a script that many would not be able to read.

Now, some computer scientists have been working on making people understand and read information that has been originally given in a language that is neither their mother tongue, nor English.

The Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi, Punjabi University Patiala, has recently released an Urdu to Devnagari script conversion software. It also does the reverse, i.e. from Devnagri to Urdu…and it works on websites.

Dr Gurpreet Singh Lehal, director and chief coordinator of the project, demonstrated the software here in my office and indeed, the results were impressive. We saw how the Urdu newspaper from Pakistan like the Daily Jung, Nawai Waqt and Afsana were rendered in Hindi. He also converted the Dainik Tribune website into Urdu.

One can also write an email in Urdu and it will be delivered in Hindi at other end and similarly email sent in Hindi can be read in Urdu.

Dr Lehal said that his programme had been funded by The Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF), which emphasises on applying Internet technology for the benefit of Asia-Pacific users and communities. The project was awarded to Punjabi University in 2009 after a competition in which 148 competitors from 22 countries participated.

In a credible 18 month the team comprising Dr Lehal, Dr Virinder Singh Kalra from Manchester University UK and Tejinder Singh Saini from Punjabi University, completed the project, which is now freely available on the Centre's website ( We must remember that there are differences in the way Devnagri and Arabic scripts render sounds, and thus this is not a simple case of transliterating which can introduce various howlers. Dr Lehal pointed out that the main challenges had been restoring the missing diacritical marks in Urdu text, resolving the lexical ambiguities in these languages, both at the level of characters and words. Dealing with split/merged words in Urdu script and the issue of multiple/zero equivalence of characters in the two scripts also proved challenging.

Dr Lehal claims that the current system has been tested on more than 200 documents and the word level transliteration accuracy has been found to be 98.03 per cent and 99.15 per cent for Urdu-Hindi and Hindi-Urdu transliteration systems, respectively. That would make it a hot contender for the best system in terms of transliteration accuracy.

It is interesting that a university dedicated to Punjabi has become a bridge between two other languages-Urdu and Hindi. I am sure that this software developed by the university will provide a bridge between people who have a natural cultural affinity, but are divided by the ignorance of each other's script.

[email protected]

Charged up
Amitpal Singh Grewal

The dependency of humans on electronic items has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, one can hardly imagine a life without electronic gadgets and they have made our life convenient in more ways than one.

In general, direct-current powers static devices like computers and televisions whereas portable handheld devices such as laptops, mobiles, notebooks, tables, music and video players are battery-powered. Some devices like laptops, note books and even tablet PCs can be run on direct current as well as with in-built batteries. However, the universal truth is that all these devices need some kind of electronic energy to perform.

But what happens if you run out of battery? What happens when you are outside your home or office with no access to any stable power sources and your mobile or laptop starts giving 'low battery' messages? Although you can find several products in the market like rechargeable batteries, high capacity batteries with long backup time, these cannot guarantee a permanent solution.

However, one can choose powerful solar battery charger for individual devices or go for a mobile laptop charger or a portable car charger so that you can even charge your batteries while on move.

Several such devices have been invented during the last few years, but more such products are the need of the hour.

[email protected]

Haute pick

Time out

The Travelling World Time Alarm Clock with an LED torch is a perfect companion for backpackers as well as luxury travellers. This handy gadget not only displays the time and date, it also shows world time, temperature and has an LED torch. The world time function features 18 cities from across different time zones; the clock switching easily between them at the twist of a dial so that there is no need to reset the time and date.

n Perpetual calendar with 12/24 hour format display
n Daily alarm and snooze circular
n World time converter with 18 cities
n Temperature displayed in Celsius or Fahrenheit
n Countdown timer
n English, Spanish, German, French and Italian for display
n Torch with three white LEDs

Passion Unplugged

Today's generation is so much hooked to mobiles and the Internet that depriving them of their cell phones, emails and gadgets like television and iPod could leave them suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts trying to give up, a new study has revealed.

For the study, an international team of researchers asked volunteers to stay away from all emails, text messages, Facebook and Twitter updates for 24 hours. They found the subjects began to develop symptoms typically seen in smokers attempting to quit.Some of those subjects taking part said they felt like they were undergoing "cold turkey" to break a hard drug habit, while others said it felt like going on a diet. The condition is now being described as Information Deprivation Disorder."We were not just seeing psychological symptoms, but also physical symptoms," Dr Roman Gerodimos, a lecturer in communication who led the UK section of the international study, said.In fact, in the experiment, called Unplugged, the volunteers at 12 universities around the world spent 24 hours without access to computers, mobile phones, iPods, television, radio and even newspapers. They were allowed to use landline telephones or read books.

In the research, led by the University of Maryland's International Centre for Media and the Public Agenda, the subjects were asked to keep diaries about their experience. Entries in the diaries showed that many recorded feeling fidgety, anxious or isolated. — PTI

Cool call

Samsung India has launched a new range of frost-free and direct-cool refrigerators for the Indian market. The 29 models across four different capacities in the Inspira frost-free and Pride direct cool range, are all five star rated. Both the Inspira and Pride ranges represent the perfect blend of design, convenience and performance.

The entire Inspira frost-free refrigerator range comes equipped with dual cooling sensor (DCS) technology that ensures independent temperature controls for the freezer and fridge compartments, while the Power Surround Cooling ensures quicker and more even cooling of the stored food. Additionally the Inspira refrigerators have the innovative Cool Pack feature in the freezer section that maintains the freezer temperature inspite of the power cuts, a Frrrunch vegetable box and a stylish surf handle. The stylish Pride direct cool refrigerator models come with a clean look, new recess handle, a bigger transparent vegetable box, deep door that provides space for bigger bottles and rust proof base. Both the Inspira and the Pride range are completely stabilizer free and energy efficient with a BEE 5 star rating.

Furthermore taking into account the Indian consumers' preference for more storage space, the Samsung refrigerators break the limitation of storage space in conventional design, by providing a larger fridge section. Eg the Samsung 303L Inspira model has a 23 per cent, 77 per cent freezer to fridge ratio compared with 31 per cent: 69 per cent ratio seen in competitor models.

While the Pride series is available in 192L capacity variants priced between Rs.9,900 to Rs 11,600, the Inspira range includes models in the capacity ranging between 255L to 303L priced between Rs18,100 to Rs 26,000. — TNS

Drink to it

Want to get a drink that goes well with your age and gender? Well, you can do it now as Japanese scientists have developed a new vending machine that uses facial recognition to recommend drinks based on a customer's age and gender.

Developed by JR East Water Business Co, a subsidiary of railway firm JR East Co, the machines use sensors to determine the characteristics of an approaching customer. 'Recommended' labels will then appear on specific drink products and suggested products also change depending on the temperature and time of day.


Home Front
Touch of Class
Historians Karuna and BN Goswamy's home spread in close to three kanals is all about elegance

The family's recreation room overlooks the inner courtyard Har ek makan ko hay makeen se sharaf asad (every house gets its character from those who live in it), wrote Ghalib. And the Sector-19 home of Goswamys is one fine example of it. Padma Bhushan BN Goswamy and historian Karuna Goswamy's abode is austere as well as elegant. This five-bedroom home with three lawns houses the best of art from across India.

Amid a well-manicured lawn, the façade of this house is plain brick with Maharashtrian Worli motifs on the wall. Done by national award winners Jivya and Soma Mashi, these tribal motifs in white on earthen paint prepare you for what lies inside.

the back lawnA stone pillar from Orissa (done by artiste Maharana) stands tall in the front lawn. The four sides have Shiv Parvati, Durga, Brahma and Vishnu carvings.

The living room is bright and green. With potted plants and flowers all over, this place seems to have a life of its own.

"When our architect Yetinder Mathur asked us what are we really looking for, my wife Karuna was clear - an open house that has a green view from all the corners. Yetinder was able to achieve that for us," shares BN Goswamy.

the stone statue nestles in greenery
(From top)The family's recreation room overlooks the inner courtyard, the back lawn and the stone statue nestles in greenery

Four panels inspired from Madhubani paintings with Krishna theme cover one complete wall. All colours used are muted. It's fully bloomed marigolds in planters and rose petals in earthen pots that lend cheerful colour to this place.

Sitting inside the living room, one gets a beautiful view of the front lawn and forest-like inner courtyard that has a Lord Krishna statue.

The dining area is separated by bamboo partition and potted plants. One wall has Japanese panels with bamboo etchings. Well-lit shadow puppets from Karnataka look impressive on the opposite wall.

Each of the five bedrooms, apart from eclectic colours, have another thing in common - closets full of books. Almost all walls have interestingly designed cabinets to store books, which speak about the couple's love for them.

A Sarabhai painting that acts as a screen and a wooden-brass chest with 16 drawers lends a majestic charm to the family's recreation area, which overlooks a little forest with bamboos and pebbles. Their son Apurva's interests find expression in a well-equipped gym and two beauties on wheels - a Porsche Cayman S and another Volkswagen. His room, a happy mix of red and orange, has an exhaustive collection of DVDs.

The master bedroom is a complete unit in itself. A small temple, comfortable seating, a sizeable workstation and TV, this room has all that BN requires. What's remarkable about this place is the fact that it offers a neat view of all the three gardens.

Karuna's study in the annexe is another complete unit Huge windows with sheer curtains let the sun in. Apart from a vast collection of books, it has a 'puja' room, comfortable spaces to sit and write, and a small bedroom. It looks out on to the green back lawn, which has comfortable wooden seating under a mango tree. Two stone statues by Maharana find a proud place among lush greenery. Art, in stone and brass, from across India and colourful paper lamps adorn this otherwise simple and graceful abode.

Spade work
What a pest!
Satish Narula

Insects appeared on this planet even before our race did. Our existence was in fact a hurdle for them but over ages, we have learnt about the co-existence to the tolerable limits. However, it's one upmanship on either side. And to be one up, it is very important to know about them and control them at an appropriate stage in their lifecycle using appropriate method, whether physical, organic or by use of recommended chemicals.

Though we get to see them in our garden on a regular basis, still we do not know much about them. Then why not to get familiar with some of them? Let us today talk about aphids, the little devils that attack the fresh plant parts. They appear near the growing tips in large numbers, sucking sap. You may, however, find the colour variation from light yellow to green, brown or black. Another identity of the insects is that the small black adults fall into eyes during spring. It is a tiny insect with oblique and extended transparent wings. If you discuss the aphids then you should also know about the black ants and ladybird beetle.

Due to their polyphagus nature, it becomes difficult to control aphids. They have many alternate host plants and shift their place of attack when they sense danger. Even when they are killed by plant protection they shift back from other crops. They live in succession too, almost all through the year as they shift from one crop to another. The modus operandi is the same as they suck sap from the tender leaves and twigs causing severe deformation. The plant loses its vitality.

For example, aphids devour many plant species like roses, chrysanthemum, citrus plants, peach, plum and pear. In flowering plants like roses or chrysanthemums they attack opening buds restricting the growth and infestation of blooms resulting in an ugly sight. In peach, plum and pear the attack, especially in peach is so severe that the leaves curl and the fruit is also rendered misshapen. They normally stick to one place near the plant terminal and keep sucking sap. The nymphs cannot fly or run but they have learnt the art of escaping even an assault from ants. They have developed a complimentary relationship with ants. The ants visit them, rub their antennae on their body and in turn they secrete honey that is relished by them. In fact, they protect their 'cows'. But even in this process the sufferer is the gardener. The secreted 'honey' is sugary and invites all kinds of fungi especially the sooty mould which renders the leaves black completely cutting the plant photosynthetic area. The aphids are known to spread virus too.

The aphids should be controlled the moment they appear as their multiplication is so fast that the plants have to be sprayed. Rogor or metasystox, dissolved at two millilitre to a litre of water sprayed twice at weekly interval can take care of this. For peaches, it should be in the last week of January, for roses during December and for chrysanthemums in the last week of November.

Myth of the week

Eggcellent rule

It is believed that insects lay eggs that hatch to give birth to the young ones. The process in moths and butterflies is through the stages of egg-larva-pupa and adult. But nature has its own way. In case of aphids, when the insects feels the need, maybe in a state of emergency, it starts bypassing the set rules and instead of laying eggs, they start giving birth to young ones. It is because of this reason, that breaking the lifecycle sometimes becomes difficult.

SD Sharma

Many traits — anchor, actor and poet — combine to constitute the persona of Satinder Satti, whose charismatic compeering of any show is capable of eclipsing the performance of any star artist.

Satti was born and brought up in Batala. She graduated from RR DAV College in Batala and later completed her LLB, LLM from Guru Nanak Dev University. It was here that her passion for Sufi poetry and anchoring blossomed. The varsity also awarded her a gold medal for her contribution to Punjabi culture. Even in school, she anchored various functions and participated in debates as well song and dance competitions.

In Panchkula for a prestigious assignment, Satti shares her experiences. "With more and more TV shows in the last decade, the art of anchoring has got more recognition. It has also become more demanding at the same time. It is much easier to compeer a show of light music or variety entertainment than a literary conference.

Satti has won laurels at the World Punjabi Conference at Washington and many cultural programmes in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. She has hosted many TV programmes and done interviews of top artistes from India as well as Pakistan.

She has two music albums Peeng (The Swing) and Moh (Love) to her credit and is also playing the female lead role in a Punjabi feature film Ki jaana pardes. "Two of my books Harfan di Tapash and Kujh khat tere naa are ready for print," she says. She adds, "I admire and emulate Tariq Aziz, a leading anchor from Pakistan. I relish reciting my literary couplets as well as the kalams of Sufi saints."

Fat chance

If you think that children are part of the obesity epidemic, then here's something you should know. A new study has revealed that obesity can begin in babies as young as nine months old."With the consistent evidence that the percent of overweight children has steadily increased over the past decade, we weren't surprised by the prevalence rates we found in our study, but we were surprised the trend began at such a young age," said lead study author Brian Moss, at the social work school at Wayne State University in Detroit.

The researchers analysed the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort data collected on 16,400 American children born in 2001. Of these, 8,900 were nine-months-old and 7,500 were two-years-old.They found that 31.9 per cent of nine-months-old babies and 34.3 percent of two-year-olds were either at risk or obese.The researchers also found that girls were at lower risk of obesity than boys.Children, who were Hispanic and from lower-income families, were also found to be at greater risk of being obese than white children, while Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders had lower risk."Being in an undesirable weight category at nine months subsequently predisposed children to remain in a less desirable weight category," said Moss.Childhood obesity expert Joyce Lee, MD, an assistant professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, confirmed that obesity is indeed becoming a problem in increasingly younger children. — ANI

Naked truth
Shedding clothes is the order of the day, says Tanushree Dutta

Bollywood bombshell Tanushree Dutta feels that actors are asked to shed inhibitions in front of the camera mainly to cater to the public demand and not because the script demands it.

“Actually, when people come to you with the line that shedding of inhibitions is the demand of a particular role, they are actually pandering to the public demand. Words like demand of the role or the character are all trash,” Tanushree said in an interview.

Asked whether she is ready to shed clothes if the character required that, Dutta said, “In Bollywood, people have been making movies for more than half a century and they are made in such a way that you need not shed off all your inhibitions. I would really draw the line. I am no more a newcomer in Bollywood.”

Tanushree had won the Femina Miss India Universe title in 2004, and made her entry into Bollywood in 2005 with the hit film Aashiq Banaya Aapne. She starred in Chocolate: Deep Dark Secrets the same year, and came to be considered one of tinsel town’s dark horses. But she failed to live up to the initial expectations of her fans as most of her films except Dhol and Bhagam Bhag bombed at the box office. Asked about the fate of most of her films, the former beauty queen said: “To what extent a film works is beyond me. My first film Aashiq Banaya Aapne did wonders at the box office. Then Chocolate was also quite popular, but it didn’t have the same effect as the first one. “I just look at my work and of course it’s my responsibility to sign good films so as to make sure that people come to watch. But sometimes there are lots of things, which are not in our hands. I always try to do the best I can. Some movies work, some movies don’t,” said the 26-year-old actor.

Spending more than five years in Bollywood, and with an experience of working in nearly 12 Hindi and Telugu films, Tanushree now wants to do something different. “At this point of time I really want to do a historical movie. May be it’s going to take some time. I have covered various genres. I have done romantic, psycho-thriller, thriller, crime based, comedy, romantic comedy. Now, I want to do a periodical. I also want to do a musical film,” she said.

Tanushree nurtures a dream of working on a hardcore subject and literature-based Bengali film in the coming years, but says that she hasn’t got an impressive offer yet. “I have always wanted to work in a Bengali film. But till date I haven’t got that kind of offer that would impress me. “Bengali filmmakers have come up with subjects that are so touchy and hardcore. Literature-and sahitya-based movies are made here. I want to work in literature-based movies in Bengal as this is the specialty of the Bengali film industry,” said Tanushree, who has completed a month-long acting workshop in the US.

Tanushree said she wants to sign movies, but she doesn’t have the “psychology” of having back-to-back releases in a short span.“I am planning to sign movies. Actually I don’t have that psychology of having two back-to-back releases in three months. I don’t know what I am going to sign next or when I am going to sign next. But one thing I can guarantee, that it’s going to exciting,” said Tanushree. — IANS

Taylor-made success

Hollywood hunk Taylor Lautner said he had no clue that the Twilight series would be such a phenomenal success when he first signed for it. 

The Twilight Saga star, who became an overnight sensation playing werewolf Jacob Black in the vampire franchise is still stunned at the level of fame and attention he received. “I just met the director and had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said the 18-year-old actor. 

However, the teenage star insists he has no regrets about signing up for the series and is delighted with the way his career is panning out. “It’s been great from then on”, he said. Lautner, who is expected to make a staggering $ 25 million from Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn to be split into two parts, credited his family for keeping his feet on the ground. “I’m definitely thankful to have a supportive family, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” Lautner said. Despite being a celebrity, Lautner who stays with his parents is expected to help out in the household chores after coming back from work. “I help out with the lawn, garbage, dishes. When I come back, I have extra mowing to do,” he joked. — PTI

Pele’s support to Beckham

Pele has thrown his support behind David Beckham who wants to kickstart his Hollywood career. He even offered to appear alongside him on the big screen. The Brazilian legend starred with Bobby Moore and Sylvester Stallone in football movie ‘Escape To Victory’ and he is thrilled the film is to be remade.

“I was very excited when I heard about the remake of Escape To Victory. I’m not sure if it’s going to happen but I know they tried to get together to make Escape To Victory 2,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.

“It was a fantastic experience for me and still now people talk to me about the film. Beckham is a very nice, well-known player so I think if it happens it will be very good,” he added. It was recently revealed that footballer-turned-actor Vinnie Jones, 45, wants to remake the classic movie with Beckam, and Pele said he would be happy to do a cameo role in it. He said, “I’ll be there. If they need me I’ll be there.” — ANI

Love-ly time

Hollywood beauty Kate Winslet reportedly has found a new love interest just two months after splitting from Burberry model Louis Dowler.

The 35-year-old onscreen beauty, who parted ways from the hunky model has been spotted with a mystery man and the pair were recently seen having a cosy lunch together at an exclusive restaurant Scott.

"Kate enjoyed oysters and a chocolate fondant dessert - she was eating the food of love. She looked very content.They were chatting for hours. She was in fits of giggles at one stage and then later they looked very serious together. It seemed they were having an in-depth discussion and she clasped his hands over the table. When Kate finally paid the bill, it was getting dark," an onlooker said. — PTI

Jumbo bond

It was not his glamorous co-star Reese Witherspoon but Tai, a 42-year-old pachyderm that made Hollywood heartthrob Robert Pattinson say yes to the period drama Water For The Elephants.

The Twilight star, 24, was on the fence about taking the role of Jacob, a veterinary student who joins a travelling circus in the upcoming film, until he met his jumbo co-star. “Rob was non-committal until he saw the elephant.

“After he met Tai, he knew he wanted to do this movie. He absolutely adored that elephant,” said the film’s animal co-ordinator Paul Reynolds.

The adaptation of Sara Gruen’s bestselling novel, which arrives in theaters on April 22, tells the story of a love triangle that develops between Jacob, Reese Witherspoon’s Marlena, who is the show’s bottle-blonde star performer, and her husband August, the circus’s abusive ringleader, played by Oscar-winning Inglourious Basterds star Christoph Waltz. While it was important to the filmmakers that Pattinson bond with Tai, their chief concern was making sure sparks flew between him and Witherspoon, 34. “I saw early on that those two had a real on-screen chemistry. There was just this thing that happens between the two of them when they are together as those two characters that was very exciting,” said the film’s director Francis Lawrence. — PTI

Oh Boy!
Elton John’s baby has a flat of his own with two nannies

Pop superstar Elton John’s new baby Zachery may just be a few days old but his famous father has already bought him an apartment worth $2 million where he lives with two round-the-clock nannies. Zachery, who was born through a surrogate mother, is ‘living like royalty’ in the apartment adjoining the singer’s exclusive Los Angeles pad.

The 63-year-old and his partner David Furnish had appointed a top Hollywood interior designer to turn the flat beside their luxury home into a dream nursery for eight-day-old Zachery.

“Elton and David have wanted this baby for a long time. They bought their first apartment in 2007 and then the following year they bought the smaller one next door. Everyone originally thought they bought the smaller apartment because they wanted extra space, but then I found out they were trying to have a baby,” said a source close to the star couple.

“They haven’t said whether they have knocked the wall down between the two apartments but I must say at Elton’s age, I wouldn’t blame him if there is no adjoining door. Will he really want to be woken up at night by a screaming baby? From what I understand the baby and his nannies are living in one apartment and Elton and David are living in another,” added the source.

The couple have hired interior designer to the stars Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to decorate the baby’s apartment. — PTI

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