Prime act
Punjabi cinema has umpteen singers-turned-actors. There are a few non-singers, though, who have made a mark with just their acting skills…

Jasmine Singh

One fine day, we found everybody in Punjab singing. On yet another, we found most of them acting in front of the camera. And then we saw every singer was acting! Finally, we saw a non-singer joining the bandwagon and walking away with accolades. The success of Jatts in Golmaal has brought Aarya Babbar into the race. In an industry dominated by singer-actors, Aarya along with others, who are either ready or have already made an impact on Punjabi cinema, have only sung in the bathrooms!

Versatile talent
Harish Verma

He is a versatile actor, someone who can make you laugh and cry at the same time. He can lift his character with his improvisation skills.

birth place: Kurali.

debut movie: Punjaban.

you saw him in: YaarAnmulle, Burraah, Daddy Cool Munde Fool.

watch out for him in: Vyah 70 km, RSVP.

his strength: I am comfortable in every kind of role. Due to a theatre background, I can adapt to any character. I am different in all kinds of roles.

Hot & happening
Gavie Chahal

The doe-eyed actor has explored all spheres of acting; in advertisements, music videos, television serials (Mohe Rang De) and of course films. He was last seen in Pinky Mogey Wali opposite Neeru Bajwa.

birth place: Mansa.

debut movie: Yaaran Naal Bahaaran.

you saw him in: Mehndi Waley Hath, Tere Ishq Nachaya, Pinky Mogey Wali, Ek Tha Tiger (Bollywood) and Fear Factor (Winner of Asia title).

his strength: I am passionate about Punjabi cinema, which shows in my work. I am a director’s actor so I work accordingly. I don’t think the real actor in me has come out yet.

Raw energy
Aarya Babbar

His rough and rugged looks make him apt for the Jatt character he portrays. His intense looks and ‘bring-it-on’ attitude has made him the new-age non-singer actor who has made his mark on screen. Look out for the Babbar Sher

birth place: Mumbai.

debut movie: Virsa.

you saw him in: Yaar Anmulle, Jatts In Golmaal.

watch out for him in: Naughty Jatts, Heer and Hero.

his strength: I can mould myself according to the character.

Sikander’s here
Kartar Cheema

He fits in the category of a tall handsome man. After doing a dozen of music videos, Kartar is now all set for his next big release.

birth place: Sunam.

debut movie: Hasher.

you saw him in: Kaun kise Da Beli, Sayasat, Mitti, Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya (Bollywood), Kabdadi Ek Mohabat and Yaar Anmulle.

watch out for him in: Sikander.

his strength: My looks and the fact that I get into the character completely. This is where my knowledge of theatre comes handy

Killer looks
Aman Dhaliwal

He was a part of almost every Punjabi music video at one point of time. His long hair would make him stand out though he loves to experiment with his hairstyle as well as looks for all the movies.

birth place: Mansa.

debut movie: Ek Kudi Punjab Di.

you saw him in: Ajj De Ranjhe, Jodha Akbar (Bollywood movie) and Coffee House. He has also done a movie Down South with Mahesh Babu.

watch out for him in: Putt Jattan De.

his strength: An actor should be able to entertain; I think I am a complete package in that respect. I can act, I can fight, and I make the audience laugh.

Flipside of glamour
The suicide by Bollywood actor Jiah Khan has once again not only shocked B-Town, but the nation at large. Is it the dark side of the world of glamour?
Manpriya Singh

Sameksha Singh
Sameksha Singh

Jatin Grewal
Jatin Grewal

The reflective sheen of the glittering surface ought to spell darkness somewhere. Bollywood is an industry of the cash cows, where fortune is more important than virtues and success is respected more than talent. Its latest victim, Jiah Khan, adds to the sad suicide statistics of Bollywood and goes onto become yet another case study on the flipside of tinsel town.

Unfortunately, it is neither the first nor the last person who has taken the extreme step. Starting from the legendary film-maker Guru Dutt, Southern siren Silk Smitha, Miss India-Universe Nafisa Joseph…blame it on the person himself, the profession one is in or the place where it all happens. Nods model-turned-actor Jatin Grewal, “It’s a tough city to begin with; you are competing with the best. Therefore, it is extremely important to be level-headed and know how to take failures in your stride. Though pressure is prevalent in any industry, in Mumbai it is all the more there.”

Once in a while, an incident sends ripple across the still surface and exposes the murky waters beneath. There is a lot to battle and balance out in daily life. “First of all, every Friday your fortune changes and if you can’t achieve a certain level, the pressures seep in. Moreover, if you are an outsider in the industry and in the city, everything is depressing about life, right from the lifestyle, crowds, standard of living, pigeon holes etc,” actor Gavie Chahal, in Mumbai for seven years now, recalls his initial days.

Nafisa Khan, a British Indian actress, changed her name to Jiah Khan before making her debut in Nishabd in 2007, followed by Ghajini in 2008 and Housefull, last year. In 2012, it was back to being her original self, Nafisa Khan. A dream debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan, followed by two hit films notwithstanding, the actress committed suicide. “No matter what your professional status is, it’s very important to have a support system and good personal life. Once the base is there, everything else falls in place,” says actress Sameksha Singh. “Even if you have a lot of talent, there’s insecurity and competition in this field although not all girls are insecure. Then there is ‘high maintenance’ lifestyle, which increases dependence on relationships.”

The vicious circle also points to extreme emotional swings. She adds, “There are girls who start as young as sixteen or seventeen. That was not the case with me, I completed my education and was therefore, quite level-headed.” Punjabi actor Harish Verma, now based in Mumbai, recounts the problems of an outsider, “If you are not from Mumbai, a lot of your co-actors do not accept you easily. For a first-timer, maintaining lifestyles in the city add to the problems.”

He adds, “I have a lot of friends who don’t have any work for the past two-three years. Plus in Mumbai, life is stressful; every hour. Though personally what she was going through, only she could tell.” For those of us outside, it’s a guess between the failed relationship and a still career graph.

“It appears more out of personal reasons than professional counts. Otherwise, we’ve had a lot of one-hit wonders like Gracy Singh or Kumar Gaurav, who also must have battled depression at some time,” opines Kushal Punjabi, television actor. He adds, “There is a very thin line between passion and obsession. It’s good to be passionate about your work, partner or spouse but once obsession seeps in, there is nothing else you can see. Even a little speed-breaker can get you off the charts.”

Spectrum of thoughts
From nature to nari shakti—16 artists give their own interpretations on canvas
Amarjot Kaur

A painting by Raj Kumar Singh
abstract form: A painting by Raj Kumar Singh

An artist’s creativity is best articulated by his ability to look beyond reality. Defining the compound shades of life, both real and the surreal, Vibrations, a group exhibition, displays the works of over 16 artists at the Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16.

The paintings on the wall seem to dig deep into you when you enter the gallery and as your head oscillates from one corner of the wall to another, you find yourself amidst a series of portraits, some that are contemporary and others, which are aesthetically endowed with different shades and colours. We settle for a wall that bears over four water colour landscapes and Nikhil Giri, a Nagpur-based artist, who is casually dressed in denims says, “Water colour paintings are the hardest to make, for there is no avenue for correction in case you make a mistake.”

While taking due credit for his work, he says, “I make landscapes because considering the extent of commercialisation, I don’t think that our future generation would get to see nature and its beauty,” he explains while pointing towards his paintings that were painted on the spot, which include the scenic views from different villages that he visited.

As you advance towards the other wall, the tribal art work by Suhani Jain intrigues you. “I am a feminist and these paintings portray the nari shakti,” she says while adding, “I make use of ink on acrylic while painting.” Meanwhile, Tornado, an abstract painting by Gwalior-based artist Navkas plays upon different shades of light and darkness. This is his only painting at the gallery and it is priced at Rs 20,000. As you progress towards the realistic portraits by Mustajab Shelle, you are delighted at the thoughts that consume him while he paints. “I paint portraits for the sheer aesthetic value,” he says while looking critically towards his painting, Apsara, showing a woman, whose beauty is being accentuated with ornaments by her maid. The Amroha-based artist has painted several portraits, including the village life in Rajasthan and the portrait of Sarojini Naidu.

The exhibition displays the tantrik artworks by Manoj Singh, realistic contemporary paintings by Krishan Soni, abstract figurative art by Raj Kumar Singh and folk art by Shweta Aggarwal. Also, Shiva Abhishek, the meditative art by Vishal Sharma provokes one’s spiritual insight, while Sandeep Kumar’s abstract art kindles one’s imagination. Meanwhile, Rajeev Kumar, Sanjay Dayanand, Juhi Shukla, Runa Shelina, Monika Saroch and Madhu Priya’s works are not only expressive, but also have some interesting elements that are highlighted with various mediums.

On till June 7

Beyond the obvious
Madhur Kapila’s new novel Saamne Ka Aasman portrays life and its complexities
Tanya Malhotra

Madhur Kapila
pen drive: Madhur Kapila

The best thing about theatre is the liberty you have to introduce changes whenever you feel that the play isn’t going the way you want it. The irony of life is that, unlike theatre, it doesn’t really give you a clean slate to start all over again, sometimes not even a fair second chance.

This is what sums up Madhur Kapila’s new novel Saamne Ka Aasman.

She established her name as a writer at the age of 14, with her novel named Bhatkey Raahi which was soon followed by Saatva Swar. How did she pick up a topic like that at such a tender age? She replies, “True, I didn’t have experience in life to write about, but I had the passion to. I had seen enough of transition in my time.” Now at the age of 71, her expedition continues.

Saamne Ka Aasman has been divided into three segments based on three characters. The backdrop of theatre weaves a connection through the novel interlinking the characters. While it starts with the story of Mohsin and his struggle in life as a theatre artiste, it moves towards the story of a rich brat Rajeev and his mental dilemma which shifts from men and drugs to theatre and moving forward is the story of a dancer Ketki who struggles in her personal relationships. The theme is realistic, quite relatable to the modern world and the language easily establishes a connection with the reader. Kapila says, “The emotions, good or bad, happy or sad that we feel are certainly reflected in what we write.”

About the title Saamne ka Aasman, “Just like you know that the sky is not just about the portion which is visible to you, there is so much more to life too. It’s for you to explore the other side of life that may not be perceptible to you otherwise,” says Kapila.

Talking about the quality of writing, Kapila says, “It’s only the legendary work that reverberates throughout, for instance, the work of Premchand.” Kapila has also followed Pandit Jasraj for a couple of years and has written a book about his life. “It’s yet to be published, I am waiting for his approval.” Interestingly Kapila has also acted in a documentary, “but writing remains my goal in life,” she adds.

star track
A beautiful nerd!
Miss India contestant Rakul Preet to play a mathematician in her debut film Yaariyaan

The glamourous industry of Bollywood owes a lot to the Miss India pageant; a talent house which has produced some of the biggest film stars. The names include Nutan, Zeenat Aman, Juhi Chawla, Meenakshi Seshadri, Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Lara Dutta, Mugdha Godse, and Priyanka Chopra.

And now another Miss India participant Rakul Preet is all set to enter the glittering world with Yaariyaan; the directorial debut of T-Series’ head honcho Bhushan Kumar’s wife Divya Kumar.

“Yaariyaan is about five college friends and I play a nerd in the film. One who is very good with numbers,” quips the leading lady. The character is quite of her liking, as the tall and lissome Rakul is a mathematics graduate, who has studied financial management.

Moreover, like many previous beauty pageant winners, she comes from the Army background. Rakul won various titles in the Miss India pageant of 2011. She bagged Miss India People’s Choice, Miss Beautiful Eyes, Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Fresh Face, Miss Talented and emerged the third runner-up finalist.Rakul Preet

Soon after, she participated in Miss Tourism in China and rose to the sixth position in the international pageant. But that’s not all to her Libran multi-faceted personality! Apart from Hindi, English and Punjabi, the gal has now learnt to speak Tamil and Telugu and also acted in Southern hits.

Her die-hard interests include horse riding, Bharatanatyam, and hold your breath; golf too. Now, now! How many Bollywood actresses would have engaged in playing golf? But if you think, that’s enough for Rakul, you are mistaken!

The girl is a fitness freak with gymming and swimming being her daily addictions. She’s a blue belt in karate, plays cricket, basket ball and lawn tennis. And wait, did we tell you, she’s particularly proud of her 36-24-36 figure!

all rounder: Rakul Preet

Simple life

Ayushmann Khurrana talks about everything but films—from his friends to his son to education and his belief in the supernatural.

No Shakespeare please!

I majored in English literature but I will never read Shakespeare again. I never understood him but that could be because I used to bunk my classes a lot. I once played Shylock in our rendition of Merchant of Venice and I had to read the play so many times that I do not want to go near it again.

Friends forever

We just had a get-together in Chandigarh. We are still making some amazing memories together. We used do 48-hour train journeys from Chandigarh to Mumbai in second class compartments of Punjab Mail. We used to jam with dholaks and guitars to entertain ourselves as the train would stop at every station. Other passengers were impressed by our music and they would give us money, especially 100 rupee notes and that would fund the rest of our trip.

Favourite food

Ayushmann KhurranaI love Punjabi, Mughlai and Chinese food. My most favourite dish is rajma chawal. If I had to pick a restaurant dish, it would be chicken curry at Pal Dhaba in Chandigarh.

The ‘dad’ feeling

My son's name is Virajveer and he is only a year old. He has my eyes and my dimples and the rest he takes from my wife. I cannot really indulge him at the moment as he is too young. I am still getting used to the 'dad' thing and I have been so busy in the last year that I have not spent enough time with him.

Beliefs in supernatural

I am a believer in the supernatural but not in the negative forces. My Man Friday committed suicide in my room and I still sleep there and stay in the same house. Initially, I had moved in with Shoojit Sircar because the death was a huge shock for me. It was an emotional loss. And at that time my schedule was such that it was more convenient to travel from Shoojit's place instead of mine.

straight talk:
Ayushmann Khurrana

Siddharth Malhotra Ferry ride for Siddharth

Siddharth Malhotra is shooting in Madh Island for Hasee Toh Phasee and he takes the ferry ride everyday to reach there from Versova as it only takes a couple of minutes. He is more than happy to sign autographs and pose for pictures with people who ask him to do that.

short cut: Siddharth Malhotra

Huge opening

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani may have got mixed to positive reviews but the film has made Rs 62 crore in its opening weekend itself, making it the biggest hit of Ranbir's career and his biggest opening. Its collections have surpassed the Dabangg movies' opening as well.

Ranbir in KJo’s next

Karan Johar has confirmed that Ranbir Kapoor will star in his new film which will begin next year. The rest of the cast is not confirmed. Ranbir is currently busy with the Kashyap brothers' movies like Besharam and Bombay Velvet. Karan will fly to New York later this year to write the script of the movie with his team of writers.

When Abhishek meets Al Pacino

Abhishek Bachchan attended Al Pacino's An Evening With Pacino, a one-man act in London recently. The actor later got a chance to meet Pacino.

In the show, the international star not only re-enacted famous scenes from his cinematic classics like The Godfather, Scent Of A Woman and Carlito's Way, reminiscing about his illustrious career but also had a live question and answer session.

He said, “I love being on the stage, it’s a big passion of mine. It was a privilege to perform in London at the Palladium after so many years. I loved the live element of the event and being so close to my fans in the UK. The last time I was here was for the docu-drama Wilde Salome. It’s always great to be back.”Al Pacino (in black) and Abhishek Bachchan

Being a fan of his work, for Abhishek Bachchan, watching Pacino perform live was a dream come true.

Interestingly, when Abhishek Bachchan had got stitches above his right eye after an injury during the shooting of Bol Bachchan, he had joked that how he had got Pacino's scar face look.

dream moment: Al Pacino (in black) and Abhishek Bachchan

Parineeti Chopra Parineeti hurt

Parineeti Chopra suffered a mishap on the sets of Hasee Toh Phasee. There was a close up of her hand being shot and the camera box hit her face, knocking her unconscious. Her face and the area near her eyes started bleeding and they had to put an ice pack. She continued shooting as the scene did not require the use of her face. The other shoots had to be rescheduled.

hard time: Parineeti Chopra

Shruti HaasanMusic time

Shruti Haasan is cementing her place as an actor in Bollywood and down South and she has had no time to focus on her musical career. She wanted to shoot a music video for one of her songs but has not been able to do that so she hopes she gets some time off soon and can shoot her video.

note worthy: Shruti Haasan

Diana PentyP(l)enty of endorsements

Diana Penty may not have movies on hand but she is getting many endorsements. She endorses one hair-care brand has been signed on by another shampoo brand that wants to enter the Indian market. She was chosen after a survey because of her lovely long dark hair.

hair & there: Diana Penty

R Balki Sharing screen space

R Balki is working on a script which will bring Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan together on screen again. They have previously worked in Mohabbatein, Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham and Bhootnath. Amitabh Bachchan is Balki's favourite and he wants to work with SRK too. This film is still in the initial stages.
R Balki

chatter BOX
Bollywood calling

The man behind shows like Bidaai, Ye Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Kuch Toh Log Kahege and Amrit Manthan–Rajan Shahi, the owner of Directors Kut completed two long decades in the industry recently.

After directing and producing many shows since 2008, Shahi will now be taking a giant step and will be announcing the launch of his film banner. He reveals, “The two decades seems like a short span of time, but I have seen the industry changing, both technically and from the angle of creativity. I want to do something of which I can be proud of in the coming years. My maternal grandfather, late actor, Jairaj, isRajan Shahi my inspiration and I want to take his legacy forward. He always wanted me to make films and that dream of his I would be fulfilling now.”

He adds, “I love the concept of multi-tasking. When I look at people like Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar, I admire their ability to handle many jobs at a time. Ekta, who started with television, is now a successful film producer and Karan, a successful director and producer is judging reality shows. They inspire me.”
Filmy way: Rajan Shahi

Kanchi returns to the small screen

Kanchi Kaul will soon return to TV with a brand new show. She will make a comeback after four years. She was last seen in the show, Maayka. Read on for more details as she spills out her reasons for come back and about her role.

You are back after four long years. Where were you?

I was around but I was busy doing southern films and advertisements. I wanted a break because I had been working for a long time.

Tell us something about your up and coming show.

The show, as the title suggests, is about the relationship between a nanad and a bhabhi. Instead of showing their relationship in a bad light, we have highlighted the strength of their relationship and how it can be very comforting. I essay the role of a married woman, Shradha, whose life changes and her family comes through for her. The show has a great storyline and amazing characters and I’m hoping that people would like it.

These days when a newbie gets to essay the lead roles, do you feel lucky to have bagged this show?

If you are talented and hard working, it doesn’t matter whether you are a new or an experienced person. I believe that work always comes along to speak volumes about you. There are so many shows on TV that there’s scope not only for the amateur actors, but also for the experienced ones.

Kanchi KaulDo you think television has changed since you left?

Television is still as exciting and nothing has changed for me. I really feel good to be back.

Why are you an introvert when it comes to talking about your personal life?

My husband, Shabbir Ahluwalia and I, like keeping personal things private. We are happy to let our work do all the doing the talking!

It’s Showtime: Kanchi Kaul

Bitten by acting bug

Gautam Rode, the lead in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s show, Saraswatichandra, had a very interesting mock shoot. We hear that the actor had to perform to a scene from the film, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, but in Saraswatichandra style.

Gautam RodeWhen we quizzed the actor about this, he said, “Yes it was a challenging mock shoot. I had ventured upon it thinking that I would be speaking more with my body language because Saraswatichandra is an introvert. However, I was given Salman’s scene from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and was asked to enact it. Initially, I was a little surprised as both the characters are completely opposite. Well, we look forward to it Gautam!
Salman style: Gautam Rode

A still from Veera Lots of drama

In the up and coming episodes of Veera, Ranvi decides to bunk school. Ratan refuses to eat food and throws the food out of the window which falls on Veera. Later, Ranvi sees a tiger in a farm and runs away from there. He tries to tell this to the people of Preetampura.

Telling tales: A still from Veera

Kushal Punjabi Sporty affair

Kushal Punjabi was on a sabbatical and he will soon be seen as the super villain in the show, Hum Ne Li Shapath that will be telecast on Life ok. He has been travelling and partaking in as many adventure sports as possible. The latest that he has ventured upon is riding a bike to the highest motorable road in India.
Adventure time: Kushal Punjabi

Series of unfortunate events

Sayantani Ghosh Sayantani Ghosh, who is busy with the shooting of her up and coming Bengali horror film, is in the state of shock because, Abir Goswami, her opposite lead passed away recently. They had already shot over 70 percent of the film and had also planned to meet up for a film in the evening.
Sayantani Ghosh

Bad behaviour

In the up and coming episodes of the show, Saath Nibhana Saathiya, Urmi loses money in betting with Nikky aunty and plans how to score in order to get that money back. Meanwhile, Gopi feels bad when she sees Urmi behaving badly with Meera as she feels that she has an upper hand because her daughter gave birth to two boys.

Pooja Gor Birthday bash

Pooja Gor celebrated her birthday with her family and friends. Her parents came from Ahmedabad while Kritika Kamra, Karan Kundra, Soumya Seth and of course her boyfriend, Raj Singh Arora, celebrated her birthday with an elaborate birthday party and a beautiful birthday cake. Meanwhile, Raj gifted her jewellery that was matching with outfit.

Party time:
Pooja Gor

Astro turf
P Khurrana

ARIES: “The Prince of Pentacles” infuses financial stability. You will find appreciation and applause for your culinary talents. Delays can be expected today. A happy surprise awaits you. Love stars twinkle. Tarot message: Don’t do anything at the cost of health. Lucky colour: Cherry-red. Magic number: 43

TAURUS: Like the “The Knight of Cups” you are emotional in personal relationship and graceful on social occasions. You are likely to find an ideal partner. Be bold to speak out what is on your mind. Tarot message: Lack of persistence can be disastrous in business matters. Lucky colour: White. Magic number: 47

GEMINI: Do not get sucked into overtime. Plan some fun and relaxation with loved ones; leave stress behind. “The Magus” brings change and travel. Today you will be quite amazed to find yourself taking on a more ambitious role. Tarot message: Don’t waste an opportunity. Lucky colour: Turquoise. Magic number: 44

CANCER: “Ace of Swords” pulls you in opposite direction when making a decision. A yearning for overseas travel and adventure can encourage a career of your choice. Be focused. A celebration is on the cards. Tarot message: Keep your eyes on the future. Lucky colour: Red. Magic number: 28

LEO: Some very interesting and unusual people come into your sphere of business and give you a few different ideas on how to go about financial matters. Avoid new debt or excess spending. Tarot message: Take proper care of your health. Lucky colour: Lotus-pink. Magic number: 33

VIRGO: “The Prince of Cups” brings you to your truths, hopes and desires that you mask with a calm surface. You are good at getting people to express their opinions and keeping your own hidden. Tarot message: Be positive. Lucky colour: Peacock-blue. Magic number: 36

LIBRA: “The Lovers” facilitate you to be open and inspired by new ideas. A surprise phone call can put you back in touch with a friend you have not seen for a long time. Not a good day for starting up joint ventures. Tarot message: Do not be in the rush to spend extravagantly. Lucky colour: Silver-grey. Magic number: 54

SCORPIO: “The Priestess” infuses promise and commitment in personal relationship. Bring up the sensitive issues, which will encourage some open and revealing discussion. Today a long-cherished dream can come true. Tarot message: Spend time meeting people. Lucky colour: Crimson. Magic number: 37

SAGITTARIUS: “The prince of Wands” promises power and energy. Lots of secrets and undercover scenarios can make for an interesting day. Activities with your mate or partner are likely to be cheerful. Tarot message: You can make things happen. Lucky colour: Brown. Magic number: 56

CAPRICORN: “The Fool’ infuses you with courage. A neighbour has some gossip to divulge. Make sure you really want to hear secrets or rumours about someone. You find ways to express your creativity and emotion. Tarot message: Don’t try to end all the deadlocks at one go. Lucky colour: Ebony. Magic number: 25

AQUARIUS: ‘Ten of pentacles’ promises romance. Today you will be able to enjoy interaction with people who share your views and thoughts. Your ability to communicate effectively will help you enhance your reputation. Tarot message: Do not trivial problems haunt you. Lucky colour: Deep-red. Magic number: 28

PISCES: The karmic “Wheel of fortune” turns in your favour. Get a good night sleep and cancel a late night party. Today loved ones will be more demanding. Trust your institution. Beware of strangers in the evening. Tarot message: Capitalise on your strength and do not trust others. Lucky colour: Forest-green. Magic number: 32

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