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|April 13, 2000||
Extreme measuresAll the junior stars of Mohabbatein -- Uday Chopra, Jimmy Shergil, Jugal Hansraj (who's trying-for-stardom-once-more), Preeti Jhangiani, Shamita Shetty (Shilpa Shetty's better-looking sister) -- must be feeling terribly claustrophobic. Ask why? Because they have been given strict instructions not to pose for photographs or give interviews by whizkid director Aditya Chopra who is launching all of them in this film which is now under production. It seems Aditya prefers keeping them under wraps first and then displaying them with a carefully planned-out media blitz. All that is fine, but the sad part is that even the social lives of these youngsters are being affected. Aditya, according to a close source, is said to have warned them from making appearances in discos, parties or other functions, lest they be photographed by some prying eyes. Whew! Can they breathe without Adi's permission?
Guddi to graceful grandma
Ramesh Talwar must be given credit where it's due. For having rediscovered an actress for theatre lovers. We are talking about none other than Jaya Bachchan. The guddi, who is now an indulgent grandmom, turned to the stage with Maa Retire Ho Rahi Hai. If she had the audience wiping tears with her performance in the play, be ready to have a napkin ready for the next, Dr Mukta, in which she plays the pivotal role. Once again directed by Talwar, the play had a dress rehearsal at the Iskon Hall before the troupe embarked on a world tour. The audience consisted mostly of Mrs Bachchan's invitees -- Mrs Krishna Kapoor, Mrs Rajendra Kumar, Mrs Tina Ambani, Mrs Yash Johar, Mrs Mukul Anand. The younger generation was represented by a trim and fit-looking Karan Johar -- fresh from his London sojourn where he has given the final touches to his script -- Rani Mukherjee, Sabina Khan and Rinke Khanna. Almost everyone was seen weeping into their tissues as the play progressed. And they walked out of the auditorium red-eyed, with nothing but praises and more praises for the lady. Hat's off to Jaya, for taking age in her stride with the right amount of dignity and grace.
After Ajay Devgan, it seems Akshay Kumar and Sunil Shetty have fallen for Mahima Chaudhary's charm. If sources are to be believed, then the two heroes have been recommending her, left right and centre. It is another matter that most of the time it doesn't work, considering they need recommendations themselves! But then, after bagging Khiladi 420, Mahima is said to have become a hot favourite of Akshay's. The actor's hold over Dharmesh Darshan is well known.And with Sunil, the other hero of the film, also recommending her, it is not surprising that Mahima bagged Dhadkan. Does that make Shilpa Shetty insecure?
The Esha factor
Hema Malini may have been taken in by Sridevi's sweet talk and charm about how Esha is like her daughter and that she would groom her. Yet, as we reported last week, the dream girl made her displeasure quite obvious when she realised that her daughter would be making her debut opposite stars like Aftab Shivdasani and Sanjay Kapoor. And now that Esha has been signed up for a film being produced by Pantaloon and directed by Arjun Sablok, opposite -- hold your breaths -- Hrithik Roshan, chances seem brighter that this would be Esha's first film. Boney Kapoor, on the other hand, is going ahead with his plans and would not even think of dropping Esha from his cast. 'May the best film make it to the winning post' is Boney's current axiom and motivation!
Star ya kalakaar?
Has stardom finally caught up with Manoj Bajpai? Well, he does seem to fancy the trappings that come with it. Otherwise one sees no reason for him being so disgruntled with Shyam Benegal. Today, Manoj may not exactly go on record about this, but his new-found success has given him the confidence to openly voice his displeasure about the way he was treated during the shooting of Zubeida. Apparently, Karisma Kapoor was pampered while stars like him were given second-class treatment. And to think that Manoj is considered to be above all such trivialities, one who is bothered only about the roles!
Sanjay Dutt is not the only one who benefitted from Vaastav. The film has also helped further the careers of the husband-wife pair of Mohnish Behl and Ektaa. Mohnish talks of how Ektaa bagged the film on her own merit, but the fact remains that it was he who had discreetly suggested her name to the director when he was casting for the film. And Mahesh Manjrekar, being a close friend, obliged. Now, it's true that Mohnish does not interfere, but his secretary does drop hints that Ektaaji is available and willing to work in films. And so when it comes to a role opposite Mohnish, who better than Ektaa, feel the directors. In the process, Ektaa has bagged two more films. Whether or not she would be willing to work without Mohnish, however, remains to be seen.
The latest on Lajja
Now that she is out of Lajja, Namrata Shirodkar would like everyone to believe that she opted out of the film because of date hassles. That Rajkumar Santoshi wanted over 25 days for a quick schedule, which she could not adjust and accommodate. All this is on record. But off record, there is no love lost between the two. Santoshi seems upset with her for not having joined the rest for the premieres and other promotions of Pukar. And so he does not want to work with such ungrateful people. Namrata, on the other hand, feels that even after allotting dates, the director might just waste them. And for this, Namrata cannot be blamed at all!
The Nagina story
Did you know that Jaya Prada was the first choice for Nagina? Director Harmesh Malhotra virtually pleaded with her because he felt she was the perfect choice for the role of a traditional Bharatiya nari, a loving wife, because that was the image she used to project then. But Jaya, who is petrified of snakes, refused to even listen to the subject as she did not want to come in such close contact with the creepy crawling serpents. Sridevi jumped at the idea and the rest is history. Nagina was one of the first films that catapulted Sridevi to the No1 slot. And she went from strength to strength after that.
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
-- The Insider
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