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Dare girl from Gariahat
Screen On & Off
Double identity: Antara

She's Antara to folks at home in Calcutta, but Mumbai knows her as Monalisa. Since the name change ' thanks to astrology, she says ' her fortunes have turned and the Bengali babe has made it big in Bollywood's B-grade movies.

Case in point is Bobby, that had a recent one-week run at Purna cinema in Bhowanipore. After some item numbers and bit roles in a string of Hindi projects ' Ab Bas, Tauba Tauba, Jalwa and the Ajay Devgan-starrer Blackmail ' Monalisa has finally bagged the 'title role' in this sleaze film.

And there's more on her platter ' Love Guru, B. Subhash's Divine Love and Meri Life Mein Uski Wife by Partho Ghosh, who had directed Agnisakshi.

'I am not targeting these films but this is what I am being offered. It's not easy to get big banners. The money I am getting is good and I have established myself in the past one year,' says Monalisa, who refers to the sleaze flicks as 'low-budget films'.

So what's the story of Bobby' 'I play a girl who loves a man who is actually a pimp. The guy falls for her too and they run away and get married. But people in the flesh-trade racket hunt them down. They kill the guy and force the girl into prostitution. Then she runs into another man who finally saves her' But there isn't much exposure in these films. The posters are made more raunchy to attract attention,' stresses Monalisa, comfortable with the kind of skin show she is being asked to do.

The girl from Gariahat studied in Julien Day School and did her BA from Ashutosh College before starting out a few years ago as a small-time TV actress and model. 'I did video albums in Oriya which got me some films there. I have also done Kannada films. And in the only Bengali film I did, Adhikar, my role was very small,' she tells Metro from the sets of a film in Orissa.

Though her list of TV serials was quite impressive ' it included Kabe Je Kothay and Ei To Jiban ' Monalisa decided to try her luck by the Arabian Sea.

But wouldn't Bengali TV serials have earned her considerable name and fame to lead a cushioned life' Monalisa does not think so. 'I couldn't be happy here moneywise. I am satisfied with the way my career has shaped up in Mumbai and my family is very supportive. I now have a flat and two cars,' she says.

But will she be interested in doing good roles with a pay cut in Bengal' 'Oh yes, why not' After all, acting is the main thing.'

Oh, really'

Bachchan bash

Even as Amitabh Bachchan recuperates at Lilavati Hospital, here's your chance to salute three generations of the Bachchan dynasty. The trio ' Harivansh Rai, Amitabh and Abhishek ' takes over Sahara One Television this weekend.

First up, on Saturday, 8.30 pm, catch Big B recount the era bygone by reciting some of his late father's poetry at an evening devoted to verses titled Shaam-E-Bachchan.

On, Sunday, catch the double small-screen premiere of Ram Gopal Varma's Sarkar, featuring both Amitabh and Abhishek. The take-off on Godfather will first be telecast at 12 noon and again in the evening at 7.30 pm.

Trinity triumph: Karunya, Sagar and Ravi

Top three

Two of the judges ' Sonu Nigam and Farah Khan ' had wished that NC Karunya, Sagar Arun Sawarkar and Kshitij Wagh would make it to the next Gala round. But the public had other ideas for the piano round finalists. Ravi Tripathi, whom Sonu found below par, edged past Kshitij, thanks to the audience favour for the Mumbai man.

The excitement around Indian Idol 2 has already picked up as new characters like Sagar, Karunya and Ravi are creating an impression on the audience.

Sagar is a mass media student from Mumbai, who has been learning classical music for the past 10 years. What's more, he was amongst the top 50 contestants in Idol 1 but had to withdraw due to his father's ill health. Ravi Tripathi, on the other hand, came to Mumbai from Lucknow to become a singer. For the past five years he has been staying with Suresh Wadkar at his gurukul and training under him. Finally, Hyderabad-based Karunya is a third-year student of B.Tech and a trained Carnatic musician and Kuchipudi dancer.

Will one of these three talents be our next Indian Idol'

Friends first

It had to happen ' some December Bollywood biggie had to give in to the avalanche of releases and postpone its arrival. And the casualty has been the Amitabh Bachchan-Akshay Kumar-starrer, Rajkumar Santoshi's Family: Ties of Blood. To come some time in January now, the film was mainly delayed because of another Akshay release on December 23, Dosti: Friends Forever.

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