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PEOPLE

Ask Dia Mirza about the importance of grooming this fashion season (she went onto the ramp killingly, too). Pat came her reply ' the glam gals of today must pay max attention to grooming. According to her, “If you see some of them in real life they look like they haven’t even had a bath.” Eeks! Sooo sorry! That was Dia biting her tongue about such a stinky line!

Mallika makes music

This is news! Mallika Sherawat was reluctant to do Mukta Arts’ Shaadi Se Pehle. Why' She was hesitant to play second fiddle to Ayesha Takia after having got so much international attention that even eluded Ash to a point. She had to be talked into accepting the film by director Satish Kaushik and her secretary Kalim. Well, why not. Mallika is getting all the attention ' national and international. She is even having a song composed on her: Sandeep Chowta is releasing a song titled Mallika I hate you. According to Sandeep the most desirous women are always the most inaccessible ones and Mallika represents all those femme fatales. He is releasing this as a single and not as part of any album. Sonu Kakkad joins Sandeep Chowta with the vocals and the song is written by Vipin Kakkad. But Sandeep pleads since he doesn’t know Mallika personally it could be about any girl. Oh, please, Sandeep! Down, boy, down!

Question of adjustment, no'

As we had guessed, it is none other than Priyanka Chopra who’s stepping in to fill the void created by Kareena. The launch pad for Harry Baweja’s son Harman, Love Story 2050, finally has Priye Chops in it. Priye says that the role is something to die for and doesn’t mind the adjustments since it’s also about a friend’s career. “It’s a fantastic role. I get to go into two different dimensions in the same film. It’s a fantastic script'and they are paying me my price. I see no reason why I shouldn’t do a bit of date adjustment for a project that seems to have only pluses on its side,” reasons Chopsie baby. But is it just friendship or kya yehi pyaar hai and all that'But who knows, a buzz about some scene with director Rohan Sippy is in the air, too! Rohan is said to have brought Chopsie baby a solitaire ring as a gift. And she, like a true lady love, gave a special appearance in his latest release, Taxi No. 9211. Only pluses, again'

SPOTLIGHT

‘For my female audiences, I’ll wear a really flimsy dhoti’

He’s the uncrowned emperor of Bhojpuri cinema. Right now he’s shooting a remake of Mahesh Bhatt’s Naam. “It’s entitled Purab Aur Paschim and has Suman Ranganath with me. The director is Jai Prakash who did Manisha Koirala’s best film Market,” the Bhojpuri superstar deadpans. It doesn’t really matter who directs Ravi Kishan. And he has just shot with Amitabh Bachchan for Deepal Sawant’s Ganga. “It was an unreal experience. He works so hard. When people call me the Amitabh Bachchan of Bhojpuri cinema, I feel my chest swell in pride.”

In the era of remakes when other filmmakers are redoing Don, Sholay and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Ravi Kishan now plans to redo Goutam Ghose’s offbeat 1984 film, Paar. Says Ravi, “I’m going to produce this film purely aiming at the National Awards. You see, my name had been sent for the National Award for best supporting actor in Tere Naam. I missed getting it. This year for the Bhojpuri popular awards, Dilip Kumar Saab gave me the best actor award. That whetted my appetite. I’m going to get fully into the role of the low-class pig-tender in Paar, cut my hair, wallow in mud, just like Naseerbhai'. For my female audiences, I’ll wear a really flimsy dhoti and remain bare-bodied and wet throughout.”

Doing away with his hit heroine, Nagma, Ravi will sign Konkona Sensharma for Shabana Azmi’s role in Paar. “I’ll be shooting my Paar in June-July. Amol Shetge, who has directed me in Ravi Kissen ' where I play the double role of Ravi and Kissen ' will direct Paar.”

Is he flattered to have a film named after him' “It makes me happy, but it reminds me of my responsibility. I had reached rock-bottom in my film career. People said I should pack up and return to Jaunpur,” says Ravi Kishan Sukla, to give him his full name.“My first film was Udhar Ki Zindagi with Kajol in 1990'and my last appearance was as the priest in the Salman starrer, Tere Naam. I must’ve done 25 odd films and TV serials like Hello Inspector and Hawaayein. This was when I was almost jobless. Then Bhojpuri cinema happened in my life.”

In his career of four years in Bhojpuri cinema Ravi Kishan has done 17 films. “I may not be modest. But let me be honest. I was the only one who believed there was hope for the Bhojpuri film industry. I worked really hard in every department, sitting on scripts, music sittings, casting, etc. My logic was simple: if pizzas and burgers could be packaged as Indian cinema, why not mother’s milk' We worked really hard, used all my contacts in Bollywood, convinced them to work at a discount,” says the hero from Jaunpur in UP.

“It wasn’t easy. But it happened. Gradually Nagma came into the picture. Our first film Panditji Batayeen Na Biyah Kab Hoyee became a major hit. The song Lenga uthai remote se'was a rage.” He blushes. “In Bhojpuri cinema we can’t show cleavages and smooches. But we can play with words. Middle-class women in Bihar and UP love me and my antics. They find me very hot'tall, dark and handsome. My wife does get insecure. But she now understands that I’ve no appetite for the naughty stuff. I love cinema like a mad man.”

So how does this 34-year-old actor with three kids cope with Bhojpuri-speaking women propositioning him' “Firmly, respectfully and with no hard feelings.”

Ravi sobers down. “The credit must go to Mohanji Prasad, the godfather of Bhojpuri cinema. When I was at my lowest ebb in Hindi cinema he offered me a film called Saiyyan Hamaar. To everyone’s surprise it became a silver jubilee hit. Six months after its release I had no work. And then the offers started pouring in. All my Bhojpuri films were hits'But I’ve seen the darkest of days. I can take this success in my stride. Now all my dreams are coming true. I’ve just worked with the god of acting, Amitabh Bachchan. I’m working with another god, Dilip Kumar Saab, as scriptwriter and Saira Banu as producer in Ab To Banja Sajana Hamaar. We’ve just completed the script.”

He feels too many of his Bhojpuri films are being released one after another. “I want the flow to slow down. But the distributors don’t want to listen to me. It’s so stupid. The Bhojpuri film industry isn’t going away anywhere.” Ravi shoots five scenes a day, and has 12 films on hand. “We shoot generally in Bihar and UP. But now with the industry doing well we’ve started shooting abroad. We shot a film produced by Udit Narayan’s in Mauritius. Then we shot in Britain. I did a Bhojpuri film with a British costar. Purab Aur Pachchin will be shot in Portugal. We now have Bhojpuri films going to 54 countries 'including the West Indies, Surinam, Fiji. Only one of my films, Gangaji San Pawan Pritiya Hamaar, about widowhood wasn’t a hit. It was experimental. I guess one needs to do something different once in a while, like Paar.”

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