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Heyy Babyy

Aishwarya Rai has been ousted. Not by some other pouty star but by a woman who delivers. The Oprah Winfrey Show which featured Bollywood’s first lovely is all set to play host to another Indian woman. This time the guest is a big name in the booming baby business. Nayna Patel, India’s champion of surrogacy, will appear in the Oprah show on October 2. Patel ranks only next to Amul in putting Anand on the map — she is based in the Gujarat town to which people flock for surrogate mothers. This weekend saw her doing the heats, and being interviewed by a representative of Oprah’s Chicago-based company. Also going live on the show will be Patel’s American patient who had a baby through a surrogate mother at her clinic. Clearly, babies are big business. And Oprah — the richest women in showbiz — knows what businesses are all about.

Sex factor

Remember the furore that the Malayalam book Autobiography of a Sex Worker kicked up in Kerala two years ago' Well, the book — authored by Nalini Jameela — has just been released by Westland Books in English. The original went into six editions in 100 days, selling about 13,000 copies. Some of her readers thought it was an essay in courage, some others — including one noted writer of Kerala — thought it was an act of obscenity. But Jameela is not out for compassion and pity. Sex workers, she stresses, are better off than many others. “We don’t have to cook for a husband; we don’t have to wash his dirty clothes; we don’t have to ask for his permission to raise our kids as we deem fit; we also don’t have to run after him claiming rights to his property,” she says. Watch out for some fireworks.

Inner secrets

Attention spans, we are told, are getting shorter and shorter. And our heroes and heroines seem to be endorsing just that. Who has the time for a two-hour-long film when you can get everything that you want — money, eyeballs and a platform for histrionics — in a shot that runs for a few seconds' Feature films can wait, our top stars have to first work on their commercials. So we have Abhishek Bachchan endorsing a brand of denim jeans, and Lara Dutta and Bobby Deol all set to prance around in the products of a prominent apparel brand. That’s not all. Honey-eyed Hrithik Roshan is going to appear in a popular brand of underwear. Ads, our stars believe, are fun. And the best thing about them is that they never get panned by critics.

All het up

Udita Goswami, the glam girl of the new release Aggar, just can’t understand why producers only approach her with what she calls “hot and sexy” roles. The starlet rues that wherever she goes people see her as the girl from Paap, Zeher or Aksar— films that fall in the “hot and sexy” category. But she is keeping her fingers crossed that with Aggar a new facet of her acting abilities will be revealed. In the film, Goswami plays the role of a woman who has an extra-marital affair with an obsessive psychopath. Goswami says she accepted the role because she was enthused by its thrill factor. The film, she says, has one surprise after another. The biggest surprise, of course, will be if the lady, in spite of her complaints about being typecast, ends up not looking hot and sexy.

Gay lights

Goan fashion designer Wendell Rodricks has got caught in a war of words in cyberspace. Rodricks has been open about his gay status and chides those who have a problem with it. “It took a lot of courage but it is well worth it. I could have married for ‘society’s sake’ and led a fake life. But how could I do that and ruin an innocent girl’s life for my own selfish reasons and for society' Better to face the demon in the mirror and live with my fault (if I can call it that),” Wendell says on the public forum goanet.org, a mailing list that reaches a few thousand people, mainly Goans. Not everybody, however, sees it in that light. Reactions to his comments are coming in thick and fast. Some have accused the designer of wallowing in self pity. But the designer, once found inside many a prominent closet, is out of it. And more power to him!

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