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Keys for cause

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. No, we are not talking about sex appeal, but a word called commitment. Some of Mumbai’s singing stars have agreed to join a project launched by the United Nations on its millennium goals — a global initiative that seeks to cut poverty and related ills. The project — still being finalised — is going to lead to a music album that will have some of the top singers lending their voice to the cause. The album, a compilation of duets, will feature songs especially written for the UN. Last heard, two of Mumbai’s singers — Kailash Kher and Vasundhara Das — had agreed to endorse the UN’s goals. If all goes according to schedule, poverty will get a voice.

Tea time tale

Manu Rawal is kicked. His film Chai Pani etc — screened some three years ago — got rave reviews but failed to make a mark in India. But the comic take on Indian bureaucracy, starring Konkona Sen in a double role, is still going places. It was screened at the recently concluded 34th International Independent Film Festival in Brussels, where it won a special Jury award. “It feels great. Despite the fact that it is nearly three years old, they liked it enough to select it out of the 400 films that were submitted to them,” says Rewal, who has produced and directed several award winning documentaries. Rewal, meanwhile, is ready with his next script. “It’s a European-Indian romantic comedy. I will soon start looking for potential co-production partners in India and in a European country,” he says.

Bhatt me no Bhatt

Pooja Bhatt has a few things to say — but this time the message is not going to be on the big screen. Her medium for the time being is a book. She has been approached by a leading publishing house to write a book on her perception of cinema. And Bhatt, who has been writing regularly for a Mumbai tabloid from her retreat at Kalote in rural Maharashtra, apparently took up the offer after consulting her film-maker father, Mahesh Bhatt. Father Bhatt may have a quote for every occasion, but it would be nice to see what daughter Bhatt has to say about her chosen profession. “She’s got the pen-chant,” says a Mumbai music video director, punning wildly. We’ll know, sooner or later.

Run John run

You’d think he doesn’t need to go on a fitness drive anymore, bulging as he is with biceps and triceps. But John Abraham can’t have enough of fitness — and can’t seem to stop sending out those public awareness messages that gladden the health lobby. The brawny Bollywood hero, after playing the role of a nicotine-craving chain smoker speeding down the highway of doom in Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking, has now signed up as the face of the Mumbai Marathon 2008, scheduled to be held in January. And he’s not stopping at that — the easy rider has also got himself chosen as a brand ambassador for the English Premier League, and is reportedly thrilled to be associated with a game he has played since childhood. And all this when memories of a leaf-clad John endorsing vegetarianism are still fresh in most minds. Way to go!

Close of play

He went to the Caribbean in March and April this year to cover India’s campaign in the ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup. But when the Men in Blue crashed out of the tournament with a whimper along with arch rivals Pakistan, cricket scholar Boria Majumdar went beyond his brief to look into the darker side of the game, where — in stark contrast to the million-dollar business deals that were being sealed in boardrooms — he saw players losing their daytime jobs for representing their countries. He heard, he saw, and he wrote. And his findings — in the form of a paperback titled Corridors of Uncertainty: World Cup 2007 and Beyond — are now for all to savour. “The book is my personal take on where cricket seems to be headed in the age of globalisation,” says Majumdar. “The future looks excellent from over the surface, but is it really all that bright,” he asks. Read, and you shall know.

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