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What’s in a name?

Director Kunal Kohli, we are told, was in a real state. The maker of such films as Fanaa, Hum Tum and Mujhse Dosti Karoge was faced with a peculiar problem — he couldn’t find a title for his new venture. The film, starring Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan, was ready and Kohli was still trying out to come up with an attractive enough name. The crew burnt the midnight oil and desperately racked their brains after Kunal announced that he would give a MacBook pro — a laptop — to anybody who’d come up with a nice name. “But finally the film got a title — it’s Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, says a source at Yash Raj Production. The film is going to be released on June 27, and Kohli is ecstatic. For him, it’s abracadabra time — with magic in the air.

Mumbai multiplex

This is an eleven-in-one dose of film-making. The movie Mumbai Cutting will pull down the curtains on the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles in LA today. It consists of 11 shorts made by the likes of Rituparno Ghosh, Sudhir Mishra, Jahnu Baruah, Revathy, Anurag Kashyap and Rahul Dholakia. The film — to be released in India in June — attempts at depicting the myriad experiences that layer Mumbai life. If Kashyap’s Pramod Bhai’s 23 deals with juvenile delinquency, Ghosh’s Urge dissects the allurements of the city. Mishra’s film, The Ball, is a mystery starring Soha Ali Khan. Maximum city gets a maximum shot of cinema.

Salman sally

If you thought multi-tasking was the buzzword merely for Gen-X, ask Salman Rushdie. The man who writes books and essays and thumbs his nose at fundamentalists is playing another role — literally. Rushdie, who played himself in Bridget Jones’s Diary, is now going to act in Helen Hunt’s directorial debut. The writer casually turned up for an audition one day, much to Hunt’s surprise. He was, the grapevine has it, better than everybody else who had lined up for the screen test, and Hunt was more than happy to offer him the role of a fertility doctor in her film. What next, Sir Salman? An item number?

Present please

She may have long lost her own voice in the melee that rages in tinsel town. But Mahima Chaudhry sure thinks she can still holler, especially if it’s for a cause. And that’s why the Pardes lady — along with other celebs such as Tanuja Chandra and singer Jasbeer Jassi — was in Delhi this week, sitting in with underprivileged children at a function held by the Global Campaign for Education, raising a yell for compulsory schooling for children. “Nobody should ignore the voice of these children,” she said in between being taught an elementary lesson or two by the children themselves. “If their voice goes unheard, I am willing to be their voice,” she added. Well, let’s hope people will strain their ears to hear her.

Song from the heart

People with a cause can always rely on Shubha Mudgal to give them a helping hand, or, rather, a helping voice. Those who lost their near and dear ones in an inferno that engulfed Delhi’s Uphaar cinema 10 years ago can always count on Mudgal to join them in times of trouble — and peace. The victims’ relatives have set up a group called Avut, or the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy. Almost six months after a Delhi court convicted the accused in the case, Avut has planned an evening in the memory of those killed in the fire. And, of course, how else will they mark an evening but with the strong voice of Mudgal? Mudgal will present Prathidwani — songs of resistance and protest — in Delhi on Sunday. No more such deaths, says the Avut campaign. Mudgal agrees — with a song.

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