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On song

Singer Mika Singh, who has sometimes been overshadowed by his more famous brother, bhangra pop sensation Daler Mehndi, knows how to get the audience going too. On Independence Day, Singh wowed a capacity crowd at the Sydney Olympic stadium in Australia by belting out his chartbusters like Dil mein baje guitar or Mauja hi mauja. The people who lined up to buy tickets for the show included Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and even Australians. Apparently, no Indian has ever attracted such crowds in Australia, except for the Indian cricket team! “It’s great to receive so much love from so many people and I was very touched to see them turn out in such large numbers,” gushed the singer. Take a bow, Mika.

New blood

Here’s a new kid on the Bollywood block to watch out for. Eighteen-year-old Nikhil, a topper from Barry John’s Acting Academy, which has churned out stars like Shah Rukh Khan and Manoj Vajpayee, will make his debut in Pinjra, a social thriller. Besides being an actor, Nikhil is apparently a passionate football player too and has played for his college team. In Pinjra, he essays the role of an 18-year-old underprivileged boy who is held guilty of a crime he has not committed. His co-stars will be Shernaz Patel and Vipin Sharma of Taare Zameen Par fame. Is the post Shah Rukh generation of stars (who are not star kids) finally here?

Khaki Khan

What’s with Salman Khan and khaki? The bad boy of Bollywood can’t seem to keep his well-toned body out of a copper’s uniform. His last hit Wanted had him flex his muscles in khaki. And he played a policeman in films like Garv and Auzaar as well. The story is no different in his latest film Dabangg, where he once again plays the righteous cop who fights the goons. One hears that Khan is fond of donning khaki because his grandfather was a top cop in Indore. Of course, the uncharitable could say that maybe this is his way of getting back at the lawkeepers who have taken him behind bars for sundry misdemeanours like rash driving or black buck shooting! Well, whatever it is, Khan and khaki sure look cool together.

Hot number

It’s a homecoming of sorts. Vidya Balan, the actress who was born in Kerala, is all set to appear in her first Malayalam film. The grapevine has it that she will star in Santosh Sivan’s latest venture Urumi. And believe it or not, Balan, who won a national award for her performance in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta, will also be doing an item number in this movie. Before you shriek in disbelief, let us clarify that this one’s not going to be the usual raunchy item number. Balan will be performing a traditional Mohiniattam dance — which, as any classical dance aficionado knows, has oodles of seductive appeal. No doubt Balan will pull that one off with her usual élan.

Mix ’’ match

Sarod strains that meld with Western classical music — that’s what Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Aman and Ayan Ali Bangash have done in their latest album Sarod Symphony. It’s a first of its kind fusion music with the sarod and, says the Ustad, “is a combined effort by me and my sons and a very talented young musician called Stephen Devassy.” The album, described as a neo-classical extravaganza, is an endeavour to reach out to the international market, says Khan. He remembers how his father and guru Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan underlined the importance of appreciating all forms of music: “One can become a complete musician only when one admires all the good points in other systems. The album is also a message of unity and love and respect for each other. We respect European classical music. We do not look down upon any genre.”

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