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Romeo redux

It takes a man of strong character to assume the name “Romeo”. And expect people to take him seriously. Well, Bollywood’s one and only actor who goes by this singular moniker is undoubtedly made of stern stuff. When his debut film Kisaan sank without a trace last year, Romeo remained afloat — he founded the Designer Hippies, a one stop destination for music production and composition and also managed to bag a deal to remix the Mast mast nain track from the film Dabangg. That’s not all. The 29-year-old actor snagged a role in the same film. “Romeo had the right look and has done well in some very crucial action sequences,” says Arbaaz Khan, the producer of Dabangg. Sadly, the character Romeo plays is not that of a romantic hero in the throes of a doomed love, but that of an out and out baddie. It’s what we call Romeo reinvented.

Festive notes

Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya will be the inaugural performer at Singapore’s Kalaa Utsavam Festival, the largest music and dance festival in South Asia. The santoor maestro is looking forward to kicking off the festival, which is eagerly awaited by the Indian diaspora in Singapore this November. The music and dance extravaganza is organised during Deepavali, which is an important event in Singapore’s multi-ethnic festival calendar. Launched in 2002, Kalaa Utsavam has evolved into a 10-day cultural jamboree that presents an exciting selection of contemporary and traditional performances by acclaimed Indian artistes from Singapore and beyond. “It’s an honour to be a part of this festival,” says Bhattacharya.

Animal instinct

Anil Kumble certainly knows how to set a trend. After the former India captain adopted a king cobra at Bangalore zoo, several other cricketers and southern stars have followed his example. Pacers Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan are among those who have done their bit for animals. Srinath donated Rs 35,000 for the welfare of a pair of jaguar cubs he adopted. And visitors to the Mysore Zoo can now meet a new Sher Khan, for Zaheer Khan has just made the resident tiger a part of his family. Several southern stars, including Ramya, have also adopted elephants, wild dogs and cheetahs and donated handsomely towards their upkeep. Now that’s called true animal instinct.

Claws out

Looks like Bollywood breeds catfights. After the famous tussle between Bipasha Basu and Kareena Kapoor (who have since made nice, by the way), word is out that Life Express co-stars Divya Dutta and Rituparna Sengupta are nowhere near as buddy-buddy in real life as they are in the movie. Both seem to be going to great lengths to avoid each other. Dutta didn’t show up at a press conference in Pune (which Sengupta attended), while the latter was missing at the Mumbai music launch of Life Express, where, needless to say, her co-star appeared. Next up is a press conference in Delhi, and both stars have vowed to be present there. Will they go for each other’s throats? Let’s hope for the best.

Smelling blood

Vampires are clearly the flavour of the season. After the runaway success of the Twilight saga and the near cult status of Robert Pattinson, who plays the vampire hottie in the series, our home-grown stars are looking to sink their deadly fangs into a female or two. First off the block is Emraan Hashmi who plays a vampire in a song in his forthcoming film Crook. It happened like this. Apparently, director Mohit Suri wanted to shoot a fun song, but wasn’t getting it quite right. Meanwhile, Hashmi was horsing around with some costumes and vampire fangs. Suri thought Hashmi’s look was perfect for the song and, hey presto, the song was filmed with the actor in full on vampire gear. Hmm. Is that a prelude to a Hindi remake of the Twilight saga coming our way? Watch this space.

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