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Song of woe

Sometimes, trouble brings friends out of the closet. Rahat Fateh Ali khan will know that. The Pakistani singer, accused of violating foreign currency norms while trying to leave India, has won the support of Bollywood. Don’t harass him, says director-composer Vishal Bhardwaj, for whom Khan sang Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji in Ishqiya. Singer Usha Uthup has added her voice to the cause, maintaining that he is a “good man” and wouldn’t have erred knowingly — something that singer Shaan endorses too. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s nephew should heave a sigh of relief. Hard currency, after all, melts before tender friends.

Camera calling

Rana Dasgupta is trigger happy — and in the nicest possible way. A photo exhibition, currently on in the capital, includes a clutch of photographs shot by the author of Tokyo Cancelled and Solo. The pictures, titled Carbon, were captured when the Commonwealth Prize winning author was researching for Solo in 2004-05. The photographs from the bylanes of Georgia highlight footprints left by people — graffiti on a dirty wall, smoke emanating from the city, a dilapidated car and so on. Dasgupta, so far hailed for the written word, shows a keen eye too. And that’s an aye for an eye.

Flying bat

Cricket’s in the air, and our own ace batsman Virender Sehwag is in the news. Not just for the ongoing World Cup matches, but for, hold your breath, shaking a leg. And he’s not doing a bad job of it, for his teacher is actor Ranbir Kapoor. Sehwag was rather shy to begin with, but then took over like a pro, say the publicists of the new cola commercial where the actor and cricketer tango. There’s not all. Sehwag has also joined hands with Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara to promote a campaign on HIV prevention in a programme jointly sponsored by the International Cricket Council and the United Nations. The show’s called Think Wise. And while you are at it, play wise, Viru!

Lear dear

It’s quite a fetching combination — a cross-over film focusing on the Indian diaspora in Britain with a Shakespearean subtext. And to top it, it features the mother-and-daughter pair, Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan, playing mother and daughter. That’s what London-based filmmaker Sangeeta Datta’s Life Goes On, to be released in India next month, is all about. “The film, inspired by the old tale of King Lear and his daughters, is trying to find meaning for Shakespeare’s King Lear in a contemporary multicultural British context,” says Datta. “The Iraq war, rising terrorism and global violence, and the resultant Islam phobia in the West have all led me to urgently tell a story of overcoming prejudice and fear,” she says. Fans of the Khan family — to say nothing of those who worship the Bard — are all ready for it.

Better than verse

One doesn’t quite think of Aamir Khan as a man who’d curl up in a shabby armchair with a good book of poetry on a rainy day. Just shows how wrong one can be. The actor-director appears to be so fond of rhymes that he is going to be present at a do to mark the launch of a poetry book — Impressions — written by the former deputy chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Najma Heptullah. That’s not all: Khan is also going to attend another function, to mark a book launched by the vice-president’s wife, Salma Ansari, who is president of the Al-Noor charitable society. BJP leader L.K. Advani will be present at the Heptullah function, while the Prime Minister’s wife, Gursharan Kaur, is expected to attend the one at the vice-president’s house. Aamir is out to make friends and influence people — on both sides of the fence.

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