What could Ajay Devgn be thinking? The man who can essay any role with Úlan — from an upright and intense policeman to a laidback comic character — is now going to play an angry pehelwan (wrestler) in Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan. Nothing wrong there. But it appears that the role of Akhaada King Pehelwan will require him to utter some pretty far-out dialogue as a man who has a penchant for speaking in English, but doesn’t know how. Devgn the pehelwan translates the Hindi proverb “Bagal mein chhora aur sheher mein dhindora” to “Boy under armpit and hypercity noise pollution!” Funny? Not unless you tickle that armpit.
Playing Indian ragas on the saxophone can be quite a challenge. But that’s what Andrew and Jonathan Kay, who hail from Toronto, did with great panache in Calcutta last week. The duo is following in the footsteps of jazz legend John Coltrane who was inspired by Indian classical music and trained under Pandit Ravi Shankar. Eager to continue Coltrane’s search for a “multicultural theory of musical transcendence”, Brothers Kay have been living in India for the past three years to learn Indian ragas. They admit that there were numerous challenges to blending ragas with their jazz performance. But last week’s performance of ragas Shree and Behaag on their saxophones proved that they know exactly how to match the East with the West.
Here’s one more foreign-desi actress who is hoping to make it big on Indian cinema. US-born Pooja Kumar, a former Miss India America, who has done a few American TV serials, plays Kamal Haasan’s wife in his forthcoming big-budget release Vishwaroopam. The film, promoted at the recent IIFA event in Singapore, has the disenchanted wife Nirupama, played by Pooja, hiring a detective in New Jersey, to get some negative information on her husband, kathak exponent Wiz. Well, this could certainly be Kumar’s lucky break. For her earlier forays into Tamil and Hindi (a bit role in Anjaana Anjaani) cinema were not much to write home about.
Shine ’’ glitter
Critics who lambasted Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for her ample post-pregnancy figure and wrote her off completely, take note. The actress has been signed on by the Kochi-based Kalyan Jewellers to be the company’s brand ambassador. The deal makes Rai richer by — hold your breath — Rs 20 crore. For the jewellery brand, the new mother’s girth is clearly a non-issue. “Her personality and life is the right balance of professional and personal success, international acceptance and family orientation,” the company managing director said. That’s all very well. But, er, isn’t this something of a comedown for the ex-Miss World and celluloid hot property Ms Rai Bachchan? We shall “weight” and watch.
Tagore in paint
What happens when you bring academics, poetry, prose and paint together? You get a colourful project called “Tagore Tells and the Patua Paints”. Conceived by former member of Parliament and academic Malini Bhattacharya and organised by Delhi-based Sahmat and the ministry of culture, the project celebrates the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore with 32 paintings created by patua artists from East and West Midnapore. A workshop held in May in Calcutta with the patuas was followed by an exhibition in Delhi. The 11 artists involved in the project — the youngest is 16, and the oldest, 60 — focused on some of Tagore’s popular children’s works, including Tota Kahini and Birpurush. “We work on subjects that affect us all, including the environment,” says artist Mairun. And with vibrant colours, they tell their stories.