Move over Aamir Khan and Satyamev Jayate. Tim Sebastian, the award-winning British television journalist best known for having hosted the BBC’s international interview programme Hardtalk for many years, is now going to present a show in India called The Outsider on Bloomberg TV. The series will feature debates on some of the major social, political and economic issues affecting the country. Known for his incisive and hard-hitting style of interviewing, Sebastian will examine such hot button issues as education, corruption, dynastic politics and so on. Let’s hope the strident inquisitors of Indian television talk shows pick up a thing or two from Sebastian’s politely biting style.
Vijay Prakash, one of the four Indian singers credited with singing Slumdog Millionaire’s smash hit number Jai ho, has a new feather in his cap. He has kicked off Season 2 of MTV’s Coke Studio by collaborating with music producers Clinton Cerejo and Hitesh Sonik. “I come from a classical background and have worked with composers such as A.R. Rahman, Illayaraja and Ustad Zakhir Hussain,” says Prakash, who also sings in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. “I wanted to try something new for Coke Studio. Both Clinton and Hitesh gave me beautiful compositions to sing in my individual style.” Prakash, whose hit Bollywood numbers include Manmohini (Yuvraaj) and Beera beera (Raavan), is obviously not afraid to experiment. Jai ho, shall we say?
The Maoists may be giving grief to the Indian government. But for a raft of filmmakers, they are an unending source of movie material. After Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, Anant Mahadevan’s Red Alert and Ram Gopal Verma’s Rakta Charitra, the latest to jump on to the Naxalite bandwagon is Manish Manikpuri. The debutant director’s film Aalaap is based in Chhattisgarh — an area he knows well as he grew up in Bhilai. Manikpuri says that the film will reflect the ground realities in Chattisgarh, and goes so far as to add that he has a few solutions to the problem of Naxalism. P. Chidambaram, are you listening?
Looks like actress Aditi Rao Hydari is keen to twin her acting career with one in singing. The comely Hydari, who debuted in the Tamil film Sringaram, and then did supporting roles in Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s Delhi 6, and Sudhir Mishra’s Yeh Saali Zindagi, will now lend her voice to the Ice Age theme song We are family in the dubbed version of Ice Age 4. “I will be singing in Hindi and feature in a special music video as well,” she says. Hydari, who is also a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, is clearly creating a new role for herself.
Pakistani actress Veena Malik has a way of landing up at the centre of some controversy or the other. No, she hasn’t posed nude like she did once. But that hasn’t stopped Pramod Mutalik, anti- Valentine’s day warrior and president of a fringe Hindu group called Sri Ram Sene, from heaping opprobrium on her. It appears that the Mangalore-based Mutalik is outraged that Malik has been cast as the lead actress in the Kannada film Dirty Picture: Silk Sakkath Maga — a remake of Ekta Kapoor’s film. Mutalik’s chief objection to her is that she is a Pakistani. “Why could the director not find any good looking actress among the 60 crore women of India,” he asks. Take that as a compliment, Veena.