William Dalrymple certainly knows how to multitask. Just when you thought that the popular author and historian would now be super busy as the co-director of the soon-to-be-held Jaipur Lit Fest, Dalrymple is out with his new book. Return of a King, published by Bloomsbury India, delves into the Anglo-Afghan war that led to one of the most humiliating defeats for the British in the 19th century. “I also have to educate my three kids. So I have to manage my time,” says Dalrymple. He went back to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries he covered as a journalist and travel writer long ago, to research his book. “I started working on this in 2008 and finally managed to write my most enjoyable book till date,” he adds. Undoubtedly, this will give a historical perspective to another war — initiated by the US — in Afghanistan in more recent times.
Ashwini Nachappa, the yesteryear sprinter, is afire with missionary zeal. She wants to clean the mess that has engulfed the Indian sports administration. After India’s suspension by the International Olympics Committee, Nachappa put up an online petition asking sports minister Jitendra Singh to de-recognise the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and hold fresh elections. Thousands of people have already signed the petition. Nachappa, who has been running a campaign called “Clean Sports India” for the last two years, feels that sportspersons, and not politicians, should run the IOA, as only they can keep sport free from personal agenda. Let’s hope Nachappa sprints home on this one.
Imagine Rajinikanth shooting three men with one bullet and flying six feet to kick a fourth. Now imagine him doing the same in three dimension. To mark his 62nd birthday on December 12, which also happens to be a date that occurs once in 100 years — the Tamil superstar’s 2007 film, Sivaji will be released in 3D. It will also be India’s first to use Dolby Atmos, a new audio platform that takes the sound and sensory experience to a more heightened level. Rajini’s fans — and there are legions of them — must be queuing up for tickets already.
They didn’t speak to each other for years. But evidently, Rekha and Shatrughan Sinha have kissed and made up. The veteran actors will share screen space in Sinha’s home production, Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai. The film, set to release next year, is based on Sinha’s play, Pati, Patni Aur Main. The movie features Sinha in a princely role, while Rekha would be seen in a “dynamic” role. We leave you to interpret what that is, but knowing Rekha, she wouldn’t settle for anything other than playing a strong character. Of course, this isn’t the first time that the two are acting together. Their last joint outing was Maati Maangey Khoon in 1984. That film died a quiet death. Let’s see if the mature Shatrughan Sinha and the still stunning Rekha can create celluloid magic this time.
It was a “you-gotta-be kidding-me moment” for 24-year-old architect-cum-singer Shaktishree Gopalan. No less a person than music maestro A.R. Rahman asked her to sing one of his compositions — and that too for director Mani Ratnam’s new film Kadhal. “I never saw this coming,” says a blissed-out Gopalan. The song required her to convey the “longing of a girl painfully in love” and she had to master the lyric in poetic, pure Tamil. Gopalan, who is a freelance architect based in Chennai, and part of a jazzy-pop band called Pyjama Conspiracy, is also thrilled that her title song for Jab Tak Hain Jaan has bagged good reviews all around. “The music scene has really opened up for independent musicians with platforms like MTV Unplugged and Coke Studio,” she says. Way to go, Gopalan!