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Screen On & Off

A Google search of the surname Lahiri brings with it 2,56,000 websites, starting with the most famous ' author Jhumpa ' and progressing to musician Bappi, with everything, from doctor and economist to professor and engineer, in between. Somewhere in there, the surname will pop up in connection with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Don't be surprised, the Oscar-winning actress is a Lahiri in her latest film.

No, she isn't playing a Bengali babe. The mother of two is Europol agent Isabel Lahiri in Ocean's Twelve. Sophisticated, accomplished and adept at solving thefts, the daughter of a dead thief is hot on the trail of Danny Ocean and his gang. 'Isabel is a very good detective, very focused on her job and being the best she can be,' Zeta-Jones is known to have said. 'She has studied the Vegas heist and has a personal connection to the Ocean's gang, which accelerates her desire to solve this case.'

The 'personal connection' is her past relationship with Rusty Ryan, played by Brad Pitt, and the two claimed to have had 'fun' during the filming, which stretched from Rome to Amsterdam, Sicily to Monte Carlo.

In the sequel, she is only the second woman in the predominantly male cast. While Julia Roberts had prior experience with the pranksters (in Ocean's Eleven), Zeta-Jones was thrown into the 'den of lions' from Day One. The biggest prankster, by common consent, was George Clooney.

In an interview, Pitt said: 'I think that the biggest joke was on Catherine because she actually thought that we were making a movie. Being the new kid no one told her. So she was up, learning lines and doing character breakdowns, and we just let her roll with it.' The response from the dark-haired Welsh woman was a laugh and 'I thought that the guys didn't like me'.

The film arrives in theatres this Friday. Don't miss the insider pokes ' Tess Ocean (Julia Roberts, who was pregnant during the shooting) 'disguises' herself as a pregnant Julia Roberts to steal a Faberge egg, when Bruce Willis, playing himself, recognises her and asks 'Where's Danny', referring to her real-life spouse.

There was some trouble between the two leading ladies, when Zeta-Jones' name appeared more prominently in the promotional posters. The Pretty Woman was reported to have been furious, but the fight fizzled out.

Aishwarya Rai, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali: As candid as it gets

Master and muse

Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino makes no bones about actress Uma Thurman being his muse. Back in Bollywood, the self-confessed 'socially phobic' Sanjay Leela Bhansali claims Aishwarya Rai as his muse. The movie-maker and the muse have a heart-to-heart on Koffee with Karan this week.

Catch the candid conversation between three of the most sought-after stars of Bollywood this Friday, at 10 pm on STAR World.

Host Karan Johar corners his guests into revealing secrets, even treading on forbidden territory. Aishwarya's relationships with Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi, what she has to say about Sushmita Sen, where her friendship with Vivek is headed, which film Aishwarya regrets having done...

Bhansali talks about who he thinks is the most over-rated actor, who he would choose between Rani Mukherjee and Aishwarya, and of course, his views on the former Miss World. 'I don't think other directors understand the aura of Aishwarya Rai' they don't understand her power, her beauty, her talent. In other films, she seems to be groping'

The guest with the more honest, frank and blunt replies will walk away with Karan's special hamper. Who will it be' The surprise element this week is a couple of questions about the guests posed to some celebrities, like the Big B, Shobhaa De, Sushmita Sen, Ektaa Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Hrithik Roshan, Fardeen Khan and Farha Khan. Some answers are serious, others cheeky. Watch to find out.

Predator prowl

A leopard mauls a four-year-old at night outside his house. A girl walking home from her friend's place is dragged away. An early morning jogger is attacked. It was not a forest or its fringes where this series of attacks took place. The suburbs of Mumbai ' Borivli, Mulund, Thane, Goregaon and Powai ' were under the shadow of four-legged fear in May-June this year, with about 20 people falling prey to teeth and claws.

Shot on location on the outskirts of Mumbai, Man-Eating Leopards of India tries to explore the reasons behind the increasing number of attacks on humans.

The show highlights how the branching out of the concrete jungle ' the construction activity on the boundary of the 103-sq km Sanjay Gandhi National Park ' has put enormous pressure on the natural habitat. It focuses on Junnar in Maharashtra where natural prey is vanishing due to dwindling forest land.

The show also discusses the problem of poaching and its direct effect on the number of leopards. Statistics reveal that today leopards are poached five times more than tigers. Tune in to Discovery Channel on December 11 at 8 pm for an extinction alarm bell on leopards.

Soumitra Chatterjee: Lonely times

Home truths

Separated by their children, a hapless Sudhamoy and Purnima watch their loving home crumble after years of nurture. The ageing couple clams up and craves for each other's company more than ever before. But things take a dramatic turn when their grandson weds Uma. Sensing their loneliness, the bubbly girl tries to build a bridge between the two lonely souls.

Watch veterans Soumitra Chatterjee and Supriya Devi deliver touching performances as the lonely twosome in Sukho Neer. The telefilm airs on Akash Bangla this Sunday at 7 pm.

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