The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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With malice for none

In the 90-odd years that he has left behind him, Khushwant Singh has perhaps said a lot more than he had to, or wanted to, about the city he has come to call his own ' Delhi. He has viewed it, reviewed it, dedicated an entire novel to its unique ways and, recently, even gone to the extent of calling it unliveable.

But despite his collision of love and hatred ' or his age, for that matter ' it seems like the Sardar simply can’t stop talking about the city of whisky... er... djinns. Which is why he is slated to deliver the first of a series of lectures at the India International Centre in New Delhi, dedicated to its history, architecture, culture and environment.

Singh’s lecture, scheduled for August 1, is titled My Father, the Builder, and is a take on the city’s architecture, a considerable chunk of which was contracted by Sir Sobha Singh, the writer’s father and a well-known builder in the early 20th century. This one, we hope, would be less steeped in malice, for a change.

In tune with success

Singer Abhijit is over the moon after the recent release of his album Lamhe. “This has been one of my best efforts,” he says. He has reason to gush ' the album has hit the top of the charts. “The success of the album has been gratifying since I experimented with a Prabhati Mukherji rendition of an Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan song, Yad Piya Ki Aye. It feels good if an experiment clicks,” he says. Watch out for more 'for Abhijhit is looking forward to doing some more experiments in the coming days. Was it Newton who said what clicks once may click again'

Luscious Latino

There are some people who have the world at their feet, and some who have Miss Universe at theirs. Sadly for the Puerto Rican beauty who won the title recently, the image of her being crowned was overtaken by that of her fainting on stage, apparently from exhaustion. But the lady is now up with a bang ' and all set to visit India.

eyka Rivera Mendoza will start an 18-day, 12-city tour in October to spread a message on HIV/AIDS. The project, in collaboration with New York-based India-born fashion designer Sanjana Jon, may also feature macho-man Salman Khan.

The organisers are, however, keeping their fingers crossed. While they expect members of the crowd to swoon at the sight of the luscious Latina, they certainly don’t want the lady to collapse into an untidy heap, whatever the cause ' exhaustion, the heat, or Salman Khan.

In search of a new role

Ritwik Ghatak may not have quite imagined Smriti Irani as the middle-class protagonist Nita for his classic film Meghe Dhaka Tara. But the lady sure thinks differently. For, 46 years after the movie was made, India’s most popular tele-bahu is all set to don the mantle of Uma in a Hindi television series loosely based on the Ghatak classic. Uma, like Nita, is a working class girl taunted by people who think she should have long been married. The good news is that Irani will be playing her age in the series. From a 70-year-old Ba to a marriageable Uma ' this will be one generation leap backwards for the Kyunki star.

Ghai, the teacher

It’s payback time for filmmaker Subhash Ghai. And for that, he has, of late, undergone a metamorphosis ' from director to teacher. Ghai took his first class on July 18 at the Whistling Woods International (WWI), a film institute set up by his company, Mukta Arts Ltd, in the heart of the Goregaon Film City. Ghai patiently took questions from an enthusiastic first batch of aspiring filmmakers, editors, script writers and actors. When a student asked for Shah Rukh Khan’s cell number, Ghai’s response was in keeping with the dialogue in his films: “Shah Rukh is past, you are tomorrow’s Shah Rukh ' so concentrate on working towards it.”

WWI boasts of a faculty that includes Shyam Benegal (chairman, academic council) and Naseeruddin Shah (head of acting). At the inauguration by Dilip Kumar, flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia’s musical presentation justified the institute’s nomenclature. Soon, Ghai is going to go whistling all the way to the bank.

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