The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bold and beautiful

The Mumbai film industry seems to be churning out films dealing with lesbianism in quick succession. First it was Deepa Mehta’s Fire, starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. Later, a B-grade film hit the screens starring actresses like Amrita Arora and Isha Koppikar, to be followed by the C-grade Men Not Allowed, featuring Payal Rohatgi, which was released a while ago.

Probably these flicks made enough money to inspire director Raahul Kapur and writer-producer Yunus Sejawal (of Haseena Maan Jayegi and Jodi No 1 fame) to make another film based on lesbianism. The film called Love Guru is, incidentally, based on Osho Rajneesh’s book Sambhog Se Samadhi Tak.

Adlabs’ new tune

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises-controlled Adlabs Radio is gearing up to launch 8 FM radio stations before Diwali. Or so Reliance Entertainment president Rajesh Sawhney would have us believe. This, he promises, will be the first phase of the launch as Adlabs Radio has licences to set up 45 radio stations across the country. For these stations the company is also hiring in a big way.

“We need about 1,000 people which is more than the number of people in any radio company today,” says Sawhney, who has been accused of poaching from rival companies, especially, his former employer The Times group which runs Radio Mirchi and TV channel Times NOW. “It’s not fair to say we are poaching from other stations. It’s a free market in any case,” he says. Adlabs Radio has been hiring from FMCG companies, media houses and advertising agencies, claims Sawhney. “I have already recruited 350 people. In fact, it’s the others who are eyeing my staff,” he counters.

Age of Bachchan

Amitabh Bachchan is willing to experiment with the kind of roles he plays. Don’t be surprised then if he turns into a genie for a Sujoy Ghosh film soon. The fantasy film is expected to cost about Rs 20 crore.

The Big B will also feature in a film loosely titled Bhootnath. The movie is being produced by Ravi Chopra and directed by Vivek Sharma, one of Chopra’s associates. In the film Bachchan plays an important role and has a child and actress Juhi Chawla as his co-stars.

Reviving Sony

On September 7 a new dance competition show Jhalak Dikhhla Ja debuts on Sony Entertainment Television. With that, Sony is rolling out its new programming strategy piggybacking on the Champions’ Trophy that begins in the first week of October. Of course, the cricket matches will be on SET Max. Besides Jhalak…, it will also promote its new, yet unnamed soap during the matches. Immediately after the Champion’s Trophy, you will get to see Big Brother. The show typically confines about 12 contestants for about 15 weeks in a house. Every corner of the house has a video camera but the contestants have no link with the outside world. Voters gradually evict the contestants one by one as they are measured on the basis of the task assigned to them. “The idea is to put Sony back on the viewers’ minds,” says SET CEO Kunal Dasgupta. To offer a new crop of soaps, Sony has hired Sandip Sikand from television production house Balaji Telefilms.

We only hope we’ll not be made to revisit Ekta Kapoor serials on Sony as well.

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