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The Telegraph Online   |   Published 19.11.04, 12:00 AM

Oh Maa of the Week

With sexplosion on the big screen most of the girls are cool with the bare-dare act, just to be there. But here?s one girl who?s extra cautious. Sandali Sinha doesn?t want the producers or the directors to get even the slightest hint that she too is sexy and happening. The Tum Bin girl, after Pinjar and now Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyo is deadly wary of the sex symbol stamp. Lately, she?s been hiding all her photographs that even remotely show her little finger. Okay, that?s slightly exaggerated, but, you know...


Bipasha Basu

Suddenly, Bipasha is finding herself in great demand. Two filmmakers are fighting over the Bengali bomb, for her dates. While Kamalahasan wants Bips for the lead in his Mumbai Express, produced by Bharat Shah, Kalaipuli S. Thanu wants to cast her opposite the young superstar Vijay in Sachin. Seeing such a flutter, Bips did the obvious. When Kamal met Bips she promptly pulled out the pin on the grenade and demanded Rs 75 lakh while normally she charges around Rs 25-35 lakh (as if that isn?t enough for a row of flops). This rise in demand is not really because Bips is looking svelte and sexy once again, either. Actually, Bips was keen on reaping the benefits from this high-profile directorial tussle that ensued between two, one-time close friends, Thanu and Kamal. When Aalavanthan bombed miserably at the BO, Thanu had blamed it on the star, Kamal, for his interference. Thanu later took revenge on Kamal by signing his estranged wife Sarika for an ?item number? in one of his films. And once more Thanu is out to hammer at Kamal by offering Bips Rs 50 lakh for his film, which is anyway more than what she gets in Bollywood. Smart gal, Bips, we tell you!


Before this Diwali got over, Kareena could settle the score with Amisha for calling her a prostitute. A much written-about cat fight between the two that started from the time when Kareena was replaced by Amisha in Kaho Na..Pyaar Hai and then Amisha losing the role in Chameli to Kareena, and her subsequent statement about Kareena fitting the role best had Kareena fuming. They have recently returned from the Hrithik Roshan show in Hong Kong and speculations are on as to why Amisha was absent from the fanfare. A visibly upset Rakesh Nath, Amisha?s business manager, said, ?Amisha had agreed to be a part of the team on Akshaye Khanna?s request. But Bunty Behl, who has organised the show, told me Kareena had been roped in and had asked Amisha to be dropped. Though Kareena denies her involvement, the meethi chhuri has a way of working. She insisted, ?I had nothing to do with the organiser?s decision. She is a nice girl.? Yeah! Right. But listen to this exit line, ?I just told them I am very hurt that she called me a prostitute in print. You decide what you have to do. Why should I interfere in their decisions??


It’s confirmed. Rani Mukherjee is doing Karan Johar’s next, and never mind if she had to lose the chance to go international with Mira Nair. Pooh-poohing the rumour that she turned down Mira Nair’s prestigious The Namesake because of (a) a nude scene, (b) remuneration disagreement, and (c) an abbreviated role vis-à-vis Abhishek’s, Rani replies, “Wrong. There’s no nude scene in the film at all. Remuneration was no issue. As for my role being less pivotal than the male protagonist’s, the script is quite different from the book and it’s now a mother-daughter story with me playing the mother. No. The only reason I said ‘no’ to such a beautiful film was dates. I’m committed to do Karan Johar’s film during the time when Mira wanted me. Karan is a very dear friend. He gave me the one break (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) which turned my career around. I can’t let down people who have been so important to my career for a film abroad, no matter how prestigious.” Fundas in place, Rani marches on. 2004 belongs to Rani. Why has she chosen to remain silent even after Kunal Kohli’s Hum Tum became the biggest hit of the year? “What was there to say? It’d look like I was praising myself if I went on and on about myself. Better to keep silent until you’ve something worthwhile to say.” But now she does have things to say. After her star-turn as the Pakistani activist-lawyer in Yash Chopra’s Veer-Zaara, the buzz for Rani has climbed to a crescendo. And to think that the role had originally been written for a man! Aditya Chopra converted the lawyer’s gender for Rani’s sake. “Yes. It was written for a man. But I’m glad it was changed. So many ideas on women’s empowerment, female literacy and the Indo-Pak relations came into the picture with me. Aren’t I lucky?” she laughs.

Rani has plenty to be pleased about. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black, for one, which opens January-end. “Ah, now that’s something I can go on and on talking about, though I don’t know how much I can say. What I must state is that Black opened up an entirely new world for me, the world of the physically challenged. Through Black, I was actually able to see how such people feel, think, suffer as they try to connect with the outside world. Black has changed me as a human being and an actress. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a very, very special creator.” Does this change mean that she’s no longer interested in playing conventional leading ladies? Rani is wary of being branded unorthodox. “Why do you say that? True, I don’t have a conventional leading man in Veer -Zaara or Black. But what about Hum Tum, which was a man-woman story, but with a difference. And in Ketan Desai’s The Rising, I’m very much the conventional leading lady. I even perform a mujra. In Ravi Chopra’s Babul again, I’m paired opposite Salman though a lot of my interaction is with Amitji. And what about Shaad Ali’s Bunty Aur Babli? I’m having a ball being Babli. That’s me!”

Besides Karan’s next directorial venture, Rani has also been pencilled in to play the lead in Shah Rukh Khan’s production to be directed by Amol Palekar. “Is my career rocking? I don’t know. But I am,” she laughs her throaty laughter.


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