What men want

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 5.08.04

Want to know what women want? Ask Mel Gibson. Want to know what men want in women? Ask Kaushik Ganguly.

The one-film-old director has a well-concealed surprise up his sleeve — his second feature, Shunyo e Buke (also titled Empty Canvas), is a bold statement on male sexual fantasy. What men desire in women and how they react when their expectations are not met is what the film is all about. The film-maker has studiously kept things under wraps since March when he finished shooting with Kaushik Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Churni Ganguly, with Rupa Ganguly in “a small but vital” role.

“The film is viewed through the eyes of the artist and the psychological turmoil that follows when the ideal jars with the real,” says Kaushik Ganguly, who camped in Khajuraho in near-freezing climes this January to can the opening sequence. Four friends, all art college students, are on a trip to the historic temples. Here, Kaushik Sen meets his “ideal woman” Churni (picture above) and marries her, only to find her falling short of his fantasies on their wedding night.

“I have focused on what happens when physical deficiencies assume tremendous proportions for an artist who is used to painting the perfect female body, and how the person at the receiving end tries to grapple with the crisis,” says Kaushik Ganguly.

So, will the Bengali big screen be all steamed up this winter? “The film has been treated classically, though there was enough scope for sensation. It’s something a family can watch together without being embarrassed,” promises the director.

His protagonist was careful about walking the thin line between obsession and obscenity. “My obsession with beauty crushes my identity as a human being and a husband. And I end up hurting the person I love most,” explains Kaushik Sen, whose friendship with Tota floats on an undercurrent of competition. “I need to possess the woman he loves to prove that I am a step ahead,” says Tota.

And the woman at the centre of it all? “She has to face that which is implicit in most men. But she chooses to disregard them and live life on her own terms,” says Churni.

The subject is meant for a mature audience, but the treatment has been tasteful, stresses the director’s leading lady, on and off-screen.


Show time over for Shilpa

Remember how you queued up to watch that one item number in Shool? Not just UP and Bihar, Shilpa Shetty’s pelvic gyrations have helped her ‘loot’ the box-office in Bengal, too.

And while it is Salman’s presence which made Garv work at the box-office, the Shilpa fans were there in full flow to feast on the good times while they last. For if the actress is to be believed, the good times could go kaput before you can say Jannat (her name in Garv, for those out of the loop).

“It is just for them that I did the role in Garv,” says the actress. “I always knew that my role as a bar dancer was not substantial enough but there are so many of my fans who want to see me doing those item numbers.”

But now, the hips swinging east to west may be history (read: for a while) and the belly button may be barred from view forever (read: 2004). The actress who underwent a complete makeover, thanks to Manish Malhotra, in Dhadkan is about to embark on Mission Serious.

If it is the Shilpa-Salman jodi again in Revathy’s Phir Milenge, the resemblance to Garv ends just there. Shilpa, you see, slips into a completely deglamourised role (and lots of clothes). “It has been an honour to work with someone like Revathy and I have learnt so much from her,” says she.

With Phir Milenge hitting the city halls on August 27, prepare yourself for a covered-up Shilpa’s theatrical thrusts. We leave Raveena to sum up what we feel about what will be missing in action: “Shilpa has the most gorgeous body…”

Uma Thurman: Revenge queen

Date with the Bride

While Quentin Tarantino groupies eagerly await the arrival of Kill Bill Vol. II to the big screen in town, those who missed the first installment (Kill Bill Vol. I) of this kung-fu inspired film about the Bride with a vendetta can catch the telly premiere on Zee MGM, Saturday at 9 pm.

The idea for Tarantino’s fourth film was born on the sets of Pulp Fiction, the 1994 contemporary cult classic serving up a deadly combination of blood and style. If the Bride was born during the production, Uma Thurman the actress as we know her was born, too, as the overdosing character she played to perfection.

So, when Kill Bill, a movie in two parts, finally took off a decade later, the association was effortlessly revived (in fact, Q & U are credited for the story in the credits).

The Bride – otherwise known as Beatrix – wakes up having survived a bullet (she was shot at her own wedding) in her head, and four years in coma, to fight a team of international assassins.

Speaking of old collaborations, Thurman is also a new face in the revival of another 90s hit, Get Shorty. Be Cool is the sequel currently on the floors – so far, reportedly, without Danny DeVito (so Shorty is chucked out of the title) and Renee Russo, but keeping John Travolta (who, of course, went a long way in making Pulp Fiction memorable) in the line-up.

As for Kill Bill Vol. II, fed up of having to wait for a date with the Quentin-Uma partnership, several in the city have caught them on the small screen via the VCD/DVD route.

Here’s what actress-director June had to say: “It’s not as good as Vol I… But it’s still technically superb and the sound track is mind blowing.”

Suchitra: Voice of verdict

Talent tug

The last weekend of May had seen them swing and sashay, swagger and snivel on stage at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club in front of a sizeable audience and the three judges — Suchitra Krishnamurthy (picture below right), Mohan Agashe and Rupa Ganguly. Come Friday, and their cheers and the tears will be beamed into cable homes across the country.

The Calcutta leg of India’s Best Cinestars Ki Khoj, Zee TV’s nation-wide talent hunt, will be aired as the 11th episode in the series. The carrot for the city winners is a chance to fight it out in the national finals for space on the big screen alongside Salman Khan, Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta in a movie to be produced by Zee Films. “The talent hunt was spread across 20 cities in India and five overseas,” informs Devleena Chakravarty, of Zee’s corporate brand development group.

Adds Zee Network chairman Subhas Chandra: “The talent hunt has attracted six lakh youngsters. Some are even crying and complaining on camera that their judges were not fair. We are showing it all on TV.”

For the participants, the chance to see themselves on screen has caused much excitement. “My whole family and friends will be glued to the TV set,” chirps 22-year-old Anangsha Biswas, who came runner-up.

There is news for viewers to look forward to as well. An interactive SMS contest has been started, in which viewers can text messages which will scroll on the screen even as the programme is beamed. “Ten people who can predict the regional winners over SMS live during the programme will be chosen to see the national finals in Mumbai,” Chakravarty adds.

Crime capers

It began as one television series that went on to spawn two spin-offs and a game. CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) debuted as the highest new drama on US television on 2000-01. It has been nominated for several awards, like the Golden Globes and the Emmys. This show is all about the science of solving a crime through careful scrutiny of the evidence.

The senior forensic officer of the Criminalistics Bureau in Las Vegas, Gil Grissom, and his team of investigators (Catherine Willows, Sara Sidle, Capt. Jim Brass, Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes), is being beamed into Calcutta homes courtesy AXN.

After three successful seasons, the fourth has just begun. Season five premieres in September in the US, as does the third innings of CSI Miami (the first has just finished its run on Indian TV), along with the latest in the family — CSI New York.

Although viewers here might have to wait a while for these shows, Calcuttans can crack the cases themselves with the CSI game. And don’t forget to catch the show on AXN on Thursdays at 8 pm, with repeats on Friday.

Growing up

Those of you who got to match steps with the Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar girl Deepal Shah at Tantra a couple of weeks back, there’s some reel good news for you.

Well, Deepal will let go off her schoolgirl uniform (the one she sported in the video) and play leading lady in Bollywood. The film is Hriday Plan Shetty’s second directorial venture Daag – Shades of Love opposite Ashmit Murder Patel.

“Acting is something I always wanted to do,” says Deepal. “These music videos are just a passing phase.” If shaking a leg with Beyonce Knowles is a ‘passing phase’, there’s many of us who would like to play the passing game. Right?