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Compiled by Shalini Singh

I’m Not Your Bum Chum: Sawant

India TV fancies a new role for itself — that of a mediator for personal feuds. In the recent Rakhi Sawant-Mika controversy, where the item girl accused the pop singer of forcibly smooching (and biting) her in public, the channel took it upon itself to get the two friends back together.

Sawant has formally complained to the police about the incident, but the TV anchor decided to play referee and broker an amiable reconciliation in any case. He suggested to Mika — live on TV — to carry a bunch of flowers, preferably Sawant’s favourite, and apologise to her in person. In the programme telecast in segments over two days on prime time, he then advised Sawant to make a cup of tea for Mika when he came over and even had her mother come on air and give Mika’s apologies a patient hearing, which he had him repeat a few times to ensure she heard it. What happened to prime time ‘news’?

By Dipankar Bhattacharya
What’s uncommon about a student taking his Class x board exams? Well, in this case its 72-year-old Shiv Charan from a village near Jaipur who’s been attempting his secondary examinations for the last 37 years! He says people come in hordes to see him when he enters the exam hall, but sometimes he’s also shunted out by the invigilators who mistake him to be a student’s guardian. What’s more, in the early years Charan had vowed not to marry till he cleared all exams. A pledge he has steadfastly stuck to despite failing consistently every year. How is that for standards in perseverance, and optimism.

Following the World Cup action, the third Indian film festival — Bollywood and Beyond will take place in Stuttgart, Germany from July 12 to 16. Stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Hassan are expected to attend. The festival opens with Aishwarya Rai’s Provoked, followed by Raj Kapoor’s Awara (the festival is also hosting a tribute to the legendary filmmaker). Aamir Khan’s Rang De Basanti, and a selection of documentaries and regional films are also on the menu. There is also an Indian Food Festival where Stuttgart-based Indian cooks will prepare family recipes and showcase a different Indian region every day. Besides the food and bazaars, dance workshops are the other highlight of the five-day festival. US-based Indian director Parthiban Shanmugam who’s participating with his new film Mathamma says this festival is “well-respected in Europe” and he’s excited at meeting his contemporaries from back home.

Always A Mouthful: Yadav
After books, movies and toys, Bihar’s best export, Laloo Prasad Yadav is now available in a new avatar — toffee. Cashing in on his popularity among the masses, a Delhi-based company has launched Laloo Ka Khajana, chocolates wrapped in small packets. These are the rage in north Bihar, where they’ve sold in lakhs over the last three months.

The chocolate packets also contain two cartoons of Laloo — one as a politician, the other as a magician. What will they pull out next? That’s something to chew on. 

His New Trophy: Talpade
Apart from the glory it brought him, Iqbal also caught the fancy of artist MF Husain who’s decided to cast actor Shreyas Talpade as himself in an autobiographical film. Says a smiling Talpade, “Husain sir saw Iqbal five times and really liked it.” The film, The Making of a Painter to be directed by Husain’s son Owais, has been scripted by the artist himself, and chronicles the beginning of his life till he became famous. The young actor says he identifies most with the struggle of Husain’s life. Preparing for his role by watching dvds of the artist’s exhibitions, reading books and spending time with him to imbibe his mannerisms, Talpade says, “I also have to diet and work out to become as ‘pencil-slim’ as Husain sir wants me to be.” And what does the doppelganger think of the artist? “I noticed his paintings have a lot of aggression and conviction, they are definitely not subtle,” says Talpade. Is he confident playing Husain? “It’s a much bigger challenge,” he says. Start walking barefeet. Isn’t that the first step?

Jun 24 , 2006


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