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March 2005

Alone in death, as in life

The glamour girl of the ?70s and early ?80s, Parveen Babi was found dead at her Juhu apartment in Mumbai on January 22. As in life, Parveen was alone in death too. There was no one by her side when the end came. Parveen stayed alone in her flat and rarely ventured out or interacted with anyone. Neighbors said she probably died of gangrene. Belonging to the royal family of Junagadh in Gujarat, Parveen made her debut with BR Ishaara's Charitra. Stardom came with Deewar with Amitabh Bachchan as her co-star. The two went on to do many films together ? Amar Akbar Anthony, Shaan, Kaala Patthar and Kaalia to name a few, all huge hits. Parveen became the symbol of the New woman: urban, sensitive and intelligent as she redefined norms ? as much by playing Big B's live-in girlfriend in Deewar as with a lifestyle that broke all shackles. She had intense relationships with Mahesh Bhatt and Kabir Bedi. The beautiful Babi was the first Indian actress to grace the cover of Time magazine.

Parveen left for the U.S. in the early 1990s. She returned three years back, bloated beyond recognition, to talk about to the media about an "international conspiracy to finish her". She became the butt end of jokes as she accused several prominent public figures and Bollywood stalwarts of having "plotted" her killing.

Michael Douglas ropes in Ash

Aishwarya Rai's career continues to go great guns ? the latest is that Hollywood star Michael Douglas has signed her for his forthcoming venture Racing the Monsoon. The international action flick, expected to go on the floors early 2006, is the first American production to be shot entirely in India with a huge portion being shot at the picturesque Amby Valley on the Pune-Mumbai highway. Douglas will reportedly have a double role in the film which is being directed by Steven Carr. The movie has been inspired by a short story that appeared in Wall Street Journal and spoke about Angadis who are the traditional diamond couriers. "The entire process is secure and there have never been too many lapses. This inspired me to base my film entirely in India," Douglas said.

Douglas, who has produced and acted in several Hollywood films, said: "What I love about India is the contrast between the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary." To a question whether the film would have some songs, he quipped, "it better have!"

Hrithik, Ash set to create dhoom

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai have done a volte face. Suddenly both have turned villainous and with a vengeance. What's more, they're enjoying every bit of the devilish experience. Yes, it's official now: Hrithik and Ash will play the lead in the much speculated sequel to the 2004 success, Dhoom, titled Dhoom 2. "I've played the good guy long enough. Now, it's time for me to get evil!" laughs Hrithik. "It's cool to play a baddie. Playing this nightmarish guy is one of my dreams come true." The film, a hi-tech thriller with a profusion of special effects and action-oriented spectacles promises to be bigger, costlier, and more in-your-face than Dhoom! Hrithik and Ash have been missing the chance of coming together for a while now. Just after the release of Kaho Na?Pyaar Hai, the two were slated for a love story set against a war backdrop, to be directed by Tanuja Chandra. But the project fell through.

?A woman from Georgia'

Remember N. Chandra, the man who made Madhuri Dixit dance her way to success with her Ek do teen number in his scorching Tehzaab? Well, the director's passion for creative filmmaking has taken him all the way to picturesque Savannah, Georgia. Chandra will make his first Hollywood/English film A Woman From Georgia with an all American cast. It is based on the short story of a U.S. based psychiatrist. Besides its promising story, what is also noteworthy is its musical score by known Hollywood composer Wayne Sharpe. "He has a track record of some very promising symphonies in the past," says Chandra. A major part of the film will be shot in Savannah and the rest in Orissa, India. Though, when asked if Chandra has quit Bollywood for good, he replied, "Not at all," he smiles. "I'll never forget Hindi films. But right now I am taking creative solace in Hollywood!"

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