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October 2005

Meera ready to take on Ash

Her debut film Nazar may have been a miserable flop but that hasn't stopped Meera from eyeing the numero uno position in Bollywood. In fact, this Pakistani beauty is determined to take on none other than the globally acknowledged beauty Aishwarya Rai head-on. The situation is certainly volatile with both the ladies set to play Umrao Jaan in two different projects. And Meera has already sounded the clarion call: I want to show the world that I am prettier, sexier and more glamorous than Aishwarya. I am sure I will make a better Umrao Jaan. What's more, I wish some filmmaker casts both of us together in a film. I'd love to shatter the myth that Aishwarya is the queen of Bollywood."

Incidentally, Meera has gone on record as having said that she is in love with the baadshah of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan and would have loved to marry him if he were single. "But whoever I eventually marry, one thing is certain: it will be an Indian!" Do we see Pak hardliners up in arms again?

Welcome to the ladies' club

Scriptwriter-turned director Honey Irani has pulled off a casting coup of sorts. The spunky lady has managed to get four seasoned actresses and a sizzler together for her new as yet untitled film. Giving Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan company, will be close real life friends Dimple Kapadia and Amrita Singh. And no prizes for guessing who the fifth member of this ladies' club is ? yes, it's the bombshell Mallika Sherawat! You could call her the odd woman out but she certainly is someone who has managed to get Saif's ex-wife excited. " She's the country's hottest babe, isn't she? It would be great fun working with her," gushes Amrita. Honey refuses to reveal more about the project at this stage but then do we really need to know more?

Talking of Shabana, her masterpiece Arth is to be remade by Pooja Bhatt. Titled Thank You, the film will be a modern version of Arth ? a cult movie made by her father Mahesh Bhatt. And no, Pooja hasn't found her leading lady yet: "It's difficult to get someone who can outperform Shabana in Arth."

The return of Zeenie baby

There's reason to rejoice for fans of Zeenat Aman. The original oomph girl is making a comeback to the silver screen in painter-sculptor Jehangir Jaani's experimental film. Titled Nakalistan, the movie has Zeenie baby in the role of a fading actress. Every 40-plus actress wishes to do a Sunset Boulevard and this is Zeenat's chance. That's not all. The Dum Maro Dum girl is also teaming up with the superstar of yesteryears Rajesh Khanna for Shahrukh Mirza's romantic film Jaana. The two set the screen afire in films in the 70s in films like Ajnabi and Chaila Babu and according to Mirza, even after all these years both Rajesh and Zeenat have lost none of their charisma and charm. So after Amitabh Bachchan-Hema Malini and Rishi Kapoor-Dimple Kapadia, we wait to see Kakaji and Zeenie baby play autumnal lovers.

To Sir, with love

No, Kaushik Ganguly's next film titled Sir doesn't feature the legendary Sidney Poiteur, but Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee who plays a blind teacher. And his student? None other than Mahima Chowdhury for whom the movie is a homecoming of sorts. You see, the actress did her schooling in the Kalimpong hills of Darjeeling, where the movie will be shot. And ironically, Mahima, who speaks fluent Bengali, is working hard at speaking broken Bengali ? she plays a woman who comes from outside Bengal. The film also dwells on environmental degradation and has a "save green" message.

Incidentally, of late Bengal is beckoning several Bollywood stars. Rekha (who was mesmeric in her Moulin Rouge number in Parineeta) will be seen in a significant role in Gautam Ghose's next Bengali film Yatra which also stars Nana Patekar. Abhishek has acted in Rituparno Ghosh's Antarmahal while Bipasha Basu has agreed to do Ghosh's next film. Sameera Reddy and Rahul Bose also play lead roles in Buddhadeb Dasgupta's latest film Kalpurush-Memories in the Mist.

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