Vanity Fair

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Story begins Koena Mitra
Story begins Koena Mitra
Photo: Reuters

Compiled by Poorva Rajaram

Destination Los Angeles

Koena Mitra is poised exactly halfway between Mallika Sherawat and Freida Pinto. While Freida is congratulated by phoren bloggers for her radiance (American shorthand for not being white) at the Return To The Planet of The Apes premiere and Mallika is dissed for constructing her Hollywood career out of thin air, Mitra will star in Story of Naomi in which she will a) not play a bisexual, b) star with a gun-wielding Kevin Sorbo (remember Hercules on AXN?) and c) refuse to wear a sari to the premiere.

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No No No

Sri Devi
Photo: AFP

Aww. Mogambo will be sad!

We are being completely serious when we tell you to prepare for the day when non-sequels will not be made. Perhaps an apocalyptic disaster movie can be made on the death of original scripts. With not inconsiderable ingenuity, we met a spruced up version of the song Hawa Hawai in Shaitan. But rejuvenating a whole Mr India movie? All the signs for the long planned, about-to-take-off film are bad except one: Sridevi will be part of Mr India 2.

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Public Hatred Forever

Lalit Marathe’s Shabri will release on 26 August. The Ram Gopal Varma production has been held up for five years. But we are intrigued. For one, the right cultural moment for anything Women + Mafia is now. Then there is always the solid five-year gap in which we haven’t seen nearly enough of Isha Koppikar. Sadly, RGV has finally decided not to be sceptical about the film. If he continued his rumoured dislike of the film, it might easily have ridden a sympathy wave with real box office gains.

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Snooze Off Button

What is more exciting than sneaking steely glances at India TV while guiltily realising that you could be watching a debate on fiscal health on NDTV Profit or a discussion on the Lokpal Bill on some other news channel? When the India TV-type demographic stories about “the things people believe in India” are condensed into one TV show hosted by Rakhi Sawant. Give it up for the great-riff title the upcoming NDTV Imagine show: Gajab Desh Ki Ajab Kahaniyan.

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Psychologies

‘Everytime I do a movie I treat myself as a newcomer’

WHO Rajeev Khandelwal started out working in a production company in Delhi and later modelled for advertisements. He first captured eyeballs as Sujal in Zee’s Kahin Toh Hoga in 2003. He debuted as a film actor in Aamir in 2008. He now hosts Sach Ka Saamna, a show where contestants are put through a lie detector test and then expected to confess personal secrets. Khandelwal was recently seen in Shaitan.

By Aastha Atray Banan

Rajeev khandelwal
Rajeev khandelwal 35, Actor

Is establishing yourself as an ‘offbeat’ actor an intentional ploy to get noticed?
Actually, it’s people who don’t see me as mainstream. Nobody has ever come to me with a romantic love story. Maybe, they think I won’t be able to pull it off. And I know better than to compete in this industry. I just act whenever I get a chance to do something different. I don’t think it through like, ‘Ok, I want to do these roles so I will get noticed’.

You are the son of an army officer, who was pursuing an MBA, when you suddenly decided to come to Mumbai. Why?
I don’t know really. I had this keeda in my brain that I should give acting a shot. After a year of struggling with auditions, I started getting modelling jobs. And then, Ekta Kapoor asked me to do Kahin Toh Hoga. So my gamble paid off.

You quit TV for movies at the height of your popularity and even angered Ekta in the process. Weren’t you scared?
TV helped me discover what I wanted and what I didn’t want. But I knew people loved my character, Sujal, not me. I was scared and there were insecurities when I quit, but I knew I could do more than TV.

How did you react to Aamir’s success?
I still think Aamir worked because, my middle-class character won them over. It has nothing to do with me. Every time I do a movie, I treat myself as a rank newcomer. If this doesn’t work, it’s back to being a nobody. If you always start from scratch, the victory is sweeter.

How has hosting Sach Ka Saamna affected you? Is it easy to hear people’s secrets?
The questions asked are shocking. Sometimes even I am like, ‘I can’t ask this, and that too to a woman. No way!’ But I think this show can initiate change. When someone admits they are having an affair — something people hide every day, you have to admit they are heroes. And I love being there to applaud them. I love my job.

Aastha Atray Banan is Senior Correspondent, Mumbai with Tehelka.
aastha@tehelka.com

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