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Ayesha Takia

Ayesha was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra to a Gujarati father, Nishit and a half British - half Maharashtrian mother, Faridah. She attended St. Anthony's High School. She has a younger sister named Natasha. She is also the cousin of Abdul Zafar.

Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu is an Indian film actress and model who appears in Tamil and Telugu films. Born to Malayali and Telugu parents, Samantha was brought up in Tamil Nadu and pursued a career in modeling during her late teens. Despite signing up to Ravi Varman's Moscowin Kaveri in 2007, her first release happened to be the critically acclaimed 2010 Telugu romance film, Ye Maaya Chesave, directed by Gautham Menon.

Genelia D'Souza

Genelia D'Souza (born on August 5, 1981) is an Indian film actress, model, and host. She has appeared in Telugu and Hindi language films, as well as Tamil and Kannada language films. D'Souza first hit the limelight in a Parker Pen commercial with Amitabh Bachchan. She made her acting debut in the Hindi movie Tujhe Meri Kasam in 2003,

Shraddha Das

Shraddha Das (born March 4 in Mumbai, India) is an Indian film actress, who has mainly appeared in Telugu films.Starting her career down south, Shraddha Das's first film Sidhu from Srikakulam has been a hit. She thereafter starred in a number of Telugu films, including Target, 18, 20 Love Story, Diary and Adhineta..

Shriya Saran

Shriya Saran (born September 11, 1982) is an Indian film actress. She began her career acting in music videos, while also attending an acting studio to follow her dream to act. After her debut in 2001 with Ishtam, she gained Telugu cinema's attention in 2002 by playing the role of Bhanu in Santhosham, her first major hit. Following the film, she appeared in several Telugu films with prominent actors, whilst, also making in-roads in Bollywood as well as the Tamil film industry.

Why I Love Preity Zinta

Note: The views expressed in this article are those solely of the writer of this opinion piece and do not reflect the views and opinions of the team as a whole.

Bubbly, bold and beautiful; mix these three charming qualities together and you get the ever loving Preity Zinta. Even though this Shimlaite is trying to lose the bubbly tag, we can all agree that the tag is branded on her because of her high-spirited and cheerful attitude but surely there is more to Preity. Described by many as the only man in the Bollywood film industry, Preity Zinta started off her career with Mani Ratnam’s Dil Se co-starring Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. I still clearly remember the summer of 1998 when I saw Dil Se for the first time. It was at a family friend’s house and the movie was playing in the background and being an avid SRK fan at the time, I was glued to the television screen. The movie itself did not captivate me much, at the time, due to its mature subject matter but nevertheless, I sat through it all especially after Preity’s entrance. Preity’s presence in the movie brightened up the screen instantly and this is the very quality of the actress that I simply adore. Preity’s exuberant charm is exactly what the movie needed to balance out the serious undertone of the narrative. The same year Preity took home the Filmfare Best Newcomer Award for her work in Dil Se, as she rightly deserved.

After having a dream debut with artists like Mani Ratnam and Shahrukh Khan, there was no looking back for the pretty actress. Following her first break, Preity managed to work with the best of the best in the industry and along with it delivered some great performances every year since then. Preity’s choice in films showed diversity and allowed her to depict various different characters from a young single mother in Kya Kehna to a headstrong Muslim journalist in Mission Kashmir to a prostitute in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke. Recently her depiction of an angry young woman in Kal Ho Na Ho bagged the actress her first Filmfare Best Actress Award. Preity's choice in movies has been both appreciated and criticized as they have always brought up controversial issues. Movies like Kya Kehna brought the issue of pre-marital pregnancy in front of a greater audience and described a woman’s perspective into a situation where they are the first to be blamed. In Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna she portrayed a strong, working parent and wife whose husband ventures into an extra-marital affair. In Salaam Namaste they tackled the issue of a live-in relationship. By being associated with movies with such touchy and debatable issues, Preity wishes to play a part, no matter how big or small, in educating and giving awareness to the audiences of the reality that we live in today. Preity Zinta is not your average actress who entered Bollywood for the love of acting, or for fame and money but she is an actress with a mission to empower the women of the 21st century in whatever way and whichever she can. Preity has been quoted in various interviews about her interest in doing strong woman orientated roles that does not degrade the female gender instead shows respect for them and this has been an ongoing factor she keeps in mind while selecting a script. This is yet another wonderful quality that makes me appreciate her even more. It is nice to know that there are actresses in this industry, such as Preity, who wants to do more in her movies than just dancing around in their bare minimums.

Moving now from the professional front to the personal side of Preity Zinta, and the woman impresses even more. A daughter who is making her parents proud, a sister who is supporting her siblings every step of the way and friend who offers a helping hand when needed, Preity Zinta does it all with ease even while balancing a successful career. One note of criticism that I always hear about Preity and one that annoys me to bits is that she is a talkative and opinionated woman (and that apparently is a bad thing nowadays). Preity is known to voice her honest opinion regarding current issues the world is facing and for this she is put down every step of the way. Mahatma Gandhi once said that you should “be the change you want to see in the world” and I think this perfectly fits Preity’s case. Just because she is playing her part in this change for a better world, she is criticized and this could either be because she is a woman or because she is an actress. No matter how much we tell ourselves otherwise, gender roles play a great part in our society till date. Many people in our community do not appreciate an outspoken woman because they are stereotyped to be quiet and shy people. Preity on the other hand is just the opposite; she does not tolerate any kind of misbehaviour against her. The lawsuit against the entertainment newspaper Mid-Day is the perfect example; it has been quite sometime since she has been fighting this case but regardless of the long, strenuous battle, Preity has not given up. Preity is also well-known for her part as a social worker as she has worked with underprivileged children, supported organizations such as Shiksha and been an active part of the Godfrey Philips Award Projects among various other things. I think it becomes quite difficult for an actress to take part in all these amazing social causes because there comes a point when the media is bound to question their intentions regarding their associations with charitable organizations. It becomes a question of whether they do it for fame, publicity, money, etc. The media is known to twists anything around just to get their juicy gossip for the day but I think this crosses a certain limit. They are actors/actresses by profession and they are given money to act on screen not in real life and I think it is extremely disrespectful to just assume they are putting up a fa├žade just because of their profession. Having experienced all this and much more, Preity Zinta seems less than bothered and this shows the strength of the woman.

Watch out for this inspiring woman this year as she stars in the recently released Shaad Ali’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom co-starring Abhishek Bachchan, Lara Dutta and Bobby Deol. Upcoming projects includes Samir Karnik’s Mera Bharat Mahaan co-starring Salman Khan, Jahnu Barua’s Har Pall co-starring Shiney Ahuja, Rituparno Ghosh’s The Last Lear and a very special appearance in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om starring Shah Rukh Khan. Surely we will be seeing a lot of this talented actress in the near future so watch out for the ever so charismatic Preity Zinta as she is here to stay!

Spotlight: Juhi Chawla

"It's not about small or big budget movies anymore; it's my role that makes my film big or small for me." ~ Juhi Chawla

Juhi Chawla is one of Bollywood's brightest stars and has appeared in films along with all the top actors of Bollywood. Whether her roles are big or small, Juhi steals the light and the scene and always makes an impression in every role she portrays. Juhi is back better than ever, and with the release of Bhoothnath we thought we would publish once again our spotlight on this incredible actress.

She was born in 1967 in Ludhiana, Punjab to Dr. S. and Mona Chawla. She graduated from Sydenham College in Mumbai with a Bachelor's degree in Commerce. She began modeling and became one of India's top models. Then in 1984 she was crowned "Miss India".

The next path for Chawla was Bollywood and she made her debut in the film Sultanat in 1986. Her second film was the super-hit Kannada film Premaloka.

Then came the movie and the role that established her in the firmament as a Bollywood star: Rashmi in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) co-starring Aamir Khan. This film, directed by Mansoor Khan, went on to create box-office history and the jodi of Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla was proclaimed as the hottest romantic pair on the silver screen.

She went on to make several other movies that did not catch on, including Tum Mere Ho and Love Love Love, also with Aamir Khan. Chawla acted in many other films including a guest appearance in Chandni, and her portrayal of her character in Aaina with Jackie Shroff was critically acclaimed. Many, many roles followed and several were very well received.

Chawla was known for playing the cute, innocent, bubbly girl but her role in Lootere in 1993 established her as a sexy and glamorous star. She was not keen on doing the role, especially the dance on the beach in just a plain white shirt. But her friends convinced her to take the role and with this film she was now labeled as "hot"!

Chawla continued her road to superstardom with the hits Bol Radha Bol with Rishi Kapoor, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman which co-starred Shah Rukh Khan, and of course the excellent Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke with Aamir Khan. For her role as Vaijanti Iyer in the latter she won the Filmfare Best Actress Award.

Her next film Darr was for Yash Raj Films and signing for that production company is said to be a badge of honor - you have made it. The film was a huge success and now Chawla was considered in the same league as Madhuri Dixit and Sri Devi. Darr reunited her with Shah Rukh Khan and they were hailed as outstanding romantic leads.

Shah Rukh Khan and Chawla went on to star in several more hits like Yes Boss and Duplicate. For Duplicate in 1999 she was awarded the Bollywood Movie Award - Most Sensational Actress.

The partnership between SRK and Chawla developed off screen as well when they formed a production company along with Aziz Mizra called Dreamz Unlimited, to make the kind of films they wanted. Their first production was Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, which pulled mediocre receipts at the box office, and their second film Asoka fared about as well. But they hit high notes in 2003 with Chalte Chalte starring SRK and Rani Mukherji.

After Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani and several other releases Chawla took a break from acting. She fell in love with and married millionaire Jai Mehta. The two welcomed a daughter Jhanvi and a son Arjun.

Coming back to the screen she made a huge splash with her supporting role in Deewarein in 2003. For this role she was honored with the Star Screen Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Next was a role in Jhankaar Beats in which she showed her acting range, A reviewer said, "Juhi Chawla shows her charm. She is fantastic. Her expressions and timing as Shanti are just perfect." In My Brother Nikhil (2005) she won immense critical praise; in fact Taran Adarsh said that her performance was one of the finest in her career.

She played a supporting but important role in Paheli and her quiet and beautiful portrayal showed her immense acting talent.

Smaller budget films that she feels have a special quality have attracted Chawla's attention in recent years. In an interview for India Glitz she said," I am around for so many years now. Why do I have to establish myself any further! I am not doing the films that today's heroines are doing. Then why do I have to worry about the commercial angle…I am doing films that I like…They may not be mainstream…. But they are interesting…"

In 2006 her films included Bas Ek Pal and Waris Shah: Ishq Daa Waaris. This year she was seen in Nikhil Advani's Salaam-E-Ishq playing opposite Anil Kapoor and she was given very good reviews for her role.

At the helm of Swami was choreographer-turned director Ganesh Acharya. After hearing the script narrated, Chawla was in tears. She said, "I was very surprised that the film that he wants to make has simplicity, emotions, reality and a very touching end. After hearing the story I had tears in my eyes."

About her role in Swami Chawla said, ""It's not about small or big budget movies anymore; it's my role that makes my film big or small for me. That's the reason I love Radha's character in Ganesh Acharya's Swami. It's the simplicity of the script that made me take it up." This role has won her critical praise as well as audience appreciation.

Juhi was seen in Krazzy 4 just last month and tomorrow her new film Bhoothnath is releasing. Bhoothnath stars Amitabh Bachchan, child artist Aman Siddiqui and Shah Rukh Khan. Juhi has even leant her lovely voice to the song 'Chalo Jaane Do'. Amitabh is also heard on the track and Juhi said, "I didn’t get to record this song with him. But I am possibly the only actress who can, in life, say that I have not only shared screen space with Mr Amitabh Bachchan but also sang with him."

Also in the pipeline is a special appearance in Kismet Konnection, which star Vidya Balan and Shahid Kapoor.

A few interesting facts:

She was formerly India's top model and now has been doing movies for more than 20 years; no model has lasted as long as she has in the Indian film industry.

She did not win the Ms. Universe competition but she was given the "The Best Costumes" award.

Favorite Movie: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak

Chawla been studying classical singing for 5 years and has even sung at an awards function when she was hosting the event with Karan Johar. It is reported that she may sing a song in Ravi Chopra's Bhootnath. Abhay Chopra said, "Although nothing is fixed as yet, there is a very good possibility that Juhi may sing in the film." She loves singing so much she wants her daughter to become a classical singer. (Filmfare, Nov 2001)

The actress has pledged to donate her eyes. While visiting Dhamecha Eye Hospital at Porbandar she was asked to lend her support to an eye donation camp, which was also carrying out free cataract operations. Her support to the camp got 40,000 pledges for eye donations in three months. Speaking about this she said, "This time when I went, they made a special occasion out of it. While there, I pledged to donate my eyes. They do such wonderful work that my deed seems like a drop in the ocean. But if every such deed helps to light up someone's life, then why not?"

This immensely respected and beloved actress's career has spanned over 20 years has included over 81 films. Many of her performances have been critically applauded and appreciated at the box-office. She has done starring roles as well as secondary characters and she always is so natural on screen, bringing grace and beauty no matter what her character is or does. Whether doing big banner productions or art house films this enduring star always entertains the audience and we hope that she continues for another 20 years!

Why I love Vivek Oberoi

Note: The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of's staff or owners. They are solely the views of the writer of this opinion piece.

‘Who is your favourite actor?’ is a question I am asked innumerable times. I turn around and reply with a big smile on my face, ‘Vivek Oberoi!’ Some people are amused, some are shocked, some agree and some don’t, but that’s a different story. Not like it matters to me, right?

Vivek’s been a favourite of mine since September 2002 to be exact. I still remember watching him on ‘Jeena Isi ka Naam hai’ when his father, Suresh Oberoi, was the host of the show. I completely fell head over heels in love with Vivek ‘the person’ that day! He seemed so down to earth, kind and humble. Someone you can relate to. I mean, I had heard of him being a great actor, (Mind you, I hadn’t watched Company nor Road which were his only two releases at that time) and being touted as the most promising newcomer after a long span of time. I wasn’t bothered at all though. Then, as I was channel surfing that night, I came across him on the show, and the rest as they say, is history.

Saathiya was the first film I watched of his and that’s when I started loving Vivek ‘the actor’. I thought he was brilliant for a newcomer. Obviously, after that I ended up watching Company and Road (He was amazing) and his subsequent films as well. Some good, some bad, but enough has been written about that by the media.

Now as we all know, Vivek hasn’t exactly had a huge hit since Saathiya and has become the media’s favourite whipping boy. In the beginning, it was very irritating… all the negative publicity and opinions. Now, it doesn’t bother me in the least bit. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I do, however, feel that a large section of the press has been unfair to him in writing him off. Sure, Vivek hasn’t done the best movies, he’s made some pretty bad choices, he’s gone through a very low phase in his career, but doesn’t everyone go through it at some point of time? Every actor goes through ups and downs; it’s just part of the game. Hrithik Roshan went through it, Abhishek Bachchan has been through it, and even the powerful Khan’s have been through it! Compared to them, Vivek is still a newbie. However, as I always say, what doesn’t break you only makes you stronger and I’m sure in some way or the other, every unfavourable article, and every inch of criticism he’s got has made Vivek stronger and work that much harder.

It’s very easy to go around bashing an actor when they're on a low, but let me tell you its not easy out there, its a tough life...they go out and work really hard on a film, they put their blood and sweat into it and then the film is judged by this party of people who have nothing to do with the film emotionally. It’s the common man who judges it...he either likes the movie or he doesn’t. It’s fair and every actor, including Vivek, is forced to accept it whether they like it or not. People do tend to forget that actors are human beings too, they also have emotions, they might not be able to show it but that’s just the way it is...just because they don't show it doesn’t mean they don't have feelings, it doesn't mean you go ahead and rip him apart. What has Vivek done to the media personally? I think it’s completely unfair and very wrong to bash him and take potshots at him time and again! Give him a break for heaven sake! Vivek's certainly one of the most gifted actors out there, he's a powerhouse of talent; he's proved it before and will continue to do so!

Now that I’ve vented, lets get back to why I love (no wait, ADORE) Vivek! Yes, I adore him as an actor and I really admire the fact that he didn’t debut as the typical ‘chocolate boy’ hero, dancing and running around trees. He dared to do something different by playing the role of a gangster, Chandrakant Nagre (better known as Chandu) in Company. And that is exactly what makes Vivek Oberoi unique and special. He is a man who will stand by his convictions and do what he strongly believes in, and he believed in Chandu’s character. Company fetched him several ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ and ‘Best Supporting Actor’ awards too. Truly well deserved I must say!

I love his work, be it in Company, Saathiya, Yuva, Home Delivery, Omkara…he shows his versatility with each character he plays and I don’t think many actors out there have the kind of range that he does. That doesn’t mean I haven’t disliked him in some films like Kyun! Ho Gaya Na and Pyare Mohan, but since this article is about why I love Vivek, I’d rather stick to loving him!

Another reason why I look up to him is because of the charity work he does. Oh yeah, he has been criticized and called publicity-hungry even for a noble cause like this but it won’t stop him, he won’t go by what others do or say. Honestly speaking, how many celebrities have the courage go to a tsunami-hit village and help out the people there? It’s a little something called hope, and apart from helping the perished people resume their daily lifestyle by providing them with bare necessities, Vivek gave these people hope and faith, and I think that’s one of the biggest things one can give to someone when they are down and out. He was once asked about how he would feel if there is a headline that says ‘Vivek Oberoi: The Next Superstar!’ and he turned around and said ‘Vivek Oberoi builds cancer hospital for the poor and needy. Builds free school and home for underprivileged children. Now those are headlines I dream about!’ He is one of those people who is so compassionate about disadvantaged women and children that he will go to any extent to make life comfortable for them and that is one quality I really admire about Vivek! He never creates drama about his social work, he never calls up the media to tell them to cover his every move, it’s the media that follows him. Fair enough, he is a public figure after all, but then again, it’s unfortunate that they choose to bash him even when it comes to his charity work. Oh well, things will change soon.

Today, Vivek may be the most misunderstood guy around, but for people who know him, for people who have interacted with him, even for a few minutes, know that he is real, has a genuine personality and is someone who has no airs about himself. When he does something, he does it from the heart. When he speaks about something close to his heart, he speaks with so much passion that it’s inspiring. It’s touching.
Critics and enemies can say what they want, they can all him publicity-hungry, they can beat his name to the ground, but in the end, only his true fans and admirers know how great he is. There’s no one else like him and there never will be. He is one of a kind.

I’m eagerly awaiting his upcoming releases especially Shootout at Lokhandwala where once again, he plays a dreaded gangster named Maya Dolas. Life appears to have come full circle for Vivek, having debuted with a similar kind of role, and it seems like things are finally looking up for him! Hopefully, we will see him do many more good films with amazing performances! I wish him all the best.

I have been saying this for a long time now and I will say it again…once Vivek bounces back up it’s going to be a good slap to all the bad mouths out there. Oh my God, I cannot wait!

A Rising Star: Rajpal Yadav

The new Mr. Funnyman has arrived. From his villainous debut in ‘Jungle’ to the short husband in ‘Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh’ to his latest success ‘Phir Hera Pheri’, Rajpal Yadav always delivers a first-rate performance. Even if the movies fail to click at the box office, Yadav’s work is continually appreciated.

We have seen Rajpal Yadav’s radiant pieces in ‘Darna Mana Hai’ and ‘Darna Zaroori Hai’ as well as a fine performance in ‘Love in Japan.’ Recently, Yadav has received countless accolades for his head-storming act in ‘Main, Meri Patni Aur Woh’ proving he is capable of a variety of roles. Audiences have even preferred Rajpal Yadav over the legendary entertainer Paresh Rawal in one of his current sensations ‘Chup Chup Ke’

So what’s next for our bright star?

After the flop of the Manish Malhotra insipired ‘Ladies Tailor,’ our Prince of Comedy is trying once again with Sangeeth Sivan’s ‘Apna Sapna Money Money.’ Alongside Yadav audiences will see Ritesh Deshmukh, Celina Jaitley, Sunil Shetty, Koena Mitra, Riya Sen, and Jackie Sheroff.

In addition to the madness, he is working on lead roles in as many as three films, which include RGV’s ‘Hello Hum Lallan Bol Rahe Hain,’ and two other untitled projects.

But of course this cannot be the end of it. Rumor has it; Yadav is even doing a Hollywood flick! The Hollywood film has been said to be finalized with actor Michael Caine.

Watch out for this rising star, not only is he grabbing in major projects, but he has also started charging a great 25 lakhs per film. Yadav is in demand! We wish him all the best.

Spotlight on Ruslaan Mumtaz

Ruslaan Mumtaz. Does the name sound unfamiliar to you? Well don't be freaked, we didn't expect you all to know of this name and personality.

Indian cinema once again extends its welcoming arms to a fresh talent and face. With the recent release Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar, Ruslaan Mumtaz, son of actress Anjana Mumtaz (plays Shilpa's mother in Dhadkan), takes his first steps into the world of Indian cinema.

Only a few months into the industry and this young talent is making headlines everywhere. The works of Anupam Kher's acting school and Shamaik Davar's Dancing Academy have worked wonders in creating a fantastic performer.

With a light hearted college romantic movie titled Mera Pehla Pehla Pyar (MP3), that is entertaining audiences across the globe, Ruslaan has certainly made a special place for himself. One only has to talk to acclaimed actor and director, Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik respectively, to get clarifications.

Anupam Kher was in a dilemna when casting his next venture. However, after seeing Ruslaan's confidence level and performance in his debut movie, he decided that Ruslaan's acting and dancing abilities were just what he was looking for in an actor for the role he had in mind. Mr. Kher has even gone ahead to say that Ruslaan is certainly his proudest product out of his acting school. Now with both Anupam Kher and Satish Kaushik's projects tucked away, Ruslaan is busier than ever before.

One might assume with his perfect portrayal of a 17 year old in MP3, that he is indeed a 17 year old, but they would be deeply mistaken. Ruslaan is actually 24, however the portrayal of a 17 year old was not tough for him as he related with much of the character's dilemmas.

"Many of the scenes in my debut film seem to be straight out of my own life when I was 17. I was involved with a girl for several years. I didn't run away to Paris to meet my girlfriend like my character in MP3. But I did lie to my parents and ran away to meet my girlfriend in Mahabaleshwar once," Ruslaan told IANS.

Sadly the real life college love story of Ruslaan wasn't as successful as his onscreen character Rohan's. Ruslaan's love story didn't have a happy ending. However with a career that is brighter than ever now, Ruslaan has no time to dwell on the past.

Currently the rising star is busy shooting for his second movie and reading a vast amount of scripts and on verge of signing quite a few as well.

One would have assumed that having a parent in the industry and attending the academy of Shamaik Davar, whose reputation exceeds him, would have been huge assets for Ruslaan. Ruslaan, himself, claims that he always thought that his dream of becoming a star would be quite easily fulfilled through these two connections however that wasn't the case. The struggle Ruslaan faced in order to get a reputable debut was no less than any other wanna-be actor's. Ruslaan was chosen for the role out of 8000 - 9000 youngsters who auditioned for director Robby Grewal in some of the biggest metros in India. The struggle to get recognized was tougher than ever, since Robby Grewal was searching anywhere and everywhere. He even offered anyone interested in acting to simply walk in and audition! Now that is a hard task to stand out in a crowd of 8000 to 9000 young talents!

However, at the end of the day, he got here and most importantly has made an impression that is bigger than he could have dreamed of. Not only on his lady fans, but also his leading lady co-stars!

One hears that Sheena Shahbadi, who is the teenager co-starring with Ruslaan in his second movie Tere Sang, is absolutely head over heels for the young lad.

A close source of the Tere Sang unit enclosed to OneIndia, “Sheena is a young girl and it's not uncommon for a girl of her age to have a crush on a good looking guy. Ruslaan obviously enjoyed all the attention. They ate together, had loads of fun and whenever possible, spent time with each other in their rooms. But she tried to keep this fondness a secret, probably because her mother was mostly around. On the last day of the shoot in Dalhousie, they got lost together in the wilderness and we had to keep waiting for them to can a few shots. That day Satishji also got very irritated," says a close source from the unit.”

But wait there is more! Sheena's crush didn't end on the sets. One hears that she was extremely jealous of Hazel (leading lady of MP3).

Ruslaan is yet to comment on the impression he has left on the ladies, however a young boy like himself could have hardly minded all the attention! After all a crush is hardly harmful! And who can blame Sheena!

Newspapers and Bollywood Portals have gone so far ahead to title him as a possible threat to the current young heartthrob of Indian Cinema, Shahid Kapoor. After all since Ishq Vishk, no other young male has left a big impression on makers and audiences through a college romance flick!

For now, audiences are eagerly waiting to see more of this talent to officially crown him a threat to Shahid or someone of his kind! And to do so, make sure you all catch Ruslaan in the upcoming Satish Kaushik directed Tere Sang and Anupam Kher's untitled venture.

Why I Love Salman Khan

Maine Pyaar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, Biwi No.1, Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, No Entry and Tere Naam. What do these great movies have in common? They all star the amazingly popular, the surprisingly talented, and the disgustedly good looking Salman Khan.

While the heartthrob of millions may not have a line of awards on his mantelpiece, or belong to the any ‘filmi camps', he still makes girls sigh at the sight of him and makes guys sign up for year long gym memberships. Hrithik Roshan and John Abraham may proudly parade around in their no-shirt-low-jeans look but Salman was the original bare-chested hunk of Indian Cinema.

Labelled a megastar from an early point in his career, Salman Khan has astonishingly maintained that status through the last decade. Whether it's was “O O Jaane Jaana” or “Just Chill Chill”, he kept everyone is sync with their hips and feet, moving to his trademark catchy numbers.

While the average celebrity is challenged by box-office failures, divorces and relationship rumours, Salman has been thrown head over heels in relationship dramas, encountered hefty legal battles, suffered the wraith of media, and has been shunned by a good portion of the film fraternity. Despite all the chaos, the man emerges as a legend. The demand for his reign on the silver screen remains intact, his fan base has neither shaken nor stirred. How is this possible? It is a mystery.

But enough about the rough and victorious journey of our broad-shouldered muscle-man and let's focus on what new magic he will be casting on the world of entertainment. After the high concentration of romantic comedies such as Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Jaan-e-maan, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya, and No Entry, Salman is returning in this month's most anticipated release, David Dhawan's Partner, where his co-stars are the rib-tickling Govinda, the luscious Lara Dutta and his supposed real life partner, Katrina Kaif. That's not the only spell he has up his sleeve. While Aamir Khan is geared for his Hindi remake of Tamil blockbuster Gajini, Salman Khan is to play the lead in the Hindi remake of the immensely successful Telugu action-drama Pokiri. If this was not enough to raise the blood pressure of Salman fans, he will be starring in a Hollywood project titled Marigold opposite the sexy Ali Larter of TV's no.1 sci-fi drama, "Heroes". He also has a string of special appearances lined up, including one in Sanjay Leela Bansali's eagerly awaited Saawariya.

Ladies and Gentleman, the Salman Khan space shuttle has had a ferocious blast-off, blinding everyone in the light of his brilliance, choking the critics in the raging fire of his talent and deafening everyone with the words, ‘East or West…Salman is the best!' What is his destination? Into the hearts of the audience and to the top of the world.

Spotlight on Govinda

"I believe in miracles. That I'm a successful actor is the biggest of them all." ~ Govinda

Govinda is one of Bollywood's most enduring stars. He can do both comedy and drama, is considered one of the best dancers in Bollywood, and presents a naturalness on screen that contributes to brilliant performances. His career has had it ups and downs, but with his new film Partner set to release on Friday, we thought we would turn the spotlight on this great actor: everyone is falling for Chi-Chi all over again!

Govind Arun Ahuja was born in Virar, Maharashtra, India. While growing up in the chawls of Mumbai, he used to go the movies: "The filmy bug bit me then and I wished to enter films. There was a theatre right opposite my house and I saw two shows everyday." At the young age of 15 he would go to Rajshri Studios to try and get a part in a movie but he was rejected because he was so young. He then had a brilliant idea of making a film reel that showed photographs of him as well as scenes of him dancing and delivering lines. It was an innovative idea to get himself noticed and seen as a talented actor. This is a standard practice nowadays but then it was something never done before.

It is difficult to enter Bollywood without having a "godfather" or the backing of the big banners in the industry. Govinda had to struggle to be accepted by the industry. He eventually made his debut in the film Ilzaam in 1986. The film was a success and his career was off and running. It was Govinda’s time to shine. He went on to be moderately successful in the following years and gave some hits, such as Love 86, Khudgarz, and Hatya. (The latter was directed by his brother Kirti Kumar.) It was at this time that he put forward his tremendous dancing ability and he was considered a rival of Mithun Chakraborty at the time!

In 1989 he worked for the first time with director David Dhawan in the action film Taaqatwar. This would be the beginning of a successful partnership that would last through many films. He worked with Dhawan again in Shola Aur Shabnam and Aankhen. These films were not only successful but they also showed Govinda's talent in comic roles. They had super hits including Raja Babu (1994), Coolie No. 1 (1995), Saajan Chale Sasural (1996), Hero No. 1 (1997), Deewana Mastana (1997), Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999) and Jodi No. 1 (2000).

Govinda also had hits at the box office with: Khuddar, Karz Chukana Hai, Jaan Se Pyara, Aadmni Khilona Hai, Hero No.1, Dulhe Raja, Bade Mian Chotte Mian, and Kyon Kii...Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta.

To date he has made over 120 Hindi films, working with many of the luminaries in the industry such as Amitabh Bachachan, Anil Kappor, Juhi Chlawa, Hema Malini, Neelam, Karishma Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rani Mukerhjee and Anil Kapoor to name just a few.

In 2000 Govinda portrayed a negative role for the first time in the movie Shikari. His performance was critically acclaimed, but the movie did not do well at the box office.

After this, his career seemed to be on a downslide and he was not as popular with the theater going audiences. He made a few more films but then in 2003 he decided to go a different direction in life. He ran for and won a parliamentary seat for Mumbai. He had success and some controversy as an MP but he is very proud of the work he was able to accomplish. He is still working hard on many issues that he feels are very important including; making the railway system in India better and next will turn his focus to education.

But once an actor always an actor, and after a 3 year hiatus Govinda was ready to enter Bollywood again. His first film back was Bhagam Bang, he was very well received in the role of Babla.

His second film on the comeback road was the multi-starrer Salaam-E-Ishq and about that film he said, "I got to play a purely romantic character only in my 126th film, Salaam-e-Ishq. Since people loved me in it, I will continue doing more such roles."

He is ecstatic to be an actor again and is making the most of his second inning. He calls Partner his "proper comeback film", again teaming up with director Dhawan. The film also stars Salman Khan, and he gets to romance Katrina Kaif with love advice from Salman Khan's character. Salman said of working with Govinda,"I would look at his film posters and say that if I could achieve even half of what he has, I will be successful. And I can't believe my luck today, I'm working with my favorite actor". Govinda said, "Apart from being a fantastic actor, Salman is a great human being. We belong to the same school of acting. In Partner, we bring our 20-year experience in Bollywood."

Partner is said to be a hysterical comedy and the team of Salman and Govinda a great match up! This film is set to make Chi-Chi a huge star once again.

Interesting facts:

A little known fact is that Govinda began taking classes from the veteran choreographer Saroj Khan, who was impressed enough to ask him to teach at the dance academy.

One of his most memorable moments is "The day I bought my mother a saree from my first pay-packet, the day I bought her a flat and the day she predicted that I'd be a star within a year."

Philosophy of Life: Worship your mother and respect your father and guru.

He once commented that if he was a burglar he would want to steal "people's hearts".

He was also asked what role he would "give his eyes and teeth for" and responded "No role can be worth that much. Who would want to see a blind and toothless Govinda."

He had a narrow escape from death on January 5, 1994. While traveling to a studio for the shooting of Khuddar (1994) his car hit another car, resulting in injuries to his head. After treatment, he worked on the film until midnight.

Govinda was a playback singer on several movies including Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999), Dulaara (1994), Aankhen (1993) Shola Aur Shabnam (1992).

His awards and nominations include:

* 1997 - Special Filmfare award for Saajan Chale Sasural 1998 Lux Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Dulhe Raja
* 1998 - Special Videocon Screen award from Jury for overall performance
* 1999 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Bade Miyan Chote Miyan
* 1999 - Filmfare Best Comedian Award, Haseena Maan Jaayegi
* 2000 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Haseena Maan Jaayegi
* 2001-Nominated for Screen Weekly Awards Best Performance in a Negative Role for Shikari. Also nominated at the Filmfare awards of that year for Best Comedian for Kunwara (2000) and Best Villian in Shikari (2000)
* 2002-Nominated at Filmfare Awards for Best Comedian for both Jodi No. 1 and Kyo Kii…Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001). He also won the Popular Award at that years Filmfare for Performance in a Comic role - Jodi No. 1
* 2003- Nominated for Best performance in a Comic Role for Akhiyon Se Goli Maare (2002)
* 2007 - "Excellent Comic Actor" Award at the Star Gold Comedy Honors

Govinda will always be a popular and loved actor because of his rags to riches story and the fact that he has had to work hard for his success. He is a one man entertainment show, he can do it all: dance, drama, comedy and looks like he enjoys every minute he spends on screen. We applaud him for the roles of the past, look forward to seeing Partner and for all the performances he will give us in the future. We are under the magical spell of Chi-Chi again!

Spotlight on Akshaye Khanna

"I may be wrong but I think talent is in-born. Then there are those who work hard and become good actors with time and experience. I think I've got what it takes to be a decent actor. Plus, I work hard. But please, I'm not a brilliant actor or anything. I pass muster."~Akshaye Khanna

Akshaye Khanna is one of Bollywood's most well-known and talented actors. He has an aura about him that literally jumps off the screen. Whether in just a special appearance or as a leading man, your eye is always drawn to him, and not only because he has a brooding sensuality. We thought with his new release Gandhi, My Father opening on Friday we would shine the spotlight on this amazing star.

Akshaye Khanna was born in Mumbai in 1975 and comes from an acting family. He is the son of Bollywood star of yesteryear Vinod Khanna, and his brother Rahul is an actor, too. He went to school at Bombay International and then at Lovedale School in Ooty. Even at school he already had the acting bug, performing in many of the school's plays.

Once Khanna left school, he decided to follow the dream he always had of being an actor. "I thought I could contribute, I could make a mark. I thought I could be good at what I do. And, most of all, I thought I would enjoy it. Being part of the film family, I had a little bit of experience about how the film industry functions. I knew the life, the profession, what it would be like. I liked it. I did not train much. A little bit of dance, fight, acting, just to get the feel of it, but nothing serious. With some people training would have helped but as far as my case goes I don't think any amount of training will make me a better actor. Acting is not something you can teach. It's life. When you are acting you are creating or recreating life. You have to have a flair for it and then that flair can be cultivated. But that will be mostly done by yourself. It's an individual kind of cultivation. It's internal, not external. I am my best trainer. You have to keep watching yourself and improving."

His debut role at the age of 22 was as Abhay in Himalayputra. For the film, which was produced by his father, he won the 1998 Screen Weekly Most Promising Newcomer - Male Award. Unfortunately the movie did not do well at the box office. About facing the camera for that first shot Khanna said, "It was great. Life began. I was always quite confident that I could do the job."

Next came a defining role for Khanna in J.P Dutta's Border. To Khanna, playing this role was an emotional experience: "The role of Sgt. Dharamveer Singh in Border was far more powerful than any other role I have ever played." In an article about the star one reporter wrote, "With a stunning characterization of a sensitive soldier who is left dying on the border of Longewala, audiences would have this scene burned into their souls long after the film's run ended in theatres." For this film he was nominated for and won many awards including: Lux Zee Cine Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Filmfare Award for Best Newcomer Award. The film was a box-office success and firmly established Khanna as one of the finest actors in Bollywood.

After that success he was in several more movies including Doli Sajake Rakhna and Kudrat. They did not do so well, but in his next film Aa Ab Laut Chalen audiences loved him as Rohan Khanna. About his roles in these films, whether hit or flop, he said, "Being Vinod Khanna's son was enough to pile on the pressure. It was obvious that people were going to draw comparisons between me and my dad and I couldn't let them down. It is important to me to choose the right people to work with and, most importantly my role. All the films I've done so far, I've chosen on the basis of all these factors put together."

He got rave reviews for his performance in Subhash Ghai's Taal; one stated "Akshaye demonstrates that he is one of the most sincere actors on the Hindi screen." The film also starring Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor was a hit with audiences.

The year 2001 saw Akshaye in another tour de force role as Siddharth Sinha in Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai. He was nominated at several awards ceremonies including the Zee Cine Award and the International Film Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His outstanding performance won him the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor and a special Jury Award for Best Supporting Actor at the Screen Weekly Awards. He won critical acclaim as well with one review saying, "Akshaye Khanna stuns with another subtle and mature performance, and all one can ask is why he does not do more films. (If one had to single out a character and performance that makes the movie the best, Khanna's is it.)"

In 2002, he got to play "bad guy" Karan Malhotra in Humraaz. All applauded his performance and it earned him a nomination for Best Villain at the FilmFare awards and he won the IIFA's award for Best Villain. Also that year he was in Deewangee and he received a nomination for the Screen Weekly Award as Best Actor.

Throughout his career, Akshaye has played an array of characters including the romantic hero, dramatic roles and comedy. His comedic talents were brought out in Hungama (2003) and Hulchul (2004) and they both were very well received.

He had leading roles in Shaadi Se Pehle, 36 China Town and Aap Ki Khatir in 2006, but they did not do as well as expected at the box office. Earlier this year his performance stood out in Nikhil Advani's multi-starrer, Salaam-e-Ishq but that film also failed to charm audiences. Then he had Naqaab, just about a month back, directed by the well-known duo Abbas-Mustan. Taran Adarsh said about Akshaye's performance, "Naqaab belongs to Akshaye, who delivers yet another powerful performance. He's splendid, the real scene stealer, the soul of the enterprise." Even though Akshaye delivered a great performance in the film, it failed to set fire in the box office as well.

All this may change this coming Friday though. The highly anticipated film Gandhi, My Father will be hitting screens then. In this groundbreaking role, Khanna plays Gandhi's eldest son Harilal and presents the story of their relationship. Producer Anil Kapoor praises the actor saying, "He is born to play this role. You have to see it to believe it, the kind of work he has done." If word is to be believed, then we can expect to see one of the best performances of the year out of Akshaye Khanna in this film. It is all set to be a landmark film for him, and everyone is anticipating it greatly, since there is so much hype surrounding it. Akshaye's fortunes are definitely looking good with the release of this film.

Also in the pipeline are the films Race, Shortcut and a special appearance in the Madhuri Dixit comeback film Aaja Nachley.

Some interesting facts:

Nickname: Akshoo

Once was in a commercial for Godrej Cinethol.

In Bhai Bhai he was an uncredited dancer in the song 'Tera Naam Loonga'

He once said in an interview, "I want to be the editor of Filmfare magazine."

He is Bollywood's 'shatranj ke khilari' (player of chess). He loves chess so much that on both the sets of Naqaab and Race he was playing chess with the cast and crew.

For Aap Ki Khatir he is listed as a playback singer.

In his brother's film Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) he made a guest appearance as himself.

In Naqaab, he and Urvashi Shrama dance the Salsa, an extremely sensual dance: there needs to be chemistry and a comfort level between the dancers. Raju Khan choreographed the dance sequence and said that it was not difficult for him to train Khanna to get the steps right.

For his fans he has this message, "The most difficult thing to do in life is to do what your heart tells you. Be yourself, and do things the way you want to, always go where your heart leads you!"

We have to disagree with Akshaye Khanna when he says he is not a brilliant actor, because he is truly one of the most talented actors in Bollywood. His screen charisma is outstanding but he also is very natural so you do not think he is acting and that is a very hard thing to pull off. He is adored by fans (including this reporter) because of his talent, his mystery and his good looks. Since he is always striving to do more, learn more and be better at his craft we can only imagine that we have just seen the beginnings of excellence in this star.

Reflecting on his decision to become an actor Khanna says, "And now when I think about it, it's the best decision I made. All I ever want to do is to act. A lot of people spend an entire lifetime in professions they don't really want to be in. At least I don't have such grief."

We whole-heartedly applaud this fine actor and cannot wait to see his new movies and the ones in the years to come!

Remembering Divya Bharti

The 90s begin like any other decade, promising to bring lots of surprises. One of them was Divya Bharti. Who can forget that beautiful girl singing "Saat Samundar" when she made her debut in Bollywood world? I was only a little girl but I can still remember, running to the nearest TV whenever the song was on and mesmerized by her. I wasn’t the only one. The song was from her debut Hindi movie, Vishwatma.The movie didn’t do well in the box office but Divya got noticed for her talents. At that time, everyone predicted a bright future for this nearly 17 year old actress and they were nearly right but nobody could have imagined how her career would come to a sudden end.

Divya was born Divya Om Prakash Bharti on February 25th, 1974 to Meeta and Om Parkash Bharti in Mumbai. According to tabloids reports, Divya had a traumatic childhood. Om Parkash left his parents house, his wife, and children to marry Meeta, Divya's mother. But Om Parkash's first wife didnt leave Divya and her family alone. She would curse and rave them and maybe that is the reason, Divya's parents were constantly fighting and were so busy with themselves that they had no time for Divya. Her father was an alcoholic while her mother used to be too busy with her kitty parties. Divya felt unloved and unwanted and maybe because of that matured beyond her age. When she was 10, she decided to become economically independent and walk out of her parents' house. She hated school and her only other alternative was films. Her father, unsuccessful stage artist himself, pushed Divya to fulfill his dream and make her out to be the golden goose. In a March 92 issue of Stardust, Divya firmly denied the allegations and said with "teary eyes" that she is not ashamed of anything in her life especially her past but she wish she could avoid talking about it because "it is too personal and private".

Divya first got her chance when in 9th grade, director Kriti Kumar met her around 1988 in a Mumbai Video Library and approached her to play the lead role opposite Govinda in "Radha Ka Sangam" but was later dropped. But later on, the famed Telugu film director, Mr. D. Rama Naidu, approached for his movie "Bobbili Raja" which went to become a super hit and broke all previous records in the Telugu film industry. People started to compare her with the biggest star of the time, Sridevi. Soon after more hits followed with Assembly Rowdy, Dharma Kshetrain, Rowdy Alludu which all went to become hits in the Telugu and Tamil film industries. The popularity of Divya in the South made Bollywood finally notice her and Rajiv Rai signed her for Vishwatma. Even though the movie was a flop, nobody can forget the song "Saat Samandar". Her talents were noticed by everyone and soon after Dewaana with newcomer Shahrukh Khah, and Shola Aur Shabnam with Govinda followed and went on to become super hits and has signed 14 other movies. By then Divya also became a tabloid's darling and was not only famous for her talents but also for her mood swings and childish behavior well forgetting that she was only 18. Her outspoken personality gotten taloids with reports about how she had problems with from Aamir Khan, Hema Malini, J.P Dutta, to Farah Khan. How she misbehaved on the sets and was never on time and how she had drinking problems also graced the tabloids pages. In one of her last interviews she explained her drinking problem by saying she only drinks on some occasion and has no problem whatsoever with it.

Not only was her professional life was on a rise, but so was her personal life. In May of 1992, she secretly got married to film director Sajid Nadiadwala. The marriage was kept a secret to protect her ever rising career. But that did not stop the tabloids from linking her with every co-star she worked with and calling her a "man-eater" which to she answered that if she was indeed a man eater, where are all the bones? She openly accepted the fact that she did indeed have a relationship with Sajid but denied the marriage allegations. In one of her last interview for Stardust in March of 1993, she said there will be a big announcement the following January relating to Sajid and her relationship. The announcement will never come.

Vishwatma, Dewaana and SAS were not her only movies in 92, 7 other movies: Geet, Dil Ka Kya Kasoor, Dil Hi To Hai, Dil Aashna Hai, Dushman Zamaana, Jaan Se Pyara and Balwan also followed making her the youngest successful star in Bollywood and earning her the Outstanding Face Of The Year at the end of 92. More hits followed her in 93 with Kshatriya and Andha Insaaf. Everyone was convinced she was going to be the biggest star in Bollywood but nobody had any idea what the fate will bring.

On April 7th, 1993, a 19 year old girl, dressed up in a bridal suit was surrounded by hundreds of people in a Mumbai suburb. But instead of being taken to her future home, she was taken to a cemetery to get buried. The girl was the ever successful, Divya Bharti. Her tragic end came on April 5th, 1993, when around midnight, she fell from her husband's 5th floor building ending her ever growing successful career and most importantly her life. The circumstances behind her death were considered suspicious by the media with some saying she was pushed to her death, some saying she committed suicide and some saying she was heavily drunk and slipped. However, despite an investigation, police found nothing. To this day her death remains a mystery.

Her body was only released on the day of her funeral to taken to her father's house who after hearing of his daughter sudden death, suffered from a mild heart attack and only released from the hospital on the day of her funeral. Her husband, Sajid also fainted and was taken to the hospital and was only released on the day of her funeral and after lightening the pyre, was overwhelmed by emotion and once again collasped. Around 500 people included her funeral with the likes of Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Raj Babbar, Yash Chopra, Jimmy Nirula, Sudhakar Bokade, Mukesh Duggal, Raza Murad, Vikas Anand, Ram Mohan, Javed Khan, Raj Kanwar, Nitin Manmohan, Pehlaj Nehlani, Hema Malini, Karisma Kapoor, Sangeeta Bijlani, Sridevi, Manisha Koirala and Asha Parekh, offered condolences to the bereaved family members at their residence. They were not the only one, the Mumbai streets were filled with fans of the young actress coming from all over India trying to get one last glimpse of the beautiful actress. Despite being only 6, I remember her last photographs of her in a bridal suit in front page of a newspaper.

After her death, her final two movies, Rang and Shatranj were released and dedicated to her memory. Movies like Mohra and Ladla were left unfinished and she was later replaced by Raveena Tandon and Sridevi. After showing clips of Divya in Ladla and comparing to Sridevi, many people felt that she did a much better job. Unfortunatly it was not meant to be. If still alive today, she would have 32 and without any doubts one of the biggest name in Bollywood along with Madhuri, Sridevi, and Kajol. These days, not many people know her but those who still remember her, consider her to be one of the best actresses to ever set foot in Bollywood.

Why I Love Shahrukh

Bollywood’s Baadshah; Shahrukh Khan is famous for a numerous amount of achievements, all of which any actor should be proud of. Shahrukh Khan started at the bottom and is now right at the top; what a tough journey for Shahrukh Khan it’s been.

Shahrukh began his career when he starred in numerous television shows including Circus, Fauji and In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones. He made his debut Bollywood film in 1992 with Deewana in which he starred alongside Divya Bharti and Rishi Kapoor. Deewana turned out to be a hit at the box office which helped launch his career in Bollywood. He also won the Filmfare Best Debut Award for the film in 1993. This achievement was then followed by his award winning performance as a murderer in Baazigar and box office hit as an obsessed lover in Darr.

As Shahrukh’s career moved on, 1995 proved to be a historical year for him, in which he starred in my forever favorite film, Adtiya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which turned out to be a box-office success; The move is now running for its 12th year in Mumbai Theatres; raking in over 12 billion rupees. It seemed as if Shahrukh only knew his way up the ladder soon after he gave us an outstanding performances in Yash Chopra’s; Dil To Pagal Hai and Subhash Ghai’s; Pardes. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai won Shahrukh him his third Best Actor award at Filmfare. 2000 turned out to be a spectacular year for Shahrukh with Mohabbatein and Josh doing well at the box office. That same year, Shahrukh partnered with Juhi Chawla to produce a production company known as Dreamz Unlimited. However their first production, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani did not do all that well at the box office; nevertheless they soon made up for the loss as Shahrukh released his second production Asoka in 2001. In 2002, Shahrukh became well known for his phenomenal role in Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Devdas, followed by Chalte Chalte and Kal Ho Na Ho in 2003.

Even though I have seen the majority of the above films, Shahrukh really became my main focus in 2004 in which he began his second production company, Red Chillies Entertainment, which was the banner for director Farah Khan’s debut Main Hoon Na, in which Shahrukh played an army officer in the search of his step brother. Shahrukh then became well known for his Punjabi character Veer who sacrificed years of his life for his Pakistani love in Veer Zaara, which won Shahrukh numerous awards. Shahrukh then tackled the poverty in India as he transformed himself into Mohan Bhargav in Ashutosh Gowariker’s; Swades. 2005 was a quiet year for Shahrukh with only one release, Paheli from Red Chillies Entertainment in which he played a double role.

2006 brought along what I thought of as Bollywood’s most controversial film, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. KANK touched upon a subject I felt only the bravest of directors in Bollywood could dare speak out on; extramarital affairs. Shahrukh played the role of Dev, who is a professional football player whose career is cut short after an accident. Even though he is married with a son, happiness isn’t something Dev is aware of until he meets Maya. For me, KANK brought the reality check many Indians of today needed. However not everyone shared the same thoughts and feelings as me. KANK seemed to be one of Shahrukh’s most questioned roles in which he had to defend himself and the movie in numerous amount of ways, including starring on NDTV’s We The People. KANK is definitely one of my favorite all time Shahrukh Khan films. In the same year he brought us a remake of the hit Don, and much to Amitabh Bachchan’s disappointment, Don proved to be a worldwide success.

Shahrukh for me has worked in a wide-range of movies, although many people would disagree. Even though Shahrukh is well known for his romantic hero films, he has managed to wow the crowds at certain points in his career playing various roles.

A major part of me being a Shahrukh Khan fan is his much loved on screen chemistry with Bollywood Actress Kajol Devgan. For me their chemistry is greater than any other couple seen on screen today; starring alongside each other in Karan Arjun, Baazigar, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, DDLJ and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Stupid as it sounds, when I was younger I actually used to think they were married in reality. Their chemistry is sizzling on screen and off. They share a great friendship and I know Shahrukh has great respect for her as a co-star. They are favored by many Bollywood lovers and we await their next movie.

Other than movies, Shahrukh has become popular amongst our TV channels as a host of the third series of Kaun Banega Crorepati. A program I never clapped eyes on until he took over in 2007. As well as becoming a Branding King endorsing products such as Pepsi, Compaq, Tag Heuer, Airtel, Santro, ICICI, Sunfeast and Lux. Lux brought along another controversy for Shahrukh, as he was bashed and questioned about his sexuality when he dared to star in a feminine bathing ad, bringing out his metro-sexual side. I, for one, was very proud that Shahrukh looked past the sexist views of today and realized that guys do take baths and use soap.

He has achieved numeral recognitions such as his waxwork in Madame Tussauds, Rajiv Ghandi award for Excellence in the Field of Entertainment, Padma Shri Award, and Best India Citizen Award. Then again he deserves it.

As well as a great actor, Shahrukh is frequently mentioned for being a great papa. With two adorable kids, who wouldn’t be? He dotes on them, spoils them and always has time for them even with his hectic schedule. 9 year old Aryaan and 7 year old Suhana are really the light of Shahrukh’s life. Lets not forget his wife Gauri as well. Unlike most actors, Shahrukh is settled. Alongside his wife and kids, Shahrukh also looks after his older sister known as Lala Rukh making him what I call the perfect family man.

With upcoming films, Chak De India and Om Shanti Om, I await to see what else is to come Shahrukh’s way.

Aishwarya Rai Spotlight

Bollywood can be well described as “survival of the fittest.” It’s a tough industry to maintain your grasp in and you have to be very lucky to get to the top, and then maintain your position. It also helps if you have a mix of talent, looks, and the very important “it” factor. One person who fits the bill in all these categories is none other than Aishwarya Rai. She is, without a doubt, the most talked about and most known Bollywood actor globally. In honor of the major success she has achieved in her career and the release of her new film Jodhaa Akbar, we would like to do a retrospective of the rise of the career of lady Ash.

Aishwarya Rai was born on November 1, 1973 in Mangalore, India, but moved to Mumbai shortly afterwards. Being brought up in the big city, her dreams were also big. Although she wanted to become an architect during her school days, her dreams quickly shifted into modeling. That is exactly the path she ended up choosing as she started doing many ads. All these ads were followed up with a run for the Miss India title, in which she was the runner up. As a result, she competed for the Miss World crown in 1994 at the age of 21. She ended up winning the competition, which opened many doors for her at such a young age. She decided to shift from modeling to acting hoping her newfound fame would get her places in the movie industry. People had never witnessed somebody with the beauty she possessed. That is why she started getting the title “the most beautiful woman in the world.” That was the reason she was able to cash in on acting as a backbone of her career. No one, at that time, thought that she would become one of the biggest names in Indian cinema whose talents would match her phenomenal looks.

Aishwarya started her acting career in 1997 in the South Indian film, Iruvar. The movie received great critical acclaim and Aishwarya was appreciated for her performance. Her first Bollywood film was Aur Pyar Ho Gaya, which did not do well. Her Bollywood career started off in a slow note, so she appeared in another South Indian movie. Jeans ended up being yet another success for Aishwarya in South Indian films, but she knew that Bollywood was calling for her presence. Her whole career would change with the film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. She gave a wonderful performance that resulted in her winning awards for the film in all major award function. The film was also a big hit and won many awards. 1999 had to definitely be the year of Aishwarya Rai because other than HDDCS, she also starred in Taal that year. She gave a very solemn and understated performance in this film, which went on to become a big hit. She was nominated for best actress for the film, but went on to lose to herself for HDDCS.

In the year 2000, she starred in yet another South Indian film called Kandukondain Kandukondian. Once again, she was appreciated for her efforts as she always received applause for her South Indian films. As for her Bollywood films in the same year, she starred in Josh, Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, and a special appearance in Mohabbatein. HDAPH ended up doing well and Ash received a best actress nomination for her performance. She also bagged a best supporting actress nomination for her special appearance in Mohabbatein. 2001 was a relatively quiet year for her as she only starred in Albela, which bombed badly. 2002, on the other hand, was a big year for her as she starred in the huge film, Devdas. The film won a record 10 Filmfare Awards, including a best actress award for Aishwarya. This is the film that officially put Aishwarya on the map and a force to be reckoned with. She also starred in the forgettable Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin and the unforgettable ‘Ishq Kamina’ item number in the film Shakti, which set body temperatures rising.

The highlight for her in 2003 had to be her Bengali film, Chokher Bali. It was something totally different from anything she had done in the past and she received much praise for her performance in the film. The film also received critical acclaim. Along with this film, she also starred in Kuch Naa Kaho and Dil Ke Rishta that year. Unfortunately, both these films flopped.

2004 was a memorable year for her in that she starred in her first English language film, Bride and Prejudice. It got the West to notice her and also helped her form a niche in Hollywood. The film did well overseas, which was an indication that Hollywood was definitely ready for the Bollywood beauty. That year, she also starred in the flop Kyun Ho Gaya Na, the critically and commercially successful Khakee, and the wonderful Raincoat, in which she perhaps gave the best performance of her career. She received a best actress nomination for the film. The one film she did in 2005, Shabd, was a damp squib, but that did not mean the attention was away from her. Her item number in Bunty Aur Babli, Kajre Re, alongside future husband and father-in-law, Abhishek and Amitabh Bachchan, was bigger than anything else she had done in her career. The song and video became a rage across the nation. Nobody will ever forget that Ash was the catalyst to the mother of all item numbers.

She started off 2006 with yet another English language film, The Mistress of Spices. This one, though, did not match the success of B&P and was a big failure. But it did not deter her from continuing to attempt more English language films in the future. She then starred in the remake of Umrao Jaan, which was supposed to be her career defining role. Although she was appreciated for her efforts, the movie was not taken well at all and flopped badly. But she ended the year with a bang that made everyone forget about the failures she endured earlier in the year. Her role in Dhoom 2 was the boldest of her career. Everyone gave her much credit for her complete makeover. The movie became the biggest hit of the year and Aishwarya was nominated for best actress for her performance.

2007 may be the most favorite year of her life, not for anything professionally, but rather personally. This is the year when she finally tied the knot to Abhishek Bachchan. Ever since then, I don’t recall ever seeing her without a smile on her face. She has been on top of the world since then. But her professional career wasn’t looking too shabby either. She starred alongside her husband in the film Guru, which received much praise and was also a big box office hit. Aishwarya was highly appreciated for her performance and has been nominated for best actress at this year’s awards. After this, she starred in two English language films, starting with Provoked. The movie did not do well, but Aishwarya’s performance was looked at as highly commendable. Then she starred in the extremely forgettable The Last Legion, in which she might have been the lone bright spot. All in all, 2007 was a pretty exciting year for Lady Rai.

Besides her movies, she has other highlights to her credit as well. In 2003, she became a part of the Cannes jury and has attended every festival since then. She is also an ambassador for the brand, L’Oreal, for which she also makes appearances at Cannes. A huge highlight for her career was gracing the cover of Time magazine and being named one of the most influential people in the world. Then in 2004, she became the first Indian female to receive a wax statue at the famed Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London and recently the statue was shifted to the New York museum for a brief period of time. As she became better known in the West in 2005, she made appearances in shows such as the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” and “60 Minutes.” More and more people are getting to know her outside of India now and it has become very beneficial to her career.

Although Aishwarya has faced many controversies and problems in her career, she has always maintained her dignity and has held her head high. She has had her ups and downs, but still has managed to stay at the top for all these years. Like I said at the outset, Bollywood is the survival of the fittest, and Ash has proven that she has what it takes to maintain a grasp in this industry. Aishwarya is not just beauty, but also brains. If she wasn’t, then there is no way she would have been able to market her the way she has and become such a global icon. The girl is very intelligent and talented and it has helped her achieve the success she has received throughout her career.

2008 looks to be yet another landmark year for Aishwarya. She has finished shooting for her biggest Hollywood film to date, Pink Panther 2. She has signed on to Sriram Raghavan’s (Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddaar) next which she will start shooting shortly. Also just recently, she has signed onto star opposite South Indian megastar Rajnikanth in the film Robot. It is her first South Indian film in 8 years. She will be starring alongside her husband and father-in-law, the Bachchan Boys, for the first time in Sarkar Raj, which is expected to release in May. Last, but certainly not least, this Friday she will star in Jodhaa Akbar, which is slated to be the biggest film of her career. All this is just an indication that Aishwarya is not ready to give up her spot at the top of the mountain just yet. As a matter of fact, it seems as if she is trying to get sole possession of the apex. We, here at Bollyspice, would like to wish Aishwarya the best in her career and hope she get all the success she truly deserves in everything she does!

Spotlight: Esha Deol

"As far as I am concerned, I pick those characters that I feel I will enjoy playing and do justice to. Never say never, is what I believe, so I grab any role that gives me a chance to perform well." ~ Esha Deol

Esha Deol is one of Bollywood's rising stars who has a distinct quality about her that shines through whenever she is on screen. This talented actress has portrayed many different roles in her short 5 years in the industry and we eagerly anticipate her newest film Darling, that opens in theaters this Friday. With this film, she is ready to live up to everyone's expectations of her, and so to shed a little more light on who she is we thought we would put her in the Spotlight.

Esha, whose name is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning "divine beloved", comes from a very filmi family. She is the daughter of two of Bollywood's best-known stars of the yesteryears: Dharmendra and the stunning Hema Malini. It's been said that she got her beauty from her mother and her acting talent from her father. She also has a younger sister named Ahana and her stepbrothers Sunny and Bobby Deol are also quite famous in their own right in Bollywood.

In school Esha was very athletic, and while attending Jamnabai Narsee School she excelled as a football player. She continued her education at the prestigious Oxford University, getting her Bachelor's Degree in Computer Technology and going on to graduate with a Master's Degree in Media Arts.

Coming from a family filled with heroes and heroines, it was natural that her real desire was to go into films: in fact ever since she was a child she had the acting bug. Her mother had alwasy been supportive of her decision. Says Esha in a recent interview, "My mother was always chilled about all this. She completely supports my decision. Her only advice is that I should put my 100 per cent in whatever I try and I should be the best in whatever I do. I wanted to act but did not get the opportunity. One day, my mom suddenly asked me if I wanted to act. I immediately agreed and that is how it all started." However, her father was initally against it, "Yes, Papa was reluctant earlier but, now, he is adjusting to it. He obviously wishes me well and keeps advising me to be careful. Both my parents tell me to do what I want, but to give it my best shot."

To prepare for her new career, "I took lessons in Hindi diction from Veena Mehta. I enrolled at Kishore Namit Kapoor's Acting Academy for three months. At the end of that, I felt more confident about myself," she said in an interview.

Her debut film was Boney Kapoor's Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe in 2002. Co-starring Jaya Bachchan and Aaftab Shivdasani, it was a love story that also explored the relationship between mother and daughter. Sadly it did not do well at the box-office but Esha had a made a mark and was awarded the Filmfare Best Debut award along with several other awards.

She was also shooting at the same time for Na Tum Jaano Na Hum opposite Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan. In fact, her actual first scene in front of the camera was for this movie. When asked what it was like facing the camera for the first time Esha said, "I was to shoot for a small song sequence. A huge posse of people was waiting to watch me. I was very nervous. I gave my first shot with Hrithik -- it was okayed on the first take. Everyone clapped loudly and I felt a lot better."

In the next year she starred in Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa, Kucch To Hai, Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne, LOC Kargil, and Yuva. For being part of the LOC Kargil cast she was given a national award. Esha speaks Tamil fluently and so in 2004 she had the honor of being cast in a Mani Rantman Tamil film, Aayitha Ezhuthu.

Then came the film and the role that had everyone sit up and take notice: Sheena in Dhoom. For this performance she was nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Her mother said, "Dhoom turned her career around. The clothes and styling were a bit alarming though. But we had been properly warned by Aditya Chopra. He had said, 'Forget that she's Hema Malini's daughter and forget she has to look like Hema Malini. But I never insisted on Esha looking and behaving like me. I want Esha to be completely different from me." Dhoom was a huge hit and her career was flying.

She had several hits in the next year including Kaal, No Entry, which was the biggest grossing film of 2005, and Dus. She was also seen in Main Aisa Hi Hoon, and though only a secondary character she presented so much feeling and depth that her performance is one that everyone remembers.

She also portrayed roles in Shaadi No 1 in 2005, and in 2006 was seen in Pyare Mohan, starring Vivek Oberoi, Fardeen Khan, and Amrita Rao. In addition,in the film Ankahee (2006), Esha showed off her versatility as an actress by portraying a negative character and even recieved a 'Best Actor in a Negative Role' nomination for that performance from the 'Star Screen Awards'.

In 2007, Just Married and Cash didn't set the box office on fire, in fact you could say they crashed and burned. However, Esha says you live and learn from your flops. "The first two or three days after a film flops are really painful for the actors. Then we decide not to do anything similar again. I'm now much conscious about selecting my films. Besides reading the script carefully, I also check out who the director is. I'm going to work with filmmakers like Ramuji only. However, at times even good movies fail to do well at the box-office."

Speaking of Ramujii, aka Ram Gopal Varma the illustrious filmmaker, he is the director of her next release Darling which opens on the 7th of September. In the film "I play an unsatisfied soul who returns as a ghost to finish the unfinished," she said. The film also stars Fardeen Khan and Ishaa Koppikar. According to Varma, "... Darling is of a different genre. It is a horror comedy, which makes you laugh. It begins as a romantic comedy then becomes a murder mystery and then turns into a horror film. It is a highly emotional, relationship story where the basic premise starts with comedy."

Varma was very impressed with Esha's performance and said, "Esha's character in the film has been treated with intensity. She is a good actress who has not been utilized fully." With this interesting premise, great cast, and celebrated director, it is sure to be the hit this actress needs to become one of Bollywood's established stars.

Next in the pipeline is Dus Kahaniyan which releases in October of this year, and she has also signed a film with Tusshar Kapoor and Suniel Shetty called One Two Three. She will also be seen in a love story by Mahesh Bhatt titled Jannat that is just about to go on the floor, and on hold is a film with Milind Soman and Shilpa Shetty titled Kahin Aag Na Lag Jaaye.

Esha has come a long way since her debut film and as she learns more about her craft and grows as a person she will fully come into her own as an actress. She is beautiful on screen and in her work you can see the brilliance she has inside. We can only wait and watch to see how great her performances will be in the future. We look forward to watching her in many more films!

Fun Facts:

Esha, like her mother is a classically trained dancer. She is an accomplished dancer in the Odissi style and they have performed dance concerts together. Her sister also trained in Odissi and Hema is an expert in the Bharatanatyam style as well. Funny thing is, Esha has never played a dancer in a film.

She is the granddaughter of Jaya Chakraborty.

Her favorite film starring her parents is Sholay.

Her favorite Perfume is Estee Lauder's Pleasure.

Kajol and Julia Roberts are her favorite actresses.

When she first started in the film industry she said that Sylvester Stallone was her favorite Hollywood actor. In Bollywood it was Shah Rukh Khan.

She has several tattoos and says she is very fond of getting them. She has one on her left bosom that is a scorpion, which she got while visiting London several years ago. She also has a large tattoo of Gayatri Mantra on her back. She knows the mantra by heart.

Esha works outs at the Barbarian Power Gym, which is owned by her 'Rakhi brother' Satya.

For Cash she performed a lot of stunts and said, "This film has all kinds of action -- there is action on the road, in water, in air, in the mountains, chases, fights, everything. The best part is I got to train at a motor training school where I learnt to spin the wheel, take a 180 degree turn. I have always loved taking to the road at full speed and this role fulfilled my need for speed."

During the shooting for Darling things got really confusing because whenever the director he called either Ishaa or Esha, both of them would turn. He got so frustrated that he gave them each a nickname Ishaa was IK and Esha was ED. From then on it was smooth filming.

Personal Quotes:

"An actress is all about acting, revealing is not even in the job!"

"Face your fears and live your dreams."

Spotlight: Rani Mukerji

"According to me acting should be done from the heart. You have to feel every given emotion and perform with ease and sincerity." -Rani Mukerji

Rani Mukerji, one of Bollywood's finest artists, has won the praise of critics and the love of fans all over the world for her sincere portrayal of her roles. She has played opposite some of the industry's greatest male actors and has given some truly amazing performances. Rani gives her all in her roles and is accomplished in comedy as well as drama. She has received numerous awards for her incredible acting and is also regarded by many as the best actress in Bollywood! With the release of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag this Friday, we thought we would shine our spotlight on this beautiful and accomplished actress.

Rani hails from a 'filmi' family. Her father was a director and helped establish the Filmalya studios, her mother was a playback singer, her brother is a producer/director, and perhaps you may have heard of her cousin... Kajol? Despite her filmi background, Rani once said, "I never thought I had any talent to be in films so it never occurred to me that I could be an actor."

Her path to stardom began at the age of 14 with a cameo in one of her father's films, Biyar Phool (1992). Four years later, she truly embarked on her journey to being the star she is now. Her first starring role was in Raja ki Aayegi Baraat in 1996. The film did not do well at the box office but Rani's performance was praised and she even won a Screen Weekly award for Best Fresh Talent. She was truly bitten by the acting bug at this point, and decided that from then on she was going to put her heart and soul into all her roles.

Even though her debut film did not do well her acting talent certainly shined through, and 2 years later she was signed to star opposite Aamir Khan in the crime drama, Ghulam. This film managed to do well at the box office and she was on her way up the ladder of success.

Her next film, the super hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, firmly established her as a star in the making and her role earned her critical acclaim and audience appreciation as well as Best Supporting Actress at the Filmfare awards. One interesting thing to note is that Rani's voice was dubbed for that film. She said, "When Karan wanted my voice to be dubbed for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I really thought that it [my voice] was bad and very husky and rough, but slowly I worked to improve my diction, and am now quite comfortable with it." Her voice is now one of her trademarks, recognizable as soon as the first words are uttered even if only in a voice over.

Rani has been in over 30 films during her illustrious career and it would take pages to look back at each of her roles (besides, my editor would kill me) so here are a few highlights:

Hey Ram! (2000) - Rani was ecstatic at the chance to work with director Kamal Hassan, whose level of excellence if widely recognized in the industry. She said, "Kamal Hassan re-invented the actress in me after the 'Hey Ram' experience." Though not a commercial success, the film was India's official entry to the Academy Awards that year.

Mujhse Dosti Karoge in 2002 starred Rani opposite the hunky Hrithik Roshan. Sadly, the film was not a success in India, but it did do well in other markets especially in England. Taran Adarsh said in his review, "MUJHSE DOSTI KAROGE clearly belongs to Rani Mukherji, [sic] who has the meatiest role comparatively. The actress is superb in a role that fits her like a glove." This is the film that made me a huge Rani fan, and is also one of my favorite movies.

After a string of flops, the film that revitalized Ranis' career was Saathiya (2002). Rani once said in an interview, "Yash Chopra and Aditya signed me for Saathiya at a time when my career wasn't getting anywhere. If they hadn't come forward I'd not have moved forward. It's entirely up to the directors to bring out your abilities..." Starring opposite Rani was the great young actor Vivek Oberoi and the film went on to be a critical and commercial success. It was one of the highestgrossing films of the year and Rani was nominated for the Filmfare Best Actress Award and won the Filmfare Critics' Award for her portrayal as Dr. Suhani Sharma.

Chalte Chalte(2003)- This film co-starring Shah Rukh Khan and directed by Aziz Mizra, was a hit at the box-office. Rani commented on the film, “"Mikanos was heavenly, so picture perfect! Aziz Uncle is the kindest director possible. And working with Shah Rukh was fabulous. He was like a teacher. Spurring me on, scolding me... he was fantastic, despite being in so much pain."(Shah Rukh was recovering from spinal surgery.) For her role, Rani was nominated for several Best Actress Awards including Filmfare, ZeeCine, ScreenWeekly and the prestigious IIFA. Critic Taran Adarsh noted, "Rani Mukherji proved her mettle as an actress of caliber in Saathiya and in Chalte Chalte, she takes a step forward. She slips into the character with amazing ease, proving that she's a reservoir of talent. Looks-wise too, Rani has never looked as gorgeous as in this flick." The film was screened at the Casablanca International Film Festival and Rani says of that experience: "Fifty thousand people on the beach watching Chalte Chalte with me, then asking me questions about the songs and dances, the idiom and language of expression was incredible. I don't think I'll ever forget my experience in Casablanca."

Yuva (2004)- A Mani Ratnam-directed drama in which she plays wife to Abhishek Bachchan's crime boss character. Critics gave the film two thumbs down but gave Rani's performance two thumbs up. One critic said, "The role demanded an actress of substance and Rani more than lives up to the expectations." The film went on to be a hit with audiences and won several Filmfare awards including one for Rani as Best Supporting Actress.

Veer-Zaara(2004) - A Yash Chopra epic starring Rani, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. The film was a blockbuster hit and the highest grossing film of 2004. Though the film's story was not centered around her character per se, she made her presence known and was wonderful in her portrayal of Shah Rukh Khan's lawyer. Critic Taran Adarsh said, "Rani Mukerji is a scene-stealer. The actress takes giant strides with this role, relying completely on her expressions to do her job." Rani was nominated for Filmfare's Best Supporting Actress Award, and she won the IIFA award for the same role.

Black (2005)- A tour de force performance in which she got so deep into her character of a deaf and blind woman that you could barely recognize the gorgeous star of so many movies. Her first reaction was to say no to the role because she felt she did not have enough knowledge to portray such a multi-layered and difficult character. But Sanjay Leela Bhansali had complete faith in her, and so she began her preparation. She studied at the Helen Keller Institute in Mumbai for many months to get completely comfortable with sign language. About this masterpiece of a film Rani said, "When I heard the script I was bowled over by the layers in it. Black is a kind of film that comes once in a lifetime." Adding, "A lot of films are well made. But Black teaches us a very important lesson of life. I think we artistes tend to take faculties like hearing and seeing for granted. But what about someone who doesn't have these basic functions?"

Rani was amazing as Michelle and all lauded her performance. One critic said, "There's no denying that Rani delivers her best performance to date. With no dialogues in her lap, the actress conveys through expressions solely and what a terrific impact she makes. Here's a performance that should act as a reference guide for all aspiring actors." This is one of the many rave reviews she got and the depth of her performance and the film itself, which co-starred Amitabh Bachchan, astounded audiences. Her performance was also celebrated by the receipt of several best actress awards including the IIFA, Filmfare, Screen Weekly and Zee Cine awards!

Other notable films include: Chori Chori (2003) with Ajay Devgan (my personal favorite!), Hum Tum (2004) opposite Saif Ali Khan, for which she won the Filmfare Best Actress Award, Bunty Aur Babli (2005), a huge hit with Abhishek Bachchan and Paheli (2005) costarring SRK, which was India's entry to the Oscars that year.

With this Friday's release of Laaga Chunari Mein Daag we will see Rani in many different avatars. The story (not usually seen in Hindi films) is that of an eldest daughter who has to become a call girl in order to support her family. Recently Rani spoke about the upcoming film and why she chose to do the role: "I think the beauty of the script is that it talks about a strong female character in a slightly unconventional way. The very fact that the script talks about the eldest daughter trying to be the son of the house is something that lot of girls will relate to because every elder daughter is kind of pressurized to be the son of the house. It's got shades of grey and that's what has interested me and the fact that she is not ashamed about what she has done. It's something that she has kind of accepted and goes with it and she is not apologetic about it." From watching the promos we can see that this will be another power packed and brilliant performance of Rani's. We are eager to see how the story unfolds and the gamut of emotions that she must portray in this difficult role.

After Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, her next appearance on the big screen will be in her role in the highly anticipated Saawariya, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and she has also started work in Kunal Kohil's next opposite Saif Ali Khan.

Some fun facts:
Rani has won well over 60 awards, 6 of those Filmfare awards, which ties the record set by Nutan Behl for the most wins by any actress. She is also one of the few actresses who have won two major awards within the same year, which she has done several times.

Her favorite sport is sleeping.

She said in a chat online "As a child I always wanted to grow up and become famous and independent."

Her screen idols are Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan.

After her 2007 appearance on "Kaun Banega Crorepati?" with Preity Zinta she donated her prize money, Rs. 250,000, to the Holy Family Hospital. The hospital takes care of children with heart problems. She has also contributed to and worked for many other worthy causes.

Rani is a trained Odissi dancer, and began learning the style when she was 15.

She once said, "I'd rather have a room full of cuddly teddy bears than a diamond necklace in a safe deposit locker."

As of 2006, her films have made well over Rs. 5 billion at the box office.

Her favorite film is Titanic and her favorite song comes from that film, 'My Heart Will Go On'.

When asked which were her favorite roles she said "all of them!" but when pressed she answered laughingly, "Alright, it's just that I don't want to hurt anybody. But if I had to list them, Alisha in Ghulam of course, then Tina of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and my character of the bindaas girl in Bichchoo; then there's Suhaani of Saathiya, who is a lot like me in real life, and now Priya of Chalte Chalte!"

Rani topped Filmfare's 'Top Ten Bollywood Actresses' List for the last three years. Also for the third year in a row she was number one on Rediff's 'Top Bollywood Female Stars'.

She has also toured the world in several Bollywood musical extravaganzas. First in 1999, with the Magnificent Five, Rani, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Akshaye Khanna and Twinkle Khanna put on an amazing show. In 2004, she was a part of the hugely popular Temptations 2004, which included performances by Rani along with Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra. The showcase had an amazing 19 performances with stops all over the world.

"One should not go on the length of the role, but whether the role has substance. That should be on the priority list. Quality and not quantity."

From Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Mujhse Dosti Karoge, from Bunty Aur Babli to Black, this petite young woman has won the hearts of many with her brilliant acting, beautiful looks, and sexy voice. As she said, "I am here to act, entertain and make good films. Today I am looking for banners and costars who have the same goal as me --- to work towards making a good film with dedication."

We look forward to seeing Laaga Chunari Mein Daag on Friday and for many more dazzling performances from this great actress. Who knows what she shall achieve next! Aage aage dekho, hota hai kya! (Wait and Watch!)
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