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Entertainment conglomerate Yash Raj Films (YRF) has withdrawn its over 10-year-old distribution deal with filmmaker Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, saying it is a “purely business decision”.

“As always, Dharma Productions had offered some films to us. However, at this point in time we have taken a conscious decision not to acquire any films but to only produce and distribute our own,” said Rafiq Gangjee, Vice President.

“They respected and accepted this. It is purely a business decision,” Gangjee said.

YRF’s association with Johar dates back to the director’s first movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. It has since then been distributing all of Johar’s productions, including Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Dostana.

The distribution rights of the his forthcoming films Wake Up Sid and an untitled Rensil D’Silva project starring Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi and saif ali khan, were also offered to the company. But the deal did not materialise and was instead sealed with Ronnie Screwvala’s UTV Motion Pictures in mumbai.

Regarding his association with UTV, Johar said in a statement: “I have known and been in touch with Ronnie for a long time and I am glad I am finally getting a chance. His passion and sensibility towards understanding cinema is exceptional and I am looking forward to working with his company.”

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As a child, Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan  was awestruck by Zeenat Aman, so much so that he went and asked the 1970’s trendsetter if he could sleep with her.

Abhishek used to love accompanying his father Amitabh to outdoor shoots and he especially enjoyed it when he got the chance to go with his dad for the shooting of 1983 film Mahaan that also starred Zeenat Aman.

On the forthcoming episode of Farhan Akhtar’s chat show Oye! It’s Friday, the junior Bachchan reveals how crazy he was about Zeenat, said a source.

“On the show, Abhishek recalls an incident wherein all members of the film’s cast and crew were having dinner. He spoke about how, when Zeenat-ji left after finishing her dinner and was going back to her room to hit the bed, he asked her if he could join her and sleep with her in the room,” added the source.

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Freida Pinto is practically everywhere. Right from the silver screens world over, to the super exclusive red carpet  to the Oscars to a high profile Hollywood film cast and back home, she is on the covers of every possible magazine. The latest one being fashion and lifestyle magazine Cosmopolitan.

In this issue, Freida talks all about her life, pre and post the cult film Slumdog Millionaire. She also talks about her take on the controversy surrounding the film. The pretty actress says her ideal man has to be a blend of everything and he has to be hilarious but know when to draw the line.

For more such inside dope on the lady of the moment, one has to read Cosmopolitan and discover the real Freida

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She’s written Mira Nair’s acclaimed films like Salaam Bombay!, Mississippi Masala and The Namesake, but photographer-writer Sooni Taraporewala decided to turn director for Little Zizou as she knew the subject – the Parsi community – better than anyone else. So much so that she completed the script in just 10 days!

“I wrote it with actors and locations in mind. I could visualise it and knew exactly what I wanted… Which is why I decided to direct it myself – I knew the subject better than anybody else,” said Taraporewala.

“I had some time on my hands in 2005 and for the first time began writing  a script that was not commissioned by anybody else. I enjoyed myself thoroughly as the characters and subject grew and I found myself with a complete script in 10 days,” she added.

With Parsi roots herself, she had special reasons to base her film on her cultural milieu. “I chose to set my debut film within the Parsi world because it’s a world I’m very close to, I am very familiar with and confident about depicting accurately. But also because it is so fascinating and so rarely seen,” the filmmaker explained.

“Parsis have a culture just like anybody else. While the setting is very particular the characters, their dilemmas and the issues they face are totally universal,” she added.

Produced by Dinaz Stafford, Vandana Malik and Taraporewala herself, the film is a 101-minute Hindi, Gujarati and English amalgamation with a 34-actor ensemble cast.

Releasing on March 13, Little Zizou revolves around two Parsi families in conflict and stars Boman Irani, Sohrab Ardeshir, Imaad Shah and child actor Jahan Bativala to name a few. Bollywood star John Abraham  too does a cameo in the film.

Donning the director’s hat, however, was not planned for the 52-year-old. “My life has never been planned. I never intended to become a screenwriter but life took me in that direction. Similarly with direction, it was unplanned,” she said.

The first-time director confessed that she did have her share of initial apprehensions. “Before the first day of the shoot I had a deep pit in my stomach. The only other time I’ve ever been that nervous was for my school leaving exams back in 1973! But then as soon as the first few shots were canned I was fine.”

Known for focussing on the finer details of her subjects, the writer has thrown light on the Parsi mentality of looking inwards at their success.

The presence of a portrait of Zubin Mehta in every Parsi house, their habit of playing loud Western classical music

and constant stress on Indira gandhi  being married into a Parsi family are some typical traits of the community she has humorously depicted in Little Zizou.

The film has already been appreciated and won awards at the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council (MIAAC) film festival, New York and the Asian Festival of First Films, Singapore.

“The reaction has been absolutely wonderful, heart warming and effusive. Audiences in New York, Washington, rome

and Goa have laughed their way through this mad yet fun tale,” she said.

Taraporewala says her relationship with Indian American Mira Nair will always be special. “We have been friends since 1976. We are also very close creatively so that combination is a very special one.”

So, has photography taken a backseat now? “I still take photographs, not professionally any more but for my own satisfaction,” she said.

Taraporewala has “no immediate plans to direct anything” but is working on an ongoing project since 2006 to adapt Mark Shand’s book Travels on my Elephant into a screenplay.

Freida’s Oscar destiny

February 16, 2009

1Designers predict that despite Hollywood beauties all around, it will be Desi girl Freida Pinto who will steal the fashion limelight at the Oscars.

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Designer Alpana of the label Azara said, ”She has a great body with an attractive face. She pulls off everything very well. She carries herself with poise and knows what to wear and when.

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Designer Atsu said, ”She is the new flavour of the season and is a very pretty girl. Whatever she has worn at these events prove a point – that she can carry any dress with style and confidence.

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Indian sensation Freida Pinto modelled for Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2009/2010 fashion show, presented in Milan, Italy. The actress, 24, brushed shoulders with the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Eva Mendes on the ramp.

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After the Slumdog Millionaire‘s Oscar triumph, Pinto is much in demand. She is all set to act opposite Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins in Woody Allen’s next movie.

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The new style sensation is also on the cover of Indian Vogue’s March edition.

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Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her boyfriend Raj Kundra inked a deal with IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals owners Emerging Media group.

Though the details of the deal are not yet known but according to sources, Shilpa and Kundra will have an 11 per cent stake in Rajasthan Royals. Shilpa will also be the brand ambassasor of the defending champions of the Twenty20 tournament.

After Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, Shilpa is the fourth Bollywood name to be associated with the cash-rich event. While Preity owns Kings XI punjab  with beau Ness Wadia, Shah Rukh and Juhi are the owners of Kolkata Kinght Riders.