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    Just rewards
    The film awards season is upon us, starting with the Screen Awards next week and a host of other events to follow. Film stars are busy rehearsing as hosts and performers, and nominees are in regular discussions and fittings with their fashion designers. It’s a tough year with the Bollywood biggies bringing in the big numbers, but the middle of the road films proving that content is king. Most organisers must be relieved that they have a convenient category called ‘jury’ awards or ‘critics’ awards to hide behind and ‘popular’ awards to front all the A-list stars that make up the front row guest list. Hopefully, the really deserving films will make up with technical awards what their leading actors will surely miss out in terms of accolades.

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    John ‘rings’ in the New Year
    The last week ended with news of John Abraham’s discreet wedding to Priya Runchal via a subtle tweet. One could hear the collective breaking of hearts as the Dostana actor was taken off the market by his MBA girlfriend. You have to hand it to Abraham for a classy act, denying the media the opportunity to speculate endlessly on designers, menus, venues and guest lists. Another actor to pull the wool over the eyes of salivating gossip writers was Hrithik Roshan, who flew off to USA and then issued a public statement about his separation. While one man is back to work single, the other is back to shooting with a new marital status and a ring on his finger. Today happens to be Roshan’s birthday, so here’s wishing him a happy day and wishing Abraham a happy future.

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    Love’s dual notes
    This week, two Bollywood releases cater to two very different audiences. Dedh Ishqiya, the sequel to Ishqiya, sees Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi reunite along with two lovely new leading ladies—Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi. Personally, I cannot wait to see the chemistry between Dixit and Shah! At the other end of the spectrum is the other release of the week—a youthful, musical romance. Helmed by actress-turned-director Divya Khosla Kumar, Yaariyan is not just a launch pad for her, but also for a bunch of newcomers. The theme of the story is also about firsts—first outburst, first challenge, first love and first friends. The new cast includes Himansh Kohli, an RJ from Delhi; Rakul Preet, an actress who’s done Tamil and Telugu films; former beauty queen Nicole Faria; and finally Shreyas Pardiwalla and Devanshu Sharma.

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    Casting coup
    Last month, some news reports suggested that, after the debacle of Gori Tere Pyar Mein, Deepika Padukone was being considered as a replacement for Kareena Kapoor, to star opposite Hrithik Roshan in Shuddhi. But when Padukone was questioned on this she said she had not been approached for the film and was surprised by the stories. Produced by Karan Johar and directed by Karan Malhotra (Agneepath), Shuddhi is a love story with a reincarnation theme. Interestingly, Roshan and Kapoor were last seen together in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and, while they were reportedly considering co-starring in a Zoya Akhtar film, it’s KJo who’s brought the hot pair back together. However, the shooting has now been pushed to June, and with a 2015 release planned, let’s hope the proverbial gap between cup and lip is kept sealed till then.

    - Udita Jhunjhunwala

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