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    Imran’s paternity leave to end soon
    Last month Imran Khan and wife Avantika brought home their baby girl Imara. A month later, the new father already sounds like a veteran. “These version 2014 babies are very good models,” he says with his classic dry wit. “She sleeps through the night and is no trouble at all.” Khan is also delighted that four other couples in his group of friends are expecting babies. “It’s going to be fun seeing them all grow up together,” he says, though he does sympathize with the unmarried friends in their group who are likely to be fed-up with parents exchanging notes about their respective babies’ latest antics. As for work, Khan expects his paternity leave to end post the monsoons when he begins shooting a film with director Nikhil Advani. It’s the only project he’s signed on for now but he is reading scripts in between changing diapers and tending to his newborn. Khan turned down Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies (after his rift with Ekta Kapoor’s company which is producing the film) and after director Vikramaditya Motwane and he amicably parted ways on Bhavesh Joshi.

    Salman gets his kicks
    There is no getting away from the hype surrounding this week’s release. Salman Khan manages to book the Eid slot almost annually and this year it’s for the remake of Kick, which marks the directorial debut of producer Sajid Nadiadwala. The film has ‘hit’ written all over it with specially designed action sequences, glamorous songs and an item number by Nargis Fakhri. It’s no wonder the superstar is impervious to the ‘boycott’ by Mumbai’s media photographers after a fracas at a song launch for Kick last week.

    Stars take on ‘trivial’ pursuits
    Residents of Bangalore have a chance tonight and residents of Chennai can book a seat for Sunday’s performance of Trivial Disasters, an ensemble theatre production directed by Atul Kumar. The play sees an interesting cast of film and TV personalities such as Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadda, Purab Kohli and Cyrus Sahukar. A collection of absurd comic sketches that turns upside down everyday trivial events, the play is an opportunity for these familiar faces to work with one of theatre’s leading directors and also hone their own skills. Kalki said she took on the national tour with this play because she had wanted to be directed by Kumar. Watching the rehearsals, one could see that the actors enjoyed a comfortable rapport. Sahukar’s antics and improvisation constantly drove the cast and crew to double up with laughter. As for Kalki, she’s juggling two stage productions at the same time – playing Ophelia in a clowning version of Hamlet and playing myriad characters in Trivial Disasters.

    The two faces of Riteish
    Riteish Deshmukh has a bit of a double personality these days – there is his on-screen dressed-in-drag Humshakals actor personality and there is the producer who has made sensitive and critically acclaimed Marathi films like Yellow and Balak Palak. He also recently broke out of the comic mould and extended himself as an actor to play a dark part in Ek Villain, which earned him rave reviews. It was his wife who suggested he try a grey part and her instinct seems to have been right. Riteish has also recently starred in his first Marathi film, Lai Bhari. Currently he is shooting for the satire Bangistan and has Bank Chor and Housefull 3 lined up. Towards the end of the year, he gears up for fatherhood as he and his wife Genelia are expecting their first child. “Experience,” he says, “makes you a better actor, but I am not sure if I have hit my stride yet. I keep trying to do better work.” His fans and critics however wonder why an actor who can clearly rise above the material needs to resort to cheap shots like Humshakals and Housefull. “People seem to enjoy them,” he says simply.

    -Udita Jhunjhunwala

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