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    Deepika Padukone

    No surprise there
    The lissome Deepika Padukone must be floating a few inches off the ground, what with an exceptional year full of major hits and great praise for her performances. Her fan club recently got a new member, Salman Khan. The actor endorsed her abilities during the season-opener of Koffee with Karan.

    But while everyone else is ooh-ing and aah-ing about Khan’s open admiration, Padukone says she is not surprised. “He was the first to spot me and offer me a role when I was still a very young model,” she says, adding that she is glad he continues to feel she has what it takes. Interestingly, in the six years since she made her debut, they have never acted together. Now there’s a casting coup waiting to happen.

    Anand Gandhi

    Anand Gandhi

    Gandhi captains a change
    At a recently-concluded literature festival in Mumbai, it was interesting to see Ship of Theseus director Anand Gandhi surrounded by fawning fans, most of whom were film students. Gandhi, who believes in free media and community sharing of his media and entertainment, candidly confessed that he got his greatest film education thanks to piracy.

    Now he’s planning to upload more than six hours of raw footage from Ship of Theseus, inviting filmmakers to re-craft the footage as per their interpretation. Gandhi is currently busy with the production of a documentary titled Election Day, directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla, which will conclude sometime after next year’s general elections. His next as director is the story of a theatre director and the three women in his life. He also has Rahi Anil Barve’s Tumbad, which has been under production for a year.

    Dia Mirza

    Dia Mirza

    Back in the spotlight
    These days Bollywood actress Dia Mirza is seen more behind the camera than in front of it. So it came as a surprise to see her at the Sanctuary Wild Life Awards held in Mumbai last week. Turns out, Mirza was being acknowledged for her citizen’s initiative in raising awareness about the plight of the tiger and its habitat. Mirza tied up with Sanctuary Asia to produce a public service message where celebrities such as Om Puri, Soha Ali Khan, and Aditi Rao Hydari spoke on behalf of the tiger, concluding with the ‘Leave Me Alone’ message. At the function, Mirza was also overheard talking about her forthcoming marriage to boyfriend and business partner Sahil Sangha.

    Nawazuddin Siddiqui

    Nawazuddin Siddiqui

    Getting his mojo back
    Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the man of the moment, even though he has had only three releases this year—the damp squib Aatma, the portmanteau Bombay Talkies and the lip-smacking The Lunchbox. He’s on magazine covers and in magazines articles. And in 2014, he will make up for the middling year that was 2013.  Siddiqui has two films ready and raring to go—if they just find a release. I wrote about the release of both Miss Lovely and Monsoon Shootout last week. Meanwhile, Siddiqui-starrer Haraamkhor is also readying for release.

    A fourth film, Liar’s Dice, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition. Directed by Malayalam actress Geethu Mohandas, Liar’s Dice also stars Geetanjali Thapa and Manya Gupta. It’s the story of a young village woman who leaves her native land with her daughter in search of her missing husband. Siddiqui plays an army deserter who accompanies them on their journey.

    - Udita Jhunjhunwala

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