Vivek Oberoi

Vivek Oberoi has finally succumbed!

The actor, who was once quoted as having said that he is here to act, not sell products, has apparently sold out to the highest bidder at last.

In this case, it happens to be Coca-Cola, which has shelled out big bucks for the star to endorse its campaign. The new advert, to be released during the World Cup, has Oberoi dancing to Aishwarya Rai's beat. It is being shot under the hot sun at Film City.

Oberoi fans, keep your eyes peeled on February 8!


The Abhishek-Karisma secret
Rumours about the reason why Abhishek Bachchan and Karisma Kapoor split are doing the rounds of the industry. With both parties keeping mum, we will just leave you to figure out which of the following could be the real reason. Strange, though, that these issues did not crop up earlier:

* Babita did not want Randhir Kapoor to perform the kanyadaan or even be present at the wedding. Likewise with Krishna Raj Kapoor. The Bachchans, who are samdhis of the Kapoor family and very close friends, could not accept such a strange request.

* Karisma wanted Abhishek to move out of his father's house and set up their own house in Bandra.

* Karisma is beginning to feel that Abhishek, with only flops to his name, may just be a bad bet to tie herself down to.

* The age difference. Karisma is 29, Abhishek, 26. Having been in the industry for years, Karisma knows Abhishek may be tempted to stray as he grows older!

Gurinder Chadha

Peeya's excited
Former veejay Peeya Raichaudhari is really thrilled. She is even heading to the National School of Drama to do a refresher course before she begins to work on Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice [which is based on Jane Austen's novel Pride And Prejudice]. "The approach was completely professional -- I was auditioned by the casting agent in November and re-auditioned in December by Gurinder. Now, I am in the film. I have a bound script and have been given a few months to prepare for it."

The Lee Strasberg graduate is thrilled with her role, she says. "I play the mad Lydia. What I really like about the production is the fact that it is an English production and would look really good on my CV!"

Playing the other sisters are Namrata Shirodkar, Meghna Kothari and Aishwarya Rai.


Devdas on TV
Now you can watch Devdas on SET Max. In the war of the channels among Zee, STAR and SET Max, the Sony channel seems to be racing ahead as it has acquired Devdas along with four other films: Mr and Mrs Iyer, Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage, Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaaye, and Yeh Hai Jalwa.

While Sony refuses to comment on the moolah spent on the Oscar contender, industry sources say the figure is as high as Rs 80 million.

STAR also seems to be slowly getting into the race, as they have now signed a deal with Balaji Telefilms. "All the films made by them will be telecast on STAR," CEO Sameer Nair said.

Suman Ranganathan

Second innings
Actress Suman Ranganathan is back to Bollywood.

The model-turned-actress who split up with model Gautam Kapoor a few months ago has already got three big films on her plate.

In Market, she has stepped into Yukta Mookhey's shoes. In Baghbaan, she plays Aman Verma's wife and stars with Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini.

But her most interesting film may be the one inspired by the Shivani Bhatnagar murder case, in which Suman plays a journalist who tries to "break the rules and set new ones in a male-dominated world". It is titled, quite unimaginatively, Devyani Murder Mystery.

The actress is tightlipped about how she will approach her role and the homework she is doing for it. But moving from an item number specialist to serious cinema is definitely a second innings for Suman.


Monika Baldwa

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