Kunal Khemu to lead Bhandarkar's 'Signal' ...

By Manissha Despaande and Nidhi Pathak, Indo-Asian News Service

imageMumbai, (IANS) Director Madhur Bhandarkar has signed Kunal Khemu, who debuted with Mahesh Bhatt's "Kalyug" last year, to play the central character in his next film "Signal".

The young actor is very excited about the role, reports Bollywood Trade.

He says: "It came very unexpectedly. Madhur Bhandarkar had earlier complimented me on my performance in 'Kalyug'. Then he called me up last week and asked me to see him urgently. He read out the script to me. It was brilliant and I was zapped when Madhur told me that he had confirmed me for the lead role."

He also admits that he is a great follower of Bhandarkar's films.

"I have watched all his films so far and I liked 'Chandni Bar' the best. He is a very realistic director, who defines character in vivid detail," he says.

"Signal", which will go on the floor in March, is produced by Sahara One.


'Mere Jeevan Saathi' releasing Jan 26

Filmmaker Suneel Darshan is preoccupied with the release plans of his much-awaited film, "Mere Jeevan Saathi", starring Akshay Kumar and Karisma Kapoor.

"The film is releasing Jan 26 and though it is a little late in the day, I'd like to offer it my full support as a director. It is a film that I quite enjoyed making and has Karisma Kapoor in her best performance so far," he says.

The lukewarm response to his film, "Dosti", among the younger audiences has led filmmaker Darshan to infer that the youth of today don't connect to an emotion called friendship, reports Bollywood Trade.

"It is evident from the fact that the young urban audiences in the multiplexes did not endorse the film. In fact, I was quite disappointed with the manner in which the younger audiences reacted to the film, when I was trying to rekindle the feelings of friendship."

On the other hand, he is quite pleased with the worldwide response to the film, particularly in Britain, where the collections have been very encouraging.


Knockouts for Abhishek Kapoor

Abhishek Kapoor, who tried his luck as hero in films "Aashiq Mastana" in 1995 and "Uff! Yeh Mohabbat" in 1997, returns as a director with "Aryan".

The film is based on boxing and to give factual support to the story he has roped in Australian boxing trainers to train Sohail Khan, who plays lead, reports Bollywood Trade.


Jaya Bachchan goes green

Actress-MP Jaya Bachchan is promoting a programme called "Greening India with Neem" on radio and TV initiated by the Neem Foundation.

In these ad films, she drops a line to Indian farmers about the concept of 'Neem Green' and persuades them to plant more Neem trees, reports Bollywood Trade. She also enlightens them about the optimal utilisation of the plant as medicine and also as pesticides.

She sets the target for growing about 100 million trees that works out to be approximately one tree for every 50 Indians.


Emraan-Manish-Pachisia's 'Jhamela'

Emraan Hashmi, who has virtually monopolised kissing on-screen and got into all kinds of controversy, continues to do so in his latest movie "Jawani Diwani" directed by Manish Sharma.

He'll do one more film with the same director Manish Sharma and producer N.R. Pachisia, reports Bollywood Trade.

Sharma says: "I am doing a film titled 'Jhamela', once again a comic-flick and with the same producer (N.R. Pachisia). Cast is not yet finalised, but it's sure that Emraan Hashmi will be featuring as a main lead along with four actresses."

The director says he loves directing comedy and will continue adding a spike of humour in the viewers' life.