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Sonu flooded with film offers

Sonu Nigam says he has received 16 film offers after the release of his music video Jaan.

He hasn't signed any film though. "If I do take up acting, Tips will get first preference," he told Filmfare.

Tips is the music company that wants him to sing and act under its label. He refused earlier because he was obliged to Gulshan Kumar and didn't want to sing for any company other than his T Series.

Some years ago, he did change tracks to do Kismat and Mausam, two pop albums for Magnasound. That was because with T Series he was stuck with version recordings. Magnasound gave him an opportunity to do albums with original music. His first album reportedly sold 10 lakh copies. His recent album Jaan is, in his own words, "catching up" with Altaf Raja's Tum To Thehre Pardesi.

Sonu is now busy recording for Mumbai movies. He recently sang Satrangi re in Dil Se, Deewana dil in Pardes, and Sarfaroshi ki Shama in Sarfarosh.

Filmfare awards for Vasundhara, ARR

Actor Abbas presents Vasundhara her Filmfare award Vasundhara Das gets the Filmfare best singer award for her debut song Shakalaka baby.

The Bangalore girl walked into A R Rahman's studio and got this track to sing. Kamala Hasan, who saw her there, signed her to play his second wife in Hey Ram. Rahman gets the best music director award for Mudhalvan, the song in which she sang her award-winning dance number. In Telugu, S A Rajkumar received the best music director award for his score in Raja. K Kalyan, the young Kannada lyricist and music composer, won an award for his score in the Ramesh-starrer Chandramukhi Pranasakhi. The Malayalam film Niram won Vidyasagar a similar award.

The awards were presented in Chennai recently.

No bail for Kishen Kumar

Kishan Kumar: still in jail T Series boss Kishen Kumar was again denied bail on May 30. Sharda Aggarwal, additional sessions judge in Delhi, ruled there was no merit in the plea that Kishen Kumar be released.

Kishen Kumar, who controls the T Series empire and occasionally acts in films, was arrested on April 14. The matchfixing investigations led Delhi police to him, and he had got himself admitted to hospital for over a week before he was taken to Tihar jail. The Enforcement Directorate is now looking into his alleged foreign exchange violations.

Meanwhile, the matchfixing juggernaut rolls on, squashing many reputations.

Manoj Prabhakar pulled out an ace in the form of a video tape showing many cricket celebrities talking off the record. He was assisted by a journalist in this geurilla operation, and the CBI is now examining a copy of the tape.

On May 29, The New Indian Express reported that wads of currency had been discovered at the Gymkhana Club locker of Sunil Gavaskar. The club broke open lockers when it was reallocating them, and found the cash in Gavaskar's locker. The former Indian captain's wife told the reporter that Gavaskar, living out of the club between tours abroad, must have left Rs 80,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh there.

That in itself means nothing except that Gavaskar used a club locker, meant for personal effects like T-shirts and racquets, like a bank locker.

Music composer Nadeem, who has been in London since Indian police suspected his involvement in the murder of Gulshan Kumar, was again in the news when Anuradha Paudwal agreed to sing for him. Reports questioned how Anuradha, who was so close to Gulshan Kumar's family, had agreed to sing under the baton of his suspected murderer. Nadeem said it had vindicated his stand that he was innocent.

Two excellent films on music

Rasikapriya is the name of Arun Khopkar's film on Hindustani music. He calls a companion film on film music Lokapriya.

The diptych, commissioned by the Ministry of Exernal Affairs, is winning critical acclaim. The intention of making these films is to explain Indian music to a foreign audience. "It speaks of Khopkar's passionate commitment to music that he has imbued the linear structure of Rasikapriya with the complex connotations of an artistic heritage where history and architecture, poetry and philosophy, austerity and sensuality, spiritual striving and political patronage, all flow visibly into a profound river of music," says film critic Maithili Rao.

'He was building a Taj Mahal'

Zindagi ek safar, hai suhana/ Yahan kal kya ho kisne jana (Life's a pleasant journey/ Who cares what tomorrow holds!) he wrote. That was just one of 8,000 songs he gave Indian cinema in a career spanning 50 years.

Majrooh Sultanpuri, Urdu poet and Hindi cinema's versatile lyricist, died in Mumbai on Wednesday, May 24. "He was one of the greatest poets of our language," said Khayyam, music composer. Kaifi Azmi, poet and friend of Majrooh, said he hadn't written a great deal of poetry outside cinema, but what little he had written had value. "He was building a Taj Mahal in the world of the ghazal, but died before he could complete it," he said.

Hundreds from the film industry came to bid goodbye to the man who began his career in the Saigal-starrer Shahjahan, and continued to write till the recent Hum To Mohabbat Karega.

That he could write with equal ease melancholic songs like Jab dil hi toot gaya and cheerful numbers like Papa kehte hai bada naam karega surprised many, and showed his versatility. He was 80 when he died, and had worked with directors and music composers of at least three generations.

Majrooh recently criticised the song Aati kya Khandala from the Amir Khan film Ghulam and said it was in poor taste. That controversy died down, but not before the producer of that film allegedly called him up and abused him in foul language.

New voices for Saregama

Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash: another kind of SaregamaAyaan and Amaan, sarod players, will take over from Sonu Nigam as hosts of the popular music programme Saregama.

Stage fright is something the brothers, barely 20, will not have to worry about. They have been performing with their father, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, for some years. What will be a challenge is adapting to the demands of a TV programme with participants from many parts of the country. Saregama is one of India's most popular televison programmes. Its music contests are open to anyone who can sing; Saregama offers prizes sponsored by all kinds of consumer goods manufacturers.

In an interview some years ago, the ustad had said his children felt comfortable in both the classical and the film-music worlds, playing ragas on the sarod and songs like Papa kehte hain bada naam karna on the synth.

Saregama was earlier sponsored by the moped company TVS. It's now called Sylvania Saregama.

The brothers say they took a month to decide whether this was something they could handle. Their TV foray follows Sonu Nigam's decision to devote all his time to playback singing. He has just sung for the Abhishek-Kareena starrer Refugee.

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