Not People Like Us

How to Beat Gossipmongers

Rajeev Masand is entertainment editor at CNN News18
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Keeping It Discreet | The Off-Screen Entertainer

Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor , Shah Rukh Khan

A video from the premiere of Sarbjit last week—in which a visibly grumpy Abhishek Bachchan appears to be walking away from his missus midway during a photo-op, even as Aishwarya looks on helplessly—has gone viral, leading to widespread speculation that the couple was having a bad day. The actors’ reps promptly jumped into damage control mode, urging journalists to retract the story and to take down the video. They insist that the actors’ body language has been misinterpreted by gossip-mongers.

The actors have communicated through their spokespersons that after posing for a round of pictures with his wife, the proud husband thought it’s only fair that the lensmen snap a round of solo pictures of Aishwarya as she was after all the star of the evening at her movie premiere. That Abhishek was only making way for her to have her moment in the spotlight. The media, however, did not seem convinced. Pictures of the couple looking perfectly happy at Shilpa Shetty’s son’s birthday the same weekend quelled the ‘trouble-in-paradise’ rumours to some extent, but it seems the actors didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. On Monday, photographs of an unmistakably cheery Abhishek and Aishwarya driving out of the Bachchan residence surfaced all over the internet, possibly to dispel any remaining suspicions that they’re squabbling.

Well played. Bachchans: 1, Gossipmongers: 0.

Keeping It Discreet

Word on the street is that Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are very much back together, but have decided to stay low-key this time. The couple reportedly do not want to repeat past mistakes like their public displays of affection at cricket matches, or professing their fondness for each other on social media. Neither wants Anushka to face barbs and brickbats for Virat’s performance on the pitch hereon. Insiders say she didn’t show up at a recent IPL match to watch him play, but joined him at a team after- party where they just happened to be photographed together. Good thing Anushka’s romantic life appears to have smoothened out; the actress will likely have an eventful career year anyway. She’s got a big release in the Salman Khan-starrer Sultan in July, and then she pops up again as the leading lady opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil this Diwali. She’s also travelling to Budapest where she’ll film Imtiaz Ali’s next with Shah Rukh Khan.

Imtiaz is believed to have picked Anushka over his favourite leading lady Deepika Padukone because he felt SRK and DP had made too many movies together already, and because he’d promised Anushka a ‘solid’ role ahead after she famously turned down the female lead opposite Ranbir in Tamasha saying there just wasn’t enough meat in the role.

The Off-Screen Entertainer

She thrives on gossip, she’s got her ear to the ground, and knows the inside story on every scandal much before it appears in the tabloids. No wonder dinner invitations at her home are highly coveted affairs. This prominent actress routinely engages her inner circle of friends with up-to-date (and almost always embarrassing) developments in the lives and careers of other movie stars, often via WhatsApp when in-person gatherings are hard to organise.

At one recent shindig, she nudged another actress to wax on about how her life had changed since her last hit, sniggering among friends as the poor naïve thing revealed excitedly that fans were describing her as ‘India’s daughter’ in the wake of her recent success. Oblivious to the set-up, the earnest young lady unsuspectingly became the source of much amusement. Naturally the entire incident was narrated in excruciating detail over the next few days to friends who couldn’t be there to witness it in person that evening, but who took great pleasure in laughing at the poor actress’ gullibility and inflated sense of self worth.