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Rajeev Masand is Entertainment Editor and film critic at CNN-IBN

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Search Aamir

Search Aamir • Hide and Seek • Ex Files

 

Aamir Khan is a very smart man. His Talaash may be five weeks away from release, but the actor hasn’t yet kicked off promotions in full-swing. From what we hear, the star—who recently returned from a long shooting spell of Dhoom 3 in Chicago, and took off just days later for a pilgrimage to Mecca with his mother—has decided to conserve his energy and the lion’s share of the film’s promotional budget until after Diwali. Which would leave him with just a little over two weeks to market the hell out of Talaash.

Reportedly Aamir thinks it a waste of resources to go into overdrive so early, given that two likely box-office behemoths—Shah Rukh Khan’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Ajay Devgn’s Son of Sardaar—are scheduled to open just two weeks ahead of his film, during Diwali. Aamir has advised his team to wait un­til both those films are out of the way by 12 November, and to then go all out with a promotional blitzkrieg for Talaash so that people’s interest in his film doesn’t wane.

So don’t expect to see any major interviews of Aamir or appearances on television until after Diwali. And yet, turns out that it doesn’t mean the Talaash team, or Aamir himself, are in fact sitting idle right now. The marketing team will continue to release new songs and trailers of the film periodically, and the actor will keep popping up now and then to stay in the news. Insiders are saying photographs, videos and the wide coverage of his recent departure to Mecca on Hajj with his mother was a carefully choreographed promotional strategy. You can safely expect the same media melee at the airport when he returns from the pilgrimage. The idea, as it stands, is to not be seen actively campaigning for the film right now, but not to remain so complacent that the film is entirely forgotten either.

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Hide and Seek

At an awards ceremony organised by a men’s magazine recently, the organisers nearly had a seizure when the Israeli mind-reader who’d been hired to entertain the gathering walked into the audience and literally dragged Kajol up on stage to participate in one of his acts.

The famously unsociable actress looked mortified when he demanded she join him, and reportedly went along only because she didn’t want to make a show. Dressed in a silver-grey Prabal Gurung dress that did nothing to hide her not-exactly-flattering figure, Kajol had accompanied husband Ajay Devgn to the event, hoping to keep a low profile even as Ajay was being felicitated for his enduring acting career.

When the mind reader made an unscripted dash for Kajol during his act, the organisers panicked. The actress reportedly gave the magazine editor a look that only spelt daggers as she was being ushered on stage. Even Ajay didn’t look pleased. But when the mind reader asked Kajol to think of a name in her head, and he guessed it aloud correctly—Mickey Mouse—the actress finally smiled, putting everyone at ease.

Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone were more sporting. Both agreed to let him guess the names of the boy they’d each shared their first kiss with. When Deepika cheekily changed the name in her head, he pointed it out to her, much to her surprise and bafflement. A catty guest at the event remarked that it couldn’t have been an easy evening for Deepika, who allegedly carefully avoided running into ex-boyfriend Siddharth Mallya. Only the previous year at the exact same event, she was trying very hard not to run into another ex, cricketer Yuvraj Singh, while accompanying Mallya to the do.

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Ex Files

It must have been awkward for this A-list actress to be in such close proximity with her on-off boyfriend’s cur­rently divorced ex-girlfriend—and particularly at such a public event. Last week at a preview screen­ing of a top filmmaker’s film, the actress arrived just minutes before the lights went out, and asked to be guided to a seat next to her on-off boyfriend’s sister who had arrived earlier.

What the actress hadn’t bargained for was the pres­ence of a former model-actress and recently divorced wife of a leading sportsman who was also sitting there. This former model was famously her on-off actor boyfriend’s first high-profile girlfriend, who continued to share a very close friendship with the actor’s family through her marriage and now after her divorce too.

Polite words were reportedly exchanged between both ladies, and the A-lister made sure she grabbed every op­portunity she could find to leave her seat periodically during intermission to say hello to other actors, acquaintances and friends who were also in the hall.