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

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The Never-ending RGV Saga

The Never-ending RGV Saga • Four Times Lucky • Playdate of the Year
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Vidya is currently filming Ghanchakkar for her No One Killed Jessica director Rajkumar Gupta

It hasn’t even been a year since the release of his last film Department (the unpleasant memories of which some audiences are surely still carrying around), but Ram Gopal Varma has already moved on. Not only has he wrapped up his thriller based on the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, he’s also recently begun filming Satya 2.

There was some buzz doing the rounds initially that Varma’s 26/11 film might make it to the official selection of the Berlin International Film Festival in February, but that didn’t happen. It hasn’t stopped the filmmaker from channelling all his energies into the sequel of his celebrated underworld film of 1998. According to sources, the shoot is already halfway over and this time round, Varma has cast only newcomers. Since the protagonists of the earlier story, Bhiku Mhatre and Satya, didn’t survive the last film, they will not appear in the sequel.

One also hears that Varma has ditched his now infamous ‘rogue approach’ to filmmaking after the severe flak he faced for those dizzying camera angles he experimented with in Department, using all kinds and sizes of unconventional cameras. The filmmaker is reportedly shooting Satya 2 on the much more reliable Red camera.

And just in case you thought Satya 2 could well be RGV’s make-or-break film, you’ll be interested to know he already has three more films lined up, titled Shaq, Villain and Psycho.

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Four Times Lucky

Vidya Balan can’t be sleeping easy these days. The actress just created a record by emerging as the first and only female star to win four Best Actress awards in consecutive years. Her recent win for Kahaani at the Filmfare, Zee Cine and Screen Awards comes after she picked up trophies for Ishqiya, Paa and The Dirty Picture over the last three years. While she has been beaming proudly at the award shows, I won’t be surprised if a voice in her head is repeatedly reminding her that she doesn’t have a significant film release this year, which means that it might be unlikely she will be able to pull off a fifth consecutive win.

Vidya is currently filming Ghanchakkar for her No One Killed Jessica director Rajkumar Gupta, but trade pundits are saying that it is a light-hearted comedy and not one that requires a big showy performance from its leading lady. She will also start shooting Pyaar Ke Side Effects 2 opposite Farhan Akhtar, but breezy rom-coms aren’t exactly awards bait either. Don’t be surprised if you hear the actress has signed a major dramatic film to be shot and released within the year so that she’s eligible for next year’s awards.

But please God, let that not be a film with Madhur Bhandarkar.

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Playdate of the Year

A children’s playdate in a filmi home is an entirely different thing altogether. For one such afternoon that she organised for her school-going daughter and her friends earlier this week, a sizzling 1990’s heroine reportedly went the whole hog. The actress’ daughter and her friends have been crushing on a goodlooking model-turned-actor who made his debut in a popular campus flick last year, and the girls decided they wanted to spend their playdate choreographing steps to one of his hit songs.

Mummy used her Bollywood contacts to have the dimpled actor show up at their playdate to surprise the young ones. Apparently, the upcoming star was flattered by all the attention he received from the hysterical girls who couldn’t contain their excitement on seeing him. Of course, they performed their dance for him and took dozens of pictures posing with him.

But it turns out the actor himself got all starry-eyed on meeting the former diva whose films he grew up watching. Apparently he told his friends he’d been smitten by her ever since he saw her in her famous wet-sari number for a superhit potboiler.