Aishwarya Rai, who has hired an agent in Hollywood and is keeping her diary open for any offers that may come her way next year, is trying to peg herself with directors like Mira Nair and the makers of the Bond films. In fact, she is even touting herself as the next Bond girl.

Why Bond? Because the doe-eyed Rai feels she can definitely add to the exotic and eye candy factor.

For now, she has a crazy schedule with Rituparno Ghosh's Chokker Bali, Gurinder Chaddha's version of Pride and Prejudice, which begins mid-year along with Rajkumar Santoshi's Khaki.

Of course, any mention of La Rai is not complete without her debut production Dil Ka Rishta. "It has been made with a lot of love. I am very proud of my family for having put it together," she says.


Fresh move
Khalid Mohamed may have put Tareekh with Raveena Tandon on hold because of creative differences between iDreams Production and Shantanu Sheorey.

But the director of Fiza and famed film critic has moved on and launched Tehzeeb. An impressive cast has been lined for the film expected to go on the floors this month end. It stars Shabana Azmi, Urmila Matondkar, Diya Mirza, Diana Hayden, Arjun Rampal and Rishi Kapoor.

According to Khalid, "It is a small film which explores the relationship between a woman and two daughters."

A R Rahman will score the music while Santosh Sivan is the cinematographer.


Buzz on Koi Mil Gaya
Rakesh Roshan has finished an hour-and-a-half of Koi Mil Gaya and begun showing it to industry bigwigs.

Apparently, before he went ahead with Koi Mil Gaya Roshan had three scripts in mind. When he narrated them to buddy Anil Kapoor, the filmmaker recalls, "He [Kapoor] said the other two were good, but if I didn't make Koi Mil Gaya I would be the biggest fool. It was a definite superhit according to him."

KMG, which releases late this year, may be the only Roshan film so long in the making. "I had to coordinate with foreign cast and crew especially for special effects," he explains. Those who have seen the rushes can't stop raving that it will reinstate Hrithik Roshan as Hero No 1.


Title Power
Guess how Suneel Darshan's Andaaz is being marketed abroad? "Watch Miss Universe and Miss World come together."

While the two debutantes -- Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra -- may not be hot property in the Indian market, the film is being marketed on the basis of their crowns in the US and UK. Says Lara, "A title holder is recognised much more than a fresh new face. And this is the first film where two title holders of the same year (2000) actually star together!"

Wonder what Andaaz hero Akshay Kumar has to say about that?


Cricket Fever
Tndian cricket team, coach and management are no doubt disappointed by India's dismal performance in New Zealand.

One person who just can't get over it is Arjun Rampal. A huge cricket fan, he usually can be seen discussing the intricacies of the game with anyone willing to lend a ear.

Last heard, he was explaining cricket's vagaries to Vrinda Rai, Aishwarya Rai's mother, and discussing India's hopes with Shabbir Boxwala, co-producer of his latest film Dil Ka Rishta. "The way they are playing we have no hope of winning the World Cup. They have just not practised or prepared themselves. They just collapsed!" Arjun said.


Monika Baldwa

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