OTHERS

Talk of the town

``Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are?'' sang starry-eyed students of ``Tamana special school'' when the Bollywood starlet Twinkle Khanna came calling at the school for the mentally and physically challenged children in a South Delhi neighbourhood on Thursday evening.

Her presence brought a twinkle to the eyes of the students as also those from nearby slums. As she formally inaugurated the National Open School (NOS) Centre by handing over a pencil to one of the ``basti'' children this evening, one of the students remarked: ``We hope this is not going to be merely a starry visit. The NOS will also light up our lives.''

Earlier, during her round of the building, Twinkle visited each and every room. She spent over an hour interacting with the children and inquiring about their life.

``This affection is far greater than the adulation one gets by being a part of the glamour world. Here, I find genuine feelings and happiness in the entire exercise,'' Twinkle said.

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Described as an ``icon'' and a unanimous choice for the honest man of the year award for 1998, veteran columnist and writer Khushwant Singh was the cynosure of all eyes at the award function. But the blind admiration of so many people and the absence of a dissenting voice left the controversial writer rather bewildered as he tried to cope with the new celebrity status accorded to him.

Accolades after accolades was poured on Mr. Singh for his high standards of honesty. Unable to digest such praise, the ``honest man'' started his address by narrating before the gathering some of his ``dishonest'' habits.

Thereafter, he talked about the award. Though reluctant to accept the award initially, Mr. Singh had given his consent later. While the Sulabh chief, Mr. Bindeshwar Pathak, said he prevailed over Mr. Singh to accept the award, the veteran columnist had a different explanation to offer.

In an honest submission -- that probably was the best justification for him receiving the award -- Mr. Singh said before a packed auditorium: ``I thought if the amount was somewhere up to Rs. 1 lakh I will politely declined the offer but Rs. 10 lakhs! All I can say is thank you very much Mr. Pathak.''

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When ``Papa The Great'' is released in theaters all over the country next week, it will witness the debut of Harbhajan Mann in Bollywood. He stars along with Mayuri Kango in that song.

Though the Punjabi pop singer has done two more films which are awaiting release, he is determined to pursue singing as a career. ``Even though I am getting a large number of offers, I am concentrating on my new album `Lala Lala Lala,' '' Harbhajan says.

Interestingly, ``Papa The Great'' also marks Jaidev Kumar's debut in Bollywood as it is he who has composed the music for Harbhajan's ``Husn Jawani Malomaal''. The release of the film which stars Kishan Kumar and Nagma was held up due to arrest of the former.

``My first album `Oye-Hoye' launched by T-series became very popular. `Papa The Great' being their home production, I was invited by them to do a number,'' informs Harbhajan.

``The heroine Nagma is a film buff desiring to witness a shooting. Her father takes her for a song shoot featuring me and Mayuri Kango. That is my first Bollywood song for you,'' the singer reveals.

Reluctant to disclose the names of the other two films for which he has sung, Harbhajan, however, says his next song has lyrics centering around ``Ankhiyan''.

(Contributed by Lalit K. Jha, Pranab Dhal Samanta and K. Kannan).