Mon, Apr 23, 2007 - Page 13 News List

Planet Pop

AGENCIES

Erik Estrada got a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

PHOTO: AP

American Idol underdog Sanjaya Malakar has finally joined the ranks of losers but could end up parlaying his fame into a winning career.

Malakar, 17, whose dreamy smile, wacky hair styles and soft, mediocre voice made him "Something To Talk About" across the US, said last week his months with the popular TV singing contest were the "most amazing experience" of his young life.

"I wouldn't change anything for the world," Malakar told Los Angeles' KIIS FM radio on Thursday.

Malakar became the most searched male celebrity on Yahoo, beating fictional boy wizard Harry Potter, and has reportedly attracted millions of dollars in potential offers.

One pop culture expert said Malakar could be the next tween — pre-teen — idol, especially if he teams up with his stunning sister Shyamali, 20, who also auditioned for American Idol but failed to make it to the final 24.

"If I were an executive at Disney or Nickelodeon I would be rushing to sign them both up. He is a really cute kid and it is no surprise he has become a breakthrough star," said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television.

Malakar seemed taken aback by the buzz that inspired Internet spoof videos, T-shirts and even a backlash campaign aimed at sabotaging the credibility of the show.

"I'm still just Sanjaya from Seattle," he told KIIS. "It's kind of fun to look in a magazine and see your face, but after a while it's kind of weird."

Move over Brangelina. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, one of Bollywood's best-known screen couples, married on Friday in a traditional Hindu wedding in which the groom rode a white horse before the pair took their vows around a sacred fire.

The ceremonies concluded three days of celebrations at the actors' homes in India's entertainment capital of Mumbai, creating, what industry pundits said is, Bollywood's ultimate power couple.

The celebrations have transfixed Bollywood and sent India's celebrity-obsessed media into a frenzy even though the Bachchans have tried to keep the event strictly private and low-key because the groom's grandmother is ill.

But fans did not leave the couple — dubbed as "Abhiash" by the Indian media which likens them to the Hollywood celebrity duo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, aka Brangelina — alone as hundreds of them lined the roads leading to the marriage venue.

Rai, 33, is a former Miss World and Bachchan, 31, belongs to Indian film royalty, being the son of Amitabh Bachchan, the country's best-known actor who has a huge fan following around the world.

Bachchan, wearing a white bandhgala or a long Indian tunic, a silver-colored turban and a veil of flowers on his face, rode a white horse as part of a custom and waved to hundreds of fans gathered outside his house.

The groom's party then moved to another Bachchan residence nearby where the marriage was solemnized by priests who chanted hymns from ancient Indian scriptures amid the blowing of conch shells and ululation, sources involved with the wedding said.

Earlier, the celebrations were marked by drama after an Indian woman claiming to be Bachchan's lover slashed her wrist in front of his home.

She told reporters she wanted to kill herself because Bachchan had gone back on his promise of marrying her after having "physical relations" with her. Police arrested the woman — described as a struggling fashion model — for attempting suicide.

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