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OCTOBER 20, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 41 | SEARCH ASIAWEEK

When Typhoon Ricky Blows In
The Naked Truth
A Bandit After Bollywood's Heart

Money isn't the only thing that gets Hong Kong shaking. Not when Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin is in town. The 28-year-old superstar played to a capacity crowd on Oct. 9, thrilling Hong Kong fans with his patented brand of hip-swiveling entertainment. Backed by nine dancers, two back-up singers and a five-piece band, Martin put on a stellar performance that was more packaged than it was musically exciting. Still, screaming fans couldn't get enough of their gyrating Puerto Rican idol, who went through two tight-fitting pairs of leather pants during the show. One fan even managed to launch a pair of panties onto the stage. Although it was his first time in Hong Kong, Martin produced little tittle-tattle for local tabloid rottweilers during his three-day stay. No doubt local minders warned him to keep a low profile. Having already sent fans into a frenzy in Japan, the singer will next hit Taiwan and Korea on his Asia swing. Music isn't Martin's only asset. 'He really likes seeing the fans,' says Sony Music representative William Wu. 'That's part of the success. Apart from his talent, there's his personality.' And then there are those hips.
The Naked Truth
When you're hot, you're hot. First, Coco Lee is invited to appear in a duet with Ricky Martin in his recent Hong Kong appearance. Then in a poll conducted by a Taiwan website, she was voted the female celebrity who fans most want to see nude. The Mando-pop world's answer to Mariah Carey topped yashow.com's survey with 37% of the votes. Several anxious fans, however, couldn't wait for Lee to answer their prayers. They began circulating nude photos of the star on the Internet, claiming that the shots are outtakes from a photo spread that ran in the Taiwan edition of FHM men's magazine. The singer had appeared in several alluring shots in the September issue, but fully dressed. Both Lee and FHM insist that the nude photos are fakes. Magazine representatives say they destroyed all unused photos — and that Lee certainly never appeared in the buff for the camera. Then again, that's virtual reality for you.

A Bandit After Bollywood's Heart
Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, is ready for more close-ups. India's most wanted criminal has told interviewers he's a movie buff who would simply love to have a film made about him. Well, director Ram Gopal Verma realized those dreams with Jungle. "Inspired" by his exploits, the hot Indian summer release cashes in on Veerappan's notoriety. Verma couldn't have known that the bandit would soon supply a plot not even his scriptwriters could have whipped up. Veerappan walked into mega filmstar Rajkumar's Bangalore home on July 30 and took him hostage, leaving behind an audio tape of demands. Now other Mumbai film companies are scrambling to update the bandit's tale. And they've been handed a new twist. While officials dither over Rajkumar's rescue, some fans are taking matters into their own hands. A few weeks ago, a group of children armed with a few hundred rupees set off for the jungle to find their hero. Embarrassing for law enforcers, but what a great Bollywood ending.

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