Archive for June, 2011

June 29, 2011

Animated Andaz Apna Apna will not have Aamir and Salman

At last the wheels of production will start rolling, with the stereoscopic animated version of Raj Kumar Santoshi’s enormous chartbuster, Andaz Apna Apna being made this year. The central characters, Amar and Prem enacted by Aamir and Salman Khan, however will differ in the stereoscopic animated version. iRock, the company which will be producing the film, have been advised not to use the actor’s faces in the animated version to avoid any legal hassles in using the superstars faces in their film.

Sid Jain, CEO – iRock says, “There are limitations to what I can do because they are such big stars. With the licensing, merchandising and other factors, it would invite legal trouble. We basically wanted unique identity for the characters, if you look at Woody from Toy Story, he does not look like Tom Hanks.”

The humorous animated version is being made in stereoscopic 3D which is currently in its production phase. Speaking about the style and the theme of the animated version, Sid says, “There is a certain exaggerated style that is there in all the characters. The animation would be more to the likes of The Simpsons or Bevis And Butthead style.”

The animated version of Andaz Apna Apna is slated to release in the summer of 2012.


June 29, 2011

Singur war: Tatas vs Mamata in Supreme Court today

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court will today hear the plea of Tata Motors Limited for a stay on the distribution of Singur land by Mamata Banerjee’s government in West Bengal.

Tata Motors approached the Supreme Court on Tuesday after the Calcutta High Court refused its plea to restrain the West Bengal government from returning land to farmers in Singur.

The petition was mentioned before a vacation bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and AK Patnaik. The counsel submitted that the company is seeking a direction for the state government not to create third party interest in the land.

On Monday, the Calcutta High Court had refused to pass an interim stay order observing that the Tata Motors Limited’s petition had no specific statement as to when the process of land distribution would start.

Tata Motors had moved an ex-parte petition seeking stay on distribution of land expressing apprehension that it would be given back to “unwilling” farmers within a day or two.

Tata Motors want the Supreme Court to stay the Singur Act and stay the distribution of land to the farmers. It has accused the Mamata Banerjee government of violating the constitution and encroaching judicial power by bringing a law for distributing the Singur land acquired by Tatas.

Their petition says, “The law that enables the West Bengal government to return the land to farmers is illegal because as per settled law, acquired land can’t go back to the original owner.”

“West Bengal government forcibly evicted Tata Motors from Singur and the company had invested 1800 crore rupees and it is a blatant violation of natural justice,” it adds.

The petition also says that “no compensation has been paid by the state government” and that Mamata government can’t ignore the commitment made to Tata Motors by the Left government.

In the Singur Bill that was passed, Ms Banerjee had accused the Tatas of “non-commissioning and abandoning” their project. But the company disagrees strongly with this. In a statement earlier this month, Tata Motors said, “The operations of setting up and commissioning of the plant was conducted under very difficult conditions, amidst violence… there being no guarantee of a safe and peaceful environment, Tata had to reluctantly close operations on October 3, 2008.”


June 29, 2011

Puducherry: She received death in a parcel

Puducherry:  A 25-year-old woman who was seriously injured when a parcel bomb exploded in her house near Puducherry on Tuesday has died.

The woman, daughter of a retired textile mill employee, had reportedly received a phone call before she received the parcel in which the bomb was allegedly packed. On opening it, the bomb exploded, police said. The woman was admitted to a hospital.

Investigation is centred on whether the parcel was received from any courier company or was delivered by any outsider to the girl. The sender is yet to be traced.


June 29, 2011

Finally, PM enters No-Silence zone

New Delhi:  It’s almost certain to be the most closely-watched makeover in India.

After criticism from the Opposition and apparently from a section from within his own party, Dr Manmohan Singh will start sharing his opinions on the stands that he and the government hold on issues of national importance. His mode of communication will be through meetings with news editors, the first of which is scheduled for today.

Neither his party nor his office indicated how often these sessions will be held, indicating only that they would be “regular.”In the last few months – a period of bumpy political weather, corruption scandals and unsettling inflation – Dr Singh has been seen as non-communicative.

With the Opposition accusing the government and Dr Manmohan Singh of a “governance deficit,” sources in the Congress say the party wants to convey that its leaders are not on the defensive. At a recent meeting of the Congress Working Committee, many party members reportedly stressed that the PM’s reputation and image as one of the country’s most honest leaders should be better employed.  They suggested that by being more open and more visible, Dr Singh could convey his government’s determination to fighting the corruption that many feel is now ubiquitous among practitioners of power.

Today’s meeting will bring a group of five magazine and newspaper editors together with the PM. Dr Singh has so far held only three nationally-televised press conferences in the last seven years.”The PM of a great country like India has to lead. In order to lead, he has to speak with clarity, conviction and direction. I regret to say Manmohan Singh has been one of the most invisible Prime Ministers of India. The country has been plagued by so many problems and scams. He’s maintained a conspicuous silence. Now he’s decided to speak maybe under compulsion,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad on behalf of the BJP.

The last few months have seen Dr Singh’s government functioning in a continuum of crises. Financial scandals have tumbled out of the offices of some senior ministers. And the high-volume debate over the Lokpal Bill – which has headlined the summer – has left people asking why the Prime Minister isn’t offering his opinion on what sort of Bill the government plans to introduce to check corruption.

Activists led by Gandhian Anna Hazare – who describe the government’s version of the Lokpal Bill as a “betrayal” have said repeatedly that they don’t understand the PM’s silence on a matter of such great importance.In an exclusive interview to NDTV earlier this week, Home Minister P Chidambaram accepted “…Yes, I acknowledge that lots of people would like the Prime Minister to step up to the plate, so as to say, and speak more often. But that is the style of the person.”


June 29, 2011

NDTV impact: Couple who sheltered Muslim girl nominated for award

Hyderabad:  Earlier this month, NDTV had reported about how a Hindu couple fought fundamentalist forces to give life to a Muslim girl, Sonia, orphaned during the 2007 Hyderabad blasts. After days of being subjected to harassment, Papalal and Jayshree have now been nominated for National Communal Harmony award by the National Commission for Minorities.

Papalal found a little girl, then four-years-old, at the Gokul Chat Centre blast site and figured out that the child was a Muslim who had been orphaned. He and his wife took little Sonia home where she lived with the couple. They had been childless for five years and believed that her coming to their home as a firstborn brought them good luck. Jayshree soon became pregnant with their first biological child. She was their eldest child, they told everybody.

Once it became publicly known that a Muslim child was growing up in a Hindu family, Muslim groups asked the family to hand over the child to them. Papalal refused and asked how it could be a better option for the child to go to an orphanage. Muslim leaders intervened and relented, saying if the child is brought up as a Muslim, she can grow up in a Hindu family.

So Papalal agreed not to make the child wear a ‘bindi’ (a hindu religious symbol) and she would not be brought up as a Hindu. But their small neighbourhood in Chudibazaar area of Begum Bazaar objected to the ‘Muslim’ child growing up in a Hindu family and locality.

However, despite all this Papalal and his wife continued to face the wrath from the Hindu and Muslim communities. He was even sent to jail on the basis of cases aimed at harassing him till he gave up Sonia. Even his own brother turned against him.

Papalal’s mother later admitted that tired of being ostracized by extension, her younger son accused Papalal of attempting to molest his wife.

Soon the State Human Rights Commission stepped in and accorded the couple some respite.

They were asked to produce Sonia before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a body constituted under the Juvenile Justice Act. The CWC declared Jayashri as the one who is fit to retain the child for three months.

A probationary officer from the Women and Child Welfare department would visit the couple during the period to check as to how she is raising the child and would submit a report to the Women and Child Welfare department, it was decided.


June 29, 2011

Mystery disease in Muzaffarpur continues to baffle doctors, toll rises to 44

Muzaffarpur:  The mystery disease in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district continues to claim more lives with the death toll now touching 44. Over the last 10 days, over 40 children have died due to this unknown virus.

The National Institute of Virology which is investigating the case has now ruled out encephalitis which it earlier suspected to be the disease. The symptoms though are similar in both cases.

The team will now take brain tissue samples to conduct further tests and identify the virus.

The only hurdle they faced was permission from the state health department, which has now been granted. Meanwhile, the medical team fears that there could be more unreported cases.


June 27, 2011

Baba Ramdev back in Delhi, hits out at government

New Delhi:  Returning to Delhi three weeks after he was bundled out from here, yoga guru Ramdev today attacked the government claiming that it has no will to fight corruption or create a Lokpal to check the menace.

Ramdev said he would continue his fight against corruption alongside “anybody from any party, any religion”. He said he was willing to fight the menace but he did not make it clear whether he would join Anna Hazare on August 16 when the latter relaunches his campaign for a strong Lokpal.

Holding that he was “not a mask” for BJP or RSS, he asked why the government was talking to him if they thought he was a criminal and insisted he doesn’t have a penny of black money.

“Government does not want to create a Lokpal,” he said addressing a press conference here after meeting Raj Bala, who was grievously injured in the June five pre-dawn police crackdown at Ramlila Maidan on his supporters, at a hospital and dared the government to “search” his institutions for black money and declare it as national asset.

“Sarkar pehle bhrashtachari thi, abh woh atyachari bhi ho gayi (The government was indulging in corruption earlier. Now it is indulging in atrocities),” he said, adding, “This government has no will to fight corruption.”

The yoga guru alleged that the government was muzzling voices of those who talk about black money or tell the truth.

Terming the crackdown in Ramlila Maidan as “murder of democracy”, he alleged it was aimed at eliminating him and that there were “attempts to rape women” by drunk men during the police action.

However, Ramdev did not throw any light on his next move as part of his anti-corruption campaign. He said he would launch a free housing scheme in Haridwar on July one followed by another programme on August four for empowering villages.

Ramdev reached the capital from Haridwar by road this afternoon and straight away headed to G B Pant Hospital in central Delhi to visit Raj Bala.

Police had erected barricades along the border to screen those entering the Capital and ensure that no untoward incident occurred during Ramdev’s visit to the city.

Earlier, police had said he was not allowed to enter the capital for 15 days but later retracted from it.

June 25, 2011

Salman Khan: Forget husband, I’m not even boyfriend material

Salman Khan confides that while he’s dated the most beautiful women inside-out, he’s been naughty at times. Filmfare gives a thumbs up to his candour

The worst nightmare for any journalist is to discover that the voice of his interviewee is barely audible on the recorder. More so if the star is the controversial Salman Khan. It so happened that Salman was shooting for Bodyguard at a set constructed on the helipad at Film City. I didn’t account for the gusty wind that was blowing. The next four days then are spent in trying to cajole him for a repeat interview.
Then one evening he messages me, “Cm home!” I wait for him in his uncluttered, spacious and well-lit drawing room. A few minutes later, he makes an entry.  I’m gob smacked!  He isn’t wearing a shirt. All my hard work has come to naught! I don’t know where to attach the collar mike.

So Salman sits in his blue jeans, bare-chested before me and the device lies idle in my hand. Excerpts:

How do you feel redoing the same interview with me courtesy a technical snag?
It’s quite possible that if you ask me the same questions again, I’ll end up giving you different answers.
Prateik and Shraddha Kapoor are on the cover of this issue. Are you still game about doing this interview


Which will feature you on the inside pages?
I’d love to be featured inside if Prateik is on the cover. No way will I put my foot down and ask for a cover when Prateik’s on it.


What’s your opinion about Prateik who’s slowly trying to catch up with Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan?
I like him. He’s really a sweet kid. He’s an outstanding boy. I loved his mother (the late Smita Patil) as an actor. I love his father (Raj Babbar) as a person and an actor. I’ve worked with his brother (Arya Babbar) and his family.


Every time you are asked to promote your film what thoughts come to your mind?
The first few rounds of interviews seem okay. Then it gets boring. The same questions every time. They’ll ask me about my supposed ‘fight’ with Anees Bazmee. Often journalists ask certain questions because they’re expected to ask them. I don’t believe in publicizing a film. I just believe in telling people what the film is about. If they like the promo, they should go and see the movie.


Do you enjoy interviews or are you indifferent to them?
I enjoy them when I have something to talk about, when I’m asked questions worth answering and when I can share my life with my fans. But if you’re trying to evoke a controversy or get some shock value into it, then I’m not interested.


Considering Anees Bazmee’s last two films haven’t really done well, are you apprehensive about Ready?
Not really. He is a man who knows his job. If you push someone who knows how to swim into the water, he’ll emerge out of it. But for someone who doesn’t know his job and is a fluke, then it’s a problem. Anees has given hit after hit after hit. So what if one of his films didn’t work?


Will Abhinav Kashyap not directing Dabgangg 2 affect the film?
I don’t think it will affect anything. Abhinav not directing it will not affect Dabangg 2. I hope it does not affect Abhinav Kashyap.


Will Arbaaz Khan prove to be a good director for Dabangg 2?
Yes, I think so because Arbaaz actually never wanted to be an actor. He was just forced into it because he got a break (Daraar). I wanted to be a director but once I got into acting, I gave it my best. Now I don’t feel like doing anything else. Today, thanks to Abhinav Kashyap, Arbaaz has got an opportunity. We really wanted Abhinav to do the film because of his association with the previous one. But I guess, after Dabangg, he’s got too many brothers now.


Did Abhinav want to co-produce Dabangg 2?
No, Abhinav didn’t want to co-produce the film. He just didn’t want to do it. I guess he wasn’t happy with the way the film turned out at the box office. And he wasn’t happy with the amount of money we spent on it. And his brother (Anurag Kashyap) of course, the genius went on Twitter and made some more comments, which apparently he apologized for later.


Were there any issues over money?
There was no issue about money because for the first film also he was paid handsomely.


Reportedly, you met up with your ex girlfriend Somy Ali in Bangkok. You’re also friends with Sangeeta Bijlani and Katrina Kaif. What does it take to be friends with your ex?
See, things don’t end if you’re having a blast. If you’re having
the best time of your life you are not going to say, ‘We’re having such a good time, now we need to break up’. But misunderstandings happen, people get carried away. Then people cheat, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes the woman feels betrayed and sometimes the man. But you realize that there was only that much time you were meant to be together. Often the term ‘good friends’ is misconstrued in the industry.
At some stage and a little later you can actually be good friends. From that stance of ‘no comments’ you can actually say dankey ki chhot par ‘haan, yeh meri dost hai (say it loud and clear, ‘yes, she is my friend’).


When and how do you gauge in a relationship that the person is not meant for you?
Actually, you’re the last person to know. You’re the last person to know that you’re not a star anymore and that you’re not in the relationship anymore. In my case, many a times, it has been my fault. I’m a difficult person to live with and I’ve also been naughty at times.


So you’re not husband material either?
Yes. I’m not yet. Forget husband, I’m not even boyfriend material.
I’ve seen three or four women in my life and they’re very beautiful from the inside and outside. Somehow, it didn’t work out.


Is there a woman in your life currently?
Yeah, there are four women in my life. My mother, my sisters Arpita and Alvira. And there’s Reshma Shetty (she handles his ads)! The women in my life will always be there as friends.
Recently, you’ve been linked with Kangna Ranuat, Zarine Khan and even Sonakshi Sinha.
These guys want to link me with just about anyone. Right now I’m single, I’m having a blast. I’m not dating or seeing anyone. It just happens that I know them closely. I’ve worked with Sonakshi, I’ve worked with Zarine. I’ve known Kangna for the longest time.


Is there a team that has strategised the way you are positioned today?
There is no team. But I’m sure there are teams that would work against it. But no matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to pull off anything. Because I have God on my side.
Reportedly, you asked good friend and producer Sajid Nadiadwala to cut down on the intimacy quotient between you and Sonakshi in Kick…


What? Are you making up these questions right now?
(Pauses) If you see the original, there’s no level of intimacy whatsoever. From Maine Pyaar Kiya till today, I haven’t done any of this stuff. I don’t think I’ll ever do it.


Reportedly, you hiked your price by Rs 5 crore for Kick after Sajid kept repeating Akshay Kumar in his films.
No, no. This is ridiculous. Sajid and I never discuss price. In fact, whenever I’ve signed his film, Sajid has always given me more than he did for the previous one. He doesn’t take advantage of our friendship.


Had you known about the content of Ragini MMS, would you have barred Ektaa Kapoor from appearing in Bigg Boss to announce the film?
It’s alright as long as the film has an ‘A’ certificate. People want to watch sex and nudity. I’d watch it as well but not with the family. People come from different walks of life, people have different needs and they are placed in different circumstances.


Okay, then when do we see Salman Khan in an ‘A’ film?
I’ve been part of an ‘A’ film — Wanted. And I didn’t even touch my leading lady Ayesha Takia. The reason why it got an ‘A’ certificate was because of the action. But every kid has watched the film. So I don’t understand why the film was an ‘A’. This is a way of promoting piracy.

It’s believed that when Shah Rukh Khan and you are shooting in the same studio premises, there’s tension brewing in the air…
I don’t believe this. Why should he look for me and why should I look for him? He’s doing his work and I’m doing mine. He’s doing a damn good job of what he’s doing. And I respect that.


June 25, 2011

Diesel, kerosene & LPG price hike

New Delhi: The government has approved a price hike for diesel, LPG and kerosene. Diesel prices will increase by Rs. 3 a litre and LPG by Rs. 50 more per cylinder. Kerosene prices have been increased by Rs. 2 per litre.

The ministerial panel to consider a fuel price hike began its meeting here Friday evening.

The empowered group of ministers (eGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, was to have met in the afternoon, but the meeting was deferred for later in the evening.

Announcing the postponement after his meeting with finance minister, Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy said the group was looking at various options on how to help oil marketing companies recover their losses on diesel, cooking gas and kerosene.

Oil marketing companies suffer losses of Rs.13.72 per litre on diesel, Rs.26.16 per litre on kerosene and Rs.381.14 per LPG cylinder.

He added that the petroleum ministry has given no proposal on fuel price hike. ‘We have offered an analysis and the same will be discussed at the EGoM meeting,’ said Reddy.


June 25, 2011

Unemployment, poverty due to wrong governance: Gadkari

Bangalore, Jun 24 (PTI) Observing that politics should be an instrument for socio-economic transformation, BJP president Nitin Gadkari today said that India was facing poverty and unemployment due to “wrong governance”.

“India is a rich nation full of poor people. The country is facing challenges of unemployment and poverty owing to wrong economic policy and wrong governance,” he said.

Delivering his address at the 94th Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Gadkari also stressed the need for “development-oriented” approach to politics.

“We need a development-oriented approach to politics, aimed at development in different levels,” he said, adding that this could be done through constructive thinking, fast track decision making, transparency, auditing and accountability and acceleration of the system in the right direction.

The BJP president said that the focus of development should be on agriculture and its allied industries and called for the promotion of PPP model to encourage private entrepreneurs to participate in development projects.

Gadkari also called for an “integrated approach” to development which included elements of both “progress and concern for the environment.”

“Above all, the need of the hour is a good economic policy and a strong political will to execute it,” he said.