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June - July 2006


News From Bollywood

by Kishan Sharma

For the first time in the history of Indian academia, an entire chapter in a school textbook will be devoted to a film, “Sholay”. The chapter has been added to the Broadway course workbook no. 5 for class V students of the Central Board of Secondary Education. Published by Oxford University Press, the inclusion of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay is a continuation of the chapter on films and film-making in the Broadway book, which is designed to help students communicate effectively and accurately in English.

Finally, super star Amitabh Bachchan has been declared a farmer by the district administration of Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, thus enabling him and his son Abhishek Bachchan to purchase 20 acres of agricultural land in Pune district in Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and the powerful Samajwadi leader Amar Singh are very close to Bachchan family and therefore it was not very difficult for Bachchans to get the certificate from the district administrator. For the record now, Amitabh Bachchan is bonafide agriculturist also.

Amitabh’s wife, actor Jaya Bachchan has approached the Supreme Court of India against her dismissal as a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) by the President of India on the recommendations of the Election Commission of India on the grounds that she was holding the post of Chairperson of Uttar Pradesh Film Development Corporation, which is a post of profit. The Samajwadi Party had made her a Member of Parliament from Uttar Pradesh, since the Bachchan family has close family relations with the Samajwadi Party leaders. She was also made the Chairperson of the UPFDC by the same leaders, namely Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh.

The Maharashtra Government has decided to honour super actor Rajnikanth and actor Ashok Saraf. Rajnikanth, originally hails from Maharashtra and was known as Shivajirao Gaikwad, before he became the most popular star of the South with the new name of Rajnikanth. He will be honoured with the Raj Kapoor Award of the Government of Maharashtra. The veteran Marathi actor Ashok Saraf will get the V. Shantaram Award of the Government of Maharashtra.

It is not known clearly if it is a part of some type of publicity play, promotional story of a film, or a real thing. A man called Pawan Kumar has threatened to commit suicide with actor Esha Deol, if her parents did not permit her to marry him. Pawan claims that he is related to the former Vice President of India, late Krishna Kant, and also claims that he and Esha have been in love for the last ten years. It is for Esha’s parents, actors and MPs, Dharmendra and Hema Malini to take note of the threatening letter written and sent to various important people by Pawan.

Actor Navin Nischol and his brother Pravin Nischal have been arrested and remanded to Police custody, in connection with the suicide committed by Navin Nischal’s second wife, Geetanjali, a relative of actor-producer-director Dev Anand. It was Geetanjali’s second marriage too. Pravin Nischal had thrown Geetanjali out of the flat purchased by Navin Nischal but registered in Pravin’s name to save taxes. She was staying alone at another flat given to her by her first husband. In her suicide note Geetanjali had said that she was ending her life because of her husband’s habit of constant heavy drinking and harassment. She has also alleged that Navin had recently sent her a divorce notice. Navin was at Pune when Geetanjali hanged herself from a ceiling fan.

Actors Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra worked together in a comedy film, “ Chupke Chupke “, and now after several years, their sons — Abhishek and Bobby Deol — have been teamed together in Yash Chopra’s film “Jhoom Barabar”, which is again a comic fare.

Although “Humko Deewana Kar Gaye” has not done good business in India, it is reported that it has clicked in the UK. It was at number 10 in the UK chart.

Actor Aamir Khan invited trouble for himself from the people of Gujarat, when he supported the Narmada Bachao Andolan activists. The people burnt his effigies and the agitation against him became so hot that all cinemas in Gujarat had to withdraw his film “Rang De Basanti “, and there is a fear that the release of his “Fanaa” may be obstructed in Gujarat.

The Government of India has restricted the Animal Welfare Board of India from ordering cuts in scenes involving animals in the films. The Central Board of Film Certification used to insist on a letter of clearance from the Animal Board if a film had any scenes picturised with animals. Many producers and directors were feeling troubled by the Board and the Guild had to request the Government of India to look into the matter urgently.

Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President Gangaraj has promised to build a memorial to preserve late Dr. Rajkumar’s memory. A public condolence meeting was held in Bangalore to pay tributes to the Kannada filmdom’s veritable God, super actor Dr. Rajkumar. A bronze bust and portrait of Dr. Rajkumar were unveiled by the Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. He also expressed grief over the killing of 8 persons on the day of the funeral of Dr. Rajkumar and announced adequate compensation to the families of the dead. Dr. Rajkumar’s son, Shivrajkumar said that he would also pay Rs. 50,000/- to each family of the deceased.

Popular fight master of Hindi films, Tinnu Verma was badly injured and hospitalised after his own brothers assaulted him on some property dispute. One of the seven brothers, Narendra Verma is a local political leader.

A Madurai court issued arrest warrants against actors Shilpa Shetty and Reema Sen for publication of their obscene photographs in a local paper. They did not respond to the earlier summons to appear in the court and therefore the arrest warrants were issued by the court.

Oscar Films Pvt. Ltd.’s “Aparichit — The Stranger “ directed by Shankar is the Hindi version of Tamil block-bluster “Anniyan”. Each song of the film has been picturised at the cost of more than Rs. One crore. For one of the songs, the entire village, its bridges, roads, hills, trees, bushes, houses, cars, and trucks were specially painted. For another song, the entire airport of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was booked and mirrors costing more than Rs. 45 lakhs were used. For the first time in the history of world cinema, a record number of 240 cameras were used for the climax scene. It was shot in a radius of 360 degrees. The action scenes of barely 3 minutes on the screen took 29 days to execute and during its shooting 27 persons got injured.

Actor Salman Khan finally got bail after spending three days in the Jodhpur Jail in the poaching case, in which he has been sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25000. He was scheduled to participate in the world tour of stage shows. He is already facing two more cases — one on the hit-and-run charge and another for possessing unlicensed arms. He has also been convicted and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in yet another poaching case.

Actor John Abraham met with a minor road accident while riding his motorcycle at a high speed. Two cyclists were also hurt, who were taken to the hospital by the actor himself before getting himself admitted to another hospital. Incidentally, this is third time in a short period that John has been admitted to the hospital for different reasons.

Producer-director Shashi Ranjan has planned a talent hunt contest in Pakistan for his film, “Mungilal Rrocks”. The month long latent hunt to be telecast on Geo TV in Pakistan aims to unearth one actor, one actress and one singer from Pakistan. Nearly one lakh entries are expected by the organisers.

Actor Celina Jaitley wrongly parked her car in the VIP parking area at the Mumbai domestic airport, despite objections raised by the security guard posted there and abused government officials. An offence was registered against her and her brother.

Vrinda Pusalkar, the only living daughter of Dada Saheb Phalke, passed away recently in Mumbai. She was 82 and had been living a hand-to-mouth existence since years. Nobody practically cared for the daughter of the father of Indian Cinema.

Shekhar Kapoor will be shooting for “The Golden Age”, the sequel to his Oscar-nominated film “Elizabeth”, the story of which starts 15 years after the point at which the first film ended. The film will highlight Queen Elizabeth’s reign and explore her romantic liaisons. Kate Blanchet will again play Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush will be spymaster, Sir Francis Warsingham. The queen will be shown romancing Sir Walter Raleigh, to be played by Clive Oven.

Music Director Khayyam is being felicitated by number of institutions and organisations these days. The Mumbai Academy of Moving Images felicitated him during the Mumbai International Film Festival; and the Chief Minister of Punjab alongwith his cabinet colleagues and officials also felicitated Khayyam at another function. There are several other institutions and organisations in various cities, which have lined up felicitations for Khayyam. A special book has also been published on the life and work of Khayyam.

Madhur Bhandarkar is planning to make a sequel to “Chandni Bar”. Titled as “Chandni Bar 2”, the film will have Tabu once again in the lead role.

Mani Ratnam’s new project, “Guru” is based on the life of late Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India’s biggest business tycoons. Abhishek Bachchan is playing Dhirubhai’s role while Aishwarya Rai is playing his wife. Mithun Chakraborty plays a negative role in the film, which also has Mallika Sherawat. It is worth mentioning that Aishwarya fell from a cycle and got injured during shooting of the film.

Dance director Ganesh Acharya was involved in a cat-fight with the members of the Dancers’ Association. It is said that the members of the Association had pointed out that a couple of the dancers shooting for “Golmaal” in Goa were not members of the Dancers’ Association. It is imperative for the dancers to be members of the association. It is alleged that Ganesh started abusing and hitting the association people. Incidentally, Ganesh was removed from actor Salman Khan’s world tour, since it is alleged that he was not serious about the rehearsals of the shows and was showing more interest in Shah Rukh Khan’s rehearsals.

Actor Kamal Haasan will enact 10 characters in “Dasavatharam”. He is playing the hero and the villain too. The film is being directed by K.S. Ravikumar. Earlier, actor Sanjeev Kumar had enacted 9 roles in a Hindi film.

Dabur India Limited is all set to continue with Amitabh Bachchan after the contract making Bachchan Dabur’s brand ambassador expires in September. It is expected that Amitabh will raise his amount from earlier contract’s Rs. 8 crore, when Dabur negotiates with him.

Actor Nagma remains in the news for one or the other reason. This time, she has revealed that she is actually Nandita, the daughter of industrialist late Arvind Morarji. Her mother Seema, a Muslim, had married Arvind Morarji in 1972 , but due to some family problems, her mother had to separate from Arvind Morarji, says Nagma. The Morarji family owned some of the biggest textile mills in western India in the past.

Well known editor of “Film India” and “Mother India” magazines, late Baburao Patel’s 102nd birth anniversary was celebrated in Mumbai recently. The BJP leader Gopi Nath Munde was the Chief Guest at the function organised by Baburao Patel’s wife, actor-singer Dr. Sushila Rani Patel. Large number of top musicians and music lovers attended the function, compered by Kishan Sharma. Dr. Sushila Rani Patel herself presented a powerful vocal recital in addition of other musical performances.

Broadcast Asia 2006, Asia’s 11th International Electronic Media Technology Exhibition and Conference will be held from 20th June at Singapore Expo. U.K., U.S.A., Singapore, China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Korea and some other countries are taking part in the conference organised by Singapore Exhibition Services.

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