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August - September 2007


Latest News from Bollywood

by Kishan Sharma

Former Managing Director of Film City (Mumbai), senior IAS Officer Govind Swarup has been found guilty in a departmental enquiry of having caused the Film City losses to the tune of Rs. 12.83 crore in 2000. The Maharashtra Government has recommended to the Government of India that two-thirds of his total pension should be deducted.

It is learnt that more than 3.2 million TV viewers tuned in to watch Paris Hilton’s interview, first after her release from jail. Larry King, who interviewed her said that despite the top ratings of the season for his talk show, he himself was not impressed by Paris Hilton, who according to him was lying about reading the Bible in the jail, because when he asked to name her favourite passage from the Bible, she was lost for words and looked awkwardly away.

There has been a hot discussion in the film industry about the so-called break-up of Yash Chopra and his son Aditya Chopra over the engagement of Aditya Chopra with actress Rani Mukerji; which never took place. It is true that Aditya Chopra’s estranged wife Payal is living with Yash Chopra and Pamela Chopra, and Aditya Chopra had for quite some time shifted to a hotel. But there is no truth, as far as the insiders know, in the stories that are being circulated in the media about the break-up of Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra and also about the engagement or marriage of Aditya Chopra and Rani Mukerji.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan tops the list of Service Tax payers among the "brand ambassadors" of the Indian film industry. Others who have figured in the list are – Amitabh Bachchan (Rs. 1.53 crore), Hrithik Roshan (Rs. 1.04 crore), Rani Mukerji (Rs. 1.03 crore), Abhishek Bachchan (Rs. 98 lac), John Abraham (Rs. 79 lac), and Saif Ali Khan (Rs. 70 lac). Incidentally, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, with 1.93 crores as service tax payment, stands second in the list.

Ramanagaram, the village where Sippys "Sholay" was filmed, has now become a district in Karnataka. It was known as Ramgadh in the film, and people used to visit the Ramanagaram village just to see the place which was taken over by Sippys for the film shooting. The Chief Minister of Karnataka has announced that Ramanagaram will have medical college, medical research centre and other high standard institutions also, in the near future.

Amitabh Bachchan has been issued a notice by the Bombay High Court seeking clarifications and information from him about some foreign exchange dealings without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authorities. Incidentally, Amitabh Bachchan has taken up a well calculated move to make peace with the press. He is regularly been seen in Times of India with long interviews these days. He also met the editorial staff of Times of India personally at the newspaper’s office. He has given long interviews to Mid Day and D.N.A. also. He also attended Nav Bharat Times’ function. With Amitabh Bachchan appearing in the Times of India regularly, some people have started thinking if he has been appointed the "brand ambassador" of Times of India also.

During his tenure as British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, made his film debut with a short film directed by Shekhar Kapoor. The film, "Global Cool", premiered at an award ceremony in Yorkshire, attempts to create awareness about global warming. Blair plays the role of a "carbon crusader" in the film.

A top Maharashtra Government official has said that Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, John Abraham and Preity Zinta are among the film artistes who have not paid stamp duty on their agreements as brand ambassadors of different companies. The penalty for not paying stamp duty on time is 2% per month, and could go upto a maximum of 200% of the original duty amount.

British-Indian filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, gave birth to twins after undergoing an emergency caesarean operation. Chadha gave birth to a healthy boy and a girl. Her husband Paul Berges and her 80 year old mother Balwant Kaur were at her bedside at the University College Hospital.

The parents of Farzana Shaikh, former wife of music composer Ismail Darbar, filed a missing person complaint at the Bandra police station, stating that their daughter had not returned home. Ismail Darbar and Farzana have been involved in a long-standing alimony dispute.

Madhuri Dixit has reportedly taken ill. She is said to be suffering from chicken pox.

Singer Daler Mehndi’s wife Nikki is out with a Punjabi album. Trained by Daler’s father Guru Ajmer Singh Mehndi, the 37 year old singer Nikki seems to be very happy that her album has come out alongwith Daler’s latest album.

Film stars do anything for money. Priyanka Chopra and Akshay Kumar danced on the occasion of an industrialist’s 40th birthday in Istanbul. Similarly Salman Khan, Bipasha Basu, Dia Mirza and Rani Mukerji performed at a wedding in a Mumbai hotel. It is learnt that the stars charge lacs of rupees for such appearances.

Former West Indian cricket captain Brian Lara and actor Shah Rukh Khan are likely to team up for special appearances in a $2 million movie titled "Dulha Mil Gaya".

Actress Kim Sharma and cricketer Yuvraj Singh have split. It is learnt that Yuvraj’s mother did not approve of Kim’s habit of exposing too much in the films. Item girl Shefali Zariwala and her husband Harmeet Gulzar have also split. The "Kaanta Laga" fame girl had been having problems with her husband, it is learnt.

Sanjay Gupta has said that his relations with Sameera Reddy are no longer alive. According to him, his two year old relationship is over and Sameera is history now. He has patched up with his wife Anu and has said that he is serious about mending the harm that he has done to his marriage.

After gathering dust for the longest time, Mani Ratnam’s ambitious film, "Lajjo" has been shelved. The problem started with Kareena opting out and Aamir getting busy with his other films.

Hema Malini, Esha Deol and Aahana Deol did not attend the premiere of Dharmendra, Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol starrer "Apne" in Mumbai. Hema Malini is said to have taken ill suddenly, but it is also true that the two families of Dharmendra are never seen together in any public function.

While Shilpa Shetty was going to UK last time, she was detained at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai for more than two hours. It is learnt that a look-out notice was issued in her name by a Rajasthan court. Shilpa had secured a clearance from the Supreme Court, but was not carrying the copy of it. Later, her father reached the airport and furnished a copy of the Supreme Court order, following which she was allowed by the emigration authorities to proceed to UK. Incidentally, Shilpa Shetty is being signed by US based Gujarati entrepreneur Uru Patel to act as Sita in his film "Hanuman". Keanu Reeves will play Ram and the film is to be directed by Luis Mandoki.

Ego has stepped in between Himesh Reshammiya and Salman Khan. There was a time when the struggling music composer Himesh Reshammiya came into the film industry, he was taken under Salman Khan’s wings. Salman not only introduced Himesh to his friends but also made sure that Himesh got plum assignments. After Himesh touched all heights, he decided to come out of Salman’s shadow. Now, they donot even talk to each other.

Raga to Rock Records, a division of Spotlight Promotions & Management, has launched an innovative world music vocalist and Salsa dancer, Giju’s debut Hindi album "Rang Rangeeli Yeh Duniya". The video, successfully debuted at the World Salsa Congress held at San Francisco features Giju, who is also called "Ricky Martin of Indian Music".The Company had also launched singer Sharon Prabhakar’s album "Dilruba", alongwith Nitish Pires’ album "Sarhadein", Rajeev Thanvi’s album "Mere Dil Se" and Tarana’s album "Vinati". The video of "Dilruba" won the silver award at the New York Festival. Tauseef Akhtar has composed the songs written by Sameer for "Dilruba". Nitish Pires used to sing and play guitar in Parlay band. He formed his own band "Nakshatra" and came out with his first album "Gulfam". Now he has released his second album "Sarhadein". Rajeev Thanvi has composed and sung all songs in the album titled "Mere Dil Se". He has orchestrated the songs with Hindustani beats and has blended the popular music with meaningful poetry. Tarana’s album "Vinati" is an offering to Lord Krishna through Meera Bai bhajans and kirtans. Singh brothers have composed music for Tarana’s album, which is her second bhajan record.

Preity Zinta was accused of being a home-breaker by Suchitra Krishnamoorthy, estranged wife of Shekhar Kapoor. Preity decided not to take accusations lying down, and therefore she demanded that Shekhar Kapoor should step into the picture and clear her name. Preity is said to have called up Shekhar Kapoor, who apparently felt embarrassed and promised to do the needful. Incidentally, Suchitra and Shekhar are already fighting over the custody of their daughter Kaveri.

In a new twist to the Liz Hurley-Arun Nayar wedding row, Arun’s father Vinod Nayar is reported to be willing to testify against the couple in a legal case that alleges their marriage in Rajasthan broke Hindu customs. It is learnt that an arrest warrant could be issued for Arun and Liz as soon as prosecution has made its case – either because they are summoned to give evidence or they have been found guilty.

The famous Sharma Bandhu presented a beautiful bhajan programme, which was arranged free of charge for the music loving audience of Nagpur. The four brothers – Gopal Sharma, Shukdev Sharma, Kaushalendra Sharma and Raghavendra Sharma (sons of Sangeet Maharshi Pandit Ramanand Sharma) presented traditional as well as new bhajans in a unique style. The four brothers sang all compositions together, supported by Dinesh Sharma on key board, Balram on octopad, Vinod Kumar on dholak and Ghanshyam Das on tabla. The programme was beautifully compered by an another Sharma, Kishan Sharma, and the eldest of Sharma Bandhus, Gopal Sharma commented that now we are not four but five Sharma Bandhus.

Chairman of Sangeet-Natak Academy of India, Mr. Ram Nivas Mirdha felicitated top artistes like Dr. Sushila Rani Patel, Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan, Ustad Shamim Ahmed, Mrs. Zarin Daruwala-Sharma, Pandit Mohinderjit Singh, Dr. P. N. Singh, Mr. Mukund Bapat, Mr. Vijay Choudhary and Kishan Sharma at the Shiva Sangeetanjali’s function in Mumbai to mark 103rd birth anniversary of late Baburao Patel, the editor of "Film India" and "Mother India" magazines. Radhika Sood Nayak, Jayashree Savkar, Vrushali Ponde and Zunain Khan performed on the occasion, supported by Anant Kemkar, Omkar Gulvadi, Raghunath Phadke, Mukund Raj, Mehandi Hasan Khan, Prakash Desai, Raju Patwardhan, Suresh Gawade and Priyanka Sood.

A very good book containing poems in different languages on "mother" was released by the well known social activist Anna Hazare at Pune. The book entitled – "Maa, Har Dhoop Mein Chhaon Si" is edited by Pradeep Nifadkar and is published by Pradeep Munot of Prabhat Printing Works for the K.L. Munot Charitable Trust, to be circulated free of cost among the lovers of literature. Vijay Kuvalekar, the Information Commissioner of Maharashtra, Asha Khimvasara, Kiran Gandhi and Kanta Munot were specially present on the occasion. Noted poets Nida Fazli, Rajesh Johri, Meghbindu, F.M. Shinde and Pradeep Nifadkar recited their poems while Kishan Sharma compered the entire programme.

Rain waters entered the bungalows of many celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan and Bobby Deol, once again. In 2005 deluge also, large number of bungalows were flooded and heavy losses were reported. There was also a bomb hoax at Bachchan’s bungalow. The bomb detection and disposal squad conducted a thorough search of the entire premises, but nothing suspicious was found.

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