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February - March 2009



by Kishan Sharma

James Joseph Cialella told a family sitting near him in a cinema to be quiet during the screening of “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” at the United Artists Riverview Stadium Theatre in South Philadelphia. As the family continued to make noise, he threw popcorn at them and then shot the father of the family. Cialella was arrested.

Neetu Kapoor, who left acting after her marriage with Rishi Kapoor, almost 25 years ago, is making a comeback with Saif Ali Khan’s production. Yet to be titled, the Imtiaz Ali directed film also has Rishi Kapoor while Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone play the lead roles. Neetu Kapoor is also acting in “Do Dooni Char” directed by Habib Faisal. Incidentally, Deepika Padukone is dating Neetu and Rishi Kapoor’s son Ranbir Kapoor in real life.

Rakhi Sawant somehow manages to remain in the news. Now she has the story of her break-up with Abhishek Awasthi. She had been living with Abhishek for quite some time, but now says that Abhishek was just passing time with her and using her to get work and popularity.

It is learnt that Shilpa Shetty got a personal invitation from Mikaeel Jackson to attend his brother’s birthday bash. It is heard that Mikaeel invited both Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody as the Chief Guests.

There are rumours that Mikaeel Jackson is suffering from a rare lung condition and is said to be fighting for his life. He needs to undergo an emergency transplant operation and some close people have said that he has lost 95 percent vision in his left eye and can barely speak.

Akshay Kumar has charged Rupees nine crore for only dubbing for the film “Jumbo”. In addition, he will also keep 50 percent of the film’s profit.

“Ghajini” was released in 22 countries and the number of cinemas covered is 300. It is said that 65 prints were sent to only U.K., while U.S.A. and Canada were given 112 prints and U.A.E. got 36 prints.

Incidentally, “Ghajini” was released only after the division bench of Madras High Court suspended the stay order granted by the single judge of Madras High Court on the day the film was to be released. The Bombay High Court also refused to stay film’s screening.

Shah Rukh Khan has been ranked among 50 most powerful people in the world by the prestigious US based magazine, “Newsweek”.He is the only Bollywood personality in the power elite group.

During the Maharashtra assembly session at Nagpur, the Bharatiya Janata Party members alleged that Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan was not paying taxes to the gram panchayats for the wind-mills owned by her. The Speaker of the House instructed the Minister-in-charge to collect the amount of taxes from the actress at the earliest.

Saif Ali Khan was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai and was discharged after two days. He had an intestinal infection.

After the terrorist-attack in Mumbai, UTV Software Communications Ltd. has decided to withdraw all its plans for dealing with Pakistan market. UTV will therefore not release any of its forthcoming films in Pakistan. It has also withdrawn plans to launch its two channels in Pakistan.

Bhojpuri film producer and actor Raja Chaudhary has repeatedly been arrested by Mumbai police for his alleged misbehaviour. It is learnt that the police may take strong action against him if he does anything wrong in future. He was one of the participants of the recently telecast reality show, “Big Boss”.

Amitabh Bachchan checked in for a flight at Mumbai airport with a gun in his check-in baggage. However, the licence he had brought with him was for another gun. He was stopped by security personnel and was allowed to board the flight only after he sent the gun away with his secretary.

Veteran actress Begum Para Khan passed away in Mumbai recently. She was 82 years old. She was recently seen on the screen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Saawariya”.

Theatre personality Jaydev Hattangady passed away in Mumbai. He was 60 and is survived by his actress-wife Rohini Hattangady and a son. He was suffering from cancer.

Director and choreographer Prabhu Deva’s eldest son passed away in Chennai recently. He was suffering from flat bone cancer.

Canadian film actor Michael Rudder was caught in the fire of the terrorists at the Oberoi Trident Hotel in Mumbai on the 26th November 2008. He was shot thrice but survived the wounds. He was admitted to the Bombay Hospital.

Ramgopal Varma accompanied Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his actor-son Ritesh Deshmukh on Chief Minister’s official visit to terrorist-hit Mumbai hotels, The Taj and Trident. This was bitterly criticized by media and prominent citizens. He was accused of having visited the attack-sites to gather material for his future film with Ritesh. Ultimately, Vilasrao Deshmukh had to resign from his post.

Several organizations have issued a warning to all television channels and stage show organizers against the hiring of Pakistani artistes. Ghazal singer Ghulam Ali was also asked by Pakistani authorities to cancel his programmes in India, after the terrorist-attack in Mumbai.

Event organizer and film producer Vijay K Taneja has pleaded guilty for a US $ 33 million mortgage fraud in the USA. The 47 year old NRI faces 20 years incarceration and a fine of $ 5,00,000 for money laundering. He had produced Himesh Reshammiya’s debut film as actor, “Aap Kaa Surroor”.

It is learnt that Subhash Ghai has fired most of the staff that worked on “Yuvvraaj”. Ghai is said to be unhappy with the outcome of the film.

Lata Mangeshkar, who has sung many songs with music director Raam-Laxman, is back again to render Raam-Laxman composions for “The Lifestyle In Generation Next”. Vijay Patil, is actually the Laxman of the Raam-Laxman team introduced by film maker-actor Dada Kondke. Raam died when their first Marathi film, “Paandu Hawaldar” was released. Vijay Patil, however decided to use the Raam-Laxman name for all the films in future, including Hindi blockbusters like “Maine Pyaar Kiya” and “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun”.

Film maker Vipul Shah is recreating the famous Wembley Arena of London at Karjat, near Mumbai for his Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan, Asin film “London Dreams”. It is learnt that Vipul Shah’s Wembley Arena will house 90,000 people for his shoot. Art director Nitin Desai is creating a replica of Wembley Arena, for which 30 cameras will be used to cover the shoot.


Twentythree year old Asin has been in the news for her performance in “Ghajini”. She is now working with Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan in “London Dreams”. She is said to have been throwing starry tantrums on the sets. It is learnt that several make-up artistes and designers have quit the project. She has also started telling the assistant directors which shots to retain and which to delete. Some people connected with the Vipul Shah film “London Dreams” have started calling it the “London Nightmare”.


Actor John Abraham has decided to build a hospital. The hospital would be first of a chain of hospitals across the country. John has an ambitious plan but doesnot have the necessary finance. He has the goodwill of the entire medical fraternity. John wants to build the hospital in homage to his mother, who does lot of work in aid of the disabled children. John says that the hospital is a dream which he wants to fulfill.


229 films were released in 2008, out of which 136 were Hindi films, 88 were dubbed in Hindi, 3 were English films, 1 was English-Hindi film and 1 was an English-Sindhi film. “Ghajini” and “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” are counted as the “biggest hits”, while “Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na”, “Singh Is Kinng”, “Golmaal Returns”, and “Jannat” were the other hits of the year. “A Wednesday!”, “Race” and “Phoonk” also got good response. In the International market, “Jodhaa Akbar” and “Dostana” also got good response.
Balaji Motion Pictures Ltd. And Popcorn Motion Pictures Pvt. Ltd.’s “EMI” failed at the box-office, despite the presence of Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar. Rajshri Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s “Ek Vivaah…Aisa Bhi” also faired badly. Sony Pictures’ “James Bond 007 – Quantum Of Solace” did not find any favour from the audience. Dharma Productions’ “Dostana” with Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol, Shilpa Shetty, Kiron Kher and Boman Irani couldnot attract the Indian audience. One More Thought Production and Lemontea Productions’ “Dasvidaniya” is a sensitive and sincere film, but had no takers. Jabeen International’s “Pehli Nazar Ka Pyaar” sank at the box-office. O.K. International and P.J. Productions’ “Deshdrohi” received good publicity after it was banned by the Government of Maharashtra, but even the publicity stunts did not get the public into the theatres, and the film flopped. Royal Film Company’s “Bhai – The Lion” got washed out. Eros International and Mukta Ats Ltd.’s “Yuvvraaj” starring Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani and Mithun Chakraborty proved to be too long and too boring. Paramount Pictures’ “Aakhri Race” flopped at the box-office. UTV Motion Pictures’ “Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!” did not prove lucky at the box-office. Puja Entertainment (India) Ltd., Anticlock Films and Mumbai Mantra’s “Sorry Bhai!” met with a sorry fate. Sepia Films Productions’ “Partition” was rejected. M3Media’s “Mega Snake (Naagraj)” is a poor film. Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Ltd.’s “Maharathi” with Paresh Rawal, Naseeruddin Shah, Boman Irani, Om Puri and Neha Dhupia couldnot get audience. Paramhans Creations and Studio 18’s “Dil Kabaddi” was a non-starter. Shubir S. Mukerji Production Pvt. Ltd.’s “Gumnam – The Mystery” failed to impress. Pritish Nandy Communications’ “Meerabai Not Out” was out of the cinema houses without scoring. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.’s “Oh, My God!” had the audience saying – Oh, My God. WEG Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.’s “Transporter3” was not accepted. Yash Raj Films’ “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” with Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Vinay Pathak under the direction of Aditya Chopra proved to be a hit film. Twentieth Century Fox’s “Mahapralay : Aasman Se Akraman”, the dubbed version of Hollywood’s THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, could be a well made film, but got no response in India. Prassanna Kothari Films Pvt. Ltd.’s “Aur Ek Yuddh” is a miserable flop; and so is the Excellent Movies’ “Maseeha Mazdooron Ka”. True Life Production’s “Wafaa” with erstwhile superstar Rajesh Khanna is a waste of time and money. Herold Productions and Brightlight Pictures’ “Raj Tilak – The Ultimate Winner” proved to be a loser. Geetha Arts’ “Ghajini”, remake of the Tamil film and inspired by the English movie MEMENTO, directed by A. R. Murugadoss and starring Aamir Khan, Asin, and Jiah Khan proved to be the superhit film. It is set to be the first film in a decade to touch the Rs. 100 crore mark. Percept Picture Company’s “Jumbo”, a Thai animation film with voices of Akshay Kumar, Dimple Kapadia, Lara Dutta, Gulshan Grover, Rajpal Yadav and Asrani, failed to get audience. Chicago Pictures’ “Speed Returns” would hardly get any audience.

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