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June - July 2009



by Kishan Sharma

The biggest style icon in Bollywood of the ‘70s and ‘80s, actor-producer-director Feroz Khan passed away on his farm near Bangalore. He was 69 and had been suffering from cancer. He was often in and out of the hospitals. Born to an Afghan father and an Irani mother, Feroz Khan was considered one of the most stylish producer-director in Bollywood. He made his acting debut with a role in “Didi” in 1960. He made eight films under his banner, F.K. International, which he launched in 1972 with “Apradh”. His other films included “Qurbani”, “Dharmatma”, “Janbaaz”, “Dayavan”, “Yalgaar”, “Prem Aggan” and “Janasheen”, the last two with son Fardeen Khan as the lead actor. He acted in films like “Oonche Log”, “Arzoo”, “Aadmi Aur Insan”, “Mela”, “Raat Aur Din”, “Safar”, and “Ek Sapera Ek Lutera”. As actor, he was last seen in “Welcome” in 2007.

Music Director Raamlaxman recorded an English song in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar for writer-producer-director Santosh Kumar Jain’s “The Lifestyle – In Generation Next”. Raamlaxman was not keeping well for the last few months and was hospitalized also. Now with much improvement in his health, he has started his normal work of composing and recording songs.

Film journalist Jyoti Venkatesh has been arrested by the police in the case of the murder of a 22-year old man. He has been remanded to police custody as he is party to the crime. The main accused, Hitesh Gandhi is absconding.

The Bombay High Court has stayed trial in the case of British national Nadia Khan’s death as her parents have challenged the lower court’s order that discharged Bollywood director Kaizad Gustad from the charge of culpable homicide. Gustad’s assistant Nadia died when she was hit by a local train during the shoot of Gustad’s film in 2004. Nadia’s UK-based parents have appealed in the High Court against the discharge order, passed by a sessions court which said that there was no evidence to show that Gustad asked Nadia to be present on the railway track. Earlier Gustad’s unit had tried to show it as a case of road accident.

Actor Anil Kapoor was recently felicitated at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles at the Arch Light Hollywood Cinema. The English version of Anil Kapoor’s “Gandhi My Father”, and Hindi films “Lamhe” and “Virasat” were screened at the six-day festival, alongwith other films.

Large number of film personalities appealed to the people of India to come out and vote during the general elections, but even then very poor voting has been reported from most of the places. Many film personalities, except Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and some others, cast their votes. Interestingly, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s name appeared in two different lists of voters – one in Juhu, where she presently lives, and another in Bandra, where she was residing prior to her marriage.

The embassy of France and the National Film Archives of India signed an agreement under which France would donate 234 films from its Delhi library to NFAI, for preservation, non-commercial screenings, research and studies.

An FIR was filed against actor Sanjay Dutt for allegedly making communal remarks by proclaiming that when he was in police custody in Mumbai, he was beaten by cops because his mother was a Muslim. Three more cases have also been slapped against him for obscenity for offering to give Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, “Jaadu ki jhappi aur pappi”. Later Sanjay said that his “jhappi” remark was a dialogue from his “Munna Bhai” film, and since he had addressed Mayawati as “bahenji”, the “pappi” remark was an affectionate brotherly remark. Incidentally, after Supreme Court did not permit Sanjay to contest election from Lucknow, since he is sentenced by the court in Mumbai blast and arms cases, he was made General Secretary of the Samajwadi Party to make use of his popularity as film actor in elections. His wife, Maanyata, is said to be unhappy that she was not allowed to contest election in Sanjay’s place. Sanjay Dutt’s sister Priya Dutt is already a Congress candidate from Mumbai.

Interestingly, a shoe was thrown at actor Jeetendra during a Congress party rally when he was campaigning for the party. Large number of actors, specially the female actors are busy campaigning for various party candidates. They are said to be charging very heavy amount for their appearances. Only Salman Khan was seen campaigning for both Congress and BJP candidates in different cities. Other stars campaigned for only one party, whichever booked them.

Producer Ambika Hinduja has signed Hollywood actor Sir Ben Kingsley to play an important role in Serendipity Films’ “Teen Patti”, which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Madhavan, Saira Mohan and others. The film is being directed by Leena Yadav.

The sting operation by journalists of a British tabloid, in which the father of Rubina Ali, child actor of “Slumdog Millionaire” is believed to have negotiated the price of Rs. 1.80 crore for letting his daughter go with a Saudi couple, has had far-reaching repercussions. Rubina’s stepmother Munni and biological mother Khursheed had a physical bout in the slums where Rubina lives. However, after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights intervened, and Rubina said that she wanted to stay with her father Rafiq Qureshi, the police closed the case, which has not gone well with many social organizations.

Veteran filmmaker Shakti Samanta passed away recently after prolonged illness. He was 83. He had come to Mumbai to become an actor, but became an assistant director. He made his directorial debut with “Bahu” in 1954, and became a producer with “Howrah Bridge” in 1957. He made a series of successful and super-hit films like “China Town”, “Kashmir Ki Kali”, An Evening in Paris”, “Aradhana, “Amar Prem”, “Kati Patang”, “Amanush”, and “Barsaat Ki Ek Raat”. He had directed 43 films.

Akshay Kumar’s wife Twinkle was arrested by the police and released on bail for alleged obscene behavior at a fashion show, where she undid the button of husband Akshay’s jeans during his scripted and rehearsed walk on the ramp. Akshay is also seeking anticipatory bail in the same case. However, Akshay Kumar has apologized for the act.

Executives of Scrabble Entertainment announced that they will partner with five of the six major Hollywood film studios to deploy upto 2000 digital cinema screens in India. Scrabble has signed agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. The presence of digital screens will make it easier for film fans in India to enjoy more movies in 3-D. Scrabble has installed 80 screens in India and will install over 500 screens in the next three years.

Noted lyricist Barkat Rai Verma Malik, popularly known as Verma Malik, passed away recently. He was 84. He moved to India from Pakistan after partition and began writing songs for Punjabi films. Manoj Kumar introduced him in Hindi film “Yaadgar”. He wrote songs for many films, including “Roti, Kapda Aur Makan”, “Victoria No. 203”, “Naagin”, and “Saawan Bhadon”.

Prakash Nichani of PBN Films expired recently. He was in his late forties. Nichani, who owned the well known BJN chain of restaurants, had entered the film industry very recently. He had paid director Anees Bazmee Rs. Five crore by way of signing amount. Later, he had second thoughts and wanted the amount back, to which Anees Bazmee did not agree. He then filed a case against Anees Bazmee. Prakash Nichani’s sudden death has shocked the industry, and many people are accusing Anees Bazmee for his sudden death.

Legendary Ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan is struggling to foot his medical bills in Pakistan. His son Arif Hassan has said that his family is now badly failing to foot the treatment bills. Mehdi Hassan, 82, has been helped in the past by India’s former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, singer Lata Mangeshkar, singer Jagjit Singh, singer Anup Jalota, and many others.

Bharat Ratna Dr. Lata Mangeshkar has given award to Mumbai Police and Fire Brigade in the name of her father Master Dinanath Mangeshkar on his death anniversary for their exemplary work during 26th November terrorists attack in Mumbai. Lata Mangeshkar made her first public appearance after her knee replacement.

Legendary bhajan singer Padmashri Purushottam Das Jalota has been given Kumar Gandharva award for his outstanding contribution in the field of Indian music. The award was given by another legendary singer Pandit Jasraj.

Scottish actor Gerard Butler was in Mumbai, and actress Priyanka Chopra hosted a special party. Selected guests like Sussane and Hritik Roshan, Gauri and Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, Imran Khan and Avantika, Farah Khan and Shrish Kunder, Meher Jessia and Arjun Rampal, Kangana Ranaut and Farhan Akhtar were invited to the party. It is learnt that Gerard was completely besotted by Priyanka and kept proposing to her every half hour. While the party was on in full swing, neighbours lodged a complaint with the police that the noise and music was too loud. The party ended abruptly after police came and imposed a fine of Rs. 5000.

There are rumours that Hritik Roshan and his father Rakesh Roshan have developed bad relations with each other. Hritik and his wife Sussane had shifted to a hotel with their sons. Earlier, it was rumoured that Sussane had walked out and was living with her parents since she did not like Hritik Roshan’s closeness to his “Kites” co-star Barbara Mori. But, Rakesh Roshan has rubbished all the rumours and has said that there was a problem of termites in the house and therefore Hritik had shifted to the hotel with his family for nearly a month, and now Hritik and his family is back at the Roshan bungalow.

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been asked by the Supreme Court of India to file his reply to a petition by income tax department accusing him of not paying requisite tax on his earnings from the mega show, “Kaun Banega Crorepati”.

The Pakistani law enforcement agencies have arrested a retired army major – a close associate of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s chief operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, for masterminding the October 2008 abduction of actress Juhi Chawla’s uncle, filmmaker Satish Anand, who was freed in April 2009 after paying Rs. 16 million in ransom.

Filmmaker Prakash Mehra is critically ill and is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a Mumbai hospital. It is learnt that he did not recognize superstar Amitabh Bachchan, when he went to the hospital to enquire about Prakash Mehra’s health. Prakash Mehra had cast Amitabh in many of his blockbusters like “Zanjeer”, “Sharaabi”, “Namak Halaal”, “Laawaris” and “Muqaddar Ka Sikandar”.


Siddhi Vinayak Movies’ JAI VEERU, starring Fardeen Khan, Kunal Khemu, Arbaaz Khan and Dia Mirza is a dry and dull fare. Zee Limelight’s GULAAL couldnot attract audience. Mira Nair and Indian Films’ LITTLE ZIZOU has very good performances by Boman Irani, Xenobia Shroff, Sohrab Ardeshir, Shernaz Patel and others, but has been rejected at the box-office. Mirchi Movies Ltd., Maverick Productions Pvt. Ltd. and Red Ice Productions Pvt. Ltd.’s ALOO CHAAT is not entertaining. Bandra West Pictures’ BARAH AANA is a sincere attempt but cannot get the audience. Percept Picture Company’s FIRAAQ, directed by Nandita Das has Naseeruddin Shah, Deepti Naval, Paresh Rawal and others. The film may get awards, but no luck at the box-office. I Dream Productions’ STRAIGHT is a disaster. Qaushin Creation’s KEY CLUB is a wash out. 3 “S” Creations’ LOTTERY is a non-starter. K. Sera Sera Productions Ltd.’s EK – THE POWER OF ONE with Nana Patekar, Bobby Deol, Jackie Shroff and Kulbhushan Kharbanda may get some audience in small towns only. Eros Internationals AA DEKHEN ZARA starring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Bipasha Basu is too weak. B. R. Films and Hamilton Mehta Productions’ VIDESH directed by Deepa Mehta is rejected by the public. Percept Picture Company’s 8X10 TASVEER directed by Nagesh Kukunoor and starring Akshay Kumar, Ayesha Takia, Sharmila Tagore and Girish Karnad is a total disaster. Universal Pictures’ RAFTAAR KA JUNOON is the Hindi version of FAST & FURIOUS 4. The film will get some good returns. Ashwami Films and Everest Entertainment’s Marathi film MI SHIVAJIRAJE BHOSLE BOLTOY will get full support from Marathi audience. B4U’s EK SE BURE DO is worth nothing. Sukra Arts’ PAL PAL DIL KE SSAAT is a poor fare. Atharva Arts’ ROYAL UTSAV has nothing to offer. Sagar Creation’s MERI PADOSAN failed at the box-office. Aascar Film (P) Ltd.’s DASHAVTAR with Kamal Haasan, Asin and Jaya Prada will not be appreciated. Unilux Films Pvt. Ltd.’s CHOWRASTA – CROSSROADS OF LOVE is well made film but will find no takers. Shivkala Motion Pictures’ COFFEE HOUSE is a disaster. Shalimar Productions and 24 Frame Entertainment’s LOAFER has no merits. Rasun Broadcast India Pvt. Ltd.’s MAZDURON KA DAATA fails to attract any audience. Jackie Chan Productions’ NEW POLICE STORY 5, will be liked by his fans in India. Royal Film Company’s JAAN is complete wash out. Since no new Hindi film have been released from 4th April 2009, due to ongoing dispute between multiplexes and producers/distributors over the issue of sharing revenue, only dubbed and small films are being screened alongwith old movies. A solution to the problem is expected within few days, and the new films will be released thereafter only.

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