RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 8%, CRR at 4.75%

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The Reserve Bank of India today kept the policy repo rate unchanged at 8 per cent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) of scheduled banks at 4.75 per cent on the basis of its assessment of the current macroeconomic situation, saying that any reduction in the rate at this juncture could exacerbate inflationary pressures.
Consequently, the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) will remain unchanged at 7 per cent, and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate at  9, the central bank said.
"Future actions will depend on a continuing assessment of external and domestic developments that contribute to lowering inflation risks," it said.
According to the RBI, since its annual policy statement in April, global macroeconomic and financial conditions had deteriorated.
"At the same time, the domestic macroeconomic situation too raises several deepening concerns. While growth in 2011-12 has moderated significantly, headline inflation remains above levels consistent with sustainable growth. Importantly, retail inflation is also on an uptrend," the RBI said in a statement.
The RBI said it had frontloaded the policy rate reduction in April with a cut of 50 basis points.
"This decision was based on the premise that the process of fiscal consolidation critical for inflation management would get under way, along with other supply-side initiatives. Our assessment of the current growth-inflation dynamic is that there are several factors responsible for the slowdown in activity, particularly in investment, with the role of interest rates being relatively small. Consequently, further reduction in the policy interest rate at this juncture, rather than supporting growth, could exacerbate inflationary pressures," it
The statement said domestic economic activity in 2011-12 moderated sequentially over the quarters to take growth to a low of 5.3 per cent in Q4, though for the year as a whole it was 6.5 per cent. 
Deceleration in industrial production from the supply side and weak investment from the demand side have, in particular, contributed to the growth slowdown. The index of industrial production (IIP) increased by just 0.1 per cent in April 2012. Even as the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for May suggested that industrial activity remains in an expansionary mode, there is no question that the pace of expansion has slowed significantly, it said.
"In this context, it is relevant to assess as to what extent high interest rates are affecting economic growth. Estimates suggest that real effective bank lending interest rates, though positive, remain comparatively lower than the levels seen  during the high growth phase of 2003-08. This suggests that factors other than interest rates are contributing more significantly to the growth slowdown.
"Further, one implication of the rupee depreciation over the past several months is that domestic producers have gained in competitiveness over foreign producers. Over time, this should result in expanding exports and contracting imports, thus acting as a demand stimulus," it said.
The statement also noted that, during  2011-12, headline WPI inflation rate moderated from a peak of 10.0 per cent in September 2011 to 7.7 per cent in March 2012. 
"However, during 2012-13 so far, provisional data suggest that it inched up from 7.2 per cent in April to 7.6 per cent in May, driven mainly by food and fuel prices. Primary food articles inflation rose from negative [(-) 0.7 per cent)] in January to 10.7 per cent in May largely due to a sharp increase in vegetable prices. Protein inflation continued to be in double digits. With food prices contributing so heavily to headline inflation, the performance of the south-west monsoon will also play a role in determining inflationary conditions over the course of the current year.
"Though international crude prices have fallen significantly from their levels in April 2012, the rupee depreciation has significantly offset its impact on wholesale prices. Further, even at the current lower level of global crude oil prices, significant under-recoveries persist in respect of administered petroleum product prices. The positive development on the inflation front is that core (non-food manufactured products) inflation has trended down," it said.
According to the RBI, consumer price index (CPI) inflation (as measured by the new series, base year 2010) rose from 8.8 per cent in February to 9.4 per cent in March and further to 10.4 per cent in April. 
Significantly, CPI inflation, excluding food and fuel, was also in double digits suggesting that moderation in wholesale price inflation has not transmitted to the retail level, it said.
"Notwithstanding the moderation in core inflation, the persistence of overall inflation both at the wholesale and retail levels, in the face of significant growth slowdown, points to serious supply bottlenecks and sticky inflation expectations. Also, in the absence of pass-through from international crude oil prices to domestic prices, the consumption of petroleum products remains strong distorting price signals and preventing the much needed adjustment in aggregate demand. The consequent subsidy burden on the Government is crowding out public investment at a time when reviving investment, both public and private, is a critical imperative. The widening current account deficit (CAD), despite the slowdown in growth, is symptomatic of demand-supply imbalances and a pointer to the urgent need to resolve the supply bottlenecks," it said.
The RBI said the evolving growth-inflation dynamic will continue to influence its Reserve Bank's stance on interest rates. 
"Core inflation has moderated, reflecting demand conditions and lower pricing power. However, both headline and retail inflation rates are rising, which have a bearing on inflation expectations. Future actions will depend on a continuing assessment of external and domestic developments that contribute to lowering inflation risks.
"Management of liquidity remains a priority. Even as the liquidity situation converges to the comfort zone, the Reserve Bank will continue to use OMOs as and when warranted to contain liquidity pressures.
"Finally, recognizing that the global situation is turbulent, the Reserve Bank stands ready to use all available instruments and measures to respond rapidly and appropriately to any adverse developments," it added.

L&T Construction secures orders valued at over Rs 1076 crore


Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had won new orders valued at Rs 1076 crore across various businesses during the first quarter of financial year 2012-13.

A press release from the company said the orders included one worth Rs 407 crore from Bajaj Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (BIDCO) to set up a coal handling system on turnkey basis for its green field 3x660 MW super thermal power project in Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh.   
This coal handling plant package will be completed on a fast track schedule of 22 months. L&T’s scope of work includes design, engineering, supply and erection of mechanical, electrical & instrumentation works,covering associated civil, structural works, testing and commissioning, the release said.
The company said it had also won orders worth Rs 699 crore in the domestic and international markets, including one for the construction of 132/33 kV substations and other modification works in the Middle East. 
On the domestic front, a new order has been secured for executing electrical works under Restructured Accelerated Power Development Reforms Programme for the Hubli Electricity Supply Company Limited and a few additional orders from various ongoing projects, the release added.

Pritish Nandy Communications announces Shaadi Ke Side Effects with Vidya, Farhan

The makers of the 2006 hit Pyaar Ke Side Effects have managed to pull off a casting coup of sorts and have roped in Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar for the sequel titled “Shaadi Ke Side Effects” - a take on the fascinating ways love works before and after marriage.

The romantic comedy will see the actors essaying the role of a married couple who are coping with their issues, much on the comic lines of the first film.
Talking about the plot, producer Pritish Nandy says, “Vidya will be playing a Delhi girl and Farhan a Bombay boy. The story moves ahead from where Trisha and Sid’s characters (Pyaar Ke Side Effects) left - they get married and the changes that come in their married life, the transformation in their relationship and how they tackle these changes."
“Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan are the two most successful actors of 2011. We are privileged to have them as the stars of Shaadi Ke Side-Effects and that is why I think this film tops our calendar for the coming year. My belief is that Shaadi Ke Side-Effects has the ability to be 2012's most exciting film, wild, wicked and wonderfully, wonderfully entertaining. Mars vs Venus at its best."
While the film has an all-new starcast, the director Saket Choudhary and music composer Pritam stay the same.
Irnoically, this would also be Farhan Akhtar’s first romantic comedy and the actor couldn’t be more excited.
“SKSE is a departure from my earlier work as an actor so it promises to be a new experience. Saket has written a funny yet moving story about simple things that everyone can relate to," he said.
Talking about being cast alongside Farhan Akhtar for the first time, Vidya Balan said, “It's the first time that Farhan and I will be working together. He's so real that everything about our situation in SKSE would seem believable. SKSE begins where every romcom ends."

Rowdy Rathore enters the big league, crosses Rs 105 crore mark in week 2

Movie ROWDY RATHORE Interview
Rowdy Rathore, the Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha starrer, is turning out be a winner all the way for the producers.
After a bumper opening and a  steady run in its first week, the UTV Motion Pictures & Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions' movie continues to rule the box office even in its second week with audiences pouring into theatres across the country.
Confirms acclaimed critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh: “RowdyRathore has crossed Rs. 105 cr nett mark in week 2. Has performed exceptionally well at single screens as well as plexes”
"We are thrilled with the incredible response that Rowdy Rathore has received from audiences across the board. It’s been a great year so far for all of us with the back to back success of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Paan Singh Tomar, Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya, The Avengers and Rowdy Rathore. 
"It is a very proud moment for all of us associated with the movie - Sanjay, Prabhudheva, Akshay and Sonakshi," says Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD - Studios, Disney UTV.
Adds co-producer Shabinaa Khan, "It's exciting news that Rowdy Rathore is getting audiences to the theatres even after the second week of its release. I am very proud to have co-produced this action-entertainer."

Bollywood Snippets: Ajay Devgn grooves the desi way in Bol Bachchan

The link of the song

National Award winning actor Ajay Devgn has done his first full-fledged desi-dance number in Rohit Shetty's Bol Bachchan.

Taking it up as a challenge, Devgn brought out his dancing shoes and has given his best.  Raju Khan, who choreographed the song, says, “There has been a major growth in Ajay Devgn as a dancer. Unlike earlier years where he was very shy, today he’s absolutely confident. He is well-versed with dancing and can grasp steps quickly.
"Also, having worked with him for over a decade now, I am very familiar with his body language. I know what will go down well with his personality and what will not suit his persona. For this particular number with Asin, I gave him steps that would be in perfect sync with his character in the film.”
Shetty is known for always incorporating something out-of-the-box in his song and dance routines and this time around the audience will see a larger than life, colorful mela in the backdrop of the song, which will feature Devgn flaunting some unique moves and Asin showcasing some latkas and thumkas!
The song, Chalao Na Naino Se Baan Re, is a full-on desi dance number where we see "pehelwaan" Devgn wooing his lady love, Asin. 
Another thing you must know about the song is that it doesn’t boast of the regular, run-of-the-mill professional background dancers. Instead we have some very cute and tough looking pehelwaans singing and dancing comically in the background! Together with Himesh Reshamiya’s singing and Ajay Devgn’s unique stint, the song makes for an out-and-out entertainer!
Presented by Fox Star Studios, the movie which is produced by Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision Pvt Ltd and Ajay Devgn Ffilms is slated for a 6th July release.
Chasme Baddoor to release on August 24
David Dhawan’s upcoming comic caper Chasme Baddoor, which is a remake of the original 1981 hit film, is slated for release on August 24.
The movie boasts of a fresh young cast such as Ali Zafar, Siddharth (Rang De Basanti fame), and Divyendu Sharma (Pyaar Ka Punchnama). It also features Rishi Kapoor, Anupam Kher,
Lillete Dubey and southern beauty Tapasee, who is making her Bollywood debut.
The movie is produced by Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and music is by Sajid Wajid.
Sarah Jane Dias turns choreographer with Kya Super Kool Hai Hum
Actress Sarah Jane Dias will soon be grooving to her own choreography in Balaji’s Kya Super Kool Hai Hum starring Tusshar Kapoor and Riteish Deshmukh.
A professional dancer, Dias volunteered to choreograph a couple of steps while shooting a song in a popular nightclub in the city, given that dancing has been a passion since her childhood.
Reveals a source “While shooting a peppy party track with Neha Sharma and Sarah-Jane in a club, Sarah asked director Sachin if she could suggest a few steps she felt would be apt for the song. Everyone loved her ideas and decided to go along with them. These have now been included in the film."
Directed by Sachin Yardi, Kya Super Kool Hai, Hum starring Tusshar, Riteish Deshmukh, Neha Sharma and Sarah-Jane Dias, is scheduled to release on August 2.
Hyderabad’s a favorite for Shruti Hassan 
After having settled in Mumbai,Shruti Hassan has barely had  quality time to spend in her sprawling new apartment in the suburbs. The reason being her long standing love for Hyderabad city!
The actress who recently shifted base to Mumbai has been traveling back and forth to Hyderabad for her professional commitments.
Explaining how Hyderabad holds a special spot in her heart, says Shruti Hassan 
"Hyderabad has always accepted and loved my movies. Gabbar Singh has been a huge hit over there. After being told it's running house full, I managed to visit a theatre, and I am extremely overwhelmed with the response that I've got from the people of Hyderabad. 
"Now I'm busy with projects in Mumbai, but Hyderabad has always been one of my favourite cities, and you will see me there a lot more," she said.

Venus Remedies says its drug to fight resistant `superbugs’ wins US patent


Pharmaceuticals major Venus Remedies Limited today said it had received patent from the US Patent Office for a "breakthrough" antibiotic product.

The new drug product CSE1034, which is an antibiotic adjuvant entity (AAE), has been found to be effective against a wide range of drug resistant infections including the `superbugs’ like carbapenemase resistant Metallobetalactamses (MBL) strains, the company said in a press release here.
``The US patent of CSE 1034 for Venus Remedies Limited is a landmark development for initiating the process of commercialization of this novel drug, designed specifically to target growing bacterial resistance mechanisms,’’ said Dr. Mufti Suhail Sayeed, Vice President, Venus Medical Research Centre (VMRC), Venus Remedies Limited.
According to the release, the innovation asuumes greater significance at a time the medical community world over, particularly India, is looking for ways to deal with the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. 

RIL to invest Rs 1 lakh crore to strengthen, diversify core businesses

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani today said the company would invest nearly Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years in India to strengthen and diversify its businesses and hoped to doube its operating profit in that period.

"We can achieve this growth while maintaining our financial strength," he said in his address to the 38th annual general meeting of the company.
"The evolution of Reliance as a successful public company has been possible by investing in new businesses of scale approximately every five years. This period corresponds to the investment cycle for world-class projects in the energy chain," he said.
He said the company was now ready for the next period of growth at Reliance by investing across all its core businesses in new capacity and margin improvement projects.
"In our energy businesses Reliance will extend its traditional India-centric vertical integration to a global partnership model. Access to feedstock is a critical element of our future growth. We  will  seek  partnerships  and  investment  in  feedstock  opportunities  that  reduce  risk  and  improve  margins  for our businesses," he said.
He said RIL would also seek partnerships  and  make  investments  with  businesses  that  provide it competitive access to international markets. 
"Though each of these businesses is linked to the international margin environment, our proven de-risked model of scale, integration, competitive costs and access to markets; will provide us industry leading margins," he said.
"We also have the opportunity to create a brand new world-class digital services business to provide services and experiences to the Indian consumer. The consumer businesses offer a new value platform and will form a significant part of your company's value in less than a decade," he said.
Mr Ambani said that, in the petrochemicals business, Reliance had embarked on several projects to take full advantage of the feedstock integration and the domestic growth opportunity. These include setting up of a gas cracker at Jamnagar which will be amongst the largest in the world, a world scale 1.8 million tonnes of PX plant, doubling the PTA capacity to 4.3 million tonnes and expanding polyester portfolio by 1.5 million tonnes.
"Implementation of all our projects has begun in full earnest and we expect to see production from newly commissioned projects in phases starting from 12 months to 36 months from today," he said.
He said the company was building capacity across the full range of synthetic rubbers at Hazira and Jamnagar. These would be world scale capacities and will position the company as the largest producer in India and among the top 15 elastomer producers globally.
He said RIL was also building an acetyls portfolio to cater to the rapidly growing coatings, 
adhesives and paint markets in India. These projects will increase its petrochemicals capacity from the current 15 million tonnes to 25 million tonnes and will transform its portfolio to include value added products and higher margin specialities. 
Mr Ambani said that RIL was making a major investment to further strengthen the competitiveness of its refinery business. It is building the largest gasification facility in the world to convert petroleum coke to synthetic gas which will be used as feedstock and fuel at its integrated Jamnagar complex.
"This project will not only add value to our refining business but also provide competitive fuel and reduce volatility of earnings. This investment, at this scale, is path breaking in the refining industry.  It is our target that this will add 30 to 40% to the integrated Jamnagar complex margins within the next three years," he said.
Turning to oil and gas exploration and production, Mr Ambani said the KG D6 field still remained India's first and only producing deep water development, though it has its unique ste of geological challenges.
"The reserves from the existing D1 D3 field have proved far more difficult to produce than anticipated.  We have experienced some disappointment with the reserves and consequently seen production drop below the originally estimated quantities. 
"Today RILand BPteams are working closely to understand the complex geology of this block.
We are chalking out an exploration and development campaign that will efficiently target high quality prospects in the deeper zones and also optimise existing as well as future development plans. 
"We are well on the way to creating a pipeline of projects for our next wave of oil and gas development projects which would include R series discoveries and all the satellite discoveries. Subject to receiving the requisite approvals, we hope to add around 30 mmscmd of additional production through the new wave of planned developments," he said.
He also said the company was all set to proceed with the development of two coal bed methane blocks in Sohagpur, Madhya Pradesh. "If approvals and clearances come as planned, we are hoping to target these additional quantities of gas by 2015. We are targeting to achieve, in the next three to four years, a total production of 60 mmscmd gas for a sustained period," he said.
Mr Ambani said the shale gas business would soon become a significant part of Reliance's E&P portfolio and is a major area of investment over the next 3 to 5 years.
He said the organised retail initiative of the company had now grown into a 1300 store business spanning 18 states. "Each week, we have over 30 lakh people shop in our stores.
I am confident that we will have over 1 crore people shopping with us each week in the next three to four years," he said.
"We are investing aggressively in this business to consolidate and strengthen our leadership position in this sector. We are targeting a growth of five to six times in existing revenues and achieve Rs. 40,000 to 50,000 crore over the next three to four years," he said.
Mr Ambani said that RIL planned to provide an ever growing range of digital services in key domains of national interest such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment. 
"We are confident that in coming years, Reliance's digital services would fundamentally change the lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary Indians.  We are currently finalising our plans to offer services on a nation-wide basis and will be happy to report our progress in 
the coming years," he said.

Bollywood Snippets: Bachchans, Devgn come together for peppy song in "Bol Bachchan"

Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan title song.
Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan in Bol Bachchan title song.

The title track from Rohit Shetty’s Bol Bachchan has some of Big B’s cult dialogues.

The title track which features the magnificent trio of Amitabh Bachchan along with Ajay Devgn and Abhishek Bachchan, is a peppy and fun song.
The track which is also sung by the trio has a number of Big B’s famous one-liners which are mouthed by none other than Bachchan Jr.
Abhishek has added his own flavour to iconic lines like “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota” and “Daaru Peene Se Liver Kharab Hota Hai”.
This is the first time that these three actors have come together for a song and their chemistry is definitely something to look out for. Devgn stays true to his character in the movie and translates the Hindi one-liners into his style of broken English which gets you laughing your guts out!
‘Bol Bachchan’ is slated for a 6th July release.
Title song of Ferrari Ki Sawaari released
Ferrari Ki Sawaari Releases a Brand New Joyride Track
Ferrari Ki Sawaari Releases a Brand New Joyride Track
Ferrari Ki Sawaari is on a roll with less than 2 weeks left for the release and the promotions going on in full swing all over India.
The movie's latest release is the title song and it’s picked up very well as the song has a heartwarming vibe to it that leaves one feeling nostalgic. The song is a treat to the eyes as after a long time we have a happy family enjoying and dancing along in this age dedicated to item numbers.
The track has the old days feel to it with very simple and catchy lyrics. The visuals highlight
the father-son relationship with Sharman Joshi and Ritvik Sahore enjoying the Ferrari ride and singing along to the joyride song.
Sharman fits effortlessly into the role of a doting father and Ritvik the child lead, comes across as a natural actor. It is also said that Ritvik was so much at ease with his character that the cast had to match up to his standards.
The movie is slated to release on June 15.
Sonakshi Sinha gets a "sweet" surprise on her birthday
Ajay Devgn and Ashwini Dhir celebrate Sonakshi Sinha's birthday on the sets of Son Of Sardar.
Ajay Devgn and Ashwini Dhir celebrate Sonakshi Sinha's birthday on the sets of Son Of Sardar.
The entire team of Ajay Devgn's Son Of Sardaar gave their lead actress Sonakshi Sinha a 'sweet' surprise on her birthday.
Sonakshi dropped by on the sets in Mumbai and the crew arranged for delicious chocolate cake and celebrated her birthday in great style on the sets.
Director Ashwini Dhir and Devgn were present as a pleasantly surprised and excited Sonakshi cut the cake on the sets.
‘Son of Sardaar’ directed by Ashwini Dhir, stars Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Dutt. Produced by Ajay Devgn Ffilms and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, SOS is slated for a 13th November Diwali 2012 release.
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Reliance Brands, Brooks Brothers form joint venture in India

A Brooks Brothers store on Madison Avenue in New York
A Brooks Brothers store on Madison Avenue in New York

Reliance Brands Limited, a part of the Reliance Industries Group, and Brooks Brothers Group, one of America's oldest clothing retailers, today announced the formation of a joint venture company in India.

A press release from Reliance said that, through this new joint venture, Brooks Brothers’ products will be available in major cities across India through exclusive mono-brand stores which will carry the entire range of menswear and women’s wear including clothing, sportswear, and accessories.
"Brooks Brothers is an American icon, an institution that has redefined and shaped classic American style for nearly two centuries, making it the country’s oldest clothing retailer and the clothier of choice for nearly every US President as well as leaders in the worlds of business, the arts, finance and politics," the release said.
"Since introducing the first ready-to-wear suits in 1845, just ahead of the great Gold Rush, the company has continued this tradition of fashion innovation, excellent workmanship, personal service and exceptional value. In addition to their iconic dress shirts and suits, Brooks Brothers carries all apparel and accessory categories for men, women and children as well as a home line and a designer collection called Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, designed by Thom Browne," it said.
Mr. Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers, said of the collaboration, “We have partnered with Reliance Brands Ltd. because of their passion for the Brooks Brothers brand, their track record with other premium brands, their expertise and connections within India. We are incredibly fortunate to have them as partner as we enter this important retail market.”
The Brooks Brothers flagship store is on Madison Avenue, New York City, a location it has held for almost a hundred years. As of 2011, Brooks Brothers is available at 210 locations in the United States and 200 in other countries, including Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom, Chile, Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Greece. 
"With the immense growth that has taken place in premium fashion retail combined with a heightened sartorial aesthetic of an aspirational Indian consumer, the Indian market is a natural next stop in the global expansion plans for Brooks Brothers," the release said.
Mr. Darshan Mehta, President & CEO, Reliance Brands Ltd. said, “By all accounts, Brooks Brothers is an immensely distinguished heritage brand that is forever woven into the history of American clothing. Today, it is a recognized name throughout the world and with its early hallmark of fine tailoring combined with contemporary appeal, it has much to offer consumers in India, many of whom have already been firm loyalists of the brand for years."
"In fact, Brooks Brothers has long roots with India and it is, in a way, a coming of full circle as it was the first American brand to bring madras from India to America back in the 1920s, re-defining casual wear of the time, and today, we bring Brooks Brothers to India," he added.

Future Group divests stake in Future Capital Holdings to Warburg Pincus

The Future Group announced that it had executed definitive agreements to divest its stake in Future Capital Holdings [FCH] in favour of leading global private equity firm, Warburg Pincus. 

As part of the transaction, Pantaloon Retail India Limited and its wholly-owned subsidiary Future Value Retail Limited will sell its stake in FCH at a price of Rs 162 per share to Cloverdell Investment Limited, an affiliate entity of Warburg Pincus.  
Warburg Pincus also announced that it has reached an agreement to infuse Rs. 100 crores of primary capital through a preferential allotment in FCH. The Board of Directors of Future Capital Holdings has approved this preferential allotment of equity shares and / or convertible securities to Warburg Pincus.   
This transaction will also result in Warburg Pincus making an open offer to the existing shareholders of FCH under the SEBI (Substantial Acquisition of Shares & Takeover) Regulations, 2011, the details of which will be announced shortly, a press release from the company said.
Mr. V Vaidyanathan, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, will continue to head the company and Mr.Vishal Mahadevia, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus will be inducted to the Board of Directors of FCH.  
Formed in 2007, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pantaloon Retail, FCH is a leading non-banking financial corporation (NBFC), focusing largely on providing loans to MSMEs. It also provides gold loans, consumer durable loans, two-wheeler loans, senior secured wholesale loans, wealth management and broking services. 
As on 31st March 2012, the company had made advances of Rs 4670 crores and has a network of 197 branches in 41 cities.  
"This transaction is in line with our stated intention to exit from non-core businesses of Pantaloon Retail and is aimed at deleveraging and further strengthening the balance sheet of the company. We are pleased to have Warburg Pincus as partners in Future Capital Holdings and are sure that they will have the support of all the existing shareholders and the management team in helping the company build and grow its financial services platform," Mr. Kishore Biyani, Founder and Group CEO, Future Group said.
Mr. Vaidyanathan said: “We welcome Warburg Pincus on board as new shareholders. We also welcome the investment of Rs. 100 crores of incremental T ier 1 capital into the company. The company is on a firm footing and is well poised to grow in the MSME space, and we will continue to invest and grow in the chosen businesses.”
Mr Mahadevia said, “Future Capital is led by a highly experienced and dedicated management team, and has developed a unique and differentiated financial services business. The company is well placed to address the needs of the large underserved base of MSME and retail customers across India and we are excited to be part of this opportunity going forward."
Morgan Stanley acted as the lead financial adviser to Pantaloon Retail India Limited and Future Value Retail Limited. Enam Securities acted as the co-advisor to Future Group.  

Unity Infraprojects bags three orders worth Rs. 148.32 crore


Civil contracting firm Unity Infraprojects Ltd has said that it has bagged three orders worth Rs 148.32 crore in Maharashtra and Manipur.

The first project entails construction of a concrete road and allied civil works in Market-I, Market- II and additional shop-cum-godown at Vashi in Navi Mumbai by Mumbai Agricultural Produce Committee Mumbai. The project is valued at Rs. 48.81 crore and is to be completed within a period of 18 months.
The second project involves the construction of a single-line broad gauge tunnel of about 1200 metres between Kaimai Road and Kambiron road in connection with construction of a ne railway line from Jiribain to Imphal by North-East Frontier Railay.
The project is valued at Rs. 71.51 crore and is to be completed within a period of 18 months, a press release from the company said.
The third project entails the construction of a dining block for for the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune. The project is valued at Rs. 28 crore and is to be completed within a period of 12 months.
“We are proud of winning these three projects. We have already worked with all these clients in the past. Of the three projects, for North-East Frontier Railways we have executed railway tunnel at Tripura which was nationally acclaimed for Unity’s best project management skills against the odds of insurgency, inhospitable conditions and remote location," Mr. Abhijit K. Avarsekar, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Unity Infraprojects Ltd., said.
"Order repetition from same client signifies the trust they have put in our execution capabilities. The awarded order of national project of railway tunnel in Manipur state will certainly strengthen our foothold in the far eastern states of India," he added.
Currently, the order book of the company stands at Rs. 4,062.7 crore, the release added.

Rowdy Rathore roars with third highest opening day collection ever


UTV & Bhansali Productions' Rowdy Rathore opened to an unprecedented response, creating a splash at the box office – with single screens registering phenomenal collections.

The action-entertainer collected a whopping Rs 15.10 crore on its opening day, the third biggest opening day of all time after Agneepath and Bodyguard and the biggest non-holiday opening of all time, given that the other two blockbusters released on national holidays.
Directed by Prabhudeva, the film that marks Akshay Kumar’s return to out-and-out action film is also the star’s biggest opening day ever.
Acclaimed critic and trade analyst Taran Adarsh said, "Rowdy Rathore is the biggest non-holiday Friday opener. Outstanding!  Business in mass-dominated circuits is humungous."
Siddharth Roy Kapoor ,MD, Disney UTV Motion Pictures said: "We are thrilled with the incredible opening day collections of Rowdy Rathore across the length and breadth of India. Rowdy Rathore has notched up the third biggest opening day of all time and the biggest non-holiday opening day of all time."
"It is also Akshay Kumar's biggest opening day ever. All of us - UTV, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and of course Prabhudheva - are immensely thankful to audiences for helping this film to rewrite box office history," he said.
While centres like Kanpur, Nagpur, Indore, Jaipur, Udaipur and Lucknow have recorded 85% average collections in single screens, multiplexes too showed encouraging occupancy. The film has also received an overwhelming response overseas especially in centres like United Kingdom, Canada and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Adds analyst Komal Nahata: “Single-screen cinemas going beserk over Rowdy Rathore..A straight Blockbuster! That’s what Rowdy Rathore is! Next 100 crore film? All chances!"
The film also received rave reviews in industry circles. Tweeted director/producer Karan Johar: “Huge congratulations to Shabina khan, SLB,team UTV,@sonakshisinha,@akshaykumar!!!! For roaring ROWDY RATHORE!!!! More POWER to all of u!!!!”
Said author Shobha De: “Rowdy Rathore Rocks! Hysterical, nonsensical, annoying. So deliciously 'Seventies. Like Sholay with a rassam flavour.”
Directed by Prabhudeva, starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha, Rowdy Rathore produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and co-produced by Shabinaa Khan released June 1.

CBI arrests SEBI official, middleman in bribery case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a deputy general manager (DGM) of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and a middleman for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.10 lakhs from an Ahmedabad-based businessman.

According to a CBI press release, the businessman is proprietor of a share trading firm, which was barred from trading by SEBI in September 2011 for market manipulation using Global Depository Receipts (GDR) issues. 
Subsequently, investigation was initiated by the SEBI against the firm. The DGM rank official,  who was conducting investigation, had issued show cause notice to the firm. 
Meanwhile, the businessman came into contact with the middleman based in Mumbai who promised to get the work done in his favour, claiming he was in close contact with the official.

Deepika Padukone to be brand ambassador for Luxor Writing Instruments

Deepika Padukone, who will be the new brand ambassador for Luxor writing instruments.
Deepika Padukone, who will be the new brand ambassador for Luxor writing instruments.

Luxor Writing Instruments has announced that actress and model Deepika Padukone will be the brand ambassador for one of its most successful brands -- Pilot.

The brand has several variants such as  Pilot Hi-tecpoint 05, Pilot Hi-tecpoint V7, V SIGN, Hi Techpoint V5 Grip and Frixion 07 Roller Ball.
Deepika has been signed for two years and will be seen endorsing Pilot, a press release from the company said.
“We understand that young consumers today are very discerning of the brands they use. The brands have to match their aspirations, ambitions and personality. Deepika comes across as a go getter who has made it on her own, is confident of her choices and works hard to achieve what she desires from life. She rightly represents the youth who is passionate and seek excellence in their endeavors," Ms Pooja Jain, Executive Director, Luxor Group, said.

Cinema100 makes a grand start at Whistling Woods International

Lyricist Gulzar,  film-maker Subhash Ghai, music composer A.R.Rahman and choreographer Saroj Khan pay tribute to film industry pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke at Cinema100, a festival organized by Whistling Woods International in Mumbai on June 1, 2012.
Lyricist Gulzar, film-maker Subhash Ghai, music composer A.R.Rahman and choreographer Saroj Khan pay tribute to film industry pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke at Cinema100, a festival organized by Whistling Woods International in Mumbai on June 1, 2012.

Well-known music composer and Oscar award winner A R Rahman inaugurated Cinema100, a three-day film festival organized to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema at the Whistling Woods International campus in the heart of Film City here yesterday.

The inaugural ceremony started with renowned cinema stalwarts Gulzar, Saroj Khan, Sukhwinder Singh and Rahman being invited on stage by film-maker and founder-chairman of Whistling Woods, a film-making institute, Subhash Ghai.
Together, they lit the lamp to formally open the festival. They also unveiled a life-sized statue of Dadasaheb Phalke, the pioneer of the Indian film industry, which will now be kept for display in the college premises. 
This was followed by a short film which gave a glimpse of the various phases of cinema, right from the era of black and white films to the present day animated and pictorial films.
“I am so thrilled to be here. Whistling Woods International has been an inspiration to me. I am looking forward to see your exhibition on 100 years of cinema. I can see a glorious future for the students of filmmaking and I wish them all the very best," Rahman said.
Ghai said Whistling Woods aimed to promote quality film education and provide the latest knowledge and best infrastructure to its students.
"Cinema 100 is our tribute to the fascinating 100-year journey of Indian cinema. We are very happy to have in our midst industry stalwarts and legends who are whole-heartedly willing to share their knowledge and experiences to make this event successful. I am especially proud of the students of the school who are my support and inspiration. Their hard work in putting together this event is truly commendable," Ghai said.
Singer Sukhwinder Singh enthralled the crowd with Sufi songs from the 1950s onwards. Bollywood’s favourite choreographer Saroj Khan threw some light on some of India’s top 12 choreographers in the past 100 years and Gulzar addressed a packed session in the auditorium on his poetic journey in Indian Cinema.
In the festival mood, Gulzar said, “Cinema is lucky that after these 100 years it has an institute like Whistling Woods International and it has students like this, who respond to cinema and who know its language. If anything happens to this institute, I will be the saddest man . Bachchon ne bohot khoobsurat kaam kiya hai. Yeh muhavren zubaan ke gayab hote ja rahe hain. In muhavron ko sambhalna humari zimmedari hai.” 
On being asked by an audience member on the art of translating poetry into song, he said “yeh toh trade secret pooch rahe ho aap.” 
The festival showcased great amount of reverence to Indian cinema of old through special screenings of Raja Harishchandra Harishchandrachi Factory, which is based on the life of Dadasaheb Phalke, who introduced motion pictures for the first time in India.
Some of the highlights of Day 1 of the event included:
- Some of the oldest cameras, film posters of the bygone era and costumes from landmark films were on display in a one of a kind exhibit tracing the 100 year journey of Indian cinema
 -Mumbai-based film-circle activist Subhash Chedda showcased a collection of over 4,00,000 posters.
 -GEM dresswalla contributed some of the most popular film costumes of the century to lend an added charm to the spectacle.
 - Renowned artist Nandita Choudhri presented her installations on Indian films.
 - The original posters bought at an auction by ad filmmakers Arti and Kailash Surendranath were on display.
 “Whistling Woods is among the top ten film making institutes in the world. Over the last few years the school has encouraged and shaped some of the best talent in the industry. Cinema100 is our tribute to the industry at large, the event will not only showcase rare films but also will be a tool to educate the youth about the rich heritage in cinema and its future," Ms Meghna Ghai Puri, President of Whistling Woods, said.
The first day also saw the likes Randhir Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Kiran Shantaram (son of V Shantaram), Rinki Roy Bhattacharya (Bimal Roy's daughter), Rakeysh Mehra, Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra and many others walking down the campus corridors to soak in the cinematic journey.

Ranbir Kapoor to perform on stage for first time at IIFA Awards

Actor Ranbir Kapoor will perform on stage for the first time at the IIFA Awards this month, hoping to bring the Kapoor magic to the audience at the Singapore Indoor Stadium as well as television viewers worldwide on June 9.

Joining the elite list of performers, including IIFA choreographer Prabhu Deva, Shahid Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Sonakshi Sinha, will be Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar.
The 13th IIFA weekend will be held in Singapore from June 7 to 9.
Ranbir, who is known for his performances in movies like Rockstar, Anjana Anjani, Saawariya and Bachana Ae Haseeno, said, “This is the first time I’m performing at IIFA, this marks a special significance for me. I know that the expectations are huge and it is quite a challenge to match Prabhu Deva’s moves but I’m going to work hard and I’m sure we are going to have a lot of fun as well.”
Teri Meri Kahaani actors Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor along with director Kunal Kohli will also promote their film at the Videocon IIFA Weekend, with both stars headlining IIFA Rocks! followed by solo performances on the Jaypee IIFA Awards stage. 
Spanning three eras from 1910, 1960 and 2012, world media will get a sneak preview of Teri Meri Kahaani at the Weekend. 
Shahid Kapoor will also play co-host at the Awards this year, with director-actor, Farhan Akthar.
Priyanka Chopra said, “We are very happy to showcase our upcoming film, Teri Meri Kahaani at the IIFAs this year. I am honoured to perform for my fans in Singapore and look forward to the IIFA Weekend and Awards. See you in Singapore!”
The chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar is expected to be magical and the script, interactivity and repartee should delight the audience.
The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) had earlier also announced that designers Suneet Varma, Masaba and Varun Bahl’s special collections will be showcased at the music-cum-fashion extravaganza ‘IIFA Rocks’ in Singapore. 
 The high-end event is one of the key initiatives showcased at the Videocon IIFA Weekend and will be held on June 8.
IIFA Rocks will bring to the ramp a night of glamour, glitz and entertainment – a coming together of the best in Indian fashion and music.
Mr. Pradeep Dhoot, Director - Videocon Group says “Videocon and IIFA share a common vision to showcase India across the globe. Videocon is delighted to be associated with Videocon IIFA Weekend for the fourth year in a row."
IIFA Rocks is a music-cum-fashion fashion extravaganza held annually showcasing leading avant garde Indian designers. Leading models from India and the host nation grace the ramp alongside the musical talent from India. Film stars are show stoppers for their favorite designers.
This year, IIFA Rocks! will showcase three  Indian designers – Masaba, Suneet Varma and Varun Bahl.
"IIFA by Masaba" is a chic fusion wear line with strong Indian elements - the colour palette and imagery of the collection is inspired by the IIFA logo and brand world.
Keeping the glamour quotient in mind, Masaba will unveil a special collection which has been conceptualised and inspired by the colors of IIFA. The designs would be avant garde drawing inspiration from the ‘Sun’.
Designer Masaba, said, “I am glad to be part of IIFA Rocks this year and I am sure it will help me reach out to a diverse set of audiences and cultures. Inspired by IIFA, my collection is a chic fusion wear line with strong Indian elements. It has a youthful vibe and is aimed at the contemporary Indian woman who has a strong sense of style and is modern in her sensibilities yet veryrooted to her aesthetics and culture. It is indeed going to be a special experience since it brings together the best of music and fashion.”
Gitanjali Group in partnership with Gemfields, will be unveiling Envi by Gitanjali while showcasing “The Eternal Lightness of Being’ by Suneet Verma”. Envi is a collection of high-end jewellery studded with emeralds.
Suneet Verma’s 25th anniversary celebrations come alive with his Spring Couture 2012 collection.
With all the designers taking centre stage, the Academy has also announced a line-up of performers like musical-duo Vishal-Shekhar,singer Mika, Bollywood divas Neha Dhupia and Gauhar Khan to name a few
IIFA Rocks will be co-hosted by Chitrangada Singh and Ayushman Khurana. Chitrangada Singh said, “This is my first time at the IIFAs and I am truly excited to be part of this celebrated global event. It is amazing to see how the IIFAs have managed to take Indian cinema to the world over the years and it is only getting bigger every year! I will be stepping into the shoes of a co-host along with Ayushman for the first time at IIFA Rocks and I am looking forward to having a great time.”
With Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Shanghai’, produced by PVR Pictures, premiering at the IIFAs, the IIFA Weekend will also see Bollywood’s upcoming action-flick ‘Maximum’ being showcased where the world media will get a first glimpse of the police-drama.
Directed by Kabeer Kaushik, the film stars actor Naseeruddin Shah, Sonu Sood, Neha Dhupia and Hazel Keech in the lead roles.
Sonu Sood, said, “I have many great memories of the IIFAs from the different countries that I have visited so far. It is always a great feeling to be part of such a huge celebration that brings together all our friends and colleagues to support and promote talent on an international platform. I am also very excited about my movie ‘Maximum’ being showcased at the Videocon IIFA Weekend and I hope to receive all the love and support from my fans.” 
For the sixth year running, IIFA will persist with its signature Green Carpet inviting the film industry to campaign for planet Earth. With support of the film stars, IIFA will continue to share ideas about small steps that everyone can implement in their daily lives in order to become planet savers. 
Wiz Sabbas Joseph, Director - Wizcraft International, said, “India is a land which has a rich reservoir of talent. When we began the IIFAs, the focus was largely on the cinema front. Now, with the support of the film industry we are also using the IIFA platform to promote our music and fashion, giving them a leg up across global markets."

GQ India announces its list of India's Best Dressed Men


Corporate heads Ratan Tata and Captain C P Krishnan Nair, Bollywood stars Shahid Kapoor, Imran Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor, politician Omar Abdullah and fashion designers such as Manish Malhotra and Narendra Kumar feature in a list of India's 50 Best Dressed Men published by lifestyle magazine GQ India.

The list of the country's most stylish men, featured as a special in the June 2012 issue of the magazine, also includes sporting stars like Virat Kohli and Bhaichung Bhutia.
The magazine announced the list at its annual event GQ Best Dressed Men at the Four Seasons Hotel here last night in the presence of a large number of celebrities.
Those spotted at the event included Shahid Kapoor, Imran Khan, Sidhartha Mallya, Arjun Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Rohan Sippy, Bhaichung Bhutia, Purab Kohli, Arjun Khanna, Atul Kasbekar, AD Singh, Sahil Shroff, Shantanu and Nikhil.
Che Kurrien and Sidhartha MallyaMukul Dev and Arjun KhannaSarah Jane Dias and Purab Kohli
Che Kurrien and Sidhartha Mallya, Mukul Dev and Arjun Khanna, Sarah Jane Dias and Purab Kohli at the GQ Best Dressed Event
Rahul BoseBhaichung Bhutia Neha Dhupia
Rahul Bose, Bhaichung Bhutia and Neha Dhupia at the GQ Best Dressed Event
Also present were GQ June issue cover girls Angela Jonsson and Malika Haydon, Neha Dhupia, Indrani Dasgupta, Monica Dogra, Avantika Malik Khan, Sarah Jane Dias, Queenie Singh, Simone Singh, Shazahn Padamsee, Shenaz Treasury and Jiah Khan.
On GQ’s Best Dressed Men list, Che Kurrien, Editor, GQ India said, “The ranks of sharply dressed men are swelling across the country, and the winners on this list represent the Indian man at his best: elegant, confident and poised. May our tribe increase!”
The following is the list of GQ's 50 Best Dressed Men in India:
1. Manish Malhotra 2. Mukul Deora 3. Ajay Bijli 4. Arjun Rampal 5. Saif Ali Khan 6. Narendra Kumar 7. Mahesh Mathai 8. Rahul Bose 9. Captain Nair 10. Milind Soman 11. John Abraham 12. Gaurav Bhatia 13. Viren Rasquinha 14. Sanjay Kapur 15. Abhishek Bachchan 16. Shahid Datawala 17. Theron Carmine 18. A D Singh 19. Sidhartha Mallya 20. Naveen Ansal 21. Arjun Khanna 22. Subodh Gupta 23. Sahil Shroff 24. Imran Khan 25. Nikhil Mehra 26. Karan Johar 27. Arjun Saluja 28. Rohan Sippy 29. Ranbir Kapoor 30. Bhaichung Bhutia 31. Shahid Kapoor 32. Kunal Rawal 33. Chetan Jaikishan 34. Ratan Tata 35. Purab Kohli 36. Vir Das 37. Raghavendra Rathore 38. Siddharth Pujari 39. Prateik 40. Jai Dinani 41. Virat Kohli 42. Tikka Shatrujit Singh 43. Jyotiraditya Scindia 44. Atul Kasbekar 45. Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi 46. Arjun Kapoor 47. Omar Abdullah 48. Anil Kapoor 49. Vikram Raizada 50. Rahul Khanna

Juhi Parmar to feature in special episode of SAB TV’s F.I.R.

Juhi gets set for second innings

Actress Juhi Parmar, winner of the Big Boss, is all set to make a special appearance in SAB TV’s show F.I.R. and will play the role of ‘Meera’, a famous actress.

She will feature in a one-hour maha episode of F.I.R. scheduled for telecast on June 2 at 10 pm.
Chandramukhi Chautala’s investigation of a case about an unidentified gun found at a house leads her to superstar actress Meera played by Parmar. Chandramukhi realizes that Meera’s life is in danger and calls her to Imaan Chowki for further investigations. 
Meera’s appearance in Imaan Chowki creates another set of problems for Chandramukhi as her entire team goes completely ga-ga over Meera and Bajrang Pandey even starts flirting with her. Chandramukhi is quite jealous of all the attention that Meera is enjoying while the investigation is going on.
Juhi Parmar said, “I am very excited to be back on SAB TV and I am playing a part of a glamorous, beautiful and popular superstar Meera who, has a famous takiakalam no autograph no photograph. I have been a big fan of FIR for its comedy."

Farah Khan to make acting debut in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

Well-known Bollywood director and choreographer Farah Khan will make her acting debut in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, a comedy directed by another debutant, Bela Bhansali Sehgal.
Farah plays Shirin Fugawala ,a 40-year-old bubbly, straightforward, Parsi trust secretary and she is all excited about her Bollywood acting debut.
"It took a lot of convincing to get me to do the film and I'm happy to say I made the right decision.Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is just not another comedy,it will make you laugh and cry and come out with a smile."
Added co-star Boman Irani "It was a blast shooting with Farah under the direction of Bela Sehgal. After playing a Parsi husband for 27years in real life ,I get to play one in reel life."
The film, produced by Bhansali Productions and Eros International and is scheduled to be released on August 24 this year.
Producers Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Sunil Lulla, along with Sehgal and the lead actors, unveiled the first look of the film to a packed house here yesterday.
Said Bhansali "I'm so excited. It's a very special moment for me especially since it's my sister Bela's first film.To a great extent, whatever I am, I owe to Bela and now it's a proud moment to introduce her."
Added Lulla of Eros International "We are very happy to be a part of this unique love story. Bela has made a fantastic debut as a director, Boman and Farah pack a punch together and Sanjay has written a fabulous script. With such formidable talent coming together, one can only expect something really exciting and fresh for audiences."
Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit graced the occasion as a special guest and unveiled the poster that pays tribute to the cult romantic-comedy Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.
"It's a pleasure to be here and unveil the first look of a such an unusual story with such real characters. I wish the team the best," she said.
Talking about her first venture as director, Sehgal said, "I had always decided that my first stint as director would be a unique subject - Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi is a fun, feel good comedy, a film for everyone."

Rekha to be honoured for her outstanding achievements in cinema at IIFA Awards


Actress Rekha, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, will now be honoured for her outstanding achievements in and contribution to Indian cinema at the IIFA Awards 2012 to be held in Singapore next month.

The actress, who has done several classic films that have been imprinted in the minds of her fans, has been one of India's favourite glamour icons.
Each year, IIFA honours a member of the Indian film fraternity who has made outstanding contribution to Indian cinema. Stalwarts of the industry such as V. K. Murthy and Yash Johar, are amongst those who have been honoured by IIFA in the past 12 years.
Making the 13th year of the IIFA celebration even more special, this special award will honour the diva who created a storehouse of Indian film history's finest moments.
“I am extremely humbled to be appreciated and considered for the IIFA award for my contributions to the film fraternity. It has been a long journey and hopefully my passion and love for cinema will continue to reach out to all my fans. I am especially happy to be honoured at a time when the industry celebrates a centenary of Indian films," Rekha said.
Daughter to South Indian film stars Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli, Rekha began her journey in films ith Sawan Bhadon (1970). It was instantly followed by a string of hits like 
Namak Haram, Dharma, Kahani Kismet Ki, and Pran Jaaye Par Vachan Na Jaaye. 
But it was ‘Do Anjaane’where she played an ambitious wife who sacrificed love that left audiences enraptured. Gulzar’s ‘Ghar’ heralded the arrival of a mature Rekha and she went on to woo Indian audiences and ultimately became the box-office queen with movies like 
Muqqadar ka Sikandar, Khubsoorat, Judaai, Maang Bharo Sajna, Ek Hi Bhool, Basera. 
Yash Chopra’s Silsila and Muzaffar Ali’s Umrao Jaan sealed her diva status, putting her into a league of her own.
Andre Timmins, Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, said, "Over the years, we have paid tribute to the biggest names in the Indian film industry, recognizing their contribution towards cinema. In our 13th year, IIFA is proud to honour India’s most loved actress Rekha for her immense work and contribution to the Indian film industry as we celebrate a centenary of Indian cinema. She has undoubtedly captivated millions of hearts in our films and still continues to do so.” 
The Videocon IIFA Weekend will be hosted at Lion City in Singapore from June 7-9.

Singer Asha Bhosale to join Indian Idol-6 as judge

Salim Merchant, Sunidhi Chauhan, Asha Bhosale and Anu Malik at a press conference in Mumbai on May 30, 2012 to announce Season 6 of Indian Idol.
Salim Merchant, Sunidhi Chauhan, Asha Bhosale and Anu Malik at a press conference in Mumbai on May 30, 2012 to announce Season 6 of Indian Idol.

Renowned playback singer Asha Bhosale will be the super judge on Indian Idol season six and join long-standing judges, music director Anu Malik, singer Sunidhi Chauhan and composer-singer Salim Merchant in shaping and choosing the country's next singing sensation.

The show will go on air on June 1 on Sony Entertainment Television.

First telecast to a rousing response eight years back in 2004, Indian Idol will showcase that
"there are so many idols behind every idol" in its sixth edition. It will not only chronicle 
the fascinating journey of a common Indian to become the nation’s singing sensation, but
also present heartwarming stories of the parents' sacrifice, the friend’s commitment, the 
neighbour’s motivation, the guru’s passion, and the prayer and support of many others which India’s Idol draws on to fuel his triumph.
Mr. N. P. Singh COO, Multi Screen Media said, “Ashaji will take the much awaited sixth 
season of Indian Idol to a completely new level and we are delighted to unveil this true 
celebration of India’s singing talent. In addition to being a platform for the best music, it is also an embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit. I am confident that Indian Idol - 6 will create a new benchmark in singing reality shows with the variety and quality of the talent and the stature and caliber of the judges."
In its quest to unearth undiscovered singing talent across India, Sony Entertainment Television held auditions across 9 Indian cities including Amritsar, Jaipur, Kolkata, Delhi, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Aurangabad and Mumbai. 
Those who participated in the auditions were selected from nearly half million aspirants who 
responded to the on-air promotions and the "Gully Concerts" by ex-Indian Idol contestants 
across the length and breadth of the country. 
Exceptional talent were also given the opportunity to hop the long audition queue and go 
straight into the main auditions through ‘Jump-the-Queue’ passes, that were won by singing 
on the spot in a unique Indian Idol Branded van and uploading his/her video instantly on
Ms. Sneha Rajani, Senior EVP and Business Head Sony Entertainment Television said, 
“Indian Idol cultivates and promotes outstanding untapped talent amongst the youth of India 
by nurturing them and providing a national platform to showcase their talent. While the 
core format remains the same this season, Indian Idol - 6 will focus on one aspect like never 
before - the quality of talent. Every episode of Indian Idol 6 will renew our commitment on 
providing world class entertainment and presenting exceptional talent to Indian audiences,"
"We’re also very excited to have the legendary Asha Bhosle, and Anu Malik, Sunidhi Chauhan and Salim Merchant – some of the biggest names in the music industry in India - as our judges," she said.
Ms Anupama Mandloi, Content Head, Freemantle Media India adds “Indian idol is not a TV show. It’s a national movement and possible only because of Sony Entertainment television’s commitment to making it one. This season will throw up phenomenal singers some of who will definitely create ripples in the Indian music industry. We at Freemantle Media are proud to present this season”.

Essar Ports announces strategic alliance with Port of Antwerp International


Essar Ports Limited, one of the largest private sector port companies of India, today announced the creation of a long-term strategic alliance with Port of Antwerp International (PAI) and an investmentof approximately Rs 175 crore by PAI in Essar Ports.

PAI is the international investing arm of the Antwerp Port Authority, which is the port authority of the port of Antwerp, the second largest port in Europe handling 187 MMT of cargo in 2011, and a gateway to many European economies. 
A press release from the company, a part of the Essar Group, said the Antwerp Port Authority and Essar Ports would collaborate in the areas of training and consultancy services, port planning, traffic flow, quality and productivity improvement and will further build a mutually beneficial commercial relationship based on mutual business and investment preferences. 

Film-maker Ramesh Sippy, actress Zohra Sehgal to be honoured at IIFA Awards

The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) today announced that film-maker Ramesh Sippy and centenarian actress Zohra Sehgal will be honoured with special awards at the Jaypee Group IIFA Awards 2012 in Singapore in June.

Sippy will get the award for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema and Sehgal for her contribution to 100 years of Indian cinema.
The Videocon IIFA Weekend will be held in Singapore from June 7-9.
Sippy made his debut in the Indian films at the age of 9, playing Achala Sachdev’s son in Shahenshah. He is best known for directing the popular and critically acclaimed film Sholay and is a highly respected veteran in the Indian film industry today.
Sholay, a tribute to American westerns, has since become one of the most famous films in Hindi film history.
“The International Indian Film Academy is a massive pioneering effort to expand the reach of Indian cinema, taking it beyond Indian shores," Sippy said.
"To be recognized on an international platform is an honour. I would like to thank IIFA for giving me this wonderful mark of appreciation. I am truly honoured that my work has been recognized," he said.
Sehgal has been honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian award, for her contributions during a prolific career in theatre, film and dance. She will receive the special award for her large body of work and the impact she has had on the industry in Singapore. 
“For IIFA, nothing gives us more pleasure than to honour these incredible individuals who have dedicated their life to the progress of Indian Cinema and the passion with which they entertain people across the globe. It is through their work that the Indian film industry has grown and we are honoured to be able to recognize their efforts," Mr Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., said.

Bahrain Crown Prince Salman to pay three-day visit to India

Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa will pay an official visit to India from May 20-June 1 which is expected to provide further impetus to the multi-faceted engagement between the two countries.

Prince Salman, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Gulf state, will be accompanied by a high level Ministerial delegation, senior officials and businessmen. 
This is his second visit of the Crown Prince to India, the last one having been in March 2007.
An official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Prince Salman would reach Mumbai first, where business and industry meetings have been organised for the delegation accompanying him. Prince Saman will meet Maharashtra Governor K Shankarnarayanan in Mumbai.
In Delhi, Prince Salman will meet President Pratibha Patil, Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, his host, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will call on him.
According to the release, India and Bahrain enjoy historically close and friendly relations. The presence of nearly 350,000 Indian nationals out of a total of 1.2 million residents in Bahrain is an important aspect of India's bilateral relations with Bahrain. 
Trade and investment cooperation is expanding with bilateral trade at present being $1.5 billion during 2010-11. 

22 killed as van crashes into passengers of stranded bus on Mumbai-Pune highway

At least 22 people were killed and about 25 others suffered injuries when a speeding van ploughed into them while they were waiting for their mini-bus to be repaired on the Mumbai-Pune highway in Maharashtra in the early hours of today.

The mishap occurred around 0030 hours near Khalapur in Raigadh district and the victims were passengers of two mini-buses on their way back to Pune from Mumbai.
Police in Khalapur told NetIndian over the telephone that those killed included 14 women, four men and four children. The injured were admitted to hospitals in Panvel, near Mumbai, they said.
According to them, the victims had come from Pune to attend a wedding at Ghatkopar in Mumbai and were on their way home in the two mini-buses when the mishap occurred.
They said a tyre of one of the buses burst and both vehicles stopped on the side of the highway so that it could be changed. Passengers of both buses got off and were relaxing in groups on the road when a speeding van, also heading towards Pune, suddenly lost control and crashed into the group.
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