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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.  
 
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Unity Infraprojects bags three orders worth Rs. 148.32 crore

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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.
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"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.
 
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Rowdy Rathore roars with third highest opening day collection ever

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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).
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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.
 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
 
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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.
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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.”
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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."
 
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GQ India announces its list of India's Best Dressed Men

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

Movie SHIRIN FARHAD KI TOH NIKAL PADI First Look
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.
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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."
 
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Rekha to be honoured for her outstanding achievements in cinema at IIFA Awards

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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. 
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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.
 
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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. 
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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 
www.myindianidol.com
 
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”.
 
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Essar Ports announces strategic alliance with Port of Antwerp International

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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. 
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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.
 
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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. 
 
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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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Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya moves to dancing pitch!

Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jaysurya as a contestant in television show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.
Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jaysurya as a contestant in television show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa.

Cricket and entertainment are the two primary religions in India. And one of the most popular forms of entertainment, is, of course, dance.

The newest season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa that will be telecast on Colors will bring together both these elements as famed Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya and cricketer-turned-ghazal singer Talat Aziz take to the dance floor to prove to the audiences that they are truly the gods of entertainment.
 
 Even though the Sri Lankan all-rounder has never been a part of the world of music and dance, he understands the rhythm required for dance…thanks to his intense cricket training much like fellow contestant and renowned ghazal singer, Talat Aziz who has some insights in sur and taal. 
 
While one may think that Jayasuriya might require some tips from his musical contemporary, Talat's tables might just turn as the unstoppable Jayasuriya forays onto dance floor for his second innings.
 
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Sharman learns to break an egg!!!
 
Actors are often required to learn a new skill or art to complement their character onscreen and Sharman Joshi, who portrays the role of a single parent to a ten year old child in the upcoming movie "Ferrari KiSawaari", had to learn to make and toss an egg omelette.
 
According to the grapevine, for a scene in the film, he had to execute each domestic chore for his home which also included cooking breakfast for the family. The shoot demanded him to make an egg omelette and flip it over multiple times while cooking it. The pampered person that Sharman has been in his childhood, he didn't even know how to break an egg for starters!
 
To give his hundred per cent to the shoot, he made it a point to practise cooking omelettes at least twice a day. He practised for a good five days and learnt the art of breaking eggs evenly, cooking them and also flipping the omelette.
 
He was amazingly perfect and completed the shoot in one take. This became a fond memory for the cast and crew of Ferrari Ki Sawaari, but Sharman had to still give retakes – not for the film, but to cook for the crew, who enjoyed the treat.
 
 
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Grand promotion planned for Teri Meri Kahaani
 
Producer-director Kunal Kohli is leaving no stone unturned to promote his upcoming film Teri Meri Kahaani (TMK). The filmmaker has planned various promotional activities for the film around the globle alongwith his stars Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor.
 
The promotions will kickstart on June 7 at the International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Singapore where both Shahid and Priyanka will give individual dance performances. Thereafter, they will travel to Melbourne (Australia) for the opening of the Indian film festival to be held from June 11 to 22 where they will promote their film.
 
“The film is releasing on June 22 and it’s a great honour for us that the Melbourne festival will close with a private screening of our film. We will be guests of the State of Victoria, Australia and also have lunch at Melbourne Cricket Ground. All of us are cricket buffs so it will be thrilling to be there. Shahid and Priyanka are both excited to showcase their film in the emerging film markets around the world," Kohli said.
 
Kohli believes that it’s important for Indian films to be exposed to international festivals as it would contribute to the growth of Indian cinema. 
 
“We are going to have premiers in London, Toronto and Dubai and numerous other, big and small cities in India. Film festivals such as Cannes, Stuttgart or Melbourne help create awareness about Indian films all over the world. Of late, even foreigners are showing active interest in watching Bollywood films. When I was at Stuttgart last time, the Germans knew me! I was pleasantly surprised. I credit Yash Raj Films for marketing their films and hence popularizing Indian cinema in Europe,” adds Kohli.
 
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“I love Hritik Roshan,” reveals Rashmi Desai on SAB TV’s Movers and Shakers
 
Shekhar Suman recently hosted Rashmi Desai, the popular teleserial actress on the sets of SAB TV’s Movers and Shakers.
 
Rashmi dazzled the sets with a sizzling dance performance on hit number Ooh La La La.
Rashmi revealed her secret and shared that, “We never forget our first crush. Mine was Hritik Roshan. I have always been and will always be in love with him.’ 
 
The actress's mother spilled some more secrets about her saying, “Rashmi was an extremely naughty kid and despite the fact that I am a teacher, she hated studies but she makes fabulous rotis.” 
 
This prompted Shekhar to invite Rashmi to make some rotis which, when he ate them, reminded him of the rotis his mother made.
 
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Eros International to release Sridevi-starrer English Vinglish on Sep 21

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Entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd (EIML) today said it would release R. Balki- produced English Vinglish worldwide on September 21.

The film, directed by Gauri Shinde who makes her directorial debut, will be trilingual and has been shot in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, a press release from the company said.
 
English Vinglish marks the comeback of actress Sridevi after a 14-year break. A slice of life film, it  explores the impact of not knowing the English language in everyday life. 
 
The film also features French actor Mehdi Nebbou, Adil Hussain and Priya Anand. Amitabh Bachchan will be making a guest appearance in the film.
 
“With English Vinglish, we are excited for Sridevi’s return to acting and with Balki and Gauri at the helm, we believe there’s a lot of anticipation around the film. Eros is very proud to associate with this project and present it to audiences worldwide," Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, said.
 
R. Balki added, "Sridevi is such a natural and was the perfect choice for this role. Not knowing English in our country is a big deal. Three things differentiate people here — fame, money and the knowledge of English. The film deals with her insecurities and how she shows the world that speaking the language isn’t a big deal. I am pleased to tie-up with Eros International who will present this film on a global platform.” 
 
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New Amar Chitra Katha title "Thanjavur" to be launched on Facebook on May 30

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ACK Media, an education and entertainment company for children, will launch its new Amar Chitra Katha title ‘Thanjavur – City of Brihadeeswara’ on Facebook on May 30.

The new title will then be available in all bookstores nationally at Rs. 50 and on Apple iTunes and Amazon Kindle apps for $ 0.99. The launch of Thanjavur on Facebook also brings a unique opportunity for Amar Chitra Katha fans.
 
They can speak with the author and editor of ‘Thanjavur’ through a “live chat” on May 30 and ask questions about the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series.
 
“We have a vibrant community of readers of Amar Chitra Katha who engage with us on our Facebook page. Launching our latest title, Thanjavur, on this forum is our way of celebrating this growing community. An online event gives us a chance to include a large group of readers for the launch and we hope to make the event enjoyable and participative”, said Mr. Shubhadeep Bhattacharya, Business Head - Digital, ACK Media.
 
“We are launching a video on 24th of May, which will give a sneak peek into the new title ‘Thanjavur – city of Brihadeeswara’. This will be followed by a series of engaging activities like quiz contests, fun facts and quests around the tale of Thanjavur that will lead up to the launch on 30th May," he said.
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The new title narrates the story of Thanjavur, which is home to the 1000-year-old Brihadeeswara Temple. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola empire for many years. The comic book highlights the fascinating history and the large number of myths and local legends associated with it. These stories, put together, make an interesting read for both children and adults. The comic will also interest tourists who wish to know more about the town and its unique identity.
 
Ms. Reena Puri, Editor Amar Chitra Katha says, “Thanjavur is part of our titles planned on historical cities. It was the capital of the Chola empire and the hub of great political activity. But like most ancient Indian temple cities the historical has merged with the mythological in a fascinating manner. We hope to create at least one comic each year which will tell in a simple way the stories behind some of our greatest cities.”
 
Ms. Prabha Nair, scriptwriter of Thanjavur says, “Thanjavur is a treasure chest of stories, historical and mythical. To weave the two in a plausible way was a challenge. What I have told is only the tip of the iceberg. There is much more to Thanjavur's art and culture, to its monuments and temples. I hope this comic creates an interest in people to discover these facets for themselves.”
 
Speaking about the illustration, artist Rakesh C.S. highlights, “It's the first time I'm illustrating a story for Amar Chitra Katha. As Thanjavur is one of the most important temple-towns in South India, the work has been very interesting and challenging. The composition of the pages and panels of this comic was done using pictures of statues and frescoes of the temples as reference. Although, historically, the story is that of the temples of Thanjavur, the comic narrates the story of Shiva from a devotional perspective. I'm very happy to have illustrated the comic and to have brought more of Shiva's illustrations to the Amar Chitra Katha comics.”
 
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Gadkari says BJP must increase vote share, expand NDA ahead of 2014 polls

Bharatiya Janata Party President Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said the party must try and increase its vote share by at least 10 per cent and expand the National Democratic Alliance headed by it ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Sushma Swaraj, L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley at the meeting of the party's national executive in Mumbai on May 24, 2012.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Sushma Swaraj, L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari and Arun Jaitley at the meeting of the party's national executive in Mumbai on May 24, 2012.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari today said the party must try and increase its vote share by at least 10 per cent and expand the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) headed by it ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

"Today’s dynastic and corrupt Congress is the chief obstacle to India’s attainment of its full potential for growth and development. For this, it is necessary, first and foremost, to dislodge the Congress," he said in his address to a meeting of the BJP National Executive here.
 
"Our strategic task: Increase the BJP’s vote share by at least 10% and expand the NDA," he said.
 
He also pointed out that the party's strategy to replace the Congress as the principal pole of Indian politics hinged critically on another imperative: expansion of its support base in states where it had been traditionally weak.
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Mr Gadkari said the country was going through a difficult phase, for which he held the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) principally responsible.
 
"The situation in the country today is such that the people want to see the exit of the Congress. They want change and they are keenly searching for the right alternative.  They have high hopes and expectations from the BJP. If we rise to their expectations, they will surely give us a mandate to form the next government and an opportunity to serve the nation," he said.
 
He urged partymen to rise above all secondary considerations and unitedly work to strengthen the BJP "at a time when destiny itself has presented before us both a challenge and an opportunity. We must succeed. Let’s consolidate and expand to fulfill the expectations of the people!"
 
Mr Gadkari said the meeting was convened to begin the party's preparations for the next Lok Sabha elections, irrespective of whether they are held in 2014 or earlier.
 
He said the party's message to the UPA was loud and clear, that its days were numbered and the people of India could not afford to have any more of its musrule.
 
"Today the BJP’s return to power has become a national necessity. We must succeed in discharging this duty. Political situation in the country and also the people’s mood are supportive of the BJP’s comeback, provided we gear up to seize this opportunity," he said.
 
Describing the tenure of the UPA government as a "shameful saga of corruption scandals, failures and betrayals," he said the worst victim was the "aam aadmi", the common man, who was reeling under the burden of price rise. He said yesterday's steep hike in petrol prices was "another example of the government’s utter insensitivity".
 
He referred to the fall in the value of the rupee and said the government's wrong policies were forcing entrepreneurs to look for investment opportunities abroad.
 
"The fact of the matter is that there is complete paralysis of decision-making and policy-formulation in the government. In the absence of strong leadership the situation has further worsened," he said.
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He also spoke about the "unprecedented deterioration in the Centre-State relations".
 
Mr Gadkari said there was an urgent need to radically change the policy priorities of India’s economic growth in favour of sustainable development, employment generation, agriculture, rural development, informal sectors of the economy, SCs, STs, other deprived sections of society, and also the poor belonging to the upper castes and minorities.
 
He said there was also an urgent need to effectively address critical challenges such as water security, energy security, food security and environmental security.
 
He spoke about his recent visit to Israel and how the tiny nation had developed "self-reliant solutions to meet the entire population’s needs of water, energy, food, education and healthcare. They have indeed made Israel a world leader in science, technology and innovation."
 
"We need a similar nationalist, self-reliant, development-oriented and innovation-propelled approach in solving India’s problems," he said.
 
The BJP President called for a nationwide debate on how to make Parliament, State Legislatures and Panchayati Raj Institutions more effective and accountable. He also stressed the need for electoral reforms.
 
He spoke about the achievements of the BJP governments in states such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. 
 
"The lesson of the NDA rule has shown that a stable government is possible only if the ruling coalition has a national and nationalist party like the BJP as its strong anchor. We should educate the people about the risk of instability at the Centre.
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"We should impress upon the people that instability at the Centre could inflict a heavy price on the nation’s security and economy. Therefore, we should make them understand that a strong BJP-led coalition, based on a common programme, is the only true alternative that can answer their growing desire for change of government in New Delhi," he said.
 
Mr Gadkari also spoke about the party's recent electoral performance, including in Mumbai, Delhi and Goa.
 
"Learning from the Goa experience, I would like all our party units to intensify similar efforts to win the trust of our sisters and brothers belonging to minority communities," he said.
 
He assured minoriteis that they had nothing to fear when a BJP-led alliance forms the next government.
 
"We shall care for your security, your development and your welfare. We are committed to ensuring economic justice and social justice for all Indians, irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, language or gender," he said.
 
He said the party's performance in Uttar Pradesh was below expectations. "The people in the state wanted change, but we could not project ourselves as a credible and strong alternative.
Even though the BJP’s tally in UP was not on expected lines, our party still has a very large base and there are potential supporters as well. They will surely shift their allegiance to the BJP in the next parliamentary elections if we make necessary efforts to win them back. Our party also needs to promote youth at all levels. We have already begun this process," he said.
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Mr Gadkari said the party's immediate task was to get ready to successfully face the coming assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. 
 
"Like all our BJP and NDA ruled States Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh governments have earned several laurels for setting new records of Good Governance. Gujarat, in particular, has captured the imagination of the rest of India and the world because of its rapid and all-round development. I am confident that our party units will triumph in winning the people’s mandate yet again in these two states," he said.
 
On the coming Presidential election, he said the BJP was striving to create a broad consensus among all the non-Congress parties for fielding a worthy candidate "who can, besides safeguarding the Constitution, further add luster to the highest office of the Republic."
 
"The Congress party’s chief criterion for selecting its candidate to occupy Rashtrapati Bhavan appears to be loyalty to the Dynasty, and not loyalty to the Constitution. Just as it has devalued other democratic institutions, it also seeks to devalue the office of Rashtrapati. It must not be allowed to succeed this time," he added.
 
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Narendra Modi to attend BJP National Executive meeting after Sanjay Joshi quits

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has decided to attend the meeting of the National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party beginning in Mumbai on Thursday after his bete noire Sanjay Joshi resigned as a special invitee to the national executive.
File photo of Narendra Modi
File photo of Narendra Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has decided to attend the meeting of the National Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) beginning here today after his bete noire Sanjay Joshi resigned as a special invitee to the national executive.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari told newsmen here that Mr Joshi had decided to quit from the national executive because he did not wish to become the cause of differences within the party.
 
Mr Joshi's presence in the national executive was said to be the main reason for Mr Modi's decision earlier to stay away from the crucial two-day meeting.
 
Mr Gadkari said he had talked to Mr Modi and discussed all issues with him. He said Mr Modi would leave Ahmedabad for Mumbai shortly and attend the meeting of the national executive.
 
He said whatever differences were there on the issue had been sorted out and Mr Modi had assured him that he would work shoulder-to-shoulder with him to build the party and the nation at this critical juncture.
 
Talking to journalists in Udaipur, Rajasthan, where had gone to attend a function, Mr Modi sidestepped questions on Mr Joshi's resignation, but confirmed that he would reach Mumbai by 3.30 pm today.
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Mr Gadkari had inducted Mr Joshi into the Uttar Pradesh assembly election campaign some time ago, following which Mr Modi had stayed away from the state during the run-up to the elections. He had also skipped the last meeting of the BJP national executive held in Delhi in December last year.
 
The resignation of Mr Joshi, who had worked alongside Mr Modi in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), is seen as a major victory for Mr Modi who had made his presence in the BJP a matter of personal prestige.
 
Mr Joshi had quit the party in 2005 after a sleazy CD allegedly featuring him surfaced and Mr Modi was upset when Mr Gadkari reinstated him in the party and put him in charge of the party's campaign in the UP elections.
 
The issue had clearly soured relations between Mr Modi and Mr Gadkari. Clearly, the party leadership and the RSS appeared to have decided to make some concessions for Mr Modi at a time when Mr Gadkari is preparing to begin an unprecedented second consecutive term as BJP chief and the party is preparing for the coming assembly elections in Gujarat and other states as well as for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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Chennai Super Kings knock out Mumbai Indians, hopes of title defence alive

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Chennai Super Kings kept alive their hopes of retaining the title as they knocked out Mumbai Indians from the Indian Premier League (IPL), beating them by 38 runs in the eliminator here tonight and booked their place in Friday's second qualifier.

Super Kings now face Delhi Daredevils in the second qualifier and a win will help them to stay in the hunt for a hat-trick of titles. Kolkata Knight Riders have already qualified for the Sunday's grand finale by beating Daredevils in the first qualifier yesterday.
 
Put in to bat first, Super Kings' batsmen put on a sterling performance at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni leading from the front with an unbeaten 51 off just 20 balls while Dwayne Bravo struck 33 not out off 14 balls that took the defending champions to 187 for five in 20 overs.
 
Mike Hussey (49) and Subramaniam Badrinath (47) also came up with valuable innings after Super Kings made a disastrous start.
 
Mumbai Indians could manage only 149 for nine in 20 overs after Dwayne Smith top scored with 38. It was a disciplined performance by Super Kings bowlers.
 
Left arm-spinner Shadab Jakati, who opened the bowling, got the valuable wicket of Smith and gave away just 25 runs from his four overs but the star was pacer Bravo, who picked up two for 10 from his three overs. Albie Morkel also got two, Rohit Sharma (14) and Dinesh Karthik (6), for 31 from his four overs.
 
Earlier, Super Kings made a dismal start after medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni (3-46) struck in the second over to get rid of opening batsman Murali Vijay (1) and Suresh Raina with consecutive deliveries.
 
But it was the 94-run stand for the third wicket between Badrinath and Hussey that helped Chennai Super Kings recover from a disastrous start when they were 1-2 in 1.2 overs.
 
It was a slow recovery as Super Kings scored 47 after nine overs, but a late charge by Dhoni and Bravo, who shared an unfinished 73-run stand off 29 balls for the sixth wicket, helped the defending champions amass 140 runs off the last 11 overs to set Mumbai a stiff target.
 
Scorecard:
Chennai Super Kings:
Murali Vijay c Sharma b Kulkarni 01 (5b)
Michael Hussey c Kulkarni b Franklin 49 (39b, 8x4, 1x6)
Suresh Raina b Kulkarni 00 (1b)
Subramaniam Badrinath c Sharma b Pollard 47 (39b, 6x4, 1x6)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (not out) 51 (20b, 6x4, 2x6)
Ravindra Jadeja c Sharma b Kulkarni 01 (2b)
Dwayne Bravo (not out) 33 (14b, 3x4, 2x6)
Extras (lb-2, w-3): 05
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Total (for 5 wkts, 20 overs): 187
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Vijay, 1.1); 2-1 (Raina, 1.2); 3-95 (Badrinath, 13.2); 4-106 (Hussey, 14.2); 5-114 (Jadeja, 15.1).
Bowling: Harbhajan Singh 3-1-20-0; Dhawal Kulkarni 4-0-46-3 (2w); Rudra Pratap Singh 4-0-34-0; Lasith Malinga 4-0-41-0 (1w); Kieron Pollard 3-0-26-1; Dwayne Smith 1-0-6-0; James Franklin 1-0-12-0.
 
Mumbai Indians:
Sachin Tendulkar (run out – Jadeja/Jakati) 11 (11b, 2x4)
Dwayne Smith c Jadeja b Jakati 38 (22b, 5x4, 2x6)
Rohit Sharma c Dhoni b Morkel 14 (19b)
Dinesh Karthik c Dhoni b Morkel 06 (4b, 1x4)
James Franklin c Dhoni b Bravo 13 (13b, 1x6)
Ambati Rayudu c Vijay b Ashwin 11 (7b, 2x4)
Kieron Pollard c Raina b Bravo 16 (19b, 1x4, 1x6)
Harbhajan Singh c Raina b Hilfenhaus 01 (4b)
Lasith Malinga b Jadeja 17 (16b, 1x4, 1x6)
Dhawal Kulkarni (not out)
Rudra Pratap Singh (not out)
Extras (lb-5, w-5, nb-1): 11
Total (for 9 wkts, 20 overs): 149.
Fall of wickets: 1-47 (Tendulkar, 4.6); 2-55 (Smith, 6.2); 3-68 (Karthik, 8.1); 4-77 (Sharma, 10.1); 5-96 (Rayudu, 11.5); 6-102 (Franklin, 13.3); 7-103 (Harbhajan, 14.2); 8-129 (Pollard, 17.6); 9-148 (Malinga, 19.4). 
Bowling: Shadab Jakati 4-0-25-1 (1w); Ben Hilfenhaus 4-0-45-1 (1nb, 4w); Ravichandran Ashwin 3-0-18-1; Ravindra Jadeja 2-0-15-1; Albie Morkel 4-0-31-2; Dwayne Bravo 3-0-10-2.
 
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Chennai Super Kings outplay Mumbai Indians by 38 runs in IPL eliminator

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings knocked out last year's runners-up Mumbai Indians by 38 runs in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here tonight.

Put in to bat first, Super Kings made 187 for five from their 20 overs and then restricted Mumbai Indians to 149 for nine in their quota of overs.
 
While Mumbai Indians are now out of the tournament, Super Kings will now face Delhi Daredevils in the second qualifier on Friday for a place in Sunday's final against Kolkata Knight Riders.
 
Delhi Daredevils had lost to the Knight Riders in the first qualifier yesterday.
 
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Onus on Super Kings to defend IPL title as they take on Mumbai Indians on Wednesday

IPL logo
IPL logo

The onus will be on defending champions Chennai Super Kings as they take on Mumbai Indians in the eliminator of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the M.Chinnaswamy Stadium here tomorrow.

It was a stroke of luck that helped the Super Kings to book their play-off berth after Royal Challengers unexpectedly lost their must-win game against tournament's favourite whipping boys Deccan Chargers in their last match.
 
Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Suresh Raina had lost all hope and had even left for their home towns. But as the news of Royal Challengers' win trickled in, there was renewed vigour in the Super Kings as they now have the chance to create history in the IPL by becoming the first team to win a hat-trick of IPL titles.
 
But the final berth is still far off, as Super Kings have to not only defeat Mumbai Indians but also get the better of the loser of the first qualifer between Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders in the second qualifier.
 
But a loss at the hands of Mumbai Indians will knock-out Super Kings from the IPL.
 
Now that both the teams know that there is no room for error, it is going to be a high-voltage clash in this garden city.
 
While Mumbai Indians are riding high after their 10-wicket win over Rajasthan Royals, Super Kings are down on confidence after their six-wicket loss to Kings XI Punjab in their last match in Dharmasala.
 
The record opening stand by Mumbai Indians' opening pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith against Rajasthan Royals seems to have sorted out their opening woes. 
 
The duo's 163-run stand was the highest opening partnership in the IPL beating the 159 put on by Super Kings' Michael Hussey and Murali Vijay against Royal Challengers in 2011.
 
Smith was happy to get some runs under his belt ahead of a crunch game.
 
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"I have been opening for some time now, it was not new for me. It is good to get some runs, it is crunch time in the tournament now," he said.
 
Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh, however, said that they are yet to find a suitable opening partner for Tendulkar.
 
"We are still trying to figure out who is the best partner for Tendulkar. Gibbs has done well in a few innings, Smith did well," said Harbhajan.
 
While domestic players have done well for Mumbai Indians, Super Kings have relied heavily on their foriegn recruits, especially in the bowling department. Lack of good domestic bowlers, have prompted Dhoni to depend on excessively on Ben Hilfenhaus, Albie Morkel and Dwayne Bravo. It has seriously affected Super Kings' batting because Mike Hussey and Faf du Plessis can't be in the side at the same time. 
 
Du Plessis remains Chennai's highest run-getter while Hussey has been  the sides's Mr Dependable. For Super Kings, the challenge lies in finding the right balance if they have to defend their title.
 
Chennai Super Kings (likely): Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Albie Morkel, Srikanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Yo Mahesh.
 
Mumbai Indians (likely): Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), James Franklin, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh (captain), Lasith Malinga, Rudra Pratap Singh, Dhawal Kulkarni
 
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Bhansali's "Devdas" ranked eighth in Time's "10 Greatest Movies of Millennium"

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Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has joined  the likes of Hollywood veterans like James Cameron and Baz Luhrmann, as his historical masterpiece Devdas made its way to Time magazine's list of "10 Greatest Movies of the Millennium".
 
Surpassing the Oscar winning French film “The Artist” and Luhrmann’s musical "Moulin Rouge", Bhansali’s adaptation of the 1917 Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay novel was ranked eighth in the coveted list.
 
Time’s Rochard Corliss described the film as a visually intoxicating musical with grandeur the old Hollywood moguls would have loved.
 
Says Corliss: "Devdas is played with such commitment that the tritest plot twists seem worth believing — and dancing to, in nine nifty production numbers. But the fervid emotion is what makes the thing sing.” 
 
Bhansali said, "The news couldn't have come at a better time. Devdas completes 10 momentous years...It's a very proud and happy moment for me. For a mainstream Hindi film like Devdas to gain such cinematic recognition and be part of such an illustrious list, is an honour not just for me but for the Indian industry at large."
 
This isn’t the film’s first tryst with international accolades. Devdas received a BAFTA nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, was ranked #74 in Empire magazine's "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" and was also India's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
 
On home turf the film went on to win five National Awards and ten Filmfare Awards, including Best Film.
 
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