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Archive for August, 2012

Actress Bidita Bag mistaken for a Naxalite; escapes riot!

Even as actress Bidita Bag is preparing for the release of her first Bollywood film ‘From Sydney With Love’ this week, she is all shaken by memories of a recent village attack, where she witnessed the fury of a mob who mistook her for being a Maoist or a Naxalite.

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While renowned filmmaker Prakash Jha, who is directing his next movie Chakravyuh on Naxalites, has stated that he has met them over the years, Bidita went through a terrifying experience of a more dangerous kind on the sets of a Bengali film called ‘Chokher Pani – Tears of Nandigram’!

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Recalling her horror, the actress says, “I was shooting for this Bengali film in the sensitive Nandigram village in West Bengal some time ago, when a group of very unruly people thought that the unit comprised of armed Naxalites.”

“The villagers started shouting – ‘Yeh log film shooting ke naam par logon ko hathiyaar chalane ki training de rahein hain’ (‘These people are providing combat arms training in the garb of a film shoot’). Before we could explain anything, a wild rumour spread and suddenly a mob emerged and started attacking the unit members,” recalls Bidita.

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The actress remembers seeing agitated people chase others with swords and even burning nearby houses in a mindless riot, as she ran and hid inside a rice field to save her life!

Bidita’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar adds, the actress told him, she was too shaken, witnessing such animalistic violence and that even the local police and media termed her a Maoist. “Bidita felt helpless and traumatized in the village. But luckily for the unit members, she did not give up shooting for the film,” he remarks.

As the situation calmed down, the actress is reported to have completed the shooting schedule under police protection and safety assurances by The Rapid Action Force (RAF); the specialized wing of the Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

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Press Council chief owes an apology to Rajesh Khanna’s fans: Anita Advani

The late Rajesh Khanna’s ‘lady love’ Anita Advani, who reportedly had a long-standing live-in relationship with the megastar at his Bandra bungalow Aashirwad, is saddened regarding a statement made about her love Rajesh Khanna by none other than Markandey Katju; the chairman of Press Council of India.

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Speaking at a seminar on ‘Media and its responsibilities’ this week, Katju slammed television news channels for “excessive” coverage on film stars, cricket and astrology to boost viewership. Taking media to task, Katju pointed out that channels should rather be focusing on real issues such as economy, poverty, unemployment and farmers’ suicides.

Referring to such coverage, he is reported to have stated, “How does it matter if Rajesh Khanna is dead or alive.” Though his dismay over sensational reporting is genuine, such a statement has upset Khanna’s ex-partner Anita Advani tremendously.

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When asked about Katju’s comment on Rajesh Khanna, Advani retorted, “Kakaji (Khanna) was loved, adulated and even hero-worshipped for years at end, across India and abroad. He made millions laugh, smile and cry with him.”

“To say ‘how does it matter if Rajesh Khanna is dead or alive,’ after he has passed away, is not in good taste. It has hurt me a lot, but more than that, I feel Mr Katju owes all of Kakaji’s fans an apology,” said Advani.

Explaining her distress over the issue, Advani’s spokesperson Dale Bhagwagar remarked, “Ms Anita Advani has always told me, she loved Kakaji like crazy and that she was always there for him. Maybe, it is because of this special bond they shared, that she finds this casual remark insensitive!”

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Renaming Aashirwad would hurt Rajesh Khanna’s soul, says Anita Advani

The late Rajesh Khanna’s ‘lady love’ Anita Advani, who reportedly had a long-standing live-in relationship with the megastar at his Bandra bungalow Aashirwad, is extremely upset, hearing the buzz about the late megastar’s bungalow being renamed Vardaan.

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“If the rumours are true, it would hurt Kakaji’s (Rajesh Khanna’s) soul,” quipped Anita Advani, adding that “Aashirwad is synonymous with Rajesh Khanna”.

She particularly found the name-change talks upsetting, as she said, the name Aashirwad was given to the bungalow by Rajesh Khanna’s father.

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“Kakaji used to fondly remember and tell me how the bungalow was named Aashirwad. When they were looking for a new name for the bungalow, his father had thought for a long time and then suggested the name Aashirwad. Kakaji has mentioned that his father said, ‘You’ll be a star and people will write letters and fan mail to you. Whenever they write your name on the letters, they will write the words – Rajesh Khanna Aashirwad. So in a way, they would always be giving you their Aashirwad (blessings).’ That was the lovely thought behind the name,” reminisced Anita Advani.

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Remembering her years with the megastar, Advani remarked, “Kakaji used to say that this (Aashirwad) was the ‘most favourite’ name given by his father. The bungalow was also his most prized possession, which he wished to convert into a museum and his last wish should be fulfilled. In fact, together, over the years, we both designed its interiors with a long-term plan to convert it into a museum.”

Advani further added that she was “perturbed by the sudden name-change talks. What sense does it make? If it’s true, it’s a weird move and doesn’t sound nice.”

Reacting to claims about her asking for a stake in Aashirwad, Advani’s spokesperson Dale Bhagwagar stated, “It’s false that Ms Advani has claimed a stake in the bungalow. But she has maintained that Mr Rajesh Khanna wished to turn it into a museum for his loving fans.”

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Television superstar Ram Kapoor excited to work with Mira Nair!

Television superstar Ram Kapoor is the heartthrob of millions. But what the Bade Achhe Lagte Hain actor is super excited about these days is a film he has just signed!

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Ram is doing a movie which will have a couple of short stories, one of which will be directed by filmmaker Mira Nair; acclaimed for movies such as Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake.

“I have been a huge admirer of Mira Nair’s work for as long as I can remember and it truly is a dream come true to be working with her again after Monsoon Wedding,” says Ram.

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The actor who spends most of his time shuttling between studios to match grueling schedules of his leading daily soap with select movies that he portrays key roles in, is scheduled to begin shooting with Nair this week itself.

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For the record, Nair has directed ten narrative feature films as well as several short films and documentaries. Her work has been recognized by the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globes, among others.

Earlier, she has also used the profits of her Oscar-nominated debut movie Salaam Bombay! to create the Salaam Baalak Trust for India’a street children.

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Swami Nithyananda may take action against ‘guerilla defamation’!

The controversial Swami Nithyananda may soon approach the government’s Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) to intimate them of select websites indulging in what his publicist terms as “guerilla defamation.”

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Speaking about the same, the spiritual leader’s PR specialist Dale Bhagwagar revealed, “There have been a select group of websites which seem to be regularly indulging in false and defamatory articles about Swami Nithyananda.”

He referred to a new attack on Nithyananda’s reputation this week, by four websites BharatOne, Gulte, IdleNRI and CineVedika, which called the spiritual leader a “conman” involved in “mismanagement of funds,” without any proof or valid reason.

“Such articles may not only incorrectly influence mass media opinion and turn dangerous for a person’s reputation, but also spread false news, hurting the fabric of society,” said Bhagwagar, making a point.

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“A few websites have been continuously fabricating and concocting terms and articles, maligning Nithyananda’s image in a clear violation of our country’s defamation laws,” he added.

“Moreover, many of these are strangely operating in a guerilla fashion, having no clear contact info about themselves on their sites or elsewhere,” stated the PR specialist. He remarked that he was unaware if such sites are operating from India or whether they have their servers abroad.

“Unable to touch base with the sites in a credible manner, Nithyananda may be left with no other option but to approach the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell to request action,” added the publicist, wondering if CCIC is empowered to block domains of sites indulging in such illegal guerilla defamation.

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Swami Nithyananda may take action against ‘guerilla defamation’!

The controversial Swami Nithyananda may soon approach the government’s Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) to intimate them of select websites indulging in what his publicist terms as “guerilla defamation.”

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Speaking about the same, the spiritual leader’s PR specialist Dale Bhagwagar revealed, “There have been a select group of websites which seem to be regularly indulging in false and defamatory articles about Swami Nithyananda.”

He referred to a new attack on Nithyananda’s reputation this week, by four websites BharatOne, Gulte, IdleNRI and CineVedika, which called the spiritual leader a “conman” involved in “mismanagement of funds,” without any proof or valid reason.

“Such articles may not only incorrectly influence mass media opinion and turn dangerous for a person’s reputation, but also spread false news, hurting the fabric of society,” said Bhagwagar, making a point.

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“A few websites have been continuously fabricating and concocting terms and articles, maligning Nithyananda’s image in a clear violation of our country’s defamation laws,” he added.

“Moreover, many of these are strangely operating in a guerilla fashion, having no clear contact info about themselves on their sites or elsewhere,” stated the PR specialist. He remarked that he was unaware if such sites are operating from India or whether they have their servers abroad.

“Unable to touch base with the sites in a credible manner, Nithyananda may be left with no other option but to approach the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell to request action,” added the publicist, wondering if CCIC is empowered to block domains of sites indulging in such illegal guerilla defamation.

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Swami Nithyananda hounded by fresh controversy

Spiritual leader Swami Nithyananda seems to have been dragged into a fresh controversy, with latest reports stating that a former devotee of the guru has been accused of rape by a US-based woman, also an ex-devotee of Nithyananda.

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This week a 32-year-old married NRI lady based in the US, is reported to have registered a complaint at Colaba Police Station in Mumbai, accusing an NRI doctor of brainwashing her and raping her over the course of four years.

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The lady is said to have told the police, “He (the accused) would tell me that he is Shiva and I am Parvati. He would lace my drinks with drugs and rape me.” Since the duo is reported to have frequented Nithyananda’s ashram in Los Angeles in 2008, the controversial Swami’s name is being drawn into this case too, with references of a different ongoing case on the self-styled godman.

“Swami Nithyananda’s name seems to have become synonymous with controversy,” commented his spokesperson Dale Bhagwagar. “Countless people visit Nithyananda’s ashrams worldwide all the time. The Swami cannot be held responsible or linked to whatever all those people choose to do in their private lives,” he added, making a point.

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