‘KABUL EXPRESS' invited to London & Pusan Film Festivals

>> Thursday, May 28, 2009


'Kabul Express', the latest Yash Raj Films production is creating waves all around the world. Barely has the excitement around the invitation to the Toronto International Film Festival died down, comes the news from Yashraj Films site that the Kabir Khan helmed film has been invited to participate in the London Film Festival and the Pusan Film Festival.

Slated to be held this year from 18th October to 2nd November, 2006, the London Film Festival is one of the pre-eminent film festivals of the world. This year is even more significant for the festival as it marks the 50th anniversary, having been started in 1956. The Festival also has a strong Indian connection in that it awards the annual Satyajit Ray award: a special award for the first time film maker whose work captures best the artistry, humanity and vision of Satyajit Ray. In its 11th year now, the award is much sought after by first time directors.

The Pusan Film Festival has quickly gained acceptance among cineastes as being the most prestigious film event in Asia. In addition, it is well accepted as a forum for discovering bright new talent and showcasing some of the most cutting edge cinema from around the world. This year, the festival will be held from the 12th to the 20th October.

Coming on top of the recent invitation to participate in the Toronto Film Festival, these honors to 'Kabul Express' clearly demonstrate that there are truly no boundaries any more for Indian cinema.

Said Yash Raj Films Chairman, Yash Chopra, "We are proud that 'Kabul Express' is receiving invitations to the most prestigious festivals in the world — and rubbing shoulders with the best in world cinema. We are certain that the film will find great favor not just with critics and festivals juries but with discerning audiences the world over!"

Clearly, 'Kabul Express' is on a roll; and Indian and global audiences will have a unique cinema experience in store for them, when the movie releases in India


Palampur Express’s connection

It’s very commonly seen and noticed by us that most of the reality shows on the television are inspired by the international shows. But there is a new show on television which looks like as if it has taken its inspiration from an advertisement. Yes, we are talking about the show Palampur Express from whose promos we can make out that it has somewhere taken its inspiration from the famous Tata Indicom advertisement which used to come on TV few months back. In this ad there was one small town girl who aspires to become an athlete and she wakes up early in the morning to keep herself fit and this is the same feeling which we get when we see the promos of Palampur express. The concept of the ad was quite nice but we really don’t know whether the show is fully on the concept or only a theme has been taken. But whatever it is, we will get to know after the show comes on air .And we hope that we get to see some nice and good concept through this inspirational show.


Sonali Bendre and Aishwarya are family

Sonali Bendre has been off films for a while but is still connected to Bollywood, thanks to TV and producer/director Goldie Behl.

She’s close to the Bachchans as Goldie happens to be a chum of Abhishek Bachchan. The friendship with Bachchan Jr. is still quite strong, despite the fact that both the movies these two did together- ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai’ and ‘Drona’ turned out to be superflops.

Homely Sonali who’s rocking as a mum too now considers her contempory for some years in the industry and who she starred with in ‘Humara Dil Aapke Pas Hai’ many years ago-Aishwarya Rai family.

She’s said: “Aishwarya is family. She is Abhishek’s wife and will always be extremely special. Like I keep telling her that she is extremely sweet but for us she will always be Abhishek’s wife who is so dear and I think she is very happy to accept that.”

Well, it’s nice to know that two beautiful woman can bond like friends and family. This in a place like B-Town is rare as they always end up only squabbling


Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film?

normal madhuri4 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? Bollywood News : Bollywood Actress Madhuri Dixit’s comeback to the big screen with YRF’s Aaja Nachle may not have worked, but the lady is still making a lot of news. Right after I heard she was all set to play the milf in Prakash Jha’s adaptation of Lolita with Ranbir Kapoor, a little birdie came and told me some more.

Apparently, Madhuri was approached by none other than the elusive Bollywood Director Aditya Chopra. After DDLJ and Rab Ne… the director is ready to direct his third film. And he wants Madhuri Dixit to star in it!

Now.. thats a beginning of a great story..

Last weekend, Director Aditya Chopra was holidaying in the US. Early one morning he approached Madhuri with a bound script at her residence in New Jersey. He started his narration of the script. Madhuri listened to it without a break. She has asked some time to think over it. The film is a women centric romance.

Well, we at Bollywood Gossips hope that Madhuri Dixit decides to do the film. We miss you a lot on the big screen!!

thumb madhuri7 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? madhuri1~1.jpg thumb madhuri2 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? thumb madhuri3 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film?


Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film?

normal madhuri4 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? Bollywood News : Bollywood Actress Madhuri Dixit’s comeback to the big screen with YRF’s Aaja Nachle may not have worked, but the lady is still making a lot of news. Right after I heard she was all set to play the milf in Prakash Jha’s adaptation of Lolita with Ranbir Kapoor, a little birdie came and told me some more.

Apparently, Madhuri was approached by none other than the elusive Bollywood Director Aditya Chopra. After DDLJ and Rab Ne… the director is ready to direct his third film. And he wants Madhuri Dixit to star in it!

Now.. thats a beginning of a great story..

Last weekend, Director Aditya Chopra was holidaying in the US. Early one morning he approached Madhuri with a bound script at her residence in New Jersey. He started his narration of the script. Madhuri listened to it without a break. She has asked some time to think over it. The film is a women centric romance.

Well, we at Bollywood Gossips hope that Madhuri Dixit decides to do the film. We miss you a lot on the big screen!!

thumb madhuri7 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? madhuri1~1.jpg thumb madhuri2 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film? thumb madhuri3 Aditya Chopra to direct Madhuri in next film?


Bollywood stars to play cricket match for cancer cause

Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) at Hotel Taj Lands End on Saturday May 23rd evening announced the line up of events for celebrating World No Tobacco day in association with Bollywood stars, World Health Organisation (WHO) and The Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Present at the event were Bollywood personalities - Sohail Khan, Aftab Shivdasani, Milind Soman, Neetu Chandra, Raima Sen, Dr. Anuj Saxena, Arjan Bajwa, Bappi Lahiri, Shailendra Singh of Percept Pictures along with cricketer Vinod Kambli. Also present were CPAA, WHO and the Ministry officials comprising of Mr. Y.K. Sapru, P.S. Pasricha and D.J. Habayeb.

It was announced that Bollywood n Television stars would play against Mumbai city doctors a special cricket match on Monday May 25th at the Mumbai Police Gymkhana at Marine Lines, Mumbai at 4 pm. While the Bollywood stars interacted with the media about the same, they also participated in a mock holi and threw tobacco based products in it.

It was announced that special guests of honour at the match are going to be Farah Khan and actor-producer Dr. Anuj Saxena, who will felicitate the film personalities and handover voice boxes (prosthesis) to cancer patients who have lost their voices due to the disease. The celebrities will also be participating in the charity event will be Sohail Khan, Zayed Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Suniel Shetty, Javed Jaffery, Arjan Bajwa, Chetan Hansraj, Aman Verma, Cyrus Broacha, Milind Soman, Vinod Kambli, Bakhtiyar Irani and many more. Through the match, the institutes hope to raise funds as well as spread awareness about cancer.


Barbara Mori insisted Hrithik to Kiss her

Bollywood News : While maintaining that no big deal should mori barbara kites1 Barbara Mori insisted Hrithik to Kiss herbe made out of an onscreen kiss, Hrithik Roshan did admit that it was his Mexican co-star Barbara Mori who asked him to kiss her on the lips in a scene in Kites .

There is a sequence in ‘Kites’ where the characters played by Hrithik and Barbara jump from a building. Director Anurag Basu decided to include a kiss between the two before they do the stunt. Though Hrithik gave Barbara a peck on her cheek, she asked for a smooch. But there was a reason behind it.

“We were both supposed to jump off from a rooftop at an impossible height. Before we did so our director Anurag Basu suggested to kiss Barbara, since we were doing something death-defying and dangerous and potentially lethal. I reached out and kissed her on the cheeks,” Hrithik is quoted as saying in a news report.

However, Barbara thought a peck on the cheeks would not look good enough in the scene.

“Barbara turned around to ask why I had kissed her on the cheek. ‘Given the same situation with your real-life wife, Suzanne, would you kiss her on the cheek?’ I was floored by her logic,” said Hrithik.

Then Hrithik did what was right. He kissed her on the lips.

“And this time I kissed her the way real-life couples would in the situation. On the lips,” said Hrithik.

Hrithik added that the kissing scene was done so tastefully, that he could watch it with his family and parents.

“In fact, I’d be more than happy and completely comfortable watching those kissing scenes with my wife, son and parents when the film is released,” Hrithik said.


Obama's tax proposals won't stop outsourcing to India

Few would argue that in recent years, globalisation has increasingly come to be synonymous with the trend of outsourcing; a trend that has changed the global equation. The phenomena of outsourcing has allowed emerging markets in developing countries to reach into developed economies, offering a talented workforce at a fraction of the price.

However, with the recent tax proposals of the US, multinational US Companies which make more than 50% of their revenue from markets outside the US and the Indian industry, which earns $60 billion from outsourcing, are panic-stricken. The new US tax proposals intend to (i) curb overseas tax advantages enjoyed by multinationals in the US; (ii) change the legal treatment of international subsidiaries that companies have used to shift earnings into low-tax offshore havens; (iii) reduce the role of small tax-haven countries that have eroded the tax bases of US; and (iv) eliminate an ambiguity that allows US multinationals to avoid paying taxes on profits earned overseas. Further, it is believed that with rise in the taxes paid on the profits earned overseas, the US companies will shift their location of business back to US.

Existing US Tax Code

The present US Deferral System allows US companies earning profits in a foreign country to deduct expenses for overseas operations and defer payment of US taxes until those profits are repatriated back to the US. While several developed countries have shifted to territorial tax system where only company profits generated within a country's borders are subjected to tax, the US is the only country in which both a worldwide system and a corporate tax is applied. Hence, US tax regime provides for Deferral System to enable US multinational companies operating in foreign countries to be on a more equal footing with their competitors. However, this Deferral System is under attack from the US administration as US multinational companies are increasingly found to be evading taxes by shifting their earnings into low-tax offshore havens and enjoying overseas tax advantages.

Hence, the US administration intends to reform the Deferral System by limiting the ability of US companies to defer tax on profits earned abroad. The new US administration proposes to curtail US multinationals from (i) receiving deductions for expenses supporting their overseas investments until they pay taxes on their offshore profits; (ii) inflating or accelerating the foreign tax paid to claim credit against the US taxes; and to make the Research and Experimentation Tax Credit permanent for investment in the US.

Implications of the New Tax Code

Though the proposal of the new US Tax Code is still at an early stage, the immediate impact on the Indian outsourcing industry cannot be accurately assessed, as the transition of this proposal into legislation will involve extended debates, expert opinions and oppositions from US multinationals, republicans, and even democrats. Even assuming that the proposal of the new US Tax Code comes into force, it is an attempt by the US administration to reduce the role of small tax-haven countries that have eroded the tax bases of US rather than targeting the outsourcing industry of India in general. However, the proposed new US Tax Code may impact foreign operations of US companies operating abroad and makes it more difficult for them to compete with foreign companies.

RandD Outsourcing

RandD is considered as one of the important factors for economic growth of a country. Recently, RandD outsourcing industry of India has grown immensely and deals with all major sectors like IT, telecom, auto, research and pharmaceuticals. Presently, US tax code allows US multinationals to claim immediate deductions for expenses supporting their overseas investments and defer payment of US tax until those profits are repatriated to the US. In order to curb avoidance of tax, US proposes to provide deductions to US multinationals on overseas expenses only if they pay taxes on their offshore profits.

However, in its new tax proposal, the US has exempted the overseas Research and Experimentation expenses enabling US multinationals to receive immediate deductions on their US tax returns. Hence, even if the new tax proposal transforms into legislation, it should not have a significant impact on the RandD outsourcing industry of India.

Structuring the Outsourcing

In a global economy where capital flows freely across borders, it will be difficult for the US administration to restrict multinationals from investing in India. Most US multinational companies do not invest in India only to take advantage of the deferral system existing in the US tax code. In case, the US administration legislates the proposed tax code, it may lead to US multinationals conducting a detailed analysis of economic benefits of outsourcing a particular service and outsourcing only those jobs to India which produces higher profits when outsourced to an Indian subsidiary in comparison to the taxes associated with outsourcing such jobs.

In such a scenario independent BPO units will have to be more competitive and captive BPOs will have to look at maximising their profits by cutting costs. However, it is unlikely that outsourcing would yield less profit considering India's potential to provide highly skilled manpower, cost-effectiveness, and proximity to fast-growing Asian markets.

The Indian government may also have to consider revising and upgrading the existing sops to BPOs including tax incentives. BPOs may consider shifting operations to suburban and rural India to avail benefits of cheaper labour and the likely tax and infrastructural incentives provided by the government.

Outsourcing is an economic reality and cannot be curtailed by changing the tax code applicable to the outsourcer and most economic and business experts would agree that India will remain a lucrative investment destination for the US as it continues to offer skilled manpower, large and inexpensive labour force and immense growth potential. Even in case the US administration succeeds in bringing the new tax code into force, decisions on outsourcing will still not rest in their hands. Businesses, large and small, will continue to be driven by and to do what they believe is best for survival and growth.


Pakistan's n-assets may fall into terrorist hands: US report

Washington, May 28 (IANS) Chronic political instability in Pakistan and the current offensive against the Taliban has raised fears that Islamabad's strategic nuclear assets could be obtained by terrorists or used by elements in the Pakistani government, US lawmakers have been told.

While US and Pakistani officials have expressed confidence in controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards, according to a new US Congressional Research Report on 'Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues.'

'Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathisers within Pakistan's nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls,' says the report prepared by two non-proliferation experts for US lawmakers.

Pakistan, which already has a nuclear arsenal of about 60 nuclear warheads, continues fissile material production for weapons, and is adding to its weapons production facilities and delivery vehicles, notes the report by Paul K. Kerr and Mary Beth Nikitin.

Pakistan does not have a stated nuclear policy, but its 'minimum credible deterrent' is thought to be primarily a deterrent to Indian military action, the report suggests.

Pakistan reportedly stores its warheads unassembled with the fissile core separate from non-nuclear explosives, and these are stored separately from their delivery vehicles.

Command and control structures have been dramatically overhauled since Sep 11, 2001 terror attacks and export controls and personnel security programmes have been put in place since the 2004 revelations about Pakistan's notorious nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan's international proliferation network, the report said.

Pakistani and some US officials argue that Islamabad has taken a number of steps to prevent further proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials and improve its nuclear security, the report says.

'A number of important initiatives such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programmes have improved the security situation in recent years,' the

experts said.

But 'Instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question,' they noted.

Members of Congress have also expressed concerns regarding the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons and related material with Richard Lugar, top Republican of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee favouring use of 'the cooperative threat reduction tools in Pakistan to help with the security of nuclear, biological, and chemical materials and weapons in the country.'


Youngest minister raring to work for northeast

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) She is young, confident and raring to 'bridge the gap' between her home region, the northeast, and the rest of the country. Agatha Sangma, the youngest minister of the Manmohan Singh government, may not be 'choosy' about her portfolio, but is sure geared up to work for grassroot development.

Looking confident as she handled scores of media queries in near-impeccable Hindi right after the news broke, 27-year-old Sangma said that in all probability she will get the rural development ministry.

'I am privileged and since this is my first opportunity, I will not be choosy. Whatever position I am given, I will be happy,' the first time minister, who hails from Meghalaya and is the daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A.Sangma, told IANS.

'Like last time, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Parful Patel got the civil aviation ministry and Sharad Pawar got the agriculture portfolio. Therefore if the status quo is maintained then I may get the rural development ministry which was given to Suryakanta Patil,' she said.

Obviously thrilled at being recommended for the council of ministers, Sangma said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called her Wednesday afternoon at her 34, Aurangzeb Road residence, giving her the news.

'He (Manmohan Singh) called me in the afternoon and told me to come for the swearing-in ceremony. That is when the news was confirmed,' Sangma, dressed in a navy blue wrap around skirt and a light blue checked shirt, said.

A lawyer by profession, Sangma took her LL.B degree from Pune University and then joined the bar in Delhi High Court. She did her masters from Nottingham University in the UK on environmental management.

Her plunge into politics came after her brothers, Conrad Sangma and James Sangma. She entered active politics with the NCP nominating her as the party candidate for the May 22 by-election last year to Tura Lok Sabha seat in Garo hills in Meghalaya.

All geared up to work for the development of the northeast now, Sangma said: 'The main problem when it comes to development there is that the northeast is considered seperate from the rest of the country because it is culturally very different'.

'We are economically and culturally segregated. Now I have a big responsibility - to integrate the northeast with the rest of the country. Economic empowerment of the women and giving employment to the youth without losing our cultural heritage will be my priority,' Sangma said.


28 May 2009, 0204 hrs IST, TNN

NEW DELHI: Team Manmohan is finally in place. After three days and several rounds of brainstorming, the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi finalised
PM & Sonia Gandhi
PM Manmohan Singh and UPA president Sonia Gandhi during memorial ceremony for Nehru. (AFP Photo)
a team of 78 at around noon on Wednesday, clearing the way for the second stage of government formation which will see no less than 59 ministers take oath of office on Thursday. ( Watch )

As the calls began to go out — some by both PM and Sonia — to the ones that had made it, a buzz grew about surprise exclusions and inclusions. After seeking to work through conflicting claims, Singh and Sonia have delivered a package that packs 29 first-timers and nine ex-CMs, matches loyalty with experience with political equations and tries to ensure that merit does not get the short shrift.

Blog: Only the selfless lobby for ministership

The government won’t have old-time loyalists H R Bhardwaj and Arjun Singh, Jat veteran Sisram Ola, and outgoing ministers Saifuddin Soz and Ashwini Kumar.

With 33 ministers of Cabinet rank, seven MOS with independent charge and 38 MoS, there is now hardly any space for more as the size of the council of ministers cannot cross 81. In other words, there can at best be just three more. For those who are in, it is now a tense wait for porfolios and for rejects it is a case of heartburn that some may give vent to in the next few days.

If there was some puzzlement over why, despite a resounding mandate, the Congress brass took so long to draw up the ministry, the answers may lie in the choices that had to be made. Take the case of ex-Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh who, given his seniority may land an important portfolio, despite proving to be incapable of handling crisis situations as 26/11 proved. This is because he is seen as a Maratha leader capable of countering a Congress friend-rival — NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

An Assembly election looms in Maharashtra in a few months and Congress ministers from the state like Sushil Kumar Shinde, Gurudas Kamat, Murli Deora and Mukul Wasnik are all non-Marathas. And Deshmukh can talk tough. Similarly, why induct ex-Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh when the tiny state already had a Cabinet minister in Anand Sharma? Well, Sharma was rewarded for loyalty. But this would leave his senior Virbhadra Singh and Thakurs — an important caste in Himachal — in the cold.

The caste matrix can make your head spin, but another poser is why is there not a single Cabinet minister from UP even when Congress’s efforts to revive itself in the state seem to be paying off. But the dilemma was how to pick the suave Salman Khursheed as the chosen one over Sriprakash Jaiswal who has now won thrice in a row. Beni Prasad Varma has just crossed over from SP and it may also not be right to select him just yet.

Congress campaign lynchpin Jairam Ramesh has come in — he is efficient and articulate and one of the few who can claim proximity to Rahul Gandhi. R P N Singh and Pradeep Jain come in as junior ministers and are said to be close to Rahul, as is Jitin Prasada. Another young minister with promise is Sachin Pilot. He is also the only Gujjar in Manmohan’s team.

It is not such a surprise that M S Gill is a Cabinet minister, most certainly in-charge of sports. He came in towards the fag end of the previous government and could not be dropped. He is seen to have shown a sense of purpose and is a key figure in Delhi’s Commonwealth Games. The ministry may need an additional pair of hands — an MoS as well, which it can get after being put under a Cabinet minister. Equations with PMO also helped.

From J&K, Ghulam Nabi Azad is a senior and vastly experienced politico. NC’s Farooq Abdullah is no great shakes as an administrator but is an ally and the Congress brass felt the need to have a Kashmiri outfit represented in the Cabinet. Perhaps, Rahul Gandhi’s equations with J&K CM Omar Abdullah were also in play. Farooq may be designated minister without portfolio.

When the Prime Minister's Office declared that Deshmukh would be one of the cabinet members sworn in on Thursday, the ex-CM's opponents were shocked. Deshmukh has emerged the biggest winner in the cabinet announcements. In the entire cabinet he is the only minister who is neither a Lok Sabha nor a Rajya Sabha member. "No doubt, in the wake of 26/11, Deshmukh had to quit. In fact, he was a victim of NCP politics. But once again he has established his clout in New Delhi and will be elected to the Rajya Sabha,'' a senior Congress minister told TOI.

While Maharashtra had 10 ministers in the outgoing cabinet, it will have only nine in the new one. Mumbai has been rewarded for helping the Congress-NCP sweep the election in the city. Rajya Sabha MP Murli Deora retains his petroleum portfolio, while Mumbai North-West MP Gurudas Kamat, a new face in the cabinet, will be a minister of state.

The other six cabinet ministers from Maharashtra are Mukul Wasnik, Sharad Pawar (retains agriculture), Sushilkumar Shinde, Praful Patel (minister of state with independent charge), Prithviraj Chavan (minister of state) and Pratik Patil (minister of state).

Aside from Deshmukh, the announcement of Sangli MP Pratik Patil was another surprise. The 36-year-old automobile engineer is being viewed as the choice of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Patil's induction is considered a part of the campaign by Rahul Gandhi to bring in new, young faces.

When the poll process began in end-March, there was strong opposition to the candidature of Patil, grandson of Vasantdada Patil, the veteran Congress leader and pioneer of the cooperative movement. Revenue minister Patangrao Kadam was eyeing the Sangli nomination for his son Vishwajeet. The list for western Maharashtra was put on hold by the AICC because of the split over Pratik's candidature.

Ultimately, Patil was nominated, but the local Congress and NCP worked against his campaign. In addition, the BJP withdrew its official nominee and supported Congress rival Ajit Ghorpade. "What his father, who was also an MP, and his grandfather achieved, Pratik also did,'' said a minister. Patil won by a slender margin.

Deshmukh, Patil, Kamat and Wasnik are the new faces in the cabinet from Maharashtra. Kamat, a six-time MP, was expecting a berth in the earlier government, but missed the bus then. Kamat, who has been Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president, shifted from his traditional Mumbai North-East Lok Sabha constituency and successfully contested from Mumbai North-West.

Wasnik is being viewed as the new Dalit face of the Congress. Known for his close alliance with the Gandhis, Wasnik won from the reserved Ramtek constituency. He has been actively working with the party as AICC general secretary. He was reportedly reluctant to take up a ministerial job, but was persuaded to join the cabinet to ensure the party base in Vidarbha is strengthened.

Along with Maratha strongman Pawar, who was once defence minister in the P V Narasimhrao government in 1991, Shinde, Patel, Chavan and Deora have been retained in the cabinet. However, except for Pawar and Deora, the PMO has not declared the other portfolios.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may retain Chavan as minister of state in the PMO. Pawar's favourite political negotiator, Patel, will also be a minister of state.

Among the losers are Mumbai North-Central MP Priya Dutt, high-profile Pune MP Suresh Kalmadi, Nagpur MP Vilas Muttemwar (outgoing minister of state), A R Antulay (outgoing minister for minority affairs), senior MP from Nandurbar Manikrao Gavit (outgoing minister of state for home), Nanded MP Bhaskarrao Patil Khatgaonkar and former home minister Shivraj Patil. Khatgaonkar and Shivraj Patil were vying hard for a central berth. In fact, chief minister Ashok Chavan was lobbying for Khatgaonkar, his brother-in-law, but the PM opted for Deshmukh.

Antulay, a Muslim face in the Congress government, was also expecting a berth, but he lost the polls from Raigad and there was little scope for his reinduction. "They were all in the zone of consideration, but it was not possible to include them,'' a minister said.

In the outgoing government, there were 10 cabinet members from Maharashtra, seven belonging to the Congress and three to the NCP. Now, while the strength of the Congress has remained the same, the NCP's strength has been reduced to two. So far as region-wise representation is concerned, four are from western Maharashtra, two each from Mumbai and Vidarbha and one from Marathwada.

Deshmukh's presence in Delhi is expected to be used by the party as a deterrent against Pawar, who is giving fresh touches to his poll strategy for the crucial assembly elections scheduled for September. The Congress high command hopes that Deshmukh is suited to understanding and countering political moves by Pawar aimed at strengthening the NCP at any cost. Deshmukh has been pushing for the Congress to go it alone in the assembly polls.

Deshmukh is now all set to contest the bye-election to the Rajya Sabha from a seat that will be vacated by Sushilkumar Shinde. Shinde was an RS member, but has been elected from Solapur.

With Deshmukh off to Delhi, chief minister Ashok Chavan will now be a much-relieved man as he no longer has to worry about any threat from Deshmukh.

The NCP's Meghalaya MP, Agatha Sangma, is also all set to take oath as a minister of state.


Saif graces Stardust


Saif Ali Khan covers the cover of latest issue of StarDust magazine, making a claim - “Kareena And I Don’t Intend To stay Engaged Forever” and on the top there is a title which reads, “Shahrukh takes on Shoaib Akhtar’s Threats”. You like? BTW does anybody feel that Saif has got a nose job done?


Priyanka salutes Big B’s blogging spirit


Priyanka Chopra who is busy shooting in Bangkok is quite amused with the way Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan take time out for maintaining their blogs.

Priyanka says, “I’m designing my own website, and it is taking me so long. However I’m not into blogging simply because I don’t think I can do it. Between shootings and my family, I can’t dedicate much time to a blog. If I could, I would.”

Admiring Big B’s and Aamir’s multi-tasking spirit, she says, The day I become like them, I’ll give myself a pat on the back.”

Apparently Piggy Chops website is going to be one of a kind!


Paichan Kaun?

Guess who are these two actresses morphed together?



Rahman is now Dr.A.R Rahman


After winning the esteemed Oscar,another feather has been added to A.R Rahman’s cap, he is now Dr.A.R Rahman.

Rahman was conferred with an honorary doctorate by famous Aligarh Muslim University.

Rahman created history by winning two Oscars in a row for his wonderful compostion in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

Congratulations Dr. Rahman:)


Sonam Kapoor becomes a goth


Well with those smokey eyes and completely black look for upcoming edition of Harper’s Bazaar India magazine we definitely think she looks rocking hot.Love the look!


Kareena-Salman-Karisma rock Dus Ka Dum 2


Well the trio surely had a blast during the shooting of first episode for game show Dus Ka Dum season 2. Kareena looks pretty. Check out the photos. You like?


Bipasha to romance Titanic star


Bipasha is all set to romance Titanic star - Billy Zane (Emothep of Mummy movie) in Daniel Silverman and Tapan Saha’s directorial venture Chimera.

Director Saha says, Chimera is a paranormal thriller. Zane plays an American doctor, who takes up an offer in India to work in a hospital.

There, he treats Bipasha. I’ve approached Shabana Azmi to play Bipasha’s mother. I’d want Anil Kapoor to play Billy’s Indian friend.”

Bipasha however is quite mum about the project and her representative just says, “It’s too early to talk about the project.”

Whoa! Bipasha Basu opposite Billy Zane, now thats a jodi to look out for.


French Producer Wants To Cast The Bachchans

Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan

Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan

As Abhishek Bachchan is at Cannes accompanying wife Aishwarya Rai, seems like have impressed the filmmakers out there and receiving film offers. Manuel de la Roche, the Paris based producer wants to cast father-son Bollywood duo Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan for his next film.

French director Jan Kounen will direct the film, which is named as The Secret History of the Dalai Lamas. The director will soon approach the Bachchans with the acting offers for the film in lead roles.

Roche said, “The film will trace the history of the Dalai Lamas all the way from 14th century. It will blend dramatized re-enactments involving the earlier incarnations with excerpts from an interviews with the current Dalai Lama.”

Other than these Bollywood actors, the film will also cast Hollywood biggies Sharon Stone and Richard Gere.

“We are very keen to cast the father and son duo in key roles in the film. Sharon Stone (who is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist) will step in as the narrator, while Hollywood star Richard Gere will also be involved with the project,” added the producer.

Shooting for the film start later this year and will be shot mainly in Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and some other parts of Indian subcontinent. It will be ready to hit theaters in the second half of 2010.

The father son duo had earlier worked together for films Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Sarkar Raj. However will soon appear together in R. Balakrishnan’s Pa.


Fox Star Studios Set To Work With Tamil Film Industry

Aamir Khan and AR Murugadoss

Aamir Khan and AR Murugadoss

The production house Fox Star Studios is entering into the Tamil film industry. The producers have made a big deal with the Ghajini director A R Murugadoss. Murugadoss is the ace Tamil director who has a record of giving five blockbuster hits in row. Also when he directed the Hindi version of Ghajini along with actor Aamir Khan, the film created a record by earning more than 400 crore.

Murugadoss said, “The partnership will also bring to Tamil cinema, learnings from the best technical and creative people, from around the world.”

With this deal, Murugadoss will also play as a creative producer. The CEO of Fox Star studios, Vijay Singh said, “Tamil films constitute India’s most popular genre after Bollywood and we are delighted to be accessing this growing segment by associating with one of the most successful writer-director in Tamil films.”

After Bollywood, it’s Tamil film industry which is the most growing Indian film industry. Singh added that the Tamil film industry is developing with the rate of 15% per year and should be given chance to grow


dah Sharma On Straight Way

Adah Sharma

Adah Sharma

Adah Sharma, who gets the critical acclaim for her debut role in 1920, has decided to go straight. Nothing else but she has decided to iron straight her curly hair. A new Adah not only had a hair makeover but also sporting short dresses. This might be interesting for her fans because the actress was wearing clothes from head to toe in her debut film. She did all this for a photoshoot and not for any film.

Most interesting part about Adah’s makeover is that she has ironed out those curls first time in five years. Talking about the new look, Adah said, “As an actor, I’m imageless and willing to experiment and undergo physical and mental changes. It’s fun being someone you don’t identify with!”


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