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Mammootty’s Path Breaking Film Banned In The Middle East

At 72, this Kerala megastar defies all efforts to define his reach and artistic core. Mammootty is in a different range altogether, with no gimmicks, star props and hectic marketing image to sustain his star aura. Mammootty is Mammootty…perhaps a bit bored with the kind of roles that have come his way, he is consistently reinventing himself. So he started Mammootty Film Kampany not to show that he can produce more saleable films but to give himself ample space to experiment with themes and ideas that can impact society. Nanpagal Nerathu Mayakkam and Kannur Squad are from his stable though not commercial successes. His latest film Kaathal: The Core is being acclaimed as a path breaker, a reinvention of his versatility and a film that will be remembered long after you watch the last fade out. Director Jeo Baby, fresh from his success with The Great Indian Kitchen has partnered with Mammootty to deal with a taboo subject not with surgical strike aggression, but the delicate cuts of a trauma surgeon.  But it has been banned in Qatar and GCC countries where an overwhelming Malayali diaspora lap up Mammootty films. Reason Mammootty is a homosexual, leading a complex life of deceit, though happily married to Omana (played brilliantly by Jyotika). These countries have strict censorship for offbeat themes. There are ever so many stigma subjects in society and films like Kaathal: The Core do impact how society can show more tolerance and acceptance.

Ravi Shastri's Thumbs Up To Indian Street Premier League

The street-smart cricketer, as Ravi Shastri put it, finally has received a big boost to showcase his talent in a national-level tennis ball competition. Shastri, a right-hand bat who bowled left-arm spin and a winner of the 1983 Prudential World Cup, was on most occasions stoical and unyielding. He attributed his learnings during his fledgling days of playing tennis ball cricket at Mahim’s Navjivan Society, especially essaying inside-out shots over cover and extra cover (off-side field positions) as one of the reasons for him to tame leg spin wizard Shane Warne in the latter’s debut Test in Sydney in 1992. Shastri made 206. After being in the game for over four decades — as a player, coach and media personality, Shastri believes that a cricketer learns to be street smart in building compounds, leafy streets, and maidans in the Indian subcontinent and also parts of the Middle East. This particular Mumbai and Indian characteristic is the reason for the founding of the Indian Street Premier League (ISPL).  The promoters are Ashish Shelar, a BJP bigwig in Mumbai and Maharashtra and BCCI Treasurer and Amol Kale, president, Mumbai Cricket Association. To start with six teams from Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Srinagar will play 19 matches from March 2 to 9 inside a stadium. A lot many things are not known, though; most importantly the player fee and prize money and plenty more!


A Tale Of Deception For Cong In Rajasthan

Now that the votes have been cast in Rajasthan, Congress election managers are finally letting off their steam against one over-priced star campaigner, Imran Pratapgarhi, who not only called off half a dozen programmes at the last minute but had left the party hugely embarrassed because of his erratic ways. It is being said he played truant in Telangana too. Hugely popular for his shayari, Pratapgarhi has been quite elusive and is known to even charge the party for his efforts. It is precisely for his campaign work that he got elected to Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra in 2022 overlooking local claims, and was appointed to head the Minority Department of the AICC. Party sources said Pratapgarhi was taking everyone for granted because he had patronage of Priyanka Gandhi as he hailed from UP.  Well if the Congress cadres were putting up with the whims of a Pratapgarhi, they discovered getting Sachin Pilot into a campaign mode had become a logistic hazard. It was all because CM Ashok Gehlot decided not to make any arrangements for his rival. It was finally left to the AICC to make a last-minute arrangement for a chopper to ferry Sachin across constituencies. Even this wasn’t done not because Sachin was close to the Gandhis.  It is being said even the Gandhis  felt a bit tricked when they found  there were different names in Sachin’s candidates’ list  that was  given to Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for the CEC meeting. Maybe Sachin was trying to get as many names of his candidates cleared.
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First Family Of Faith Contradictions Helps Temples In Tamil Nadu

The first family household of Tamil Nadu may be a bundle of contradictions with an atheist head, a super faithful Hindu better half, a son tending to atheism with a wife from another faith and a daughter who is apolitical. It must cope with various demands in an intensely political life under a spotlight, which is why chief minister MK Stalin is going all out to stress that his party DMK, an offshoot of the non-believing Justice Party, is not against Hindus. He took umbrage at the Union Finance Minister’s statement that the government and the party were stealing from temples by usurping their lands. While assigning party loyalists and functionaries as chairpersons to temples that are in great public demand like Tiruvannamalai, Rameswaram, Srirangam and Palani, the government has gone all out to help temples recover lands alienated decades ago. The HR&CE Minister PK Sekar Babu, who goes on every temple run with the first lady to ensure she is received with honours, put out a statistic saying that so far Stalin’s government had reclaimed lands worth Rs 5,500 crore in two years. The figures are not in dispute, but what is also relevant is Union Minister Murugan’s statement that while TN temple lands were recorded in 1986 to be 5.25 lakh acres, now there are only 4.78 lakh acres in their possession. There may be some way to go in enabling temples to repossess their property, but the Stalin government is at least trying and the faithful must accept things are better now.
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Mamata Sabre-Rattles To Assert Her Position Within TMC

When Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee launched an all-out attack on the BJP this week warning that central agencies would target it after the 2024 general elections, it seemed more a bid to assert herself within the TMC rather than taking an aim at the national party. Yes, her warning that if central agencies arrest four of her party leaders, the West Bengal police would arrest eight state BJP leaders seemed plain bluff and bluster. TMC watchers pointed out that Mamata was compelled to do some sabre-rattling at a party event as she wanted to put her nephew and national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in his place. It was on Didi’s orders that Abhishek’s posters had gone missing. It is being said Mamata had taken a tough view on Abhishek only to reassure old-time TMC backers. For some time now Abhishek has been asking Mamata to dump those TMC leaders who have fallen foul of the law. At least five high-profile TMC leaders, including four legislators of whom two were state ministers, are now in judicial custody after they were arrested by the ED and the CBI in multiple corruption cases. The jailed leaders are all die-hard Mamata loyalists. With Abhishek having handpicked all next generation TMC MLAs in 2021 polls, Mamata is feeling increasingly isolated in the party.
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A Handful For White-Ball Captaincy, But Just Rohit Sharma For Test Cricket

For small mercies, there is not even a whispering campaign to sack Rohit Sharma as captain of the Indian team following the men in blue’s disappointing show and defeat to Australia in the World Cup. In fact, the “cricket diwane” have been quite sympathetic towards him because of the blistering and engaging ways of his batting, and leadership right through the quadrennial event campaign. But news in the grapevine is rife about the BCCI looking out for captains for white ball cricket. Still in the rehabilitation process after a left leg impairment that happened in the match against Bangladesh, Hardik Pandya has been replaced by Suryakumar Yadav for the five-match Twenty20 series against Australia. The selectors have also named Shreyas Iyer vice-captain for the last two matches at Raipur and.Bengaluru. It is not known if Pandya would be fit for the white ball (3 T20s and as many ODIs) series in South Africa to be played before Christmas: in his absence will the selection committee split the captaincy and give it to Yadav and KL Rahul? The two-Test series will be played from December 26 at the Centurion and Cape Town from January 3, 2024. And Rohit is certain to lead the team in these two matches. He had missed the previous series in South Africa that India lost 1-2 because of a hamstring niggle. India’s new WTC cycle starts with this two-Test series followed by the five-Test home series against England. India has captaincy options for the white ball format, but just Sharma for the Test rubbers.

Consumers In Tamil Nadu Up In Arms As Aavin Stops Distribution Of Popular Green Pack Milk

Aavin, the largest dairy cooperative controlled by the Tamil Nadu government has hit headlines. Set up in 1981, this popular brand like Amul in Tamil Nadu has stopped distribution of its popular Green pack milk which enjoys 40% market share. Green pack which contains 4.5% fat content has been replaced by lavender coloured Delite which has 3.5 % fat content. This move has sent consumers and Opposition parties into a tizzy of anger. TN’s former CM Edappadi Palaniswami and AMMK’s supremo TTV Dinakaran condemned the move to sell less fat content Delite at the same price. This move is to popularise private milk brands through the back door says BJP leader K Annamalai. It may be recalled a few months when Amul was making inroads into TN, the DMK government raised hue and cry how local brands are being cannibalized. Neighbouring Karnataka during elections time saw similar protests by politicians saying how local brand Nandini was being killed with the entry of Amul. Interestingly, TN’s minister for milk production, Mano Thangaraj has come up with an ingenious justification, “Look how health conscious people are…they don’t want fat in any form. We have public health as our main concern.” Aavin which processes 30 lakh litres of milk every day ranks eight in consumer packaged goods category of 10 most famous brands. Several private sector players have tried to compete but are unable to sustain Aavin’s reach, price point and popularity.
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BJP’s Odisha MP Aparajita Sarangi In Campaign Mode, Puts Poster Seeking One More Chance

Firebrand BJP MP from Odisha Aparajita Sarangi is in the news for two reasons. First, for her effort to protect netizens from loan sharks. Second, even though her party is yet to give her the Lok Sabha ticket officially, she has already swung into campaign mode by putting up posters in her constituency in Bhubaneswar which says “One more chance to Aparajita”. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s party Biju Janata Dal is yet to decide who will fight against Aparajita. Meanwhile, it is learnt that former Mumbai’s top cop Arup Patnaik who lost to Aparajita Sarangi in 2019 by a small margin has decided not to contest citing health issues. Her party sources say Aparajita is focussing on battle of ideas, how issues are interpreted, and how she can control the narrative to swing vote bank politics. For instance, she wrote to chief minister seeking his intervention to bring back peace and normalcy in group clash-hit Padmakesharipur village at Patia, Bhubaneswar and release 150 local residents from jail. Aparajita is also urging government actions against money lenders charging exorbitant 20% interest per month which led to the recent community unrest at Patia.

Uddhav Rejigs His Strategy, Keen To Teach Opponents A Lesson

With general elections few months away, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray has rejigged his strategy that will see him increasing his public appearances. For now, he has declared that he will be visiting Palghar district outside Mumbai soon, admitting that he had not paid attention to the area which had elected his candidate to the Lok Sabha in 2019. Uddhav has been constantly criticised for not venturing out Matoshree, his family residence located in suburban Bandra. The criticism was sharp when he was the chief minister for over two years. “You have not visited Mantralaya even two and a half times,” his arch detractor Narayan Rane would say over and over again. Besides undertaking a few trips within the state and except for attending a couple of I.N.D.I.A meetings, Uddhav has stayed mostly in Mumbai and in Matoshree in particular. But it seems he will now become more active by appearing in public. Another possible reason for his aggressive posture could be the frequent media interactions his cousin Raj Thackeray has been enjoying, the latest regarding his victory on the issue of displaying Marathi boards in Mumbai by commercial establishments. Uddhav felt particularly aggrieved as some posters describing chief minister Eknath Shinde as “Hindu Hriday Samrat,” came up a couple of days ago. As the title was bestowed upon Balasaheb Thackeray Uddhav said, “The saboteurs will be taught a fitting lesson by the people in the coming election.”

Has Murugappa Group Bought Out Valli Arunachalam's Stake In Ambadi Investments?

TVS and Murugappa are not just iconic names but also venerable brands in the Chennai business world. TVS has seen the four families, part of the group, go their separate ways legally. Each one of the four families in the erstwhile TVS is now chalking out its own independent business strategy. The Murugappa group, too, has many family branches. This one too appears to be letting the individual families pursue their own business interests. Still, the family holding company is intact and appears to bind the Murugappa families together. The open revolt by Valli Arunachalam, the elder daughter of late MV Murugappan, however, put the spotlight on the Murugappa group. Fortunately, both Valli and the Murugappa group have chosen to smoke the peace pipe. Coming as it does against this backdrop, the decision by Ambadi Investments (the holding company of the Murugappa group) to sell its entire 2.27% stake in EID Parry has set tongues wagging. The open market sale has fetched Ambadi Rs 190 crore. Does the stake sale have any connection with the peace pact with Valli? One tends to quickly correlate the two. Has the Murugappa group chosen to let Valli cash out? That option remains the realm of possibility with the stake sale by Ambadi in EID Parry.

Ghanshyam Nabar (L) and Pratap Singh

The Indian Banking Sector In The UK Witnesses Dramatic Changes

The Indian banking circles in the UK are witnessing dramatic changes at the top level. Pratap Singh, the No 2 in ICICI Bank quit the bank after a 15-year stint to join SBI UK as the Head of Retail & Digital Transformation two months ago. Now, the latest news is that Singh has quit SBI UK. Eyebrows are being raised about his sudden departure. Was it the public sector bank’s work culture, (read rules and regulations) that made it tough for the private sector banker? Going back to ICICI Bank is ruled out as Gaurav Arora has replaced him. Meanwhile the management of ICICI Bank has asked Lok Mishra, MD & CEO, to hold the fort as his replacement Raghav Singhal is yet to get the green signal from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This delay has seen ICICI Bank quietly withdrawing Singhal’s application from FCA.  In another development, Ghanshyam Nabar who was working for West Midlands India Partnership has turned an entrepreneur. He has set up UI Connect offering strategic consultancy between India and the UK and Europe. Shehla Hasan has quit Manchester India Partnership to head CII‘s UK and Europe operations as its Executive Director. MIP and WMIP were set up as a strong “living bridge” between the two nations, but its current defunct states are an ironic reflection of the growing India-UK relations and FTA around the corner.

Is It Gita Jayanti Celebration Or BJP’s Lok Sabha Poll Campaign Launch For West Bengal?

BJP is set to prepare a centre stage at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground for Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Gita Jayanti Celebration on December 24. It is apparent that the programme is the initiative of various organizations of the Sangh Parivar, yet the official organiser is Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad. Several functionaries of the organisation including central committee member of Vishva Hindu Parishad, Swami Nirgunananda Maharaj met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 17, officially inviting him to attend the programme. Over lakhs of monks across several Sanatan Hindu organisations such as Bharat Sevashram Sangha and others will be chanting Gita Sotras to mark the occasion named ‘Laksh Kante Gitapath’ (Gita Chants by Lakh Voices). The organisers along with BJP Bengal president Sukanta Majumdar presented the PM with the official invite on a silver plaque with Devnagari script written in copper. Manas Bhattacharya, member of the organising committee says that the PM has expressed his desire to chant Gita Sotras along with the monks. Even the President Draupadi Murmu has confirmed her presence. Claiming it to be a non-political event, Bhattacharya informed that they will also invite West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as the chief guest and other MPs and MLAs of the state across political parties. It may seem a non-political event but BJP will not let lose the opportunity to use the platform to drive home its Hindutva agenda in Bengal ahead of 2024 general elections.
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Do Good Looks Matter In Bollywood?

Historically, audiences went to the theatres to see stars for their looks. Rewind to 60s, 70s, 80s and you will see all Bollywood actors were handsome, good looking, macho. Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Shashi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna to name a few. In the case of actresses it was their ravishing beauty, the dream girl of every man. Sadhana, Saira Banu, Hema Malini, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit and Dimple Kapadia. Chocolate heroes and dream girls were synonymous with Bollywood. It was only in the art cinema that looks were secondary – Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah. The advent of hinterland cinema brought the ordinary looking boy and girl center stage. Says a Bollywood’s senior casting director, “Those days of having a conventionally good looking actor are gone. If you see most of the actors today who are doing well especially on the OTT are far from being that.” Today the audience is more open to looking at realistic characters whom they can connect, relate and identify with. Today being a good actor is far more important than good looks. “Acting and talents are the first two criteria of casting today, if the actor is good looking then it’s an added advantage,” says the casting director. Hrithik Roshan called the Greek God did not mind to wear brown make up for Super 30. If you look at OTT stars — Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jitendra Kumar, Pankaj Mishra –then it is clear today acting matters not looks. Powered by: IDFC First Bank

For A Telangana Win, Cong Pins Hopes On Muslims Like It Did In Karnataka

For the November 30 Telangana assembly elections, the Congress  seems to be focussed on garnering minority votes, virtually hoping it would be a repeat of its Karnataka win. No, it is not just relying on its Minority Declaration that has promised huge allowances of Rs 10,000-12,000 for Imams, Muezzins and Khadims, it is doing much more. Like relying heavily on an aggressive push by Karnataka Minority Affairs Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan who has been sort of camping and canvassing in the poll-bound state. Following instructions of CM Siddaramaiah a few Karnataka Muslim Congress leaders too have been campaigning in Telangana. It may be recalled that minister Ahmed had stirred controversy by stating how Karnataka’s BJP MLAs were now forced to show respect to a Muslim Speaker UT Khader in the Karnataka Assembly. The Congress feels encouraged to tap Muslim votes as Asaduddin Owaisi’s party AIMIM would be contesting only nine seats. The AIMIM was contesting seven seats on which it had sitting MLAs and was fielding two extra seats. The Congress has fielded five Muslim candidates against AIMIM’s eight. Besides Minister Khan who has been working on the ground, nine more Karnataka ministers were deployed on election work. Deputy CM and KPCC chief DK Shivkumar also got 48 other senior leaders — mostly MLAs and MLCs — appointed as AICC cluster in-charges. A party manager conceded that post Diwali there were coordinators deployed across all the 119 constituencies.
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When Power Tripped At Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister’s Event

Tamil Nadu has historically been power deficit…not political power but energy wise. People still talk about a 1997 movie starring Prabhudeva and Kajol, Minsara Kanavu (Electric Dream). Chronic power cuts then made people mock, “For us, minsarame kanavu “electricity is just a dream “. Looks like alternate Dravidian Gaddi occupiers have not found a light at the end of the tunnel over the years. Electricity has consistently been the bug bear of both AIADMK and DMK. But slick talking ministers of the DMK government have a talent for turning adversity into opportunity. Some time back, TN’s Electricity Minister Thangam Thennarasu (stand in for V Senthil Balaji) was addressing a press meet in Tirunelveli when the lights went off and the venue turned dark. Immediately the media persons turned on their cell phone lights and bathed the stage in light. The minister had a unique way of acknowledging the timely light up , “I was wondering about what content I could talk about today. You guys have now found your content. You can headline your feed… Lights off when the electricity minister addresses the media…you have a powerful story “. Trust a politician to turn any crisis into an opportunity.


BJP Feels Social Media Heat, Bawankule At Receiving End

The BJP in Maharashtra is feeling the heat generated by the social media as its president Chandrashekhar Bawankule continues to be lashed by Shiv Sena (Uddhav) MP Sanjay Raut over the former’s family visit to a casino in Macau. Raut on Friday (Nov 24) released a new video clip entitled ‘An Evening in Macau……..’ with a veiled warning that ‘Picture abhi baki hai.’ This is taken as an indication since immediately thereafter, Raut declared that he has 27 photographs and five video clips in this connection. On top of it, Raut taunted the BJP by saying, “If I post this material, the BJP will have to close down its shop. But I will not do it. We are soldiers of Balasaheb Thackeray.” When the first video clip was uploaded by Raut a few days ago, Bawankule had claimed that in Hong Kong – Macau, when you go in any hotel and need to go to another area therein, you have to pass by a casino table.” Bawankule had lamented that he was facing such type of criticism after being in politics for 34 years. He said he had barely visited his home in the last 14 months. Therefore, his daughter and daughter-in-law had secured three days’ time from him for a family outing. As part of this planning, the family was in Macau, he clarified. Raut’s new revelation has rattled the BJP, which is expected to rebound soon.

Bengaluru’s Leading Hospitals Forge Ties with BAPIO Training Academy UK

Two leading Bengaluru-based hospital chains Manipal Hospital and Cloudnine Hospital have signed a MoU with the UK-based BAPIO Training Academy to develop a global training programme for post-MBBS doctors to strengthen training and advance medical education in obstetrics, paediatrics, IVF, gynaecology and foetal medicines. This MoU implemented across 29 hospitals in 12 cities enables doctors for the first time in India to take up the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology exams in India. BAPIO, The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin is a voluntary organisation for doctors of Indian sub-continental origin, established in 1996 and based in the United Kingdom. BAPIO UK team led by Dr Prof Parag Singhal signed the MoU with the heads of Cloudnine Hospitals and Manipal Hospitals — Dr R Kishore Kumar, Dr Sudarshan Ballal — signed the MoU in the presence of the British Deputy High Commissioner Bengaluru and Deputy Trade Commissioner for Investment, South Asia Chandru Iyer. The idea behind imparting training programmes is to empower the next generation of medical professionals and make a lasting impact on the future of healthcare in India.
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ICC Pleased With A Record 1.25 Mn Turnout At The World Cup In India

The numbers are out and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has shouted from the rooftop saying around 1,250,307 spectators kept the turnstiles busy in the course of the 45 round-robin league matches and three knockout matches (2 semifinals and a final).  The numbers have proved that there are takers for the ICC’s signature events, most notably the men’s 50-over format World Cup. The number would be many times more if one took into account the tickets given to stakeholders other than the faithful. The ICC was lucky that the BCCI and thereby India, which was the only host, had the ready numbers willing to scrape the bottom of their pocket to get hold of the tickets made available online. One would be still disappointed by the turnout for the India-Australia final at the 132000 capacity Narendra Modi Stadium. The ICC said that 92000 plus turned up, less than the number announced for the India-Pakistan Twenty20 World Cup match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in October 2022. According to the ICC, 1,016,420 spectators passed through the turnstiles at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and 752,000 at the 2019 event in England and Wales.  A delighted ICC said: “We would like to thank all the fans who contributed to making the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 such a resounding success, and look forward to sharing more thrilling experiences for everyone in future ICC events.” Truly India has kept the ICC event and the format alive and kicking!
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Music Maestros Zakir, Niladri, Chaurasia's To Play Together In The UK

Just before this year ends, three music maestros from India, Zakir Hussain (tabla), Niladri Kumar (sitar) and Rakesh Chaurasia (flute) will be in the UK to enthral their fans. The trio, who from time to time collaborate with The Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) which is India’s first and only professional orchestra promoted by the NCPA has regaled audiences the world over. The trio will perform at Cadogan Hall (London), Symphony Hall (Birmingham), Usher Hall (Edinburgh) between November 30 and December 3. The 2023 UK tour has been meticulously curated and planned by the NCPA chairman KN Suntook. SOI is designed to showcase the best of the music world from India for the UK audience. Zakir Hussain, the master of fusion craft, Niladri Kumar with his powerful strumming on the sitar and Rakesh Chaurasia with his soft soothing phrases on the bansuri will undoubtedly give the audience a rich musical experience.  The NCPA had commissioned Zakir Hussain to compose a Triple Concerto for tabla, sitar, bansuri and the symphony was  premiered at the September 2023 Season of the SOI in Mumbai to an applauding audience. The three concerts, part of an 8-concert tour of  the UK, will be the global premiere of the Triple Concerto. To top it all, these three concerts will be conducted by the Indian-born award winning British conductor, Alpesh Chauhan OBE. Alpesh is currently Principal Guest Conductor of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.  

Didi Claims Party Members Not-Guilty And Vows Revenge Against BJP

In several months after some of her prominent party leaders were arrested for their alleged involvement in scams, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee in her first public endorsement not only stood by them but made it categorical that she will also apply the same tactics of arrests against BJP leaders. Reinstating her faith in party’s Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra in the eye of the storm in the “cash-for-query” case, Didi stated that it is the ploy of BJP to “oust Mahua ” from the Parliament. According to her, this would end up boosting the popularity and electoral prospects of the TMC MP, one of the Adani group’s fiercest critics. Interestingly, Didi named four arrested TMC leaders — Partha Chatterjee, Manik Bhattacharya, Anubrata Mondal and Jyotipriyo Mallick – and said they were not-guilty of money laundering in teacher’s recruitment scam, cattle smuggling scam and ration distribution scam. Sending a warning to BJP, Didi vowed to make it a revenge game by arresting eight BJP leaders with cases of criminal offenses. As a much needed step amid increasing allegations of scam against party leaders, TMC’s meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium was to boost the morale of party members. BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari threatened to lodge an FIR against the chief minister for her comments to arrest “eight BJP leaders” in an act of “tit-for-tat”.
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Sonia Rushed To Jaipur To Pep Up Gehlot, After A Rub In With Rahul

When Congress leader Sonia Gandhi shifted to Jaipur as Delhi’s air pollution level spiked last week post Diwali there were a lot of concerns about her health. More than that, many in the party wondered about the real purpose of her visit. Did she really choose Jaipur to recover from horrible Delhi weather or there is more than that meets the eye? Sonia was apparently there to iron out differences between CM Ashok Gehlot and son Rahul. Party sources said it seemed only logical. That’s because whenever she is advised by her doctors to shift to a place where the air is not so polluted as in Delhi, she usually visits Goa; .Jaipur can’t be considered a health resort. Sonia rushed to Jaipur after Rahul had a head-on clash with CM Gehlot over ticket distribution. Party sources said Gehlot was heard asserting how he has been a two-term CM and has the experience to pick and endorse candidates on his list. Sonia decided to have a pep talk with Gehlot and make it easy for Rahul. Clearly, the CM was visibly upset with the way Congress leadership denied tickets to his close aide Mahesh Joshi from his Hawa Mahal constituency in Jaipur.  Last year, Joshi along with three other ministers — Shanti Dhariwal, Pratap Khachariyawas and Dharmendra Rathore were served show-cause notices for going against the party whip in 2022. While the high command decided to spare Dhariwal and Khachariyawas, axe fell on Joshi and Rathore.

Bhujbal Abandoned By Congress Leader On Maratha Reservation Issue

Firebrand OBC leader Chhagan Bhujbal seems isolated over the Maratha reservation issue in Maharashtra, once again highlighting the fact that politicians can change their stand at the drop of a hat, without batting an eyelid. Bhujbal was supported by Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar over the OBCs’ determination that no curtailment would be permitted in their reservation quota to accommodate the Maratha reservation demand. Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, Wadettiwar attended the first OBC rally, which was organised to express unity among various OBC beneficiaries of reservations. Wadettiwar was present although the Congress party has not taken any stand over the sensitive issue. He has been under attack from within the Congress for his various statements and also for supporting Bhujbal, fearing a backlash from the Maratha caste in the coming elections. Sensing the threat to his own position, Wadettiwar has now declared that he will never share a dais with Bhujbal. Maintaining that those in power are expected to resolve problems of the populace, Wadettiwar said it is patently wrong to poison the relationship between two sections of society in this battle for reservations. “Who will be responsible if lives are lost?” he thundered. Expectedly, his new stand has been welcomed by Maratha leader Manoj Jarange Patil, who is proceeding towards Mumbai to precipitate the matter by exerting pressure on the rulers.
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Power Play And Beyond Should Have Been Rohit Sharma's Mantra

Should not have Rohit Sharma looked at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final as a completely different ball game! Applauded for his brutal hitting to maximise the potential to gather runs in the first 10 over power play up to the semi-finals, Sharma had an opportunity to rise to the occasion and show a ruthless approach that would have taken Australia and its captain Pat Cummins by surprise.  Having been invited to bat, Sharma, according to the discerning, should have accepted the challenge by choosing defence as an option to blend it with his aggression and bat deep.  Probably close to 40 overs. “Australia and Cummins should have seen his face for many, many overs. This unyielding attitude and approach would have taken his game tactically to the next level,” felt a handful of former first-class cricketers. Sharma’s leather hunting methods brought him 597 runs off 474 balls, but the blind shot he attempted of the off-spinner Glenn Maxwell resulted only in a slice and once the ball was skied, Travis Head pounced on it to give the marching orders to Sharma. A chance to become a World Cup legend was lost:  1575 runs in three World Cups would not make him one. His 47 off 31 and 44 minutes was good,  but not as good as Marnus Labuchagne’s 58 not out off 110 balls and 133 minutes which has to be seen as the greatest support cast role played to the grand knock of an unbeaten 137 off 120 balls and in 166 minutes by Head.
kapil dev

Kapil Dev’s Explosive Comment Of 1983 Retold 40 Years On

What did Kapil Dev say to two journalists soon after India had won the World Cup in 1983? In his earthy style, the winning captain told two journalists at Lord’s in London – “Ghoron ka aur Kaliyon ka, dhononka !@#4 paad diya”, translating to – “The whites and the blacks, we screwed them both”. This well-kept secret was revealed by one of the two journalists with whom Kapil Dev interacted after the final in the sponsor Prudential Insurance Company’s hospitality tent. He told me that 40 years on there was no harm in revealing what was an emotion that the captain felt in his heart after having achieved what was the greatest triumph of the underdog in the world of sport in one of its biggest stages, which was the ODI World Cup. Had these words been spoken in this ‘woke’ era it might have stirred up a real storm and Kapil Dev pilloried as a racist. But in those times, four decades ago, celebrities spoke what they felt, at least in asides to scribes in the confidence that it would not be blown out of proportion. There was no social media either in those times to exaggerate each word and troll the speaker in myriad posts.

Did Kharge Target Shashi Tharoor For Contesting CWC Election Against Him?

Exactly three months after inducting him into the CWC, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge targeted Shashi Tharoor by removing him from the All India Professional Congress (AIPC) — an organisation that Tharoor had founded six years ago to draw professionals to the Grand Old Party. For some reason, Kharge thought it fit to replace Tharoor with Praveen Chakravarty, a former venture capitalist and investment banker, who had worked with the UPA programme on financial inclusion of the unbanked poor. Praveen is credited with designing NYAY or minimum income programme for 2019 polls. Nonetheless, party circles were surprised that Kharge should go in for the replacement in the midst of assembly elections. Tharoor was listed as a key campaigner in poll-bound Telangana. After the reshuffle, Tharoor opted out of the campaign. This brings up an interesting question. At a time, when Kharge has not been able to put in place his own AICC team, why was he singling out Tharoor? It was felt Tharoor was eased out of AIPC because he had dared to contest against Kharge for the post of Congress President. At the same time, it is being said Kharge is not being given a free hand to reshuffle AICC because of tussle between Rahul Gandhi and sister Priyanka over appointments. Significantly, Tharoor had exit thank you only for Rahul Gandhi.

IBC Has Made It Difficult For Corporate India To Keep Barbarians At The Gate

White Knights, co-option, corporate alliances and the like were quite in vogue in former times. They played handy roles in helping companies – especially of the owner-driven ones – to ward off take-over threats. Examples are dime a dozen in the corporate world of Tamil Nadu where they threw ring-fences around vulnerable outfits to check-mate raids by unwanted or undesirable entities. This had indeed helped many stressed outfits from falling into the BIFR fold, thanks to those friends in need who played Good Samaritans. The promoters of Bank of Madura (since merged with the ICICI) sought the help of Kotak Mahindra to ward off takeover threat from AC Muthiah of SPIC fame. Likewise, Pradip Kothari reached out to MV Arunachalam of the Murugappa group to stop the threat of Reliance satellite outfits from taking over of KICL (Kothari Industrial Corporation Ltd). Under new management, KICIL has now sold its fertiliser factory in Chennai to Coromandel Fertilizers of the Murugappa group! Son-in-law of late Raju, promoter of Raasi Cement, looked up to N. Srinivasan of The India Cements to stop raiders on track. Autolec, too, went to Sundaram Fasteners to ward off takeover attempts by multinational firms. In the evolving regulatory environment and following the arrival of IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code), things have gotten tougher for struggling owners to retain the ventures they have founded. The Good Samaritans of former times are either not there or wary of playing the rescue role in the changed context. Surely, that is hurting some original entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu.
nirmala 5

FM Nirmala Bails Out Tamil Nadu Fishermen From Lankan Navy Dragnet

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was visiting Rameswaram over the weekend, had a surprise heartwarming interaction with local fishermen. Always open and accessible, a group of local fishermen frantically came over to meet her late evening to inform her about how a few fishermen had been arrested by the Lankan Navy just then. Keen to find an immediate solution, the Minister immediately called up the Indian Embassy in Colombo; after all she had only recently visited Sri Lanka. The phone call worked. In a matter of minutes, the Indian fishermen were let off at mid-sea itself. In the morning, as Sitharaman was on the way to a government programme, the fishermen came over to thank her for the prompt action. On her part, she merely told them how the Modi Government’s policies in the last 10 years have “secured the lives of fisherfolks in this region”.
Dev anand guide

How Dev Anand's 'Guide' Almost Didn’t Get Made

Evergreen hero Dev Anand had planned two versions of Guide (1965) — English for international audiences and Hindi for India. The English version was written by Pearl S Buck and directed and produced by Tad Danielewski. Dev wanted his elder brother Chetan Anand to direct the Hindi version. Unfortunately, he was busy with his own movie Haqeeqat. So Dev’s next choice was his close friend — the celebrated director Raj Khosla. But the heroine Waheeda Rehman categorically told Dev that she will not work with Khosla. Reportedly, Khosla while making Solva Saal (1957) with Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman insisted Waheeda wear a particular dress which she refused. Post that movie Waheeda vowed never to work with Khosla ever again. As a result, the choice fell on his younger brother Goldie-Vijay Anand. Vijay Anand totally discarded the idea of making a film on RK Narayan’s novel. He said this is ‘no good’ for a film. Dev had to cajole Goldie. Finally, he agreed on the condition that he will write the screenplay. Dev gladly agreed. Goldie went to Khandala, locked himself up for 20 days and wrote the script. The rest is history. Incidentally, the Hindi version was a runaway hit and later achieved a cult following; it has since been deemed one of the best Bollywood films produced of all time. The English version flopped. This version was then screened again at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, 42 years after its release.
Dr swamy interviet

Dr Swamy To Thanthi TV: Have Not Visited Ayodhya After Winning The Case

Once upon a time he was a great friend of Narendra Modi and rooted for him becoming a PM. But, now in the last seven years he is not in talking terms with PM Modi and has become a Modi-baiter. Dr Subramanian Swamy, the political enfant terrible, uses every fora to attack PM Modi and Amit Shah on China border issue, economy et al. So it was not surprising he vented his spleen when Thanthi TV’s popular anchor Ashokavarshini interviewed him. The 84-year old Dr Swamy, who enjoys Z Security cover, spoke in Tamil minced no words while attacking Modi. In the 38-minute free-wheeling interview Dr Swamy made quite a few revelations. He told the anchor “I want BJP to win the 2024 elections but without Modi.” When she asked “Is he angry because he was not made the finance minister”? His reply was “Good, I did not become a FM as I would have not listened to him. He does not understand economics.” From pooh-poohing IMF to driving home the point that mentored PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr Swamy says he has not visited Ayodhya after winning the case. He says that PM Modi asked him to take over as the chief of the New Development Bank of BRICS countries but he flatly declined. This perhaps could be one of the triggers for their relationship turning sour. Ultimately, the bank’s post, eyed by many including Yashwant Sinha, was taken over by KV Kamath.
Ashesh jani

Former London-Based Banker Launches ‘Super App’ To Help Indian Diaspora

For somebody who was heading the Retail, SME & Private Banking divisions for the UK and Europe of ICICI Bank to call it quits at the peak of his career and start his own venture requires both conviction and guts. Ashesh Jani seems to have both. In 2021, 50-year old Ashesh co-founded Ribbon PLC, a digital financial services ‘super-app’, intended to offer hyper-personalized multi-currency wallets to NRIs as well as residents of India. Further, the super app also aims to assist Indians who are keen to invest in the global markets. The target clearly is the Indian diaspora. With that in mind, Jani and company have bagged the official sponsor rights for the Gibraltar Cricket team that will play matches in the European League. In his over two decades’ stint overseas that includes both Canada and the UK, he was exposed to all the challenges of financial markets and that’s what made him launch Ribbon. His notable achievements during his time at ICICI UK Plc was becoming a certified staff for the FCA Register. Ashesh’s expertise lies in the multiple top management roles he played in different countries. While in India he worked briefly with Vodafone and Tata Internet Services helping them build their sales and distribution channels. Beyond his professional pursuit, Ashesh is an advocate for sustainability and a promoter of financial literacy among the youth.

Family Members Of Bangladesh Poet Seek Didi’s Intervention In AR Rahman’s ‘Pippa’ Song Controversy

Family members of Bangladesh revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam living in India and Bangladesh came together in Kolkata to condemn the “distorted” AR Rahman rendition of Nazrul’s patriotic song Karar Oi Louho Kopat in the war biopic Pippa. The song was written by Islam in 1922 as a rousing nationalist anthem against the British Raj. It is learnt, a section of the family including Kazi Arindam, the poet’s younger grandson, and Khilkhil Kazi, Nazrul’s Dhaka-based granddaughter are likely to move the court against another family member — poet’s eldest grandson Anirban Kazi. Both claimed that Anirban signed as a witness to the “supposed contract” for the song’s adaptation and recreation license forged between Kalyani Kazi, Nazrul’s daughter-in-law, and the producers of the film in September 2021 in exchange for Rs 2 lakhs. Incidentally, Kalyani passed away in May 2023. Moreover, the copyrights of Nazrul’s works, currently held by the poet’s legal heirs, would expire in 2036. Khilkhil Kazi, who flew from Dhaka is one of the trustees of Nazrul Board of Bangladesh which permits artists to use Nazrul Giti in productions. The protesting family members have demanded immediate removal of the song from the movie and all digital platforms. To avoid such recurrence, both Arindam and Khilkhil Kazi have sought intervention from the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. They have requested Didi to set up a Nazrul Board of West Bengal, which will be represented by Arindam Kazi on behalf of the poet’s family to look into these copyright matters.
jagannath temple 002

Pan Spitting Fine And Dress Code At Lord Jagannath Temple

Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is making news. SJTA will open the Rs 943 crore Shreemandira Parikrama heritage corridor around Shree Jagannatha Temple at Puri to the public on January 17 2024. The 75-meter corridor will provide expansive, unobstructed corridors around the Meghanada Pacheri giving an opportunity to devotees and pilgrims to have visual connect with the Temple, Neelchakra and Meghanada Pacheri. It is Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s dream project and his promise to the people of Odisha. Surely, it will stand his party BJD in good stead in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll. For SJTA this project is both a challenge and opportunity. While it will attract tourists from around the world and contribute to the state GDP, it also means softer hygiene issues are taken care of on a war footing. It is a common sight to see most walls splattered with pan stains. And people using banned plastic bags. For starters SJTA will do the clean-up of temple walls and surrounding areas before the D Day. Besides, it has decided to impose a Rs 1,000 fine on visitors if they are caught chewing paan, gutka or using plastic bags within the precincts of the Jagannath temple. It has already embarked on an educational campaign to sensitise visitors. According to SJTA administrator Ranjan Kumar Das, IAS, we are strengthening camera surveillance and also discouraging people coming in shorts, transparent dresses, torn jeans and other inappropriate costumes from January 1, 2024.

Tamil Nadu Governor Put In His Place?

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has been put in place. It took strictures from the Supreme Court to bring this staunch authoritarian around. Governors in independent India were never meant to ‘govern’ but this person proved to be the most confrontational of them all, putting the likes of Channa Reddy in the shade when it came to operating from the Raj Bhavan in Chennai. “He acted more like an opposition member”, was one of the milder charges made by the DMK supremo and CM Stalin against him. In putting on the shelf close to two dozen Bills, the Governor was acting way beyond his powers and, only after top court frowned upon the tactics of Governors in non-BJP states, did he wake up to reality, lest he be quartered and hung by a top court angered at the sight of Governors destroying the interpretations to the Constitution by floating the theory that, once a Governor withheld consent to a Bill, the legislation was dead. Besides his regular job at needling the government of the day, the Governor also fancies himself as an interpreter of the Constitution. Now that 10 of the Bills he refused to give assent to have been sent back to him on the same day they were reenacted in a special Assembly session he is duty-bound to sign them into law. Of course, he might view the constitutional provision on this differently. So combative is this Governor!
nitin welde

Limo In The Sky: Helicopter Service A Big Hit In Pune

Make way, limos-helicopters for hire are here. The Oxford helipad at Bavdhan, a suburb of Pune city, saw the launch last year-end of a new mode of transport that offers to literally leapfrog the crawling road traffic. On December 11, 2022, former IAF officer Nitin Welde took off on his maiden commercial flight in a helicopter, carrying six passengers who paid an all-inclusive inaugural fare of Rs 5000 each for a 10-minute joyride over the sprawling city of the Peshwas. Group Captain (retired) Welde, who has launched his Mahalaxmi Aviation under the umbrella of 17-year-old construction company Mahalaxmi Developers, has since taken his ‘birds’ on flights for a variety of clientele: for a ‘Pune darshan’ sightseeing trip offering an aerial view of the city’s attractions, a ‘Dev darshan’ temple tour covering pilgrimage destinations like Tuljapur, Shani Shingapur, Shirdi, Mahalaxmi Kolhapur, Pandharpur, Akkalkot and Shegaon in Maharashtra with an option to choose any other spot anywhere in India, and private charters for weddings – including showering the bridal couple and their guests with rose petals – and business trips. In keeping with the current need with elections round the corner all over India, it has flights for political rallies, especially in far-flung areas and outlying rural areas for politicians to address gatherings to explain their agendas. In today’s world, the flier’s website says, a helicopter is not just an enjoyment but is becoming a need in our day-to-day life. The developer’s take-off in the new business is in consideration of the prospects: a “collaborative effort to save time with the use of modern technology”. The aim: to create a sweet spot where belief and devotion meets comfort and luxury. As its tagline says: “#helicopterspreadsjoy”
eknath ahit

CM Eknath Shinde’s Shrewd Gambit, To Tackle DCM Ajit Pawar’s Political Brinkmanship

An under-the-weather Maharashtra deputy chief minister (DCM), Ajit Pawar, worked out of home for a fortnight sparking speculation again over his imminent ascension as CM. The alternative political music piped down Friday after Pawar attended the cabinet meeting at the state secretariat — Mantralaya, however, refusing to die down since the Maratha strongman met up with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, adding further grist to rumour mills. The reality may be a mix of both narratives. Maharashtra’s finance minister Pawar may be miffed over his decisions needing to pass muster (ratification) from DCM Devendra Fadnavis’ office first, followed by the CMO thereafter. This is unlike his tenure in the erstwhile MVA government when he enjoyed free reign, even inviting accusations from then alliance partners for allegedly monopolising fund allocations to suit his (undivided NCP) party’s interests. A leadership change in the state may not be imminent unless the Apex Court decides the legal challenge seeking to disqualify 16 MLAs with CM Eknath Shinde. Pawar’s storm-in-a-teacup may have to do with extracting his pound of flesh including allocation of cabinet portfolios, state development corporations for his NCP faction that bolsters the current government. In his previous DCM avatar under Fadnavis as CM, lasting a mere 70 odd hours in November 2019, Pawar brought closure on 20 odd irrigation department cases registered against him. “Though 20 cases were wound up back then, around 100 more remain active that prompted PM Narendra Modi’s “Rs 70,000 crore corruption” comment against NCP,” a source reveals.

Chhagan Bhujbal Sparks Backlash From Maratha Caste, Centre Silent Spectator

Senior minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s attack against the Maratha caste reservation demand and his various utterances against the government of which he himself is a member have created a piquant situation in Maharashtra. His own party, the Nationalist Congress party (NCP), has disowned his stand against the Maratha caste to which the party leader Ajit Pawar belongs. On the other hand, various Maratha leaders have started demanding his removal from the Shinde-Fadnavis-Pawar ministry. In retaliation, OBC leaders irrespective of party affiliations have started uniting under Bhujbal’s stewardship. Both sides have hardened their respective stands. While the Maratha leaders are firm that their caste must be granted reservations, OBC leaders have made it clear that no slice from their quota to the Marathas would be permitted under any circumstances. Though Maharashtra’s prominent leaders take pride in describing the state as the most progressive in India, casteism was always present though not as articulated as now. Rallies by leaders of both sides have been evoking tremendous response, sending warning signals in view of the volatile situation. The approaching general election next year will be definitely affected by the reservation imbroglio. Curiously, the Centre has maintained silence over the burning issue, fearing that any stand taken by it would have repercussions in other states like Rajasthan and Haryana where similar demands have been pending for a long time. Hence, the developing situation in Maharashtra is watched keenly by the political stakeholders.
Senthil MKStalin

DMK Leader Senthil Balaji On The Hospital Carousel Again

By now DMK leader V Senthil Balaji is a pan India media figure for wrong reasons. His arrest on June 13 this year, his admission to the government-run Omandurar Hospital, even as he clutched his chest and fell, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin visiting him, then being shifted to Kauvery Hospital for a much bandied bypass and his continued stay there till he was taken to Puzhal prison. Both his bail pleas were rejected. Now, his bail plea will be heard in the Supreme Court on November 20. Once again, Balaji complained of unease in prison and was taken to the government-run Stanley Hospital under heavy police escort, and finally shifted to Omandurar Hospital. Why is Stalin still keeping him as minister without a portfolio? Maybe because he held two hefty power packed portfolios — electricity and TASMAC which are considered money spinners. His talents as back room go-to-man, who guarantees outcomes are much sought after. And this is why he played important roles in all parties. But, surely, he must be ruing the day he crossed over from AIADMK to TTV Dinakaran’s AMMK to finally land in the DMK. Now with two big elections looming large, it is learnt that DMK is pulling out all stops to face his bail plea in the SC. Balaji may have had a malefic Saturn stinging his heels to end up in Puzhal prison. So will his fortune turn after November 20?
dilip ghosh

Former BJP State President In WB Dilip Ghosh Sidelined By Party

In a recent turn of events, the once powerful former BJP state president and Kharagpur Sadar MP Dilip Ghosh finds himself totally sidelined by his party. Apparently, his room at the party’s headquarters and also the main auditorium were put under locks. A few days back when he visited the party headquarters, he found that AC from his room had been removed. However, state functionaries dismisses these incidents saying it could be because the state party office has been shifted to the Salt Lake Sector V and the IT cell is under renovation. However, Ghosh’s close associates claim that ‘Dilipda’ was never informed of such a change. Party sources say that the state unit was immensely displeased with Ghosh’s decision to hold ‘Vijaya Sammelan’ after Durga Puja without taking permission from the state functionaries. This resulted in the decision that the party office in central Kolkata would not be opened for anyone without the permission of state president Sukanta Majumder. This is the second time Ghosh faces action from the party high command. In July this year he was removed from the position of National Vice President. Ghosh’s sidelining started after his initial attempt to ‘be friends’ with Majumder was thwarted and their statewide tour was mysteriously cancelled. It further worsened due to his regular criticisms of top leaders in the state unit.


Why Change 50 Over Format Asks Sehwag At The ICC Hall Of Fame Event

Virender Sehwag has been a smashing hit — in the traditional multi-day Test cricket and one-day internationals. Quick to earn the “Prince of Najafgarh” sobriquet because of his fearless and entertaining style of wielding the willow, the Delhi dasher thumped a 70-ball 100 against New Zealand at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo in August 2001. It was his maiden ODI century (15th match and 13th innings). In the next 12 years, he blitzed 14 more centuries in the 50-over format, including a double and scored 8273 runs. He was a trailblazer in many ways, changing the grammar of batting, “My philosophy was ” see the ball, hit the ball, not watch the ball and play the ball” the charismatic Sehwag told Ian Bishop at the ICC Hall of Fame, The Class of 2023 celebrity event at the Taj Lands End. Sehwag played 374 matches for India across formats and scored 17253 runs in a glittering career spanning one and a half decades.  Having played in 251 ODIs and won a World Cup in the 50-over format, he believes there is no need to tinker with it anymore.  “Why” he quipped when prodded to respond to the prevailing refrain that the ODI format needs to be reviewed for bilateral series between ICC member countries. The ICC should be pleased with Sehwag’s perception at its event. He also feels that all Test-playing countries should adopt the ‘Bazball” way of playing the game over five days — with emphasis on entertainment.
Jitendra misra

Jitendra Mishra’s ‘Baghuni’ Selected For NFDC Film Bazaar

His is a hard won success story. Odisha-born Jitendra Mishra started his career as a production manager but within two years smitten by a business bug set up his own production house Cinema4good India in 2002. And within a span of two decades has become an internationally acclaimed filmmaker. This is no mean achievement. His latest directorial venture in Odia Baghuni (Dance like a Tiger) has been selected for 2023 NFDC Film Bazaar. Interestingly, Mishra teamed up with another accomplished Odia businessman, the London based Partha Sarathi Panda whose company Glocal Films UK produced Baghuni.  The movie has been officially selected among 20 feature film projects from 11 countries for the 17th edition of the Film Bazaar, the co-production market event to be held on the side-lines of the 54th International Film Festival of India IFFI Goa at Marriott Resort in Goa from November 20-24. This award winning director made his debut as a director I Am Kalam.  His production The Last Colour, written and directed by Michelin Star Chef Vikas Khanna, premiered at the 30th Palm Springs International Film Festival. Mishra wears one too many hats. He is currently president of CIFEJ, Festival Director of SIFFCY, Member of Cannes Producers Network and Professional Jury in more than 40 international film festivals and forums so far. Mishra has more than 100 films in different categories.
Rahul deshpande

Indian Classical Vocalist Rahul Deshpande To Perform In The UK On Popular Demand

His performance last year in the UK was a big hit. All shows were housefull. Now he visits the UK once again by popular demand. Meet Indian classical vocalist and recipient of the National Film Award Rahul Deshpande. Forty-four year old Rahul an internationally acclaimed classical vocalist and composer has captivated audiences world over. Last year, he had three successful shows in the UK — Southampton, Harrow Leicester. Pune born Deshpande accompanied by a five-member band will perform at Kent, Harrow, Leeds and Manchester between November 25 and December 3, 2023. Deshpande will embark on a transcendent musical journey. Rahul’s famous Vasantotsav Collective will weave a tapestry of melodies. Deshpande’s enchanting tribute will become a bridge between eras, connecting the golden age of Indian music to the contemporary global stage. Deshpande has been performing from a very young age. He is known for his energetic and captivating performances and his ability to bring together diverse musical styles and genres. Over the years, he has performed in over 1000 concerts worldwide, from the United States to the United Kingdom, Canada to the Middle East. Grandson of renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Vasantrao Deshpande, he studied under the renowned tabla player and vocalist Pandit Suresh Talwalkar and Ustad Zakir Hussain. Deshpande’s performance style is a unique fusion of Indian classical music, folk music, jazz, and contemporary music.
Uddhav Raj

Uddhav And Raj Thackeray Attack BJP In Unison, EC Under Fire

Uddhav and Raj Thackeray rarely sing the same tune. But Union home minister Amit Shah has now provided them the fodder and both have used it to lambast the BJP. In almost simultaneous media conferences, Uddhav came down heavily on a statement made by Shah. He was meeting the media in Mumbai. In next door Thane, cartoonist Raj lampooned Shah. An irate Uddhav wondered how the Election Commission had not taken any cognisance of Shah’s inducement to the voters in Madhya Pradesh. He said Shah had promised the MP voters free of cost visits to Ayodhya if the BJP returned to power in the state. Uddhav recalled his father Balasaheb Thackeray and some Shiv Sena leaders and legislators were barred by the EC for six years from even voting on charges that the Sena had resorted to Hindutva in the 1987 Vile Parle assembly byelection which the party had won. “Has the EC revised its rules? If so, let all parties know about it,” Uddhav taunted. He has written a complaint to the EC to demand an explanation. Raj, with tongue in cheek, advised the BJP to open a tour and travel agency. He also took the opportunity to attack NCP leader Sharad Pawar. The MNS chief reiterated that casteism in Maharashtra has proliferated ever since the NCP was founded in 1999 by Pawar.

Will Pro-OBC Rally Further Stoke Caste War In Maharashtra?

The first rally to demand protection to the OBC reservation in Maharashtra is scheduled on Friday (Nov 17) in Jalna district wherein the first protest for demanding the Maratha caste reservation was ignited. As indicated earlier, top OBC leader and state cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal will be the star speaker at the rally to be held at Dhait Nagar in Ambad taluka, where the sentiments on the issue are very strong on both sides. Bhujbal will be accompanied by another cabinet minister, Dhananjay Munde, elected from neighbouring Beed district. The supporters of OBC reservations had been holding their fire for a long time. Now that Diwali festivities are over, the atmosphere in the state is getting surcharged. The rally is being described by its organisers as a ‘Save Reservation Clarion Call Meet.’ While it is claimed that the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, Vijay Wadettiwar (Congress), too, will be present to express his support of the OBCs, former minister Pankaja Munde, too, has been invited. The tagline of the rally is: ‘Jo Desh ke Hit kee Baat Karenga, Vo hi Desh pe Raj Karega.’ The second pro-OBC rally will be held at Hingoli, another political hotbed in Marathwada. On the other hand, Maratha reservation leaders have demanded fulfilment of their demand by December 24 this year. Otherwise, a statewide agitation would be launched, they have warned.

Has Greater Madhya Pradesh Decided Who To Vote For?

The odds are that the undivided Madhya Pradesh in the form of MP and Chhattisgarh that are going to the polls will have voted overwhelmingly for the Congress. It may have been cocky for the son of the CM designate Kamal Nath has already fixed a date for his dad’s coronation, but the anticipation is he might have said so on the strength of various private polls that have been done in the two States. Senior BJP figures know that in these two states they have been fighting a losing battle, despite the divisions in MP between Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh. People have been openly saying that the Prime Minister who is canvassing hard in his criss-cross campaigns is wasting his time because these are Assembly polls and not for the Lok Sabha. The people of MP are angry that the verdict they delivered for the Congress last time out was twisted by defections and the regular ‘Operation Lotus’ that goes on to undermine the majority won by non-BJP governments in the States. Chhattisgarh has been a Congress stronghold for some time now and the closer contests anticipated in MP may not come about because of public anger. So, will MP be another big State that will go Congress way after Karnataka and Chhattisgarh keep faith?
Maratha agitation

Maharashtra Caste Differences Become Sharper, Post-Diwali Challenges Loom For Shinde Govt

Caste dissensions in Maharashtra are becoming sharper over the Maratha demand for reservations as two ministers in the state are under pressure to lead active protest demonstrations to oppose any curtailment in the OBC quota of reservations. Various political parties have adopted a cautious approach towards the thorny issue as taking any stand either way will prove costly in the coming elections, they fear. The conflict is likely to assume wider proportions after Diwali. Followers of senior ministers Chhagan Bhujbal and Dhananjay Munde, both ardent proponents of the OBC cause, are planning to vent their opposition to the Maratha consolidation by holding a rally in Jalna soon. The present Maratha agitation for the reservations had begun in a village a little away from this town in Marathwada. The situation in the state is intriguing as the state’s Leader of the Opposition, Vijay Wadettiwar, has come out openly in support of the OBCs and articulated his staunch opposition to the Maratha quota demand. Surprisingly, the Congress party to which he belongs has not taken any stand on the social conflagration so far. Various top leaders of different shades have started saying that a Maratha reservation should be durable and pass the test of the Supreme Court judgments in this regard. As this position is contrary to the Maratha demand, the atmosphere in Maharashtra after Diwali will test the acumen of the leadership.
Roshini mukherjee

Indian-Origin Banker Turned Entrepreneur Wins UK Award For Empowering Women In India

Making her country and community proud is Roshini Mukerjee, senior banker-turned- fashion entrepreneur living in the UK for close to two decades. This Indian-British entrepreneur was awarded — Women in Business: Empowering Other Women in India. Roshni is the founder of the brand Myosutra which promises to bring forth culture to couture on sarees to bridge both worlds of Europe and Bengal. She was awarded at the Indo-UK Business meet in the Palaces of Westminster hosted by MP Bob Blackman. She received the award from MP Dean Russel. This is also a recognition of her drive, determination, and vision of entrepreneurship in the UK. Myosutra which was established in 2017 offers handpicked exclusive Bengal Handlooms where each piece is an artwork that reflects both worlds of Europe and Bengal. By setting up this business she has ensured women who suffer domestic violence find both solace and solution and in the process are empowered. Her unconditional love for the Indian craftsmanship has translated into Myosutra promoting Indian ethnic wear like sarees, kurtas, dhotis and accessories. Roshini has been making a conscious effort to showcase Bengal. Her aim is to uplift the women weavers of Bengal and also to make Indian culture and tradition more accessible to the British Indians, the British Asians and the British community.
naveen millets

Odisha Govt To Invest Rs 2500 Crore To Support Millet Farmers

Taking cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Odisha government headed by Naveen Patnaik has embarked on Mission Millet. Towards this it hosted the International Convention on Millets at Bhubaneswar to commemorate the UN International Year of Millets. Besides, the state has marked November 10 as Mandia Divas (Millet Day) with the aim of boosting millet cultivation and consumption statewide. Patnaik’s drive of promoting millets has won him laurels from the international community. Patnaik is keen to make Odisha a centre of excellence in millet production and start-up entrepreneurship. It may be recalled that at the recent G20 event held in India millet food was served to international guests. FAO representative Takayuki Hagiwara said India and Odisha are the champions of millet which can transform the agricultural landscape in India. Union Agricultural Secretary Manoj Ahuja has gone on record saying that Odisha’s Millet Mission has created a buzz around the globe. Patnaik reiterated saying that his government will go all out to make Odisha a centre of excellence on health food millet. People in the know say that Odisha Millet Mission is zooming ahead with calibrated planning and speed. From a mere 17,000 quintals in 2018-2019, Odisha’s millet production has leapfrogged to 6 lakh quintals today. The seriousness of the government can be seen from the fact that it has earmarked Rs 2500 crore to support millet farmers by buying back millet at minimum support price to bolster income and livelihood generation.
Bullet butterfly

How Eicher, Crompton Turned Bullet And Butterfly Into Big Brands

What’s in a brand? Well, brand is a powerful communicator. Often, it survives its creator and owner. A brand has the capacity to trigger universal appeal. Sometimes, a brand requires to be freed from the clutches of its owners. That’s very important for its longevity. That is easier said than done, however. It takes the owner to think and act beyond personal wishes to make an institution out of his/her brand. Indeed, an owner/creator has to have a strong sense of objectivity and courage. A couple of top brands from Chennai not only survived the test of time but have also become truly national now. In the 90s, scalability issues saw the late S Viswanathan let go Enfield, the company his family founded. His son Kapil has gone to create Krea University. Today, Enfield under Eicher has taken the iconic bike Bullet to a new height. Bullet is a global brand now. Not long ago, the owners of Butterfly had chosen to let Crompton take over the company. Butterfly is a household name in the kitchen appliances spaces in the Southern part of India. With Crompton stepping in, Butterfly has taken a national wing. Being successful in business is one thing. It’s statesmanship in them that tests the longevity of their brands.

Has Bollywood Become A Soft Target For Politicians?

Every controversy that breaks always has a celebrity quotient to it. The drug cases came into the limelight because of Sushant Singh Rajput and Aryan Khan; the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) made an example of them. From Deepika Padukone to Shradda Kapoor, Rakul Preet Singh, Rhea Chakraborty, Sara Ali Khan were under NCB scanner. Some like comedian Bharati Singh and her husband were arrested. Besides, many actors and actresses were issued summons by the Enforcement Directorate. Says an insider, time and again Bollywood has been targeted and some of them have been called anti-national. Looks like we are an easy target for police and politicians. Take the case of conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, the case was hyped because names of Jacqueline Fernandez and Nora Fatehi were linked to him. Now the latest case is that of the Mahadev App which again is more about the celebrities who danced at the wedding of the promoter Saurabh Chandrakar and endorsement of the app. Ranbir Kapoor has been summoned by ED for endorsing the app. So too many actresses and singers are being investigated by the ED for accepting cash for attending the event. Sources say, it was a pure professional and commercial deal. Mumbai police have registered FIR against 32 people including promoters for ‘fraud’ of Rs 15,000 crore. Be it the drug case or now Mahadev App scam the end result is that most of the allegations on the celebrities haven’t really yielded any results.
Ajit Fadnavis shinde

‘Worker’ CM Shinde’s 500 Public Schemes, To Fulfil PM Modi’s Maha Lok Sabha Dreams!

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde extended service hours of the twin Metro lines (2A, 7) to 11 pm daily for Mumbai’s western suburban commuters’ convenience. Shinde was on perpetual poll mode since becoming CM in 2022, with an agenda to blunt political negativity over erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi, led by his former boss Uddhav Thackeray, being ejected from power. The current Maha boss had a clear brief to launch a blitzkrieg of project announcements, big and small, to launch 500 public welfare schemes before polls. After BJP severed political ties (for good) with Uddhav Thackeray, it leveraged Shinde’s grass roots work culture and recently, added NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s political dynamism to counter the groundswell of disenchantment among citizens. Shinde’s efforts are yielding political returns by carving a positive image for his (breakaway) government in Maharashtra where self-body elections to 27 municipalities were kept on hold to tide over negative public sentiment. A BJP leader tells, “Things are looking up now in the 48 Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra. ‘Worker’ Shinde, backed by ‘Chanakya’ Fadnavis and ‘Dynamic’ (Ajit) Pawar are expected to ensure negative results turn positive in the forthcoming polls. BJP’s fail-safe to ensure Lok Sabha victory is projection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s face under which elections will be fought in Maharashtra, just like in Rajasthan.” Understandably, the ‘Maha Chanakya’ from Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar, is leaving no stone unturned to counter BJP’s strategy of wait-and-watch by precipitating protests over ‘Maratha’ reservations to never-before-seen levels
Amish bhavna

Amish Tripathi Returns To India, Explores More Creative Options

Celebrated author-former diplomat Amish Tripathi has returned to India for good. He was probably the first non-IAS and non-IFS officer who served in the Indian High Commission’s office UK as director at Nehru Centre for nearly four years (2019-23). Undoubtedly he brought the Nehru Centre to life by organizing on an average over 20 events a month — online during Covid, then hybrid, and recently several in-person events. For his outstanding performance he was promoted as Minister for Education & Culture from his earlier rank as First Secretary Culture. Amish is back in Mumbai to promote his new book Idols: Unearthing The Power Of Murti Puja co-authored with his sister Bhavna Roy, wife of Mumbai top cop, the late Himanshu Roy. This brother-sister duo earlier wrote Dharma: Decoding The Epics For A Meaningful Life and the new book is a companion to Dharma. The authors ask, why do people worship idols? The book is an insightful and thought-provoking exploration of the philosophy and practice of murti puja. Forty nine year old Amish along with his wife Shivani Bhandari is back to Mumbai, the city that saw him emerge as a writing and publishing phenomenon with his The Shiva Trilogy and Ram Chandra series. Amish has several projects up his sleeve including becoming producer. One of his documentaries is based on the Ram temple in Ayodhya.


Technology Cannot Disrupt Original Content Provider: Short Post Editor

They say time flies. How true!  Today is our #SecondAnniversary. Two years back at the height of Covid-19 Pandemic when lockdown was the way of life we took a leap of faith and launched Short Post (Jan 28, 2021), the first-of-its-kind website in the country that focuses on Authentic Gossip. The Oxymoron is deliberate. Well, the response has been quite encouraging. That’s what has kept us going. Till date we have posted close to 2000 stories in the areas of Politics, Business, Entertainment and Sports. Each insightful story of around 225 words has been contributed by Senior Editors. There is a sense of satisfaction of creating a new segment in the market – authentic gossip — and in the process creating a brand (in a limited sense), creating demand (readers) and creating supply (writers). Well known advertisers — IDFC FIRST Bank, ICICI Lombard – supported us.  And that really boosted our confidence. Thank you!

So here we are raring to go.  But, when I look at the media landscape the disruption is indeed fast and furious. Technology is playing a very big role in how content will be consumed. In the past, we have seen how social media has disrupted the media world. Now, everybody is saying the same thing about ChatGPT. It has reached 1 million users in five days. Its scorching pace of growth is indeed frightening and will disrupt the media industry big time. My limited argument is can it do investigative stories, write gossip items using the digital world ecosystem. Unlikely. Clearly, the original content has to be created first — only then can ChatGPT do the magic. That’s what we promise to do – focus on original content.

Before I sign off, I am reminded of an old advertisement of the early sixties: “Avis is only No.2 in rent a cars. So we try harder”. Likewise I can say, we are two years old and we are trying even harder to be relevant to you readers.