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The Woman In Red Dominates Parliament

Nirmala Sitharaman has evolved, over her terms as finance minister. From briefcase to Bahi Khata to a red covered tablet, her budgets too have traversed the gamut of potholed roads and paved runways. This year, presenting her McDonald’s (Burger, Nuggets, Fries and Cola) populist budget, she stunned Parliament in Red Avatar, the way of fire. Gracefully clad in a red handwoven ILKAL silk saree, made in her Rajya Sabha borough, Karnataka she must have made the women member’s envy her. Dharwad’s Aarathi Hiramath and artist Rukaiva Bandunavar were given just 10 days to create this heirloom for an anonymous client, and now the duo are drenched in praise. Was Sitharaman sending a message in her Durga Avatar? Was it a subliminal warning to that encircling cabal that her government saw red in all coincidental portends hitting her party, en masse? The tea leaf readers and talking heads are on overdrive… Sitharaman has raised the battle conch of Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra. The lady in red can give as good as she gets in power dressing.
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Tamil Nadu’s Enduring Tryst with Titles, Doctorates & Epithets

Tamil Nadu politicians have this strong fetish for creating titles and using them on every billboard and official communication. So much so, many organisers have been pulled up for invites not including these “conferred” honorary titles. So you find a plethora of Doctorates conferred on chief ministers, and the competition to add more epithets is overwhelming, often laughable. The unlettered wouldn’t know that such doctors can neither heal nor have they added to the boundless fund of knowledge. PonmanaChemmal (Golden Heart), the late MGR was conferred three Doctorates, his protégée J Jayalalithaa went overboard with five. Kalaignar (creative artist) is M Karunanidhi’s everlasting sobriquet. The former PM Manmohan Singh was asked to use the epithet, in spite of his difficulty to pronounce Kalaignar, as Tamilians love titles. Not only politicians, even film stars love such honorifics and epithets. Rajini is Superstar and Thalaiva; Kamal is Ulaga Nayagan (global hero); Vijay is Ilaya Thalapathy and Ajit is Thala (head). Recently, yesteryear hero Sarathkumar hurled a challenge to Rajini. He claims that his own Supreme Star title overtakes Superstar! No wonder TN Governor R N Ravi too got into this christening fray, wanting to float his own cache of titles? Social media wags aver that you get as good as you give. Was Guv’s controversial effort to make Tamil Nadu, Tamizhagam a reflection of this amusing craze for honorary title culture?
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The Unstoppable ‘Pathaan’

The sizzling pair of shirtless Shah Rukh Khan and daringly bared Deepika Padukone have raised the sagging, down in the dumps spirit of Bollywood to unimaginable heights, despite all the pre-release boycott threats, raves, rants and reprimands. Is Deepika’s bright orange costume too “besharam” for Jhoomta Pathaan? Besharami is in the eyes of the beholder!  Director Siddharth Anand, the alchemist has peppered Pathaan with enough spills, thrills, chills and on screen sizzling chemistry of the lead pair. It is an immersive cinema experience (ICE). The first to be made in this format. Boycott calls and anti-Muslim propaganda filled pre-release. King Khan was silent. The entire industry was mobilised.  And then that whispered fiat from the PM happened…Don’t make public comments to rake up controversy on films, Bingo! The movie’s destiny changed. Released simultaneously in 100 countries, it is the first Hindi Movie on BookMyShow to hit 10 lakh bookings of which 30% was from the South. First Khan movie to have a 6 am show, with producers opting for more screens apart from the 5500 screens in India and 2500 overseas, selling over 8500 tickets in Germany worth 1.5 crore euros, beating KGF‘s full take. The first day collection at the Box Office was Rs 60 crore! Now the hot debate on media…did this boycott threat make Pathaan a forbidden fruit? Once again Pathaan has proved…leave artistic expression severely alone…the audience is the sole judge to applaud or trash.
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How This Fake Passport Holder Got Caught In Coimbatore When Asked To Sing National Anthem

When a full Flight, G9413 from Sharjah landed at Coimbatore’s International airport on the night of January 22, the Immigration authority homed in on this 28-year old man, Anwar Hussain. Scrutinising his travel documents, they made an unusual demand of Hussain. They asked him to sing India’s national anthem. Passers-by may well have thought Ah! It warms the cockles of our patriotic hearts to see that the immigration guys are true Desh Bhakti, asking even an Indian Passport holder to sing Jana Gana Mana! But Hussain could not sing! Stage fright? No. He was holding a fake Indian passport, with a fake West Bengal address. The authorities immediately got suspicious on why a WB passenger would travel to Coimbatore from Sharjah. The local police then took charge to make this canary sing in all its fake ID glory. Hussain was from Bangladesh’s Mymensingh DT’s Palpur village. Why was he in Coimbatore? The Q Branch after intensive questioning, quickly realised that his ignorance of the national anthem was a serious aberration in his preparation for entering the country illegally. Hussain is now booked under 14 C of Foreigners Act, 12 A of the Passport Act. It’s evident that Formal Training and intense drilling in spycraft need more such innovative methods.
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Freebies Back Into TN Govt Coffer As TASMAC Liquor Sales Zoom During Pongal Week

This year’s Pongal celebrations in Tamil Nadu touched a high point for the government-run TASMAC liquor sales. Sales zoomed to Rs 850 crore in the run-up to Pongal (Jan 15) week and by Kanu Pongal day (Jan 17) it was expected to touch the Rs 1000-crore mark. The bump in sales could be attributed to a cash gift of Rs 2000 given to all ration card holders. Pongal is freebie time and all political parties in Tamil Nadu have been capitalizing on it to the hilt. Both DMK and AIADMK have made freebie gifting, a fine art form. Cycles, fans, mangalsutras, Pongal hampers are bankrolled by the state exchequer. But, Tamil voters are canny, impartial…they vote one party to power, alternately. But wait, there is a savvy, fully end-to-end integrated business model to this freebie. The story goes, when chief minister M K Stalin was asked about cash freebies even as TN is burdened with huge debt, one DMK warhorse quipped, “Don’t worry, by this evening the Rs 2000 freebies will come to TASMAC from  our Kudimagans“. Kudimagan has a double meaning – it could mean a citizen or a drunk. PMK Chief Dr S Ramadoss lamented about the high sale of liquor during the Pongal festival. His moral stance, liquor leads to ruination…of health, wealth and family. The very same PMK has climbed on to the alliance bandwagon, alternately to suit their political needs.
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Award Winning Song ‘Naatu Naatu' Was Inspired By Tom & Jerry, Charlie Chaplin Says Choreographer Rakshit

Ok, India and particularly Tollywood is still drenched in the acclaim for winning the prestigious Golden Globe for the iconic song Naatu Naatu from S S Rajamouli’s magnum RRR with music by M M Keeravani. Soon the Choreographer Prem Rakshit who put in grinding hard work to make this hit sizzle on screen is also going places. He is over the top when talking about the congratulatory phone call from none other than Dance Wizard Prabhudeva. “All that blood sweat and tears while getting the hook step just right, seemed worth it. We were in Ukraine’s Kiev in August of 2021, roasted by heat…a few of my team suffered with burst veins, but practiced relentlessly for two months,” says Rakshit. He recollects the joy of choreographing the award winning song. Who inspired him? With a chuckle of mirth and joi de vivre, he says “My inspiration came from Tom & Jerry, and Charlie Chaplin”. Now it becomes clear that the frenzied dance steps and the foot tapping beats could only be inspired by the likes of Tom wantonly chasing Little Jerry, and that master super mimic, Chaplin. S.S Rajamouli, his heroes Jr NTR and Ram Charan have collaborated for an unforgettable film, RRR which raked Rs 1500 crore globally, along with great entertainment.
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Tata Group Chairman Chandrasekaran Meets TN Chief Minister Stalin

Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin wants to fulfil the DMK’s election manifesto promises and prepare the ground for 2024 Lok Sabha elections. More significantly, he needs to project his intention to create and save jobs. The shutdown of Ford Maraimalai Nagar plant remains a vexing issue. It had accumulated losses of over $2 bn. Recently, Tata Group’s Chairman N Chandrasekaran along with Tata Motors Executive Director Girish Wagh visited Stalin’s camp office. Also part of the meeting were Tamil Nadu chief secretary, ministers Thangam Thennarasu and Udhayanidhi Stalin. It was a courtesy call but it is clear that the Tamil Nadu government has been feverishly looking for a new owner to take over Ford Chennai plant. It may be recalled that Tatas have already bought over Ford’s Sanand plant in Gujarat. So buying Ford’s Maraimalai Nagar plant seems a logical conclusion. Both these plants can crank up Tata’s EV capacity. Currently, with significant bookings for Nexon EV, and Tiago. Tatas are able to meet only 50 % of the demand. The Ford Chennai plant has a number of hidden assets — its erstwhile vendor team supplied 40% of their captive production, the trained workforce can be retrained and logistics support of the Port is one of the biggest advantages.  Tatas have taken a lead in EV, and if this acquisition happens then Chennai could emerge as an EV hub.
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Kollywood Titans Vijay And Ajit Clash Again, For Whom Will The Cash Register Ring?

This Pongal should be very rewarding and exciting for the fans of Ilaya Dalapathi Vijay and Thala Ajit Kumar. The huge legions of crazed fans will finally get to see their heroes in action. Vijay’s Varisu and Ajit’s Thunivu hit big screens on January 11. Even though Brand Rajini and Brand Kamal are still eulogised as Superstar and Ulaganayagan for decades now, Vijay and Ajit too command the same kind of adulation and following. But the only difference is these two superstars’ fans have turned confrontationist. Reportedly, the price of a ticket, in black, for the opening shows were around Rs 1000-1300. This could climb to Rs 4,000 when fan craze becomes intense. New releases for Pongal are particularly star struck and of course, fans clash too over which hero commands more from at the Box Office. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Red Giant has distribution rights for both the movies, so it is: “Heads I Win, Tails I Win“. Vijay, it is learnt, has tried every trick in the trade to promote his film — launch of Varisu music in the Nehru Stadium, getting pre-release snippets in every media handle. Boney Kapoor, the producer of Thunivu has much more at stake in terms of finance. Kapoor has spread himself thin after Ajit’s last outing disappointed.
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All Eyes On ‘The Family Man’ Directors’ New OTT Series ‘Farzi’?

Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have hit the fortunes of several lines of businesses. But some businesses have got a leg-up too. A case in point is OTT.  In India, during lockdown we have been entertained by superlative themes and extraordinary Indian creativity via various web series like Delhi Crime, Mirzapur, Panchayat to name a few. Netflix and Amazon, the pioneers who brought entertainment to homes, have garnered a binge audience for their serials and films. Now, Amazon Prime Video is all set to bring the 8-episode ‘Farzi’ from February 10 onwards. It is directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK of ‘The Family Man’ fame which brought international acclaim to Manoj Bajpayee and Samantha Prabhu. The creators of Farzi, D 2 K Films are ready with a sizzling star cast of Vijay Sethupathi from Kollywood and Shahid Kapoor from Bollywood, Raashi Khanna, Kay Kay Menon, Regina Cassandra, Zakir Hussain, Bhuvan Arora, Amol Palekar, and Kubbra Sait. Raj and DK have set their story in the middle class milieu /ethos of middling everything, soaked in comedy. The talented twins claim that Farzi will truly reflect the sweat and slick creativity of this team and make it binge worthy.
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Donkey Milk Sells At Rs 2000 Per Litre In TN, May Soon Get GI Tag

Tamil Nadu‘s Tenkasi district is seeing huge demand for donkey’s milk by rural folks. Donkey’s milk? That smirk and guffaw with epithets of ‘gadha’, will soon be replaced by incredulousness.  While city folks are protesting at Rs 2 increase per litre of Mother Dairy or Aavin Milk, the villagers are ready to fork out Rs 100 per 50 ml or Rs 2,000 per litre of fresh donkey milk to build immunity especially in infants and ward off other ailments. Who knows the next unicorn or IPO may well be from this remote area in Tenkasi if some enterprising donkey aggregator decides to set up a world class plant to process and peddle this much sought after milk and get GI Tag too.  The global market value for donkey’s milk stood at $ 23.2 mn in 2021, expected to grow at a CAGR of 9%by 2028. This faith in the efficacy of fresh donkey milk may gain currency like curcumin turmeric latte, tulsi tea, neem oil and coconut products. Donkey owners in Tenaksi have their own logistics and promos for fresh donkey milk, with megaphone announcements. An enterprising breeder, brings his herd to the spot, on fixed days in a truck and rurals line up with conch shells or even silver cups. Looks like it’s big money at the bottom of the pyramid.
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Is Kanimozhi Emerging As The New Power Centre In Tamil Nadu?

On January 5, DMK MP Kanimozhi turned 55 and the road to her Chennai residence was jam packed with birthday greeters and revelers indicating she is a force to reckon with in Tamil Nadu politics. The whole neighbourhood was festooned with DMK flags. Late Kalaignar’s favourite child Kanimozhi is chief minister M K Stalin’s half-sister. What is even more evident as she led a big crowd to her father’s resting place on the Marina beach was that she no longer appeared to be that tentative, hesitant and defensive politician who was incarcerated in the 2 G scam. Kani has parachuted out of that crisis, to become a significant power centre. Potential for an alternative to the first family’s dynastic culture, Kani was made deputy treasurer of DMK, a sop to keep her content against the rising son, claim party wags. Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi’s confrontational attitude towards his aunt has changed too, maybe in the interests of warding off rebellion. The DMK behemoth built by cadres and functionaries is definitely chafing at the dynastic moves. A recently charge-sheeted Youtuber and journalist voiced scathing opinions when comparing Udhayanidhi and Kani in terms of capability, political savvy and experience, groomed as she is by none other than Kalaignar. Suddenly, whispers are getting loud and overt. What if BJP uses her as a Trojan and a deserving family claimant to TN throne?
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Will Nadda’s Saffronisation Drive In Tamil Nadu Yield Dividend?

Looks like BJP is permanently on election mode and focussing on states where they have no big numbers. A case in point is Tamil Nadu. Recently, BJP President J P Nadda was on a two-day visit to Coimbatore along with Tamil Nadu’s top BJP leaders. Addressing a public meeting Nadda spared no punches. He asked the large crowd, “What does DMK stand for”? And then went on to decode it by saying “D is for dynasty, the first family of DMK. M is for Money. And K is for Katta Panchayat “. Katta Panchayat refers to winning battles and quelling revolt by strong arm politics through Kangaroo Courts. While BJP and Modi focussed only on the national good, DMK functioned only for the first family. The country is thus in safe hands, while TN is not in safe hands. Modi is for real Bharat unity whereas DMK and its ally, the Congress now busy walking for Bharat unity, have regularly trotted out the separatist slogan for revolt. It’s a moot point whether this direct didactic would shake 60-odd years of Dravidam complacency? Post his speech Nadda drove to Isha Foundation run by spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev who is currently mired in a controversy with environmentalists. Was Nadda’s overnight stay at Esha, a signal that BJP is putting its might behind the spiritual guru?
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Kollywood Signs Off The Year In Style With Four Women Centric Films

Four Tamil films which hit the big screens on the last Friday of 2022 are expected to do well at the box office. The movies are: Trisha’s Raangi, Aishwarya Rajesh’s Driver Jamuna, iconic comedienne Kovai Sarala’s Sembi and glamour bomb Sunny Leone’s Oh My Ghost (OMG). These films rest their gripping, relatable and down to earth story lines on the confident shoulders of the women who anchor these films. This trail-blazing trend that has anchored Kollywood through 2022, is based on realistic story lines and solid skill directors who get the best of seasoned performers. This is a business model that does not depend on overrated star heroes, unrealistic budgets and tiresome plots that cannot redeem such films from failure. A case in point Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar’s back to back flops. Trisha, has chosen to go makeup free in Raangi. Prabhu Solomon who excels in wild life /rural themes is all set to melt hearts by Kovai Sarala’s touching portrayal in Sembi. Driver Jamuna is anchored by talented Aishwarya Rajesh, who takes up cab driving when her dad dies. Ok, we agree Oh My Ghost story is not exactly original, based on Korean TV.  Sunny Leone’s role as Sou Chef Na Bong Sun who gets possessed by a revenge seeking ghost.  Clearly, Kollywood film makers have a talent for making movies that entertain the audience and moolah for their producers.
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In Discovering India, Rahul Rediscovers Himself

As the Bharat Jodo Yatra reaches its last leg, people are increasingly seeing a different Rahul emerge, from that tentative, inarticulate Rahul Gandhi of his most forgettable years. He almost seems to readily accept the Pappu moniker, as if to say, yes, I needed to connect with India’s reality and my own inner strength. Enough has been said about his winter clothing — a T-shirt, his spontaneous responses to the variety of people and places, about his “Shraddha tinged Tapasya”.  When someone asked what kind of a girl would be his choice for a life mate? Prompt came the response. An amalgam of my mother and my grandmother, Indiraji! A tall order, may be even impossible to replicate two of the most strong-willed women of the  clan. When he was reminded about his Pappu nickname and how he planned to delete it permanently, an unexpected and stunning response from a normally reticent Rahul. “Oh, I don’t mind Pappu. I remember they referred to my grandmother as Goongi Gudiya. See where she reached?” Clearly, Rahul has prised open several secret doors to his latent self, discovering some unexpected strengths in himself. Rahul is emerging as a new avatar — the way of water, earth, space, fire and wind. The Pancha Bhutas, elementary to all in kinetic form.
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Are Senior DMK Leaders Unhappy Over Induction Of Udhayanidhi Stalin As Minister?

DMK supremo MK Stalin, taking a page from the Telangana chief minister KCR has elevated his son Udhayanidhi to the cabinet as number 10, even though his portfolio, Sports and Youth Affairs is generally ranked way down in the pecking order of ministerial berths. This move seems to have evoked resentment and rancor among some senior DMK leaders. Lok Sabha MP T R Balu was expecting his son T R B Raja to be inducted into the TN cabinet.  A hurt Balu skipped the coronation ceremony citing Parliament session in Delhi. The other person who also seems miffed is the state finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan. Popularly known as PTR, he was seething with anger as his rank moved from 22 to 27. Stalin, it is rumoured, is planning to name his son Deputy CM while he takes off on his annual medical check-up trip to London. Sensing an undercurrent within the party fold over elevation of his son Stalin asked the party’s intelligence arm to survey the revolt potential within the party and family, if the son is made the boss. Sure enough, the survey revealed that Udhayanidhi may be good as a film star but politics is not his cup of tea, at least for now. K Annamalai, the BJP‘s dynamic chief could shred him in any debate. So the collective advice is to groom him and hand over the reins over a period of time.
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Is Kamal Haasan Trying To Resurrect His Floundering Political Outfit By Joining Bharat Jodo Yatra?

Even as the much delayed ( almost shelved) shooting of Indian 2, directed by Shankar resumed, Kamal Haasan ensured that a striking still of himself as the hero of Indian 2, in his old man get up posing opposite the  Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose statue at Marina Beach was splashed across social media. This artfully shot still does not show him facing the camera, but no one can miss Kamal in his Indian 2 avatar. “This statue of the great warrior Netaji was inaugurated by Kalaignar on the same day 25 years ago. I am standing under the statue while shooting for Indian 2. Great humans, great memories,” Kamal tweeted. Resurrecting his film career is not his only agenda. The awesome success of Vikram has given Kamal a much needed shot of adrenaline tinged testosterone. His floundering political outfit, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) had to be resurrected too. What better than the chance to join Rahul Gandhi’s super optics road show, Bharat Jodo Yatra. With the likes of Raghuram Rajan giving the yatra heft, Kamal has said yes to Rahul’s invite. The President of MNM and his cadre will join the March in New Delhi on December 24. Kamal has got his much needed insurance for Indian 2 at the box office, and may be a slot for MNM in an omnibus alliance.
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Baba poster on Rajini’s bungalow gate

Does Enhanced ‘Baba’ Re-Release Signal Rajini’s Political Entry 2.0?

Superstar’s event management for his birthday rocks. Rajini has done it again. The nail-biting anticipation of his fans rekindled for his political entry, yet again. Like the now iconic Vadivelu dialogue, “Varum Aana Vaaradu” and people are left wondering, “I may come, I may not.” Rajini’s earlier movie Baba, not a box office success, was relaunched two days before his 72nd birthday. It was enhanced digitally and made more appealing. Baba’s message still remained same….Rajini is the spiritual icon, whatever his commercial calling. Today’s birthday greeting crowd at his doorstep is staring, jaw dropped at the blue Baba poster. The subliminal message, this is a promo for the relaunched film. But, is there a hidden political agenda in this re-release? Thalaiva is a born showman, master of the art of obfuscation, teasing and titillating. His literal last minute back off from active politics still rankles his fans. What if another bid is made, as insurance, commercial and political. Relaunched Baba is the sum of all these facets. Rajini is adept at keeping his crazed fan following intact….a lot of money rides on the films in the pipeline. And yes, he wants to equal the success of Kamal’s Vikram. What better way than the teaser “I am still a force to reckon with…alliance or all by myself.” Showmen are masters of show and tell. Often, the message itself is the show.
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Tiruchi Surya (left) K Annamalai

Tamil Nadu BJP Leader Quits After His Audio Clip Abusing Woman Colleague Goes Viral

All is not well in the Tamil Nadu unit of BJP. State President K Annamalai is constantly in Operation Damage control mode fighting the ruling DMK dispensation or forces within the party. The latest one relates to the sensational call made by the party’s high profile leader heading OBC wing Tiruchi Surya to Dr Daisy Saran (minority wing secretary). In the now infamous audio clip which has gone viral, Surya used vile and filthy language, threats to humiliate Dr Daisy. He threatened to cut up her genitals and fling her into the sea. Gayatri Raghuram, an actor and BJP functionary, forwarded the clip to the party’s higher ups like the All India Women’s Wing chief Vanathi Srinivasan and Union minister L Murugan. This move backfired. Gayatri was suspended from the party for six months for her anti-party activities and Dr Daisy was read the riot act. Everybody is asking why is Annamalai soft on Tiruchi Surya? Tiruchi Surya, son of DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, has been prodded to resign from the BJP on his own. In his resignation letter Surya states “Annamalai is my elder brother, a treasure trove of the party. I have learnt all strategic nuances under his stewardship …” For good measure he also added that Annamalai is future PM material. With this kind of letter has he figuratively thrown Annamalai in the lion’s den?
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Is Superstar Rajini Scripting His Swansong?

His 73rd birthday is on December 12, and true to form, Rajini posters have mysteriously sprung up at vantage points of Poes Garden. This time with a difference. The swashbuckling film hero, larger than life images on the posters have given way…to a visibly aged man, sparse hair and spectacles, scoping out the horizon. But this poster is perhaps meant to hint at a new avatar? On closer scrutiny, this “misinformation poster “reads “, governor and people, our Thalaivar is worthy of worship”. The operative hook here is Governor! Who knows? This is typical Rajini, teasing, hinting, rousing expectations and when it comes to the crunch, backing out! After his last few films faring poorly, and Kamal’s Vikram zooming to the top, Rajini, intent on a super hit as his swan song, worked hard at choosing a new film, director and story for Jailer, now under progress. But the buzz is Rajini wanting a youthful comeback film, chose a youthful director Nelson, even as his old reliable director P Vasu coaxed him hard to accept Chandramukhi 2, to revive that 2005 hit which sent the cash registers jingling! Now Rajini is rumoured to be regretting saying no to Chandramukhi2. A theory doing the rounds is that the 2002 flop Baba may be re-released after it is cosmetically enhanced with more digital audio heft.
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Kamal with director Shankar

Overworked Universal Hero Kamal Haasan In And Out Of Hospital

Last week Kamal Haasan had just returned from a trip to Hyderabad when he felt uneasy and feverish. He got himself admitted to the Ramachandra Medical Centre in Chennai. Though the Ulaganayagan tried to play it down as just fever and cough, no one was taking a chance with a 68-year old who constantly flits from super busy work schedules in films, his weekend shoots for the hugely popular reality show Bigg Boss 6 and his political commitments. The recent success of his film Vikram which totted up Rs 450 crore business worldwide came through as a big shot in the arm for the star who had been smarting under recent cinematic and political setbacks. So Kamal had a rip roaring occasion to celebrate his 68th birthday by announcing a team up with ace director Mani Rathnam, a reunion after 35 years. With A R Rahman creating music, jointly produced by Kamal and Udhayanidhi Stalin. Even this announcement sent his fans into a tizzy of feverish anticipation. As much as the resumption of shooting for Indian 2, much delayed and much-awaited even as magnum director Shankar anticipated this film’s restart. Whatever bug sent him to hospital, his fans, family and financiers must be praying for a quick recovery. Bouncing back with energy to health and back to back action is what Kamal loves best. Hospital sojourns are intermissions during a show.
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Photo from @Samanthaprabhu2 when she was admitted on October 29, 2022

Is Samantha Ruth Prabhu In Hospital Again?

Suddenly, Samantha Ruth Prabhu (35) has faced a number of personal setbacks. The much publicised marriage with Nag Chaitanya ended on the rocks. In Koffee With Karan show, Samantha was candid to say, “If you put us in a room, better hide all sharp objects “. Whew! It couldn’t get any more cathartic! And then came the gut wrenching diagnosis that she had Myositis, an auto immune disease. Even as the stars were shining on her, the evil eye had cast a dark cloud on this beautiful, talented star. Her latest release Yashoda did good business, grossing Rs 30 crore in 10 days. Rumours are rife that she is in Apollo, Hyderabad though people close to her deny it. This Kollywood comet streaked across the filmy firmament, fiery and feisty, the envy of many South Indian film peers. Making her entry in 2010 in Tamil cinema, she quickly rose with hits like Kathi, Mercel, Theri, Mahanadi and the recent one, Kaathuvakkile Oru Kaadal. In this film, she stole the show from right under the nose of South siren, lady super star Nayanthara. Her sizzling solo dance number in Pushpa: The Rise was over the top hot, justifying the astronomical Rs 4 crore rumoured to be her remuneration. Her OTT serial, The Family Man Season 2 brought her global acclaim. Will this femme fatale get back her fame and fortune?
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BJP And Spin Doctors Pull Out All Stops To Hijack Tamil And Tamilians To Kashi

People are still shell shocked by the concentrated and concerted effort of the BJP’s Kasi Tamil Sangam show, presided over so eloquently as a hard sell by the PM, a month long event focussed on the Tamils. Thirteen religious heads of Mutts from Tamil Nadu are camping in Kashi, Uttar Pradesh, the PM’s much vaunted constituency. Maestro Ilayaraja and his group performed a mesmerising Shiva sthotram with the PM clapping in rhythm. A full trainload of religious Tamil Savants and assorted youth was seen off by no less than Governor of TN for back to back religious events and tours of Kasi .And oh! not to forget the 13 language translation and book release of the Thirukkural, a historic spiritual work of poet Thiruvalluvar, long hijacked by the Dravidian parties as their own. Topping this blitz cake was the PM’s address; he looked comfortable in a “Veshti and Angavastram”. Kashi is the second home for Tamils. Who scripted this eclectic show? When the PM’s chopper trip to Madurai airport was cancelled due to bad weather he took the road. And BJP’s Tamil Nadu K Annamalai was handpicked as a solo companion to accompany the PM on this hour-long drive. And the entire Kashi caper was scripted and presented to the PM. Kashi, the oldest city in the world is now the newest magnetic confluence of politics.
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Clash Of Kollywood Titans: Vijay Draws First Blood With ‘Varisu’ Song Ranjithame Getting 5.5 Crore Hits

2023 Pongal will see one of the most anticipated clashes of the Kollywood Titans, Vijay and Ajit when their films, Varisu and Thunivu are to be released simultaneously. Cinephiles of these two super heroes are waiting to clash, to establish the box office draw of their heroes. Tamil Nadu witnesses an opening day craze that’s like no other in terms of fan hysteria and foot stomping action. For instance, Rajini fans do a milk abhishekam on larger than life cut-outs. Vijay just amps up such maniacal following with his hit song Ranjithame which cornered 5.5 crore hits in a fortnight. Apart from his super dancing skills (Rahul Gandhi is a self-confessed fan of Vijay’s dance moves), this action hero is a crooner too, trained by his mother Shobha. In his 28 years Vijay has belted out many hit songs. His very first film song, “Bombay city, Sukha roti” was an instant hit. Dirty dancing his way to woo Rashmika Mandanna, Vijay belting out Ranjithame Ranjithame is on his way to launch yet another Kollywood anthem. Vijay’s voice, the double entendre lyrics are mere foils. It is sexy Rash who rivets as she transforms into Ranjithame. From that Sami Sami song of Pushpa fame, Rash has zoomed up to pan India popularity. Kollywood sure aces in cinematic masala for a rush of testosterone.
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When Biryani Robbed Tamil Nadu Minister Of His Audience

Our voters are very clear about what they want, when they want. This single-minded focus makes mincemeat chunks out of the best laid plans of er…mice and men. Take the case of Tamil Nadu’s Revenue Minister KKSSR Ramachandran and his well-planned address to his constituency in a marriage hall at Tenkasi’s Alangulam, clutching his eloquently prepared keynote address, intended to delight his eager audience. DMK District Secretary, Siva Padmanabhan, wanting to please his boss and other DMK functionaries, announced, “We want to celebrate our election victory. Our generous Presidium chairman has arranged a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast, cooked with 22 goats and many chickens for you, our cadres”. Good intentions can go horribly wrong when hit by bad timing. No sooner had he said non-veg biryani the crowd deserted the hall and ran towards the dining hall, drawn by the irresistible Biryani aroma. A stricken Ramachandran was heard extorting the crowd “Friends, please remain seated. The Biriyani will be there for later “. He looked crestfallen as the audience was in no mood for speech. Reality hurts. Ramachandran learnt his lesson – the best way to a voter’s heart is the stomach but timing is very important.
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In Tamil Nadu, Battle For The Ballot Will Be Over Dravidam Vs Hindutva

November 11 saw intense VIP presence in Tamil Nadu as both the PM and HM descended on this political beehive. Overtly, the PM continues his inaugural optics series; first, in Karnataka for a stunning new airport terminal, and a Vandhe Bharat train to link Karnataka and TN with superfast speed, and presiding over the Dindigul-based Mahatma Gandhi University Convocation in Gandhi cap. The TN leg was more covert than overt, as it saw high voltage political confabulations among the BJP top brass and other functionaries. Is K Annamalai the handpicked Desert Fox, Rommel to implement the BJP’ pincer movement in TN? The secret sketch of BJP to capture at least 8 seats, target 25 in the 2024 general election. Amit Shah is as much Annamalai’s political muse as the PM, and the see, talk, plan strategy is implemented, in military style. Take the pivotal booth committees, Annamalai is to constitute 67,000 such frontline grassroots units to ensure votes for BJP. Even the constitution of such committees is laid down formally — members from SC, ST, women and youth are a must, and at least 5 ideologically vocal members who can influence with their eloquence. To stave off any rebel challenge, Annamalai has already announced that the alliance with AIADMK will stay. 2024 is definitely Dravidam Vs Hindutva. The pincer is all laid out. Charge as planned, strike on all fronts.
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Back With A Bang At 68, Superstar Kamal Haasan Is Giving Younger Stars A Run For Their Life

He is popularly known as the Alwarpet Aandavar in Kollywood lingo — the God of Alwarpet. One is not sure of his divine provenance. But his enduring charisma and box office draw is never in question, a contemporary of the other superstar, Rajini. Kamal Haasan recently celebrated his 68th birthday. The whispers that buzzed around him, “OMG, 68? This guy has luck tucked into him in every way. Even age falls flat “. This film icon has dabbled in many fields with his abundant talent — acting, singing, Bharat Natyam dance, script writing, politics, opinion maker and now businessman. Oh, and still had time for extramarital dalliance, never a reputation impediment for Kamal, but only added macho and magnetism for his huge fan following which applauds and approves his lifestyle. Kamal, the multifaceted artist also has a knack of keeping his various personas, distinct, one not intruding or intervening on the others.  Of late he is focused on his Khadi Fashion Apparel business in the U.S., and the Internet is rocking with pictures of his youthful models, Kamal leaning on them, literally. How many 68‘s look so youthful, clued in on contemporary fashion? After a bad patch in politics, the Kamal of Devar Magan, the Nayakan of Mani Rathnam, the unforgettable Michael Madana Kamaraj and now Vikram, the super hit hero is back with a bang.
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Lessons For Bollywood: Kollywood Box Office Jingles With A Clutch Of Low Budget, Breezy Films

A clutch of new releases, strong on story, low on budget and even lower on big moolah expectations have brought cheer to the Tamil cinema industry. Love Today, Coffee with Kaadal and Nitham Oru Vaanam have individually and together warmed the cockles of cinema addict’s hearts. Each film intuitively explores and expounds the new age gen now youth, their family anchors of tradition and the gentle compromises made to get on with life, technology  driven and frantically lived. Reality and coping mechanisms with strife and challenges are woven strongly into these plausible stories. Most cheering news, crores are not riding on these and every house full show is money for jam. Take Love Today, Pradeep and Nikita are married, youth stereotypes, madly in love. They proclaim and believe that each knows the other inside out, trust unlimited.  The couple exchange their mobiles for a day. And their complacent world falls apart with complicity. Sundar C’s Coffee with Kaadal is a true fraapuchino. Take Srikanth, married, with a child. Suddenly he finds that his one night promiscuous stand is to be married to his younger brother. Nitham Oru Vaanam is a riddle. The jury will be out on all three, but trade analysts would strongly applaud –low investment, breezy returns. Bollywood are you listening?
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Is Senthamizh Seeman A Strong Challenge To DMK?

A massive anti-Hindi rally held on November 1 at Rajarathnam Stadium, Chennai sent a clear message to those planning a strong bid for Tamil Nadu’s political power reins. Pouring rain did not deter fiery Naam Thmizhar Katchi Founder Seeman who is a successful film director, riveting orator and die-hard Dravidian. His lieutenant, director Amir added colour to the procession’s power slogan, “We are Tamils, TN should have only Tamil rulers. Tamil is our life breath, don’t shove Hindi down our throats”. Is there a hidden challenge to DMK’s Dravidam? DMK critics are already grumbling about the mercenary greed of Udhayanidhi Stalin who as a film distributor is fast buying potential hits, Hindi movies too. The other parties, contenders for coalition with DMK, are happy to play a silent role. Seeman, an avid Kalaignar and LTTE Prabhakaran fan, has a natural flair as a magnetic orator. His only flaw, he gets emotionally carried away, and lives to rue indiscreet talk. His Naam Thamizhar Katchi started in 2010, has a disciplined and youthful cadre, willing to be moulded into a strong movement. What impressed many, after the rally was that every bit of garbage was collected on the 1.7 kms stretch by the cadre, bagged and the place left clean. He is aiming to get 12% votes and at least 10 Assembly seats in 2026.  Seeman is surely aiming to be a Seen Man.
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Instagram

The Rajini Phenomenon Endures As Fans Throng To Glimpse Their Thalaiva

This Deepawali, the crowds in front of his house, “Brindavan” in Chennai started swelling from 7 am. Men, women and youthful enthusiasts stood rearing to greet Thalaiva with frenzy. The Poes Garden cul de sac of just six families has witnessed this crazed stargazing crowd, year after year. Age does not wither nor custom stale the Rajini phenomenon despite all the criticisms flung at him…fickle political stance, waning star attraction, dropping box office collections, hackneyed formula films…Rajini is Teflon coated and super resilient. The phenomenon has kept his fan base intact for over 45 years now. The 70-year old clad in a simple dhoti, white jubula with vibhuti generously smeared on his forehead came out, stood on a bench and greeted the crowd. The roar that went up must have given him goosebumps. The star still reigns super. After the lukewarm response to his Annathe, Rajini signed up for SUN pictures Jailer, directed by Nelson and its shooting is in progress. With Aishwarya Rai and Ramya Krishnan as female foils, Rajini hopes to stir up a storm. He is working hard to be fit. Neighbours spot a trim Rajini on regular brisk walks, wearing his earphones, even walking backwards, a yogic practice for balance. Is Rajini the ultimate Karmayogi? Do your stuff, move on, don’t let success or failure weigh you down. This phenomenon endures, a cult figure.
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Top Cop Who Killed Sandalwood Smuggler Veerappan Back In Tamil Nadu?

Remember the dramatic shoot out of Sandalwood brigand Veerappan? Tamil Nadu top cop and late Jayalalithaa’s alter ego, the much decorated K Vijay Kumar was assigned to capture Veerappan, the Sandalwood smuggler who was literally running a YouTube studio from the dense jungles of Sathyamangalam and teasing the cops. He had kidnapped Karnataka superstar Rajkumar. Enter Vijay Kumar and Veerappan’s story ends forever. Vijay Kumar, is now back in TN, after resigning from a high profile posting in Delhi as Special Security Officer to the Ministry of Home Affairs, following a notable stint as Security Advisor to J&K. He held plum posts 6 years after retirement and is said to be close to Amit Shah and Ajit Doval. Who is the new brigand Vijay Kumar has been sent to capture? Before we presume why he is back it is relevant to track two other top guns who came to TN from the Force. First was Governor RN Ravi now comfortably ensconced in the Raj Bhavan stonewalling many a bill to vex the ruling party DMK. Second, K Annamalai, an IPS officer posted in Karnataka has taken over as TN BJP chief. He has already made a name for his son et lumiere profile quickly. Now is Vijay Kumar back in TN to ferret out proxy terrorist units like the PFI or play a new role? Watch this space.  Stardock WindowBlinds 
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What’s Giving Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Heebie-Jeebies?

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin recently lamented, “Every morning I dread waking up to some new controversy caused by some of my senior ministers “. Stalin warned these controversial cohorts in no uncertain terms during the recent DMK General Council meet “Should I resign or those who are guilty ready to resign? Of this motley council of ministers the enfant terrible septuagenarian, Durai Murugan has irked the government on more than one occasion. Recently, Durai Murugan accompanied by Health Minister Ma. Subramanian, visited a primary health Center in his own constituency, Katpadi and berated the doctors there for poor maintenance of precincts and ordered immediate transfer of a few doctors to a distant gulag.  The Indian Medical Association took up the matter with Stalin who reversed the transfer decision. Minister for Transport K Ponmudi insulted women by referring to them as “OC (in Tamil it means free) bus passengers “. TN women have taken umbrage to his statement. In the case of finance minister PTR Palanivel Thiagarajan, the less said the better. The sheen of his grand entry as party intellectual and finance wizard, wore off fast with other aspirants putting him in his place. It seems that the late Kalaignar would not allow a minister to ride with him in his car for such misdeeds. Stalin too is trying out this mode of punishment.
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Happy Days Are Here Again For Kanimozhi!

Looks like Kanimozhi is the flavour of the season, not just in the DMK power camp but in the BJP’s net casting too. Just last month, she thanked home minister Amit Shah profusely for facilitating her mother’s trip to Germany for medical treatment. Then followed the significant reshuffling of Parliamentary Committees and appointment of new chairpersons by Narendra Modi. Kanimozhi was handpicked by the PM to head the Committee on Rural Affairs and Panchayat Raj. Not without rhyme or reason; it is well known that PM Modi imbues his decisions with ironclad logic and perceived future insurance. The DMK MP from Thoothukudi has worked hard in her constituency to make the Adopt A Village program noteworthy. Venkatesapuram, a village adopted by her, scored high in most development indices. This focused result-oriented work backed the PM’s choice for his Adarsh Gram Yojana outreach plan. The penny dropped at the just held DMK General Body Meet, Stalin was unanimously re-elected for a second term as party Chief, and he in a surprise move announced Kanimozhi as one of the five general secretaries. This was followed up with courtesy visits to her home by both Stalin and son Udhayanidhi. It may be recalled that the nephew Udhayanidhi had earlier ignored aunt Kanimozhi and now he was cosying up to her. Kanimozhi is a prized 5G asset now –a big contrast to the humiliation of the 2G days.
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Ponniyin Selvan Kicks Off Hindutva Debate, Also Rakes in Record Rs 300 Crore In Six Days

Every TV news channel had a noisy field time discussing thread bare, was Raja Raja Chozhan, the Chola Emperor who built the immortal Tanjore Temple, a Hindu? Why this sudden mushroom cloud about an Emperor’s religious leanings, that too extrapolating from a film that has made history in more ways than just cinematic? Kalki’s immortal 5-part compendium Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan, written over 70 years ago, with few attempts at filming it, has remained a seminal magnum opus literary work. Even Kamal Haasan is said to have toyed with the idea of a film based on it. After the unalloyed success of his Vikram, box office collection of Rs 600 crore, Kamal’s cinematic ego and artistic aura may have been bruised  by Ponniyin Selvan-Part 1  collecting Rs 300 crore in just six days of release. The legendary filmmaker Mani Ratnam has succeeded beyond expectations. With his cinematic craft, and perhaps the only one who could bring Kalki’s classic to the screen…on a breath-taking scale of the art and architecture of the Golden Era of the Cholas, of beauteous women who powered exquisite palace intrigues, an era that still stands tall and unmatched, etched in stone in temples, an era when Hinduism showcased its finest traditions of Shaivite and Vaishnavite worship. Ponniyin Selvan will remain a spectacular pan Indian film, and a feat hard to match.
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Tesla’s Secret Sauce, Tickling The Palate Of Indian Techies

Imagine being 22, and working as an intern at Tesla’s Palo Alto facility and getting Indian food fix every day. For intern Surya Krishna from south India that by itself is a high point. When the company chose Dosa by DOSA , co-founded by Anjan Mitra and Emily Gilels whose passion for “sharing the cultural and culinary diversity of India with the world “ brought Emily the Michelin rating, the Tesla employees lucked out. DOSA was founded in San Francisco in 2005, inspired by the savory, fermented South Indian dosa. Over the years, DOSA grew to four Bay Area restaurants with 12 consecutive years of Michelin awards under its belt. Dosa by DOSA was later founded in 2017 to share the brand’s favorite, regionally-inspired food and beverages with the rest of America. It is easily the best in terms of convenience. Indian techie invasion brought a tandem culinary revolution to the Bay Area workplace. A global desi thrives anywhere, but his desi cravings for home style food is now on a global footing. Dosa by DOSA which marries Indian flavours and food with revolutionary packaging, logistics and promotion has made the brand a runaway success. Tesla is the pioneer on the cusp of an energy revolution. Partnering with Dosa by DOSA, Tesla has captivated techies decoding the algorithm…the way to their head is through good spicy Indian food.
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Congress MP Manickam Tagore and CPI (M) MP Su Venkatesan at the Madurai AIIMS site.

Not A Single Brick Laid, But BJP President Nadda Claims That Madurai AIIMS 95% Complete

This emperor was fully clothed. But like the Hogwart Wizard of Harry Potter he conjured up (with his rhetoric ) a whole Hospital building in the spot chosen in Toppur, Madurai for an ambitious AIIMS project where even the inaugural brick had been whacked as a memento. The project was launched by the PM on January 27, 2019, and that single brick became the target of brickbat over three years. Even in the run up to the 2021 TN Assembly Elections, the single brick that was laid on the muhurat inaugural was the target of severe ribbing by BJP baiters. So on this Madurai visit, when BJP president JP Nadda, in a full flow rhetoric got carried away and announced that the Hospital was 95% ready, the audience had a collective jaw dropping moment. It’s another matter that the party hacks quickly turned this into a claim of 95% ready on paper yet to be started. Congress MP Manickam Tagore and CPI (M) MP Su Venkatesan visited the site to show that it was ground zero. What ensued was a classic meme fest by comedian Vadivelu. In one particular meme, Vadivelu brings a posse of cops to the wilderness, and points out that AIIMS has disappeared, you must lodge my complaint. Announcing grandiose projects to address an election crowd is easy…skilful oratory suffices. But reality hits sooner than later.
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Ahead Of AIADMK’s October Meet, EPS Visits Delhi To Seek Amit Shah’s Blessing

Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), former Tamil Nadu CM and twinning leader of the AIADMK, pulled off a coup of sorts on his Delhi visit. Home minister Amit Shah gave him a full 20 minutes for parleys, yet EPS met the press and reiterated, “It was a courtesy call. We did not discuss politics, we talked about linking Kaveri and Godavari rivers”. Obfuscation is a sleight of hand master strategy of politicians. The internal power struggle of EPS and OPS, the fight for the party’s twin leaves symbol, and even for the party HQ’s, an invincible fortress that J Jayalalithaa imbued with unquestioned power have all pushed the once powerful party to the abyss. Astutely, the BJP Chanakyas have labelled OPS “a clay horse” not a dependable ally. The flailing fortunes of OPS have apparently buoyed up EPS. He has gained the trust of the Trimurthis — Modi, Shah and Nadda which in turn has raised his stock among the cadres. With an eye on the upcoming General body meet in mid-October, EPS has made his Delhi visit good optics to bolster his image. It may be recalled that after a division bench of the Madras High Court gave its verdict, EPS was restored as the (interim) General Secretary of the party.
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@veera284

Six Months Jail For Contempt Of Court By TN Whistleblower

For contempt of court, the Madras High Court has given six months jail term to Tamil Nadu’s whiplash whistle blower Savukku Shankar. Chennai-based Achimuthu Shankar has transformed himself from a social media journalist to a whistleblower folk hero. He gained both fame and notoriety as Savukku Shankar. Savukku in Tamil means whip. He gained a fast reputation for his mercurial exposes in digging up entrenched corruption in government, police, real estate and the judiciary. His YouTube interviews and fearless talk have brought him enough admirers, and an equal legion of adversaries and detractors .The expose about 5000 police personnel working as domestic help in police top brass’s homes was a victory for his whistleblowing. Similarly, the dirt he dug up in the questionable B Square real estate scam brought him more popularity. Now, his brash talks and no-holds barred exposes have run him out. In a much publicised story, he claimed that the entire judiciary was riddled with corruption, without concrete proof. In particular he took a pot shot at “Paarpaniya Adhigaram” (Brahmin stranglehold of the judiciary). Justices GR Swaminathan and B Pugalendhi heard the contempt proceedings. Interestingly, Savukku sought to and pleaded his own case very lucidly. According to Prashant Bhushan who is appearing for him in SC, this case and the order for imprisonment violates the natural principles of justice.
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Power Trips Senior DMK Minister’s Freebie Programme In His Own Constituency

DMk’s grand old man and Tamil Nadu’s water resources minister Durai Murugan had an embarrassing moment in his own constituency Katpadi, Vellore. At the government-run girl’s high school, the 84-year old Murugan was the chief guest to give away bicycles free to local girls when within a span of one hour there were two power cuts. The minister was powerless and speechless.  With no light in sight, he walked out in a huff. Immediately, two assistant engineers of TANGEDCO were shunted out to an obscure gulag presumably to show that the TNEB means business. When the minister landed at the next venue, the organisers ensured there were generators to ensure the programme went off smoothly.  Incidentally, the problems faced by the minister are what Tamil Nadu voters are facing for months together now. Ever since the new government headed by MK Stalin came to power the state has been witnessing frequent power cuts. So much so, most high rises that are proliferating at a profligate pace have generators as part of the deal.  Along with frequent power cuts the Chennaites also face bad roads. Practically every road in the city has been dug up. What Tamil Nadu voters are expecting from the government is basic necessities like power, water, navigable roads etc. Is this too much to ask?
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Is The Tamil Nadu Govt Contemplating Getting Into Low Cost Airline Business?

Is the DMK government in Tamil Nadu planning to get into the low cost airline business? When many governments world over including private enterprises have pulled out of this business, this plan is hotly debated as kamikaze. How did this idea take wings? Apparently, TRB Raja, chief of DMK’s IT Wing tweeted that an airline named after the Dravidian Icon, Periyar (EV Ramaswamy Naicker) would soar high. He punned on the name Periyar and came up with Peri Air (not to be confused with global brand Perrier bottled water). Chief Minister MK Stalin, anchored in intense Dravidian ideology, is rumoured to have latched onto the airline enterprise with gusto. Raja buttressed his idea with a hard core business plan. As expected, the BJP and other parties are coming down heavily on this yet to be ratified venture as TN’s debt burden is a staggering Rs 650,000 crore. There is talk about cousin Marans encouragement. It may be recalled that Marans had sold their majority stake in SpiceJet to Ajay Singh. DMK may have inhouse expertise in Maran but headwinds or tailwinds running an airline is a risky business. Stalin’s government should focus on education, healthcare, unemployment and infrastructure issues not get into airline business.
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Is The Tamil Nadu Governor Taking A Crash Course In Tamil?

Of late, RN Ravi, the TN Governor is busy taking a crash course in spoken Tamil. He is now being tutored intensely to deliver speeches in Tamil. Why? Apparently, the Modi government is peeved that none of the people-friendly schemes that are initiated by the Centre have been conveyed effectively to the TN voters by the local BJP leaders. Recall the effort finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman put in while in Telangana about the PDS subsidies and how she ticked off the Collector in chaste Telugu. Similarly, home minister Amit Shah and other senior BJP leaders are intensely involved in spreading the pro people programmes of the Centre in the non-BJP states. TN Governor to his credit gives a decent discourse on “Sanathana Dharma“, a talent run-of-the -mill governors don’t possess. Once he masters colloquial Tamil he will perhaps use various fora to expound the generosity of the Centre to TN people. In that publicised meeting in the Raj Bhavan with superstar Rajinikanth, the Governor spoke in moving terms about his liking and admiration for the people of TN, in stark contrast to the prickly apprehension of the Tamilians about the imposition of Hindi. His tutors are sure going the whole hog to make him fluent in Tamil. Looks like BJP wants to take no chance in the run-up to 2024 Lok Sabha poll as its avowed mission is: “Telangana first, TN next”.
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Kerala’s Left Front Govt Launches App Hailing Cab Service, Will It Succeed?

Now you can travel hassle free without being taken for a ride by rude taxiwalas or auto guys as Kerala’s Left front government headed by Pinarayi Vijayan has launched an App hailing cab service called Kerala Savari. Unlike other App hailing cab services which charge 25% more than normal fares, Kerala Savari will charge only 8 % more. There are several differences between existing players and Kerala Savari. First, drivers are vetted and cleared by the police. Second, the fares are fixed, there is no surge rush hour and drop-in lean hours pricing. A cancellation option has been built into the app. Comrades turned capitalists have even conceptualised a driver training program that includes training for tourism skills for out-of-state tourists. Even a panic button will be installed in the vehicle for both passengers and driver, to access the police, hospital or fire service. Kerala’s Minister for Education and Labour V Sivankutty proudly claims that Kerala is the first state to enter the online ride business. It may well be the first, worldwide too. The 360 degree vision plan includes discount rates for tyres, batteries, insurance and diesel for those who register for the Savari. The only downside…Kerala is known for its militant workforce, and the best intended App may fail if the drivers and taxi operators raise the red flag.
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Tamil Nadu FM Makes Light Of Chappal Hurled At Him, Says Cinderella Can Collect It Whenever

Hurling shoes at politicians is an art form born of courage.  And the targeted leaders make more news by responding with humour instead of rancour. Seems like the Tamil Nadu FM P Thiaga Rajan popularly known as PTR borrowed a leaf from the former U.S. President George Bush when women BJP workers hurled a ladies chappal at him at the Madurai airport. Immediately, PTR tweeted “If Cinderella wants her sandal back, my staff saved it for you”.  Shoe hurling is tame news; how many of us secretly yearn for such courage? It is the reaction and aftermath that spins even more news. Remember George W Bush on his farewell visit to Baghdad in 2008, when a seething Iraqi journalist Muntadhar Al Zaidi threw both his shoes at Bush! Cool Bush fielded one, said “it’s a size 10 “! Three women BJP workers have been identified and the police are booking them. PTR has harboured a degree of resentment at both the Centre and his own party, as he is seen as a Lone Ranger import, with a fancy education. This incident, when PTR had come to pay his respects to slain TN army personnel, Lakshmanan gave him the ideal opportunity to take on the BJP. He vowed, “By tonight I will teach a lesson to the BJP “. Presumably, the shrewd FM is busy stirring up a storm for K Annamalai and his flock.
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@rajinikanth

Rajini’s Delhi Trip, Guv Meet Foxes Fans, Friends And Politicians

After J Jayalalithaa‘s demise, Rajinikanth’s political entry was much trumpeted. Even when a huge fan following bragged about the style he would bring as the “CM of TN“, sceptics bandied this joke…”Rajini Can’t” wade into the turbulent political waters. When he announced that he was withdrawing from politics his fans went into despair. He was trolled mercilessly for developing cold feet. His last two movies did nothing much to boost his cine status. Better to ride off into retirement gracefully. But no, adulation is an addiction and fan worship is a narcissistic opiate. Suddenly, on August 7, he dashed off to Delhi, followed by a much-hyped meeting the next day with Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi at the Raj Bhavan. Soon he was front-page news and trolled heavily. Was Rajini, the Pink Panther on the prowl again? Why would a film star meet the Governor? Was he joining the BJP? Post Raj Bhavan visit, Rajini met the Press at the gate of his bungalow and a volley of questions followed: Did you discuss politics with the Governor? Did you highlight the niggardly, miserly GST share for TN? Rajini quickly but stylishly put on his mask, and bolted into his house. Is Rajini hoping that his next movie Jailer would put him into the limelight like Vikram did for his rival Kamal Haasan?
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V Sabareesan: The Go To Man In Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin’s son-in-law V Sabareesan has been in the news ever since DMK came to power. He is the CM’s alter ego, go to man and a conscience-keeper. Recently he was on “mission yagna” to save, and keep the government in the saddle. His mission was against the backdrop of four temple chariots in Tamil Nadu toppling and killing 12 people. This is considered a bad omen for the ruler of a State. On hearing the news, Sabareesan’s best friend London Venkat spoke to a well-known astrologer Mahesh Iyer, who advised the duo to immediately perform certain rituals to ward off the evil and impending calamity to the CM. But to perform the rituals, Sabareesan had to get the go- ahead from the first family which they did. Finally, a yagna was performed at the Subramaniya Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur. Political wags were on overdrive about Stalin’s son-in-law performing the ritual as a proxy. Social media talked about the two-faced ideology of Stalin who is quick to claim his agnostic status tempered by the Dravidian ideology, even as wife Durga leads her life as a staunch Hindu devotee. People do not ignore such duplicity by self-serving leaders. The Dravidian ideology is conveniently jettisoned when it comes to saving his own Gaddi. Sabareesan wondershare safeeraser registration code is now seen as acronis disk director crack скачать Stalin’s one-man Delta лицензионный ключ 360 total security Force.
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PM Modi On Backslapping Terms With This Gandhi

There were many interesting asides when the PM Narendra Modi visited Chennai for inaugurating the 44th Chess Olympiad.  Post the event Modi went to Raj Bhavan for his night sojourn and also to meet numerous BJP functionaries. Even as the PM strode in, he headed straight to a simple man, waiting with the others, calling out “MRG” and shook him by the shoulders, with others watching this breach in protocol with amazement. Modi evidently has a very spontaneous warm side, his whole demeanour changed and he was visibly happy to meet Nagercoil (Tamil Nadu) BJP MLA MR Gandhi who shares a special relationship with Modi as both were from the RSS. The warmth of the greeting for this 77-year old man who wears no footwear, may have reminded many of the mythological meeting of Sudama and Lord Krishna at Dwarka. Gandhi was touched and honoured. This TN man had failed in earlier attempts to get elected to the Assembly but won in 2021. Incidentally, Gandhi too was the subject of some unsavoury press. Apparently, his aide Kannan’s son Amrish has political ambitions. His bike number plate is emblazoned “Grandson of the Nagercoil MLA”, a euphemism that he created for himself, using the MLA’s name.
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Last Ford EcoSport Rolls Out Of Chennai Plant Signalling The End Of The Road For 4000 Workers!

On July 21, a beautifully decked up bride left her home with 4000 well-wishers (read workers) shedding tears and bidding her adieu. That was not just the last Ford EcoSport car rolling out of their beloved Ford manufacturing plant at Maraimalainagar in Tamil Nadu.  It was the end of the road for all 4000 workers with the Ford parent deciding to exit India.  The Chennai plant was set up in 1995 on 350 acres to make 4 lakh vehicles along with the Gujarat plant. The Figo, Endeavour, Ikon, EcoSport were hugely popular. But how long can a business sustain losses, whatever the emotional quotient tagged to a product made with pride? The President of Ford Motors, Jim Farley had candidly admitted that Ford had accumulated $ 2 billion losses producing only 80,000 vehicles a year with the plant having an installed capacity of 4 lakh vehicles. The Covid-19 lockdown, global downturn and business cycle factors are quoted ad nauseam. Even a brief dalliance for a second time with Mahindra was tried in 2019. No one can really pinpoint why it did not succeed. But for now, it is the plight of these 4000 workers that is heart wrenching. Even as we talk about Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, the future of such trained dedicated workers who suffer the whims of global business has to be seriously considered.
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Will ‘Jailor’ Be Superstar Rajini’s Comeback Movie?

Hum kisi se kum nahin says the latest Sanmaan Patra awarded to superstar Rajinikanth by Income Tax Department for being the highest tax payer in Tamil Nadu. Akshay Kumar is the highest tax payer in Bollywood. Puducherry Governor Tamizhisai Sounderarajan did the honours on Income Tax day when daughter Aishwarya cooed, “Proud daughter of a high and prompt taxpayer”. Ever since the superstar withdrew from the political race, the legion of fans quietly melted, licking their wounds of disappointment. His last movie Annathe was eminently forgettable. His health was giving cause for concern.  Son-in-law Dhanush and wife Aishwarya hit the headlines for an imminent divorce. Rajini, his closest circle, insisted would surely retire to the Himalayan cave where he found nirvana in the Babaji Ashram. These “occult “ soothsayers may not have divined the  tough mettle of this man who had literally clawed his way from bus conductor to iconic superstar with a phenomenal fan base. His close friend, paradoxically his bête noire Kamal Haasan, a flop in politics, had seamlessly moved to the top spot with his comeback movie Vikram. The talking heads conjured up visions of a visibly overwhelmed Rajini rearing to make a film that would exceed Vikram’s success. Jailor was announced (directed by Nelson Dilipkumar with a brief, replicate Vikram’s success). Thalaiva is back in the news. Happy days are here again?
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Stalin’s Attempt To Mend Fences, Asks Prime Minister Modi To Inaugurate 44th Chess Olympiad

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin is going all out to make the 44th Chess Olympiad an outstanding success. This mega event is to be hosted at the heritage town of Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), between July 28 and August 10. A stylised mascot Thambi has sprung up at many vantage points in Chennai. The historic Napier Bridge has been painted like a chess board and a teaser ad featuring Stalin and AR Rahman shot on it was released by the superstar Rajinikant. But, while doing all these publicity gigs the Stalin government seems to have conveniently forgotten to focus on their very own home grown heroes Viswanathan Anand, India’s greatest chess Grandmaster and Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, the new Grandmaster. Except for a “blink and you miss glimpse “, both were not highlighted in the publicity drive. Critics allege it was an intended snub for Brahmins. Stalin moved his pawn like a grandmaster when an opening presented.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him up to wish him speedy recovery when he was admitted to Kauvery Hospital for Covid treatment. Stalin quickly latched on to this bonanza door opener and requested Modi to inaugurate the Chess Olympiad, adding he would depute MP K Kanimozhi and TR Baalu to personally invite him. Perhaps, Stalin was trying to mend fences after DMK leader A Raja publicly threatened Modi that TN would secede if not granted more autonomy. But, will Modi inaugurate the Chess Olympiad? Wait and watch.
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Is Tamil Nadu BJP Head Annamalai Proving To Be A Thorn In The Flesh For Stalin Govt?

Tamil Nadu’s BJP President K Annamalai is making news for his energetic snoop, scoop and share. He figured as a juicy news break in the mainstream media last week. The DMK is now clearly wary of him, and his exposes. The latest is about the fake passport issue scandal in Madurai which has reached the desk of ADGP, David Asirvadam, no less. Annamalai constantly trains his guns at the dynastic rule of the DMK. RS Bharathi, long term DMK spokesperson brushes this aside and retorts “Annamalai talks nonsense “. He made headlines once again as he thundered at a Press meet like a modern day Nostradamus, “The Eknath Shinde of TN has already taken avatar. Wait and watch.” When everything is cornered by one family, rebellion erupts. Late Bal Thackeray and Kalaignar traversed identical paths, as did Aaditya and Udhayanidhi. It may be mentioned that Stalin has consistently been anti-Centre and anti-Modi with his subtle delimitation of Union and States powers. But the recent threat by A Raja to the Modi government that TN would secede if the state was not granted more autonomy in Stalin’s presence has provided more ammo to Annamalai.  He has promptly sent a petition to the Lok Sabha Speaker that A Raja cannot continue as MP after this secession rhetoric. A case has been filed too. Annamalai surely believes that the BJP’s ‘Telangana first, TN next’ strategy slogan has been fast forwarded significantly.
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After Cong Mukt Bharat Is BJP Working Towards An Opposition Mukt Bharat?

The BJP’s velvet gloves were off at the National Executive meet in Hyderabad.  The message was “Look South for our next push”. No one was surprised by the new slogan, “Telangana first, TN next”.  So is BJP working towards Opposition Mukt Bharat?  Maybe! The Delhi-based journalist R Rajagopalan who has attended over 15 such political party executive meets in his long career says that the Hyderabad session left him in awe and admiration. Sensing its move, Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao made his displeasure known by not receiving the PM Narendra Modi when he visited Telangana twice. “Telangana has several Eknath Shindes”, says BJP leader Bandi Sanjay in retaliation. The recent development in Maharashtra where two-thirds of Sena MLAs walked out to align with BJP and form the government could well be an eye-opener for KCR that BJP means business. In the neighboring Tamil Nadu the appointment of the Governor RN Ravi has made the MK Stalin-led DMK government very uncomfortable from Day One. It may be recalled that BJP has been trying hard to make inroads by appointing by former IPS officer K Annamalai as its party chief as its earlier experiment of wooing superstar Rajnikant failed. What perhaps could help BJP gain inroads in TN is the infighting within AIADMK. One thing is loud and clear that Telangana and TN are on BJP’s radar as it seems doable.
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Mani Ratnam’s Magnum Opus ‘Ponniyin Selvan’ Teaser Garners Over 1 Crore Views In 24 Hours

The teaser of Mani Ratnam’s mammoth, magnificent multi-lingual Ponniyin Selvan (Part 1) has already garnered 1 crore views in just 24 hours of its launch at the Chennai Trade Centre. Taking a leaf out of Kamal Haasan’s pre-release carpetbagging blitz for his film Vikram, Madras Talkies and Lyca Productions have creatively unleashed the promos. First, there were posters of Aishwarya Rai, who plays the pivotal role of Pazhuvur Rani Nandini in her grand Chola-era costumes and jewellery. Then came Trisha, who plays Princess Kundavai in an equally attractive costume, followed by Vikram, Karti, Jeyam Ravi and others. The multilingual teasers, each launched by regional super stars Surya, Mohan Lal, Mahesh Babu, Rakshit Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan, have kindled high expectations. In an age when reading classics and following history is fast dying, Mani Ratnam has kindled interest in the late Kalki’s immortal literary classic, Ponniyin Selvan, the saga of the Golden Age of the Chola dynasty, and in particular Raja Raja Chozhan. The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are sure to be compared as benchmarks for this extraordinary visual panorama. Ratnam has harnessed the best of cinematic talent, AR Rahman’s music, Thota Tharani’s Art, Ravi Varman’s cinematography – and the piece de resistance, Kamal Haasan as the Sutradaar narrator. Madras Talkies has mounted the Chola-era classic to be a much talked about film.

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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!