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Father Stalin’s Advice To Udhayanidhi: Give Up Playing Double Role

A few days back, a mega casting coup was announced in Kollywood. Forty-three-year-old Udhayanidhi Stalin signed on for a film to be directed by Pa. Ranjith with AR Rahman scoring the music. So, what’s new about this news? Udhayanidhi, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin and also an elected DMK MLA till date, has acted in 19 films. But the latest movie is being talked about as his swansong. Stalin is said to have told his son “to give up playing this double role of actor and MLA” thereby signalling his plans to hand over the reins to him eventually. Quite understandable. TN and its ruling party, the DMK, is rooted in a strife ridden family of Karunanidhi, the iconic political leader. MK Alagiri, the older son of Karunanidhi and Stalin have a long-standing family feud as blood brothers. Alagiri who is known as the uncrowned king of South TN is biding his time. Add to that the third heir angle – K Kanimozhi, MP, who has kept her distance from both the warring step brothers but also hankering for a leadership role. With too many push and pull within the family it’s easy to see why Stalin wants his son to quickly move centre-stage in politics. The choice before Udhayanidhi is: To be a king or cavort with sizzling sirens?

Patnaik Evangelising Good Health Via Puri Model Of Piped Quality Water

Instead of waiting for the Union government to launch Har Ghar Nal Se Jal programme in his state, Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik decided to take the initiative by announcing Rs 1,500 crore programme to provide 24×7 safe drinking water from tap in Odisha’s 17 cities in addition to what has been initiated at Puri – the abode of Lord Jagannath. At Puri, its entire population of 2.5 lakh people have been fully connected with piped drinking water. Translated it means 2 crore tourists will not have to buy bottled water and the environment impact will be the savings of 3 crore water bottles. “Availability of potable drinking water will improve the lives of 35 lakh population, wherein slum population of 8.5 lakh will be covered,” said G Mathi Vathanan, Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban Development. Differentiating between Singapore and Odisha model of piped drinking water, Vathanan said: “Odissa will totally rely on ground water sources, wherein water quality will confirm to ISO 10500 standard.” Patnaik is keen to make Odisha a happening place. So be it in hockey, reduction of poverty, success in disaster management, attracting best investment to Odisha and now the piped drinking water to people’s home for the first time, his state is showing the way. Patnaik appears to be unstoppable.
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Photo : Fotocorp

Covid Hero Sonu Sood’s Tax Troubles Result Of Political Witch-Hunt?

Why is the reel life villain but a ‘hero’ in real life being hounded by the government agencies? The 48-year old Sonu Sood has been in the eye of the storm ever since he began his philanthropic activity of helping thousands of migrants stranded at different parts of the country to reach their home safely during Corona lockdown. Sood is booked by Income-tax authorities for financial fraud and siphoning of funds. According to a central revenue intelligence official, Sood is also liable under provisions of the Disaster Management Act, in force since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency. “Under the act, any relief material, even a packet of dry rations being diverted, invites criminal action and imprisonment of up to two years. Besides, charges levelled against Sood is that he diverted funds to purchase realty assets.” But these provisions were yet to be invoked in the actor’s case, says the official. According to a BJP leader: “Sood was on our radar from day one when he started helping migrants. His celebrity status ensured free media publicity. However, his close association with some left leaning NGOs made us cynical of his efforts that constantly attempted to show the work done by the ruling government in bad light.” Is that the real reason or the news that he may be appointed brand ambassador of AAP?
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Photo : Punjab Kings

Ravi Bishnoi Stirs Arabia With Hook, Line And Sinker To Surya Yadav

Ravi Bishnoi’s first-ball googly bluff that spelt doom for Surya Yadav at Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (Sept 28) has become a hot topic among the cricketing faithful. Still a tyro in the electrifying world of the IPL, Punjab Kings Bishnoi tricked the Mumbai Indians right- hander, who staged a lonely walk back to the dugout, embarrassed. The Jodhpur-born tweaker, Bishnoi has not been a regular in the playing XI this season and hence is behind the likes of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Rashid Khan, MI’s Rahul Chahar and even Stevens with Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Yuzvendra  Chahal with nine wickets. The leggie began phase 2 of the league with a 3/ 24 against Sunrisers and dismissed MI captain Rohit Sharma and Yadav of successive balls. Bishnoi should play the remaining matches now. Commenting on Bernard James Tindal Bosanquet, the England bowler who created the googly with a tennis ball first, Australian commentator AG Moyes said: “He (Bosanquet) perfected it or rather developed it, amid laughs, jeers and even ridicule. He had been a fastish bowler before he sired the illegitimate member of the leg-break family and the child was just as uncontrollable as most delinquents.” The googly in leg-break action did not receive a wholehearted welcome, but over a period of hundred years, leg-spin-googly has become a weapon, as Bishnoi demonstrated it against Yadav.

Photo : Twitter

Gadkari’s Parleys With Sena Govt For Road Projects Stuns Partymen Readying For A Fight

Even though state BJP leaders are busy stepping up attacks against the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Union minister Nitin Gadkari is singing a development tune, clearly avoiding any war of words. Gadkari, who always maintains that politics should not be mixed with development, especially once the elections are over, on Friday (September 24) stunned his state unit leaders by announcing that he will soon meet Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Public Work Minister Ashok Chavan to discuss a slew of road and highway projects that will decongest Mumbai and also transform the transportation sector across the state. Gadkari has suggested change in design of a flyover and highway project in Pune but said Delhi Mumbai Expressway can be extended up to Nariman Point so the distance between two cities can be covered in 12 hours. He, however, is seeking the state government’s pro-active role – and not funds – as he assured that it will be the Central government’s responsibility. Gadkari is still remembered for the passion and resolve with which he completed 55 flyovers in Mumbai and the long pending Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Clearly, he stands out to be the only BJP leader who wants to go the extra mile to help the estranged ally Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Is there more to it than meets the eye?
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Photo : BCCI/IPL

Pandit’s Gamble Pays Off As Venketesh Iyer Steers KKR To Big Win

Without giving a smidgeon of trumpeting his decision to promote Venketesh Iyer from lower order to opener, Chandrakant Pandit said: “Aisa he bhej Diya, upar batting kar ne ke liye,” (just like that, I sent him to open the innings). Pandit was known as a smart cookie, as a player and captain. And as coach of Madhya Pradesh last year Pandit did not want to see talent go waste. After seeing Iyer — the latest IPL sensation with the bat — perish under pressure in the death overs of the Syed Mushtaq  Ali Twenty20, he liberated the left-hander by asking him to blast for runs in the first power play of six overs when only two fielders are allowed outside the inner 30 yard ring. Getting the big break in Kolkata Knight Riders’ first outing at Abu Dhabi, Iyer pummelled all comers against RCB and repeated the show against Mumbai Indians. His 41* against RCB came at a strike rate of 151.85 and 53 against MI at a strike rate of 176.67. And KKR cantered to easy wins and position itself in the top four of the points table. So far, he has repelled the likes of Kyle Jamieson, Mohammed Siraj, Trent Boult, Adam Milne and Jasprit Bumrah. And the former India stumper, Pandit is mightily pleased with Iyer’s pyrotechnical display at the top.

Tiruppur Entrepreneur Spins Branding Around Mahatma Gandhi’s 100th Dhoti Anniversary

Technocrat KR Nagarajan, Founder CEO of Tiruppur-based Ramraj Cotton, is the quintessential serendipitous entrepreneur. The story of how this simple but canny and savvy man turned a failed investment into one of the most visible brands is the stuff B School case studies are made of. In the last three decades, he has created a strong brand equity out of the simple dhoti that it has now become fashionable, at least in the south, to be seen wearing dazzling white dhoti and shirts. Those who had some reservations wearing a dhoti got it over when they saw Congress heavyweight Harvard educated P Chidambaram quelling many a fashion baiter with his majestic dhoti walks in Parliament. Ramraj Cotton which makes dhotis, shirts, inner wears may soon cross the Rs 1,000-crore turnover mark. The company has had film stars endorsing its brand, the latest brand ambassador being Rana Dagubatti. Nagarajan has always been looking for innovative ways to promote his brand from time to time. And he found one on September 22, 2021. On that day, Tamil Nadu’s dailies carried Ramraj Cotton ad with Mahatma Gandhi’s photo. The ad said: “This day, 100 years back for the first time in Madurai. The Mahatma made Dhoti the ‘Attire of His Identity’. Ramraj celebrates the occasion & salutes the Mahatma.” Bang for the buck one would say.

Kolkata Tycoon Harshvardhan Neotia Buys Mumbai Property At Worli Raheja Artesia

The 60-storeyed Raheja Artesia tower located at Mumbai’s tony address Worli Sea Face developed by K Raheja Corp seems to be attracting who’s who of the corporate world. The latest to join the list of illustrious buyers is the Kolkata-based industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia of AmbujaNeotia Group, according to Square Feat India, a leading real estate news website. Neotia, who is responsible for landmark projects in and around Kolkata, has, along with his daughter Paroma, bought 3,064 square ft property along with three car parks for Rs 23.89 crore. This project has been attracting any number of HNI buyers. HDFC Securities MD & CEO Dhiraj Relli and wife Archana forked out Rs 30.31 crore to buy an apartment. HDFC’s MD & CEO Keki Mistry paid Rs 41.23 crore and Smita D Parekh, wife of HDFC Chairman Deepak Parekh, paid Rs 50 crore. What makes it very reassuring for buyers is that the developer of this prestigious property, Raheja’s family, have bought three duplexes comprising 18 flats and 42 car parking spaces for Rs 427.81 crore. Effectively, Chandru Raheja, Chairman of K Raheja and his two sons Ravi and Neel, have bought five floors between them.

Next 007 Won’t Be A Jamie Bond Nor A James With Libido Unbound

The buzz again is all about James Bond, a character born in a book in 1952 and who came to films 10 years later. Delayed by 18 months because of the pandemic, the spy caper is about to take the world for a billion dollars at the box office, with a premiere in the UK on September 28 and worldwide release September 30. Daniel Craig, the latest to play the Bond character with great success, prepares to take his bow even as the talk is about his successor who could be a woman going by the plot of the film in which a black female character inherits the 007 designation. As the world grapples with the rise of women power, there is a demand for a female Bond but Craig and the film’s executive producer, Barbara Broccoli, inheritor of the family franchise from granddad Albert, are convinced that the central role should remain male. This despite a debate on Bond triggered by the film’s director Cary Fukunaga expressing the opinion that the early Bonds were rapists as portrayed on screen. Sean Connery was seen thrusting himself on a nurse in the 1965 Thunderball and virtually blackmailing her into sleeping with him while in Goldfinger, the heroine was named Pussy Galore and the subject of Bond’s sex drive. The age of Bond’s endless libido may be over.
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‘Sach Kahun Toh’ Hides More Than Reveals

‘Been there done that’ could easily have been the title of veteran actress Neena Gupta’s memoir. The story of her tumultuous life, Sach Kahun Toh which begins with her middle-class stereotypical childhood in Delhi in a humble locality. Despite domestic doubts and paternalism and a ‘behenji’ college background she grows up confident and educated. The NSD and the hiccup of an early marriage to the boy next door cannot prevent her packing her bags for Mumbai. A perceived breakthrough role as part of the youngsters in Saath Saath typecasts her but there is also a small part in Gandhi. Khandaan in 1984 is her big arrival on TV, one of those strong woman roles. Gupta who was also cast in art house classics like Jaane Bhi Do Yaron and Mandi details her eventual humiliation and exit from Star Plus with the game show Kamzor Kadi Kaun flopping. Naturally her personal life especially her well-publicized relationship with Vivian Richards do make an appearance as do some other dalliances including an abortive marriage with the son of a prominent classical singer but there are no real revelations. In 2017 she perceives herself as sidelined, almost forgotten and makes a dramatic plea for work on Instagram. In conclusion though, the book despite its candid title, mimics the lyrics of her famous Choli song cameo from Khalnayak… hides more than reveals.
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Vijay Antony’s Emotional Thriller Kodiyil Oruvan’s Success Stuns Critics

When 46-year-old Vijay Antony announced his movie Kodiyil Oruvan, eyebrows shot up! Was he on par with the legendary MGR and his Aayirathil Oruvan which swashbuckled its way to commercial success? No, Antony is too introverted and underplayed. Rightly so. He is a singer, music composer, lyricist, sound engineer, actor and producer-director. His take, I am a Jack of All trades, but master of none. His trademark ….Masala formulas that tell the story as not obvious masala, but with an inherent empathetic twist, that audience relate to, anchored in strong Indian sentiments. Take his runaway hit Pichaikaran (The Beggar), a simple story of a seriously ill mother. Her son vows to beg on the streets for a year, incognito to make her live. The twists and turns made for a very authentic story. Audience cried at Antony’s fall from rich man to beggar. Movie a hit, including multiple TV runs. It is not surprising that among the four movies released in September (including Thalaivi), Kodiyil Oruvan has already fetched 4.5 crore in a short span. The producers who preferred to release without the distributor link, are already bean counting. Antony has not hankered after that razzmatazz Star title…but he is soon to add that title to his quiver.
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Why Tatas Did Not Bid For Jet Airways?

Tata Sons’ bid for debt-laden national carrier Air India has much to do with its legacy, mostly linked to the group’s patriarch JRD Tata, than just being a business decision. But why did Tatas turn a Nelsons’ eye to Jet Airways, another beleaguered carrier which got all approvals overnight by the Civil Aviation to start operations from January 2022? That’s one topic on which many articles and books have been written on over the years. Even the movie Udaan (Soorarai Pottru in Tamil) had a passing reference. The story goes, in 1997, the then civil aviation minister CM Ibrahim scuttled Tata group’s plan to start an airline jointly with Singapore Airlines (SIA). This was allegedly to support Naresh Goyal’s Jet Airways. The blocking of its application by the minister surprised Ratan Tata as he was about to close the deal with SIA. Perhaps, that bitter experience may have kept the Tatas from bidding for Jet Airways, insiders say. The group already holds stakes in two carriers – 83.67% in AirAsia India and 51% in Tata SIA Airlines (operating as Vistara) – and the acquisition of Air India will help the group to dominate the skies. The group pioneered India’s aviation with Tata Air Service in 1932 which became Air India in 1953 after it was nationalised. If Tatas win Air India then the wheel would have come full circle.

Photo : Wikipedia

Stalin Govt’s Bid To Reclaim Temple Lands From Encroachers Stirs Hornet’s Nest

Ever since DMK galloped to power in Tamil Nadu, some of its policy decisions have shocked and shaken many established institutions. Let’s just take one such incendiary issue. The recent decision of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Ministry (HR & CE) headed by DMK MLA PK Sekhar Babu has stirred a hornet’s nest over reclamation of temple lands from “encroachments”.  When the minister announced that Kishkinta Amusement Park, one of the most popular mass attractions theme park and water world is built on 130-acre of temple land belonging to Pappachathiram Kasi Viswanathan temple, he might as well have bunged a Molotov cocktail at the park. This park conceived and promoted by producer-director MC Punnose (aka as Navodaya Appachan) in 1995, gained huge popularity for tourists across TN, and adjacent states. Sekhar Babu claims that his government is focussed on reclaiming all such properties built on temple lands. And till date, he says, they have already reclaimed Rs 900 crore worth of such temple real estate. The popular, 100-year old Mylapore Club has also been impacted as the HR & CE Ministry says it stands on Kapaleeswarar Temple land. Babu’s action has raised a fundamental question as to why only Hindu religious places and their properties are being singled-out. Is there any hidden commercial/ real estate agenda behind this reclamation move? Only time, many PILs hold the answers.

Commentators See Kohli Regaining His Batting Mojo After Quitting T20 Captaincy

Virat Kohli has set himself one goal and that is to become the world’s No. 1 batsman in all formats. He has another long-term aim and that is to crack Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 100 international centuries, but he has to make another 30 centuries just to catch up with the Master. Towards meeting his goals, he has taken decisions like quitting T20 captaincy. The crown is not sitting squarely on his head and the intense focus on the Indian cricket captain hasn’t helped though it must be said the debate is running at a time of grand success for Team India in Australia and then in England. The loss in the WCT final was the only sore point, which also led to personality clashes within the team. As Test captain since 2015 and ODI skipper since 2017, Kohli averages 56.1 in Tests, 72.7 in ODIs and 48.5 in T20s. But the hundreds have dried up, his last coming in November 2019 since when he has been averaging just 26.8 in Tests and 46.7 in ODIs. He would love to let his bat do the talking again. Since most of the cricket will be on pitches more amenable to his style of batting, Kohli will be among the runs again and the noises around captaincy may just stop.

Photo : Fotocorp

Salman Khan: The Big Boss Of All Formats

Salman Khan’s popularity on the small screen continues to soar with every passing year. Reportedly, the actor will be paid around Rs 350 crore for the new season of Bigg Boss 15 that premieres on October 1 and will run for 14 weeks. Well, eyebrows were raised over this number but Bollywood analysts say that Salman Khan who has over 42 million Twitter followers, plus other social media assets, knows how to connect with his audiences via movies, small screen and social media. And his valuation is based on those plus the intangibles he brings to the table. Well, it is the small screen that has played a big role in making him hugely popular with the masses. That was probably the reason the actor took the risk of releasing Radhe although the theatres shut just before the release of his film. The actor kept his promise he made to his loyal fans and released the film on OTT and later in cinema halls. The actor is back on set completing the third instalment of his film Tiger which is one of the most successful franchises and Salman is surely looking forward to a huge hit at the box office. But for now, the audience wants the actor returning on Bigg Boss 15 with Rekha playing a proxy for Bigg Boss voice.

Photo : Fotocorp

BJP Takes Aim At MVA’s Political Image Ahead Of BMC Polls, After Failing To Topple The Govt

After its failure in pulling down the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, the BJP has decided to rejig its strategy by stepping up attacks against the government and portray it as corrupt and inactive. The decision to adopt this strategy was taken after the state unit was given go ahead by the central leadership. Apart from exposing the alleged scams and corruption involving ministers, it is learnt, the BJP – led by leaders like Kirit Somaiya – will target Shiv Sena and the party controlled BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ahead of upcoming elections slated for 2022. The agenda is quite clear: to tarnish MVA’s image and create a perception that the incumbent government is not interested in the State’s progress but only keen on minting money – and in the process, neglecting people. Political observers hold that Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress seem to be lacking a comprehensive strategy and proper coordination to counter BJP’s charges. Despite almost two years in power, the MVA partners were unable to expose alleged scams and corruption involving the BJP ministers during 2014-19. Ahead of the BMC elections, it will be a free for all as both the sides are expected to ramp up their efforts to attack each other to meet their political goals. In this tug-of-war, it is the poor citizens who will continue to be neglected.
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SRK Misses Celebrations As Morgan-Led KKR Stun Kohli’s RCB

Bollywood badshah Shah Rukh Khan was not spotted at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, September 20 when his Red Chillies Entertainment-owned Kolkata Knight Riders sprang a big surprise on Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. According to Venky Mysore, CEO & MD of the two-time title winner (2012 and 2014), SRK who has 26.1 million followers on Instagram, and 42 million on Twitter, was busy shooting somewhere else in the world. Anyway, one of the most popular thespians of the Indian cinema of modern times would have been delighted with the fact of the Eoin Morgan led KKR reflecting the essence of team’s theme song “Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re (we will act, fight and win!)” as it scored a facile win against RCB in the second match of the League-14 that resumed after five months. The League had come to a standstill after 29 matches were played in India from April 9 to May 2 this year, because a few players and coaches were struck by Covid-19. Virtually not running for the play-offs berth after five losses in the first phase, KKR gathered its wits to outplay RCB, looking to win its first IPL title. After a terrific KKR win against RCB, SRK and the other co-owners Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta, would have more reasons to cheer their team.

Photo : Twitter

Trisha's Wedding Plans Sets Tongues Wagging About Her Future In Kollywood

Tamil film’s enfant terrible, 38-year-old Trisha Krishnan had media build-up as a gamin imp, couldn’t-care-less brat for conservative chin wags. All the more striking as she is from a TamBrahm (Tamil Brahmin) family. But she built up a loyal fan base for her sophistication and strong roles, topping her career with a memorable performance in the film, 96, pitted against the formidable Vijay Sethupathi whose huge physique starkly contrasted with Trisha’s elfin looks. Trisha has also held media attention for her mercurial love interests: she had STR Simbu wrapped around her after the commercial success of Gautam Menon’s Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya. For a long time after, she and Rana Daggubati were an item, as the slow and steady twosome. She almost got engaged to Varun Manian but walked out, and much talked about! She is a free spirit, and her escapades with close friends and spirits is the stuff midnight masala is made of on Besant Nagar beach. But recently she has not signed any new movies. Have the offers fallen? The Kollywood world sprouts new and sexy females like mushrooms in the monsoon. It is rumoured… finally Trisha has found her love and will soon sashay into marital bliss. What goes up, has to come down. Beached film careers lead to the altar.

It’s The MVA Govt In Power But BJP Seen Calling The Shots?

Even though the BJP is out of power, it has its say in the functioning of the government, say Mantralaya insiders. A case in point is that the contracts given in the information technology sector during Devendra Fadnavis’ rule continued to be carried forward. This, despite repeated pleas by a section of Maha Vikas Aghadi partners to change the contractors and developers in IT. It seems project implementation officers appointed by the IT companies up to the village level continue to work and get their perks without any problem. Fadnavis and company are therefore happy as they continue to get access to important documents without much hassle, say insiders. This perhaps explains why BJP has been able to take MVA head on in several issues. IT is just the tip of the iceberg; there are other departments including home, finance, irrigation, revenue and public works where BJP’s ‘say’ is still given enough weightage. Recently, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was targeted by NCP for holding meetings with the IAS and IPS officers. This is yet another example of Fadnavis clout in the state administration, which has grown sharply after the Antilla bomb scare exposed the role of rogue cops and lawmakers.
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After Look Out Notice, Top Cop Param Bir Singh May Be Put In Absconders’ List

The Maharashtra Government has sought legal opinion on the suspension of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and how to declare him an absconder. This is in the wake of Singh not appearing before the Chandiwal Commission, as also a lookout notice served to him in relation to various cases. The trigger was Singh not reporting to his duty in his capacity as the Director General Home Guards. Top government officials have had a series of meetings involving home department, senior police officers, law and judiciary department, and battery of lawyers as the government wants to tread cautiously so that its actions will pass the test of law. A division bench of Bombay HC on September 16 rejected Singh’s plea challenging two probes launched against him by the Maharashtra government. The HC asked him to approach the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as the inquiries were of administrative nature pertaining to his conduct as the Police Commissioner. Sources said he will have limited options including either to challenge the HC order in the Supreme Court or approach the CAT or appear before the Chandiwal Commission to plead his case. Some senior officers point out that Singh’s arrest is imminent in cases related to extortion and bribery. Time and options are running out for an officer who despite serving over three decades in Maharashtra Police has to come clean of all charges.

Photo : Fotocorp

When Cricket Legends Of A Bygone Era Were Untouched By Workload Management

Sunil Gavaskar missed a mere four Tests and 20 ODIs in a memorable career of 16 years. The legendary opener played 125 Tests and 108 ODIs. India’s premier spinner Anil Kumble and seamer Kapil Dev believed that doing the hard yards without a break enabled them to pick up the tricks of the trade and become better. They did not hear the fancy and much bandied about words “workload management” when they carried out their work with zeal. Kumble sent down 40,852 balls in 132 Tests, and 14,376 balls in 269 ODIs, and Kapil Dev sent down 27,740 balls in 131 Test matches and 11,202 balls in 225 ODIs. In all, Kumble bowled 66,941 balls in first class competitions and 20,247 balls in limited over matches while Kapil, 48,851 balls and 14,947 in the two formats. They must have been very tired when they bid adieu. Kapil missed just one Test in his career and Kumble, 27 mainly because of injury. Kumble even played 54 Twenty20 matches. Virat Kohli who has announced that he will step down from Twenty20 captaincy of the Indian team post the ICC Men’s World Twenty20 has touched upon the workload factor in his note. He has said it is important to understand workload. Opinions are divided on the workload rationale. Well, it will take a lot more time to understand when it’s applied to a batsman. Is it not!
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Trend Reversal: NRIs Investing In Realty For Self-Use Vs Reselling

The general perception is that NRIs buy properties in India more for investment and less for self-use.  Not anymore, according to Square Feat India, a leading website focusing on India’s real estate sector. In a significant trend reversal post-Covid-19, a much higher percentage of NRI respondents in the latest CII-ANAROCK Consumer Sentiment survey are scouting for properties for self-use, notes the portal. At least 53% of NRI respondents who will buy properties in India in the coming months buy for end-use, 47% for investment for investment. The pre-Covid survey in H1 2019 put this figure at 32% for self-use and 68% for investment. So what’s changing this trend? One major factor influencing this change is that many NRIs are keen to return to India amid the pandemic uncertainties and dwindling job prospects globally. Interestingly, the website says the top seven cities – Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai, MMR, NCR, Hyderabad and Kolkata — are where the NRIs are mainly focused. Here once again 48% of NRIs preferred 3BHKs, 28% 2BHKs while 24% preferred 4BHKs. That NRIs are coming back and buying properties certainly augurs well for the country’s real estate sector badly hit by Covid-19.

NEET Politics: Now, Stalin Pinning Hopes On Allies From Non-BJP States

The DMK boss Stalin is caught between a rock and a hard place as he joins the battle against the national common medical and dental entrance test. Having upbraided the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa for years about The National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the student suicides it has triggered in the state as students fall short against the challenge of multiple-choice tests, DMK took a stand before the polls that it would abolish NEET the day it came into office. It isn’t quite that simple as this is a national test now and outside the ambit of the State list which has Education but the Concurrent list rules medical studies. Stalin has tried everything, from a retired judge-headed committee to study the invidious test that beats rural and State Board students to counselling sessions and yet another resolution in the Assembly to exempt Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court has, however, ruled that NEET should prevail and the President had twice sent back legislation from TN on the subject in 2017. The TN Chief Minister MK Stalin is hoping other non-BJP states would pick up on its stand on the test that has excluded the rural and urban poor while it hasn’t stopped the elite rich from buying private medical college seats. The suicide rate is stinging the state but right now it is a lone fighter against NEET.

L To R: Pradnya Satav, Mukul Wasnik, Prithviraj Chavan , Ghulam Nabi Azad & Avinash Pande

Congress Weighing Five Contenders For Maharashtra Bypoll For The Rajya Sabha Seat

There are one too many aspirants in Maharashtra to file their nominations for the Rajya Sabha election necessitated in the wake of the death of Rajiv Satav, a close confidant of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi. Some of the names that are doing rounds are: Former leader of opposition Gulam Nabi Azad, Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, whose name figured in G23 of disgruntled party members, former Union Minister Mukul Wasnik, former in charge of Rajasthan Avinash Pande and Satav’s wife Pradnya. Pradnya, who has been recently appointed as the vice president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee, may be considered being Rajiv’s wife and her inclination to play a decisive role in active politics. Wasnik has lost local touch although he is in the inner circle of Gandhi family. Whether Congress will nominate one of these contenders or spring a surprise by giving a ticket to a new face will soon be known.

Flashback 1971: India’s Tryst With Historic Wins Under Ajit Wadekar

1971 to most living Indians conjures up the country’s biggest battlefield victory and the creation of Bangladesh. However, if you are of a senior vintage, it’s likely the association will be one of India’s early and epochal sporting triumphs not on the hockey turf. It was indeed nothing short of miraculous when unfancied India beat giants West Indies in their own backyard and followed up by a series victory in England! Such could not have happened without prodigious feats on the field such as Sunil Gavaskar’s astonishing 774 aggregate or Chandrashekhar’s 6 for 38 at The Oval. The story however begins in conflict with the rejection of the Nawab of Pataudi by chairman of selectors Vijay Merchant in favour of Ajit Wadekar by using his casting vote to break a deadlock. The book – 1971: The Beginnings Of Indian Cricket Greatness – details these shenanigans and also how number one keeper Farrokh Engineer was excluded from the West Indies tour. A batting swansong by veteran Dilip Sardesai and the performance of new superstar Gavaskar delivers the series with grace notes from geniuses like Salim Durrani. On the England leg India survives a scare to come back and win at The Oval. Needless to say, in both series the bowling burdens are shared by the fabled spin quartet. The best part of the book are the interviews.

Dharam Chopra with brother BR Chopra, nephew Ravi Chopra and mother

How Dharam Chopra’s Cinematic Debut Soared With A Yes From Rajendra Kumar

BR Chopra’s younger brother Dharam Chopra (elder to Yash Chopra) was learning cinematography. So as to give him a chance to become a full-fledged cameraman (now called director of photography), BR launched Dhool Ka Phool in 1960. Since it was Dharam’s first film as a cameraman, no star readily agreed to sign on for the film. Even Rajendra Kumar, popularly known as Jubilee Kumar, did not respond when approached. Those days Dharam used to stay in a building called Parchhaiyan in Juhu, which was built by lyricist Sahir Ludhiyanvi. One night around 11 pm, Dharam heard somebody shouting out his name. When he looked out, the person was none other than Rajendra Kumar. He shouted “Dharam me kar riyan teri picture! Don’t worry!” And that one yes from Rajendra Kumar changed Dharam’s life forever. Dhool Ka Phool was a runaway hit and thereafter Dharam was on a roll. It was Dharamputra (1961), T Prakash Rao’s College Girl (1962), PL Santoshi’s Dil Hi to Hai (1964), BR Chopra’s Waqt (1965) and many more. For Waqt he bagged Filmfare’s best cinematographer award. Dharam, who was ranked among top five cinematographers in the country, predominantly worked for his brother BR Chopra. He passed away in 2002.

Markets Momentum To Continue Till March 2022: A Balasubramanian

India’s stock markets are on a roll and will continue to keep the current momentum at least till March next year, with sprouts of recovery being visible in line with accelerated vaccination drive; and as fears of the pandemic have begun to subside. An expected rise in the government spending will also give a fillip to the capital good stocks further, says Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company Managing Director and CEO A Balasubramanian to The number of Initial Public Offering (IPO) launches would also continue to maintain the pace with several “robust” companies willing to test the primary market. According to Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC, India’s fourth-largest money manager, information technology is the best sector in the current context with pharmaceuticals and capital goods quite close to it in terms of real returns. Bala, as he is fondly known in the industry, also expects a consolidation in the fast-moving consumer goods space. The market should remain “well-supported” in the coming months, driven by buoyant demand for Indian assets from international investors. The government would also shift its stimulus packages (which now completely focuses on end consumers and social causes) to core sector and infrastructure spending, and engaging the private sector more closely, he added. The Third Wave of pandemic, if it comes, would be the parting wave both for the markets and the general economy at large.

Governors L to R : Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (Retd), RN Ravi and Banwarilal Purohit

Horses For Courses: How Modi Is Placing Proactive Governors In Active States

The overnight transfers of three governors to Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Uttarakhand by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently aims to continue the new political doctrine of proactive governors (not rubber stamp governors) to tackle ground level political realities in these states. Modi demonstrated this strategy in West Bengal, Delhi, and Maharashtra. The appointment of Ravindra Narayana Ravi, retired IPS officer and former Governor of Nagaland as TN Governor, comes as BJP perceives the new DMK government as an anti-Hindu dispensation, in addition to an increased incidence of conversions and to curb the resurgence of insurgency in the south Indian state, says BJP think tank constituent Mahendra Jain, based out of Mumbai. Similarly, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (retd) has been given the responsibility of Uttarakhand. A former deputy chief of army, Singh is an expert on China affairs (Uttarakhand shares the international border with China) and was part of at least eight delegations to visit China and was a research fellow on the subject. Banwarilal Purohit had additional charge of Punjab as TN governor but is now given full responsibilities of Punjab where the Congress is in apparent disarray. Unlike old times (pre Modi era) the role of governors is recast to tackle challenges politically as part of the new Modi doctrine. Meanwhile it is learnt Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has expressed a desire to retire from politics.

Photo : BCCI

White-Ball Captaincy: Will Virat Kohli Make Way For Rohit Sharma?

It is far from polemic in nature, but the palaver about Virat Kohli to be eased out of white-ball captaincy after the Twenty20 World Cup has got the thinking caps to mull over. The BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal has denounced the news as rubbish, and the Secretary Jay Shah has been circumspect telling “The Indian Express” that the issue of captaincy doesn’t arise as long as the team is performing. But is India ready for a separate red and white-ball captain? As of now, Kohli is the undisputed leader in World Twenty20 with a phenomenal average of 52.65. His average as captain (45 matches) is an impressive 48.45. And in three Twenty20 World Cups, he has been out of the world, with a stupendous average of 86.33. He has not led India in ICC World Twenty20. Kohli is a white-ball King. He has led India only in nine ICC World Cup matches and won seven. It’s a matter of conjecture if Rohit Sharma will lead India in the white-ball series at home against New Zealand after the show in the UAE. Kohli needs to lead in five matches each to complete a century in ODIs and a half century in Twenty20. Will he make way for Sharma, who proved his mettle in Australia and England and has led India in 19 Twenty20 matches and 10 ODIs?

Photo : Fotocorp

Govinda Waiting For Second Innings In Bollywood: It’s Not Funny

For the past two years, versatile actor Govinda who has given any number of hits in the past has been playing the waiting game to stage a big comeback. But alas! Luck seems to elude this talented actor who in the recent past worked in Rangeela Raja and FryDay. Surprisingly, the actor who is in popular demand for reality shows does not have the same pull today when it comes to the box office. Both the movies failed miserably. Actually, times have changed, cinema has changed and so too has audiences’ tastes. There is a place in Bollywood only for those who can reinvent themselves. Big B smartly staged a comeback via the small screen by hosting KBC. This sense of rejection has made him bitter and philosophical. He feels there is a conspiracy to keep him out. But many industry insiders say there is no merit in this argument. Well, there are plenty of guesses and theories peddled to explain what’s coming in the way for any producer wanting to sign him up. But what has added to his cup of sorrow is the public spat between his family and nephew Krushna Abhishek’s family. Producers feel Govinda who has the potential should rather focus on his career. Recognizing his talent, Salman Khan offered him a film but Govinda turned it down for reasons best known to him.
om prakash chautala

Photo : Wikipedia

Now, At 86, Om Prakash Chautala Rallies Third Front To Take On Modi

Om Prakash Chautala, a former Chief Minister of Haryana from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and son of Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal, has opened communication channels with various political parties to form a Third Front ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections. Chautala, who had walked free from Delhi’s Tihar Jail after serving a 10-year jail term in a teacher’s recruitment scam, wants to play a new innings at the age of 86: To provide an alternative to the BJP and the Congress. However, Chautala will have to strive to win the confidence of small, regional and like-minded parties to form a third front as BJP has already launched an exercise to lure such parties. Chautala’s party INLD has lost its presence in Haryana while regional satraps may not like to accept his leadership considering his past. Third front has been a disaster in Indian politics. A veteran BJP leader, however, holds that there may be an opposition front, third, fourth or fifth front, BJP’s victory for the third successive term is sure. He did not forget to add “Modi Hai to Sab Mumkin Hai.”

Sharad Pawar’s ‘Zamindar Without Haveli’ Jab Strikes A Chord With Reformist Congress Leaders

Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar’s “zamindar” dig at the Congress party has been hailed by many G-23 group leaders who are making a strong case for the reforms and rejuvenation of the organization lest it loses political relevance. Interestingly, save for Gautam Patole, Nitin Raut and Balasaheb Thorat from Maharashtra, none of the Congress leaders across the country slammed Pawar for his observation that Congress’s situation was now like impoverished zamindars (landlords) who have no land and cannot maintain their havelis (mansions). Pawar chose to target Congress at a time when there has been unanimity among opposition parties excluding BSP, AAP and MIM to join hands to take on BJP in the run up to the next general elections. Pawar has, however, clarified that such a front won’t be possible without the Congress party playing a crucial role. Former union minister Verapppa Moily, who was among the 23 leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi last year seeking organisational overhaul, opposed the institutionalisation of the G-23 saying the group has “no role and has become irrelevant.” However, leaders during private conversations admit it is “now or never” situation for the Congress leadership to act fast for its revival or witness more desertions. And what intrigues everybody is the deafening silence of the Gandhis.

Photo : IPL photo

IPL Second Season in USA?

Cricket may make a comeback into the Olympics by 2028 in Los Angeles and not in 2024 in Brisbane which, however, has great infrastructure for the game. But long before cricket gets Olympic recognition again after figuring in the Paris Games in 1900, it may be born in the USA in an international avatar as the Second Season of IPL. Plans are afoot to build infra in the West Coast of USA for cricket not only with an eye on the Olympics but also to get into the lucrative IPL market by offering great venues for the game in Los Angeles and the Bay Area around San Francisco. In fact, these venues may be up and running in a couple of years so that the IPL Second Season can take off in the US summer of 2024. Those planning the IPL Second Season in the USA are perfectly aware that there is no dearth of CEOs of billion-dollar IT companies whose czars are all PIOs and so the game won’t be lacking in sponsors. A Second Season of IPL every year might leave little space for traditional Test cricket but the administration is unlikely to be bothered too much about it as the IPL is the game’s biggest money spinner that leaves BCCI with more money than all other cricket boards put together.

Photo : Vice President's Secretariat (GODL-India)

Appointment Of New Governor Raises Political Heat In Tamil Nadu

The appointment of Ravindra Narayana Ravi, a former bureaucrat and Governor of Nagaland, as Tamil Nadu Governor seems to have hit the DMK in the solar plexus. This development comes post the meeting of AIADMK’s Edappadi Palanisami and O Panneerselvan with Prime Minister Narendera Modi wherein they had expressed fear of a witch hunt by the Stalin government. Analysts say Stalin was surprised by this appointment. Generally, the relations between the Governor and Opposition parties-ruled Chief Ministers have always been blow hot blow cold. It may be recalled when Banwarilal Purohit was the TN Governor, the DMK dug up sleaze on a certain Nirmala Devi and tried to tarnish his image. But, once Stalin took over as CM the relationships were cordial. But is the appointment of Ravi a la Kiran Bedi who had frequent face-offs with Puducherry Chief Minister? So, what does Governor Ravi bring to the table? As a former IPS officer, with deep throat experience in counter-terrorism and intelligence, he is definitely no push over Governor. Stalin who initially made politically right statements, later via his party MLA KS Alagiri, attacked the Governor. Stalin has been pushing for more federalism and has dared the Centre by moving a Bill to scrap NEET. Till date it was easy going for Stalin, but it may not be so in the coming days with the new Governor.

Photo : Twitter

Is Everything Hunky-Dory Between Jay Shah And Sourav Ganguly?

The cricketing grapevine is rife with whispers of a conflict between the BCCI Secretary Jay Shah and President Sourav Ganguly. The decibel-level has probably increased by a notch, with Shah calling out, at his debut press conference, the name of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the mentor of the Indian team for the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in the Persian Gulf soon. Jay, the son of the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, is virtually the Chief Executive of the BCCI, running its daily affairs. Post the Vinod Rai-led Committee of Administrators’ governance, Shah is said to have restructured the administration at the Cricket Centre at ‘D’ Road, Churchgate, and he is largely credited for taking the IPL to the UAE and keeping the revenue flow of Rs 4,000 crore plus intact, and also relocating the Twenty20 World Cup (the BCCI is the host country) to Oman, and the UAE. Clearly Shah (33) is calling the shots during these unprecedented Covid-19 times. Ganguly, who was part of the illustrious middle order phalanx that had Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman, and has the bragging rights for a Lord’s century, was recently seen hobnobbing at the MCC Members’ during the Lord’s Test. Not all it seems is hunky-dory in the BCCI; come the AGM in September 2022, and we all will know if Shah will go along with Ganguly!

Kangana’s Thalaivi Stirs Jaya Memories, Raises Stakes For Cinema Release Vs OTTs

A biopic, Thalaivi, of the avowed stormy petrel of Indian politics, late J Jayalalithaa (former CM of Tamil Nadu, reigning Queen of Kollywood of the 80’s) was one of the most awaited releases. Kangana Ranaut, who plays the lead is also a firebrand in her own right. The budget for Thalaivi was Rs 90 crore. But, OTT signing, music rights and cinema advances have already netted Rs 110 crore, and whatever overflows now is money for jam. Meanwhile, there is a fight royal between the top cinemas — PVR, Inox and Cinepolis and Netflix. The Hindi version rights have been awarded to these entities, and cinemas are adamant that they need at least four weeks between their shows and OTT. Netflix is bent on immediate release. What about the original Tamil and Telugu prints? Thankfully, Amazon Prime is more yielding and agreed to wait for the cooling period. Any surprise that Kangana made a whirlwind promo trip to Chennai, to cool all tempers on the political front. She visited the memorials of JJ, MGR and Kalaignar to ensure all round peace! Thalaivi shows that ignoble public display of crass behaviour in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, some 35 years ago, when Kalaignar was the CM and a DMK MLA pulled her saree. Is DMK ready to squirm when Thalaivi hits the Tamil audience?

Photo : Twitter

Ashwin And The Curious Case Of Indian Cricket’s Poetic Justice

Selection is a matter of judgement and not about rendering justice. The Team India tour selection committee dominated by skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri took this to extremes with the studied exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin. The picture of Ashwin sitting alone during India’s victory march was a poignant image from the series. To be in the playing XI regardless of the vicissitudes of form is about chemistry more than competence. In Ashwin’s case, that chemistry was missing during Dhoni’s regime itself when his debut was delayed even as Harbhajan Singh’s career was fading. Despite his rating as the world’s top spinner and a batsman with five Test centuries he was benched for four England Tests after playing in the WTC final and performing well enough, that too in June when English conditions were skewed in favour of seam bowlers. “Horses for courses” is the dictum that Kohli-Shastri enforced and proved their point with even Shardul Thakur, the fourth seamer for the Oval Test, exceeding expectations with ball and bat too. The two men in charge of Team India chose stubbornness over received wisdom and stuck to Ravi Jadeja as batting all-rounder who bowls spin. It was upto the selectors to render justice by picking Ashwin for the T20 World Cup, which perhaps least suits him at this stage of his career.

Photo : Wikipedia

Iron Ore Shortage Hurting Odisha’s Small Businesses

An acute shortage of iron ore is hurting Odisha’s small businesses badly. Iron ore production in Odisha has dropped by over 31-34 million tonnes in 2021-22 to around 110 mn tonnes presently. The shortage has particularly hit small and medium scale industries (SMEs) who do not have captive mines and are dependent on iron ore supplies from the open market to run their plants. Odisha accounts for half of India’s iron ore production; and the state is under pressure to ensure supplies with leading industry bodies appealing for timely intervention of the state government as well as the Ministry of Steel & Mines. The challenge for the government is to address the supply shortages as well as contain the unviable price rise of the critical raw material. Production increase is the only solution to address the current supply-demand mismatch, says Vipin Gupta, Director, Utkal Metalics. He adds: “This responsibility falls on the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), a state government undertaking whose role in this regard is cut out. They will have to ramp up efficiency and production being the largest state-owned mining corporation.” Industry members hold that the OMC also needs to come out with a policy not to allow captive miners to participate in OMC’s auction bidding process.

Photo : BCCI

Jasprit Bumrah Yorkers Knock Out England As India Scores A Historic Win At The Oval

Two reverse swinging yorkers settled the issue as they crashed into the stumps behind Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow. Both yorkers flowed from the bowling arm of India’s smiling assassin who keeps his emotions well in check. As Jasprit Bumrah literally waddles in off a deceptively lazy run-up, the batsmen can be forgiven for mistaking him for a bowler of military medium pace. But a ramrod straight bowling arm can deliver reverse swinging yorkers at 90 mph, scattering stumps and breaking reputations. Reverse swing had been missing for days at The Oval as the sun smiled on late English summer days. But a 70-overs old ball roughed up by Jadeja pithing in the bowlers’ dusty footmarks was weaponised by Bumrah who opened up the England batting for fellow pace bowler Umesh Yadav to mop up. England, after a century opening stand, had been fancying themselves to chase down a fourth innings target. It was a team effort that saw India come from the depths of 127-7 and then a 99-run deficit to win, almost 50 years to the day since a famous victory at The Oval in 1971. Rohit Sharma, at the age of 34, got his first century away from home and Shardul Thakur shone with bat and ball, but it was Bumrah with his thunderbolts who stole the show.
adar poonawala

Photo : Twitter

Serum Institute’s Poonawalla On An Acquisitions Spree

Adar Poonawalla, the MD of Serum Institute Of India, is on a takeover spree. It recently took over Magma Fincop (AUM as on June 30 was Rs 14,250 crore) for an undisclosed amount. The company has been renamed Poonawalla Fincorp. It is already infusing capital and repricing loans. It has drawn up plans to grow between 25-30% annually. Recently, it acquired a 50% stake in Schott Kaisa, a JV with the German company from its former owners Kairu Dadachanji and Shapoor Mistry. Schott is into pharma packaging goods including vials which are used in the distribution of vaccines. Insiders believe this is just the beginning and more inorganic growth avenues are being pursued to enable Poonawalla to diversify from vaccine makers to a multifaceted group with interests in finance, manufacturing across sectors and healthcare.

Photo : Wikipedia

Is Khushbu Sending Feelers To DMK?

Is actor-turned-politician Khushbu Sundar who joined BJP in 2020 prior to TN Assembly polls in 2021 looking to go back to DMK which launched her political career? At least that’s what political analysts in Tamil Nadu feel, reading her message on Teacher’s Day. The 51-year Khushbu who lost assembly elections from the Thousand Lights constituency tweeted her immense respect and devotion to DMK Founder, the late Kalaignar Karunanidhi. “I must thank my mentor, my Great Teacher, Dr Kalaignar for teaching me, politics is not about hate or despair, but hope and service.” We can comprehend the hope part about casting your net again in the treacherous political waters and look for yet another comeback chance into the DMK fold. But this service part? What service? Is it self- service? Obviously, the BJP has not recognised her “service“potential” or her political chutzpah. Film stars so addicted to the arc lights and adulations, are on constant comeback mode. So are politicians it appears. But Khushbu has gone the entire merry go round circuit – DMK to Congress to BJP. Time, she hung up her periscope. She is an educated, talented and savvy woman of substance. Surely, there is a variety of creative opportunities out there for her gift of the gab and grab.
kiara advani

Photo : Fotocorp

Kiara Advani Wows With Intense Characters, From Cameo Appearances

Kiara Advani, with that girl-next-door look, innocent face and endearing smile, is one of the most sought after Bolllywood actresses. Kiara who made her debut in 2014 has acted in over 14 films that includes Hindi, Telugu and Netflix. She is currently working on four films with top stars like Kartik Aaryan, Vicky Kaushal and Ranveer Singh. This 29-year-old glam doll who has a high visibility on small screen, thanks to her brand endorsements for Colgate, Myntra, among others, is considered a lucky mascot by many producers. Critics hold that what goes in her favour is that she gets her fellow actors perform to the fullest — be it in Kabir Singh or Shershaah which eventually wins audiences too. Her performance as Dimple Cheema, girlfriend of Param Vir Chakra-awardee Captain Vikram Batra (martyred in the Kargil war) in Shershaah won her accolades. Not many know that Kiara has a Bollywood connection. Legendary actor Dada Muni and Saeed Jaffrey are step-great grandfather and great-uncle. Her debut wasn’t great with films like Fugly and Machine although many liked her role as Sakshi Rawat in MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. In most movies till date, Kiara has not bagged lengthy roles nor has had the opportunities to experiment like Alia Bhatt who has been doing it right from her second film. But, for now Kiara has arrived.
avani lekhara

Avani Lekhara with Coach Suma Shirur

Gold Medalist Avani Lekhara's Achievements Inspires A Whole Generation

Avani Lekhara has mirrored a braveheart, sending good tidings from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics shooting events. Just 19, the law student won the gold and bronze medals in Tokyo. When 12, she suffered a spinal cord injury following a car accident in the Pink City of Jaipur, and since has been wheelchair-bound. Her indomitable spirit came to the fore when she pursued the sport of shooting, competed with the world’s best in her disability categories and won laurels. All this happened after she joined Suma Shirur’s Lakshya Shooting Club at Panvel (outskirts of Mumbai) in 2018 and trained to become a champion. A medallist in the Asian and Commonwealth meets, an Arjuna Awardee and currently the High-Performance Coach of the Indian Jr. Rifle Shooting Team, a delighted Suma said: “I have been seeing Avani since she was 16, when she started coming to my Lakshya Shooting Club. What sets her apart is her willingness to prepare minutely and give her best every single time. She’s a perfectionist and never satisfied with anything, but the best. Having gone through so much in life, Avani has shown tremendous inner strength in coming out trumps. For me as coach, her unique ability stands out in verbalising every thought, emotion and even technical finer points. Despite the pressure, Avani’s never-say-die approach gives her the edge over the others.”
parambir singh

Photo : Fotocorp

Mumbai’s Ex-Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh On The Run, After Lookout Notice By NIA

Former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh has gone absconding, according to the Maharashtra home department. A home department official told this website, “A team of police officials visited his residence in Punjab where we were told he is unavailable. He is wanted for questioning in a number of cases registered against him at several police stations of Maharashtra.” A well-placed central revenue intelligence official also confirmed that Singh, who proceeded on leave after being transferred as chief of Maharashtra Home guards, in the wake of several complaints of corruption against him was unavailable at his residence in Chandigarh. Singh did not respond to phone calls, SMS and WhatsApp communications. A well-placed source in the Maharashtra police department added, “A lookout notice had been issued against Singh by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) that had also informed the Bombay High Court that Singh also faced the prospect of arrest despite being the complainant in the case registered against former Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh, against whom also a lookout notice was also issued recently. Singh is also accused of running a den of corruption with his stint as police commissioner of Thane city is believed to have been enjoying the patronage of political satraps from Maharashtra that allowed him to operate with impunity for several years before he fell foul of his political mentors.  

100-Year Old Tamilnad Mercantile Bank To Be Listed Soon

The 100-year-old Thoothukudi-based Tamilnad Mercantile Bank (TMB) has always made for a heady cocktail.  Incorporated as Nadar Bank Limited on May 11, 1921, it underwent a name change on November 27, 1962. Since then, it has come to be known as Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited. Promoted by the Nadar community, the bank has often found itself at the centre of news. The community bank hit national headlines post-liberalisation in the 90s when the Ruias of the Essar group acquired TMB shares by cashing in on the internecine quarrel within the promoter-groups. But the Ruias faced resistance. And, the Reserve Bank of India, too, was cool to their entry into the banking space. The acquisition of TMB shares by the Ruias has time and again kicked up intense political battle in Tamil Nadu with parties of all hues, picking cudgels on behalf of the Nadar community to reclaim TMB. The Ruias exited by selling the TMB shares to serial entrepreneur C. Sivasankaran as sale consideration for buying the Delhi cellular licence from him. He, too, had to exit after a peace was brokered during the Vajpayee regime. Ramesh Vagal-led (former Pepsico India head) group chipped in to buy a part of TMB shares.  Still mired in legal rows, the bank has now plans to go public. A community bank is getting a new tag now.

Photo : Afghanistan 24/7

Is Afghanistan Heading To Become Another Syria?

Afghanistan is headed to becoming the next Syria, hold experts, since infighting broke out between the Taliban factions, Pashtuns and Haqqqanis besides ISIS, which has also now jumped into the fray to apparently assert its rights over the spoils of war. A well placed MEA source said, “Unlike media reports of freshly initiated backroom parleys with the Taliban, Jaishankar was a very busy man for several weeks and months now. India engaged in talks at the instance and initiative of Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the official head of the Taliban political leadership in exile based out of Qatar.” While Stanikzai repeatedly pressed for official political relations with India and recognition from the Modi government, India focussed on evacuations of minorities (with only 3,500 now still remaining to be airlifted) and even the Afghan nationals trapped in the mess. In turn, India has been able to get the Taliban to promise that no terror attack upon India would be permitted or supported from Afghan soil. However, now infighting has broken out between the three major players, namely the Taliban (factions in exile), the Haqqani group and the Pashtuns that is threatening to escalate into a full-scale war even as an unprecedented famine-like situation has become prevalent in Afghanistan.
sarvapalli radhakrishnan

TN Sets A New Trend, Gives Best Teacher Certificates Sans CM Photo

After 14 years, the best Teachers of Tamil Nadu were awarded a certificate plaque, on Teachers Day, without a Chief Ministers picture!  Instead, the citation carried the photo of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, savant, philosopher, educationist, recipient of Bharat Ratna, first vice president and second President of India. This is seen as a refreshing change in TN political culture where jarring photos, banners and cutouts intrude the significance of every occasion, constantly reminding the people of the “greatness and relevance” of that politician! The poster culture has taken a vulgar and in your face evolution here, and the public could do nothing but stare, may be curse and move on. Is Stalin heralding a new political culture by giving due acknowledgment to the leader or historical greats who have silently worked for the development of India? If Stalin is on a self-effacement, graceful public mode, this bodes well. A welcome change from loud, crass and jarring publicity and high-profile stunts of both AIADMK and DMK heavyweights that made people squirm and chortle at their vanity.

Photo : Twitter

With Uncertainty Over Leadership, Top Congress Leaders Seen Favouring Pawar To Lead The Non-BJP Front

Days after dinner hosted by veteran Congress leader and member of the G-23 group Kapil Sibal and lack of party’s initiative for the election of a new chief, a section of the disgruntled leaders want the former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar to lead them. A former Union Minister and a prominent member of the G-23 indicated that Pawar is a leader who believes in consensus and has stature in national politics. Some of them point out that if the Congress splits due to disagreement over the leadership issue, these leaders can accept Pawar’s leadership without officially joining NCP but as a leader of a non-BJP front. However, there is a major hurdle as Pawar insists that Congress should play a central role and it cannot be sidelined to have a united front of like-minded and secular parties. Further, G-23 leaders are also unhappy over the brother-sister duo Rahul-Priyanka for creating further divide in the party. They do admit interim president Sonia Gandhi’s initiative to convene a meeting of Congress and like-minded parties, but they claim it is not enough unless the mother and siblings are prepared to decide the leadership issue without any further delay. They fear that it will cost party heavily as Congress will witness further divisions and desertions across the country which will be a good news for BJP.
shardul thakur_BCCI

Photo : BCCI

Shardul Thakur’s Straight Bat Power Play Reaps Rewards In English Conditions

Shardul Thakur’s sparkling knock in the fourth Test at South London’s “The Oval” on Thursday caught England’s fast men bowling with their tails up, off guard. India’s first innings was in disarray, vindicating Joe Root’s decision — weighing up the pros of grey overhead conditions —- to insert the visitor in. The home team’s seamers used the darker Dukes ball with finesse to cause the downfall of India’s top guns who defended with angled and closed bats, as well as followed the ball outside the off stump. Much against the run of play, the Palghar boy, Thakur who likes to swing the ball, scattered it, striking big blows in front of the wicket. After a pyrotechnical display that resulted in a fastest Test half century at The Oval, Thakur, who was told many years ago by Sachin Tendulkar to shed weight in order to be more efficient and effective, stated that there is greater security playing with a straight bat against the ball that in English conditions moves in the air and of the surface and that he has been practising in a similar fashion since arriving in England. It was a tough ask on even the most accomplished Indian batsmen to defeat the England seamers’ ploy; except for Virat Kohli who carved a lovely half century. But Thakur threw his wrists at everything leaving England flummoxed.
anil deshmukh

Photo : Fotocorp

Maharashtra Ex-Home Minister’s Hideout Mystery Deepens Post Arrest Of Lawyer, CBI Sleuth

Maharashtra’s ex-home minister Anil Deshmukh is on the lam, after the Enforcement Directorate issued a look out notice for him a week ago. A well-placed source confirmed, “Repeated failure to comply with ED summons in an ongoing investigation (five times) resulted in the notice being issued to pre-empt any attempt to leave the country.” Ironically, a lookout notice was also issued earlier against former Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh, on whose complaint, the case against Deshmukh was registered. Singh has also gone underground in the wake of multiple criminal cases registered against him by multiple Maharashtra police stations. Former Maharashtra home minister, who belongs to the Nationalist Congress Party led by Sharad Pawar, is believed to be outside Maharashtra, holed up in under the active care of a very powerful Congress leader in that state. On September 1, Deshmukh’s son-in-law and lawyer were detained by the CBI that subsequently released the former while arresting the latter. Also arrested was a CBI sleuth for leaking a preliminary report regarding investigations against Deshmukh, apparently indicating his innocence. The CBI subsequently issued a disclaimer. Deshmukh is also being probed for alleged money laundering through shell companies based out of Kolkata with the central revenue intelligence agency already having attached properties worth over Rs 4.20 crore belonging to the five time MLA from Nagpur, a close confidant of Sharad Pawar.

Photo : Venu Srinivasan and Suresh Krishna -- Wikipedia

TVS Group: The Making Of An Indian MNC

The over 100-year-old TVS group is going through a transformation of a significant kind. It just underwent a smooth reorganisation. This saw four promoter-families aligning the ownership of different companies with the arms of the family that managed them. While this caught many by surprise, something else – a big one, at that – too is quietly happening at the TVS. And this has largely gone unnoticed. Is it becoming a truly Indian MNC conglomerate? Be it manufacturing or financial services, the foreign investors’ presence is fast evaporating. Global majors have all cashed out of the group by selling their holdings to the respective TVS companies. It all began in mid-90s with Abex Corporation exiting Sundaram Abex which became Sundaram Brake Linings. Later, Suzuki quit the two-wheeler joint venture which became TVS Motor. TRW, too, went out of Lucas TVS. In the last one year, the group saw Brakes India and Wheels India buying out the stake of foreign partners. Also, foreign partners in the insurance, housing finance and mutual finance ventures of Sundaram Finance have exited. More recently, TVS Supply Solutions has bought out the Canadian pension fund, CDPQ. Now, the only prominent JV in operation is Delphi-TVS, a JV of Lucas TVS. Group patriarch Suresh Krishna always talked of Indian MNCs. Well, TVS is on track.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.