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Happy Rahman thanks mother, God at Oscars gala

Indian music maestro AR Rahman won the Oscar for his original score in the highly acclaimed movie Slumdog Millionaire.

The composer was overwhelmed and interspersed his speech with Hindi as well as Tamil on receiving the coveted trophy here Sunday.

“There is a dialogue from an old Hindi film,”Mere paas ma hai” – which means I have nothing but a mother. My mother is here, I have her blessings. I am glad she could be here,” said Rahman.

He ended the acceptance speech by saying “God is great” in Tamil, something he says after winning every award.

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, General, Hollywood, Kollywood, Oscar, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AR Rahman gets 2 Oscars for Slumdog’s music

It was a dream run at the Oscars for India.

Filmmaker Danny Boyle’s rags-to-riches romance set in India, Slumdog Millionaire, won eight Oscar awards for best feature film, direction, original song, original score, sound mixing, editing, adapted screenplay and cinematography.

An elated Rahman who won the Academy Awards for best original score and song from the film Slumdog Millionaire said, “I want to thank everyone. The essence of the film is optimism and hope. All through my life I had the choice of love and hate…I chose love and I am here.” Read story

Boyle, 52, who had never before been nominated for an Oscar, beat David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Ron Howard (Frost/Nixon), Gus Van Sant (Milk), and Stephen Daldry (The Reader).

Boyle also becomes the first British winner of best director since Sam Mendes was honored in 2000 for American Beauty.

Resul Pookutty, who won the Oscar for best sound mixing, along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke said, “I dedicate this award to my country. This is not just an award, it is history.”

Smile Pinki, a 39-minute short film in Hindi and Bhojpuri, directed by Emmy-nominated producer Megan Mylan won the best documentary short subject Oscar. Read story

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz won her first Oscar on 22/02/2009 as best supporting actress for her performance as tempestuous artist Maria Elena in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

“I dedicate this to all the actors from my country,” Cruz said in Spanish as she accepted the award.

Heath Ledger got the best supporting actor award for The Dark Knight. Ledger becomes the second man to win an acting Oscar posthumously.

Movie fans flocked to Hollywood on 22/02/2009(23/02/2009  morning India time) to watch the stars parade up the red carpet for the Oscars, the world’s top film awards.

Suspense at the gala ceremony had shifted to whether host Hugh Jackman and producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark (Dreamgirls) can recapture a dwindling television audience with a showcase of top stars and films.

Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre where the 81st Academy Awards were held saw actors like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Meryl Streep and scores of other stars.

Many around the world watched on television to see what Jackman would do. He who won a Tony award on Broadway for his work in The Boy From Oz as well as TV’s Emmy award for hosting the stage world’s Tony awards.

He was brought in to the Oscars to help spruce up the show. He, Condon and Mark had been mostly quiet about their plans, but The Los Angeles Times said the pair hired Australian director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) to stage one number and comic writer/director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) for laughs.

Jackman performed a musical introduction and a longer routine in the middle of the more than three-hour show.

Popular films always work

The biggest draw for Oscars has always been having popular movies at the centre of the show and suspense over which films, actors and actresses will win awards.

Slumdog, an often dark but ultimately hopeful tale about a poor Indian boy who competes for love and money on a TV game show, has generated about $150 million in global ticket sales.

It has earned awards from critics and industry groups whose members include actors, directors, producers and writers.

The movie’s key competition came from Milk, starring Penn as gay activist Harvey Milk, as well as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Pitt as a man who ages backward.

The other two nominees were Frost/Nixon, which recounts the historic interviews of disgraced former US President Richard Nixon by British TV host David Frost, and the drama The Reader

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, General, Hollywood, India Related, Kollywood, Oscar, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shah Rukh Khan’s shoulder surgery successful

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh khan

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh khan’s shoulder surgery ended successfully on February 16, 2009. Earlier in the day Khan was admitted to Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital for the operation.

The actor injured his shoulder while shooting for the film ‘Dulha Mil Gaya’. This is Shah Rukh’s 2nd shoulder surgery. The actor decided to get himself operated in Mumbai to avoid the sort of criticism that came his way after he chose to be operated on by doctors in London for a back problem in 2003, says a friend of the actor.

“When he got his back surgery done in London there was criticism about his lack of faith in Indian doctors. Shah Rukh feels that some of the finest doctors in the world are in Mumbai and so he sees no need to go to the West for treatment,” Khan’s friend said.

Post the surgery Khan will be out of action for at least 2 months. Arriving in Mumbai from London, Shah Rukh spoke to the media about his injury. “I will be fine and get back to work in 2 to 3 months. I believe this is a little price that I have to pay for all the goodness that I have got in life”, the very optimistic actor said.

Despite his painful shoulder, Shah Rukh chose to promote his new film “Billu” vigorously during the Valentine week. “After attending the special screening of “Billu” for hairdressers in Mumbai on Feb 12, 2009, Shah Rukh flew to London with Lara Dutta and Irrfan Khan for the film’s premiere. He came back to Mumbai on Feb 15, 2009 to prepare for Monday’s (Feb 16, 2009) surgery,” the friend said.

Shah Rukh will need to rest for a month after the surgery, which has put on hold the filming of Karan Johar’s “My Name Is Khan” till March 14, 2009. But Johar, a close friend of the superstar, is not worried. “Films will keep happening. Shah Rukh needs to be well,” Johar said.

February 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Veteran Actor-Comedian Nagesh dead

END OF AN ERA: Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment.

Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment.

Veteran Tamil movie actor-comedian Cyril K Nagesh, popularly known as Nagesh, died in Chennai on Jan 31, 2009, a family source said. He was 77.

Nagesh was suffering from diabetes and a heart ailment, the family member said. He is survived by three sons, including actor Anand Babu.

Nagesh acted in about 1,000 films and is most remembered for his role in Thiruvilayaadal.

January 31, 2009 Posted by | Cinema, General, Kollywood | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-skipper Mohammad Azharuddin to contest on Congress ticket

COUNTERING AP ALLIANCE: With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar’s entry will boost Cong’s confidence.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in AP, Azhar

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin may contest the coming Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket. The Congress leadership has been in touch with him for the past few months.

With the TDP-TRS alliance looking strong in Andhra Pradesh, Azharuddin’s entry will boost the confidence of the Congress.

Azharuddin will be used by Congress to counter the powerful MIM influence on Muslim voters in Hyderabad.

The batsman might stand from his hometown Hyderabad. He has a huge fan-following there despite his premature exit from the world of cricket following allegations of match fixing in the late 90s.

Azhar has kept a low profile since his exit from the Indian cricket scene and runs a successful event management firm.

Speculation was rife in February last year that he may either join or campaign for the Telangana Rastra Samiti in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls. The talk was sparked by the hour-long luncheon meeting he had with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, Elections, General, India Related, Politics, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India test-fires BrahMos cruise missile

SHOW OF STRENGTH: Indian Army officers look on at Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi.

Indian Army officers look on at Brahmos missiles during Army Day parade in New Delhi.

India test-fired BrahMos cruise missile successfully on Jan 20, 2009  at the Pokhran test range of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.

BrahMos, developed jointly with Russia, is a supersonic cruise missile and can be launched from submarine, ship, aircraft and land based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL).

The missile was to be test-fired for the third time in desert conditions on January 18, 2009  but it was postponed to January 20, 2009  due to heavy fog and rain in the area.

BrahMos has been named after two rivers – the Brahmaputra of India and the Moscow of Russia.

The first test-firing of the BrahMos was conducted on June 12, 2001 at the Interim Test Range Chandipur-On-Sea in Balasore (Orissa).

January 20, 2009 Posted by | General, India Related, Science, Technology, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Millions to watch Obama become US’ first black President

WAITING FOR OBAMA: People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a ‘Bye Bye Bush’ demonstration in Spain.

People with masks of Barack Obama wave during a

Barack Obama will become the first black president of the United States of America on Tuesday.

He came, he campaigned and he conquered and now Obama’s swearing-in ceremony will watched across the world.

Inauguration Day in the US is steeped in tradition. The president-elect and family will start their day with the morning service at the St Johns Church.

Obama and vice-president elect Joe Biden and their families will then proceed to the White House, where they will be greeted by outgoing President George W Bush. The swearing-in ceremony will be held at the US Capital.

First Joe Biden will take the oath of office and then Barack Obama raising his right hand and putting his other hand on the Bible will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts and attend inaugural parade.

On the eve of his inauguration, Obama paid tribute to the man who ushered in the social change which has helped US get its first black president – Martin Luther King

“Never forget that the true character of our nation is revealed not during times of comfort and ease but by the right we do when the moment is hard. I ask you to help reveal that character once more. And, together, we can carry forward as one nation and one people the legacy of our forefathers that we celebrate today,” said Obama.

Over 2 million people are expected to watch the swearing-in ceremony as well as Obama give his inaugural address.

At Penysalvania they are anticipating 3,00,000 people for viewing stands and many others will watch teh inaugural parade.

It is difficult to say what strikes the most about the next US president. Is it Barack Obama’s background, his education or is it his youth?

It is perhaps a combination of all of them, expressed in that one word – charisma.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sanjay Dutt gets a Rs 3-crore bus for poll campaign

Sanjay Dutt’s luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis.

Sanjay Dutt

Sanjay Dutt, a new entrant to the field politics, is kicking off his new career in style.

The Bollywood star is all set for smashing debut at the political box office in Lucknow and it’s time now for the Samajwadi party candidate to do a bit of travelling.

Dutt is getting a Rs 3-crore luxury Volvo caravan, equipped with a shower and a toilet for his campaign trails.

The luxury cruise caravan is being built on an original Volvo chassis complete with all the comforts of home.

“The forward section has an office lounge section. The central section has a bar and complete set-up which houses all the DVDs, the play station, the X-Box, computers,” says Dilip Chhabria of DC Design Pvt Ltd.

The designer says Sanjay designed it for his outdoor movie shoots. Sources close to the actor believe otherwise and say he would also be using it for his election campaigns in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of North India.

The luxury vehicle could even be a gift from the Samajwadi Party.

“Sanjay Dutt’s specification was very, very clear. He wanted a vehicle that could spell a wow,” says Chhabria.

The caravan has been nine months in the making and would be delivered to Sanjay Dutt soon.

January 20, 2009 Posted by | Bollywood, Cinema, Elections, General, India Related, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I wasn’t comfortable with Chappell: Sehwag; Praises Sourav Ganguly

Indian opener Virender Sehwag

Greg Chappell betrayed the trust of players but Gary Kirsten, his successor as Indian cricket coach, is the “best I have ever seen”, India’s dashing opening batsman Virender Sehwag said on Monday (January 19, 2009). The former South African batting star, Kirsten “doesn’t force things on you”, Sehwag said.

Comparing the two coaches, Sehwag indicated that Chappell had tried to get him to change his batting style.

“He had his view on my front-foot play, my footwork. The thing with him (Chappell) was that whatever you shared with him, it was promptly disclosed to media and selectors. He talked and that hurt the trust. I wasn’t comfortable with him,” Sehwag said.

Calling current coach Gary Kirsten as the best coach he has ever seen, Sehwag said, “He is the best coach I have ever seen. He doesn’t force things on you. His basic premise is: you all are international cricketers and you know how to succeed and how important it is to succeed. So I won’t thrust myself on you. But whenever you need me, for practice, throwing balls, sharing ideas, worries, I am always there.”

“During Test matches, there are days when he doesn’t force you to follow you a similar routine in warm ups. If he senses a day when it can be an easy one for the lads, he allows you to do no warm ups. When an intense day is ahead, we all come together to bring that required intensity,” added Viru.

The Delhi-opener also praised former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who encouraged him to take on the mantle of an opener in the Test side.

“Yes, Dada made me an opener in Sri Lanka, where I hit gold in the third match with that blistering century off 69 balls (against New Zealand). A lot of youngsters, including me, came to the fore under Dada,” Viru said.

Praising Dada’s captaincy skills, Sehwag said, “Remember, when he took over world cricket was reeling under the impact of match-fixing. He always backed us. For instance when I was Man of the Match against Australia early in my career, he assured me that I would play in at least next 30 one-day matches. Even when he promoted me as an opener, he told me to bat without worry as he wouldn’t touch me for the next 30-35 games.”

“When your captains back you in this manner, your confidence is sky-high. He was also an extremely aggressive captain,” he added.

Viru, however, said that his current skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing what Dada used to do, but just that Mahi give more space to everyone.

He said, “In many ways he is doing what Ganguly used to do. He is also aggressive. But he also knows how to be defensive if a game is to be saved. The thing with Dhoni is that he gives all of us a lot of space. He doesn’t want to control everyone.”

“The optional practice rule has really gained ground under him. Now it’s not mandatory to turn up for practice everyday. There is so much of travelling, so many matches. He knows the importance of rest and allows everyone their own recovery period,” added the opener.

Finally, commenting on his Test career revival after the Adelaide Test in Australia in 2007-08, Sehwag went on to say that the century in the Test was very special.

“Yes it is. It was a knock when I was determined to spend time at the crease. In the first two hours on the final day, I made only 27 runs in the first session. In the afternoon, Tendulkar kept telling me that we had to keep going. Or Australians could use the final 30-35 overs to chase down the target. It was very, very special,” he said.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Cricket, General, India Related, Sports, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sania Mirza enters round 2 of Australian Open

Indian ace Saniza Mirza  moves to second round

Making a successful return to the grand slams, India’s Sania Mirza cruised into the second round of the Australian Open on Monday (January 19, 2009) after defeating aside Poland’s  Marta Domachowska.

Sania won the match 6-1, 6-4 in a convincing display of form. However, she will have to continue in the same tempo as she may have to face Nadia Petrova, a top-10 player.

Sania raced away with the first set in just 25 minutes, breaking the Polish player thrice. The Indian led 2-0 in the second set before Marta stepped on the gas, winning four games on the trot, breaking Sania in the third and fifth games.

From a comfortable 2-0, Sania found herself trailing 2-4 in no time. Under pressure, the 22-year-old Hyderabadi got her act together and went on to win the next four games to seal the issue.

Sania broke Marta in the eighth and 10th games in the process. Sania had lost to Marta in 2003 in their first meeting and now the face-to-face record stands 1-1.

Sania, playing her first singles match of the season after a long injury-lay off, was happy with her comeback  match. “It was a great way to begin after such a long break. I’ve not played a match in almost six months now. I’m just happy to have come through,” she said after the match.

Sania’s best show so far in the Australian Open has been reaching the third round in 2005 and 2008.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | General, India Related, Sports, Tennis, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment