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Mumbai, Feb 27 (IANS) Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman says turning producer is like being born again as a new man.

He has turned writer and producer with his movie “99 Songs”.

“I feel like I have been reborn since the time I have decided to turn producer. It’s an entirely new feeling,” Rahman said.

Opening up about the challenges of making a film, he said: “It’s like being born again as a new man. When I started as a film music composer, I already had ten years of experience.

“But as a producer, it felt so new and seemed like I was starting all over again and I wanted to leave no stone unturned in giving it my best. Also, since I was working with other debutants — the director and the actor — I was reminded that I have a completely new team and we had a modest budget. I didn’t want to spare any effort in presenting it well and try to make our own epic.”

Asked if he was a regular on sets during the shoot, he said: “I knew that if some important scenes needed to be expanded, I ensured I would be present on set. Our executive producer would tell me that we have time constraints and will have to wrap the scene in a day while I was keen on four because those are the scenes that need love and complete justice. It’s an art to balance between creative and commercial. However, if you get too creative then you may have to sell your property.”

“It is a first attempt and I hope we have done our best. My wife and daughters have been a great support,” he added.

The movie is directed by debutant director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy and will release in three languages, including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. “99 Songs” will also introduce Ehan Bhat.

Presented by Jio Studios, the film is produced by A.R. Rahman’s production company YM Movies and co-produced by Ideal Entertainment.


Neetu Kapoor remembers Rishi Kapoor with a whiff of Vera Lynn




Neetu Kapoor Rishi Kapoor

Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) It’s been a month since Rishi Kapoor passed away. The late actor’s wife, actress Neetu Kapoor, brought back his memories with a throwback picture and with a few lines from Vera Lynn’s magical oeuvre.

Neetu took to Instagram and shared an old picture of herself along with Rishi from their younger days. Alongside the image, she wrote a few lines from the classic song “Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye” by Vera Lynn.

“Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye. Cheerio, here I go on my way. With a cheer, not a tear, in your eye Give me a smile, I can keep for a while. In my heart while I’m away,” she wrote in the caption.

Rishi Kapoor breathed his last on April 30. He had been battling leukemia for the past two years. He was 67.

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Amitabh Bachchan sponsors 10 buses for Uttar Pradesh migrants

Bachchan’s is the second major effort by a Bollywood personality after actor Sono Sood, who organised several buses for migrants over the past days




amitabh bachchan

Mumbai, May 29 : Moved by the plight of stranded migrants, Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan has come forward to contribute his mite to their cause.

After the Friday afternoon ‘namaz’, a fleet of 10 buses carrying around 225 excited migrants, including women and 43 children, were flagged off for various destinations in Uttar Pradesh.

As green flag was shown to the Bachchan-sponsored initiative, the weary but cheerful migrants let out collective cheers of joy and relief, with ‘thumbs up’ or ‘V’ signs, looking forward to their long journey home.

Five of the buses are on way to Prayagraj, two buses each are headed for Gorakhpur and Bhadoi, while one bus will arrive at Lucknow. The migrants will then have to proceed to their respective villages from these towns.

The flag-off was attended by ABCL Managing Director Rajesh Yadav, Suhail Khandwani, Managing Trustee of the Mahim Dargah Trust and Trustee of Haji Ali Dargah Trust, officials and top representatives of both the trusts including Mohammed Ahmed.

“It was the brainchild of Bachchan sahab, who has been deeply concerned by the sufferings of the migrants since the lockdown. He made a proposal and the Haji Ali Dargah and Mahim Dargah responded by offering to make all the arrangements,” Sabir Sayed, Mahim Dargah’s IT-Director told IANS.

The Haji Ali Dargah, incidentally, has an emotional connect with Bachchan and his fans. He had shot the climax of his 1983 superhit “Coolie” at the historic shrine. The Manmohan Desai entertainer is still recalled for the grievous accident that the superstar suffered on the film’s set, following which he was hospitalised for months.

While on his current initiative, Bachchan had been feeding hundreds of migrants at various locations and also providing them with medicines over two weeks, without much fanfare.

They were also given footwear, as many migrants were developing sores or blisters or gashes on their legs due to long hours of walking in the scorching sun.

Bachchan, through Yadav, and the trustees of the two mausoleums, got down to the nitty-gritties of organising the massive operation over the past two weeks.

“It was tough work. Finally, after securing all permissions, clearances from the Maharashtra and other state governments, the fleet of buses finally started on their trips today, well before the onset of monsoon,” said Sayed.

Mahim Dargah Trustee (Dr) Mudassar Lambe informed IANS that a thorough medical screening of each migrant passenger was carried out, taking into account various criteria.

“Besides, to ensure a hassle-free journey, each passenger has been given a full kit of masks, sanitisers, gloves, water bottles and food packets for the entire journey. Each bus has a full-fledged emergency medical kit with essential medicines, fruit juices, glucose, etc,” Lambe added.

Owing to the social distancing norms, the 52-seater buses will accommodate around 25 passengers, and the bigger buses will seat 30 travellers.

The migrants hailing from all religions prayed at the Haji Ali Dargah, and later the bus halted briefly at the Mahim Dargah before zooming off to their respective destinations, said M. Imran (Ibrahim) Khan, the Covid-19 reliefs executive for the Haji Ali Dargah.

Bachchan’s is the second major effort by a Bollywood personality after actor Sono Sood, who organised several buses for migrants over the past days and an AirAsia flight from Kochi to Bhubaneshwar with 167 migrants today. Besides this, the National Law School, Bengaluru alumni along with an IIT team sent 175 migrants by an AirAsia flight from Mumbai to Ranchi, Jharkhand, on May 27.

Alongside the Maharashtra government, scores of other individuals, NGOs and organisations are also engaged daily in the huge humanitarian efforts to ensure the safe repatriation of hundreds of migrants to the safety of their homes.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: [email protected])

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Salman encourages social distancing with Swag

The superstar added, “These simple yet effective greeting also symbolise our intent to keep each other safe, especially in the these challenging times.”




salman khan

New Delhi, May 29 : Heightened safety and hygiene standards is the new normal; to that end Bollywood superstar Salman Khan joins hands with Pepsi to encourage people to greet one another with a traditional Salaam and Namaste.

As ‘social-distancing’ and ‘zero-contact’ become the new IT words, the way forward for people both in India and globally is to ditch the handshake and opt for contactless greetings. The precedent was already set as early as March this year when British Royals and global leaders were photographed opting for desi acknowledgments rather than the accepted Western standards.

In an endeavour to make these contactless Indian greetings a part of the pop culture, Pepsi, along with its brand ambassador Salman Khan, have today introduced an exciting digital forward campaign. The video campaign aims at inspiring the world that greeting each other with a Salaam/Namaste is the perfect way to ensure social distancing and yet maintain connections responsibly.

Speaking exclusively to IANSlife, actor Salman Khan stated, “I am proud to partner with Pepsi and to encourage people to embrace contactless form of greetings. I am confident that people will enjoy the campaign that we kicked off today as real swag is in wishing each other by using greetings like salaam/namaste.”

The superstar added, “These simple yet effective greeting also symbolise our intent to keep each other safe, especially in the these challenging times.”

Khan who is currently home-sheltering along with the rest of the country due to the government mandated lockdown asserts, “Social distancing is the need of the hour and I am proud to partner with Pepsi in this culturally relevant campaign. All our life, we have been taught to care about others and to maintain social distancing in today’s times, is an extension to that lesson. I truly believe that there is real swag in greeting people with Salaam & Namaste as you are not only keeping yourself safe but others too, in the process. Together, Pepsi and I, salute people who are embracing these contactless forms of greetings.”

The campaigns video is an extension of youth centric campaign – eSWAG SE SOLO’ and is based on three relevant insights. The cultural insight which recognizes salaam and namaste as an inherent part of the nation’s culture; the social insight which recognizes the importance of social distancing in the new world; and the consumer insight which recognizes the people’s need to express themselves in a fun and engaging manner. It encourages behavioural change through adherence to social distancing norms through a simple act of doing salaam/ namaste in an entertaining manner.

A PepsiCo India spokesperson said, “Existing habits and beliefs have never been challenged as much as they are being today. Social distancing will take centerstage as people step out of their homes once again. Pepsi as a responsible brand, aims to champion the cause of contactless greetings by encouraging people to use our old age traditional ways of greetings with Salaam/Namaste.”

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