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Actor Akshay Kumar appears before Punjab Police SIT

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Akshay Kumar

Chandigarh, Nov 21: Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar appeared before the special investigation team (SIT) of the Punjab Police on Wednesday in connection with an alleged deal mediated by him between controversial godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim and former Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Police sources said that the questioning began around 10 a.m. and is being video recorded.

Akshay, who landed at the Chandigarh international airport earlier on Wednesday, drove straight to the high-security Punjab Police headquarters in Sector 9 here to appear before the SIT.

The Punjab Police had earlier this month summoned Kumar as a witness.

Akshay had on Tuesday moved a request that he be allowed to meet the SIT officials in Chandigarh instead of Amritsar, where he had been originally summoned.

The SIT is investigating incidents of sacrilege of the Guru Granth Sahib and the subsequent firing on protesters in 2015.

Akshay was questioned regarding his alleged role in brokering a Rs 100-crore deal between the controversial godman, who was later convicted of rape and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment and Sukhbir Badal in Mumbai in 2015 just days before the release of a film of the godman.

The 51-year-old has denied that he arranged any such meeting or had any role in brokering the deal. He had termed the allegations as “rumours and false statements” about his involvement with Ram Rahim Singh.

“I have never ever met Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in my life, anywhere. I learnt from social media at some point that Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh resided for a while at some place in my locality Juhu in Mumbai but we never ever crossed each other’s paths,” Akshay had tweeted recently after he was summoned by the Punjab Police.

On his part, Sukhbir Badal said on Tuesday that he had never met Akshay outside Punjab. “I have never met Akshay Kumar outside Punjab,” Badal said.

Sukhbir Badal was questioned by the SIT here at the Punjab Police headquarters on Monday. He termed the questioning as a sham and alleged that the Congress government in Punjab led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was indulging in political vendetta.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was on November 16 questioned by the SIT headed by additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Pramod Kumar and Inspector General Kunwar Vijay Pratap.

The senior Badal said that he told the SIT that he had not ordered firing on Sikh protesters agitating against the sacrilege incidents in October 2015.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had said earlier that his government had no role in the summoning of the Badals and the actor by the SIT.

The SIT was set up by the Amarinder government in September this year to probe cases of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the firing ordered on those protesting against the sacrilege cases in October 2015 when the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government headed by Parkash Singh Badal was in power in the state.

Two persons were killed in the police firing in Behbal Kalan village near Kotkapura town in Faridkot district.

IANS

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People still get moved by Anuradha Paudwal’s performances, says son Aditya

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anuradha-paudwal

New Delhi, Jan 22 : It has been a while since singer Anuradha Paudwal lent her voice to Bollywood films. But her son Aditya Paudwal, a music arranger and producer, says the singer, who now focuses more on devotional music, is still able to move people through her performances.

Anuradha has given many hit Bollywood songs like “Dil hai ke manta nahin”, “Jaane jigar jaaneman” and “Mujhe neend na aaye”.

Asked if he misses her singing Bollywood songs, Aditya told IANS in an email interview: “She has made a mark in devotional music. People still get moved by her performances. I have seen people’s lives changing after listening to her devotional ‘aartis’ and ‘mantras’.

“I would like to come up with a composition for my mother,” he added.

Meanwhile, Aditya is currently associated with “Thackeray”. He is the song arranger and producer of “Saheb tu” from the film which is based on the life of Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray.

“When I was working with (composers) Rohan-Rohan on a Marathi film’s score, they had mentioned to me about this song which they wanted on a epic scale with symphonic kind of an arrangement. This song basically shows the journey of Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.

“This is the first time that a 72-piece orchestra has recorded in one go in a studio,” he added.

On why the song has an European feel, Aditya shared: “The film is set in the 1950s to the 1960s.”

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Madhavan’s painfully long transformation for ‘Rocketry…’

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ROCKETRY - THE NAMBI EFFECT

Mumbai, Jan 22 : Actor R. Madhavan says getting the look of scientist and aerospace engineer S. Nambi Narayanan for “Rocketry – The Nambi Effect” was a “painfully long” process.

“The process took painfully long…about 2 days of sitting on a chair for 14 hours at a stretch,” Madhavan said in a statement.

“Initially it looked easy but later I realised how tough it was on the body,” he added.

The actor says getting the look right is “definitely half the battle won”.

“But the other half was really really tough because the age group I’m playing is around 70-75. Mr. Nambi is a very good-looking man and he has got his own charm and charisma so it took me around two-and-a-half years to actually imbibe him and learn how to walk like him.It wasn’t easy and it’s probably one of the toughest looks and characters I’ve had to pull off”.

The film is based on the life of the scientist. As a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Narayanan was in-charge of the cryogenics division. In 1994, he was charged with espionage and arrested. The charges against him were dismissed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 1996 and the Supreme Court declared him not guilty in 1998.

Madhavan has got the look right, and the actor says the biggest encouragement came from Narayanan himself.

“Nambi sir couldn’t stop laughing and getting amused by my look. There are so many pictures on the set that it looks almost eeriely how similar we both look.”

The film is slated for a release later this year.

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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