Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) India tennis veteran Mahesh Bhupathi Tuesday launched a scathing attack on the All India Tennis Association (AITA), saying its administration is detrimental to growth of sport in the country and he has no choice but to accept the two-year ban slapped on him by the "dictatorial" body. Bhupathi, 38, who is at the fag-end of his career, said that after much thought he decided to take on the AITA. "I am here to detail episodes of the personal vendetta the AITA and its dictatorial rule have carried out against me over the last decade. Tennis has given me everything I am today and, by god's grace, I am able to give back a lot to my sport, be it running tennis events, building tennis courts, raising money for talented kids and even opening academies across the country," Bhupathi read out his statement at a media conference here. "However, at every step of the way the establishment has put a spoke in the wheel. So much so that they changed the constitution to make sure we are not able to run any event in India without them being part of it." He and Rohan Bopanna were banned by the association till June 2014 for refusing to play with Leander Paes at the London Olympics. Taking a dig at AITA president Anil Khanna, Bhupathi said Khanna enjoyed the public spat between him and Paes. "Anil Khanna has enjoyed the rift between Leander and me as no other. He has re-defined the term divide and rule and at this year's Olympics, used Leander's shoulder to fire the gun against me multiple times. Unfortunately, the media terms this a Bhupathi-Paes rift and the true underbelly is left unquestioned." The 37-year-old claimed that AITA was jealous of the fact that he has been able to do more for the sport. "Over 80 percent of members of the executive committee have sat there for close to twenty years if not more and they are yet to produce one professional tennis player. The Krishnans, the Amritrajs, Zeeshan (Ali), Leander, Sania (Mirza), Rohan (Bopanna), Somdev (Devvarman) and Yuki (Bhambri) have not benefited from their system. Yet they continue to hold their positions and go about their jobs in the name of Indian tennis. "I have extended a hand of friendship to Anil Khanna several times but he was not forthcoming. He always wanted full control of things." Bhupathi said he felt for his partner and regretted not playing his farewell match for India. "It looks like I have no choice but to accept this ban. I don't know who to complain on the matter. "I do feel really bad for my friend and partner Rohan who has been caught in the cross-fire of dirty politics. As far as I'm concerned I was always banned by the AITA, they never supported anything I did for the sport, only when they couldn't do without me and they needed the doubles point in Davis Cup, I got the E-mail. "They continue to misuse the power. They have to try and teach me a lesson only because they feel I am able to do a lot more for the sport than they do," he concluded.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets was ruling 19.32 points down Tuesday in afternoon trade after early gains, as oil and gas stock lost. The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,514.72 points, was trading at 18,522.99 points, 19.32 points or 0.10 percent down from its previous day's close at 18,542.31 points. The Sensex touched a high of 18,580.48 and a low of 18,480.96 points in intra-day trade. The BSE midcap index was up 58.63 points, while the smallcap index was 49.07 points high. The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was also ruling 0.90 points or 0.02 percent up at 5,610.90 points. On the sectoral front, the BSE oil and gas index was down 65.44 points while metals was down 42.54 points. Major gainers were BHEL, up 5.80 points or 2.72 percent at Rs.219.20; SBI, up 49.15 points or 2.37 percent at Rs.2,125.30; Gail India, up 8.55 points or 2.27 percent at Rs.385.10; Infosys 52.30 points or 2.04 percent at Rs.2,614.90; and Jindal Steel, up 6.75 points or 1.71 percent at Rs.401.30. The major Sensex losers were Wipro, down 11.15 points or 2.90 percent at Rs.373.00; HDFC, down 15.55 points or 2.00 percent at Rs.763.30; TCS, down 26.40 points or 1.97 percent at Rs.1,314.50; RIL, down 13.65 points or 1.56 percent at Rs.860.00; and Hindalco Inds, down 1.35 points or 1.15 percent at Rs.115.90. Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.36 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was trading 0.09 percent down. Shanghai's composite index was down 0.86 percent.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Actor Gulshan Grover has called for a theatrical release and TV slots for short films, so that they become commercially viable. "I would want that a time comes when short films are released commercially in cinemas, people watch them, DVDs are launched, they should be shown on TV, instead of full feature films. Like Sanjay Gupta had made 'Dus Kahaaniyan'," the 56-year-old said here Monday at the launch of the short film "Scapegoat". "Unfortunately, there is no trend of short films in India because there is no slot to release it commercially. Besides, there is no clarity over their commercial evaluation," he added. Gulshan further believes that short films have strong subjects and performances. "People who make short films and their subject matters are extraordinary, they touch your heart, they are shocking and performance driven," Gulshan said.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Mumbai police are still clueless over the suspected suicide of a 27-year-old woman, whose body was found in an NCP legislator's room in Manora MLA Hostel near Churchgate here late Sunday, an official said Tuesday. The victim, identified as Rupali Andhare, niece of Dilip Dhaigunde, a personal assistant to Babanrao Shinde, Nationalist Congress Party MLA from Madha, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of the legislator's room late Sunday. Police have registered a case of "unnatural death" and are awaiting the autopsy and viscera test reports later Tuesday, ACP Krishna Prakash told media-persons. No suicide note has been recovered and police are clueless as to the motive behind her suspected suicide, he added. According to investigations, Rupali had come to Mumbai from Barshi in Solapur a few days ago in search of employment. She was living in the hostel as a guest in Shinde's room along with her two younger brothers. The incident reportedly took place Sunday evening when the two brothers had gone out to eat. On their return later that night, when Rupali did not open the door, they alerted the hostel security which summoned the police. The door was later broken down to reveal Rupali's body hanging from the ceiling fan. She was pronounced dead at G.T. Hospital later that night. ACP Prakash said that her brother has given a statement that Rupali was feeling frustrated as she was not able to get a job. The girl, an MA and BEd, was looking for a job as a teacher. The police suspect that depression due to unemployment could have driven her to take the extreme step.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Salman Khan is on the brink of completing a silver jubilee in Bollywood, and actress Kareena Kapoor says the industry is incomplete without him. "I think we all are big fans of Salman and he has been my and Karisma's (Kapoor) co-star. I am really happy with his 25 years because this industry is incomplete without Salman," the 31-year-old said here. The actress, who is awaiting the release of her film "Heroine" spoke on the sidelines of a special shoot for comedy TV show "Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah". About her appearance on the show, Kareena said: "I think it's the number one TV show, so we are happy that we could promote our film 'Heroine' on such a popular stage." The serial's most popular character, Daya Jethalal Gada, essayed by actress Disha Vakani, made Kareena do the garba. Kareena, who has danced to "Halkat jawaani" in the film was quite a sport. "All of them are quite halkat so we danced on 'Halkat jawaani' and the show has got that spirit. I also did the garba and Punjabi dance and I also made them dance to my song. So the concept has been well-woven in the script," Kareena said. Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar, "Heroine" hits theatres this Friday and also stars Arjun Rampal and Randeep Hooda.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Bollywood's "Khiladi" Akshay Kumar loves action and comedy, but says he prefers being tagged as an action hero. "I think I have very much enjoyed both the tags. I've got both the tags all the time, but somewhere in my heart, I love the action one more," the 45-year-old said here Monday on the sets of TV show "Comedy Circus". Some of Akshay's comedy films include "Hera Pheri", "Awara Paagal Deewana", "Garam Masala", "Heyy Babyy" and "Housefull". Akshay says it's tough to make people laugh. "I think it's tough to make people laugh, it's easy to kick, but to make someone laugh is tough," Akshay said. Akshay plays Lord Krishna in his next "Oh My God". About his belief in god, he said: "I am a believer. But more than god, I believe in my parents, in what they say ... and after them, I believe in god," he said. Akshay made a comeback to the action genre after seven years with his recent hit "Rowdy Rathore" and was later seen in the sci-fi film "Joker", which didn't fare well at the box office.
Mumbai, Sep 18 (IANS) Shirdi Sai Baba, regarded as a saint by his millions of devotees cutting across religions, did not leave any writings behind. But now his blessings have been encapsulated in a deck of 60 cards, each containing words attributed to him and passed on in the oral tradition that is so much a part of Indian spiritual lore. Each deck contains 60 cards with words attributed to the 20th century spiritual leader, whose 94th death anniversary will be observed Oct 15. Devotees can use the cards to pick out, at random, words that could inspire them to solve problems mundane and major. The brain behind the "blessing cards" is Shamshaad Ali Baid, a 44-year-old writer and healer. To go by the author, the creation was nothing short of a miracle. "Shri Sai Baba, in his inimitable way, guided me at every step, right from the unique inspirational idea to conceptualising it and finally in producing and distributing the cards," Baig said. She is marketing the cards online and is in the process of acquiring a patent for them. The Shirdi Sai Baba, revered by millions across the country, lived in Shirdi town of Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district. He died Oct 15, 1918, leaving behind legions of followers and devotees. Shirdi has become a thriving pilgrimage centre and evcry day tens of thousands troop to his shrine and other sacred spots associated with the life of the sage who lived his life like a mendicant and has followers of all faiths. Baig's cards may look like other such in the market, but she claims that this is the first time such a compilation of Sai Baba's words has been made available thus. The deck has 60 utterances of Sai Baba, drawn from his teachings and public discourses. There are colourful designs on the cards, which could serve as a step-by-step guidebook for conducting people's daily affairs. According to Baig, although the Sai Baba did not write anything down, his followers were profoundly moved by what he said and remembered his words long afterwards. "Those words and sentences are very powerful. I have selected a few for the deck. From Sai Baba blessing cards, one can seek his blessings and guidance in our day-to-day life, or get answers to various challenging phases. The cards are a means to connect with the divine and seek answers from it," Baig explained. Baig confessed that when Sai Baba's first inspiration came to her a year ago, she was unsure of taking up the venture. "I wondered who would accept Shri Sai Baba cards when the market is flooded with thousands of tarot cards and other such things that help foresee the future," she said. Another worrying thought was that Sai Baba's messages were philosophical and Baig wondered if she could address the concerns of ordinary people relating to love relationships or money matters with the cards. Baig claims that it was while she was attending a spiritual programme of Master Zhi Gang Sha in May that she finally made up her mind. "At one of the sessions, I saw Shri Sai Baba standing on the stage and urging me: 'Why do you worry about the finances? Everything will be taken care of. Don't worry, you just start, I am there to support you'," Baig said. Baig claims that just as she was promised in that vision, everything fell in place in time. "The ticklish issue of finances was resolved peacefully." Recounting an experience of Sai Baba's "leela" or miracle, Baig said that when the first rush of prints arrived from the press, she saw that in one of the pictures, the colours did not match the original. "I knew that it was a minor error. No one who had not seen the original would know, but I was beset with guilt and sought the Sai Baba's guidance," Baig said. She said she raised the matter with the printer, who shrugged and told her that the printing was done and it was too late to change anything. "Just then, the press production supervisor said the problem could be rectified. He tinkered with the machine, and lo and behold! Corrected versions of the cards came rolling out," said Baig. She hastens to add, however, that the cards cannot be used for astrological purposes; they offer only "divine guidance". (Quaid Najmi can be contacted at email@example.com)
Ralegan-Siddhi (Maharashtra), Sep 17 (IANS) Unhappy with the manner in which the anti-corruption movement has been floundering for the past few months, its chief proponent Anna Hazare has decided to take some drastic steps to put it back on track, an official said here Monday. For starters, Hazare has cast his net wider by inviting 35 top social workers from all over India for confabulations on how to strengthen and take forward the movement, the official said. "Tomorrow, he will meet around half a dozen prominent social figures in Pune, followed by a similar meeting in New Delhi Wednesday," the aide, requesting anonymity told IANS. At these meetings, Hazare is expected to make an appeal to these personalities - each renowned in their respective sphere - to either join or advise him on taking the anti-corruption crusade to its logical end. Some of the prominent persons who have been invited include: Prakash Amte, Abhay Bang, Girish Prabhune, Suniti S.R., Medha Patkar, Vishwambhar Choudhary, Surekha Dalwi, Ulka Mahajan, Bhau Torsekar, Narendra Dabholkar, Jaywant Matkar and Avinash Dharmadhikari. While many have responded positively to the invitation, a few others have cited prior commitments preventing them from attending Hazare's deliberations. Hazare emphatically reiterated that he would not contest elections, nor form a political party - throwing cold water on a 'referendum' by India Against Corruption (IAC), the results of which were released this evening. According to the IAC, its week-long survey attracted 737,041 respondents of whom 561,701 - 76 percent, favoured a political party, while the rest, 175,340 - 24 percent were opposed to a new political outfit.
Mumbai, Sep 17 (IANS) Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi said Monday he was exploring the legality of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) sidelining him and Rohan Bopanna from the Davis Cup squad till June 2014. AITA decided to sideline the two players after they defied the association's decision of pairing one of them with Leander Paes at the 2012 London Games. Bhupathi has also called for a press conference here Tuesday to give his version and also announce his move against the AITA. "Rohan has played for India for 10 years and I have played now for about 18 years now. And to get slapped with something like this, I take this as rough," Bhupathi was quoted as saying by Times Now. Bhupathi said if AITA's decision was not legal that he would go after the national body. "We are exploring it, we don't know yet but I don't think what they have done and the way they have done it is fully legal. So we are exploring it what they have done is right and obviously if not legal, we are gonna go after it," he added. Bhupathi also felt that AITA's decision was a case of personal vendetta. "It's been going on with me and association and heads of the federation for years now. I am just upset and afraid that my friend and partner Rohan has got caught in the middle of this dirty game. I have been quiet for a long time," he said.
Mumbai, Sep 17 (IANS) Emraan Hashmi, who is riding high on the success of "Raaz 3", is the most underrated actor of the present generation, says Bollywood star Salman Khan. Emraan's box office success ratio was recently compared to Salman's, as he has earned a thumbs up with most of his recent films, including "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai", "Murder 2", "The Dirty Picture", "Jannat 2", "Shanghai" and most recently, "Raaz 3"