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Venezuela bags Miss Universe title once more

August 25: Miss Venezuela Stefania Fernandez has been proclaimed victor of the 2009 Miss Universe spectacle in the Bahamas. Stefania Fernandez was conferred with the honour on Sunday night. The runner up title went to Miss Dominican Republic, Ada Aimee de la Cru.

The glamour episode that was telecast consisted of musical presentations by Kelly Rowland, Flo Rida, Heidi Montag, and David Guetta. The event was anchored by Billy Bush, who jointly presents "Access Hollywood," along with Claudia Jordan, ex Miss Rhode Island USA who has featured on a number of TV programmes. The board of judges comprised artist Dean Cain and celebrity model Valeria Mazza.

Miss China, Wang Jingyao, bagged the Miss Congeniality title while the honour for Miss Photogenic went to Miss Thailand, Chutima Durongdej.

DD launches Golden Jubilee carnival with Rahman's recital

August 17: Countrywide broadcaster Doordarshan launched its Golden Jubilee celebrations stretching all through the year with music ace A R Rehman performing a recital as Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni guaranteed that DD would televise the 2010 Commonwealth Games on High Definition format.

"Doordarshan made its humble beginning in a makeshift studio in September 1959. In those days, there were limited black and white television sets. Colour TV came in India in 1982 and now I promise that 2010 Commonwealth Games would be broadcast by DD on High Definition format," Soni observed while unveiling the recital on Tuesday, which is the opening of the sequence of functions arranged by the government as an honour to the completion of 50 years of performance by the countrywide broadcaster.

Lauding Doordarshan for its completion of fifty years as nationwide broadcaster, Soni observed that Doordarshan had offered the people of the nation with their first television watching experience and had achieved a broad area of coverage. It had engrossed audience with all varieties and will go on to thrive. She observed that DD has undertaken a prolonged trip and has been eyewitness to a hi-tech transformation in the preceding 50 years.

Indian cine festival in Los Angeles to feature Ray's films

The 7th yearly film festival of India at Atlanta from 21st August will feature Twelve Indian movies, comprising Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali" along with "Agantuk", and much-admired "Rudali" and "Salaam Bombay". The films have been salvaged from the collections of the National Film Development Corporation and will be shown at the High Museum in Los Angeles.

The curator of High Museum in charge of media arts Linda Dubler worked in collaboration with A Agnihotri, director of the Indo-American Film Society, to select the movies to be shown this year, a release confirmed.

The opening movie of the festival is "Dance of the Wind. Director Rajan Khosa's debut film is centered on Pallavi, a singer of traditional Hindustani songs who is not capable to sing after the demise of her mother.

Ray's final movie was "Agantuk", a merger of family drama coupled with a prevailing atmosphere of expectancy and comments on Indian society, which will draw the attention of the movie lovers on the second day.

Amitabh Bacchan's blog to take the form of a book

August12: With Amitabh Bachchan setting a precedent in Bollywood with his blog and with large numbers of his followers from all over the globe keeping a track of his everyday updates, it was greatly expected that Big B's online observation would get the shape a book.

Bachchan, who articulates his views on everything from Australian racism controversy to the swine virus on the blog, revealed the news regarding the proposed book arrangement in his most recent post.

"During one of my meetings with BigAdda.com the people that matter said that they have a desire to convert the blog and my posts into a book and release it. I would find that terribly embarrassing, but if they were to persevere, I would want to suggest that the book also contain some of the responses from fans," Amitabh noted in his current blogpost.

The celebrity, who considers his readers as part of the total family, observed that he desires their opinions and reactions to be incorporated in the book as the communication has been a process of enlightenment for him.

HC petition filed against 'Sach Ka Samna' TV show

The Delhi High Court will mull over whether 'Sach Ka Samna', a television entertainment programme in which participants are required to answer a sequence of uncomfortable queries, is "obscene and against Indian culture and ethos" as argued by a resident of Delhi.

The programme has taken the theme from America's 'Moment of Truth' in which competitors are required to answer 21 questions. Most of the queries are prickly as they are private in character. Those who succeed in the polygraph test are entitled to a prize money of up to Rs one crore. Deepak Maini, the Delhi resident has moved the court contending that the show telecast on popular television channel Star Plus violates the ethics of the Indian social order.

In his petition put forward by advocate N S Dalal, Maini argued, "Some of the questions which were so shown are not only vulgar but the same are obscene also...The same affects social living and affecting the decorum which has to be maintained in the society'

While appealing to the court he made a plea to order Star Plus and Siddharth Basu, proprietor of Big Synergy which is funding the programme, to hold back the show from being telecast and suggested that the queries put forward to the contenders all through the programme desecrated fundamental rights accorded by the Indian Constitution, as they have a bearing on citizens' right to social ethics.

He also suggested in his entreaty to the court that telecast of such "vulgar" programmes calls for retribution according to Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.

Maini made a plea to the court to give necessary orders to the government for establishing a committee to assess the decency of such serials. The entreaty will come up for hearing on Friday.

Legendary Producer Shakti Samanta's Exposition in New Delhi

New Delhi, July 11: A two day exposition of Shakti Samanta Films was launched by the Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni on 10th July 2009 at Siri Fort Auditorium II, New Delhi. The Minister observed that she together with her new unit at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting would make a sincere attempt to make good cinema accessible to the aam admi by arranging more such retrospectives of renowned film producers. The Minister praised the Directorate of Film Festivals for making arrangements for a mini film festival at Shillong. The Minister also noted that shortly she would organize more such mini film festivals in Meghalaya, Jammu that would reach distant regions of India. The Minister recollected her experience during previous year's Cultural festival in China where an enthusiastic requirement for Indian cinema was expressed. The Minister remarked that the government was lucky to have utilized the genius of Shakti Samanta for seven long years as chief of the Central Board of Film certification.

Director and son of late Samanta, Ashim Samanta who was the Keynote Speaker, recounted memories from the life of his father Shakti Samanta, revealing a lucid description of the human characteristic, effort and willpower of Shakti Samanta that made him the star he became in Bombay cinema. Ashim recollected when Shakti Samanta began his career as a school teacher in a place 100kms away from Bombay, he would make a trip to Bombay each Friday. These trips to Bombay brought him into contact with the famous artist Ashok Kumar and consequently his opening film 'Inspector' and subsequently 'Howrah Bridge' was produced.

Shakti Samanta's award bagging movie Amar Prem was displayed at the opening function. Five of his much acclaimed movies Howrah Bridge, Kati Patang, Amanush, Kashmir Ki Kali as well as Anurag are being shown at the two-day exposition on Saturday and Sunday 11-12th July 2009.


Bappida prepares for new role

Bappi Lahiri who had composed a number of scintillating films as well as non-film songs during his prime and lend his voice to a number of popular songs is preparing himself to project himself as an actor as well as a film director.

Sources in the Bollywood film industry say that Bappi Lahiri is like to make his debut as an actor this year in at least two Hindi films, one of them a big-budget. He also plans to work as a film director next year.

"I have always been experimenting in Bollywood. I started off the disco culture in the country. Many people are now bringing international artistes like Kylie Minogue to India, but I brought Samantha Fox years ago, observed Bappida whose genre of disco music brought about a revolutionary change in the scene of film music.

"Previously, I had also produced a Bengali film, 'Lal Dorja', which won a Golden Lotus Award. Since I have stayed in the industry since the seventies, I want to experiment further," he observed. This is the reason many feel that Bappida is trying his hand in directing films once gain. .

In the forthcoming passionate comedy 'Main aur Mrs Khanna', Bappi Lahiri plays the role of an NRI industrialist, who is very passionate about music.

"You have already seen a glimpse of my acting in a cold drink advertisement, which is a huge hit. Now you will soon see me in a full-fledged role in 'Main aur Mrs Khanna', where I am cast alongside Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor," Lahiri observed.

Conversely, in 'Its Rocking Dard-e-Disco', which features Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta, Sneha Ullal as well as Aryaman, he is projected as a 'Disco King'.

"I will make you laugh like anything in that film. My role is completely comic. I have done it in the style of Kishore 'mama'," he has assured.

About his ambitions to start working as a director, Bappida stated, "Yes, I want to be a film director. I am planning to start shooting for the film in 2010. But I am not going to make a commercial film; it will be an art film. We are, however, still working on the storyline."


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