|Experts for making Sanskrit compulsory at
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Sanskrit scholars today pressed for making the language compulsory at the school level for its promotion and development.The suggestion was made at the fourth annual convocation of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan here.......more
MUMBAI, Jan 21: Ranbir Kapoor starrer 'Barfi!' emerged top winner at the Filmfare Awards 2013 bagging six trophies, including best film and best actor, while Vidya Balan's 'Kahaani' followed close with five wins......more
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Military and aviation industry in the private sector has got contracts worth over Rs 14,000 crore in the last few years, Defence Ministry said today. This was made possible by the offsets policy in the Defence Procurement Procedure, Secretary (Defence Production) R K Mathur told reporters here.....more
JAMMU, Jan 21: Lashing out at Sushilkumar Shinde for his controversial remarks during the Congress summit in Jaipur, the BJP today said it seems the Home Minister has lost his mental balance. "Shinde seems to have lost his mental balance, otherwise he would not have been making such irresponsible statements," said BJP state president Jugal...more
|HAL to be integrator of
fighter jets in MMRCA
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: The Defence Ministry today suggested that the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd would be the lead integrator for producing 108 multi-role combat aircraft in the country after French firm Dassault Aviation sought to play a bigger role in the multi-billion dollar ......more
MUMBAI, Jan 21: Notwithstanding RSS' backing, Nitin Gadkari may not get elected as BJP president for a second straight term unopposed, with dissident leader Mahesh Jethmalani today hinting at entering the fray for a "token" fight......more
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: India will begin talks for a civil nuclear energy cooperation with uranium-rich Australia in March this year. "We shall be commencing negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement in March 2013," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here.....more
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: "Shaitan" director Bejoy Nambiar, who is looking forward to the release of his second film "David", is confident that its lead actor Neil Nitin Mukhesh will surprise everyone in the action-thriller......more
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Sanskrit scholars today pressed for making the language compulsory at the school level for its promotion and development.
The suggestion was made at the fourth annual convocation of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan here.
Sanskrit education should be made more relevant by synthesising the best practices of gurukul system with modern democratic values, HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju said.
"Sanskrit should be made compulsory at least till Class IX and then optional at the upper levels so that children will read it leading to the development of the rich language," Chancellor of Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Mukundakam Sharma said.
His suggestion was supported by Vice-Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (RSS) Radhavallabh Tripathi.
He deplored the present system due to which the language is not generating much interest among students who are more inclined towards taking to foreign language programmes.
Sharma, who chaired an expert committee for development of the language, said the panel has suggested converting RSS into a centre of excellence.
Raju said the report has been received and recommendations are being considered for implementation. "Our government is fully committed to the growth and development of Sanskrit," he said and hoped RSS will develop into a world-class university.
RSS is a deemed university at present. It has been recognised as a Category 'A' institute by National Assessment and Accreditation Council. (PTI)
MUMBAI, Jan 21: Ranbir Kapoor starrer 'Barfi!' emerged top winner at the Filmfare Awards 2013 bagging six trophies, including best film and best actor, while Vidya Balan's 'Kahaani' followed close with five wins.
The heart-wrenching love story between a deaf-and-mute boy and an autistic girl, directed by Anurag Basu, won Ileana D'Cruz the best debut (Female) award.
Pritam received the Best Background Score and Best Music Director trophies for 'Barfi!'. The film, which was India's official entry at the Oscars this year, also won the Sony Trendsetter Of The Year award last night at the 58th Filmfare awards held at the Yash Raj Films studio in suburban Mumbai.
While Vidya continued her winning spree bagging the Best Actress award for her portrayal of a pregnant woman in search of her husband in 'Kahaani', Sujoy Ghosh won the Best Director award for the film.
The thriller also bagged technical awards like Best Cinematography (Setu), Best Sound Design (Sanjay Maurya & Allwin Rego) and Best Editing (Namrata Rao).
It was a big night for most small budget content-driven films released in 2012. Anurag Kashyap's directorial 'Gangs of Wasseypur', went head to head with John Abraham's debut production 'Vicky Donor', both bagging four awards each.
Annu Kapoor won the best actor in a supporting role (male) gong for his portrayal of Dr Chaddha in 'Vicky Donor'. The film's writer Juhi Chaturvedi earned the Best Story award.
Ayushmann Khurrana, who made his acting debut in the movie, won two awards -- Best Debut (male) and Best Playback Singer award (male) for 'Paani Da Rang'.
Anurag Kashyap, Akhilesh Jaiswal, Sachin K Ladia and Zeishan Qadri together won the Best Dialogue award for 'Gangs of Wasseypur'. It also took home the Critics' Award for Best Actor (Female) won by Richa Chadda and the Critics' Award for Best Film. Sham Kaushal won the Best Action award for the film.
Sanjay Chouhan and Tigmanshu Dhulia won the Best Screenplay trophy and Irrfan Khan bagged the Critics' Award for Best Actor (Male) for 'Paan Singh Tomar'.
The Best Supporting Actor (Female) award went to Anushka
Sharma for 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'. Poet Gulzar was handed the Best Lyricist award for penning 'Challa' for the film.
Neeti Mohan won the RD Burman Award For Upcoming Talent in Music for her rendition of the hit song 'Jya re' for 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'.
The film was the swan song of director Yash Chopra, who was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Actress Madhuri Dixit Nene presented the award to the late filmmaker's wife, Pamela.
Filmfare award for the Best Debut (Director) was bagged by Gauri Shinde for 'English Vinglish'.
Award for the Best Playback Singer (Female) went to Shalmali Kholgade for the song 'Pareshaan' in 'Ishaqzaade'.
Best Choreography award receivers were Bosco and Caesar for the song 'Aunty Ji' from 'Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu', while the Best Costume Design award was given to Manoshi Nath & Rushi Sharma for 'Shanghai'.
Celebrities added glitz and glamour to the awards ceremony as they walked the red carpet 7.30 PM onwards.
Dressed in her traditional golden and red saree, Rekha walked the red carpet with grace. She handed Vidya her Best actress trophy, which was the actress' fourth Filmfare award in a row.
Madhuri Dixit arrived with her husband Sriram Nene in a black dress, while Parineeti Chopra too looked glamorous in a black outfit.
The night also had big performers including Shah Rukh Khan, who, alongwith Saif Ali Khan paid tribute to empowered heroines of Bollywood like Nargis, Zeenat Aman and Katrina Kaif.
Anushka Sharma performed on a medley of her songs and also paid tribute to yesteryear actresses with songs like 'Parde Mein Rehne Do', 'Saiyaan Dil Mein Aana Re' and 'Hawa Mein Udta Jaaye'.
Others who attended the awards include Karan Johar, Shoojit Sircar, Chitrangada Singh, R Madhavan, Manoj Bajpayee, Kunal Kohli, Sonali Bendre with husband Goldie Behl, Yami Gautam, Urmila Matondkar and David Dhawan. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Military and aviation industry in the private sector has got contracts worth over Rs 14,000 crore in the last few years, Defence Ministry said today.
This was made possible by the offsets policy in the Defence Procurement Procedure, Secretary (Defence Production) R K Mathur told reporters here.
As per the offsets policy, foreign vendors bagging any deal worth over Rs 300 crore have to invest at least 30 per cent of the worth of the deal in the Indian industry only.
With India looking to spend over Rs 15 lakh crore in defence procurements in the next few years, the value of offsets is expected to be around Rs Rs 5 lakh crore with a significant amount of the business likely to go to the private industry.
Ministry officials said the value of export No Objection Certificates (NOCs) has also gone up from Rs 39 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 140 crore in 2011-12.
They said the value of these NOCs is expected to go up in this and the coming fiscal.
Asked about the status of indigenous development of the Bofors howitzers by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Mathur said recently trials were held to check stability of the gun. Firing was carried out and they were found to be satisfactory.
He said the Army wants the trials to be done by June this year but the OFB has set the March deadline for the purpose.
On whether the Government would consider buying howitzers produced by the local private industry also, he said, "There have been RFP retractions in the last few years. The demand is so huge that there is space for everyone." (PTI)
JAMMU, Jan 21: Lashing out at Sushilkumar Shinde for his controversial remarks during the Congress summit in Jaipur, the BJP today said it seems the Home Minister has lost his mental balance.
"Shinde seems to have lost his mental balance, otherwise he would not have been making such irresponsible statements," said BJP state president Jugal Kishore Sharma.
The party takes strong exception to Shinde's remarks on a nationalist party like BJP and a "thoroughly patriotic social organisation" like RSS, Sharma said, accusing the Congress of playing divisive tactics.
He said both Shinde and his party should concentrate more on issues like corruption and price rise which are concerned to common man, instead of making "unproven allegations" against BJP.
Shinde had yesterday stoked a controversy by accusing BJP and RSS of conducting terror training camps and promoting "Hindu terrorism", setting off an angry reaction from the saffron parties which demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: The Defence Ministry today suggested that the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd would be the lead integrator for producing 108 multi-role combat aircraft in the country after French firm Dassault Aviation sought to play a bigger role in the multi-billion dollar project.
"The role of HAL is already defined in the Request for Proposal for the MMRCA project. It says that the main body, aero-engines, air frame and the integration shall be done by the HAL," Secretary (Defence Production) R K Mathur said at the Aero India 2013 press conference here.
The top official in the Department of Defence Production was asked to clarify on the role of the HAL in the project in view of the demand made by Dassault Aviation.
Dassault, which has bagged the IAF deal for supplying 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft, has asked the Ministry to define the role of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd in the project.
As per the tender, first 18 of the 126 aircraft are to be supplied by Rafale from its facilities and the rest 108 are to be license produced and integrated by the HAL at its facilities here.
If any company other than HAL is designated as the integrator, it would be deviation from the tender issued for the project and as per the Defence Procurement Procedure, it will have to be approved by the Defence Acquisition Council, Defence Ministry sources said.
In view of this, the Ministry has decided that it will stick to the clauses of the tender issued in 2007, they said.
The Ministry is expected to convey its decision on the issue to the French firm during the negotiations on the deal beginning next week.
Soon after Dassault was declared as the lowest bidder for the MMRCA deal piping EAD's Eurofighter, it signed an agreement with a Reliance Industries Ltd company for working together in the defence sector.
The French firm is currently negotiating the deal with the Defence Ministry and the Indian Air Force. (PTI)
MUMBAI, Jan 21: Notwithstanding RSS' backing, Nitin Gadkari may not get elected as BJP president for a second straight term unopposed, with dissident leader Mahesh Jethmalani today hinting at entering the fray for a "token" fight.
"I just said there should be a contest if Mr Gadkari is contesting. If I have to engage in a token fight, I may decide," Mahesh told reporters here today.
He, however, clarified that he has not "given a thought" to the matter as yet.
Mahesh, who had resigned from BJP national executive in November last year to put pressure on Gadkari to step down from his post in the wake of allegations of financial impropriety, was not very straightforward about his intention to contest.
"I don't know from where these rumours (that he will contest against Gadkari) are originating. I am not among the claimants (to BJP chief's post)," he said.
When repeatedly questioned by reporters outside the Bombay High Court, Mahesh, son of BJP veteran Ram Jethmalani, whose suspension was recently revoked by the party after a truce with Gadkari, said he would make known his decision later in the day.
Asked whether he had spoken to any senior BJP leaders about contesting for the party's top job, the Oxford-educated lawyer said, "Who will I talk to? I am a small person, only an ordinary worker."
Mahesh and his father Ram Jethmalani, also a party MP, were both vocal in demanding the resignation of Gadkari as BJP president in the wake of reported irregularities in the Purti Group.
With RSS backing Gadkari to the hilt, a consensus had
appeared to have emerged yesterday on a second term for him.
Senior party leader L K Advani, who had reservations about a fresh term for Gadkari, had reportedly agreed to it as a consensus on any other candidate proved elusive.
According to the notification for BJP's presidential election issued yesterday, nomination papers for the top post will be filed on January 23 from 10 AM to 11.30 AM. Scrutiny will be held from 11.30 AM to 12 noon.
A date for election will be declared, if required, after the withdrawal of nomination between 12 to 12.30 PM. In the absence of any contest, the elected candidate will be declared at 12.30 PM the same day. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: India will begin talks for a civil nuclear energy cooperation with uranium-rich Australia in March this year.
"We shall be commencing negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement in March 2013," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said here today after talks with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
The first round of negotiations conducted by the Foreign Ministries of both countries will be held in Delhi.
The agreement would enable the export of uranium from Australia to India, Carr said.
"A sense of urgency and purpose will be there. We will move swiftly," Khurshid said pointing out that India already had similar agreements with a number of countries which could be used as a model.
During the parleys, it was decided that Defence Minister A K Antony would visit Australia sometime in March for further discussions on cooperation in defence and security sectors. This would be the first ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Australia.
Australia had agreed to start negotiations on a civil nuclear deal with India during the October visit of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to New Delhi.
In December 2011, Gillard's Labour Party had overturned its long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: "Shaitan" director Bejoy Nambiar, who is looking forward to the release of his second film "David", is confident that its lead actor Neil Nitin Mukhesh will surprise everyone in the action-thriller.
The 33-year-old filmmaker chose newcomers in his directorial debut "Shaitan" and this time around he has gone ahead with southern star Vikram, Indo-Canadian actor Vinay Virmani besides Neil.
"Neil is a revelation in the film. He is just something else in front of the camera and he is going to surprise a lot of people. In fact I am curious to see how people react to him.
"I have shown portions of the film to focus groups and the way people have responded to Neil is fantastic. He is an under rated actor. All he needs is one big film to work and he would be at a different level," Nambiar told PTI.
The director is confident that "David", which is Canadian actor Virmani's first Bollywood film, will prove successful for him.
"He hasn't worked in Bollywood before and the part for which he has been cast is actually a very difficult one. I remember how tough it had started becoming for us to get the right face.
"We had auditioned a lot of boys and the kind of vulnerability and intensity that Vinay brought on board was something that I liked most. He was immediately on board," the filmmaker added.
Meanwhile "David" will be Vikram's second foray into
Bollywood after Mani Ratnam's 2010 film "Raavan," which could not do much for the southern star in Bollywood.
"Vikram has improvised so much on his Hindi; he has worked on each and every line of his. He is an absolute delight to work with. I met him only once for a narration before the film went on floors. Later, when I met him at the sets, he was totally into the character," Nambiar said.
"David" revolves around the lives of three different men named David in three different time periods. They are about to embark on something that will change their lives forever.
The film also stars Lara Dutta, Tabu, Monika Dogra, Isha Sharwani as the leading ladies while veterans like Rohini Hattangadi, Nasser, Satish Kaushik, Sheetal Menon, Milind Soman feature in prominent parts in the film.
"There are different stories set in different eras. It was almost akin to making three different films. I had a list of all the people I wanted for my film and thankfully I managed to get them all on board," Nambiar said.
"David" will hit theatres on February 1. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Kalki Koechlin has made her mark in Bollywood by doing atypical heroine roles and the actress says she doesn't believe in taking advice from anyone when it comes to her career.
The 29-year-old actress made a successful debut with husband and director Anurag Kashyap's critically acclaimed "Dev D" and followed it up with films like "Shaitan", "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", "That Girl in Yellow Boots" and "Shanghai".
Kalki feels her personality is more suited to youth centric films.
"I don't always follow the trends that are advised to me because I don't want to suffer later in life for choosing someone else's opinion rather than my own. So, it is important to stick to your decisions," Kalki told.
"I am a representative of what the youth think and my kind of cinema is more in touch with them. My fan following is primarily from the age 15 to 30 so that is kind of relevant. I try to stick to what I believe in," she added.
Kalki will be next seen in upcoming musical thriller "Ek Thi Daayan", which also stars Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma and Huma Qureshi.
The trailer, which was launched earlier this month, has generated a lot of buzz online.
"I would not call it a horror film because there is no blood in it. It is a not a gory story. It is for children as well as adults. It is more like a thrilling and magical realism type of film," said Kalki, who was in the capital to unveil the first look of India's first app reality TV show 'Nokia Lumia Your Wish is My App.
Kalki will judge the reality show.
"This is a very interesting show and will promote new ideas. For me, who is a smart phone user, applications play a major part in my daily life," said the actress.
"Ek Thi Daayan" is directed by Kannan Iyer and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj. The film is inspired by a short story by Mukul Sharma (Konkona's father).
"There is a daayan (witch) or probably no daayan or may be all three actresses are dayans. That is the mystery of the film. There is wonderful magician Bobo, played by Emraan," she said.
When asked about her character, Kalki said, "I play a character, who is very bohemian and she is a music teacher and actually has a lot of shades. I think the most interesting aspect of the film is that all the women have shades of dark and light and it is very difficult to say who the daayan is till the end."
"Ek Thi Daayan" hits theatres on April 18.
Kalki will also be seen in Ayan Mukerji's next "Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani" alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.
"I am finishing 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani'. It will come in May. I am also starting a small film directed by Shonali Bose of "Amu" fame, titled 'Margarita, With a Straw'. We will start shooting in Delhi next month," she said. (PTI)
ALLAHABAD, Jan 21: Factional feud among the orders of ascetics has come to the fore at the ongoing Maha Kumbh congregation here with one of the "akharas" threatening to boycott the upcoming "Shahi Snan" festivals if a religious head revered by it was not allowed to take part in the ritual bathing.
The Nirmohi Ani Akhara, which belongs to the Vaishnava sect, has issued a statement demanding that Mahant Gyandas, who is currently away at Gangasagar in West Bengal, be allowed to take part in the "Shahi Snans" of Mauni Amavasya (February 10) and Basant Panchmi (February 15) failing which its sadhus will boycott the bathing festivals.
Presence of "akharas" is given paramount importance during the Shahi Snans and refusal to participate by any of the orders of ascetics is considered a major let down for the administrative machinery entrusted with conducting a Maha Kumbh.
The controversy is rooted in a split in the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad that had taken place during the Haridwar Kumbh of 2010.
While one of the factions enjoying the support of seven Saivite "akharas" has announced Mahant Baldev Singh as its head, the other group comprising three Vaishnava "akharas" reposed its trust in Gyandas, who headed the council of ascetics before the split.
The Vaishnava akharas - Digambar Ani, Nirvani Ani and Nirmohi Ani - had taken part in the first Shahi Snan of Makar Sankranti (January 14) notwithstanding resentment over Gyandas not being invited for the occasion.
Situation seems to have worsened following a recent spat between sadhus of the Nirmohi Akhara and Swami Narendra Giri, who heads the Niranjani Akhara of the Saivite sect.
At a meeting with administrative officials on Saturday, sadhus of the Nirmohi Ahara had pressed the demand for bringing Gyandas for the upcoming "Shahi Snans", which was opposed by Giri who pointed out that a majority of Akhadas were backing Mahant Baldev Singh and hence the other faction must not be given recognition.
The Nirmohi Akhara, slighted by the larger faction, has charged Giri with "misleading the administration" and threatened to boycott the upcoming Shahi Snans if their demand was not accepted. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Union Minister Krishna Tirath today did not favour reduction of age of juveniles from 18 to 16 years, but suggested stringent punishment in the 'rarest of rare crimes' like the Delhi gang-rape.
"All the children of this country are our children. If we talk about the 16-year-old or 15-year-old, what will happen is that the 16-year-old immature child will be treated like an elder person, which I don't want to happen.
"The Ministry's stand till now on the juvenile age is that it should be kept at 18 years. But in the rarest of the rare case like the December 16 gangrape, in that I want is that he should get stringent punishment," the Women and Child Development Minister told reporters here.
Referring to the gangrape of a 23-year-old girl in south Delhi, she said, "the public has demanded stringent punishment for the juvenile who was more violent (than others) and I support that".
There has been a serious debate on whether or not to lower the juvenile age in the backdrop of a brutal gangrape of a paramedical student here last month, in which a minor has also been made an accused.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had last week suggested that there was a need to lower the juvenile age to 16 years keeping in view the increase in the crime rate.
Tirath, however, said that lowering the juvenile age would put the immature children under the risk of being treated as grown-up criminals.
Various factors, like environment in which the child has grown up, has to be kept in mind while dealing with juvenile offenders, she said.
"You are talking about juvenile crime, there are around 44 crore children in this country. If 0.1 per cent of children are indulging in such crimes, there is a need to reform them.
"We will have to look at the root cause. Every crime which he commits, whether big or small, if we provide him the proper medical aid, counsel him, give him proper psychiatric treatment and reform him in to a good man...Our job is to reform a child not just make him a criminal by sending him to a jail," the Minister said. (PTI)
NEW DELHI, Jan 21: Rhyming just got serious, with poets including budding amateurs having a field day at the very first Delhi Poetry Festival here.
The debut one-day event held here recently drew verse lovers from across the country, with organisers estimating over 190 footfalls at the event, which saw seven book launches and had virtual participation from poets across many countries.
A Computer Science student, 23-year-old Yaseen Anwar, the brainchild behind the festival, has nothing to do with literature. His love for verse made him form the 'Poets Corner 'a body of like minded poetry aficionados.
"I began writing at the age of 14 but did not find a proper forum for my work. I found most of the existing groups on poetry were either outdated, not ready to accommodate new entrants or may be exploitative, to extract money," says Anwar.
Somebody mooted the idea of anthologies of poems and that set the ball rolling. Since 2011, the group has brought out 11 books of poetry, mostly anthologies.
Anwer says he dedicates at least four hours everyday to his poets corner group, even during his engineering semester exams.
"I research for at least one hour to bring novelty, I reply all mails usually 20-25 of them everyday, and update my facebook account, by which I stay connected to my readers," he says.
Responses he gets from readers may not be technically sound but for Anwar it is a small first step. "I'm sorry to say this, but many people do not even know the basic difference between a poetry and prose and I think it is our duty to educate them," says Anwar.
The group plans to conduct at least six workshops this
year, on pan-India basis and revive the "once poetically sound India."
"India is the land of Surdas, Kabir, Ghalib, Tagore and countless other legends, we are a great potential. We will consult best of the professors of the country and begin from scratch."
Included in his plans is one that he says "will train school children and nurture them to draw line at the right place."
The poetry festival also saw the release of "Inklinks," an anthology of nearly 300 poems, with contributions from A P J Abdul Kalam, Ruskin Bond, Gulzar, Irshad Kamil, Kapil Sibal, Vikram Seth and Shekar Kapur.
It also included many entries from poets living outside India.
Another anthology "Fledglings" was also released at the event. This slimmer book contained contributions by children below 15 years of age.
"Children are born inherently creative. To help them fledge, give wings to their expressions and help them soar. Not wanting to interrupt their flow of thoughts or school their expressions, we just let them be prodding and prompting." said Dolly Singh, Managing Editor of Fledglings and New Leaf Poets Club.
Next up for the poetry group is regional language section of Hindi and Urdu.
The poetry festival was inaugurated by senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi along with noted Bollywood lyricist and Hindi-Urdu, poet Irshad Kamil. (PTI)