Once Upon A Time… not based on Haji Mastan’s life: Balaji

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Balaji Motion Pictures Limited to issue a press release clarifying that its upcoming release Once Upon a time in Mumbai is not based on Haji Mastan’s life.

The production house subsequently issued a press release denying that the film is based on Mastan and clarified that the producers have never stated that the film is based on his life.

“The film is purely work of fiction and the characters in the film are fictional,” the press release stated. After the hype that the movie was based on the life of late gangster Haji Mastan, his adopted son had moved the court seeking a screening of the film before its release.

Mastan’s adopted son Sundher Shekhar alias Suleman Mirza had moved the court opposing the release of the film which is scheduled on July 30.

Shekhar said that “The film’s publicity by the makers saying that it was based on Mastan’s life, showing him to be a gangster was defaming. Mastan was a social worker and looked up as a godfather by the needy and a financial benefactor to many families”.

The court today disposed of the petition after the makers of the film undertook to issue a press release by 6 pm on Wednesday to clarify that the film is not based on Mastan’s life.

Salman Khan can dance, says choreographer

Mumbai, July 29 (IANS) Not everyone swears by Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan’s dancing prowess. But his choreographer for the movie ‘Dabangg’ says he has become technically strong and even gives his own inputs.

‘This is not the first time I am working with Salman. I’ve worked with him even earlier when I used to be an assistant with Ganesh Acharya. But now he has changed; today he is technically stronger. He also gives his inputs for steps,’ Shabina Khan Ansari told IANS.

‘Dabangg’, a film set in a small town of Uttar Pradesh, will feature Salman in the role of a cop. His younger brother and actor Arbaaz Khan has produced the film while Abhinav Kashyap is the director. The film is slated for a September release.

Ansari has choreographed two songs in the film, a romantic track and a hardcore dance number. She gave Salman steps suiting his character.

‘I created steps for Salman keeping in mind his character and image. He is playing a cop in the film, so I didn’t want his moves to be professional like a dancer’s. He plays a straightforward person in the film; we kept all that in mind,’ said the choreographer.

‘Even Salman really pushed himself. Everyone liked his dancing in ‘Wanted’; so he wanted to improve upon that,’ she added.

So what’s the strong point in Salman’s dancing? ‘It’s his style,’ said Ansari, without a second thought.

‘He has his own way of doing steps. Even if I teach him something, he will do it in his own way. But it actually comes out to be nice and audiences love it,’ she added.

‘Dabangg’, which has music by Sajid-Wajid, also stars Sonakshi Sinha, the daughter of veteran actor Shatughan Sinha. However, she doesn’t get to shake a leg in the film.

‘Sonakshi will not be seen dancing in the film. Her character doesn’t demand that, but even in the romantic song, where you see her moving a little, you can see rhythm in her body. She has a music sense and I’m sure she will be a great dancer,’ Ansari said.

She has over 12 years’ experience and has been part of several Ram Gopal Varma projects such as ‘Company’, ‘Bhoot’, ‘Naach’ and ‘Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon’.

She has also worked on films like ‘Jashan’, ‘Yahaan’, ‘Aksar’ and ‘Well Done Abba’ among others.

Currently the choreographer has her kitty full with projects like ‘Kajraare’, which is close to release, ‘Chai Garam’ and ‘Will You Marry Me’.

Priyanka set to distract contestants on ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi 3’

Mumbai, July 29 (IANS) Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is looking forward to providing a huge distraction to the male contestants on Colors’ adventure reality show ‘Fear Factor – Khatron Ke Khiladi 3’.

‘That’s what my intention is. To make them so distracted they won’t be able to do their stunts,’ she says.

The 28-year-old actress sports a grungy look in the show. She wore denim hot pants teamed with a broad belt, knee-length boots, a cropped yellow top with a black leather biker jacket and gloves for the first promo.

Priyanka has just returned from shooting the stunts in Bangkok, and she’s super-excited. ‘I rode a dirt bike. I shot with an alligator and a bull. It was fun.’

After a rejuvenating birthday holiday in Phuket, Priyanka flew to Bangkok to shoot the promotional video for the reality show.

About the holiday, Priyanka says: ‘Apart from the mishap that happened when I dropped my phone in the water and couldn’t receive any birthday greetings, I had a fun time.’

‘I was generally not recognised. But even if I was I didn’t mind. Being recognised is part and parcel of what I do,’ she says.

The stunts involved a motorbike race where Priyanka challenged a group of youngsters to a race through terrain that would scare even a Grand Prix winner.

She had to ride through some of the most impossibly-rugged terrain. The male motorbikers were professional riders who can ride at high speed through the most rugged hinterland, according to crew members.

The actress had been secretly practising for the heart-in-the-mouth motorbike stunts for weeks.

The channel had offered to get a body-double to do the really intricate portions. But Priyanka insisted on doing the entire motorbike stunt-stint on her own.

So excited and charged did she get that she shot for a full 20 hours on the first of the two days of shooting in Bangkok.

‘There is no challenge in half-measures. You either do the whole thing or don’t do it at all. I’ve always been fascinated by mobikes. I love mobike stunts,’ she says.

‘When I had seen Tom Cruise do the mobike stunts first, all I thought was, ‘Gawd if only I could get to do that.’ I guess my wish came true,’ she adds.

The ride was not all fun and games. Priyanka has returned to Mumbai with quite a number of bruises. ‘But the pain was worth it. You can’t be one of the boys on the bike and not get your share of bruises,’ she says.

She intends to wrap up all her assignments by October before heading for the shooting of ‘Don 2’ in Berlin.

Her look for ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi 3’ has been created by Bollywood stylist and fashion designer Anaita Shroff Adajania, who earlier styled for the ‘Dhoom’ franchise as well as ‘Race’.

John Abraham talks about forthcoming flick ‘Aashayein’

Mumbai, July 29 (ANI): Bollywood actor John Abraham talked about his coming up film ‘Aashayein’ during a promotional event here on Thursday.

Abraham said that the film would leave a positive impact on the minds of people.

“First wish was that it should release. Now when it is releasing, I am very happy. My wish is that it should be a positive film in audience’s mind and I am confident that it will be a confident film in the mind of the audience,” said Abraham.

“Commercially it is a small film, but it will create big impact on minds. So, I think that commercially it should be a plus film,” he added.

Abraham further said he wants to enhance his performance in all his films.

“In my effort I would like to improve my performance qualitatively and perform in good films. Every actor wants credibility so ‘Aashayein’ is that film where I am looking for critical and credible acclaim,” he added.

Written and directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, the movie stars John Abraham and Sonal Sehgal in the lead roles.

‘Aashayein’ is the story of a gambler, who discovers new meanings of life through a dramatic turn of events. By Sheikh Sharik (ANI)

Toyota recalls 400,000 cars in US

New York, July 29 (DPA) Japanese carmaker Toyota is recalling more than 400,000 cars in the US over fears of defects in the steering system, the company said Thursday.

The recall involves 373,000 Toyota Avalons sold between 2000 and 2004, and 39,000 2003-07 LX 470s from its luxury Lexus brand.

For the Avalons, there was a ‘possibility that the vehicle’s steering lock bar could break under certain conditions,’ Toyota said in a statement. The Lexus defect involved the steering shaft, which Toyota said could disengage after a severe hit to the front wheels.

The recall is the latest in a series for Toyota. Earlier this year, the company was forced to recall more than eight million cars worldwide because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals, sliding floor mats and some braking problems.

The company’s initial hesitation in implementing that recall caused massive damage to its reputation for safety and quality on bredbandstest online bästa-bredband.

Toyota and other carmakers have since reacted very sensitively to reports of defects in their cars, leading the number of recalls in the US market to dramatically increase.

Plane hijacking foiled at Moscow airport

Moscow, July 29 (IANS) A man who allegedly tried to hijack a passenger plane at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport was detained Thursday.

The plane on a domestic flight from Russia’s North Caucasus city of Mineralniye Vody to Moscow was due to land at 1145 GMT, Xinhua reported.

However, ‘before the aircraft landed, one of the passengers had a message passed to the captain that one of the people on board possesses valuable information for law enforcement agencies,’ said a transportation police spokesman.

The captain then reported the incident to ground services and steered the aircraft to a special landing site.

The man, 40, then demanded appearances of senior officials and reporters at the airport, while taking all the people on board the plane as hostages.

However, as one of the passengers fell ill and the hijacker allowed doctors to board the plane, special forces personnel disguised as doctors aboard and seized him.

Ericsson Q2 undershoots, parts shortages hurt

Ericsson , the world’s number one mobile network gear maker, missed expectations for second-quarter core profit as operators stayed wary about investing and parts shortages again hit sales.

Ericsson shares were down 5.6 percent at 0947 GMT, the leading decliners in an 0.7 percent easier STOXX 600 European technology sector, following a run of outperformance.

Highlighting a problem that rivals Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent have also cited this year, Ericsson said an industry-wide scarcity of components and supply chain bottlenecks were weighing on turnover.

A general economic rebound has touched off a scramble for common parts that pits network equipment makers against a range of manufacturers in the automotive and consumer electronics sectors.

Ericsson estimated the problem sliced 3 billion to 4 billion Swedish crowns ($411-548 million) from sales in the quarter.

“Given the best assumptions we have, there is going to be a gradual improvement in the second half of 2010,” Chief Executive Hans Vestberg told reporters and analysts after the results.

Despite the profit miss, Sanford Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu was upbeat. Without the component shortage, sales would have been in line and profit higher than expected, he said.

With growth in mobile broadband in North America, Japan and parts of Western Europe strong and India set to improve after a weak quarter, he saw upside for Ericsson.

“In the next two quarters, if the component shortage vanishes away, you will have a bit of a catch-up.”

Ericsson trades at around 16 times earnings per share for this fiscal year versus 12.6 times for Nokia and 14 for Cisco Systems .


The telecoms equipment market has begun to show signs of life, but customers’ spending is well below pre-crisis levels.

Ericsson, which has slashed billions of crowns from its cost base to offset falling demand, said on Friday cost-cutting would remain a priority while market conditions remain tough.

Some analysts had hoped the second quarter would provide clear evidence markets were rebounding after the downturn.

But Vestberg said the effects of the crisis were lingering.

“We don’t believe that the market is growing, actually,” he said, adding that Ericsson was keeping or adding market share.

Sales at Ericsson’s network unit — its biggest earner — slid as operators in some developing markets stayed cautious.

Nokia Siemens Networks reported on Thursday quarterly sales fell 5 percent and forecast a flat equipment market this year.

Many analysts concur with NSN’s outlook for this year and see the market staying stagnant even further out. In addition, competition from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE is fierce while NSN is hungry for market share.

NSN announced this month it would buy Motorola’s telecom network equipment business, putting more pressure on Ericsson in the U.S. market.

Just days after annoucing the Motorola deal, NSN said it had won a $7 billion order from operator LightSquared to build and operate a high-speed wireless network.

Ericsson’s operating profit excluding joint ventures and restructuring costs came in at 5.3 billion Swedish crowns ($715 million), below the average estimate of 5.8 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts and 6.1 billion a year ago.

Ericsson’s group sales fell 8 percent year-on-year to 48 billion crowns versus a poll forecast of 50.5 billion.

The gross margin of 39 percent was well above forecasts thanks to cost cutting and a favourable business mix.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Klesty, Patrick Lannin, Adam Cox, Sven Nordenstam and Oskar Von Bahr; Editing by Michael Shields)

Arizona preparing appeal of immigration ruling

PHOENIX – Arizona is preparing to ask an appeals court to lift a judge’s ruling that put most of the state’s immigration law on hold in a key first-round victory for the federal government in a fight that may go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gov. Jan Brewer called Wednesday’s decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton “a bump in the road” and vowed to appeal.

Protesters in Phoenix went ahead with plans Thursday for a march to the state Capitol and a sit-in at the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff said if protestors were disruptive, they’d be arrested, and he vowed to go ahead with a crime sweep targeting illegal immigrants.

Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Brewer, said Arizona would ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco later Thursday to lift Bolton’s preliminary injunction and to expedite its consideration of the state’s appeal.

Bolton indicated the government has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law. But the key sponsor of Arizona’s law, Republican Rep. Russell Pearce, said the judge was wrong and predicted the state would ultimately win the case.

Opponents of the law said the ruling sends a strong message to other states hoping to replicate the law.

“Surely it’s going to make states pause and consider how they’re drafting legislation and how it fits in a constitutional framework,” Dennis Burke, the U.S. attorney for Arizona, told The Associated Press. “The proponents of this went into court saying there was no question that this was constitutional, and now you have a federal judge who’s said, ‘Hold on, there’s major issues with this bill.'”
He added: “So this idea that this is going to be a blueprint for other states is seriously in doubt. The blueprint is constitutionally flawed.”

In her temporary injunction, Bolton delayed the most contentious provisions of the law, including a section that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws. She also barred enforcement of parts requiring immigrants to carry their papers and banned illegal immigrants from soliciting employment in public places — a move aimed at day laborers that congregate in large numbers in parking lots across Arizona. The judge also blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.

“Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked,” said Bolton, a Clinton administration appointee who was assigned the seven lawsuits filed against Arizona over the law.

Other provisions that were less contentious were allowed to take effect Thursday, including a section that bars cities in Arizona from disregarding federal immigration laws.

The 11th-hour ruling came just as police were preparing to begin enforcement of a law that has drawn international attention and revived the national immigration debate in a year when Democrats are struggling to hold on to seats in Congress.

The ruling was anxiously awaited in the U.S. and beyond. About 100 protesters in Mexico City who had gathered at the U.S. Embassy broke into applause when they learned of the ruling via a laptop computer. Mariana Rivera, a 36-year-old from Zacatecas, Mexico, who is living in Phoenix on a work permit, said she heard about the ruling on a Spanish-language news program.

“I was waiting to hear because we’re all very worried about everything that’s happening,” said Rivera, who phoned friends and family with the news. “Even those with papers, we don’t go out at night at certain times there’s so much fear (of police). You can’t just sit back and relax.”

More demonstrators opposed to the law planned to gather Thursday, with the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network and the immigrant-rights group Puente saying they would march from the state Capitol.

Lawmakers or candidates in as many as 18 states say they want to push similar measures when their legislative sessions start up again in 2011. Some lawmakers pushing the legislation said they would not be daunted by the ruling and plan to push ahead in response to what they believe is a scourge that needs to be tackled.

Arizona is the nation’s epicenter of illegal immigration, with more than 400,000 undocumented residents. The state’s border with Mexico is awash with smugglers and drugs that funnel narcotics and immigrants throughout the U.S., and the influx of illegal migrants drains vast sums of money from hospitals, education and other services.

“We’re going to have to look and see,” said Idaho state Sen. Monty Pearce, a second cousin of Russell Pearce and a supporter of immigration reform in his state. “Nobody had dreamed up, two years ago, the Arizona law, and so everybody is looking for that crack where we can get something done, where we can turn the clock back a little bit and get our country back.”

Kris Kobach, the University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor who helped write the law and train Arizona police officers in immigration law, conceded the ruling weakens the force of Arizona’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigrants. He said it will likely be a year before a federal appeals court decides the case.

“It’s a temporary setback,” Kobach said. “The bottom line is that every lawyer in Judge Bolton’s court knows this is just the first pitch in a very long baseball game.”

In the meantime, other states like Utah will likely take up similar laws, possibly redesigned to get around Bolton’s objections.

“The ruling … should not be a reason for Utah to not move forward,” said Utah state Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican from Herriman City, who said he plans to co-sponsor a bill similar to Arizona’s next year and wasn’t surprised it was blocked. “For too long the states have cowered in the corner because of one ruling by one federal judge.”

The core of the government’s case is that federal immigration law trumps state law — an issue known as “pre-emption” in legal circles and one that dates to the founding of America. In her ruling, Bolton pointed out five portions of the law where she believed the federal government would likely succeed on its claims.

The Justice Department argued in court that the law was unconstitutional and that allowing states to push their own measures would lead to a patchwork of immigration laws across the nation and disrupt a carefully balanced approach crafted by Congress.

Arizona argues that the federal government has failed to secure the border, and that it has a right to take matters into its own hands.

For now, the federal government has the upper-hand in the dispute, by virtue of the strength of its arguments and the precedent on the pre-emption issue. The Bush administration successfully used the pre-emption argument to win consumer product cases, and judges in other jurisdictions have looked favorably on the argument in immigration disputes.

“This is clearly a significant victory for the Justice Department and a defeat for the sponsors of this law,” said Peter Spiro, a constitutional law professor at Temple University who has studied immigration law extensively. “They will not win on this round of appeals. They’ll get a shot after a trial and a final ruling by Judge Bolton.”

Obama not invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding

‘I was not invited to the wedding because I think Hillary and Bill, properly, want to keep this thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband,’ Obama told the ladies of ABC’s ‘The View’ Wednesday.

Obama started out by joking, ‘You don’t want two presidents at one wedding! All the secret service, guests going through (metal detectors), all the gifts being torn apart …’

Then host Barbara Walters asked directly if former president Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had invited him to the nuptials, the president said no.

‘I was not invited to the wedding,’ he said. ‘because I think Hillary and Bill, properly, want to keep this thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband.’

Obama said he agreed with the sentiment and told the hosts and the audience, ‘Sorry, ya’ll probably will not be getting invited to Sasha’s wedding or Malia’s wedding, either.’

Clintons are guarding the details of the upcoming nuptials like state secrets, and haven’t released any information. Hillary Clinton recently said she’s ‘under very strict orders’ not to talk about it. But count on pesky reporters to scoop out some.

Chelsea, 30, rumour has it, is all set to wed her investment-banker boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky, 32, Saturday at a posh private estate 90 miles north of Manhattan.

Built as a Beaux Arts style playground for John Jacob Astor IV more than a century ago, the estate features the sort of commanding view that once inspired Hudson River School painters, as well as 50 acres of buffer space to shield the party from prying eyes.

The guest list is suspected to number between 400-500 invitees, many of whom will likely stay at Rhinebeck’s Beekman Arms & Delamater Inn, which boasts a plaque that Bill and Hillary Clinton have eaten there.

The Hudson Valley News reported that attendees may include Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, former Clinton adviser Harold Ickes, media mogul Ted Turner, former British prime minister John Major and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Speculation is rife on what dress Chelsea will wear. No confirmation on this yet, said Politico.

But after weeks of reports that the dress was either a design by Oscar de la Renta or Vera Wang, Chelsea’s visit to Wang’s store in New York Tuesday makes it likely she is going with the latter.

Three companies are said to be catering the event: Blue Ribbon Restaurants, The St. Regis Hotel and Olivier Cheng Catering.

TMZ reported this week that they had a copy of the playlist Clinton and her fiance gave to the live band playing at the wedding. The songs are a mix of oldies and pop hits, including several Michael Jackson songs – ‘Billie Jean’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’.

One element of the welcome package waiting for guests at their hotels will be a bottle of wine from a nearby vineyard called, quite appropriately, ‘Clinton Vineyards and Winery’, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

Floral arrangements will be supplied by Boston-based Winston Flowers and the floral designer is Jeff Leatham – who counts the Four Seasons and Madonna as his clients.

And the deluxe portable toilets supposedly rented for the outdoor event cost an estimated $15,000, according to TMZ.

Aishwarya Rai Pregnant

Happiness has started knocking the doors of the Bachchan family and they are greeting it with open arms every moment. Legendary actor, Amitabh Bachchan has confirmed the news of Aishwarya’s pregnancy and is anxiously waiting for the baby to come into this world. Apparently both Aishwarya and Abhishek kept on denying the news of Aishwarya’s pregnancy for a long time.

Amitabh Bachchan however hasn’t disclosed many details about his daughter-in-law’s pregnancy and is a bit tight lipped about it. However there were numerous rumours about the blue eyed actresses’ pregnancy since the past two three years but now finally the Bachchan Bahu is expecting her first child. Aishwarya is in a hurry to wrap up her shooting for the upcoming film, ‘Heroine’, which even stars Arunoday Singh as Aishwarya’s love interest.

It was even said that for the past few months Aishwarya has been signing up few films for this year due to her pregnancy. The former Miss World had even expressed her desire to become a mother soon and experience motherhood in every way. Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya had been married to each other for more than four years and Aishwarya’s pregnancy has come as a blessing to them.

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