Tuesday, May 30, 2006




Worldcup 2006 Germany

tournament of fifa worldcup soccer-football

World Cup 2006 Match Schedule

World Cup 2006World Cup Football StadiumMatch Dates
Germany – A2 Stadion Munchen Allianz Arena 09.06.2006
A3 – A4 Aufschalke Arena 09.06.2006
B1 – B2 Waldstadion10.06.2006
B3 – B4 Westfalenstadion10.06.2006
C1 – C2 Stadion Hamburg 10.06.2006
C3 – C4 Zentralstadion11.06.2006
D1 – D2 Franken - Stadion 11.06.2006
D3 – D4 Stadion Koln 11.06.2006
E1 – E2 Niedersachsen Stadion 12.06.2006
E3 – E4 Aufschalke Arena 12.06.2006
F1 – F2 Olympiastadio12.06.2006
F3 – F4 Fritz-Walter Stadion 13.06.2006
G1 – G2 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium 13.06.2006
G3 – G4 Waldstadion13.06.2006
H1 – H2 Zentralstadion14.06.2006
H3 – H4 Stadion Munchen Allianz Arena 14.06.2006
Germany – A3 Westfalenstadion14.06.2006
A4 – A2 Stadion Hamburg 15.06.2006
B1 – B3 Franken - Stadion 15.06.2006
B4 – B2 Olympiastadion15.06.2006
C1 – C3 Aufschalke Arena16.06.2006
C4 – C2 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium 16.06.2006
D1 – D3 Niedersachsen Stadion 16.06.2006
D4 – D2 Waldstadion17.06.2006
E1 – E3 Fritz-Walter Stadion 17.06.2006
E4 – E2 Stadion Koln 17.06.2006
F1 – F3 Stadion Munchen Allianz Arena 18.06.2006
F4 – F2 Franken - Stadion 18.06.2006
G1 – G3 Zentralstadion18.06.2006
G4 – G2 Westfalenstadion 19.06.2006
H1 – H3 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium 19.06.2006
H4 – H2 Stadion Hamburg 19.06.2006
A2 – A3 Niedersachsen Stadion 20.06.2006
B2 – B3 Fritz-Walter Stadion 20.06.2006
B4 – B1 Stadion Koln 20.06.2006
A4 – Germany Olympiastadion20.06.2006
C4 – C1 Waldstadion21.06.2006
C2 – C3 Stadion Munchen 21.06.2006
D4 – D1 Aufschalke Arena 21.06.2006
D2 – D3 Zentralstadion 21.06.2006
E4 – E1 Stadion Hamburg 22.06.2006
E2 – E3 Franken - Stadion 22.06.2006
F4 – F1 Westfalenstadion 22.06.2006
F2 – F3 Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium 22.06.2006
G2 – G3 Niedersachsen Stadion 23.06.2006
G4 – G1 Stadion Koln 23.06.2006
H2 – H3 Olympiastadion23.06.2006
H4 – H1 Fritz-Walter Stadion 23.06.2006
A Winner – B 2ndStadion Munchen Allianz Arena 24.06.2006
C Winner – D 2ndZentralstadion24.06.2006
B Winner – A 2ndGottlieb-Daimler Stadium 25.06.2006
D Winner – C 2ndFranken - Stadion 25.06.2006
E Winner – F 2ndFritz-Walter Stadion 26.06.2006
G Winner – H 2ndStadion Koln 26.06.2006
F Winner – E 2ndWestfalenstadion27.06.2006
H Winner – G 2ndNiedersachsen Stadion 27.06.2006
Quarterfinal Stadion Hamburg 30.06.2006
QuarterfinalAufschalke Arena01.07.2006
Semifinal 1 Westfalenstadion04.07.2006
Semifinal 2 Stadion Munchen Allianz Arena05.07.2006
3rd Place Match Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium08.07.2006
Final Olympiastadion 09.07.2006


The promos of Yash Chopra's Kabul Express were released along with Fanaa's opening in theatres on Friday.
John Abraham and Arshad Warsi head into Kabul, Afghanistan, to do a story on terrorism. All seems okay for the first couple of frames till an inexplicably accented voice starts telling us about a bunch of characters -- 'Two Indians, one Pakistani, one American' -- and goes on to talk about these folks in the alien land of Kabul.
The film looks well shot and John Abraham straddles a tank with ease.
John and Arshad exchange comical one-liners, and share good chemistry on screen.
If only Warsi didn't stop and point to 'Osama bin Laden!' in the final shot, we might have been excited instead of royally tickled.
Directed by debutant Kabir Khan -- who is married to Indian Idol host Mini Mathur -- Kabul Express will release in July.


Ramesh Kandula meets two young singing sensations from the South
Vocalist Karunya has already been roped in by Bollywood; Hemachandra (below) made a mark in Saregamapa
Talented singers Karunya and Hemachandra are from the South, but have captured the hearts of the Hindi audience in the recent singing competitions on TV.
Karunya narrowly missed the recently concluded Indian Idol 2 (Sony TV) throne, but he has made a mark as a singer with strong foundation and great talent. The judges, including Sonu Nigam and Anu Malik, rooted for him from day one, and even the viewers were bowled over by his sonorous voice and impeccable rendition of songs.
He floored everybody with a Punjabi song in the very first Piano round. His Laayi vi na gayi and Kavah kavah elicited a standing ovation from the judges and thunderous applause from viewers.
"I wanted to present something that is not a regular on such shows. And I have been practising singing in several languages, including Punjabi," remarked the singing sensation.
"I may have lost in the voting arithmetic, but the kind of support and recognition I got was unbelievable," he smilingly said.
Opportunities have already started pouring in for the talented young singer. "I have got a dream debut in Bollywood with the film Munnabhai 2nd Innings. I have already recorded a solo for Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s prestigious banner," he revealed.
Apparently, Vidhu Vinod’s sister in the US followed Sony’s popular programme and became a big fan of Karunya and recommended him to her brother. The Abhishek look-alike is already getting a lot of offers from the South Indian film industry. "I have already given my voice for five Telugu songs, and one each in Tamil and Kannada," he said.
The other singer from Hyderabad, who made a splash in a popular contest on Zee TV Saregamapa, is Hemachandra. The lanky boy, incidentally, is Karunya’s cousin. "Music runs in our family," says the shy 17-year-old, who was the second runner-up in the show. Hemachandra’s soulful rendition of Nahin samne tu from the film Taal literally swept director Subhash Ghai and hero Akshaye Khanna off the floor. Ghai even publicly offered him a chance in his banner, before announcing the talented singer’s ouster from the competition.
"Aadesh Shrivastava who was my mentor in the show stood by me and encouraged me. It was unbelievable that he spent so much time on me," said a grateful Hemachandra.
Interestingly, Hemachandra, unlike Karunya, was not familiar with any other language except Telugu. I had learnt my first Hindi song a month before I was to participate in the Saregamapa competition, he said.
The dark, tall and handsome teenager has already moved to Mumbai to pursue his dream of playback singing. He has already sung for Abhishek Bachchan in the film Alag, and is waiting to record for Subhash Ghai’s Good Boys, Bad Boys. He has already performed at several stage shows, and is scheduled to go on a world tour in October with music director Aadesh Shrivastava.
Both singers believe that they did not make it to the top because of the limited viewership for Hindi TV channels in the South. "But we have made a mark and that can be an inspiration for others," they say with conviction.


The new Indian Idol, Sandeep Acharya, is on a high, having just released his debut album.
And the young singer had a blast chatting with rediff.com readers last week. Though he was delayed, readers waited patiently to chat with their newest idol.
For those who missed the fun, here's the chat transcript.
Sandeep Acharya says, Hi, this is Sandeep Acharya here! Let's chat.
sindhu asked, hai sandeep.. how are u doing??Sandeep Acharya answers, I am very nice. thank you.
maheshwar asked, hey sandeep me maheshwar from bihar... u r realy great yaar.. ur voice is nice and imprassive.. same like udit narayanSandeep Acharya answers, Thanks a lot. i got encouragment from your words. Thank you again.
maheshwar asked, kaya raaz hai apki is combination ka khubsurat aawaj key sath khubsurat ensan.Sandeep Acharya answers, Koi raaz nahin hain baas. Main achha sochta hun aur chahta hoon ki sab khush rahein.
ratnakar asked, I am sure you must have planned your activities for next one year Sandeep Acharya answers, Definitely. Future mein jam ke kaam karna chahhta hoon.
ratnakar asked, how you are feeling after wining indian idol Sandeep Acharya answers, Bahut achha lag rahan hain. Aur chhata hoon ki mera kaam achha chalta rahen.
pranali asked, hi sandeep, congratulations what about your life after indian idol i think u are bussy on u work Sandeep Acharya answers, Jindagi mein bahut change aa gaya hain. Aur pehli baar mujhe ek bara album karne ka mauka mila hain. I feel that I am little busy post indian idol.
ranjeetbkn asked, congrats sandeep for putting up great show for bikaner. I am originally from bikaner but presently lives in sydney..all the best for ur career..keep up the good work Sandeep Acharya answers, Thank you very much. Thanks for your support and all the best to you too.
mat28 asked, hi sandeep!!! Congratulations. I am perticularly impresed with the way u transformed ur voice from a typical Udit Narayan to complete original!! kudos to u!!Sandeep Acharya answers, Sahi kaha aapne. Mere liye zaruri tha ki main ye karun. Mushkile ayi lekin sab kucch bahut achha hua.
sonu asked, kaafi samahjhdhar dikhte ho acha gaate ho lekin kuch style change kar lena warna udit ke aage muskil hai tumhara tikna Sandeep Acharya answers, barabar bola. unse jitne ki zarurat kya hain. unke barabor bhi ho gaya to kafi hain.
prince asked, u want to make a album with abhjeet Sandeep Acharya answers, Bilkul. why not?
Bhaskar asked, Do u feel that the voting pattern of north-south helped u? Sandeep Acharya answers, Yes definitely. I got votes from whole of India. I am so happy and grateful.
awesomeanisha asked, sandeep i love u from the bottom of my heart!! im anisha from mumbai.....though i liked karunya first now i like uSandeep Acharya answers, Thank you very much. I respect your feelings. All the best to you.
Phil asked, Hello Sandeep!!! R u Aiming Singing as your career?? Or do u have any other plans for your future???Sandeep Acharya answers, I want to make singing my career.
sudhanshu asked, Hi sandeep, I belong to jaipur-Rajasthan and I have voted for you in n numbers-I know you are a star now-=But please be the way you are and Please tell me does this album of yours also have some folk song from rajasthan?? Sandeep Acharya answers, Thanks a lot. The album has two folk songs from Rajasthan -- both are different and unique.
iqbal husain asked, udit narayan or sonu nigam? Sandeep Acharya answers, Both because I got to learn many many things from both of them.
howzzat asked, do u think there was someone else who was much deserving than u ?Sandeep Acharya answers, I feel that i am as good as anybody else. If people voted for me they must have felt something about me and my voice.
madhu asked, why your face looks "Nervous", your face dont looks with confidence. Please be smile at every time.Sandeep Acharya answers, :))))))))
iqbal husain asked, you are really sweet . and smiling person.maintain the nature throught. you will definetely achive a very good position as a play back singer. Sandeep Acharya answers, Thanks a lot. All the best to you. Keep smiling you too.
Jitendra asked, hi, jitendra from NIT bhopal here, Sandeep How many gals crush on u after IDOL2 ? Sandeep Acharya answers, I did not count them :)
Raj Hyderabad asked, Hey Sandeep how r u man, after seeing Indian Idol i have become great fan of your voice Sandeep Acharya answers, I am fine. Thanks for those nice words. Be my fan always.
Debashish asked, Do you feel more responsible now that you have become Indian Idol?Sandeep Acharya answers, Bilkul. Bahut responsibility mehsush karta hoon. Main chhata hoon ki isi baat ko importance doon.
ammu asked, hey sandi whats the future plan ... any new offers up ur way Sandeep Acharya answers, Main abhi apna album kar raha hoon. Future mein Sandeep Chowta aur Anu Malik aur Deepak Pandit ke saath kaam karne ka chance hain.
navin asked, Qazi was also a person who was loved by the people of india but he is now not to be seen anywhere do u think that the same thing will happen in ur case too?Sandeep Acharya answers, No dear. I don't think so. I will try my best not to let it happen to me.
Sandeep Sucks asked, how do u feel abt karunya? Do u sincerely think u have won against him in real terms? Don't you think the result is a truly 'manufactured' one with the SMS episode. What do u think who is really worth becoming Indian IDOL 2? u or Karunya? Are you coward who cant reply to this Questions? Sandeep Acharya answers, I also liked karunya. he is a very nice human being. Maine hamesha se hi yeh sochke mehnat ki main apna achha kar paun aur mera dhyan isi pe tha. Aur wohi chiz mere kaam ayi.
Shalini asked, Why were u late for the chatSandeep Acharya answers, I got caught in Mumbai traffic :))))))))
vivekh asked, sandeep which is your favourite song ? Sandeep Acharya answers, I love aanewala pal jaanewala hain from golmaal.
Mandar asked, Sandeep ain't u tired of being/ Pretending a nice guy all the time ?? Sandeep Acharya answers, No I am not. For, I don't need to pretend. I am nice anyway.
rainman asked, Hi, are u planning to sing in BollywoodSandeep Acharya answers, As long as the offer is right, I plan to sing anywhere.
KarunyaHarsha asked, Sandeep- The Rise of an indian singer. This suits you doesn't it Sandeep Acharya answers, Thanks a lot.
reena from rajasthan asked, Sandip which is ur favourite movie? Sandeep Acharya answers, I like andaaz apna apna, kuch kuch hota hain, Mughal-e-Azam.
ParagD asked, I think karunya and amey date were only the best singers in indian idol. What sandip, what you say when u compete them in real terms?Sandeep Acharya answers, I feel you have raised a pertinent point. But I also sing well and I have proved it. :)))
sportynitin asked, SAndeep do u feel there should be OBC reservation in Indian IdolSandeep Acharya answers, Please leave Indian Idol out of reservation issue.
bhumika asked, which is your favourite colour?Sandeep Acharya answers, Sky blue, white and green.
Norah asked, How do u manage to keep that plastic smile on ur face all the time…To be frank I think its very annoying.Sandeep Acharya answers, It is not plastic. it is real. If it annoys you, I am sorry.
Norah asked, If u and Karunya do a stage show who do u think will win more applause?Sandeep Acharya answers, I do hope that I get the most applause :)))))
Pragati asked, sandeep you have not answered even a single question of mine hi sandeep are you there. when will be your new album be released. You asked, Hello Sandeep, I am pragati from New Delhi. How does it feels to be on top of the world. Your life changed completely within six months. My Best Wishes are always with you. Best of Luck for all your future assignments. Sandeep Acharya answers, Mera album aaj (may 25) launch ho raha hain aur anewale do tin din mein har jaga avaialable rahega. Thanks for your good wishes.
Rashu asked, U LOOK VERY INNOCENT...TAKE CARES.....SAY BYE ATLEAST Sandeep Acharya answers, Thanks for the compliment. I will You take care of yourself as well.
Norah asked, Tell us about good and bad qualitiesSandeep Acharya answers, Bad: i am so naughty Good: I am very sincere, dedicated and passionate about my music.
reena from rajasthan asked, What are ur hobbies sandeep?Sandeep Acharya answers, Playing cricket, reading books, eating and travelling.
Rashu asked, bye Sandeep...hope to c u in GurgaonSandeep Acharya answers, Would love to meet you there.
SandeepCoward asked, Sandeep what want to say against notion that you are NOT WORTH of INDIAN IDOL 2 Only thing you have is LUCK, are you are coward who can only reply to good commented questions Accept criticism constructively Sandeep Acharya answers, I did what I was supposed to do -- sing to the best of my abilities. It is the people who have given the verdict. Even if some people feel I am not worth of the Indian Idol title, once they listen to my album and my future work, they will change their minds.
hope_001 asked, Have you received any B'wood offers yet sandeep jee? Are you going to tour USA, Canada or Uk soon? Sandeep Acharya answers, Mujhe Anu Malik, Sandeep Chowta aur Deepak pandit se offers mile hain aur main jaldi un pe kaam karunga. Aanewale samay me USA, Canada, Uk tour pe jaanewala hoon. Thank you.
ricky2 asked, Hi Sandeep,Which is you most embarrassing moment during the contest?Sandeep Acharya answers, Jab mein theatre round mein tha aur uske tisre stage pe mera gala ekdam kharab ho gaya tha. Aur stage pe jaake maine gaane se inkar kya. Mujhe laag raha tha main ga nahin paunga. Lekin maine gaya and everything went off well.
reshma asked, What is yr new album aboutSandeep Acharya answers, It is about my life, In this album, I am tried a few experiments.
ParagD asked, how much education have you done sandip? Sandeep Acharya answers, I have done BSc in Physics, Chemistry and Geology from Bikaner University.
matrix asked, hi sandeep what does competition mean to you>?? Sandeep Acharya answers, Competition means hard work, concentration and presenting one's best.

Kajol asked, Indian idol 2 vs India idol 1 Whos the best???? Sandeep Acharya answers, I AM THE BEST :)))))))
Sandeep Acharya says, It was very nice chatting with you all. Thanks for your time. Sorry for not being able to respond to each question. Love you all. Bye.

Friday, May 26, 2006


JAIPUR: Newly crowned Indian Idol Sandeep Acharya, whose magical smile and unique voice captured the hearts of millions of Indians, has released his debut album Mere Saath Sara Jahan here. The album features eight tracks, three of which are composed by Sandeep Chowta and penned by Sameer. The rest are composed by Deepak Pandit with lyrics by Manoj Muntashir. This was the first visit of the 21-year-old star to his home state since he bagged the title April 21."It's really a happy moment to release my first video album in my home state. Now I'm eagerly looking forward to visit Bikaner, my hometown," Sandeep told reporters here Wednesday evening."I aspired to be a singer and Indian Idol has given me everything I wanted in my life," he said.Sandeep's saga of success began when he was pursuing his masters from Dungar College of Bikaner University. "I was practising classical music right from my college days. And one day I heard about the Indian Idol contest and decided to participate in it after an overwhelming urge."Brimming with confidence, Sandeep said: "There were over a million entries in the contest. But I had faith in myself. I knew that god has gifted me with a good voice and if the judges were satisfied, I had a good chance."He said now he would prefer to enjoy his success rather than start new ventures."I haven't started on new plans as I would prefer to first enjoy my success though I have been told that I would also be launched as a playback singer."


They are toppers. They are intelligent. They occupied a couple of kilometres of newsprint space and several hours of television bytes… yet, were in the news just for a day. The very next day, they were back into oblivion.
Ask your friend ‘Who was crowned the first Indian Idol?’ And, even before you can finish your question, you’ll have the answer: Abhijeet Sawant. That’s right!Now, ask him to name this year’s Class XII topper at the UP Boards. He will start scratching his head. Reason: Vaibhav Anand Srivastava, Class XII UP Board topper or, for that matter, all the other meritorious students of any of the Boards are hardly remembered.
Are they not the right choice for Indian Idol? Yes, they are. There should be some contest that showcases the academic bent of mind of the toppers. But sadly, even after putting in such hard work, Vaibhav’s charisma did not last for even a week. Time we had a special show for them now.
Meritorious students of various Boards of the State capital agree that often, they go unrecognized. Says Ahmad Emad of St Francis’ College who secured 97 pc in Class X ICSE examinations: “There should be some TV programme that can project the talent of toppers too.”
“So far whatever TV shows we have watch in the name of talent hunts, they have been confined to singing and dancing. Surprisingly, there is no show that ‘idolises’ the intellect of the meritorious students or projects the hard work of meritorious students of various Boards. I feel there should be some show for us on the lines of Indian Idol,” he says.
No wonder, meritorious students do get scholarships but that alone is not enough. This does not tell the story of their hard work. Bhawni Mehrotra of Study Hall who topped in Class XII CBSE examinations said: “Scholarships are not enough. Meritorious students deserve a much better treatment. Also, they would be great source of inspiration if there are special programmes on them.”
If you are a producer and want to fund such projects, you need not even work hard for the content. Just relax. For these bright students themselves have the recipe ready! Vaibhav, the topper of Class XII UP Board, is all set already. He says, the contest should be even and be divided into two separate groups, viz.,
for Class X and XII. Vaibhav suggests: “Questions should be based on syllabus of all subjects of all the Boards. This will make the contest all the more even and then one can actually test the potential of meritorious students of different boards.”
According to meritorious students, this will give a fair enough idea to the viewers about which Board is better or even which Board will best suit their wards. Harsh of Cathedral School says that often people feel that had their child should shift from CBSE or ISC board but are not sure so, such a programme would be of great help.
Shivani Shukla, who secured over 96 pc in ISC Class XII examination is also for such programmes. “Though, there are some programmes like quizzes, etc but they are not enough. There should be one such exclusive programme that purely tests the intellect of meritorious students so that hard work put in by them does not go unnoticed,” she said.


MUMBAI, — For a glimpse into the hungry hearts of young India, step inside a giant hulk of a studio here in the country's film and television capital for the weekly taping of "Indian Idol 2."

An audience member and her idol: Mr. Acharya, the winner.
This is where Indians come to be discovered: Antara Mitra from the remote eastern border in Bengal; Amey Date from a small third-floor walk-up in central Mumbai; Sandeep Acharya, from Bikaner, a small town in Rajasthan; and N. C. Karunya, on leave from an engineering college in the southern high-tech hub, Hyderabad.
Winnowed from some 30,000 contestants who lined up on the first day of auditions, these four contestants were among the show's eight finalists this spring. They were all in their late teens and 20's. None of them were low on grit or ambition. All had been studying music since they were children. Each dreamed of becoming a professional singer in the dog-eat-dog Indian movie industry. "Indian Idol" was their one chance of swimming straight to the top.
"I have to show people I have talent," is how Mr. Date, 26, the pragmatic child of a single mother, put it. "This is the best platform in India."
A platform for the would-be stars, yes, but also a peephole into the zeitgeist of young India.
"Indian Idol," a variation of the British "Pop Idol" and "American Idol," is one among a spate of talent hunts that have mushroomed across the television landscape in the past couple of years. "The Great Indian Laughter Challenge," a stand-up comedy contest, is in its second season. "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa," a song contest named after the notes of the Indian musical scale, wrapped up its first season in February. "Nach Baliye," a dance contest whose name means "Let's Talk Dance," is expected to begin its second season later this year.
If nothing else, the proliferation of these contests testifies to a powerful set of beliefs among a generation of middle-class Indian youth: that they can make it on merit, that democracy will trounce favoritism and that no matter whether a contestant has unsung small-town roots or lacks family connections, talent will be recognized — and that the masses of unsung small-town Indians can make that possible.
Most contestants are from far-flung places in India, miles away from the upscale parts of big cities like Mumbai, formerly Bombay. Winners are chosen by popular vote. The contests are all in Hindi, which is increasingly the lingua franca of the country, thanks to the expansion of Hindi film and television well beyond India's traditional northern Hindi belt.
"It's our way of participating, in a vicarious manner, in this great Mumbai dream," said Shailaja Bajpai, a television critic at The Indian Express, an English-language daily. "It says, 'O.K., we can rise.' "
The winner of "Indian Idol" takes home a Sony recording contract, a brand-new car and most important of all, a priceless shot at stardom. Last year's winner, Abhijit Sawant, 24, from Mumbai, not only has recorded an album but also has spent much of the last year performing concerts in India and abroad. His autobiography, "Aap ka Abhijit" — in English, "Your Abhijit" — chronicles his rise from obscurity to stardom.
Two uniquely Indian features have grafted themselves onto these talent shows. Not a single woman has been crowned a winner, with the exception of the female half of a dance duo on a show called "Fame Gurukul" last year. To Ms. Bajpai's mind, the exclusion reveals a persistent reluctance of the Indian audience to endorse an entertainer who is a woman. "Nice girls don't go up there and become winners," is how she put it.
Second, the talent shows have offered a platform for marginal, small-town India to rally around its own — and to display its power by dint of tens of thousands of votes made by cellphone text messages.
Take for instance the winner of this year's "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa" contest, Debojit Saha. He fired up a surge of pride among the people of Assam, so much so that they dared to flout a decree issued by a feared separatist outfit, the United Liberation Front of Assam. The separatists had denounced him for singing in Hindi, rather than in his native Assamese, and ordered people not to vote for him.
Repeatedly this year, the judges on "Indian Idol 2" appealed to viewers to cast their votes on the basis of merit, not parochial pride, so exasperated were they by what they suspected to be a flood of votes from people in the cow belt of north India to prop up their favorite candidates.
Indeed, when Mr. Date was voted out in one of the final rounds in March, the television studio audience revolted, encircling the judges in the parking lot and demanding a rematch. "We Indians are very emotional people," the host, Mini Mathur, conceded on the next episode. In the end, there was no rematch; in keeping with the rules of the game, the popular vote remained the final verdict.
An outvoted Mr. Date returned home to the apartment he shares with his mother. A stack of posters lay on the windowsill, urging votes for "Mumbai Boy Amey Date." Friends had pooled more than $1,200 to print the posters, a handsome sum by the standards of Mr. Date's family. Everyone, Mr. Date said, had a lot riding on his success. He said he had tried to keep a low profile. He has heard that his fans sometimes prowl the neighborhood looking for his apartment.
"Many people were expecting — my family, my friends, my fans — they were expecting me to achieve that crown," Mr. Date said quietly. "That gives me some pressure."
Mr. Date is unsure what he will do next. He will not leave the music business, he said. He will also make sure to let it be known that he made it to the "top four in 'Indian Idol.' "
Until his effort to win "Indian Idol 2," Mr. Date supported himself and his mother by giving singing lessons.
On April 22, Mr. Acharya, "the boy from Bikaner," was crowned the winner of "Indian Idol 2."

Monday, May 22, 2006


New beginnings
POST Indian Idol, Mini Mathur has switched channels and moved to Sahara One to host their brand new game show, Sirf Ek Minute. We hope Aman Verma won’t be too miffed, cause she’s got a new male co-host, Aryan Vaid. For the model-turned actor, it’s a return to the small screen, over a decade after his role on the youth show Campus.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Karunya is Sanjay Dutt’s new voice

ndian Idol runner-up N.C.Karunya has bagged a plum singing assignment in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Munnabhai 2nd Innings. Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra has got the talented and versatile singer to record a track ‘Aane chaar aane...’, a track that was filmed the same evening after the recording on May 8 on `Munnabhai’ Sanjay Dutt. The song was written by Swanand Kirkire and composed by Shantanu Moitra. Chopra had reportedly booked the studio for five hours in view of Karunya’s rawness, but Karunya was through with the recording in fifteen minutes with a ’perfect’ take. Vinod ’discovered’ Karunya in a rather interesting way. He was in Los Angeles last month, when his sister who was visiting, burst into his room in tears, because Karunya had lost the Indian Idol title. Chopra decided to find out who Karunya was as soon as he returned to Mumbai. The film’s music composer Shantanu Moitra did Karunya’s voice-test - and he was on. Chopra has sworn to make Karunya a top singer, fulfilling the prophesy of Indian Idol judge Anu Malik at the Indian Idol Finale that whether Karunya won the title or not he would one day be the Numero Uno singer in Hindi films. Ironically, Anu Malik is the only principal member of the Munnabhai MBBS team who is not in the sequel!


Sandeep Acharya to perform live, launch album“Life has changed drastically,” says Indian Idol Sandeep Acharya as he readies to launch his debut album Mere Saath Sara Jahan on May 20 with a live concert. He will be joined by his nearest competitor Karunya and theother 11 finalists. His album composed by Sandeep Chowta has eight numbers penned by Sameer. Recently, he shot for the music video of his folksy title number directed by Ruchi Narain. The video traces Sandeep’s journey from his humble beginnings as a singer in the village to the city and stardom. “It captures me living with my family and how initially they are reluctant to give me the go-ahead for a career in singing. It brings out the mischievous side in me. There’s a lot of uchal-khud humour and emotions. It will touch you,” he promises. The video will start airing on all the popular channels in a few days. As for the album, it comprises two versions of the title track, two Rajasthani numbers, a romantic song, two popular hits Papa kehte hai ...’ and ‘Chehra hai ya chand khila hai ...’, one sufi number ‘Ishq ho gaya ...’. We caught Sandeep the day after he finished recording his album. A visibly relaxed and refreshed Sandeep said that since he won the title he has been working round-the-clock. “I had to shoot for the video, rehearse and record my songs. I would get up at 5 am and rest only at 1 pm,” he recalls. He is looking forward to performing live, the first time after he won the title. The concert will be aired on May 27 on Sony.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Dhoni set to topple 'Gilli' from the top

JOIN US AT-- http://indianidol.forumsdot.com

Dubai, May 16 Mahendra Singh Dhoni will have a golden chance to regain the top slot from his idol Adam Gilchrist in the upcoming five match series in Caribbeans beginning on Thursday, as only three rating points separate the Indian stumper from his Aussie peer in the LG ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen and the Oz are out of action for five-months.
Written off by the critics until sometime back, Gilchrist rules the roost in the latest rankings with 809 rating points, while the Ranchi lad is breathing under his neck with 806 points. Ricky Ponting (785) is third in the list.
Infact Aussie dominance of the limited version of the game is clearly reflected in the list with four out of top five batsmen hailing from the country.
Among other Indians, skipper Rahul Dravid, placed at 10th spot, will also look forward to climb some rungs in the ladder.
The bowler's list also has two Indians and while Irfan Pathan (765) is on the second spot behind Protea Shaun Pollock (858), offie Harbhajan Singh is on the 10th spot with 690 points.

karunya in munna bhai


Indian Idol sings for Munnabhai

Indian Idol 2's runner up Karunya has been notched up by showman director Vidhu Vinod Chopra for his next movie.
Karunya will be lending his vocals to Sanjay Dutt in 'Munnabhai 2nd Innings', which is the sequel to 'Munnabhai MBBS'. The track is titled ‘Aane Char Aane’.

The track has lyrics by Swanand Kirkire and music by Shantanu Moitra. According to reports, Karunya recorded the track within 15 minutes.
'Munnabhai 2nd Innings' releases in August.

By Keydee - Eye TV India Bureau
Music director Sandeep Chowta is different from others in his profession inasmuch as he wants to make his own music. He has brought out his latest album title 'Mallika I hate you'. That has songs sung by Sonu Kakkar. Sonu Kakkar's brother Vipin Kakkar has written the lyrics. Sandeep has also composed music for Telugu super hit movie 'Super' besides his forthcoming album 'American Pilgrimage'. He is also composing music for the Beijing Olympics 2008. Recently, Sandeep Chowta was in the capital for the promotion of the album. The Smashits team chatted with him to find about his latest offering and about his other projects.
Excepts of his recent chat:
What's the inspiration behind 'Mallika I hate you'?
Every woman who is beautiful evokes an array of extreme emotions - from absolute passion to absolute hatred. Her inaccessibility is the most hated. 'Mallika! I Hate You' is one such typical case.
Why only 'Mallika'?
It is a stereotypical Indian name, therefore the choice of appellation. However, if it still rings a persistent little tinkle in your head, it is 'purely coincidental.'
Why four different versions of the title track?

This album is not targeted for a particular type audience. So to cater to all types of the audience we have recorded the four different versions - Main version, Desi Mix, Club Mix and Lounge Mix. This song is single and not part of the album. If a single song can succeed nobody will like to listen to the entire album.
Were you running short of original compositions - that you included two old compositions of movie 'Dum'?
No, that's not true. The decision of adding two old songs - "Babuji Zara Dehere Chalo…' and 'Dum' of the 'Dum' movie - was completely taken by the music company.
Why did you choose Sonu Kakkar for this album?
I was sure about Sonu from the very first day. She is the only singer who can sing 'Mallika I hate you' type of a song. She has developed her singing talent and now she is expert in singing all types of songs.
How are you different from other music directors?
I want to make music on my terms. I don't want anyone else to tell me how to make music.
What's your view on today's talent hunt shows?
click for larger view
Talent hunt show is a good idea, and I am sure that we can explore good artists through these types of shows. But I am very upset with the way of selections. I am against the SMS method, because good candidates are not able to stand for long because of the lesser number of SMSs for them.
What are your future projects?
I am busy with the composition of the song for Indian Idol winner.
What's going on your next album 'American Pilgrimage'?
The album is almost complete and will release soon. It is a jazz and semi-classical album. The track of the album is sung by Sanjay Chitley.
What is 'Cynide' all about?
This is a documentry-film based on former prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi. This movie depicts how Rajiv's killers planned their strategy in Bangalore.
Since you have already directed a 10- minute short film on drug peddling, is there any plan to direct a three- hour movie?
No. Not right now. At present, I am busy with so many projects like 'American Pilgrimage' besides composing music for Beijing Olympics 2008. So, it is not possible now, but definitely in the future.

Monday, May 15, 2006




Who among us hasn’t, at some point in our reckless youth (or reckless middle age for that matter), fantasised about that perfect backpacker’s vacation?
A few weeks spent travelling across the country, just a haversack on one’s back, altering plans constantly, catching a train with seconds to spare, making last-minute accommodation arrangements or just bedding down at a local bus-stop...
But then reality comes a-calling, kicks you in the teeth, anchors your feet firmly to the ground and laughs at you for good measure.
In this vast country, how will you decide on a route that can claim to be fairly representative of all the things you want to see? What might you end up leaving out while planning your itinerary? While you don’t want a no-surprises, tour operator-managed holiday, you can’t afford to be too disorganised either. Most importantly, where’s the money? Thus are the dreams of great adventurers scuppered by the tinny voice of practicality.
If all this sounds painfully familiar, chances are you’ll want to log on to the OK, Tata, Bye Bye website (http://www.oktatabyebye.com/) and register for an innovative new contest that is being promoted as “India’s first online reality show”.
The winner of this contest, jointly sponsored by marketing consulting firm Webchutney and travel site MakeMyTrip.com, will be given Rs 50,000 to travel for 15 days to seven destinations around India.
This distressingly lucky person will also be provided an Internet-enabled laptop and a digital camera to record his/her experiences along the way and post regular updates about the trip on a blog that is being especially created for the purpose.
Webchutney is currently inviting applications for the reality show. The winner will be announced around June 10 and the grand adventure will commence shortly afterwards.
The contest is open to just about anyone (theoretically, you can participate even if you’re living in Siberia: the only condition stipulated is that you have plans to visit India at the specified time and you’re willing to begin the trip from Delhi).
But understandably it’s been creating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere — bloggers already being technology-savvy and accustomed to the idea of writing/posting pictures online on a regular basis.
“We have, in fact, been using the blogging community to help publicise the contest,” says Sidharth Rao, CEO, Webchutney. Generating publicity through bloggers is part of the “69 Marketing” strategy pioneered by Webchutney, where a feedback loop is created between the marketer and the consumer. “Viral marketing” of this sort is based on rapid word-of-mouth communication, which is facilitated by the Internet and by email forwarding.
Part of the long-term idea for a contest like this is the creation of a dedicated online travel community. “In the long run, what we’re hoping to establish is the equivalent of a Wikipedia for travel in India,” says Rao (Wikipedia is the constantly growing online encyclopaedia that is maintained, updated and corrected by regular Internet users.)
“An effective online travel community has been lacking in this country, and we believe that with increasing numbers of bloggers showing interest, we can get something rolling.”
Low Internet penetration in India is, of course, an issue when it comes to an online show like this one; it goes without saying that even if Ok, Tata, Bye Bye is a big success, it won’t operate anywhere near the scale of, say, an Indian Idol. But Web-chutney believes there is a lot of potential.
“Our research shows that while the number of Net users haven’t been increasing exponentially, the depth of Internet use is shooting upwards,” says Rao.
“What this means is that existing users are more intense than before and are using the Net in many different ways.” It’s showing: in its first week the contest received over 500 applications and they expect 2,000-odd by the end of May.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Mumbai: N C Karunya may have lost the Indian Idol title. But the 20-year-old must have hardly expected that his dream of becoming a playback singer would come true so soon.
And he definitely might not have thought, that his big Bollywood break would come in the form of the sequel of film Munnabhai,
Producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra who has introduced many new talents to the industry, has an interesting anecdote to share, about his chancing upon Karunya.
“I do not watch TV so I had no idea about him. It was my sister actually, who called me from L A. She was crying on the phone as she was sad about Karunya losing the Indian Idol title.
I told her I didn’t know him, and she was surprised. It was then I called up Shantanu and asked him to find out who Karunaya was,” Chopra says.
As for Karunya he is also in awe of Chopra.
"As soon as the I sang the song for the first time, which was completed in 15 minutes, and it was all right. Vinodji came and hugged me tight for it. He calls me nani which means child,” Karunya says.

After music director Annu Malik did the score for the first part of Munnabhai, and the street lingo that has been used in the film, has caught on with the crowd. The sequel will have a new composer.
Music composer Shantanu Moitra who had composed music for the film Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi, has been handed over the reins this time.
Moitra, still enjoying the success of the Parineeta, is aware of the expectations from him. But he says, he's not really bothered by it.
“I will be trekking somewhere in August. So I will be far away. I don’t know about the expectations. But I am very confident about my work that I do.
I had never expected Parineeta to be such a big hit, So, you don’t know. Life is always better if you don’t expect much,” Moitra says.
Composing music for the Munnabhai sequel could be a big break for Moitra, but Karunya has some tough competition for the same soundtrack. Actors Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi have also recorded one of the film's songs in their own voices.
The film releases in August. So it is time to get ready for another Jadoo Ki Jhappi.

Monday, May 08, 2006


What are Idols Sandeep and Karunya up to?

Abhilasha Ojha May 08, 2006 13:09 IST

Reality television show Indian Idol II has not one, but two clear winners.
Karunya and Sandeep felt the sweat on the palms of their hands and on their foreheads, even as anchors Mini Mathur and Aman Verma got ready to announce the name of the second Idol.
Another name was going to be added to the list of a frenzied, "reality-bitten" nation, and both waited anxiously to hear which of their names would be called out.
Karunya: Of course, I'll win!
More on rediff.com!

"I was getting a little impatient especially towards the end, the wait was killing," smiles Karunya, the runner-up.
Meanwhile, Sandeep, official Indian Idol for 2006, is getting used to a new tune. For a boy who had never dabbled in money matters, the 22-year old will now try and manage a contract worth Rs 1 crore, a musical career complete with albums, videos, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and what have you.
"A kurta pyjama-clad, desi guy, with lots of oil in his hair," as Farah Khan calls him, "who lacked charisma initially," throws up nearly 1,22,000 results on Google today.
Sandeep: Waiting for D-day
Within minutes of winning the title, Sandeep has given interviews to nearly "200 media persons," has secured himself a manager, gelled his hair, is donning a new look courtesy the channel's makeover artistes who are giving him a new wardrobe, and yes, by the time you read this article, he will be in Sony's recording studio preparing for an album that will be ready to hit the market by next month.
"I won't change even if my life has undergone a drastic change," promises Sandeep rather philosophically, as we start our interview, finally, at 11 pm -- after he's tirelessly done interviews and photo sessions, gone over recording contracts and met celebrities.
He is still waiting to go home to meet his father who heads a construction business, the other 21 members of his joint family, little cousins who say they want to "show off" their big brother, and friends who are eagerly waiting for their "Mr Popular" in Bikaner.
Idol talk with Anu Malik!

"I don't know when I'll get the time to go back home, but I'm not complaining," he says. Remembering the moment he was declared the new Indian Idol, he describes it as "weird." "I instantly felt bad for Karunya," he admits. "It was a close contest, but I suppose I was lucky to have had tremendous mass appeal." He could be right.

'Karunya has been a find, like Abhijeet Sawant'
In Kolkata, newspapers were placing print ads urging the Marwari community to vote for their "Rajasthani lad." Sandeep Acharya fan clubs were gaining prominence in Kolkata and one particular fan club even came to Mumbai for the grand finale.
While it is all right to say that Sandeep is the winner of Indian Idol II, it would be unfair to call Karunya a loser. For those of us glued to the programme's episodes, it was evident that Karunya was the only contestant who was performing consistently and, according to judge Sonu Nigam, "was sur ka pakka (thorough with his musical notes)."
Karunya had to be, born as he was into a family of musicians -- there are 19 singers in his family as of now. The 17-year old boy from Hyderabad has been learning Carnatic vocal music since the age of seven. Interestingly, Hemachandra, one of the most popular contestants of Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa on Zee TV, is Karunya's cousin.
"I never thought of participating in a talent show on television until I saw the impact of Indian Idol. I used to be glued to my TV set and promised myself I would be part of the show," he says. For someone who is "extremely finicky about my health, the food I eat and time management," Karunya found his schedule going for a "complete toss."

"I am in the habit of getting up at 4.45 am, doing pranayama and riyaaz from 6 am to 9 am... so, obviously, I found it hard to cope with the drastic change of routine," he laughs. Did it hurt that he wasn't declared a winner because of the voting pattern? "Not everything in life is ruled by voting... Indian Idol was a crucial stepping stone for all of us, but honestly speaking, it was only the beginning," he says, while packing his bags to go home to Hyderabad for a few days, before he returns to Mumbai and starts working on his album with Sony Music.
While Karunya had a family backing him in his musical endeavour, Sandeep's family was a little reluctant to let their boy go into the "big, bad entertainment industry." Says his father, "He was not very interested in studies, but simply loved singing. It was fine to sing in the early morning hours, but late into the wee hours of the night..." he laughs.
Sandeep had completed his BSc from Rajasthan University when Indian Idol came his way and he auditioned for it in New Delhi. Karunya, on the other hand, has completed his engineering in BTech and remembers enjoying himself thoroughly while doing projects for the course. "From creating a water level indicator to a traffic light controller, to an appliance corrector, my gang of friends and I have created lots of interesting stuff," he says.
After Abhijeet Swant, Amit Sana and Rahul Vaidya, Sony has found two more promising singers. But is there room for everyone in the industry? Will the new kids be able to sustain all the hype? That will be another story.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Sahara One's TV promo for its programmes

Finalists on Sony's Indian Idol try to woo audiences to vote for them, Star Plus tries to generate suspense on Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi by putting together a few clips from the show, MTV's fun promos have an angry, old, liftman trashing its VJs — on-air promos have become an integral part of the programming strategy of most television channels, as they look at them as a sure-fire recipe to drive more eyeballs to their channel.

The commercial break on most channels is invariably preceded by a 30-60-second promotional break as all of them want to promote themselves before they make their money through advertisements.

Channels are going all out to create the most spectacular promos and are not hesitating to spend a fortune on them.

On-air promos are extremely important for a channel to attract more eyeballs, especially in today's circumstances when there are more than 250 channels in the fray and a new show is being launched almost everyday, says Ashish Kaul, Director (Corporate Communications), Zee. "It is the promo that sets the ball rolling. A dish is tasted by the eyes first; similarly, a promo helps generate curiosity and interest in a programme. A promo is also a reflection of the production values, storyline and characterisation."

"As genres multiply and viewing preferences of an audience get highly individualised, it becomes increasingly important to provide viewers with a compact yet informative peek into what a show entails," adds Anshuman Mishra, Managing Director, Turner India.

Promos are the "t-shirt messages" of the channel, says Ashish Patel, Vice-President and General Manager (Creative), MTV India Network.

"They help not just to draw eyeballs to shows but work in defining the channel's brand image and personality. We are known for our cutting-edge promos and people till date remember and talk about our fun promos such as the angry old liftman and the chai boy. Promos help to introduce the concept of the show, to sample the show and to create interest / intrigue around it to make people want to tune in," he adds.

Promo-making has become a specialised discipline today and channels are assigning separate budgets for them, says Purnendu Bose, COO, SaharaOne.

"We have a full-fledged team to look after on-air promos, which is separate from programming. For each promo that you see on air, there is a creative concept and a story. It is not mere accumulation of clips from the show. The process for creating a promo includes clutter-breaking ideation, detailed pre-production/post-production and widespread research to keep up with market trends."

An opportunity cost?

Atul Phadnis, Chief Evangelist, Media e2e, believes that almost Rs 4,500 crore of usable advertising time is used for promos. He says that the industry spends close to Rs 140 crore every year on promos.

Though he agrees that promos are definitely one of the best mechanisms to get viewers in, he also says that every promo run is an ad refused. "Promos are being treated as an opportunity cost by networks. If you have a huge viewership base, there are bound to be huge advertising pressures. Therefore, taking time off for promos is quite a challenge for most networks," he says.

However, Nina Jaipuria, Marketing Head, Sony Entertainment Television, feels that it is a chicken-and-egg story. "If we don't talk about our shows we will not get viewers and if we don't get viewers we will not get advertisers."

Puneet Johar, Vice-President, Star India, says that terming investment in promos as an opportunity cost is a short-sighted view as every channel has certain time allocated for promos.

Promo success

How does one measure the success of a promo? Johar of Star India says the success of a promo largely depends on how many viewers actually watch the show after seeing the promo. He lays down three factors to measure the conversion ratio.

The conversion ratio depends on how creative the promo is, how unique the concept of the show is and also whether that particular show has a star value."

Similarly, Patel of MTV also attributes a promo's success to three factors — ratings, revenue and recognition.

"Did it communicate what we set out to convey, what was the conversion from people who viewed the promo to viewing the programme, did it create the buzz and get the people and media interested, talking and writing about it?" he says.

Phadnis of Media e2e says that the cost of a programme's failure is tremendous, and that the channel just can't afford to go wrong in marketing its shows. "A channel has to have spectacular promos to generate interest in its shows."

Kaul of Zee says that promo-making has evolved as a serious business strategy. "In the business of selling dreams, the dream itself has to be desirable. The better the dream the better the impact."

Apart from airing 30-second promos during commercial breaks, many channels are also promoting themselves through other shows on their channels. It could be through scrollers during a particular show or by getting the characters of a show to talk about a new show. For instance, Sony is now trying to promote some of its new shows through the anchors of Indian Idol. Similarly, to encourage viewers to vote for the Indian Idol finalists, the channel has also got the characters of some of its leading shows to talk about their favourite Idol. "If your favourite character is talking to you about a particular show then your interest for that show would definitely be more," says Jaipuria of Sony.

She says that a channel has to resort to all kinds of formats to promote a particular show. "One can't afford to have a single endorsement plan and expect it to do wonders."

Phadnis of Media e2e points out that many channels prefer in-programme promotions to individual promos. "The viewership is usually higher when the programme is on and it also doesn't use up one's break inventory."

The other trend which has caught the imagination of most network and advertisers is that of blending their programme promos with brands. Reshma Malhotra, Director, Milk, a marketing consultancy firm, says, "When a brand associates itself with a show on a particular channel, it is because the show has brand values and an ethos that it would like to associate with. As far as the channel is concerned, customised promos generate more revenue for the channel. Also, association with a luxury brand tends to take a show into a higher SEC."

As television networks are trying out every possible way to break the clutter and drive more and more eyeballs towards their respective channels, experts believe the future would see more cutting promos across all media platforms including new media technologies.

"It's both challenging and exciting. Reckon we have lots to look forward to," says Malhotra of Milk.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006




he Mumbai-based event organising company, Entertainment-7 organised, on a lavish scale for the first time in Jaipur, a ten-day long Pink City Film Festival from March 31 to April 9. The programme was dedicated to Amitabh Bachchan.

The Pink City Film Festival’s inaugural function began on March 31 with an alluring ‘Star Nite’ with exciting performances by Hindi film stars like Govinda, Sunil Shetty, Malaika Arora Khan, Sonu Sood, Krishna Abhishek and Aslam Khan. They danced to hit numbers of Amitabh Bachchan under the choreography of Lollypop. Former Miss World and actor Yukta Mookhey and TV star Aman Varma anchored the show.

The finest moment of the entire programme was when 61/4 feet long wax statue of Amitabh Bachchan (like the one in Madame Tussaud Museum in London) was brought on stage in a unique style before thousands of the viewers.

Among other cultural programmes staged during the festival included: Bappi Lahiri, whose ‘Mumbai nagariya ...’ from the film Taxi 9211 which has brought him back into limelight in the Hindi film music scene, appeared for a show on April 6; on April 7, Indian Idol finalists Rahul Vaidya and Prajakta Shukre sang songs from Bachchan’s films receiving a warm response from the audience; Local dance troupe Twisters gave many performances on Amitabh Bachchan songs during the 10-day long festival. On April 9, the concluding day, Poonam Dhillon visiting the AB Gallery which was littered with exclusive and unseen photographs, oil paintings of the star by Delhi painter Rajpal Singh, set of the film Black with snow fall, dresses and costumes worn by the superstar in various films were displayed. After taking round of the AB Gallery, Poonam addressed the large gathering and later, cut a cake to celebrate the 59 birthday of Jaya Bachchan with thousands attending the show shouting in one voice, ‘Happy birthday, Jayaji’.

The same day, Sambhavana Seth, the item girl of many films and acting as the club dancer in Mukta Arts’ upcoming film 36, China Town, began with an alluring performance on Zinda’s title song, thrilling the audience no end. She presented various numbers from latest films.

Rajasthani cinema a special Rajasthani film gallery was inaugurated by Nathu Singh Gurjar, MLA-former minister-MP and actor of Hindi and Rajasthani films. The gallery pointed out prominently: First hero of Rajasthani films: Mahipal; veteran Rajasthani film actor: Neelu; Hindi film’s prominent actors who acted in Rajasthani films: Rakesh Roshan, Pran, Mehmood and many others; First Marwari film: Najrana in 1942; first genuine Rajasthani film produced in 1960: Babasa Ri Ladli.

Perhaps, for the first time, at any film festival, two books in Hindi on Amitabh Bachchan were released. Hindi film producer KC Bokadia and film actor Sunil Shetty released the book authored by Shyam Mathur titled Amitabh Tujhe Salam while Main Amitabh Bol Raha Hoon by journalist Sumant Mishra was released by Bina Kak, former Minister and actor.

Selected films of the superstar like Zanjeer, Coolie, Shahenshah, Baghban, Black, and hit films of Rajshri Productions like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, etc followed by Hollywood blockbuster Titanic were shown during the festival at Multiplex, Durgapura.

During the festival, with the co-operation from NGO ‘Make A Wish’, Entertainment-7 organised a programme of presenting gifts to children suffering from incurable diseases like cancer by the film stars.

The credit for showcasing the superstar’s manifold achievements and mass awakening about the star goes to Anoop Srivastava, Creative Head and his colleagues: Umesh Chowhan and Mahendra Singh Chowhan.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dhoni Ka Dhamal


He is the newest poster boy of the cricket world. A daredevil with a pleasing demeanour, his understanding of the game has made him a force to reckon with, writes Gopal Sharma

Mahendra Singh DhoniAt a time when the Indian cricket team is in the transition period with so many young and talented players from unknown places making their presence felt, the charismatic Mahendra Singh Dhoni has come as a whiff of fresh air. He has invigorated the Indian team buffeted by the departure of Sourav Ganguly, recurring injuries to Sachin Tendulkar and the indifferent form of Virender Sehwag. The success of Dhoni has been the single most important factor in India winning 22 ODIs out of the 32 they have played under Greg Chappell.

Taking No 1 spot in the ICC’s ODI rankings, ahead of established players like Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Rahul Dravid and Andrew Flintoff, not only speaks about Dhoni’s consistency but also his growing stature in international cricket as a feared batsman. In the last 33 one-dayers that he has played, Dhoni averages nearly 60, while the figure for Ponting and Dravid hovers around 46 per match. Even after playing 42 ODIs and completing 1000 runs, his strikes rate is well over 100, a feat unmatched by any contemporary batsman.

Barely 16 months old on the international scene, the 24-year-old from Jharkhand has already achieved iconic status. The inimitable but flamboyant style of his batting, willingness to adapt, down-to-earth attitude and the all-pervasive grin on an unconventional visage make him a true superstar.

Dhoni’s has been a meteoric rise. Finding a parallel — somebody having achieved as much for his team and himself in such a short period — will be an extremely tough job.

Dhoni announced his arrival at the international level loud and clear. Playing only his fifth one-day match, Dhoni blitzed Pakistan with a belligerent 123-ball 148 to author India’s comprehensive victory at Visakhapatnam. The innings, the highest by an Indian wicketkeeper at that time, put the match out of the reach of the rivals after the first innings itself, propelling India to a whopping 356.

Dhoni had a fruitful tour of Zimbabwe in 2005 in Videocon Triseries with New Zealand as the third team. He notched up a couple of useful half centuries as well as gave a good display behind the wickets to prove that he was a wicketkeeper-batsman worth relying upon.

But what dashing Dhoni did against Sri Lanka in Jaipur in the October 2005 series one-dayer was something unbelievable. Bludgeoning the hapless Sri Lankan attack, Dhoni struck 183 not out, the highest score by a wicketkeeper in ODIs and the sixth best overall. It rained sixes (he clobbered 10) as Dhoni levelled Sourav Ganguly’s 183 (vs Sri Lanka) but fell short of Sachin Tendulkar’s 186 not out, the highest score by an Indian in ODIs. Such was Dhoni’s domination that had there been more runs on the board, he might have overtaken Sayeed Anwar’s record of 194, the highest individual score in the history of the game.

In the subsequent away series in Pakistan, Dhoni proved a thorn in Pakistan’s flesh and played a stellar role as India registered a 4-1 series victory.

What stands out in the case of Dhoni as a successful batsman is his composure and uncluttered mind. Supreme confidence that he exudes while facing the likes of Shoaib Akhtar comes as much from his inherent skill as it does from the hard grind and toil that he underwent in the domestic cricket during the past couple of seasons. His ability to hit the ball long and hard facing fast bowlers or spinners alike is not new to those who have followed his progress at the domestic level or when playing for India A. Hitting a bowler as pacy as Mohammad Sami for successive straight sixes or digging out a yorker off a similar bowler for the same result requires special ability and confidence, which, Dhoni, fortunately, has in plenty. No wonder, he has established himself as a clinical destroyer of a bowling attack.

Dhoni’s saga of success is nothing short of a fairytale. It is all about the evolution of a small-town boy striking it rich in a sport where the performer is under constant public gaze. Despite receiving so much adulation from media as well as cricket lovers and having corporate houses making a beeline after him, Dhoni has kept his feet firmly rooted to the ground.

Blessed as he is with a sound cricket brain, Dhoni is transforming into a batsman who is willing to play the waiting game whenever needed and come out triumphant. He is proving to be a fine judge of the existing situation and has shown the ability to anchor the innings. Nothing illustrates it better than the Jamshedpur match against England, where he opened the innings in the sweltering heat. Though he was unlucky to miss out on a well-deserved century, he paced his innings beautifully. Coming good of Dhoni as a dependable wicketkeeper and all-rounder flexible enough to bat at any slot has given the Indian team an option to go in the game with five bowlers.

Keeping wickets for 50 overs and then shouldering the responsibility of being the key batsman in side can be the most demanding in one-day cricket. With so much of cricket being played these days, there’s always a danger of fatigue, burnout or injuries. With the World Cup in the West Indies 10 months away, the likes of Dhoni need to handled with care. Inzamam termed Dhoni "murderous" after his exploits with the bat in Pakistan and observed that Dhoni would be a player to be watched in the 2007 World Cup. The burly skipper said it because Dhoni averaged 219 in the five-match series and was the key player for India in the victories at Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi.

Ranchi rocker

M.S. Unnikrishnan traces the beginnings and making of the star cricketer, who comes from a middle class family, whose first love was football and who’s crazy about fast bikes

Hair to stay
Ramandeep Singh

Mahendra Singh DhoniDhoni's hair is as much in the news as his explosive batting. His wicket-keeping is taken for granted. So he is known for other things-his batting and hair. In India, everything a player does is put under the scanner by the fans. Dhoni's hair is no exception and is much talked about. The way Dhoni started his international career, his hair is surely his lucky charm, just as a red handkerchief brought good luck to Aussie great Steve Waugh, who carried it in his pocket throughout his career.

Therefore, Dhoni may not shorten his hair in the near future, including for reasons commercial. Who knows if he tinkers with his top, he may suffer loss of form. But what if he loses form with his crowning glory intact?

Dhoni's locks are quite the rage in Jamshedpur, with youngsters queuing outside his favourite salon. Even his hairdresser, Dilip Kumar, has decided to don the 'Dhoni look' after giving the 'Dhoni cut' to more than 100 diehard Dhoni fans.

When India toured Pakistan earlier this year, his Pakistani fans, and that includes President Pervez Musharraf, were bowled over by Dhoni's exploits with the bat and also by his hair. Musharraf advised him to keep his long hair intact at a time when there were calls in the media asking Dhoni to crop them.

Indian cricketers are not known for flamboyance other than with the bat or the ball. But Dhoni has changed that. What matters is that Dhoni is winning matches for Team India, and often when it looks like defeat is just a hair's breadth away.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni might never have become a cricketer had he not been a talented football goalkeeper. The NIS football coach at DAV School in Ranchi, Kesava Ranjan Banerjee, was so impressed with Dhoni’s goal-keeping skills, particularly his flexibility and agility under the bar, that he wanted him to play a sport which would provide him a wider exposure and better prospects.

So when the coach got a call from Chanchal Bhattacharya, a sports journalist with Ranchi Express, to spare a player to don the gloves for his cricket club Commando, Banerjee suggested the name of Dhoni. Though Chanchal was sceptical about fielding a football goalie behind the wickets for a Ranchi League match, he took a chance and decided to test the words of the football coach that young Dhoni would not fail him. And soon enough the coach was proved right. Dhoni was a revelation as wicketkeeper.

In Chanchal’s words "Dhoni kept wickets like a seasoned campaigner in the very first match", and he became a regular with Commando. The ‘Symonds’ kit bag gifted by the Commando club to Dhoni was the first-ever cricket gear worn by the player.

Dhoni stayed with Commando from 1995 to 1998 to chisel his game, and the experience stood him in good stead when he played higher-grade cricket in various age groups.

The limited circumstances under which Dhoni learned cricket has made him a dogged fighter with the strength and determination to overcome all odds. In his formative years, Dhoni played cricket with canvas balls as cricket balls and even tennis balls were beyond his reach. But with inborn talent and focus on the game, he soon became a name to be reckoned with in the cricketing world.

Chanchal Bhattacharya was to play the role of a catalyst in Dhoni’s cricketing career yet again. When Dhoni was selected for the Bihar team to play in the Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-16 Championship in Delhi, Chanchal accompanied the team as coach. In the first match against Gujarat, Dhoni did such a splendid job behind and in front of the wicket that Bihar had no problem sweeping aside Gujarat. From then on, Dhoni’s career-graph rose rapidly, helping him break into the Indian team.

Cricket did not figure in Dhoni’s wish-list when he took to sports as a Class VI student at DAV School, Ranchi. The capital of the fledgling state of Jharkhand had few facilities for cricket. Most boys played either football or hockey as these were the easiest options available. Dhoni had opted for badminton and football, which he played at the district and club level, respectively. (He played as the goalkeeper of the Shynati Football Academy when he was in Class VII).

But, as it turned out, eventually cricket became his calling. He proved to be a "natural" on turf wickets. Dhoni learned most of his cricketing lessons on matting tracks, "pinned to the ground", but adjusted quite easily to turf when he went out to play for his club, and for district and state teams. Though cricket facilities remain more or less primitive in Ranchi, Dhoni has become a rage, an icon, the most recognised face in the state. Young boys swear by him, and the dream of every child who plays cricket in Ranchi, is to become a Dhoni clone. His handsome looks, six-foot-two-inch height, long locks, cheerful persona, and love for bikes have endeared him to one and all. Born on July 7, 1981, Dhoni, whose parents migrated from Uttaranchal years ago, is the best thing that has happened to Jharkhand sports, nay Indian cricket.

But despite attaining cricket stardom, the 24-year-old remains the "Mahi" of old for Ranchiites. He still listens to old Hindi songs of Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. His innate shyness, simplicity and discipline are attributes not many cricket stars can be associated with today. A great fan of Adam Gilchrist, Dhoni’s ambition is to ‘keep’ like the Aussie.

Sabeer Hussain, a close friend of Dhoni, who has known the Dhoni family for the past 10 years, and who runs an advertising agency in Ranchi, says the cricketer still mingles with his old classmates and cricket pals when he is in Ranchi.

To do his bit for his town, the cricketer readily agreed to lend his name for the "School Chalein Hum" campaign to be launched by the administration. The school dropout rate in Ranchi, incidentally, is around 45 per cent. Dhoni and film actor Farooq Sheikh would be the brand ambassadors of this socially relevant campaign, which would motivate dropouts to go back to schools.

Sabeer Hussain says Dhoni has not forgotten his humble background, and the path he strode to excel in the game. He has shed sweat and tears to break into the Indian team and would now like to take cricket from the metros to the villages. He believes that many more "Dhonis" are waiting to be discovered in the interiors of the country.

Dhoni’s father Pan Singh worked as lower division clerk with Mecon, and lived in the Mecon quarters, at Ranchi. Dhoni’s father, mother Devaki Devi, sister Jayanti Gupta and brother Narendra still live at E-25 in the Mecon quarters though Mecon has gifted Dhoni a flat after he became a star player. Another flat for Dhoni is being built by a private company on the Ratu Road, which will be ready for occupation in 2007, besides the 10,000 sq-ft plot allotted to him by the Jharkhand Government at the Harmu Housing Colony in Ranchi.

Dhoni’s stardom has made him rich beyond his dreams. He commands a price upward of Rs 50 lakh for an endorsement, and he has already bagged about 10 high profile campaigns.

Yet, Dhoni remains down to earth. "Dhoni is still very shy and humble. He opens up only before his very close friends," adds Sabeer. Dhoni’s passion for speed is well known to people of Ranchi, with his Rs 10 lakh Yamaha dream machine being the envy of his young fans. Till not so long ago, he could be spotted speeding around on it on the roads of Ranchi. But now his celebrity status has made him discreet and cautious. With well-wishers advising him against high speeding, the cricketer now drives a black Scorpio and Pajero but bikes continue to remain a passion with him. No wonder then Dhoni’s idol is Bollywood glamour boy John Abraham, whose craze for bikes is well known too.

Dhoni believes that his long hair has brought him luck in cricket, and he plans to keep it long, at least till the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

When Harbhajan Singh was presented a 150cc TVS bike after being adjudged the man of the match in the first one-dayer against England in Delhi, it was Dhoni who did the "test drive".

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