Off The Record

Off The Record

An aborted film debut

Veteran politician and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan is busy these days in promoting acting career of his son Chirag Paswan.

The senior Paswan has been trying hard to get the required publicity for his son, who recently debuted in the Bollywood flick ‘Miley Na Miley Hum’.

The movie, which was released on November 4, was not a big success and Chirag Paswan failed to impress with his acting skills.

However, his politician-father wants to manage the due media attention for the aspiring actor-son. In this attempt, Ram Vilas Paswan called a senior journalist to inform that Chirag Paswan has been short-listed for the K L Sehgal award.

The journalist said that he would look into story. After his conversation with Ram Vilas Paswan, the journalist got onto another phone call. After the Delhi-based journalist finished his six-minute conversation over phone, he saw 41 missed calls from Paswan’s office.

When he called back, the person from Paswan’s office wanted to inform that the information on the K L Sehgal award was false and requested that the story not be carried.

Khalid Akhter, New Delhi

No strings attached

Guess who was supposed to be the prime attraction at the Rajgir festival, organised in the land of Buddha? Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar. But the music aficionados’ happiness was short-lived after the Bihar tourism officials informed that Lata could not travel to Patna as her doctor had restricted her from travelling for more than two hours a day due to her poor health condition.

“Lata ji was keen to come over to Patna to participate at Rajgir Mahotsava and also to meet Nitish Kumar. But her doctors have advised her not to over-exert by travelling for long hours,” explained a tourism mandarin.

The department then preferred the second best option: Asha Bhonsle.
But Lata’s younger sister reportedly asked for a helicopter ride from Patna to Rajgir, which is 120 kms from the State Capital. Horrified at the request, the cash-strapped department did not find it prudent to negotiate further.

The three-day festival, which will start from December 27 in the cool climes of Nalanda, will now have another top-of-the-charts crooner Alka Yagnik.

The ghazal duo Roop Kumar Rathod and Sonali Rathod will also add glitz to the Mahotsava. And these artistes have shown no qualms in performing before a select gathering of Buddhists, including some of them from Japan, China, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Signal before the elections

Top leaders of the central BJP are unhappy with the efforts put in by its Punjab units in mobilising people during LK Advani’s yatra in Akali Dal-BJP-ruled Punjab.

If there was one thing that was constant all through Advani’s yatra in Punjab, it was the poor turnout of people to hear the veteran leader. At many places where Advani addressed rallies,  many seats were empty and people who had gathered left the venue much before Advani finished his speech.

These disheartening developments come at a time when the state is all set to go to the polls early next year.

What has bothered senior leaders is the saffron party’s dwindling support base in Punjab and the gross infighting that took a toll on this far-from-impressive show of Advani in this border state.

Advani was greeted with black flags and eggs by Sikh radical groups who showed their anger against the veteran leader for his comments in his book where he, in one way, justified Operation Blue Star in 1984. It was perhaps for this reason that Advani’s media managers had to thrice cancel his press interactions.

Whether or not this would have an impact on the distribution of party tickets in poll-bound Punjab is something which will be clear in the coming few months.

Gautam Dheer, Chandigarh