Archive for August 11th, 2008

Finally, Aamir to attend an award function!

Finally, Aamir to attend an award function!

Aamir Khan is one who chooses his non-movie outings as carefully as he does his Bollywood appearances. In Delhi for the opening of “Treasure Trove”, Maneka Gandhi’s fundraiser for her NGO, People For Animals, Khan talked a little about animal rights, less about the hand-painted antique tiles that Gandhi had sourced, and much about movies.

He admitted that “I am not so well educated about the arts as I would like to be, though I own some art pieces” and that although “I love animals I am not a staunch animal-rights activist nor am I a vegetarian”. Here Gandhi zealously pitched in. “Soon you’ll be! When you eat a kilo of meat, you effectively eat 11 kilos of plants, thereby destroying more life than a vegetarian does,” she exclaimed, as he looked on bemused. To make amends, he talked about Kubla, his pet cat that his wife Kiran had rescued from the bonnet of a car.

But there is one thing Khan knows better than Gandhi — how to turn films into hits. Was it true that he conducts surveys before embarking on a project? “Yes,” he said, “I show the first cut of my films to people completely disconnected to cinema and observe their response. These test screenings help me make suitable changes to my films.” Taare Zameen Par, for instance, got a disastrous response from this “private audience”, and then he made alterations according to their comments.

Meanwhile, the fussy-about-dos Khan has finally decided to attend an award ceremony other than the Oscars. He will receive the Golapuri Award for Best Director at a function in Chennai on August 12. “It is conferred on a debut director by the Golapuri family in memory of their son who died on the sets of his film. They hold a ceremony every year on his death anniversary. I am honoured that they have considered me suitable for this kind gesture,” he said.


Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra of India with silver medallist Zhu Qinan of China and bronze medallist Henri Hakkinen of Finland

Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra of India with silver medallist Zhu Qinan of China and bronze medallist Henri Hakkinen of Finland

Beijing, Aug 11: Even the ever-calm Abhinav Bindra couldn’t control his emotions at the press conference following his gold winning exploits at Beijing. “I can’t describe how happy I am,” he said. Bindra pipped the likes of reigning Olympic champion Qinan Zhu to grab the gold medal in the 10m air rifle event to win first ever individual gold medal for India.

“It’s the thrill of my life. That’s about it. It’s hard to describe. I just went for it. I knew I was lying in fourth. Thankfully it went my way and I just went for it.”

Bindra, who faced criticism for failing to deliver on the great promise he showed as a child, said he was not thinking about making history in India with a first individual gold medal. In fact, he said, he was “not thinking about anything”.

“I was just trying to concentrate on shooting,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking of making history. I was two points behind the leaders. I was just trying to shoot good shots. I wanted to shoot well and shoot aggressively. And that’s what I did.”

His 10.8 of a possible 10.9 on his final shot sparked loud celebrations from group of fans from India.

‘It couldn’t have got better’

Randhir Singh, Indian Olympic Association secretary-general and a former shooter himself, was present at the range. He admitted being stricken by nerves as the competition reached its climax.

“I haven’t prayed so much in my life. With the second last shot they tied together and then he (Bindra) shot a 10.8. It couldn’t have got better,” he told Indian television.

National Shooting coach Sunny Thomas said, “We are really proud of his achievement.”

He also reinforced his confidence in the boys adding, “This is just the beginning.”

On his gold winning pupil he said that Bindra was a very calm and composed person and his focus also rubbed on the other players in the Indian contingent. His views were echoed by Abhinav’s father who also added that God had rewarded his son’s efforts from the past 12 years.

President Patil congratulates Abhinav Bindra

President Pratibha Patil Monday congratulated Abhinav Bindra who made history when he won a gold medal for the 10-metre air rifle event at the Beijing Olympics – India’s first individual gold medal in the Olympics.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sports Minister MS Gill also sent their messages. Gill lauded Bindra’s achievement, calling him pride of the nation.

“Finally, we got an individual gold last time we saw gold was when the Indian hockey team won it in 1980. Youth in the country got a new icon in him and hope they are drawn more into Olympic sports”. Kalmadi said. “Cricket rules the roost in India but now the youngsters have a role model who plays some other sport. It augurs well for us,” he said.

“It was a proud moment for all of us here and back home. To see the Indian flag being raised and the national anthem being played made us feel proud of our country.

It’s an unforgettable moment,” he added.

This is a step forward and I hope we would have more athletes who would emulate Bindra,” Kalmadi added.

Windfall awaits Bindra

The BCCI also extended their congratulations to him while announcing a cash award of Rs. 2.5 million to the Beijing Olympic gold medallist.

“Hearty congratulations to Abhinav Bindra for winning India’s first-ever individual gold medal at the Olympics. He has done the country proud. His achievement heralds a new era for Indian sport,” BCCI President Sharad Pawar said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a further windfall awaits Bindra on his homecoming. The Punjab government has pledged a sum of Rs 1 cr for Bindra, while the Chattisgarh and the Maharashtra government have set aside a sum of Rs 1 lakh and 10 lakhs respectively. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav will present Bindra with a railway golden pass.

The Bihar government has also declared a prize of Rs 11 lakhs for Bindra.

  1. Interesting Olympic Facts
  2. A History of the Olympics
  3. Abhinav Bindra wins India’s first ever solo Olympic gold


Apple’s iPhone to be launched from 22nd Aug in India

Apple’s iPhone to be launched from 22nd Aug in India

Apple’s iPhone, the touch screen handset that acquired a cult status in the US and other western countries, will be available to Indian mobile users through Bharti Airtel at the stroke of midnight on 21st August.

The arrival will give competitors like Nokia, Samsung and others a run for their money.

Millions of Airtel subscribers will be able to purchase the iPhone at Airtel’s Relationship Centres from 22nd August, a company statement said in New Delhi.

“iPhone has been an iconic technological revelation of this year and Airtel has been at the forefront of innovation and customer delight in the Indian telecom sector,” Sanjay Kapoor, President, Bharti Airtel mobile services, said.

iPhone is embedded with all 3G features and is twice as fast as the existing mobile phones. The phone also has in-built GPS system, that facilitates as a navigation and

positioning tool.

US-based Apple has tied up with Airtel and Vodafone to bring iPhone in the country.

Asked at what price it will be available, Bharti Airtel officials declined to give details.

“Introducing iPhone in India further underscores Bharti’s commitment to enrich the communication experience of Airtel users,” Kapoor said.

Leading cell phone makers like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung have stepped up their R&D efforts to bring feature rich phones in India to compete iPhones.

Vodafone is also slated to bring Apples’s iPhone this year.


Disappointing iPhone Launched In INDIA

Result Sri Lanka won by 8 wickets

Series Sri Lanka won the 3-match series 2-1
Test debut KTGD Prasad (Sri Lanka)
Player of the match KC Sangakkara (Sri Lanka)
Player of the series BAW Mendis (Sri Lanka)

Drip by drip, Sri Lanka made their way to a comprehensive series win, their first over India since 2001. On what turned out to be the final day of the series, Sri Lanka did not attack overtly, and kept their composure at crucial junctures – when Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman had a long partnership, and also when India struck with two early wickets, after Sri Lanka came out in pursuit of 122.

A bowler short, a batsman limping, the No. 11 in no shape to bat, and only 14 runs ahead with half the team gone, India started the day as no-hopers, but they managed to give Sri Lanka a few nervous moments. Dravid and Laxman – who was nursing an ankle injury – provided resistance for about 90 minutes. Harbhajan Singh played a cameo to take the lead beyond 100, and then took a wicket in his first over.

Sri Lanka seemed in no hurry. They waited patiently, bowled in the right areas, and got the last five Indian wickets without much damage. It was Ajantha Mendis who broke the resistance, dismissing Dravid half an hour before lunch. And when Harbhajan, who hit five boundaries in his 26, looked to take India towards a sizeable lead, Chaminda Vaas, that epitome of discipline, struck in the first over he bowled after his three with the first new-ball.

When India struck early, reducing them to 22 for 2, Sri Lanka didn’t look to hit out, and waited instead for Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan to tire. Harbhajan, who opened the bowling in Ishant Sharma’s absence, bowled Michael Vandort with an arm-ball; and Zaheer Khan got Kumar Sangakkara soon after on the check-drive. Malinda Warnapura and Mahela Jayawardene weathered the storm, survived lbw shouts, and were content to add only 23 in 10.3 overs before tea.

The two went on to frustrate the Indian bowlers after tea, too. They never looked harried, kept rotating the strike, and by the time the Indians had frustrated themselves into exhausting their reviews, started to have some fun with sweeps – both orthodox and reverse. The only contest in the end was whether Jayawardene would get to a half-century as Warnapura had done earlier. Jayawardene was 46 and Sri Lanka three short of the win when he square-cut Sourav Ganguly for a four to end the match.

That India had a semblance of a chance when they began bowling was thanks to the partnership between Laxman and Dravid. Coming out of bad patches, they took the first steps towards what briefly seemed to be an incredible comeback, before they were stopped. Nonetheless it was the best partnership between two of the Fab Four in this series. The two looked comfortable reading the spinners, nudging and flicking for singles at ease, and capitalising on the fields set by rotating the strike. Laxman, who had Gautam Gambhir running for him, was visibly in pain, limping away to square leg when he got singles.

VVS Laxman scored a fighting 61 not out despite an injured ankle, but finally ran out of partners © AFP

Dravid and Laxman lasted as long as they did thanks in no small measure to Sri Lanka’s strategy: for much of the time, they didn’t employ conspicuously attacking fields, and gave away singles for free as they tried to prevent boundaries. As a result, despite the time consumed, India’s lead never reached threatening proportions.

The day started with Dravid closing in on his first half-century of the series, which he brought up with a punched boundary off Mendis. He then settled down again, looking determined as he played the most confident innings by an Indian middle-order batsman in the series. Laxman at the other end received plenty of favours from Sri Lanka. When he was on 35, he edged Muttiah Muralitharan, but there was no slip. The field at that time had no slip and no silly point, and had a short mid-on, a short midwicket, a short square leg, and a backward square leg. In Murali’s next over, Laxman was dropped by Thilan Samaraweera at short mid-on. After he got to his second half-century of the series, he was dropped by Malinda Warnapura at forward short leg.

In between those drops and missed chances, he hit Dammika Prasad for two delightful boundaries, but those were about the only quick runs India got from Sri Lanka, who stuck to their plan of not letting India run away with the game, testing their patience and resolve, knowing the wicket-taking delivery would come.

Come it did, courtesy Mendis, who, bowling from round the stumps, drew Dravid forward and got the ball to move enough to take the edge. Then Murali, who had started from over the stumps, came back round, and got Kumble lbw with an accurate offbreak. Mendis ended with 26 wickets, the best for a debutant in a three-match series, and Murali with 21.

Sri Lanka have now won 13 of their last 16 series at home, and have not lost to India at home since 1993. The way Mendis and Murali bowled through the series bodes well for the continuation of Sri Lanka’s near-invincibility at home. It could signal the beginning of the end for the most feared middle order in world cricket.


August 2008

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