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The Ludhiana-Moga highway is dotted with forecourts full of top-end cars, decked with flowers and wedding finery and ready for hire. The rates, according to businessman Joginder Singh, range from Rs 18,000 for an Audi A4, Rs26,000 for an Audi A6 or a BMW 5 Series or Bentley to Rs 40,000 for a Lincoln Limousine and Rs 50,000 for a Jaguar XE. A bit of negotiation and the price across models is almost halved within minutes. “Take a Mercedes-Benz E-Class for Rs 8,000. I can’t really go lower than this,” says Singh, who has only one booking for October so far.
Paramjit Singh, whose Punjab Wedding Cars is among the biggest outfits on the Jalandhar-Phagwara highway in the NRI-rich Doaba belt, says the business has gone bust. Tension between India and Pakistan has been rising since the Uri attack. India responded by striking terrorist launch pads across the Line of Control.
“NRIs come to Punjab from Canada and the US from October to February for weddings and they hire these high-end cars as dolis to impress the bride’s side. But this year, due to the tension with Pakistan, the NRIs have not come yet, maybe anticipating trouble.
Last year, NRI traffic was not there as the atmosphere was disturbed by incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib,” Singh says. He explains that NRI visits to Punjab are generally cyclical — high one year, low the next. “But this time it will be particularly bad as there was no traffic last year due to tensions in Punjab and this year is expected to be no different.
These elections are expected to be violent and aggressively fought between Akalis, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party. NRIs do not want campaigning nuisance while they are here for a wedding. The tension with Pakistan means the season is anyway off to a bad start,” says Amarjit Gill, who runs Jazz Car Rental near Ludhiana.
Some businessmen near Jalandhar have pinned their hopes on AAP’s appeal to NRIs to come to India to cast their votes in the elections expected in January or February.
“If NRIs heed the appeal and come to Punjab during the elections, they may double up the trip by planning weddings, too,” says Avtar Singh, who has eight luxury cars near Phagwara. This is crucial to sustain EMIs and the running costs of his fleet worth almost Rs5 crore, he says.
The Audi A4 and A6 are now the popular choices rather than limousines, which used to be the craze until a few years ago. The stretch limousines improvised here were banned by the police for violating the Motor Vehicles Act.
Audi is a hit in the villages — the people like the four-ring emblem rather than the star logo of Mercedes-Benz, which has become commonplace, say the owners of rental companies. The Jaguar has also become popular, thanks to the hit Punjabi song ‘Kudi Kehendi Pehlan Jaguar Le Lio’, though at Rs40,000-50,000, it is an expensive proposition. But sharp discounts are there to be had. “You can have a Jaguar for Rs25,000,” Avtar Singh quickly offers.
The Film & Television Producers Guild of India Ltd. (“Guild”) expresses its unflinching support to the Central Government and its solidarity with the Armed Forces on their supreme sacrifice at URI and courage and valour displayed during the recent counter terrorism operations.
The Guild which represents most of the active Hindi film producers affirms its unequivocal backing to the Government on this important issue, and also draws the attention of the Government to the genuine concerns of all those film producers who have invested heavily in films featuring artistes from across the border, since there has been some discourse in the media recently with regard to certain threats to disrupt the release of these movies. There are many film producers who have either already shot their films or are in the process of completing their unfinished films prior to the escalation of hostilities with our neighbours, including Karan Johar’s soon to be released film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil which has also been certified by the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC). Similarly, there are many other films which are scheduled to be released in months ahead including Dear Zindagi and Raees, which also feature artistes from across the border.
Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India stated that “The Guild in no uncertain terms confirms that the film industry stands in unison with the Government’s recent steps to counter terrorism and will naturally abide by any decision taken by the central government with regard to government’s future policy on issuance of work visa to foreign artistes; however, we would urge the government at the Centre as well as all the states to appreciate that the film producers who have already shot their films or are in the process of completing their unfinished films should not end up paying heavy price for no fault of theirs due to engaging the services of talent from across the border as these artistes were employed through proper legal channels prior to the recent escalation of hostilities”. He further adds that “The Central Government has taken several steps in the past to foster cultural exchanges by inviting industry representatives to participate in the Government’s efforts to improve our relationship with Pakistan”.
Whilst reassuring the commitment of the Guild and Film industry to abide by the decisions of the Government and pledging its absolute support to the sacrosanct national interests, the Guild urges the Central and State Governments to not only ensure smooth release of such films including Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, as well as to guide the industry on the way forward with respect to the mechanism to be adopted in hiring or utilization of talent associated with our neighbours.
Karan Johar‘s Diwali entertainer Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has been cleared by the Censor Board of India with an U/A certification. The film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan celebrates love this festive season. The characters in the movie navigate through life and relationships to discover their true essence of love.
Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions says, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has been cleared by the censor board and we are gearing up for its release on October 28. Diwali is all about love and Ae Dil… is all about spreading love.”
Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios, adds, “Karan Johar‘s films present love in its most purest yet unique and modern way and this Diwali he is celebrating love, friendship and heartbreak. We are set for the film’s release on October 28. There can be no better way than celebrating Diwali with Ae Dil…, a quintessential family entertainer.”
The film has been produced by Fox Star Studios and Dharma Productions.
The week gone by was really bad for two of Bollywood actors, viz., Shilpa Shetty and Shreyas Talpade. While Shilpa Shetty lost her father (late) Surendra Shetty early this week, Shreyas Talpade’s father Bhupen Talpade passed away last night.
Reports have it that, the (late) Bhupen Talpade had been ailing since a long time. The funeral of (late) Bhupen Talpade was held at the Oshiwara crematorium.
Bollywood Hungama prays that may the soul of the departed rest in eternal peace.
Few months ago stringent laws on anti-tobacco had put several Bollywood celebrities under the scanner, courtesy their endorsement deals with pan masala brands. However, superstar Ajay Devgn who is currently amidst the promotions of Shivaay has apparently expressed his desire to disassociate himself from all pan masala endorsements.
Ajay Devgn, of late, has been revealing his philanthropic side whilst he promoted the girl power campaign during the international premiere of Parched and he also voiced out his opinion against Pakistani artists working in India. From what we hear, when the pan masala approached the actor to renew the contract for the pan masala brand he is promoting, Ajay decided to not take the association further. He refused to renew the same and moved away from all the contractual formalities with the brand.
It is being said that the decision came after a request was made by the Delhi Government because of which the actor became aware of the negative impact his association with the brand was having. It has been learnt that the brand continued to persuade the actor even by doubling up the endorsement fee but Ajay retained his decision.
Interestingly, this decision will benefit his ambitious film Shivaay which is also produced and directed by Ajay Devgn while it is also facing a massive clash with Karan Johar’s much controversial film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil featuring Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan.