Tamil superstar Rajinikanth today turned 63 and is said to be celebrating his birthday in native town Bangalore.Sources close to the actor said he had earlier left for the city, keeping with his usual practice of staying away from Chennai on his birthday every year.However, he had met his fans last year. Die-hard fans of the veteran actor have organised special prayers and welfare activities to celebrate their idols birthday.Rajinikanths is a typical rags-to-riches story as he has transformed his mundane life as a bus conductor in Bangalore to that of a most sought after actor, with a frenzied fan base hailing him as their Thalaivar (The Leader).From what started as a small role in his mentor K Balachanders Aboorva Ragangal in 1975, Rajinikanth soon charted his path as a preferred villain before opting for more positive roles.Whether it be portraying struggles of a low-class printing unit employee in Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai (From 6 to 60) or portraying the divinity of Sage Ragavendra, the actor has proved he was second to none when it came to challenging roles.He broke many stereotypes of a hero, including holding a cigarette with much style while mouthing dialogues in his own inimitable way, that made many a young fan go razy. Previously, Tamil film heroes avoided scenes of smoking or drinking.However, the smoking scenes later turned against him, with the S Ramadoss-led party PMK objecting to his on-screen smoking, claiming he promoted cigarette culture among youth. He has since then largely avoided smoking in his films.Known for his humility and outspoken nature, he had also courted controversy in 1996, making some remarks against then ruling AIADMK dispensation. He later supported a DMK-Tamil Maanila congress alliance which swept the polls that year.Rajinikanth has delivered some of the biggest blockbusters of Tamil cinema, and has worked with all big directors including Maniratnam and Shankar.Currently, he is working in his daughter Soundarya-directed Kochadaiiyan,a 3-D film being shot using motion capture technology, starring Deepika Padukone, Jackie Shroff and Tamil actor Sarathkumar among others.
India might have come a cropper in the just-concluded ODI series against South Africa but pacer Ishant Sharma said there are some positives to be gained from the 0-2 drubbing and the visitors would try to utilise them in the upcoming two Tests.India were outplayed in the first two ODIs before the third and final match was called off midway yesterday. Ishant, who returned to some form with figures of 4/40 in the abandoned game, said things are not as bad as they seem.Everyone is an international player in both the teams and its all in the mind. If you can control your thought process, and you are confident in your mind and you know what you have to do, then I dont think it is such a big loss, the pacer said in the post-match press conference.We lost the series yes, but we have some positives to take from it as well. And we will be utilising them in the Test series, he added.In the course of his 4/40 yesterday, Ishant collected his 100th wicket in 70 matches when he dismissed Ryan McLaren.Initially there was bounce in the wicket and then it got a bit slow, he said, talking about the Proteas innings that finished at 301 for 8.We need to use the variations on these kind of wickets because the pitch was a bit dry. The wind blows from different directions and the captain tends to rotate his bowlers. Each of us is a different bowler and we are given a chance to perform, which is a good thing.Rain came during the innings break and India never got a chance to bat. It was a huge opportunity missed, at least on paper, as the visitors are yet to make a mark on this tour.In three matches, Quinton de Kock was the biggest thorn in the Men in Blues flesh. He struck three successive centuries to leave the bowling attack gasping for breath.Its good for him that he got runs. But I think he was very lucky, especially today, opined Ishant.In all three matches, he has given top edges which have gone through gaps, half chances all of them. And today he was dropped twice.Everyone looks at how many matches we have played, but if you can see the average age, we are young in that respect as a bowling unit. Everyone is learning. We make mistakes, and we learn, trying to keep things simple. It becomes easier then, he added, talking about the improvement in the teams bowling performance as the series progressed. For Ishant, individually speaking, it hasnt been an easy ride. He was the lead bowler of the Indian attack early in the year but lost his place in the first XI thanks to some shoddy performances.The low point came when he was taken for 30 runs in the penultimate over against Australia in the ODI at Mohali. He was subsequently dropped from the ODI team and also missed the Test series against West Indies, though he was part of the squad.He has borne the brunt of criticism, but is now hopeful that the worst is behind him.It is a part of life. Everyone has ups and downs. I went for runs, and I take responsibility for it. But people should realise that it is a sport after all and mistakes do happen. Thereafter when I didnt play the West Indies Tests, I analysed to see where I can improve my bowling.Whats more important is that the selectors gave me a chance to perform and come back into the team. The support staff and the captain also believed that I could come back and perform for the team, so that matters a lot to me, said Ishant.Moving on then, the ODI series is done and dusted. Now the two-Test series looms large staring December 18 and Team India will have to reverse the mood in the camp.Last 12 months or so, we have been achieving a lot as a team, winning on a regular basis. So somewhere, there was going to be a breakdown, Ishant said.Its good for us in that sense, that it has come now. Maybe we can use it as a positive and turn things around going into the Test series, he signed off, sounding hopeful.
The BJP is pulling out all the stops to make its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modis rally scheduled for December 22 a grand success, and in a strong message to Congress is inviting as many as 10,000 tea vendors to attend the public meeting.Around 10,000 tea vendors from the city will be invited to attend Modijis rally. We will send invitations to them soon, a party functionary said last evening.Since he was named the partys prime ministerial nominee, Modi has been referring to his humble background as a tea vendor to strike a chord with the common people and to take on Nehru-Gandhi family.By inviting tea vendors, we will send out a message to Congress, the functionary said.Apart from 5,000 private buses, the state unit has also booked 20-22 trains to ferry its workers from various parts of the state to attend the rally to be held at MMRDA grounds.As many as 20,000 students from the city will also participate in the rally through BJPs Yuva Shakti campaign, a party leader said.According to an office-bearer, state BJP leaders want to make the rally a big success by attracting huge crowds similar to Modis Hunkar rally in Patna.While Congress has accused Modi of playing to the gallery by referring to his humble background, senior party leader Digvijay Singh recently said even a chaiwala (tea vendor) can become prime minister of the country.Recently, Samajwadi Party (SP) MP Naresh Agarwal created a flutter, saying someone rising from a tea shop can never have a national perspective.However, Modi turned the chaiwala slur to his advantage, saying, A person who polishes boots can also change the fate of a nation.
Kochi, Dec 12: It seems that controversy is haunting Sreesanth and it is not ready to leave him even on his wedding day. After all hullabaloos over his alleged role in infamous IPL spot fixing scandal, now another controversy involving Gujarat
The rupee weakened by 40 paise to 61.65 against the US dollar in early trade today at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to increased demand for the US currency from oil importers.Increased capital inflows and a weaker dollar against other major currencies overseas limited the losses, forex dealers said.The rupee had lost 21 paise to close at 61.25 against the dollar yesterday on demand from importers for the US currency as local equities declined.Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex fell 120.35 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 21,051.06 in early trade today.