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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

All the actors are just like Dogs: Pooja Bhatt

Out of the three movies that Pooja Bhatt had directed, two were unsuccessful at the box-office. But that hasn't disheartened the actress one bit. As of now, she is excited about her forthcoming movie Dhoka, that has terrorism as its theme. She talks about the film's storyline, her liking for comedy and how she deals with her actors.

Q: What inspired you to make a movie on terrorism?
A: Mr Bhatt was telling me about how custodial deaths often turn common people into vengeful terrorists. He told me about this police officer whose wife died in a bomb blast.

I was shocked when I was told that the wife was a suicide bomber. The ones who fall victim to a tragedy are the ones who give birth to it. This interested me and I thought of making a film on the subject.

Q: What preparation did you do for this movie?
A: I visited some of the places where suicide bombers had struck terror. A lot of people, including some reporters, helped me in this work. I had the notion that it was Pakistani Muslims who are involved in Jihad.

But my perception changed as soon as I found out that Hindus are equally involved in the crime in our country. I thought this cop Mr Bhatt told me about is my hero, who gets punished for crimes that others commit.

Q: Tell us more about the movie.
A: The protagonist of Dhoka is Zaid Ahmed Khan, played by Muzamil Ibrahim, who is an honest and principled police officer. He leads a happy life with wife Sara, played by Tulip Joshi, till one day when Sara is killed in a bomb blast.

Zaid is very depressed but when investigations reveal that Sara was not the victim but the culprit he is shocked. Zaid is suspended from work, despite his pleas of innocence. He offers to help in the investigations even after being suspended as he is eager to know what made his wife commit the crime.

Q: Don't you feel that Muzamil is too young to play the character?
A: We wanted Irfan Khan to play this character but then today's young audience can associate with Muzamil better. If the youngsters don't relate to the theme there is no use making the movie.

Q: How was the casting done for the movie?
A: During the music release party of film Holiday, Muzamil had come on someone else's pass. I asked him what he was doing there when he was not invited. He said he had come to meet me. Later, while returning home from the event I thought of the slim guy.

So after finalizing the story of Dhoka, I selected him. There was not much of a problem because he hails from Kashmir and understands the problem of terrorism. The two heroines Tulip and Ashima were selected via auditions.

Q: This subject is quite controversial, so what special care did you take so that you don't offend the sensibilities of the audience?
A: I just know that if you make a movie with a clear heart and soul, and in good spirits, then you need not worry about anything.

Q: You have been an actor, so how do you deal with your actors as a director?
A: I am strict with my actors, because I know there is no difference between actors and dogs. I say so because I have been an actor.

Q: What is your source of inspiration?
A: My mother, she alone looked after my upbringing and inculcated values and morals in me.

Q: Will you ever act in your own direction?
A: For me, acting is equivalent to a holiday trip. But I would never want to act in my own films.

Q: What is your husband's reaction when you direct him?
A: On the sets, we are not husband and wife. We are professionals. He is aware of my direction and he has no ego problem as such.

Q: You were about to cast Mallika Sherawat in one of your movies. What happened?
A: Yes, it true that we are going to make a movie titled Cabaret. But the actress has not been finalized yet.

Q: Being a multi-tasker, what else do you plan to do in the future?
A: I am very happy with the work I have done so far, I just want to be known as a film-maker or a producer or director.

Q: Have you ever thought of making a comedy flick?
A: I love comedy films a lot. As an actor, the two movies I enjoyed doing the most were Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi and Prem Diwane. I think sobbing, shouting and screeching are not that difficult to enact. The most difficult thing is to make the audience laugh with your good timing.

There are a lot of comedians in the industry but if I make a comedy, I will take Anupam Kher or Paresh Rawal for the lead role. These guys are not scared of portraying themselves as funny.

Q: Which is your next movie as a director?
A: The name of my next movie is Mushkil. It is a story of a small-town guy who comes to a big city with dreams in his eyes. The cast has not being finalized as yet. I just want to say that we are looking for new faces to act in this venture. So come for the auditions and you might be the one to act in this movie.

I'm not jealous of Malaika's success

Arbaaz and and his high-profile wife Malaka Arora are finally working together in Kannada filmmaker Indrajit Lankesh's first Hindi film.

Says Arbaaz, "I play the lead in Lankesh's film Shaadi Ke After-effects Malaika does an intem song with me. Though my wife in the film is played by Tara Sharma I loved being on screen with Malaika."

After the success of the film and his role in Shootout At Lokhandwala, Arbaaz is looking forward to Lankesh's film. "After Shootout… I am glad to be in a light-hearted film, on the lines of The Seven-Year Itch. I'm trying to change my image with this film.

I'm tired of being known as a serious guy. Close friends like Sajid Khan know me as a very funny guy. Lankesh's comedy is the story of a married guy with a roving eye. I dance and sing with Malaika in a dream song."

A situation Arbaaz would never be. Though he plays a jealous and possessive husband in Hansal Mehta's Woodstock Villa, Arbaaz Khan is anything but that in real life.

"I'm quite comfortable being the husband of a woman who's a big celebrity. And of course a superstar's brother. It's not an enviable place to occupy. But it's the reality. I'm very closely related to two very successful people, and I accept that happily."

It's not easy having a superstar-brother (Salman) and a stunningly beautiful wife Malaika. "But I don't fight their presence in my life. I know their celebrity status is a reality in my life. I'm very closely connected to two very successful people.

But I love my brother and my wife so much that I want them to grow from strength to strength. And though Salman is where he is on his own, I'd like to take some credit for where Malaika are. We've been together for fourteen years. Even before she was my wife and the mother of child I was very encouraging and supportive.

I've always encouraged her to work. I've always believed, if you love someone then let that person occupy the space that makes her happy. That in turn, brings you tremendous happiness." In public Arbaaz always has to take a second position to his glamorous wife. Ask him if he minds.

"Not at all. It's so strange. Before marriage people want everyone to look at their girlfriends. But after marriage they want to keep their wives locked way. I'm as proud of Malaika today as I was before we got married."

He sighs and then says, "All you need to do is be sensible about life and what it offers. By allowing yourself to get upset over matters such as these, you're only encouraging negativity to creep into your marriage."

He says he's clearly a better father than a husband. "You go through so many roles in life. I may or may not have disappointed Malaika as a boyfriend and a husband, but not as the father of her child. I know for sure my son will grow up one day to say I was a great dad."

Arbaaz is happy looking after their son when Malaika is working. "We want a baby girl in the near future…maybe next year. Right now we both have professional commitments to keep us busy. Life is such today that couples have to plan their baby for the right time."

As an actor Arbaaz feels charged and ready to start a new phase in his career. "I feel I wasn't focused enough. I've now taken the reins in my hand. I'm giving my hundred percent to my career. If I fail I won't have any regrets."

'Chala Murari Murder Karne'

Another ‘Breaking News’ and as always, it’s first on IndiaFM.

Shree Ashtavinayak Cinevision Ltd. is all set to make Paresh Rawal’s Gujarati drama MAHARATHI into a Bollywood film, titled CHALA MURARI MURDER KARNE. The film is produced by Shree Ashtavinayak and directed by Shivam Nair [of Soha Ali Khan- Abhay Deol starrer AHISTA AHISTA]. The cast includes Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Boman Irani and Om Puri along with Neha Dhupia. Another female lead is yet to be finalized.

The film is a murder mystery that revolves around a wife’s attempt to bump off her husband by hiring a hitman. After the mission, the killer does not bring relief, but grief to the wife by his cunning antics. CHALA MURARI MURDER KARNE is slated to roll in September and Uttam Gada, who has penned the play, will do the screenplay and dialogues for the film.

Shivam Nair and Paresh Rawal are currently in Goa, working out the other details of the film.
Apart from 'Karz' remake, Himesh will act in 'Aap Kaa Surroor 2' having the same producer-director team of Vijay Taneja-Prashant Chaddha

After Munnabhai, it is Himesh Reshammiya's turn to become the most favorite 'bhai' for his fans.

As per a highly placed source, work has already begun on the sequel of his recent hit 'Aap Kaa Surroor - The Real Luv Story' and the film has been titled 'Aap Kaa Surroor 2 - Ae Himesh Bhai'.

Confirming the development, the source says, "It is true that Himeshbhai has already started preparing himself well for a full fledged acting career ahead. Apart from the remake of 'Karz' for which an announcement came just recently, 'Aap Kaa Surroor 2 - Ae Himesh Bhai' is another film which should go on floors soon."

The title has already been registered at the film title registration committee. So who are the people associated with the film? Adds our source, "The film has primarily the same team as that of the first installment of 'Aap Kaa Surroor'. It is being produced by Vijay Taneja while Himesh's buddy Prashant Chaddha would be at the helm of direction once again. The team is making sure that 'Aap Kaa Surroor 2 - Ae Himesh Bhai' turns out to be much bigger in canvas and much better in treatment than the first part. No stones would be left unturned to be make sure that the film proves to be yet another top notch quality entertainer."

Won't it be tough for Himesh to be managing two big projects at a time, considering work on 'Karz' remake would also begin soon? "Things are being planned out well", says our source confidently, "Also Himesh is quite enthusiastic about both these projects. He is making sure that there is good time dedicated to each of these films and just like his debut movie, even 'Aap Kaa Surroor 2 - Ae Himesh Bhai' would only add in addition to his fan base."

How does the shooting schedule look like? "Finer details are still being worked out along with locations and the choice of heroines etc. In fact you can expect some more announcements to reach out to you in coming days since he has bagged a couple of more prestigious projects. In addition, the good part about these projects is that each of them would justify his presence in these films and would be lapped up by his fans."

Satish Kaushik To transpose Karz from Ooty to foreign locations

It's not very clearly known at what point Satish Kaushik decided to pay a homage to one of his favourite colleagues and associates Subhash Ghai. But when Himesh invited Satish to hear his tunes for the neo-Karz, Satish was won over.

But homage it was, when Satish decided to remake Ghai's Karz. "But in a totally modern idiom. The story will be transposed from Ooty to a foreign location. We're looking at various possibilities in Europe," says Satish excitedly. "Karz is a dream come true. Himesh Reshammiya is like the Michael Jackson of India. So we've four brand equities coming together for the Karz remake – Subhash Ghai, Himesh, Bhushan Kumar's T Series, and me and Anupam Kher's Karol Bagh Films who will be the online producers on behalf of T Series."

What changes will Satish bring into the new Karz? "The locations, of course. This will be a 25-30 crore budgeted film. And Himesh's tracks have to be heard to be believed! When I heard them I was stunned. Himesh and I go back a long way. He has done the music for four of my films including Tere Naam which was a turning point in Himesh's career."

Speaking about Himesh The Actor, Satish says, "I'm capable of extracting performances from my actors. Tusshar Kapoor is yet to equal his success in my Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai. Himesh has already proved himself a success as an actor. Now we've to build on that."

The crucial question on the Karz casting. Who will play the other key role played by Simi Garewal in the original? "It has to be lady with a great grace, poise, mystique and seductive quality living alone in this secluded mansion. I've to find someone who fits the bill fast."

Satish discounts the rumour that the roles of the two protagonists before and after the reincarnation will be turned into a double role for Reshammiya. "No. We'll have another actor for the first role, while Himesh will play the character reborn as a rock star. I'll try to stick to the spirit of Subhash Ghai's film as much as possible. What a film that was! Will I be able to do justice to it?"

What qualified him for the job? "I think it was the way I filmed those lavish songs and dances in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ki Raja. Karz requires a lot of on-stage direction."

Priya Dutt issues press release to all Sanju supporters

I on behalf of the Dutt family would like to thank all the people who have shown their overwhelming support for our brother Sanjay. It has come as a great pillar of strength in this hour of need. However, as sad as it is, we must realize that as on date, Sanjay has been convicted. The family although greatly saddened by the judgment has accepted it with a heavy heart. We have full faith in the judicial system of our country and are currently pursuing all legal remedies available to him. We humbly request you as his supporters to pray for us from your heart and mind and let the Law take it on course.

Priya Dutt
New Delhi August 6, 2007

Not real kahani

Is BUDDHA MAR GAYA based on a real-life incident? That’s what the rumor mills insist, but Rahul Rawail refutes the rumors. “I’ve heard of these rumors, lekin aisa kuch bhi nahin. I wish to clarify, BUDDHA MAR GAYA is not based on anyone’s life or any particular incident,” Rawail sets the record straight.
He continues, “The mannerism of the characters in my film may bear a striking resemblance to real people, that’s about it,” he clarifies. That should silence the rumor mills for the time being!

'90 Minutes'

90 MINUTES. That’s the title of director E. Niwas' new film. “It's a horror film,” states producer Ravi Walia, who had produced FIGHT CLUB with Sohail Khan and is now producing the E. Niwas-directed DE TAALI. What’s interesting is that 90 MINUTES will be of 90 minutes duration and will be made in three languages simultaneously -- Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It will be shot in Bangkok entirely from November onwards.

Another interesting aspect is that the film will revolve around two characters only [the actors are under finalization]. The makers are planning to hire an international crew to handle the technical departments.

E. Niwas is currently directing two films -- MY NAME IS ANTHONY GONSALVES [produced by SRK] and DE TAALI.


Anil Kapoor is glowing and he attributes it to the incredible feedback his first film as producer, GANDHI MY FATHER, has garnered. “It’s overwhelming the way critics and audiences have reacted to the film. Although I released the film on 3rd August, I expect the box-office numbers to actually takeoff from 10th August onwards. A film like GANDHI MY FATHER takes time to grow,” Anil tells me.

Meanwhile, the enthusiastic and enterprising producer is ready to start his second venture. This one’s a complete departure from his first film. The new project, a laughathon, is called SHORTCUT and stars Akshaye Khanna, Arshad Warsi and Amrita Rao [VIVAH] in principal roles. Neeraj Vora, who scripted a number of Priyadarshan comedies and had also directed PHIR HERA PHERI, is directing SHORTCUT.

Why isn’t Anil acting in SHORTCUT? Fine, he couldn’t fit into the role of Mahatma Gandhi or Harilal Gandhi in GANDHI MY FATHER, but he could’ve essayed a pivotal role in SHORTCUT. “I’ve signed two films as an actor -- Subhash Ghai’s YUVRAAJ and Yash Raj’s TASHAN -- and the dates were clashing with SHORTCUT. Now that I’ve floated my production house, I didn’t want to put SHORTCUT on hold to accommodate my acting commitments. That’s the reason I am not acting in it,” he divulges.

While on GANDHI MY FATHER, the international version will be released at a latter date. For those who’re unaware, the film has been shot in two versions simultaneously -- Hindi and English. While the Hindi version has released in India and abroad, the English version will follow later. “Kishore Lulla [Eros] and I will take a call on that sometime later,” he states.

25 Bollywood clichés we miss

While we're the first to admit that we love it that Bollywood has finally discovered the importance of storylines, scripts and realism (of a sort), a little bit of us still yearns for the good old day pre-nineties, when the words. “Hindi Movies” were synonymous with the words “high dramas'.

True, till the late Eighties, Hindi films tended to be nothing but a mass of clichés. But the fact is, those clichés existed because we loved them. Those days, it didn't matter if the first day first show flick we battled to get tickets for bore more than a striking resemblance to last week's first day, first show flick. Even when the hero, heroine, villain, evil henchmen, Mother, mother-in-law and mandatory funny person of this week's film said and did exactly the same things as the character of last week's film, we felt for them. We settled into our seats and cheered them, booed them, wept with them, laughed with them and put our faith in God for them.

Which is why, roughly twenty years after the last wail of the heroine, a simple village belle, as she ran after the train that took her hero, the simple village boy, from his gaon to the big, bad she her, we at Brunch have just two words to say about Hindi movies of yore. ”Mat jao!”

Join us as we remember in the first part of this special write-up on 25 of Bollywood's biggest clichés. (And also make a few suggestions for those filmmakers of today who are anxious to clamber on to the retro bandwagon).


Back when psychologists, 'life coaches' and '3 am friends' did not exist, who else could the characters in Hindi movies go to with their problems but God? And unlike psychologists, 'life coaches' and '3 am friends', God not only listened, but worked miracles. The moment the idol emitted a ray of light, we knew all would be well. The blind person would get his/her eyesight back; the sick person would be right with the world.


Almost always dressed in a peculiar outfit, the villain was the most technology-friendly person in a hindi movie. His den (he always had a den) was a miracle of gadgetry. Doors would slide open and shut of their own, and, should the villain need to eliminate anyone, he just had to press a button and the room would fill with poisonous gas. Often he had a pet crocodile or shark that could be fed with a couple of his victims.

Contemporary twist: Since villains today must be cool, he can be an IT person cum wildlife enthusiast. Sick of staying up all night writing software for constantly- complaining foreign clients, he dashers off into the jungles, kidnaps foreign people who make rude remarks about Indians in the BPO services, and feeds them to tigers. This way, he saves the cattle of innocent villagers from being eaten.


Before Bollywood became sophisticated, you could watch a Hindi film even if you were blindfolded. The sound effects alone would tell you who was doing what to whom and how. For instance, you never needed to watch a fight sequence to know that someone was being beaten to a pulp. You heard “Dishum, dishuuuuum”. And if you heard “Kuttey! Main tera khoon pi jaoonga! ” you even knew Dharmendra was responsible for all the blood.


Unlike the movies of today, characters in the Hindi films of old did not do anything as boring as talk. Instead, they had 'dialogues' composed of finely crafted statements. Which gave us a variety of one liners in every film, many of which we use today. Isn't it lovely, for instance, to be able to fix the boss who's threatening to fire you with a level gaze, and say: “Hum gareeb zaroor hain, lekin hamari bhi izzat hai”? Don't you, the boss, wish you could show your true colours with a “Mogambo khush hua” when your junior finally delivers his report?

Contemporary twist: Old-time dialogues can still be used. For instance, now that most of us live away from home, we are always able to say “Maa” in the heartfelt tones that heroes usually reserved for their mothers. And while it is unlikely that our mothers will be threatened by villains and have therefore to spit “Yeh badle ki aag ab tere khoon se hi bhujegi, kamine. Aur yeh badla mera beta lega”, chances are that Maa - who is one tough chick - will accompany us to our offices, fix our bosses with an unyielding eye and snarl: “Agar ma ka doodh piya hai to saamne aa.” Which will give us all the more reason to announce: “Mere paas maa hai”.


We don't know why heroes treated their parents with so much reverence in the old days. Because a lot of them were remarkably careless, often losing one child or the other at the hospital, a mela or during a storm/ earthquake/ railway accident. Sometimes even under a statue, as in Amar Akbar Anthony. So we had a variety of misplaced siblings: Twins separated at birth (Ram Aur Shyam, Seeta Aur Geeta), princes separated at birth (Dharam Veer), mislaid brothers (Yaadon ki Baraat, Waqt, Geraftar, Johnny Mera Naam) etc.

Fortunately, the parents always gave their mislaid children some means of identification for the future: a two-rupee note torn in two, each twin getting one half; or twin tattoos, one on each child, or half a locket each or even a song, as in Yaadon ki Baraat. This presumably, was because the parents knew that the instant the grown-up children met, they would have homicide on their minds thanks to years o suppressed sibling rivalry. Fratricide could be avoided on production and comparison of the torn note / broken locket / tattoo / line of song.

Contemporary twist: Since parents these days are not as careless as parents of old - or a least, are able to track their children by their mobile phones - the mislaid siblings plot makes no sense. However, filmmakers can make movies featuring mad scientists who clone people, not sheep, and thus give us Seeta Aur Geeta 2007.


When Bollywood's cops of the Seventies bellowed statements like “Apne aap ko kanoon ke haawale kar do”, could we get away without a court scene in the practically every film? No way. To begin with, no courtroom was ever free of random bystanders who had nothing better to do than watch trials of people they knew nothing about. Of course, there was no daytime TV then, so presumably these people found the courtrooms the best entertainment option. And let's face it, these courtrooms were entertaining. What with lawyers leaping of their chairs as though someone had sets bombs off beneath them, yelling “Objection milord”; the many figures of Justice, scales in her hand, keeping a stern (if blindfolded) eye on the proceedings; and, if the judge pronounced a death sentence, the breaking of the nib of his pen. The death sentence of course was very important. “Taze rate Hind, dafaa 302 ke tahit, mulzim ko sazaye maut milti hai, to be hanged until death!”


The female version of the villain as never the vamp. Oh no. It was the truly evil mother-in-law, best played by Lalita Pawar. One look for her and even the toughest bahu collapsed in a heap. Constantly scheming against the bahu - though no one had a clue why the wicked mother-in-law was always humbled at the end, and begged for forgiveness: “Mujhe maaf kar do beti”. Even more baffling than the mother-in-laws nastiness (which seemed to steam from nothing more than the fact that she was a mother-in-law) was the bahu's ability to actually forgive her. Truly astounding.

Contemporary twist: As television serials mostly beginning with the letter k have appropriated the evil saas character, today's filmmakers should ideally create an evil modern mother - one who as she runs a business empire, plots the takeover of the world, not her daughter's jewellery. The judge would announce. And if the hero, who had been wrongly accused, was freed (“baaizzat bari kiya jaata hai”), there would be a big family reunion in the court itself after the pronouncement.

Contemporary twist: Given the excitement that court cases these days, the courtroom scene can be shifted outside with thousands of people sending SMSes in favour of or against the accused.


While technology (and crocodile) loving villains inhabited the bigger cities, in the villages the villain was the thakur or zamindar who, together with his lathi-wielding henchmen, roamed the countryside in open jeeps, extorted money from poor farmers, and raped every woman he laid his eye

on. Contemporary twist: unnecessary. Scenes like this in today's movies would be lauded as realistic.


Typically dressed in dhotis and kurtas with bullet belts strapped to their chests, long tilaks on their foreheads and with horses for transport, daakus mainly inhabited ravines and passed their time looting villages and kidnapping woman. What they did with the valuables they stole no one knows. Let's face it, a ravine is not a good place to go shopping. However, as Sunil Dutt said in Mujhe Jeene Do, “Tu bhi daaku, main bhi daaku. Mujhe kanoon nahin chhodega, main tujhe nahin chhodoonga.”


What was the best way to show powerful and authoritative a wealthy man could be? Put him in a dressing gown of course - a rich affair of brocade - plant him on the sweeping staircase of his manor (sometimes accessorised with a large cigar), and have him ban his daughter from marrying the poor (but proud) young man she'd managed to find under some stone. If the daughter tossed her head and threw Daddy's words back in his face, Daddy then summoned the poor (but proud) young man and said: “Yeh lo pachchaas hazaar rupai aur meri beti ko bhool jao.” To which the poor (but as was now proved, proud) young man replied: “Aap mujhe khareedna chahte hain? Mera pyaar bikau nahin hai!”

(In the second part of the typical Bollywood clichés, there's lot more to look forward to. For example, there's the eponymous gaon ki gori, the rona dhona on raksha bandhan as the behna ties the eternal thread of bonding, the tall and lanky jails that live on forever, of course there's the usual flowery tales of sexual nature as well. In other words there's a lot of exciting stuff coming your way….)

Support to Sanjay Dutt : Congress Divided

Congress seems to be speaking in different voices on the Sanjay Dutt issue out of its political compulsions.

While the official party position continues to steer clear of the knotty issues concerning the Bollywood actor's conviction by a Tada court and maintains certain distance from him, two ministers have gone gung-ho in lionising Sanjay and drumming up support for him.

"We are concerned about Sanjay but a political party cannot do anything about such a case; we must have confidence in the legal system," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said on Monday reiterating the party position.

This seemingly terse and detached statement was purported to be the party stand on the illegal possession of arms case resulting in a six-year jail term for Sanjay. In taking a diagonally opposite view, minister for science and technology Kapil Sibal urged Congressmen to rally behind the Dutt family in the hour of crisis.

"Congress should stand by the Dutts because of the enormous contributions made by them," Sibal said. He, in fact, assailed former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee for questioning his stand and asking him not to "send a message" during the pendency of the case.

Incensed by Sorabjee's remarks, Sibal accused him of maintaining silence on the Ayodhya demolition issue. "He never said it was improper for the law minister (in the NDA government) to give certificates of innocence to L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharati," Sibal said.

He also wondered why Sorabjee had "kept quiet" on the Gujarat riots. "What happened to his moral streak and righteousness when Gujarat was convulsed by riots?" Sibal asked.

Moving even a step further, his cabinet colleague P R Dasmunsi said that Sanjay Dutt inspired the younger generation. Seen in the context of such strong assertions, the restrained statement of the official party spokesman appears to be intended to serve a purpose.

As a political party, Congress seems reluctant to side with the actor known for his association with the underworld at one point in his career and tried and convicted in a case linked to the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. Perhaps the party is apprehensive of evoking a middle-class backlash by openly siding with Sanjay. Congress insiders admit that taking a more sympathetic stand would have paved the way for demands for support for every partyman getting caught in a similar legal tangle.

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