Can new movie revive Shah Rukh Khan’s withering career?
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MCI (P) 135/03/2018
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 21, 2018
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A MARK IN
New routes for tourists in Ladakh
Visitors now have more options to get
high on adventure and adrenaline in
Ladakh, the high-altitude cold desert in
Jammu and Kashmir.
The central home ministry has
cleared the state government’s proposal
to open up five new routes through the
moonscape for tourists and four trails
The validity of tourist permits for
travelling through the new and existing
routes has also been increased to 15
days from seven days at present.
Deadly pesticide found in rice
that killed 15
A toxic pesticide that a United Nations
agency wanted India to ban a decade
ago contaminated food that killed at
least 15 people at a Hindu temple in the
southern state of Karnataka last week.
More than 100 people also had to be
taken to hospital after devotees
consumed tomato rice which showed
the presence of monocrotophos – a
pesticide which attacks the nerves.
The same pesticide was responsible
for the death of 23 schoolchildren in
the eastern state of Bihar in 2013, one
of India’s worst mass poisonings.
Leopard kills three-year-old
The headless body of a three-year-old
boy, snatched from his home by a
leopard, was found by authorities in the
state of Jammu and Kashmir on
Wasim Akram was in the kitchen
with his mother when the animal
pounced on the child and took him
deep into the woods.
It was the third such killing blamed
on leopards in the last two months in
Last week, a Buddhist monk was
killed by a leopard while meditating in
a forest in the western state of
Maharashtra, the fifth such attack in the
area this month.
‘Love-struck’ Indian home after
Pakistan jail ordeal
Hamid Nihal Ansari, who returned to
India after spending six years in a
Pakistani jail, said on Wednesday the
motivation to take care of his parents
had sustained him during his
The 33-year-old, a software
engineer from Mumbai, was arrested in
Pakistan in 2012 for illegally entering
the country from Afghanistan,
reportedly to meet a girl he had
Pakistani authorities slapped
espionage charges aganst him and put
him in the Peshawar Central Jail after
sentencing by a military court.
Gir lions run over by goods train
Three endangered young lions were
killed after being run over by a goods
train in the Gir wildlife sanctuary in
Gujarat on Tuesday.
Authorities are ivestigating whether
the train was travelling too fast and
whether forest staff and trackers were
negligent in their duties.
The animals were part of a
six-strong pride in the Gir sanctuary,
which is home to India’s entire
population of around 500 wild Asiatic
J&K becomes first state to ban
sexual exploitation of women
Jammu and Kashmir has become the
first state to amend two laws to ban
sexual exploitation of women by any
public servant or people in a position of
authority or sharing a fiduciary
Governor Satya Pal Malik, the head
of the State Administrative Council,
approved the Jammu and Kashmir
Criminal Laws Bill, 2018, and the
Prevention of Corruption Bill 2018 on
The amendment of the two bills has
been brought about to define a crime
called “sextortion”, which is now a
non-bailable crime with punishment
not less than three years.
wrong photo of
Tamil actor Vijay
Sethupathi and his
wife Jessy was
published in last
is the correct one.
Singapore Press Holdings
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
V.K. Santosh Kumar
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Festival where theatre
A theatre festival in a remote
forest in India is still going
strong after 10 years.
Founded in 2008, “Under
the Sal Tree” attracted
theatre troupes from Asia,
Europe and the Americas
earlier this week.
Held at Badungduppa
Kala Kendra in Rampur,
Assam state, with no lights,
mics or props, the festival
takes theatre back to nature.
Surrounded by trees and
greenery and deeply
embedded in values of
traditional theatre, it aspires
to reconnect man to nature
by using theatre as a means
to pass on stories.
Hero or zero?
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s
latest film releases today with the ac-
claimed actor, who plays a dwarf, seek-
ing a hit after an underwhelming run at
the box office.
Zero sees the Hindi movie icon,
miniaturised with special effects, caught
up in a love triangle alongside a wheel-
chair-bound Anushka Sharma.
Director Aanand L. Rai believes he
has taken the larger-than-life actor, nick-
named “King Khan”, out of his comfort
zone to play a character 90cm tall.
“This kind of story about a man’s jour-
ney and his love story needed someone
like him. By casting him, we challenged
Mr Khan to show us what he could do,”
Zero – which is heavy on special ef-
fects – sees Sharma play a Nasa scientist
with cerebral palsy and Katrina Kaif por-
tray a Bollywood actress with a drink
problem. Bauua Singh, played by Khan,
is struggling to find a wife because of his
height,but develops close ties with both
women as he searches for his true love.
It is Khan’s first movie since Jab
Harry Met Sejal bombed last year. The
actor’s Raees (2017) and Fan (2016) also
didn’t do as well as hoped. The 53-year-
old’s last undisputed blockbuster was
Dilwale (The Big Hearted) in 2015.
And, with Zero reported to cost a hefty
Rs2 billion ($36.3 million), it may be
starting to prey on his mind.
“If people feel that Zero is very im-
portant for me, it’s their feeling,” Khan
told the Hindustan Times in a recent in-
terview. “God forbid, if this film doesn’t
work, what will happen? Maybe, I won’t
get work for six months or 10 months,
but if I believe that my craft and art is
good, I will continue to get work.”
Khan shot to fame in the mid-90s as
the romantic hero of hits like Dilwale
Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch
Critics say Khan – a ubiquitous pres-
ence in advertising – has struggled to
move away from those roles and find a
new niche for himself as he has become
They point out that playing the ro-
mantic hero alongside much younger ac-
tresses can jar with audiences. His Zero
co-stars Sharma and Kaif are 30 and 35
Some industry watchers have tipped
Zero for success, though.
Vajir Singh, editor of Bollywood web-
site Box Office India, said that Khan and
Rai, known for romantic flicks Raan-
jhanaa (Beloved One) and Tanu Weds
Manu, are a “win-win combination”.
The film also includes a cameo role by
legendary actress Sridevi Kapoor who
died from accidental drowning in Febru-
ary aged 54.
Khan will have just one week to woo
cinema-goers, however, with the Rohit
Shetty-directed Simmba set to release in
theatres next Friday. The action movie
stars Ranveer Singh, one of several bank-
able younger stars who are challenging
the hegemony of the Khans of Bolly-
wood at the box office.
For over two decades Shah Rukh
Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan
have dominated film receipts. But with
Aamir’s Thugs of Hindostan and
Salman’s Race 3 rated among the worst
films of 2018, the jury is still out if Shah
Rukh will record a dud or a hit.
“Just because two Khans had flops,
doesn’t mean the third one will too,”
Hindi film trade analyst Komal Nahta
said. “Audiences are not tired of the
Khans. They are just looking for fresh
and good content.”
Stars of Zero (from left)
Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina
Kaif and Anushka Sharma
with host Manish Paul
(behind) promoting the
movie on the Indian
television singing reality
show Indian Idol.
are not tired
of the Khans.
They are just
– Hindi film trade analyst
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