C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kids shown film decrying drugs
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 29
With the aim of making the world free of tobacco, the Generation Saviour Association showed a film to students of Yadavindra Public School here today as part of a chain of events which are organised under the guidance of the World Health Organisation.

In the film ‘Shapath’, the association tried to draw a message that the youth should stay away from drugs as these played havoc with one’s life. The film focussed on the life of a young student who was very intelligent and an all-rounder, but died because he got hooked to drugs. His sister then convinced her brother’s friends to give up drugs.

Mr M.L. Sharma, SDM, who was the chief guest at the function, urged the students to develop a strong willpower to stay away from drugs.

Dr Harish Dhillon, Principal, said students would have to take a conscious decision of not taking to smoking. Narrating a personal experience, Dr Dhillon said that he took to smoking while he tried to modernise himself after seeing an English film ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’. He started smoking a pipe in order to become stylish but then got hooked to smoking which went on for 17 years. He started getting asthmatic attacks and used to gasp for breath. Life had become miserable for him, but finally he had to take a firm decision to stop smoking.

Mrs Amteshwar Kaur, president of the association, said that according to a survey, between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of children in the age group of 16 to 18 years were taking drugs. She said that the association would be directly interacting with one lakh students to create awareness about the ill-effects of drugs.


Fun, frolic at school function
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
It was fun and frolic at the annual prize distribution function of three branches of National Public School, which was held at Yavanika Open Air Theatre this morning.

Over 100 children from all branches of National Public School — Budanpur village, Sector 15, Panchkula, Baltana, Parwanoo and Mohali — participated in a cultural programme.

The children enthralled the gathering with their choreographies, set to the tunes of various Bollywood hit numbers, group songs, aerobics and action songs. The bhangra item by the students of the Mohali branch and the Himachali dance by tiny tots of the Parwanoo branch of the school were also widely appreciated.


Panchkula girl 13th in PCS exam
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
Ms Neeru Katyal, a resident of Panchkula, has done her family proud by securing the 13th position in the PCS 2003 (reconducted) examination. She is one of the two women candidates who have managed to make it to PCS Executive.

Interestingly, Neeru, had failed to clear the preliminary examination of the PCS in 1998, though within a month of the exam she appeared for the IAS preliminary examination and came out with flying colours. In fact, she has cleared IAS prelims and mains thrice, but could not make it in the final list after interview. 


Challan against suspended HC Registrar presented
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 29
The police today claimed that Punjab and Haryana High Court's suspended Registrar (Additional) Tara Chand and his wife had amassed properties worth Rs 15 lakh disproportionate to his known source of income, in a 500-page challan submitted in a local court here today. The challan also contains a list of 47 witnesses.

Addressing a press conference here this evening, the SDPO (Central), Mr S.C. Sagar, said that Tara Chand and his wife had property worth about Rs 50 lakh.

The couple's gross income from known sources since 1978 till October 1, 2003 was about Rs 46 lakh and they have acquired nine immovable properties at places like Chandigarh, Kurukshetra, Panchkula, Gurgaon, Dharuhera and Baltana during the period.

Tara Chand was booked by the Chandigarh police on September 22 for allegedly amassing assets disproportionate to known sources of income under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998. The case was registered on the complaint of the high court Registrar (General).

On October 1, Tara Chand had surrendered before UT Police DSP S.C. Sagar in his office. The police had procured an arrest warrant against him.

He is currently lodged in Burail Jail and his bail application has been rejected by court.


Stay of Principal’s suspension confirmed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 29
Confirming the orders staying the suspension of Mrs Rajni Thareja, Principal of Hansraj Public School, a local court today dismissed the plea seeking the stay of the transfer order “at this stage”.

Pronouncing the orders, Civil Judge (Junior Division), Mr P.K. Yadav, ruled that a prima facie case for granting stay regarding the suspension order dated October 23, was made out. In his detailed order, the Civil Judge observed that the management passed the “impugned” order in haste and vindictive manner.

The Judge added that the transfer of the principal was neither very far from the present posting, nor would it invite irrepairable injury or cause inconvenience to her, which are the main ingredients for granting the stay.

The counsel for the plaintiff had earlier sought declaration to the effect that the order of October 22 regarding Dr Thareja's transfer from Hansraj Public School to DAV Senior Public School, Surajpur, and subsequent suspension on charges of insubordination were “invalid, arbitrary and against the rules, regulations and instructions issued by the DAV College Managing Committee from time to time”.

She had further added that the orders were also against the set procedure and were of no legal consequence. Therefore, these were liable to be set aside.

The defendants, on the other hand, argued that the order was passed by the President of DAV College Managing Committee, who was the competent authority to pass the same. They said these orders were legally valid and not liable to be set aside. These were neither punitive nor actuated by mala fide intentions, but passed on the grounds of administrative exigency.


Extortion accused remanded
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 29
Om Parkash Saini, the prime suspect in the extortion racket busted by the UT police, was further remanded in police custody for one day by a local court today. Saini was produced in the court of the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, in the afternoon, who after hearing the arguments from both sides sent him to police custody till November 30. The Magistrate also directed the police to get the accused medically examined from Government Hospital before his interrogation. Saini’s counsel argued that Saini was falsely implicated as there was no complainant in the case. The counsel further added that the police claimed that Saini had threatened some persons for extortion money, but then why they are not coming forward.

Pleading for the further police custody of the accused, the police stated that other accused in the case had been remanded in police custody till November 29 in the extortion case. Therefore the custody of Saini was also required to further investigate the matter, the police further added.

The police had arrested Saini, Satpal, Sanjeev, Anil Kumar and Ramniwas in the case so far, claiming that they had planned to commit a dacoity and also to kidnap the son of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Golden Forest, R.K Syal. Syal is at present lodged in the Model Jail, Burail.

Makeshift chambers

In order to adjust the advocates, who have been practising in the district courts without proper seating arrangement, the District Bar Association (DBA) today started construction of makeshift chambers on the courts premises.

The President of the District Bar Association (DBA), Mr Sajal Koser, informed that as many as 125 advocates would be adjusted in these chambers and the construction work would be completed within a month.


A news report on ‘bail granted’ appearing in these columns on November 29 inadvertently mentioned that Rakesh Batalvi, one of the accused in the case of trafficking of girls to Bangalore, was granted bail. He was not granted bail yesterday. The bail application moved by Rakesh Batalvi had been adjourned for further argument by the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Balbir Singh. The error is regretted.


Asha Parekh relives memories
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 29
Known Bollywood actress and former Chairperson of the Film Censor Board, Asha Parekh relived old memories with melodies of her peak time. Asha, once a leading actress of several movies, said in this era of pop and re-mix music form craze for rich old melodies was still alive.

She was here to present awards at the ‘Rafi Nite and Rafi Awards-2003’ held at Tagore Theatre in Sector 18 here this evening.

Asha, who was the chief guest at the function, pointed out that songs of present era lack evocative lyrics and melodies as compared to the songs of seventies and before. Stressing her faith in the old melodies she said these would regain heights in ‘music world’ soon.

She also appreciated the Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society, Chandigarh, for organising such competitions to keep alive old melodies. She was addressing audience after inaugurating the function in the Tagore Theatre, which was packed to its capacity.

Asha was also accompanied by Shammi, another noted film actress who had played roles of different characters in more than 500 Hindi and Punjabi movies.

Earlier, Mr Tej Prakash, Transport Minister, Punjab, presided over the function while Ms Vibha Agarwal was the guest of honour.

Besides certain prominent personalities, Mr B.M. Kalia, Mr R.D. Kailey, president and general secretary of the society, respectively, were also present at the function. Besides 32 artistes, Sa Re Ga Ma winner Rinku Kalia, Runi Chopra, Richa Sharma and Pushpa Saxena also enthralled the audience on the occasion and were well applauded.

The 10 participants, who bagged top positions of the competition held on August 3, were also given prizes on the occasion.

Following are the winners of the competitions.

Male (senior wing) : Ganesh Ghildhiyal 1, Harvinder Happy 2, and Hari Sandhu and Kafail Ali 3. Female (senior wing): Manju Arora 1, Ravneet Bhullar 2, and Meenu Kumari 3. Male (junior wing): Nishank Jaura 1, Vipul Mehta 2, and Manveer Sood 3. Female (junior wing): Kiran Upadhaya 1, Nitika Burman 2, and Sharmishtha Banerjee and Gursakhi Logani 3.


It’s Carnival time for the young and vibrant Chandigarh
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Artist S.S. Bhatti makes a striking conversation with the canvas
Artist S.S. Bhatti makes a striking conversation with the canvas
These characters endeared almost every child that passed by them.
These characters endeared almost every child that passed by them.
Students of Government College of Art, riding their colourful floats, which reflect the true spirit of the city
Students of Government College of Art, riding their colourful floats, which reflect the true spirit of the city. — Tribune photos by Manoj Mahajan

From the first glance to the last, the Chandigarh Carnival appeared to be a befitting tribute to the young and vibrant spirit of the city. In fact, the best thing about today’s show was its well-thought-out theme — “young and vibrant” — which was amazingly kept throughout the vast show and its vibrant strands. For once, the show also took off on time, thanks to the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, who was present at the Leisure Valley, Sector 10, for the inauguration well in time.

The most sacred ritual attached with the Chandigarh Carnival is its artistic inauguration. The visiting guest always throws this cultural bonanza open not with a mundane speech but with a creative splash. Like every year, the Governor marked his first presence at the artists’ corner where, keeping the tradition alive, he sketched a form of his choice. As the barren canvas came to life, the gathering at the corner realised that the Governor had scribbled the form of a head, symbolic of creativity and genius.

From here on, he made his way towards another significant section, introduced in the carnival for the first time. By the efforts of the Director, Government Museum, Sector 10, Mr V.N. Singh, the physically challenged kids from the city got their rightful place in the venue. They indulged in creativity, moulding dead clay into forms, which reflected their vitality and creativity to the hilt. Engaged in musical activity on the other side were the elders who sang in the memory of K.L. Saighal, whose centenary celebrations are under way. This part of the corner was handled by the Environment Society of India, which also got the Multani and Jhang troupes to perform in the carnival.

While the kids, along with senior artists like S.S. Bhatti, Aditya Prakash and others, dabbled in art inside the artists’ corner, two master potters played with clay right outside. Mamni Devi from Amritsar and Prabhati Kumar from Chandigarh’s Kumhar Colony created interesting forms out of mud. The items thus created will later be given to the challenged kids as prizes.

Earlier, the carnival opening was marked by a colourful procession of floats and tableaux, structured by students of various city colleges, including DAV College and Government College of Art, Sector 10. School students also formed a part of the procession which filled the city roads with life.

Traffic corner

For the first time perhaps, the Chandigarh Traffic police had organised such an elaborate display of exciting road safety devices. While from a distance one wondered if they really fitted into the scheme of the carnival, at a closer look one was sure they pretty much did. On display, apart from the alcometer (used to test breath for alcohol) and speed checking radars, were a range of safety devices that can be used on roads. It is another matter that many of these are not being used much in the city right now.

Road safety cones stood right at the entrance. Made of special plastic material, these cones help reducing the quantum of damage during accidents. If a vehicle hits the cone, it does not waver. Instead, it comes back to the original state. Not many traffic cones are used in Chandigarh.

Another device being shown is the spring post, which reduces accidents by providing an advanced warning. The rubber speed bumps and rumblers are also on the display along with potable traffic barriers, which are also not being used in Chandigarh. All these devices are being locally manufactured by Mr S.S. Anand in Sector 31. He supplies devices to the New Delhi Municipal Corporation.

Naqaals, the charmers

Known for his connection with the Neelam Mansingh’s theatre group, Meher Chand Mastana, along with his group of naqaals (folk performers), were today heard striking traditional melodies.

The group which features Munna Lal on the tumba, Amarjit on dhol, dafli and chimta and Mastana himself on the vocals and the gaung (an instrument famous for its resonance), has, interestingly, travelled all over the world, with Neelam Mansingh, who was the first theatre artiste to put the folk charms of naqaals to maximum use. No wonder, her productions pulsate with life.

All about art

There is nothing to beat the spirit of Government Art College students, who made the Carnival worthwhile. The best creations of the whole show, without doubt, were the 10-odd floats which these students had created on the theme of “young and vibrant” Chandigarh. The most striking among all the floats was the guitar, which reflected the joy of music and colour. Other floats drew on the forms of butterfly, peacock, sunflower, birds, among others. The futuristic float, which showed a colourful Chandigarh Airlines office, was particularly appealing.

The art college students had also put up stalls where they charmed visitors with their face painting, tattooing and sketching skills. Virender Rana and Vijay Kumar, students of the college, even won the Governor’s appreciation when they made his portrait in the morning. Among the other things being sold by the art college students are — candles, bookmarks, greeting cards, envelopes, tattoos. All these items have been made by students themselves.

Friends of children

Balancing fun and creativity, the Carnival attracted great crowds. Among the most frequented stalls were the ones put up by Centre for Education and Voluntary Action (CEVA) and Jodo Gyan, a Delhi-based NGO which makes educational toys. Jodo Gyan, being represented by Komal, has displayed a wide range of educational toys to help children understand the concepts of geometry and arithmetic. The most sought after toy was the abacus, used to teach the concepts of carry over and counting. Friends of Children’s corner, put up by CEVA, was full of parents solving science puzzles.

Architecture corner

The students of Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) did well to hold special contests for children, who were given blocks and asked to create forms out of them. Prizes were also given away later. Another interesting thing they did was showcase five architectural designs, made by former CCA students. All the displayed projects have been approved by the respective governments and are under way at the selected sites. These include — the Osho Community Project at Najafgarh (Haryana) designed by Neetu; IT Park project at Greater Noida, designed by Anjali Ahuja; Infosys Park near Kishangarh, Chandigarh; designed by Shivani Mathur; Amity University project, Noida, designed by Manira Randev. All these architects are former CCA students.

Creative writers

The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s creative writing contest attracter 55 entries in Hindi, Punjabi and English sections. There were contests in two categories — essay and poetry — in all the three languages. Interestingly, the Chairperson of the Akademi, Maj Gen Himmat Singh Gill (retd), did not wait for the formal inauguration to start the creative writing competition. So when the Governor visited his area, the kids were already half way through with their writing. The topic was “Why I love Chandigarh?” The first, second and the third prizes comprised cash of Rs 500, 400 and 300, respectively. All kids were given participation certificates.

The results (in order of merit) are: English prose: Parul Bhardwaj, Smridhi, Shikha and Sanan; English poetry: Vinayak Sharma; Hindi prose: Rani Goyal, Baldev, Rahul; Hindi poetry: Priyanka Negi, Rashmi and Aman Kumar; Punjabi prose: Deep Shikha, Parmeet Singh and Amanjot Kaur; Punjabi poetry: Nisha Negi and Aarti.

CITCO rasoi

Tickling the taste buds of visitors were chefs from CITCO, who worked wonders with flavours. Serving hot saag and makki di roti, the Rasoi became an instant hit, so much so that the visitors even got into the act of getting some packed for those at home. Trouble arose when chefs had no packing material. They only had plastic plates which they refused to cover with another such plate after serving the wholesome meal just for Rs 25. Little bothered, the visitors carried the plates right up to the cars in the parking lot, notwithstanding the fact that they were uncovered.


Frenchman doles out Hindi songs

Pascal Heni was the biggest surprise of the Chandigarh Carnival show at Leisure Valley today. The first Occidental singer to have reinterpreted the popular songs of Hindi and Tamil cinema, Pascal doled out Hindi songs tonight, along with his group of trained performers.

Significantly, 11 songs presented by Pascal were earlier recorded with a big orchestra at Empire Studios, Mumbai, under the guidance of Indian music directors Laxmikant Pyarelal. This project was a collaboration with Jean-Phillippe Benoit, who later mixed and released the songs in France.

Singing in Hindi as if it was his mother tongue, Pascal naturally came to be called the Indian French. During rehearsals at the venue this afternoon, he mentioned how he began singing Tamil and Hindi numbers. “I stumbled upon Hindi music when I picked up some CDs and later discovered that the CDs contained Hindi songs. For 15 years, I have been feeding on the Hindi music, singing songs composed by R.D. Burman and Shankar Mahadevan with equal ease,” said the singer. Such was Pascal’s passion for Hindi and Tamil songs that he took lessons in Hindi from Usha Shastri and in Tamil from Raj de Candappa in Pondicherry. Pascal has also made presentations of Bollywood songs in Italy, France and now in India.

Pascal, who calls himself, “Pascal of Bollywood”, has recorded many Hindi songs, including “Zindagi ek safar” from film Andaz made in 1971; “Pyar do pyar lo” from Jaanbaz made in 1986; “Jo tumko ho pasand” (film Safar which had music by Kalyanji Anandji); “Haan diwana hoon main” (film Saranga made in 1960); “Chali chali re patang” (film Bhabhi; 1957); “An evening in Paris” (from film An evening in Paris; 1967), among others. He presented some of these numbers today.

Among the Tamil numbers that he sings are “Oh Rasikkum Simane” (from the film Parasakhti made in 1957). The music of this film was by T.R. Pappa; and Rajaavin Parvai from the film Anbe Vaa, made in 1966. This film had music by M.S. Viswanathan.

Pascal also presented the latest Bollywood hit, “Shaava shaava” from the film Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. And this he did with admirable ease. — TNS


Present is the only moment
Rama Sharma
Tribune News Service

Awaken yourself to the realisation that there is no tomorrow. Present is the only moment. Burn the candle from both ends and never let a moment slip without love.

Karan Johar’s ‘‘Kal Ho Na Ho’’ is a usual filmi love web with a cosmopolitan appeal and a lot of comedy packed in the first half.

The scene opens in New York in the house of a widow, Jennifer (Jaya Bachchan), the graceful mother of Naina (Preity Zinta). Weighed down by a bullying mother-in-law (Sushma Seth), memories of her husband, and responsibilities of three children, she finds it hard to cope with life. Naina is an equally tormented soul, trying to keep the family together. Suddenly guardian angel Aman (Shah Rukh Khan), appears and their life is changed forever.

Challenged by his naughty pranks, Naina goes to the disco, gets drunk, sings a song and comes back, completely transformed. Finally, she learns to smile. Her friend Rohit (Saif Ali Khan), is amusing with his girl-chasing antics.

There is an incredibly humorous shot when Aman coaches Rohit via a microphone how to court Naina.

Shah Rukh Khan has reduced after his illness. The face has also lost freshness, but he infuses enough spark and affection in his scenes and one can ignore the moments when he gets overcharged.

His larger-than-life character reminds one of Rajesh Khanna in ‘‘Anand’’.

New York looks a picture and cinematography by Anil Mehta has captured the right nuances heightening the emotion.

Soundtrack is good and ‘‘Har ghari roop badal rahi hai zindagi’’ leaves an impression.

A lot of wit and affection spill over from the goodness of Aman’s heart to keep the viewers happily occupied. So, as he says keep trying and don’t give up the search for happiness. Let your hair down. There are no bald patches here.

Janasheen fails to impress

Papa Feroz Khan, known for his stylish presentation, has once again failed to boost the sagging career of his handsome son Fardeen.

Lucky (Fardeen) is a daring superbike racer living with his aunt in Australia. His father’s death brings him back to India where he meets his childhood love Jessica (Celina Jaitley). He is drawn into a quagmire with an Afghan don, Sabba Khan (Feroz Khan), whose kohl-lined eyes and Arabian-accented dialogues fail to energise the movie.

Celina, in her own possible ways (whether it be dance or dialogues), contributes to bringing down the entertainment factor. She plays violin in a disco, supposedly pining for her love. But her inert eyes and expressionless face takes away the expectation of that intense emotion. But this does not mean that she fails to evoke any feeling. When she cries, you pray for modulation, when she is in beach wear, your wait to see her fully dressed. But this does not happen.

Music is average with ‘‘Mujhe pyar hone laga hai’’ bordering on good.

Johnny Lever, who is paired with a chimpanzee, does not irritate much by the time he marries the homo sapiens (!), the film is over.

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