Imtiaz Ali will profile the Kashmiri Pandit wedding rituals in his forthcoming release Rockstar. He has shot the rituals and traditions after proper research in Kashmir. The director actually spent some time understanding the nitty-gritty of Kashmiri Hindu marriage which is being packaged as ‘Kashmiri marriage’ in the film. It takes care of almost everything from Dejhor to a Shaneel Pheran. The director had visited the guardian of the Kheer Bhawani temple and recorded his daughter’s wedding on video on which the team later worked to understand the rituals. Designers Manish Malhotra and Aki Narula perfected the traditional attire. The film starring Ranbir Kapoor and newcomer Nargis Fakhri is slated to release on November 11. Kashmir meanwhile continues attracting filmmakers. Ayan Mukherji is planning to shoot his next film Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone here. He has already visited the locations he wants to capture.


A cab driver Hilal Ahmad returned a purse full of valuables, life saving medicine and cash to a tourist couple from Kolkatta. Tourists Samirdas and Talapti Das Gupta had hired Hilal from Boulevard to Nehru Park and forgot the purse in it. A resident of Mughal Mohalla, Hilal approached the Nehru Park Police Post and handed over the purse to cops. It earned Hilal a lot of respect and some benefits too. Cops gave him Rs 500 note and impressed tourists thanked him as well.


Young Kashmiri reporter Baba Umar was one of the three journalists who bagged ‘humanitarian Reporting Award 2011’ for their coverage of humanitarian issues by the International Committee or Red Cross (ICRC) and Press Institute of India (PII). Umar works for Tehelka magazine and he got the second prize as Aman Sethi of The Hindu newspaper got first Reji Joseph of Rashtriya Deepika and third prize. A consolation prize went to a Times of India reporter. The winners were chosen from 44 published articles short-listed from nearly 80 entries received. The winners were felicitated at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, New Delhi last week and Wajahat Habibullah gave the prizes. Umar has been writing about Kashmir. The article that fetched him the award was ‘Screams from the Valley’.

Two cousin brothers Sabzar Ahmad Bhat of Mattan and Muzaffar Ahmad Keenu of Dialgam were found dead in a mysterious circumstances on the banks of Lidder rivulet in Mattan. They had left home at 5 pm, one day last week, and did not return. They did not respond to the frantic phone calls and the next morning their bodies were discovered. Though the police had found empty liquor bottles and varnish packets from the spot, the families say they were neither into drinking nor drugs. Police have registered a case and an autopsy was carried out. There was not any internal injury. Samples have been sent for forensic examination.


The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that, officials think, might be withdrawn from select localities, has offered a bonding of Kashmir with North East where it is in vogue for more than 50 years now. Irom Sharmila, a young lady who was shocked by the killing of some boys in her village around Imphal is on a hunger strike against the law for around 11 years now. A number of activists from across India last week landed in Srinagar to start a 4500-Kms long ‘save Sharmila march’ through 11 states. Noted activist Medha Patekar flagged the march off. It will reach Imphal of October 27 and conclude at Jantar Mantar on December 10, the international human rights day. The march was attacked in Delhi.

A Jammu newspaper ran a scoop suggesting Basharat Ahmad Dhar, a senior officer currently holding Commissioner Secretary Power Department charge is overstaying in office for over two years because he had retired in September 30th, 2009. It said the officer had started manipulating his date of birth from September 7, 1949 to December 25, 1951. The bureaucrat, who has held many vital positions in his career, contested the report saying that he was actually born on December 25, 1951 and the same date is entered on his service book. The fudging report had triggered a near-crisis in the civil secretariat. In reaction, the newspaper published a high court decision of 2002 that had quashed a city munsiff’s 1989 order permitting change in the date of birth. The subsequent investigations, however, revealed that the court order pertained to a namesake who was teaching English! Dhar is due to retire in December 2011.


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