John Abraham: ‘Madras Café’ is not controversial

Updated 22 August 2013
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John Abraham: ‘Madras Café’ is not controversial

Indian film actor John Abraham’s newest political thriller “Madras Café” is mired in controversies even before its release on Aug. 23. The actor, however, says a lot of brainstorming went into the making of the movie and that he is happy with the result.
Abraham doesn’t think “Madras Café” is controversial because “this story is thoroughly researched from authentic sources. It cannot hurt the sentiments of Sri Lanka or Tamil Nadu, or in fact of anyone who sees the film. It is surely inspired by true events but it doesn’t mean it should be banned or face controversies.”
“Madras Café is close to my heart. It is a tense political thriller against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war of the 1980’s. July 2013 marked the 30 year anniversary of the conflict, which finally ended in 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Madras Café provides a timely reminder of the gruesome conflict that claimed thousands of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim lives and left millions of people displaced and desolate. The war’s impact was felt across the world with both Eastern and Western nations involved in the negotiations for a resolution,” said Abraham.
The actor plays the role of Captain Vikram Singh, a successful Para Military Officer recruited by the RAW’s (India’s external security agency) Indian head Robin Dutt (RD) — with the mandate to execute certain covert intelligence operations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and conduct peaceful provincial council elections.
Abraham said actress Nargis plays a bold role in the movie. “She is a journalist named Jaya. Vikram and Jaya together go about finding the truth amongst a complex web of lies and deceit, and begin telling the world their incredible story,” he said.
Commenting on remarks likening his look in the movie to Tom Hank’s look in “Cast Away,” he said: “Deciding on my look for the movie was quite challenging. It took lot of brain storming and we finalized this messy look, which apparently you think is inspired by Tom, but actually it’s not.”
Asked if the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa secretly financed Madras Café, the actor said: “This is a false statement. Viacom 18 is the official producer of Madras Café.”


Modi or Gandhi? Indian mystics split over poll outcome

Updated 22 March 2019
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Modi or Gandhi? Indian mystics split over poll outcome

  • Larra Shah expects Modi to be returned, but with a vastly reduced majority
  • Raj Kumar Sharma thinks opposition leader Rahul Gandhi will win

MUMBAI: Transgender mystic Zoya Lobo turns over three oracle cards, studies them for a minute and looks up. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will definitely win India’s general election this summer, she proclaims.
Clairvoyant Larra Shah also predicts a victory for Modi owing to his “extremely powerful aura,” but astrologer Raj Kumar Sharma thinks opposition leader Rahul Gandhi will win because his party’s moon sign is Virgo.
Vedic astrology is big business in Hindu-majority India and stargazers are making a host of predictions for the world’s biggest elections starting next month — their many followers hanging on every utterance.
Some 900 million voters are registered to cast ballots in the vote in April and May which will see Gandhi’s Congress party seek to dislodge Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power.
Shah, 49, a celebrity holistic healer who practices tarot reading, says most of them will plump for Modi, himself a devout Hindu.
“When it comes to tarot cards Modi is like the emperor or the magician where the power of self-knowledge, of spiritual balance, of karma, is in perfection,” she explains to AFP.
“Rahul Gandhi is more like the devil because he’s always confused. There is a conflict there because he is a Gemini so has a dual personality,” Shah adds.
Modi, 68, and the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP swept to power five years ago by winning 282 out of 543 seats, forming the country’s first majority government in almost three decades.
Shah expects Modi to be returned, but with a vastly reduced majority. Pre-election polling suggests an even closer contest, with many forecasting that neither party will win the 272 seats needed for a majority.
Lobo also has a prediction that hits closer to home for her — a 35 percent chance that Modi will do something to help India’s two-million-strong transgender community.
Indians consult soothsayers for advice on a raft of subjects from whom to marry to whether to buy a house or strike a business deal.
Many businessmen, Bollywood actors and politicians have personal astrologers scrutinize their stars closely to determine auspicious days to hold functions, release a movie or make political announcements.
For the election, Sharma says the planets are aligning in favor of Congress — based on the birth dates of the parties and their leaders — and that it will be able to persuade smaller, regional parties to join them in a coalition.
“Congress’s moon sign is Virgo and at present a favorable Jupiter Mahadasha (period) is happening for them while the BJP’s moon sign is Scorpio,” he explains.
“Rahul Gandhi’s favorable period has started and his moon is more powerful than Narendra Modi’s moon so my prediction is very clear: Rahul Gandhi will either become the prime minister or will make the prime minister with the support of his party.”
He sees the elections being “extremely volatile” because they were declared at an inauspicious time — when the sun was setting instead of rising — and that they may witness more violence between India and Pakistan.