Splashing out: Indian fans steal milk for movie poster antics

Fans spray milk on a placard displaying the picture of Bollywood actor Rajinikanth, the biggest star in the history of Tamil-language cinema, before attending the first-day release his new Tamil-language film ‘2.0’ in Mumbai. (AFP)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Splashing out: Indian fans steal milk for movie poster antics

  • ‘Paal abhishekam’ is a Hindu religious practice involving pouring milk on the idols of deities
  • ‘This has been going on for 20 years ... People consider celebrities as demigods here’

NEW DELHI: Indian dairy traders have lodged a police complaint after cinema fans stole huge amounts of milk to pour on film posters for an upcoming movie to bring it good luck.
“Paal abhishekam” is a Hindu religious practice involving pouring milk on the idols of deities.
But film buffs often perform the same ritual on huge cut-outs and posters of actors, particularly in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu where temples dedicated to film stars are not uncommon.
Actor Silambarasan took it to a new level, however, with a recent video message asking fans to splash not just cartons but barrels of milk on posters for his new film, releasing February 1.
As his message went viral, milk traders started to report large losses due to theft.
“Such appeals would misguide the youth and create a law and order problem in the state,” said S.A. Ponnusamy, president of the Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers Employees Welfare Association.
The association has reported theft of nearly 10,000 liters of milk in two days across the state this week.
The custom is particularly pronounced for Rajinikanth, a former bus conductor who became the biggest star in the history of Tamil-language cinema.
He was widely credited for almost single-handedly defeating a state government in 1996 by asking his fans days before the election to vote it out.
Ponnusamy has been campaigning against the wasteful practice for many years, even reaching out to the film stars themselves.
“This has been going on for 20 years ... People consider celebrities as demigods here,” he added.


Cliff divers leap from Beirut landmark in international tour

Updated 16 July 2019
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Cliff divers leap from Beirut landmark in international tour

  • The competition was the fifth of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving Series that began its 11th season in April
  • Raouche Rock has featured on the back of postcards, on stamps, in family photographs and many Arabic songs and films

BEIRUT: Cliff divers used to competing in isolated spots have been leaping into the Mediterranean in bustling Beirut, the first time the Lebanese capital’s landmark Raouche Rock has hosted an international contest.
The towering rock, also known as Pigeons Rock, is an enduring symbol of a city where many other landmarks were destroyed by the 1975-90 civil war.
“Normally when we have cliffs like this, it is in the middle of nowhere. I have never been to a place with an amazing cliff right in the city center,” said Gary Hunt, a Briton who won the men’s competition on Sunday.
The competition was the fifth of this year’s Red Bull Cliff Diving Series that began its 11th season in April on El Nido island in the Philippines and winds up in Bilbao, Spain in September.
Hunt became the first diver in the series history to receive a perfect 10 score from each of the five judges at Sunday’s competition.
In the women’s contest, Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland, 27, scored her sixth consecutive win of this series.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you perform a dive. You still get up there 22 meters (72 feet) high and you still have all these negative emotions,” said Iffland, who has been diving since she was nine.
“To overcome that fear is something that I cannot express.”
Raouche Rock has featured on the back of postcards, on stamps, in family photographs and many Arabic songs and films.
Daring Lebanese have leapt from the rock for generations. Some have also committed suicide from it.
Hundreds of spectators watched the competition, which ended on Sunday, from the adjacent rocks and promenade.
’Young again’
Among them was 63-year-old fisherman Mohamed Itani, who said he had jumped off the cliff 36 times over the years for fun. “It is beautiful,” said Itani as he watched the divers. “It makes me feel young again.”
Judges mark the divers on their take-off and entry to the water and number of twists, somersaults and position in the air.
Hunt, 35, said he used to count to three just before he jumped but now just takes two breaths: one when he lifts his arms up and one when he leaps.
“There are three seconds in that air where you are just in total control. Your brain and your body decide what you do and you are completely free,” he said.
Itani described a similar feeling. “You’re like an eagle in the air,” he said.