Newsmakers in 2007

Greg Chappell, Cricketer- The 'guru' who learnt a bitter lesson! Appointed as India coach in May 2005, Greg Chappell was instrumental in leading India to a memorable 17 wins chasing in the ODI, and his tenure hit a peak with a Test series win in the West Indies. Despite which he will be remembered as the one man who ensured Sourav Ganguly's farewell to Team India. After his team's poor Caribbean show, a disheartened Chappell tendered his resignation as coach, citing family and personal reasons. However the decision came as no shock as he was supposed to have criticised senior players and their attitudes in his report to the BCCI.

Paris Hilton, Socialite- The loss of inheritance!

Tabloid favourite Paris Hilton might have inherited the family surname, but when it comes to the family fortune, her grandfather, hotelier Barron Hilton had other plans. According to Jerry Oppenheimer, who wrote a biography of the Hilton House of Hilton Barron Hilton is embarrassed by the behavior of his socialite granddaughter and believes she has sullied the family name; which explains his decision to donate 97 per cent of his $2.3 billion fortune to charity, dramatically denting the wayward grand-daughter's inheritance.
Hilton has been a staple for gossip columns because of her antics that include sex tape scandals and 23 day-long stint in jail for drunk driving. So much so that it led US actress Renee Zellweger to criticise girls like Paris Hilton for using the Hollywood party scene to become celebrities .

Lindsay Lohan, Hollywood actor- The 'dumbest' one!

2007 spelt trouble through and through for Hollywood star (?) Lindsay Lohan, whose performance in the film 'I Know Who Killed Me' was voted by moviegoers as the year's worst performance by an actress. The starlet, who recently spent a brief stint in jail for drunken driving and cocaine possession and also attended voluntary rehab added further grist to the gossip mills when she was spotted kissing three different men in one day while holidaying on the island of Capri. She was also accused of being 'addicted to fame', by veteran actress and star Shirley MacLaine, besides topping a recent list of 'dumb' celebrities! However, on a heart-to-heart chat with a radio station, the 'Mean Girls' star revealed that she has changed after attending rehab and is now 'growing up.'

Salman Khan, Bollywood actor- The Deer Hunter!

Actor Salman Khan wouldn't have ever thought that butchering a black buck would land him in never-ending trouble with the law. The hunky actor was at his tether's end when he petitioned against the decision of the District and Sessions Court in Jodhpur upholding the five years jail sentence handed to him in the now infamous Chinkara poaching case.
He also marked his presence before a lower court hearing another case of hunting a black buck and a case under Arms Act against him. He had to spend six days in Jodhpur jail in August and was released upon furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1,00,000 with two sureties of Rs 50,000 each. The actor may also land in the dock for rash and negligent driving in 2002 after he allegedly killed a man and injured three others sleeping on a Mumbai sidewalk. If convicted, he may be jailed for up to two years.

Sanjay Dutt, Bollywood actor- Paying for an imperfect past!

Sanjay Dutt, Bollywood's most loved bhai could heave a big sigh of relief, when he was granted bail in the controversial 1993 Mumbai blasts case. The actor who was sentenced to six years' rigorous imprisonment by a TADA court said he was Sanjay Dutt said that he was happy to resume shooting for his incomplete films.
Out on bail, the long beleaguered actor feels that there is a need to bring about a change in the rules and regulations of Indian prisons which are still following British manuals and he managed to "pull it off" due to his experience of living alone in hostels. During his 37-day stint behind bars at Yerawada jail, Sanjay tried his not so nimble fingers at weaving bamboo chairs, earning wages totalling Rs 38.25.

Rakhi Sawant, Bollywood item girl- Crying foul!

Rakhi Sawant ensured that she hogged the headlines by the simple expedient of crying foul about the popular dance show 'Nach Baliye' she lost in on Star TV, and leaving it to the law to decide whether her allegations about the channel's counting procedure for the show's grand finale were rigged or genuine.
Three days after losing the reality show contest to the other popular dance jodi Aamir Ali-Sanjeeda Sheikh, Rakhi and her beau Abhishek Awasthi approached the Oshiwara Police to file a formal complaint against the channel. The latest score has Rakhi screaming foul play on part of the channel through SMS vote tampering and software manipulation among others. On its part the TV channel has gone on record saying that it was a publicity stunt by Rakhi who is 'not even an established actress'.

Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood actor- 'Land'ing in trouble!

A plot of land in distant Barabanki started the brouhaha in Amitabh Bachchan's case. The Bollywood icon, who had earler declared his passion for cultivation was ridiculed and charges of forgery in land records began making the rounds in the media. Relief however arrived when the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court today allowed the actor to withdraw his petition challenging a previous order in the Barabanki land dispute case and directed that no proceedings be intitiated against him in the matter. The Bench also said that since Bachchan had abandoned his claim over the plot in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district and the village council assured it will not initiate any criminal proceeding -- civil, criminal or revenue -- against the actor if he forgoes his claim over the land, the petition can be withdrawn. In an apparent attempt to save face, Bachchan had earlier offered to abandon his claim over the land.

Sreeja , Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi's daughter- The runway bride!

2007 was an year that actor and Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi would rather forget because of his second daughter Sreeja who eloped with and married her friend Shirish Bharadwaj at an Arya Samaj Temple in Hyderabad, complete with camera crews from local news channels in full attendance, and that sans her father's knowledge or consent.
And as that wasn't dramatic enough Sreeja even alleged that her parents - who were against her love affair with Sirish - had put her under virtual house arrest for the past one year. The couple - who escaped to New Delhi later appealed the Delhi High Court for police protection, which was duly granted.

Britney Spears, Pop star- Hitting bad notes as ever!

From custody battles to traffic offenses to allegations of lesbianism, for Britney Spears, the 26-year old 'Toxic' singer, year 2007 was filled with embarrassing notes. On the marital front, she had to face Kevin Federline, her estranged husband who is fighting for sole custody of their sons. And her highly anticipated comeback at the MTV Video Music Awards drew ridicule when she dressed up as a stripper and mimed her new single.
The troubled singer made an appearance with a tonsured head, saying that she was scared traces of drugs would be found in her hair. At the fag end of the year, she was also accused of stealing coats from designer Katja Berglund after she was through with her birthday celebrations in Los Angeles.

M. Karunanidhi, Tamil Nadu CM - Rapped on the knuckle!

Tamil Nadu CM and DMK supremo Muthuvel Karunanidhi fell foul of the Supreme Court in connection with a state-wide bandh meant to force the hands of the Centre to immediately implement the controversial Sethusamudram project. The SC reacted sharply to the contempt petition filed by the AIADMK and issued notices to the Chief Minister, Union Transport Minister T R Baalu, Chief Secretary L K Tripathi, Tamil Nadu Transport Minister K N Nehru, Director General of Police P Rajendran and Transport Secretary Debendranath Sarangi, asking them to file their replies within four weeks but exempted them from personal appearance.
TKarunanidhi's observations on Lord Ram created a furore when he had called Ram a fictitious character and quoted Rajaji to say that he was not an Avathaara Purusha.

Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary, AICC- Reaping a whirlwind!

Rahul Gandhi, the heir of India's Nehru-Gandhi family found himself the object of unwanted publicity, thanks to a new found propensity to shoot off his mouth. He set off a veritable political storm with a series of controversial remarks that had analysts commenting on upon his lack of maturity as likely future national leader.
A first-time leader, Rahul, 36, has been the mascot of the ruling Congress party, headed by his Italian-born mother Sonia, in the election campaign in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state and once a bastion of his family. However, his widely reported remarks on Babri Masjid and his claiming family credit for India's independence ended up embarrassing his own party and government, as well as provoking a diplomatic spat with neighbouring Pakistan.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman & MD, RIL- The tycoon and his beanstalk!

A man who is largely amused by the never-ending reports about his personal wealth, , Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani says it matters little to him whether his personal fortunes are measured in billions or millions if the country prospers and the company grows.
However it's a different story when it comes to his personal abode when his Antilia Commercial Pvt Ltd rushed to save its plot of land on Mumbai's Altamount Road, where the industrialist is building his 27-storey dream mansion. However, the the Maharashtra government termed as 'illegal' the transaction involving the land on which his 27-storey residence in south Mumbai is being built. Terming the deal to acquire the land illegal, the Maharashtra Revenue and Forest Department issued a notice to the state Wakf board, asking it to repossess the land in question, which was bought in 2003 from an orphanage trust for Rs.210 million. Work on the skyscraper, which will house four floors of family quarters, guest apartments, a mini theatre, a helipad and six floors of parking space, is already at an advanced stage.

Shilpa Shetty- Roses, and then brickbats!

After being called a 'poppadum' by the British reality TV star, Jade Goody, Bollywood siren Shilpa Shetty got a none-too-chaste peck from Hollywood star Richard Gere, both acts which hurtled her into controversies not of her making.
The racial abuse occurred during the making of 'Big Brother' a reality show in the UK, while the kiss was bestowed on the actor during an AIDS awareness event. While the former garnered massive support for her at home, the latter made the moral police bay for her blood as they burnt Gere's effigies and shouted "Death to Shilpa!" And though she may have got a perfume named after her and starred in a London musical, 'Miss Bollywood,' but as far as Bollywood goes, Shilpa's career remains in the doldrums.

Pervez Musharraf- Down but not out!

At the last count, it seems Pervez Musharraf may not survive the fallout of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, as his intentions have come to be deeply suspected by a growing number of Pakistanis. And to add to the ex-soldier's political woes, he may be booted out of the Pakistan Army.
A beleagured Musharraf may seek the easy way out and cling to power by cancelling the parliamentary elections and thereby force the regime to take extraordinary measures, including the re-imposition of emergency or martial law.

Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood actor- Even 'badshahs' have a bad day!

First came the not-so gentle tiff with the all powerful Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over the six-storey building behind his bungalow 'Mannat' thanks to a PIL filed by city-based NGO Bhrashtachar Nirmulan Sanghatana, alleging that it encroaches on the proposed road in the development plan. Followed by a controversy triggered by King Khan's presence at cricket matches involving the Indian Cricket team, as an unnamed BCCI official went to town saying that cricket was a bigger platform than a private television station and that the Bollywood superstar was using the sport to build brand value.
And last but not least was the threat by a very miffed veteran actor Manoj Kumar to sue the Khan for aping him in their newest film, Om Shanti Om, which forced SRK to come forward with an apology. Denying that there was a "conspiracy to humilitate and ridicule Manoj Kumar", Shah Rukh Khan said, "I don't want to hurt anyone. I dont think this film should be taken seriously, it's a comedy."



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