Shammi Kapoor passes away

Mumbai: He could “yahoo” like a “junglee” with roguish aplomb, make girls swoon with his wild dancing and romancing, and not many may know that the much loved Shammi Kapoor was also one Bollywood’s first internet aficionados.

The leading star of Hindi cinema in the late 1950s and 1960s breathed his last Sunday at the age of 79, ending an era of great style, music and acting.

Born Oct 21, 1931 as Shamsher Raj Kapoor, Shammi was the second son of legendary film and theatre actor Prithviraj Kapoor and Ramsarni “Rama” Mehra. The other two being Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor, both of whom were, like their father, successful Bollywood actors.

Though born in Mumbai, Shammi spent a major portion of his childhood in Kolkata, where his father was involved with New Theatres Studios. After coming back to Mumbai, he first went to St. Joseph’s Convent (Wadala) and then to Don Bosco School.

Shammi, who debuted in Bollywood in 1953 with the film “Jeevan Jyoti”, attained the onscreen image of a lighthearted, stylish playboy with Nasir Hussain directed “Tumsa Nahin Dekha” (1957) opposite Ameeta and “Dil Deke Dekho” (1959) with Asha Parekh.

Though he was not conventionally good looking in terms of Bollywood, but tall, lively, fair complexioned, green-eyed Shammi became a heartthrob.

His career saw a high with the success of “Junglee” (1961) and it cemented his image as a dancing star and his subsequent films were all in this genre. In fact the song “Yahoo” in the film was a cult hit. He teamed up with Asha Parekh in four films and the most successful being the murder mystery “Teesri Manzil” (1966).

In the first half of the 1960s, Shammi was seen in successful films like “Professor”, “Char Dil Char Rahen”, “Raat Ke Raahi”, “Dil Tera Diwana”, “Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya”, “China Town”, “Kashmir Ki Kali”, “Bluff Master”, “Janwar” and “Rajkumar”. Although nominated before, in 1968, he received the first Filmfare Best Actor award of his career for the film “Bramhachari”.

In the 1970s, Shammi’s weight problem proved an obstacle in his path of success and ended his career as a romantic hero. One of his last hits, in which he played the lead role, was “Andaz” (1971) with Hema Malini.

With time, he moved to charachter roles and acted in films like “Zameer”, “Hero” and “Vidhaata”. In 1974, he donned the hat of a director and made “Manoranjan” and two years later, he made “Bandalbaaz” (1976). However, both the films failed to create magic at the box office.

He also played a vital role in his brother Raj Kapoor’s 1982 directorial venture “Prem Rog”, which starred his nephew Rishi Kapoor.

His last appearance, as a character actor, was in the delayed 2006 film, “Sandwich”. Recently he decided to act with Ranbir Kapoor, the nephew of his brother Raj Kapoor, in Imtiaz Ali’s next movie, “Rockstar”.

As far as his personal life is concerned, Shammi was married to actress Geeta Bali and they had a son, Aditya Raj Kapoor and daughter, Kanchan. However, in 1965, Geeta died of small pox, leaving Shammi with two small children.

In 1969, he married his second wife Neela Devi Gohil from the Royal Family of Bhavnagar in Gujarat.

Shammi was one of the first actors to adapt the internet boom in the country – he’s the founder and chairman of Internet Users Community of India (IUCI) and also played a major role in setting up internet organisations like the Ethical Hackers Association.

The actor, who was on dialysis for a couple of years, was admitted to Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital a week ago. He was on ventilator support and died there Sunday.


SINGAPORE: China and India-driven Asian economies will be vulnerable if the United States and Europe slip into another recession, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cautioned on Sunday.

Lee, who leads a trade, export and finance-oriented city state of 5 million people, stressed that the debt crisis in European and the American economic woe would hurt Asian economies.

The European and American economies were facing troubles, stressed Lee in an annual independence day address traditionally delivered on first Sunday after the August 9 Independence day celebration.

Lee noted that China, India and other emerging markets were doing quite well for now but these economies faced threats if America and Europe get into another economic recession.

He also cautioned that Singapore, an economy based on global market performances, would have to be cautious about the fragile state of the American and European economies.

Singapore economic growth had slowed down in the second quarter of this year.

Besides monitoring and managing trade-oriented island state’s gross domestic product performances in a cloudy economic environment, Lee faces the challenges of ensuring Singaporeans of the future prosperity, calling on the people to be united in going forward into the future of the vibrant city state.


NEW DELHI: India is set to fund bailouts in financially-stricken Europe, marking a dramatic role reversal from 20 years ago when it went knocking on the doors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a balance of payments crisis.

The government on Tuesday sought parliamentary approval to provide over Rs 9,003 crore (over $2 billion) in loans to the multilateral agency’s New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), a fund whose corpus was raised to over $500 billion in March when the debt crisis in Europe showed no signs of abating.

So, from Greece, which has received $300 billion so far, to Portugal’s $100 billion bailout, India could be playing a part in the international rescue operations.

There are already suggestions that more funding would be required from the European Union as well as multilateral bodies.

Over the past two years, amid increased stress in the global economy, the IMF has been pressed into service on several occasions and has financed bailouts in European countries facing a crisis due to high levels of debt.

The 10-fold rise in the NAB corpus was the result of the new global financing order created by G20, a group of the world’s most powerful economies, in the post-financial crisis era. Along with the jump in corpus, membership to the elite club of NAB contributors was also expanded to include 13 emerging economies, which included India.

“The NAB is the facility of first and principal recourse in circumstances in which the IMF needs to supplement its quota resources,” the agency said on its website.

Source: TOI ,

The MasterCard Worldwide  Index of Global  Destination Cities 2011 has ranked Bangkok world’s 3rd  Global  Destination City with an estimation of 11.5 million visitors to  the  capital city of Thailand this year. London tops the list at 20.1  million  visitors followed by Paris with 18.1 million tourists.

As for the highest spending rate, London still tops the chart with   tourists spending over 786 billion THB, followed by New York at 609   billion THB, Paris 438 Billion THB, Bangkok 432 billion THB and   Frankfurt 420 billion THB.

The index calculation was  based on the information provided by OAG  Global which monitors the  number of passengers from each airline while  their spending was taken  from UN Trade in Service. There are altogether  132 cities around the world surveyed.

The highest number of visitors to Bangkok comes from Singapore (869,000  people), Hong Kong (822,000), Tokyo (711,000) Seoul (503,000) and London  (456,000) respectively.


Guwahati, June 26: A “Muay Thai” boxing camp was recently concluded here, where participants from all over northeast had participated including referee and other officials.

The camp was organised under Muay Thai Federation of India registered under International Federation of Muay Thai Amature.

It was very encouraging for the participants to have the President of Muay Thai Federation of India, Oken Jeet Sandham, who is also the Vice-Chairman of IFMA.

Thai boxing is popular worldwide for its special fighting technique that utilizes all parts of the body as weapons of defence as well as attack. It is a unique art of self-defence referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”, as the hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used extensively in this art.

It has traditional originated in Thailand and the now it has become a passionate game across the globe.

The world championship of Muay Thai boxing is held from time to time and it is also included in the Asian Games.


Amrita credits Salman!

Actress Beena Kak’s daughter Amrita, who is riding high on success with chartbusters like “Character Dheela” from “Ready”, gives credit to Salman Khan for making her a saleable name in Bollywood.

“Salman is an elder brother figure to me. He has been my driving force. He has got me on track, guided me from time to time, encouraged me to come out of my shell and whatever I am today – the credit goes to him completely for making me a saleable name,” Amrita told IANS on the phone from Mumbai.

The 28-year-old made her singing debut in 2005 with “Just Chill” in “Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya” and then sang numbers like “Tujhe Aksa Beach ghuma doon” (“God Tusi Great Ho”), “Ankh vich chehra pyar da” (“Apne”), “Rafa dafa” (“Superstar”) and “Love me, love me” (“Wanted”).

Amrita says she never thought about becoming a professional singer.

“I used to learn music in school like everybody does. I was studying at St Xaviers in Mumbai. I was not very serious, but Salman helped me in finding my direction,” she said.

“When he noticed that I like to sing and have a voice which could be moulded, he introduced me to Sajid-Wajid so that I could polish my skills. I started doing regular riyaz ever since there was no looking back for me,” she added.

She is now happy to be a part of the music industry.

“I am glad people are liking my songs so much. Wherever I go, I find people tapping on ‘Character Dheela’. It really gives me a kick. I feel the acceptance, I am happy that I joined this industry,” she said.

“The music industry has experienced similar kind of changes like any other sector. With the advancement of technology and ideology, a lot of new avenues have opened up. People have become more open to accept newcomers.

“And one very important change that I have felt is that the industry is now respecting the different voice textures that people have. As my voice had a bit of a husky texture and I didn’t know whether it would work in Bollywood or not. But the encouraging part is that they are accepting people for their individuality and appreciating the uniqueness that they bring along. It is a good time for very newcomers,” she said.

What about the crazy lyrics?

“The latest change of crazy, spicy lyrics might be facing conflict but that is what people want now. They are for the masses and people connect with them easily. The lyrics are also very easy to hum,” she said.

is a highly respected Dabot Ruesi, a hermit sage of Hindu origin, known as a Rishi or Yogi in India, a man with the power to apply sacred and magic tattoos to a devotee’s skin,” says ‘Sacred Skin’ author Tom Vator. “He is a sak yant tattoo master.””] 'Sacred Skin': An exploration of Thailand's sak yant tattoo culture Almost like a cartographic reference to ancient wisdom, the ink on the man’s body stands out in dramatic detail on the monochromatic image on the cover of “Sacred Skin: Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos.”

His skin has been transformed into a magical canvas, a manifestation of his faith, on which archaic geometrical patterns interspersed with ancient script, Buddhist iconography, deities from the Hindu pantheon, heavenly creatures and earthly animals are woven into a primeval codex designed to protect the wearer from accidents, misfortune and crime.

It is this sacred Thai tattoo tradition, sak yant, that is the focus of writer Tom Vater and his photographer wife Aroon Thaewchatturat’s new collaboration in print.

Sacred Skin is “the first book that looks comprehensively at a really important aspect of Thai culture that most foreigners know absolutely nothing about,” says Tom, who has published non-fiction books and travel guides and co-written a number of documentary screenplays for European television.

Sacred Skin

“Sacred Skin” is an introduction to Thailand’s spirit tattoos, highlighting the men and women who make them come alive on their skin.

Aroon, an assignment and stock photographer around Asia since 2004, has shot three photo books.

In 2005, she won an Emmy for her role as associate producer on “The Sea Gypsies,” a documentary on the plight of Thailand’s Moken sea nomads in the wake of the 2004 tsunami.

Here the two of them talk about their latest project.

CNNGo: How did the idea for this book develop?

Aroon: In 2003, we attended the annual tattoo festival at Wat Bang Phra and Tom wrote about it for the “Fortean Times.”

Tom: We kept returning and in 2009 we approached a Hong Kong-based publisher.

What is the origin of sak yant?

Tom: Most of these signs come from India. In the 4th century, India was ruled by the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka who sent missionaries out to spread the religion.

Worried, the Hindus in turn dispatched Brahmins, who were already using sacred yantra (mystical diagrams) on cloth and metal as protective symbols.

And in Southeast Asia, it got transferred from cloth to skin.

Zhou Daguan, a Chinese diplomat at the court of Angkor in the 13th century noted that the kings of Angkor had metal yantras inserted under their skin. So already 1,000 years ago this was in use in Cambodia and most likely in Thailand too.

We also found yants of tribal origin. So it’s a whole amalgamation of different religious and esoteric beliefs.

Sacred Skin

“Koy is a 23 year old chef in her parents’ restaurant,” says Tom. “When her sister was abused by her husband, Koy attacked her brother in law and paralyzed him. She feels that the warrior yant and a tiger yant on her back enabled her to defend her sister.”

CNNGo: Why get a sak yant?

Tom: The wearers believe that it stops bullets or knives and has miraculous effects. Perhaps, those who wear sak yant have a need to stop bullets and knives as it turns out that some are quite shady.

But in order to get the tattoos and for them to work, you have to follow a set of rules the tattoo master gives you. A lot of the advice is commonsense: to stop taking drugs, or getting drunk.

A shop-owner who wants to attract new customers will be told to be polite and friendly.

You follow these rules, your life will improve a bit, and you might think that these tattoos are really working; they are in a way. As one master said, sak yant is a powerful reminder to stay on the right path. The vast majority who have sak yant for the moment are working class, though many get done in oil to escape the stigma.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, all peddle certain rather unlikely truths, so, why not believe in the power of a ancient diagram?

CNNGo: How does one become a tattoo master?

Aroon: You cannot just set up a sak yant studio. You have to find a master, study and learn the mantras.

First he will allow you to tattoo junior devotees, then at a ceremony he will put a “risi” mask on you, making you a master.

Tom: It would take years to learn, not just the tattoo technique but the mantras that are chanted while it is being done.

The writing on the skin is Pali, an old Indian language, and the earliest liturgical language of Buddhism.

But when they tattoo they transliterate from Pali into Khom, an old Cambodian alphabet, so what you read is Pali but written in Khom.

To make each yant unique so that it can’t be copied, they switch the letters around. It’s like a copyright, the master’s signature.

Sacred Skin

“25 year old Yod is the son of shaman and grew up in a spiritual environment,” says Tom. “He feels destined to wear sacred tattoos.”

CNNGo: Your biggest challenge?

Tom: Getting these people to trust us and gaining access to them as some of them have been burned by sensationalist TV and tabloid journalism.

CNNGo: An interesting anecdote you came across?

Tom: A petite 23-year-old cook had an amazing story to tell. Her brother-in-law got involved in some shady business and she went with her sister to get him home.

At the meeting he began hitting his wife, at which point this girl bit his shoulder and tore out a part, paralysing him. She believes that her tiger yant took over, giving her superhuman strength.

Her tattoo master told her that though it had worked, she shouldn’t overestimate its power. He told us that when she got the tiger tattoo on her back, she went into a khong khuen (trance) and even four guys couldn’t hold her down.

Aroon: Her brother-in-law returned home and became a nice quiet guy.

CNNGo: What do you think about the Ministry of Culture’s decision to crack down on religious tattoos?

Tom: We assume that the ministry is largely concerned with what commercial tattoo studios do. This might not have anything to do with sak yant, as such.

That said, the ministry would be better off educating people about sacred tattoos than trying to ban all sorts of things considered un-Thai or bashing foreigners; many Thais also wear commercial religious tattoos.

It is a storm in an inkpot; perhaps the relevant authorities need to look active prior to the upcoming elections.

The movie “Hangover II” is grossly insensitive to religious sensibilities, but I don’t see the authorities complaining about it.

Sacred Skin” is available at Thailand’s English-language book stores and on online at A book launch/signing event will be held at Siam Paragon’s Kinokuniya bookstore on July 1 from 5-8 p.m.

Saina Nehwal enters Indonesian Open final

JAKARTA: Defending champion Saina Nehwal inched closer to a third successive Indonesian Open Super Series title after advancing to the finals with a hard-fought victory over Chinese Taipei’s Shao Chieh Cheng on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Indian won 21-14, 14-21, 21-17 in a 45-minute battle against giant-killer Cheng, who had created quite a flutter by upstaging top seed Shixian Wang and seventh seed Xin Liu earlier in the tournament.

Saina had to dig deep in her armoury and rely on her power-packed smashes to outpace Cheng, who is known for her fast movement on court.

“I have seen her play in many tournaments. She is a very talented and hard working player. She is very dynamic and moves very fast on court. So it is important to have full force in the smashes or else she can retrieve from anywhere. It is a good win,” Saina said.

It was a sweet revenge for Saina who had lost narrowly to Cheng in the pre-quarterfinals of the Singapore Open in her last tournament.

“I had lost closely to her that too was my own fault as I had given two points. I was upset after the match but I am happy I could beat her today. She played well but I was pumped up to do well,” she said.

In the opening game, Saina didn’t give Cheng any chance to overtake her and though the Chinese Taipei shuttler came close many times, the Indian reeled off seven successive points from 14-13 to nose ahead.

However, Cheng raised her game in the next and opened up a 6-0 lead first up and then moved ahead with giant strides to bounce back into contention with the help of more net winners than Saina’s.

The decider was a closer affair but Cheng didn’t have a reply to Saina’s 11 smash winners as the Indian kept widening the gap with her rival before sealing the game and the match in her favour.

Last year, Saina had won three titles — Indian Open grand Prix Gold, Singapore Super Series and Indonesian Super Series — in June, before winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal and Hong Kong Super Series.

But half-way through 2011, Saina has just one title — Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold — and one runner-up finish in the Malaysia Super Series to her name.

The girl from Hyderabad, in the last six months, has tasted success but her defeats against lower ranked players such as Japanese Ai Goto in the Indian Open Super Series and then to world number 18, Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand, in Sudirman Cup had brought to the fore her inconsistency.

In Thailand Open too Saina was knocked out by world number 16 Xuerui Li of China in the quarters, while in Singapore Open, Cheng had stopped her run in the pre-quarters.

Saina termed her win today as a miracle and said she was happy to win today.

“I love the conditions here, I reached finals today and it is a miracle today. It was very tough, I lost to her in Singapore, that was close, she played very well. All I wanted to do is give my best,” Saina said.

Asked about her title-clash against third seed Yihan Wang of China, Saina said the wishes of her fans and family will help her to win her first Super Series of the year.

“Nothing is impossible, I hope tomorrow will be a good day. All Indians will be praying and my fans have always been supporting me, and the crowd has been encouraging, I hope to do well tomorrow,” said Saina.


Cultural similarities between India and Thailand

Cultural similarities between India and Thailand

And you thought nail paint in a tiny vial with miniature brush is enough to paint toe nails! Perhaps you have not heard of Nan, then. Her toes are so colossal that even a bucket of paint is inadequate. Nan is gigantic and painting her nails can be wearisome, but in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand, I was waiting for Nan, the Songkran Festival parade showstopper.

The sun was raging, the champa was swaying in the placid breeze and the barbet was hammering her raucous call. Dressed in denim dungarees and green Birkenstock, I barely looked the perfect salon lass, but on the Thai new year day I happily volunteered to lend a hand to Nan.

In the corner lay a bucket of paint and a mammoth paint brush. And I waited. Not for the 33 kings who ruled Ayutthaya between 1350 and 1767, not for the scruffy soldiers who fought 70 battles, not even for Buddha, the reigning deity, who is worshipped on Songkran Festival. In the Old City that was built by King U Thong 650 years ago, I waited for Nan. With a bucket of pink paint.

The streets were lined with earthen pots spilling with water, children looked muddy with cassava flour paste on their face, orchids and marigolds lay strewn at the feet of Buddha idols, stern cops manned the streets, and monks in sorrel robes chanted hymns. Everyone was wearing chintz, everyone had a water pistol, everyone was ready to gambol.

For it was no ordinary day – Songkran (it is derived from the Sanskrit word Sankranti) is the beginning of the Thai new year when idols are cleansed, ancestors are worshipped, Khao Chee, a scrumptious rice dish, is cooked and rambunctious youngsters spray water on revellers and bystanders.

Suddenly, I heard a grunt. Nan was waddling in, her ebony skin painted in yellow paisleys and red daisies, her toes grimy, her skin caked. I dipped the brush in the pink emulsion and applied the first coat on her big toe. She snorted adoringly.


Okay, I am not the ideal salon lass, but Nan was no cute Cleopatra either. It took a bucket of paint and a several minutes to coat those nails. Nan looked pretty and pedicured. I was still hunched over the paint when a splash of water startled me; I was drenched to the last sinew. Ah! the mischievous Nan!



The total flight duration from Mumbai, India to Bangkok, Thailand is 3 hours, 45 minutes.

This assumes an average flight speed for a commercial airliner of 500 mph, which is equivalent to 805 km/hr or 434 knots. Your exact time may vary depending on wind speeds.

If you’re planning a trip, remember to add more time for take-off and landing. This measurement is only for the actual flying time. If you’re trying to figure out what time you’ll arrive at the destination, you may want to see if there’s a time difference between Mumbai, India and Bangkok, Thailand.

The calculation of flight time is based on the straight line flight distance from Mumbai, India to Bangkok, Thailand (“as the crow flies”), which is about 1,871 miles or 3,011 kilometers.

Your trip begins in Mumbai, India.
It ends in Bangkok, Thailand.

Your flight direction from Mumbai, India to Bangkok, Thailand is East (97 degrees from North).

Are you flying the other direction? Check the reverse flight time from Bangkok, Thailand to Mumbai, India.

The flight time calculator measures the average flight duration between points. It uses the great circle formula to compute the travel mileage.

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