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I was the victim: Pratyusha’s Boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh

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As the ill-fated television actress would Pratyusha Bannerjee’s boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh accused of abeting her suicide,turned  32 on Sunday he got the best possible birthday gift. The Supreme Court upturned the plea to cancel his bail.

This means for now, Rahul is  a free man and ready to put up a brave fight to prove his innocence. In an explosive interview he tells Subhash K Jha he is all set to let the truth about his innocence come  out.For starters Rahul has filed criminal defamation cases against the three friends of Pratyushawho accused him of mistreating her.

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Rahul, the honourable Supreme Court has refused to cancel you bail. This is a big reprieve for you?

Sir, I couldn’t hope for a better birthday  gift. I know it’s Pratyusha who arranged this respite for me from  Heaven.I didn’t want to PROVE my innocence.I knew I was innocent.I was the victim. I wanted the truth to come out on its own.People who hardly knew the truth about my relationship with Pratyusha lashed out at me. I kept quiet. If I had retaliated it would have seemed like a feeble attempt to defend myself. Wohbol rahe hainmain chor hoon, main bolta main chor nahin.Kya phayda hota(they said I am thief, I’d have said I am not what purpose would it have served?).

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Why were her friends so keen to attack you?

I don’t know why I was so  important to their lives. They couldn’t bear the fact that I had made a place for myself in Mumbai. Being my colleagues they couldn’t understand why they couldn’t achieve the same.

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Who are these friends?

Kamya Punjabi claims to be Pratyusha’s friend. But everyone knows they had a fight over Karan Patel.And if Pratyusha’s call log for the entire year was checked  there might be just one or two calls.

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You are saying her friends suddenly popped out of nowhere to express concern?

I am saying, the power of the media is immense. If  the media doesn’t support it even Sultan wouldn’t get a good opening.Now I’ve taken strong legal action against three of Pratyusha’s supposed friends who made wild allegations against me.

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Who are these friends and what action have you taken?

Leena Dias, Vikas Gupta and Kamya Punjabi…I’ve filed a criminal defamation case against them. I am  not asking for money. But they will have to explain their allegations in court.

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What about those girls who went on record accusing you of defrauding them?

If you name them I’ll answer their allegations.I don’t know who they are. Where were they for five years since that’s when I’m supposed to have wronged them?What they said against me couldn’t be important because no one remembers their names let along their allegations.

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What about Saloni Sharma?

She is my partner in an events management company .She’d meet me for business reasons.Stories about her and me are untrue. Now I’ve to be very careful. More people know me now than they did before. I’ll be linked with any girl I am seen with .

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For the record you are single right now?

Of course! I don’t know what will happen in the future. Zindagi toh jeena hai.I was on anti-depressants until  recently.

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Looking back at the whole experience how do you feel?

I constantly play the whole tragedy in my mind trying to figure out where I went wrong.Suicide is a very cowardly thing to do. Did she for a minute think what I’ve gone through or what my parents have gone through? Do you know what I’ve gone through?

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I’ve gone through hell. I wasn’t given a chance to grieve for Pratyusha. I had to deal with all the rubbish that was heaped on me, plus a 9-year old son who never existed(laughs mirthlessly).

Where did this son come from?

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I want to ask Kamya Punjabi that. She’d know. I am sure she pays my son’s school fees. I have no  clue about the son.I went through the worst torture because of Pratyusha’s overnight friends.I can’t seem to understand  what I did wrong. Maybe  it was punishment for something I did in my previous life.But I am born strong. And this whole experience  has made me stronger.

Do you miss her?

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(Quiet) That goes without saying. But I’ve realized one has to keep living. I can’t die with her. She was in a  lot of depression. I helped her and supported her as much as I could.Lekin aap vidhi ka vidhan ka badal nahinsakte hain .Even those who go on holy pilgrimages get killed on the way.I feel there must be a reason for what I had to go through.

Why was Pratyusha depressed?

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It was her financial mess that landed her in a depression. At a very young age she earned  5-6 crores. Since she didn’t know how to handle her finances she handed over her earnings to her parents. When she asked back for her hard-earned money they said there was nothing.

What do you mean? Her parents spent all her money?

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Sir, she had a loan of  lakhs and lakhs to pay. Her EMIs had not been paid for months. How much of this kind of financial pressure can a girl of her age take  on her head?All the loans that she had taken were in Pratyusha’s names , not in her parent’s name. Because her parents didn’t earn anything.

So you’re saying her parents blew up her money and left her with all these loans to pay off?

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They own a 5-bedroom home in Jamshedpur. Pratyusha who earned 4-5 crores doesn’t even own ajhopda(shack) . She didn’t have one  piece of jewellery for herself.

What did her parents do with their daughter’s money?

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Aiyyashi(pleasuring). Her father used to drink from morning till night. A private financier Chirag Lalwani  lentPratyusha Rs 10 lakhs at an interest-rate of 10 percent. This was before she went into Bigg Boss. She got 30-35 lakhs in Bigg Boss and yet she couldn’t pay back the loan. Nor were her EMI instalments paid back. Her car was purchased on loan. She had personal loans amounting to 20-25 lakhs. Even her beautician was not paid off.

So are those loans going to be written off now?

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Sir, how can they be written off? According to the law the parents have to repay the loans.And when they can afford to take me to the Supreme Court I am sure her parents have the money to repay loans.I have a message on Pratyusha’s phone from her mom saying Pratyusha must pay her EMI since these creditors are coming to the mom’s doorstep.

This is shocking?

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I never thought I’d be discussing Pratyusha’s finances. But God has strange plans for us.

What are your future plans?

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I want to work hard. In spite of what has happened I love the city of Mumbai. I don’t want to ever leave this place.After Pratyusha’s death I haven’t visited my hometown Ranchi even once. I don’t want people  to say I’ve run away.I fought my battle from right here in Mumbai. Thre police has sealed my house for the last two months. I am staying in a hotel for the last two months  with my father. He has left everything back home to be  with me.

Why did the police seal you home?

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No reason was given. They had no right to do so. Contrary  to belief that isn’t Pratyusha’s house. It’s mine.Police has no right to seal my home after doing punch-naama. But the case became so media-centric they wanted to make sure they didn’t do anything that would raise eyebrows .There were allegations of policeRahul se mila hua hai.As it is in the hospital after she died people said I was acting grief-stricken.

Why were people say adamant to prove you guilty?

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I has sacked Leena Dias  for incompetence. She used to work in my office. Vikas Gupta wanted to go on NachBaliye with Pratyusha. Kamia Punjabi has some axe to grind.As for Dolly Bindra and Raakhi Sawant I am not even considering them.I’ve sued only the first three from criminal defamation.

Has this experience put you off relationships?

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For sure.At least for now. What this experience has taught me is that anything  can happen in life. That your life can turn around in a second. I’ve re-lived the whole experience over and over again in my mind. I never thought I’d one day carry Pratyusha’s lifeless figure to the hospital.I had met her just an hour earlier. An hour later she was gone. I’ve had fights with God. I’ve asked him what he thinks of us human beings.We are nothing  but tools.

What do you say to those who blame you for Pratyusha’s suicide?

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I did nothing to provoke her into taking such a drastic step.She was very depressed about her career and mismanaged finances. I used to help her as much as possible.She was maintaining her parents household inJamshedpur and her home in  Mumbai. Two sets of staff, household expenditures , bills…he couln’t take it. I found out about her financial distress  only three months before her death?

So what did you do?

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Whatever I could.I gave my share of the fees that we earned for Power Couple to her. I’ve documented proof of this.She stayed in my house. I didn’t stay in her house. If we had fights she could’ve easily broken up since we weren’t married .Why did she continue to stay with me? Why did she party with me days before her death? Why did she order her wedding lehnga if as her so-called friends say, she was unhappy  with me?

What about her friends saying you were physically abusive?

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They claim to have a video proof  it. Where  is that video? Why haven’t they shown  it to the court? Prityushahad filed a case against her former boyfriend for physical abuse. If I was violent with her she  could’ve done the same with me.

So you don’t hold yourself responsible in any way for her death?

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I’ve done nothing wrong.So I don’t feel guilty. I am not going to spoil my life by feeling  responsible, when I am not.The honourable Supreme Court didn’t spare Sanjay Dutt. If  the honourable courts had any doubts about my innocence they’d have cancelled my bail. 29th was my birthday. A day later I got this wonderful gift from the courts.

What next?

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The fight has just begin.I want to do good work. Let my work speak for me. I am innocent. I have nothing to fear.

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Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

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Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

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Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

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The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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