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Awesome London Mumbai (Bombay) The Buzz

Two boys from Mumbai selling Vada-pav in London, opened five restaurants in 10 years, now annual turnover is 14 crores

Vada Pav is very famous in Mumbai. You get it everywhere and the price is only 10 rupees. Many people take the whole day out after eating vada pav. Two friends from Mumbai also used to eat vada pav every day while studying in college. The most expense from pocket money was on vada pav. Then both of them went to London to study. They got a good job there but used to miss Vada-Pav with tea like Mumbai.

When the 2009 recession hit, one of these friends lost his job. This became the only opportunity for him to start the business of Vada Pav in London. Today both of them own 5 restaurants in the UK and the annual turnover has reached 1.5 million pounds (about 14 million rupees). We talked to both of them to know their success stories.

Story of Sujay Sohani and Subodh Joshi…

Both of us have been friends for the last 25 years. It is 1999, when we were studying at Mumbai’s Rizvi College. From there he was pursuing graduation in Hotel Management. After three years of study, he made a plan to do PG in Hotel Management. Gave many entrance exams. We got admission in a UK university. Our course was 18 months, 9 months internship. In 2003, the two got an internship offer together.

The company liked our work very much and they also offered us jobs and extended the visa period. The job was going well. Both were growing at their respective levels. The position of Supervisor and Assistant Manager was also found. But due to the slowdown in 2009, Sujay’s job was lost. During our stay in London, we both often missed Mumbai-based Vada Pav.

There was a lot of desire to drink boiled tea but could not get it. When Sujay lost his job job, then we planned why the two should not start Vada Pav’s business here. But, we did not have many savings nor any property. Our home loans were running. Therefore, it was decided that Subodh would continue to work and Sujay would be fully engaged in business.

सुबोध और सुजय ने जब बिजनेस शुरू किया था, तब उनके पास कोई सेविंग्स नहीं थीं। कहते हैं, तीन महीने भी धंधा नहीं चलता तो फिर हमें काम करना पड़ता।

A 6 month deposit is required to be taken from a good place shop rental in London. Agreement is in place. There are many other types of expenses. We did not have so much capital. We were looking for a place that could be found cheaply. While searching, we found a café in Poland.

We asked him for a small place in the cafe itself. Didn’t expect that he would give, but he agreed. He provided us a small space for the kitchen and also gave permission to use one, two table-chairs in the cafe.

We made a plan that Sujay would be here from morning and Subodh would come after 4 pm after his shift. We started making vada pav and tea from the kitchen of seven by seven. Now the problem was to tell people how to get vada pav and boiled tea.

So we thought to get people tested. One of us used to stand on the main road and we used to keep four pieces of vada pav. People who got out of there used to get the Vada Pav test done for free and told that here is our shop, you can do the test.

शुरुआत सिर्फ वड़ा पाव से की थी, लेकिन बाद में मैन्यू में आइटम बढ़ते चले गए।

Then we came up with the idea that the way Banda gives tea delivery to every shop in India, similarly we start here, because no one in London gave such delivery of tea. We used to go for the delivery of tea and also bring orders of Vada Pav.

We distributed our numbers at the shops that whenever you feel like drinking tea or want to eat vada pav, you just call us and we will give you the delivery at the shop. We started this work in the entire area around the shop.

Our tea idea became a hit. Tea also started selling a lot and orders for Vada Pav were also available. Customers started coming to us immediately. The situation became such that all the customers in the cafe were our own. Due to this, where earlier we were paying 400 pounds of rent, later it increased to 1500 pounds.

यूके जाने वाले भारत के ढेरों सेलेब्स भी सुजय और सुबोध के रेस्टोरेंट्स पर पहुंचते हैं और भारतीय खाने का लुत्फ उठाते हैं।

We stayed there from August 2010 to January. Then that shop was sold. Then we shifted to another place. The fare there was two thousand pounds, but now our customer base was formed. People around him started to know. Subodh then quit the job and both of them started working full time. One looked after the kitchen and the other managed the restaurant.

Our wives and some office colleagues also joined us after leaving the job. Subodh’s wife helped the kitchen immensely. In 2011, we took a bigger place on rent. The situation had become such that the police started coming to us to inquire why there is such a crowd here. The reason we got crowded here was that Vada Pav was very cheap, nothing was so cheap in London.

There was boiled tea which was not found anywhere else. Along with this, we had started selling many other items too, such as Meesal Pav, Pavbhaji, Bhajia, Samosa. We used to make everything in Indian style only, so even people liked our test there.

एक छोटी सी जगह से शुरू हुआ काम अब बहुत फैल चुका है। पांच रेस्टोरेंट्स चल रहे हैं।

Then catering orders started coming to us. There were no small orders in London, but we also used to order 30 to 50 party parties. The work grew so much that we started outsourcing some things. Gradually, in the new area, we started opening the branch of Sri Krishna Vada Pav. By 2017, there were four branches. Now there are five brands.

As the branch grew, so did our menu items. Even after the lockdown, we have started another new branch in August itself. Many institutions have honored, because in such times we are offering jobs there. We never compromised on test and quality.

This is the reason that many people started seeing Vada Pav after seeing us, but could not get any success. Both are directors in the company. Employing 40 people. Now working on making the brand international. There are many countries where Indians still cannot find their favorite food. We will extend our branch to those countries.

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Big Story Delhi Mumbai (Bombay)

Popular Front welcomes Bombay HC judgment quashing FIRs against foreign Tablighi Jamaat members

On August 21, Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court quashed the FIRs filed against 29 foreigners, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi.

The bench in its order noted that there was a big propaganda against the foreigners who had come to the Markaz in Delhi. (File photo: PTI)

Popular Front of India’s Chairman OMA Salam has, in a statement, welcomed the Bombay High Court judgment that quashed the FIRs against foreign Thableeghi Jamaat members.

Terming the judgement as historic, Salam said that such judgements are ‘fresh air of hope’ at a time when independence of the Indian judiciary is being questioned.

“The decision of the Division Bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar is historic. At time when independence of Indian judiciary has come under serious question, judgment such these are fresh air of hope. It upholds uncompromising commitment to justice, truth and equality before law, the foundational values Indian constitution has been built upon,” the statement said.

On August 21, Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has said that the foreign nationals, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event held in Delhi in March this year, were made “scapegoats” and allegations were levelled that they were responsible for spreading Covid-19 in the country.

A division bench of Justices T V Nalawade and M G Sewlikar made the observations while quashing the FIRs filed against 29 foreigners, who had attended the event.

Salam’s statement further said, “As the Bench rightly pointed out, the entire Muslim community found themselves in a situation that anything and everything that goes wrong in the country is their fault. Only this time they were alienated and demonised in the country as ‘disease spreaders’. And yes, Tableeghi Jamaat members were made scapegoats in the process. Unfortunately, a pandemic was communalised and politicised in our country which damaged India’s image internationally. The observations made by the bench is a blow to communal politics. The judgment also underlined the role played by a section of media. They used the opportunity to promote islamobhobia. The propaganda undoubtedly created fear, suspicion, xenophobia. The hate thus manufactured even provoked mobs to attack innocents. Across India innocent Muslim passers-by and street vendors were targeted. The judgment will help restore their faith in justice”.

He added that various activists and organisations have filed cases against media and individuals for hate speeches and false propaganda. “In the light of this judgment, Popular Front appeals to the courts to take strict action and ensure that peace and communal harmony prevails,” the statement signed off.

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Mumbai (Bombay) The Buzz

Wife overtakes husband’s car with other woman, commotion on beach road in Mumbai, viral

A very different look was seen on Pedder Road in Mumbai when a wife caught her husband with his girlfriends in the middle road. During this time there was a long jam on the road. This matter is on Saturday evening. Traffic police personnel on the spot also tried to stop both. An e-challan has been issued against the woman accused of leaving the car in a public place.

People present on the occasion said that around 5 pm on Saturday evening, a man was going in a car with the credit of a woman. Then his wife stopped him by overtaking the car. After this, the wife created a ruckus on the beach road. She climbed on the bonnet of the car. He hit the front mirror of the car with his shoe.

During this time traffic on that route was completely blocked.

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When the woman’s husband got out of the car, he also attacked her. After this, he also beat up the woman sitting in the car. This video of the street fight between the two is going viral on social media.

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Big Story Bollywood Mumbai (Bombay) Navi Mumbai (Raigad District)

After Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, Ranbir and neetu kapoor tested positive? Know the truth..

On Saturday, Amitabh Bachchan took to Twitter urging people who were in contact with him for the last 10 days to test themselves.

Karan Johar once again trolled for partying with Neetu Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor amid emotional breakdown reports

Soon after Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan tested positive for coronavirus, there are news doing round of Ranbir and Neetu Kapoor being tested positive for coronavirus. Riddhima Kapoor Sahni, the daughter of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, refuted a viral tweet that said Neetu and brother Ranbir Kapoor have tested positive for covid19.

The tweet surfaced after megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan tweeted that they have tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. The tweet read, “Confirmed: #RanbirKapoor #NeetuKapoor #KaranJohar also test Positive for Covid-19. #AgastyaNanda, Grandson of #AmitabhBachchan attended Birthday party hosted by #RiddhimaKapoor.”

In no time, Amit’s tweet went viral on social media and given that then speculations started.

Photo journalist Viral Bhayani commented on Riddhima’s post that his name was also involved in the hoax. “I even got a screenshot which shows he called me. I dont know him, this must be investigated.” Another fan commented, ““Take legal action against them this will teach them.”

On Saturday, Amitabh Bachchan took to Twitter urging people who were in contact with him for the last 10 days to test themselves.

Abhishek too tweeted that the actors have mild symptoms and are in touch with BMC.

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Big Story Mumbai (Bombay)

Mumbai – Adani Electricity introduces EMI payment option after criticism over inflated bills

Besides explaining the reason behind high electricity bills consumers received in Mumbai, AEML has also introduced an EMI option for paying bills.

he Adani Electricity Mumbai Limited (AEML) has released a statement explaining how some conditions may have caused increased in electricity consumption after several consumers complained of high electricity bills in Mumbai.

The Adani group has also come out with several other interactive measures where one can find power consumption and easy way of payment.

The state issued by Adani Group mentioned that the lockdown has now been extended till July 31, 2020, which has resulted in continued extended hours at home. Work from home along with prevailing weather conditions has resulted in an increase in electricity consumption.

Further to clarifications issued by the state government and regulatory body, AEML announced various initiatives including interactive E-bill facilities, multiple digital payment modes, EMI facility for convenience offering to address consumer’s concerns.

Below mechanisms have been put into place at AEML for quick redressal regarding high electricity bill complaints by consumers.

AEML has released an infographic video explaining its billing procedure.

It has also been shared with over consumers via sms/email/WhatsApp for their understanding and knowledge.

Consumers can visit the website to self-check their bills in terms of accuracy of units consumed, tariff rate, tariff slab benefits available. A comparison with the corresponding period of last year is also available on the bill.

Those who use AEML’s electricity service can self-check their bills on the website by uploading their details and cross-verify the meter reading on the bill, consumption, and the amount payable leading to a speedy redressal to their queries.

According to AEML, if the current meter reading is more than the meter reading mentioned on the bill, it is correct.

The high electricity bills that are being received by the consumers contain the current reading taken, total amount payable and amendment details of March and April. Consumers can use the following link to check the bill amendment details here.

Over 25 dedicated help desks have been set up at 8 customer care centers across the city as well. Consumers can avail video call facility to speak to the customer service team on their queries.

Easy EMIs, other support measures

An EMI facility is also available at AEML website for payment through credit cards; eligible consumers preferring alternate payment modes can also avail three months EMI as per MERC supply code regulations.

AEML has also given an assurance to consumers regarding continued electricity supply.

It said no electricity connection will be disconnected over non-payment of dues until the consumer’s grievances have been redressed.

MERC has approved capital expenditure schemes for the installation of smart meters for Automated Meter Reading. AEML shall install more than 7 lakh smart meters in the coming months.

This action, will provide real-time information to the consumers on their consumption and they will get meter reading without human intervention.

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Commenting on the matter, an AEML Spokesperson said, “AEML has undertaken various measures such as virtual help desk, EMI facility as well proactive awareness initiatives to increase clarity on the billing process amongst the consumers.”

“The consumers will be receiving bills basis their actual consumption with applicable tariff slab benefits. All necessary actions have been undertaken are in accordance with the rules and regulations laid down by the State Government and MERC.”

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Big Story Bollywood Entertainment Mumbai (Bombay)

Alia bhatt not only loves Ranbir Kapoor but is also crazy about his babies

During the lockdown, Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt spent quality time with each other and also with their pets

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>It is no new news that Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor were living together during the coronavirus lockdown. 

It is no new news that Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor were living together during the coronavirus lockdown. 

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a-1?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>Alia shared pictures on her Instagram updating fans about her activities. She also posted a picture of her with Ranbir's pet dog.

Alia shared pictures on her Instagram updating fans about her activities. She also posted a picture of her with Ranbir’s pet dog.

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a-2?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>Ranbir has a big English mastiff, which is seen being cuddled by Alia Bhatt and her sister Shaheen Bhatt. Alia captioned the picture stating, "They make everything better."

Ranbir has a big English mastiff, which is seen being cuddled by Alia Bhatt and her sister Shaheen Bhatt. Alia captioned the picture stating, “They make everything better.”

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a-3?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>Shaheen also shared a picture with the dog and wrote, “At least we have dogs.” Ranbir’s sister Riddhima Kapoor Sahni left a heart emoji on her post.<br /> 

Shaheen also shared a picture with the dog and wrote, “At least we have dogs.” Ranbir’s sister Riddhima Kapoor Sahni left a heart emoji on her post.
 

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a-4?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>A few days ago, Alia showed off her photography skills on Instagram with a picture of Ranbir's pet dogs – Lionel and Nido. "Time to show off some photography.. Uff," she wrote.<br /> 

A few days ago, Alia showed off her photography skills on Instagram with a picture of Ranbir’s pet dogs – Lionel and Nido. “Time to show off some photography.. Uff,” she wrote.
 

<img src="https://res.feednews.com/assets/v2/336263720b82837e8b1f6b23265be48a-5?source=nlp&quality=uhq&format=webp&resize=720" alt="<p>Alia and Ranbir have been in a relationship for the last two years and reportedly, spent lockdown at his home for two months.

Alia and Ranbir have been in a relationship for the last two years and reportedly, spent lockdown at his home for two months.

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Big Story Bollywood Entertainment Mumbai (Bombay) The Buzz

Salman Khan appeals to fans: ‘Stand with Sushant Singh Rajput’s fans, don’t go by language and curses’

Actor Salman Khan wrote an appeal to his fans on social media to support the fans and family of actor Sushant Singh Rajput who died last Sunday. There has been an outrage on social media against several people from the film industry, including Salman, since the actor’s death.

Throwback pics of Sushant Singh Rajput

Slide 1 of 34
Sunday afternoon was followed by a rather unpleasant news for the fans of “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story” actor Sushant Singh Rajput.  The 34-year-old actor was found dead at his Mumbai home. The star who rose to fame with the daily soap “Pavitra Rishta”, had soon become a popular name in Bollywood. Take a look at some rare pics of the actor. Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please seek help immediately. You can find a list of NGOs and government bodies across the country committed to the cause of mental health at Aasra, SPIF or Indianhelpline. [Microsoft News is not associated with any of these organisations and does not make any recommendations or guarantees regarding the quality of response and medical advice you may receive.] You May Like [Pics] 35 LGBT Celebs Who Are Couples And You Probably Didn’t Know Crowdyfan
Slide 2 of 34
Sushant was born on January 21, 1986 in Patna. 
Slide 3 of 34
Sushant had obtained his Mechanical Engineering degree from Delhi College of Engineering. He had also secured an all-India rank 7 in AIEEE.
Slide 4 of 34
The “Chhicchore” actor kicked off his career in 2008 with a romantic drama named “Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil” which aired on Star Plus.

TV’s soap opera “Pavitra Rishta”.

Slide 5 of 34
Sushant made his Bollywood debut with the film “Kai Po Che!” in 2013.
Slide 6 of 34
Here’s the late actor in his MS Dhoni avtar from the film “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”.
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Here’s another rare picture of the actor. 
Slide 8 of 34
Here Sushant can be seen pouring tea. 
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Sushant, in this pic, can be seen posing with his “Pavitra Rishta” co-star and ex-girlfriend Ankita Lokhande.

Slide 10 of 34
Actress Sara Ali Khan had made her Bollywood debut alongside Sushant in the film “Kedarnath”.
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Sushant was clicked posing for paparazzi on a day out in the city. 
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He earned his first-ever Filmfare nomination for Best Actor for his performance in “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”.
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Here, the actor is seen posing on the set of “The Kapil Sharma Show”.
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Rajput was also involved in programmes like Sushant4Education to help students. 
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Sushant in this throwback pic is all suited up for an award function.
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Take a look at the late actor’s casual airport look. 
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Here’s another airport look of the late actor. 
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Here, Sushant can be seen posing with his “Raabta” co-star Kriti Sanon.
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Sushant is survived by his elder brother, two sisters and father. He lost his mother in 2002.
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Sushant was last seen in the film “Chhichhore” which was based on college life and lessons on failure. 
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Sushant learned acting at Barry John’s acting classes.
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Here, Sushant is seen posing with Alia Bhatt. 
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Here’s another still of the actor out and about in the city.
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When Sushant was spotted out in the city.
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If reports were to be believed, Sushant had been dealing with depression for several months. 
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Here’s another still of the couple who were once very much in love. They dated for 6 years before parting ways in 2016. 
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Sushant’s social media, however, was not all about glamour.
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Sushant’s last Instagram post was in memory of his late mother.
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A fitness freak, here’s a glimpse of Sushant’s gym look. 
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned the actor’s demise on Twitter.
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Sushant seemed to be an actor who preferred to dress up in casuals.
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However, when he had to pick out the blazers and jackets, he proved to be a head-turner at award functions and red carpet events. 

Salman said that his fans to support the actor’s friends and family. “A request to all my fans to stand with Sushant’s fans n not to go by the language n the curses used but to go with the emotion behind it. Pls support n stand by his family n fans as the loss of a loved one is extremely painful,” he wrote.

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Big Story Bollywood Entertainment Mumbai (Bombay) The Buzz

5 most expensive divorces of Bollywood which prove that even Heartbreaks are expensive

In the world of Bollywood movies, the phenomenon of ‘happily ever after’ is not uncommon. But, in real life, however, it isn’t always a fairy tale when it comes to the personal life of these celebrities. If weddings cost a bomb and burn a big hole in their pockets, so do divorces. Here we take a look at 5 celebrities who got separated but with a huge amount of money. Check it out.

1. Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan

Most Expensive Divorces Of Bollywood Celebrities

No one was able to believe when Hrithik Roshan and Sussane Khan had announced their separation. After being together for 14 years, the couple parted ways in 2013, but not just with papers. Susanne received alimony of Rs 400 Crores, which after negotiation came down to Rs 380 Crores as per reports. Their divorce was an amicable affair and the two still maintain a cordial relation.

2. Saif Ali Khan And Amrita Singh 

Most Expensive Divorces Of Bollywood Celebrities

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Even the Nawab Of Pataudi wasn’t spared in shelling out a hefty alimony amount when he divorced Amrita Singh. Saif and Amrita were together for almost 13 years before they parted ways in 2004. The alimony amount summed up to Rs 5 Crores, and even though Saif faced financial crunch back then, he worked hard to pay off the alimony.

3. Karishma And Sanjay Kapoor

Most Expensive Divorces Of Bollywood Celebrities

Karishma and Sanjay Kapoor had a tumultuous marriage since the beginning, and they finally headed for a divorce. The couple has two kids and besides their custody, Karishma received 14 crores for her children which earns Rs 10 Lakh interest. Add to that, she also got Sanjay’s father’s house, located in Khar. 

4. Farhan Akhtar And Adhuna Bhabani

Most Expensive Divorces Of Bollywood Celebrities

It all seemed to be going well for Farhan and Adhuna until they announced their divorce. After being married for over 16 years, the couple finally decided to get a divorce. Reports suggest that Farhan gave a one-time alimony amount along with their apartment, Vipassana, sprawling over 10,000 sq ft in Bandstand, Mumbai. Besides that, even though the custody of their kids has been given to Adhuna, Farhan has invested a good amount of money for their security.

5. Prabhu Deva And Ramlath

Most Expensive Divorces Of Bollywood Celebrities

The famous choreographer and dancer of Bollywood Prabhu Deva also had to go through an unpleasant divorce with his ex-wife Ramlath. The couple had two kids and their separation was settled at Rs 10 Lakhs. Not just that, Prabhu Deva also had to give two expensive cars along with property transferred in his ex-wife’s name, worth a whopping Rs 20-25 Crores, as per reports

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Bollywood Entertainment Jammu and Kashmir Mumbai (Bombay)

‘Nittee bhai’s been killed’:Shooting of a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch shakes the village where he lived

Around 6 pm on June 8, Ajay Pandita was sitting on the shop front of a local grocer’s when two men walked up to him and shot him twice. “He was a regular visitor at my shop and would spend hours chatting with others,” said Shahid Aslam, who owns the grocery store in the sleepy village of Lukhbhawan in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

“I had stepped inside my house and my brother was at the shop,” said Aslam. “Apart from Pandita and my brother, there was another local boy at my shop at the time. My brother said two men on foot walked up to Pandita and fired two bullets at him. While the shooters ran away, my brother and the other boy rushed inside our house for safety. Some moments later, we came out and found Pandita lying in a pool of blood.”

According to a police statement, Pandita was shot at by “terrorists” and was rushed to a hospital, where he died of his injuries. On June 9, Jammu and Kashmir police chief Dilbag Singh said Pandita’s assassination was a “targeted killing” by the Hizbul Mujahideen. The two eyewitnesses to the killing had been questioned and their mobile phones seized for a few days, said Aslam.

Pandita was in his forties, a Kashmiri Pandit sarpanch affiliated with the Congress. In 2018, he had won panchayat elections in the predominantly Muslim Lukhbhawan ward. His death marks the first Kashmiri Pandit killing in the Valley in years. It has shaken Lukhbhawan, the village where he had lived among Muslim friends and neighbours for years.

Shahid Aslam’s grocery shop, where Ajay Pandita was shot on June 8.

Flight and return

Like the majority of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, the Panditas of Lukhbhawan had migrated to Jammu in 1990, when militant groups targeted members of the community. But the family returned to Kashmir in 1996.

“Ajay had returned with a mission to end hostilities between Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits, revive Kashmiriyat and Sufism in Kashmir valley,” said his father, 72-year-old Dwarikanath Pandita, a retired employee of the Jammu and Kashmir education department, speaking on the phone from Jammu. “In 1996, we didn’t return to our village but lived in a government colony in Khanabal, Anantnag.”

Khanabal is an area on the outskirts of Anantnag town, which is also the district headquarters. Over the years, most of the Pandita family lived in various quarters around the periphery of the town, including a two-room house in Mattan.

“But Ajay lived with his uncle in the village [Lukhbhawan],” said Dwarikanath Pandita. “In 1999, I was transferred to Ladakh and Ajay stayed on with my brother Omkar Nath Pandita, who had adopted him, in the village.”

Most Kashmiri Pandits who fled in the 1990s did not return. But the Pandita’s were able to return because of the support of their Muslim friends and neighbours, Dwarikanath Pandita said. “When my brother and son wished to live in the village, a Muslim family gave them their own home to live in 1999,” he said. “It was the support of local people which helped us settle down in our village.”

Before they migrated in 1990, the family had lived in their ancestral home near a spring in Lukhbhawan. In 2008, they finally decided to build a new house in the orchard they owned in the village. “When we were constructing the plinth for the house, some of the neighbours objected, saying we did not own the pathway leading up to it,” recalled Dwarikanath Pandita. “I could easily have asked the administration to intervene but I didn’t deem it right. Eventually, when we put our case before the common people of the village, they supported us.”

The Pandita family moved into their new house in 2013. Theirs was the only Pandit family in the locality but they never felt there was a threat to their lives, according to Dwarikanath Pandita. “This is why even our villagers and neighbours are still puzzled about what happened to Ajay,” he said. “It’s as if they lost their own son. They are feeling the same pain which I am feeling.”

But Pandita is not able to mourn his son in their home village. After Ajay Pandita was shot, his family was escorted out of the village by the police and shifted to Jammu. He was cremated there.

“The police told us it might not be safe for us to be in the village,” said Dwarikanath Pandita. “That’s why we went to Jammu. Besides, Ajay’s mother and brother were in Jammu already.”

Ajay Pandita’s house in Lukhbhawan village.

‘Nitti Bhai has been killed’

Few houses in Lukhbhawan village, including the house where the Panditas lived, have a proper fence. No gate or wall sections off the house from neighbouring properties.

“They never felt any need to erect walls or a gate because they always felt safe,” said Shokhi Jan, a neighbour. Her garden is adjacent to the Panditas’ orchard.

Jan remembers the evening Pandita was shot. “I was tending to my vegetable garden,” she began. “His [Pandita’s] wife was on the terrace of her house and we were chatting. Then some shots rang out. We thought it was a tyre blast. But when I went out towards the road to see what had happened, my son came rushing towards me and said, Mummy, Nitti Bhai mourukh.” Mother, Nitti Bhai has been killed.

Jan said she did not break the news to Pandita’s family immediately. “I told his wife that Nitti Bhai has been injured in an accident – I couldn’t break the news of his death to her directly,” she recounted.

Pandita’s death came as a shock to the whole village. “During winters, his family moves to Jammu,” Jan said. “Last winter, he didn’t go to Jammu. Nitti Bhai was alone at home the entire winter. He would roam around the village freely and visit our house. He was like a brother to me. We are still mourning his loss. Believe me, we have been unable to eat properly ever since his death. What if he was from a different religion? Wasn’t he our neighbor?”

Neighbours remember Pandita as a gentle person, who paid close attention to the everyday problems of the village. Apart from his duties as sarpanch and orchard owner, Pandita had another job – as a television actor in Kashmiri serials on DD Kashir.

The good relations between his son and their neighbours helped win him votes, according to Dwarikanath Pandita. Pandita won the 2018 panchayat elections over a relative who was fighting on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket.

“You know people don’t vote in Kashmir but it was the Muslims of around four villages who asked to him contest and assured him that they would make him win,” said Dwarikanath Pandita. “And they did make him win. Ajay was someone who always wanted to help his villagers. He was clean-hearted.”

Dwarikanath Pandita now longs for home. “I don’t want to burn in this sweltering heat of Jammu,” he said. If it was not possible to return to their village, he felt, the government should arrange to have them live near the village until it was safe to go back. But his granddaughters will not settle for such an arrangement. “Ajay’s daughters are telling me that we should live at the same house where their father sacrificed his life – they want to go home,” he said.

On June 8, he had left their home in Lukhbhawan in the care of their neighbours. “We are looking after their house and the keys of their house are with us,” said Mohammad Yusuf, neighbour to the Panditas. “We even brought their cow to our house and took care of her. It’s like my own house.”

In Jammu, Dwarikanath Pandita was also not worried about his orchards. “Ajay’s Muslim brothers and Muslim sisters are there,” he said. “They are taking care of it. They saw him as their son.”

Pandita’s orchards in Lukhbhawan village, left in the care of neighbours.

Killed for being a sarpanch?

Pandita’s killing is also a reminder of the violence directed at panches and sarpanches in Kashmir, who took part in local body elections despite threats from militant groups.

In November last year, a sarpanch and a government official on an outreach programme in Anantnag were killed in a militant attack. “After that killing, he [Pandita] did seem a bit worried and left for Jammu for a few days,” recalled Yusuf. “You might have seen a viral video in which he’s demanding security for sarpanches and panches in Kashmir. It’s from those days.”

After Pandita was killed, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir accused of the government not providing the sarpanch with security because he belonged to the opposition party.

Days after Pandita’s killing, an unverified video went viral on social media. It appeared to show militants forcing a sarpanch from North Kashmir’s Sopore area to resign from her post. While the sarpanch did not file a complaint, the Sopore police have registered a case.

Hundreds of panches and sarpanches, especially from the troubled districts of South Kashmir, are quartered in government accommodations and avoid going back to their villages. Pandita had not opted for any such arrangement. “He was never afraid and would roam around freely – there was no fear,” said his father.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s, they do not reflect the views of Opera News.

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Bollywood Mumbai (Bombay)

Critic blames six biggies for Susan Singh Rajput’s death

The debate about nepotism once again surfaced in Bollywood after the tragic demise of young hero Sushant Singh Rajput .While Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt have become easy targets, others who are supporting them are receiving huge backlash from netizens, especially.

Controversial Bollywood critic stated that only six companies are controlling the entire Bollywood and he named the biggest production houses of B’Town as the culprits. However, actress Swara Bhaskar refuted all the backlash.

She might have a point when she said that no one knows the real reason behind Sushanth’s death as there was no suicide note. Moreover, she thinks it as frivolity and idiocy to put the blame on the above two.

The old videos of a chat show by Karan Johar are making rounds. Alia was seen saying that she doesn’t know Sushanth. One must remember that she was a teenager back then and only completed her debut movie. Sushanth’s debut movie wasn’t released, yet. How would she know him?