UPDATED ABOUT AN HOUR AGO The time Natalie Portman told Ranbir Kapoor to ‘get lost’

How many times have we gushed over our favorite celebs? Countless. But what happens when a celeb gushes over another celeb?

In an interview with First Post, Ranbir Kapoor dished that his fan moments with Hollywood bigwigs Quentin Tarantino and Natalie Portman went farfrom planned, in fact, they were cringe-worthy experiences.

“You know this happens to me a lot. It’s not just Quentin Tarantino. I am star struck. I’ve run behind Natalie Portman at Tribeca. She was on the phone and she was crying. I went quickly behind her and said, ‘I love your…’ Before I could say ‘work’, she turned and said, ‘Get lost!’ So I’ve had my heart broken but I would still chase them,” narrated the star.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, during the shoot of his upcoming film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the star rushed to meet Pulp Fiction director Tarantino only to be ignored by him.

“So with Quentin Tarantino recently, he was promoting The Hateful Eight and we were shooting Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in London. I was shooting in a basement and he was in the building. I heard that he was doing an interview so I went up running. I told Karan, ‘Listen, I have to meet him.’ Not that I’m going to say that I’m an actor from India. I just wanted to meet him, take a picture, an autograph.

“So I was waiting at the car for like half an hour. I saw him coming and from far I’m saying, ‘Quentin, Quentin.’ He walks, looks at me, goes and sits in his car. When the door opens, I’m like, ‘Sir, picture picture?’and they have it on video. It was really funny and I got teased by the entire crew of ADHM, but just to see Quentin Tarantino,” gushed Ranbir.

That has got to hurt.

But Ranbir didn’t let that affect him. He said, “This guy really affected my life. His movies — Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction — are instrumental to the work I am doing. Subconsciously I’ve taken so much from those films so it was a big star struck moment. I don’t feel bad about it. I don’t feel like he is such an ass or a rude guy. I understand that it happens because he is in his own world and he is an artist. Artists are supposed to be weird.”

Does that make him want to go to Hollywood? Apparently not.

“I was asked to audition as the second lead in Star Wars a couple of years back [but he refused]. I have a fear of auditioning,” he said.

Ranbir explained: “Must be [arrogance], but also insecurity that what if I get rejected? It’s more a fear from not having that much faith in my talent. But it doesn’t interest me. What Ayan Mukherjee is making interests me more thanStar Wars. Let’s make our own Star Wars. Let’s not chase what’s there. That’s great but I have an opportunity here and I don’t think Ayan is less than a JJ Abrams or a George Lucas. Let me work with him and make our own Star Wars.”

Facebook, Unity Technologies set to launch gaming platform

CALIFORNIA: Social media giant, Facebook has announced plans to team up with gaming engine developer, Unity Technologies, in order to expand their services for gamers and developers, the company announced on itsofficial blog for developers Thursday.

Facebook was once a hub for social gaming ─ earning and paying big money.

Despite decreasing user engagement, Facebook paid off $2.5 billion to game developers in 2015 alone and has paid off a total sum of $8 billion since 2010.

At it’s peak, Facebook was earning $257 million in payment taxes (last quarter of 2014). Their revenue slipped to $197 million last quarter as casual users are increasingly shifting towards mobile apps for their gaming needs.

The partnership with Unity Technologies is a strategic move for Facebook to re-engage the over 650 million active gamers on the network.

Unity’s global development platform for creating 2D, 3D, VR and AR games and experiences will provide a streamlined process for developers to create, publish and deliver their games to the Facebook community. Unity will also integrate support for the new platform, including an all-new PC gaming platform currently in development.

“Integrating tools that provide effortless access to Facebook’s network is a key part of helping developers find the success they deserve” says Unity’s VP of biz dev Elliot Solomon in a talk with TechCrunch.

Competing for attention

Facebook’s dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform will allow publishers to offer their iOS and Android games on desktop in addition to providing them on the social media platform.

Details are sparse at the moment but TechCrunch reveals that the PC platform will run on different types of PC operating systems (not just Windows) and “provide a distraction-free gaming environment”.

Along with the casual Facebook games, the PC platform will also most likely support “Immersive” gameplay, which has so far been the domain of consoles or Valve’s Steam marketplace.

Steam marketplace has over 125 million monthly users. The developing PC gaming platform is likely to put Facebook in direct competition with Steam over this significant market share.

Facebook has opened applications for interested game developers to join and test the closed-alpha build in Unity Version 5.4 ─ the build will provide efficient export functionality to publish games on Facebook .

A maddening spiral

FEELING the heat from the continuing uprising in India-held Kashmir and the failure of his security forces to contain it, the Indian prime minister used his Independence Day address to try and deflect attention from his woes by saying: “People of Balo­chistan, Gilgit and PoK [Azad Kashmir] have thanked me a lot in the past few days, I am grateful to them.”

In his address, Narendra Modi also accused Pakistan of committing human rights violations against its own people and backing terrorism. Pakistan has consistently accused India of fomenting unrest in Balochistan and in Mr Modi’s statement it saw a reinforcement of its position.

The Indian media described the Independence Day statement as Mr Modi’s attempt to up the ante in order to pile the pressure on Islamabad. Across the border, the Pakistani media said it was outright interference in the country’s internal affairs and a sign of confirmation of Delhi’s involvement in Balochistan.

However, the most interesting insight was provided by India’s former foreign affairs minister Salman Khurshid, himself a suave diplomat, who appeared horrified at his prime minister’s stance. “He must have meant Baltistan as he also referred to Gilgit and PoK and not Balochistan.”

Mr Khurshid, who is a senior leader of the opposition Congress, also warned that if, Mr Modi was, indeed, referring to Balochistan then he will have opened the door for other countries including Pakis­tan to criticise India and comment on its internal affairs.

He explained that since Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan were part of an internationally recognised dispute between two countries, the Indian prime minister would be well within his rights to talk about these areas. But Balochistan, according to him, was another story.

Whatever the Indian prime minister meant, soon after his statement Brahmdagh Bugti, the Baloch rebel leader who currently lives in self-imposed exile in Switzerland, told the media he wanted to thank Mr Modi for the latter’s support on Balochistan.

Up until a month ago, Brahmdagh Bugti, whose exile followed the 2006 killing of his grandfather Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in a military operation in Balochistan, was expressing his readiness for talks with the Pakistan authorities in order to seek an end to bloodshed in the province.


One hopes Modi’s remarks do not spur our security apparatus to the point where it journeys out of the pan and into the fire.


Mr Bugti’s statement which came on the heels of Mr Modi’s declaration was indication enough that his peace overtures did not elicit the kind of response from Pakistan, particularly its military, which he was hoping for.

The authorities must feel confident about crushing the separatists by force and, therefore, did not appear interested in dialogue. Brahmdagh Bugti’s statement, following as it did Narendra Modi’s, was seen by many security sources as part of a choreographed move.

Away from Balochistan, the Indian media picked up on their leader’s Gilgit remarks by airing footage of supposed ‘anti-Pakistan’ protests in Gilgit-Baltistan. Their main news service, ANI, which describes itself as an independent corporate entity, released the footage.

It showed a public gathering and slogans being raised. A closer look showed the footage from an election rally organised by the Awami Workers’ Party in support of its candidate Baba Jan from the last elections of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly.

The Awami Workers’ Party, which is fast earning a name for itself as a fighter for the rights of the oppressed, issued a rejoinder setting the record straight about the footage. While it said it would continue to struggle for the rights of all oppressed, it categorically denied its rally was, in any way, anti-Pakistan as suggested by the Indian media.

It was not surprising this rebuttal didn’t feature in any of the Indian news channels/sites that carried the initial ANI footage as, largely, the media on both sides these days prefers to parrot official positions rather than follow the principles of independent journalism.

The situation in the Kashmir valley since last month’s killing of iconic separatist militant leader Burhan Wani, whose social media exploits are said to have created a far greater impact than any of his known militant activities, shows no signs of improvement.

The death toll so far stands at 75 with several thousand injured. The number of young men, women and even children with shotgun pellet injuries runs into hundreds with dozens blinded as the pellets pierced their eyes.

With thousands of demonstrators defying the security forces every day a further spiral of charges and counter-charges between the two countries is likely. India may attempt to refer to Balochistan again to embarrass Pakistan but since it is not an internationally acknowledged dispute between the two, New Delhi’s capacity to bring pressure on Islamabad via this route will remain limited.

One likely consequence would be a renewed reliance on brute force by the Pakistan authorities as Mr Modi’s remarks will have provided a justification for a no holds-barred policy in the province. Any prospects of a dialogue will, tragically, recede fast.

As it is, the security establishment was ‘inserting’ religiously motivated activists belonging to LeT-JuD into Baloch areas seen as secular and nationalist (both descriptions take you to being one step away from being stamped a traitor) to counter the separatist sentiment. One earnestly hopes the Indian prime minister’s remarks do not spur our security establishment into a situation where it lives up to its reputation of journeying out of the pan and into the fire.

Kashmir will remain the principal bone of contention between the two countries. In order to move forward India must stop deluding itself that the scale of the uprising in Kashmir is ‘foreign-engineered’. It has tried repression for long but failed. It will need to think out of the box and reach some accommodation with the people of Kashmir. Pakistan will also have to agree to a solution such as the one proposed by former army chief Pervez Musharraf.

On all fronts only dialogue and accommodation can deliver workable solutions. The question is how soon the leaders of a billion and a quarter South Asians are able to see this.

ABBAS NASIR

PM can not bypass federal cabinet: SC

ONINE

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court (SC) has nullified Prime Minister (PM) powers for bypassing the cabinet.

A full bench of SC presided over  by Justice Saqib Nisar declared null and void clause 2 of rule 16 on PM powers for bypassing the federal cabinet.

Justice Saqib Nisar announced 80-page  reserved judgement on appeals filed against notification pertaining to enhancement in levy tax. The private companies had challenged imposition of levy tax in apex court.

SC has maintained the powers for increasing or decreasing tax rest with federal government which  consists of PM and ministers. Such notification can  not be issued merely with the approval of PM. The power laid down in clause 2 of rule 16 is illegal. Promulgating any ordinance without the approval of cabinet is illegal. No law or bill can be presented in National Assembly (NA) without the approval of cabinet. The cabinet should be given proper time to consider all bills including finance bill. PM or minister or secretary can not exercise the powers of federal government.

SC maintained in its verdict PM cannot bypass cabinet decision. Only federal cabinet can exercise federal government powers. PM will have to exercise budget powers, powers related to financial matters and discretionary powers with the approval of cabinet.  It is binding on government to abide by rules of business-1973, Neither any secretary or PM  and nor any federal minister is government on their own. Federal government comprises federal ministers and PM.

Notification on levy tax is illegal as it was issued without the approval of cabinet. Any ordinance if promulgated without the approval of cabinet will be illegal. The approval of cabinet is must for presenting finance bill, ordinance or law in the parliament. If PM approves any such law on his own then it will stand nullified, SC ruled.

My homework on England batsmen paid off in Tests: Sohail Khan

e 330-run thrashing by Alastair Cook’s men at the Old Trafford compelled Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq to make two changes for third Test at Edgbaston.

Besides young left handed opener Sami Aslam, who came in for wobbly Shan Masood, the skipper opted for pacer Sohail Khan ahead of Imran Khan which surprised the critics since the well-built pacer had been out of five-day Tests for more than five years and had not made much impression in the practice games on the England tour either.

However, Sohail did not disappoint his skipper and soon induced a nick off England opener Alex Hales’ bat to provide the tourists an early breakthrough in the 10th over. By the end of the innings, the hard-working pacer had grabbed five wickets in a dream return to Test cricket.

“My aim was to bowl consistently at my line and length. I had told myself to not to deviate from it and thankfully it paid off,” said the 32-year-old in an exclusive interview with on Friday.

“The English batsmen don’t gift away their wickets. You have to think out of the box to get their scalp,” said the right-arm pacer.

Sohail was on fire in his opening spell.

Eight balls after the first blow, he inflicted another dent on England when he had prolific Joe Root caught in the slips for just three.

That was a prized wicket since the top England batsman had plundered a brilliant 254 in his last Test match at Old Trafford and had looked supremely confident throughout.

“I had done my homework about their [England batsmen] strengths and weaknesses. All I did was bowl in the right areas. Of course, there were runs taken off me because they are fine players, but bowling a tight length reaped me a lot of success,” said Sohail.

“Arriving in England a month ahead also helped me a lot to get acclimatized and understand the Duke ball better.”

“Bowling is not only about hammering short-pitched balls at the batsmen or generating pace. It is about varying your pace according to the situation.” — Reuters
“Bowling is not only about hammering short-pitched balls at the batsmen or generating pace. It is about varying your pace according to the situation.” — Reuters

His surreal return to Test cricket was hailed by one and all and certainly gave Pakistan hope after spearhead Wahab Riaz had failed to make an impact in the earlier two Tests.

Sohail, who is aiming to cement his place in all three formats, termed his current form as the “peak time of his career”.

And Edgbaston was not the first instance where he had made a strong return to international cricket.

During the ICC World Cup 2015, the Malakand-born pacer picked a superb five-for in his One-Day International return against India.

Read: Sohail Khan is a cricketer, not a linguist

Prior to the mega event, he turned screws on Virat Kohli during an interview when he said that the Indian batsman is a “lion only in his home conditions“.

Reminiscing the moment, Sohail said: “Kohli is a big player and God has given him respect that he enjoys today. But, my aim is to bring laurels for my country so I don’t see who is batting in front of me when I am bowling. My aim is to get them out.

“I respect everyone, but I leave that respect aside once I enter the ground. On the field they are all the same for me.”

Sohail, like many of his teammates, celebrated his five-for at Edgbaston with a round of push-ups and looked fit and confident.

“The pushups I did (with a clap in between) were hard and not everyone can do them. I wanted to prove my fitness to the world that even after bowling long spells, I could still go on.”

However, the experts felt the other way about the bowler’s fitness. The commentators in the match observed that he was looking tired after his last spell of the day.

“The English batsmen don’t gift away their wickets. You have to think out of the box to get their scalp.” — AFP
“The English batsmen don’t gift away their wickets. You have to think out of the box to get their scalp.” — AFP

“I wasn’t tired at all,” clarified Sohail.

“I was bowling with the new ball. In English conditions you need to give more air to the ball so it can swing. It is all about the understanding of the game. Bowling is not only about hammering short-pitched balls at the batsmen or generating pace. It is about varying your pace according to the situation,” argued Sohail.

Read: Five-star Sohail says Jimmy Anderson the inspiration for grand comeback

During the dying moments of the Edgbaston Test, Sohail also displayed his prowess with the bat to put up a brisk 50-run stand with Rahat Ali for the last wicket.

When asked about his future plans, Sohail said that he has been working on his batting and aims to join the ranks of all-rounders.

“I am working on my batting these days. I aim to become a successful all-rounder since modern-day cricket demands from a player to be on top in all facets of the game. I have also been scoring runs in the domestic circuit,” he said.