India had no luck with close neighbors. Nepal lost its democracy as King Gyanendra took power and gagged the media. The Indian influence was on the wane in the mountain kingdom, as the Maoists went on a rampage. They give courage to Naxalites in India. Bangladesh was a tough nut to crack. Because, New Delhi felt there was too much of patronage for separatist groups of North East states in Bangladesh. Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar looked inwards as the tough reign of chandrika Kumaratunge came to an end.
Amitabh Bachchan gave a string of hits. Down South, Rajnikant bounced back to top of the chart with a superhit in Chandramukhi. Another star Vijakanth launched a political party, but it appears to be a tough climb for the action hero.
Aamir khan returned to the screen after a four year gap with the historical Mangal pandey. It provoked protests about its authenticity to the hero of the first war of independence. Another film which led to bombing of theatres was the provocatively titled jo Bole Nihaal. Aishwarya Rai, who had the whole country dancing with her number ‘Khajarare…’ in Buntry Aur bubbly also had offscreen attention with a tape claming actor Salman Khan had revealed his underworld connections in a phone conversation with her. But there were doubts on the tape’s authenticity.
The controversy shook Indian cinema was health minister Anbumani Ramadoss crusading to ban smoking in films and television programmes. The film industry protested. And the ban got postponed, so that the villanins and heroes could puff away for some time. Meanwhile live dancing in Mumbai bars was banned by the zealous deputy Chief Minister R R Ptil, even though it meant loss of livelihood to thousands of bar girls.
There were only cheers when the government chose the Malayalam master Adoor Gopalakrishnan for the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.
Not only this, but also the following………………