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Raj Kundra, UK-based kin ‘masterminded’ global porn racket: Mumbai Police

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The Mumbai Police on Tuesday made a shocking revelation that arrested businessman Raj Kundra and his brother-in-law Pradeep Bakshi are the alleged masterminds of an international porn films racket perpetrated through their content production companies based in India and the United Kingdom.

The husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, Kundra is the owner of Viaan Industries Ltd, jointly promoted by the couple, while Bakshi — a British citizen, who is married to Kundra’s sister — is the Chairman of Kenrin Ltd., London.

Mumbai’s Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Milind Bharambe said that the two companies had a mobile app called ‘HotShots Digital Entertainment’, developed by Kenrin Ltd.

The HotShots app is described as the “world’s first 18+ app” showcasing some of the hottest models and celebs globally in exclusive photos, short films and hot videos — implying soft-to-hard porn.

“The free to download app was yanked off by both Apple and Google Playstore for the type of its content. The Mumbai Police have recovered incriminating evidences like several HotShot films, video clips, WhatsApp chats, etc. during the investigation,” Bharambe told a crowded media gathering.

He said that the probe into the entire affair of Kundra started in February 2021 with the Malvani police station blowing the lid off by lodging a complaint about pornographic content being produced and shot at some bungalows in the remote Madh Island and its surroundings in the coastal areas of Malad in north-west Mumbai.

The police probe made the startling revelations of how new or aspiring actresses coming to Mumbai from all over India were lured with work offers in short films, webseries and other movies.

“They were called for auditions and after selection made to do bold scenes, which went onto semi-nude and then full-nude shoots. Some of them strongly opposed this and had approached the police,” Bharambe said.

After making the content, the two companies — Viaan and Kendrin — made them available on mobile apps, offering subscriptions akin to the mainstream OTT platforms, advertise them on social media, all of which were illegal as pornography in any form is banned in India.

Following the investigations by the Malvani Police and later by the Crime Branch-CID and Property Cell, at least 12 arrests have been made so far, including Kundra, his techie associate Ryan J. Tharpe, who were remanded to police custody till July 23 by a Mumbai Magistrate Court.

The nine persons arrested earlier include TV actress Gehna Vashisht, 32, Yasmin R. Khan, 40, Monu Joshi, 28, Pratibha Nalavade, 33, M. Atif Ahmed, 24, Dipankar P. Khasnavis, 38, Bhanusurya Thakur, 26, Tanvir Hashmi, 40, and Umesh Kamath, 39.

A close confidante of Kundra, Kamat was heading the India operations of Viaan, which also handled the full operations of HotShots, including content creations, accounts and other details, along with Kendrin Ltd., police said.

Authoritative Bollywood and police sources claim that the ongoing probe into the Kundra matter “maybe just the tip of the porno-iceberg” that flourishes in the entertainment circles, aided or abetted by some high-profile ‘model or acting coordinators’ in south Mumbai and western suburbs, with huge stakes involved.

“There are dark rumours of even many big celebs, models-actors-actresses being involved in this. ‘Sex-rave parties’ are organised at secret locations in India and abroad where the acts are filmed, and later packaged as ‘hot content’ and sold for millions on various media platforms all over the world,” a top producer told IANS, on condition of anonymity.

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Meghna Malik not keen on playing just simple, linear characters

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Actress Meghna Malik, who played the popular character of ‘Ammaji’ in the show “Na Aana Iss Des Lado”, and more recently was seen in Hindi biopic “Saina”, says that she wants to do more complex characters.

Ask her what kind of roles she is willing to portray in future and Meghna tells IANS: “Wish I was in that position that I have all the roles coming my way, that I’ll be able to explore them. I want to make audiences laugh and cry at the same time. I am not keen on playing just simple, linear characters but more complicated roles interest me.”

The actress says you don’t always get what you want: “That’s how it has been and that’s how you make your peace with that. You make your peace with rejections as well as achievements both.”

Meghna finds her character of Usha Rani, Saina Nehwal’s mother in “Saina” very close to her heart.

Parineeti Chopra had played the lead role of the ace badminton player in the film, which released earlier this year.

She says: “Saina comes from Haryana and I also belong to the same place so they connect between us. Moreover, capturing the spirit of an untiring mother was really captivating.”

Meghna will be seen in another biopic based on an eminent poet from Haryana, “Dada Lakhmi Chand”, directed by Yashpal Sharma.

“Like ‘Saina’, it is also a very interesting subject though it does not fall into that commercial-commercial form. But, I enjoyed doing it a lot,” she says.

“Saina” will have its world television premiere on Zee Cinema on July 25.

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Aparshakti Khurana to once again host Indian Sports Honours

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Mumbai: Actor Aparshakti Khurana seen at Juhu, in Mumbai on Jan 7, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

Actor Aparshakti Khurana will once again be seen hosting the Indian Sports Honours. This is the second time the actor will be hosting this awards show.

Earlier, he had hosted the 2019 edition.

Talking of the same, Aparshakti said in a statement: “It is an honour to be hosting such a prestigious awards show. I have always been into sports right from my childhood. Hosting the Indian Sports Honours for the second time gives me a great sense of joy and I get to meet and talk to favourite sportspersons.”

The event will be conducted virtually this year in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

On the work front, Aparshakti will be next seen in “Helmet”, “Stardust” and an as-yet-untitled film, which will be Bhushan Kumar’s next.

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Mansi Srivastava to join the cast of ‘Kundali Bhagya’

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Actress Mansi Srivastava will join the cast of the show “Kundali Bhagya”. She will be seen playing the character of Sonakshi.

Ecstatic about joining “Kundali Bhagya”, Mansi says: “Sonakshi and Karan are college friends and share a great bond. She will also become extremely close to Preeta too. In fact, the positive shade of this character along with the numerous other shades that she will bring to the role is what really got me intrigued to portray this character. Also, I must say that this is my first show with Balaji, and I couldn’t have gotten a better role or a better show to start off with.”

The actress is all in praise of the team, especially co-stars Dheeraj Dhoopar and Shraddha Arya and can’t wait to begin shooting.

“I was extremely excited to even begin shooting on the show because I was reuniting with Dheeraj after our last show together in 2016. So, I am happy to shoot with him again. I met him and Shraddha during a photoshoot and was very warmly received by both of them. In fact, I feel the entire team is very sweet, I have also had the pleasure of meeting a few of them during my look tests and I am eager to begin shooting with all of them. I also hope the audience loves this new role of mine,” she says.

“Kundali Bhagya” airs on Zee TV

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