Usha Uthup has been enthralling listeners for over 40 years now with hit Bollywood tracks like 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna', 'Ek Do Cha Cha Cha' and 'Ramba Ho'. She now wants to do more roles in Hindi films
New Delhi: She took the audience by surprise appearing in “Saat Khoon Maaf” and singer Usha Uthup says she is looking forward to some meaty roles in Bollywood now.
The 64-year-old singer played a loyal help to Priyanka Chopra's character in the film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. She even lent her voice to the hit song “Darling” in the film.
“I am waiting for good roles, looking for something meaty. In the meantime I have done a bit of acting in Kerala and Bengal. I hope I get some offers in Bollywood, another good role like I did in 'Saat Khoon Maaf',” Usha told PTI.
She has been nominated in the best playback singer category along with Rekha Bhardwaj for the track “Darling” at the upcoming International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards. The song has already got her a Filmfare award this year.
“I hope I win the IIFA award too,” said Usha.
Besides being nominated, the singer is going to perform at the IIFA Rocks in Singapore on 8th June, the night before the awards ceremony. She will be performing in collaboration with Leslie Lewis and Hariharan to mark 100 years of Indian Cinema.
“The combination of me, Hariharan and Leslie Lewis is amazing. Who would imagine the three of us teaming up? Our performance is a tribute to 100 years of Indian Cinema. It's been a real tough call short-listing songs from so many decades and from among hundreds of hit tracks,” she said.
This is the first time she would be collaborating professionally with Lewis and Hariharan. Usha says she is looking forward to the performance as they have been friends for years.
“It is really amazing because we have all been great friends for so long. I have had various opportunities to jam with Leslie when he used to perform at the Oberoi in Mumbai.
“Once in a while he used to bring his guitar along and we would jam together. He is an amazing musician. We’ve never done anything together professionally. This collaboration is something I am really looking forward to,” she said.
She has been enthralling listeners for over 40 years now with hit Bollywood tracks like ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, ‘Ek Do Cha Cha Cha’ and ‘Ramba Ho’. She recently sung for “Kahaani” and “Don 2” besides “Saat Khoon Maaf”.
Usha says her singing career is the most happening right now. “I have been working since 1968, its been over 40 years now. People ask me, ‘What? You are still singing?’
“But its not ‘still’, it’s only now that I have really started singing, now that things are really happening. It's just fantastic. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
“I get very excited when people are shocked by my energy and my passion for work. I know that I am quite an inspiration for the younger generation. They work so hard and I do believe I am a source of inspiration for them as they think, ‘If she can do it at that age, we can do too’.”
Usha says she is busy travelling and performing stage shows besides appearing in reality shows.
“I am busy with a lot of shoots, reality shows. My basic thing is the stage, I keep performing. Between travelling, trying to take a nap on the flight and working on the shows, it’s just an amazing life. I couldn't ask for anything more. Life is really on a high right now," she said.
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Even as Indians pay higher and higher oil prices to compensate oil companies, these companies happily dole out dividends to its shareholders, the biggest beneficiary being the government
Oil companies such as Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil India (OIL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), etc, have been clamouring for a hike in oil prices, as a oil price increases was squeezing their margins. They got what they wanted; the government hiked petrol prices by Rs7.50 per litre, its steepest hike ever, as it struggles to reign in fiscal discipline. But the fact is that these companies have doled over Rs20,000 crore as dividends over the past two years.
Oil companies import/manufacture crude at market rate but sell it at a discount as per government directives, to keep petrol prices low and accessible to the masses. As their fixed cost is high (capital intensive industry) and sales price is low, there is a “loss.”
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), a body which looks after traders’ interests, strongly questioned the so called “loss theory” of the oil companies which has prompted them to raise the petrol prices. According to CAIT national president BC Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal, “If oil companies are in losses than how come they are paying dividend to their shareholders and heavy bonus to their employees.” Further he questioned, “Oil companies are showing huge profits in their annual accounts, so where is the question of incurring losses?”
We took a database of selected oil and gas companies, only those which are part of the government’s subsidy programme, and excluded private players. Take a look at the table below:
A total of Rs14,862.05 crore was paid as dividend for the fiscal 2010-11 while this year it is proposed to be Rs4,634.20 crore. Even though it is less, money seems to be going to shareholders’ pockets out of tax payers’. If you combine both these years’ dividend it would amount to nearly Rs20,000 crore, which is a significant sum of money.
Let us take BPCL, an oil marketing major in India, which sells petrol and diesel to the masses. It has not only announced dividends of Rs11 per share, but also issued bonus shares in the ratio of 1:1. This would take its paid up capitalisation to Rs723.08 crore. Apart from government, its major shareholders are BPCL Trust and Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). Effectively, the dividend (and shares) is going back to the government, out of the main coffers of BPCL.