Newsmakers of 2009
The newsmakers of 2009 have come in various shades. Hereunder are given some newsmakers who hogged the media for various reasons.
Narain Dutt Tiwari
As if the Andhra Pradesh government did not have enough on its hands, video footage aired by a Telugu news channel, showing an old man in a ‘compromising’ position with three young women, sent the state into a tizzy. For, the man in question was, allegedly, none other than octogenarian governor Narain Dutt Tiwari.
It was reported that a woman identified only as Radhika had been providing women to the occupant of Raj Bhavan for about a month in return for a mining lease.
Ever since his car crashed into a tree outside his Florida home, the skeletons have come tumbling out of the golfer’s closet with alarming regularity. More and more women have been claiming to have bedded the world’s richest sportsperson.
Tharoor’s ‘tweets’, laced with descriptive terms such as ‘holy cows’ and ‘brouhaha’, on matters of serious concern to the government such as the austerity drive and visa regulations may be a hit with netizens, but they usually rub his bosses in the party and the government the wrong way.
K Chandrasekhar Rao
Much of the credit for Andhra Pradesh being in the news in the latter half of 2009 could easily go to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao. KCR could not have chosen a more opportune moment to stage a fast-unto-death, demanding a separate state of Telangana. He struck when the state was still struggling to get over the untimely death of charismatic chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a chopper crash.
The Reddy brothers
The BJP in Karnataka felt the heat when state revenue minister G Karunakara Reddy and younger brother and tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy felt they had got a raw deal from chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. The chief minister’s decision to impose a Rs1,000 toll per trip of iron-ore-laden truck to raise funds to provide relief for the flood-affected districts of Karnataka did not go down well with the brothers, who control the Obalapuram mines and Brahmani Steel in the region. Also, the move by the state government to transfer several key officers without consulting the Reddys rankled with them.
On January 20, 2009, Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America, becoming the first African-American to hold the world’s most powerful post. In his first few days in office, Obama ordered the US military to draw up plans to withdraw from Iraq, and ordered the Guantanamo Bay detention camp closed “as soon as practicable” and no later than January 2010.
Sachin Tendulkar, who made his debut as a chubby, curly-haired teenager in Pakistan in 1989, completed 20 years in international cricket and became the first Indian and only the 16th in the history of the game to have a career spanning more than two decades.
On June 25, the world was rocked by news that Michael Jackson had died at the age of 50 from cardiac arrest. Jackson’s death ended his decline from his peak in the 1980s, when he dominated Billboard charts and dazzled even more on stage.
Indian Space Research Organisation
A revolutionary finding that could spur space scientists on to look for life in the lunar environs occurred in 2009. ISRO and Nasa “for the first time found sure-fire hints of the presence of water on the Moon”. The path-breaking finding was made using Nasa’s payload on board India’s first unmanned moon-bound spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1. With this finding, speculation in the scientific community over the possibility of water on the Moon has been put to rest.
Manmohan Singh & Sonia Gandhi
Contrary to speculation, 2009 saw the UPA government return to power at the Centre in the general elections. Manmohan Singh became the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962 to be re-elected after completing a full five year term. In all, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance won 261 of 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, while the BJP-headed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured only 157 and the Third Front, 80.
The 2009 Oscar awards saw India announcing its presence on the world stage with composer AR Rahman scooping up awards for Best Original Score and Best Song. Resul Pookutty won an Oscar for Best Sound Mixing. Slumdog Millionaire won eight awards altogether at the 2009 Academy Awards.
Rajkumar Hirani & Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Hirani had assisted Chopra in several of his films and also produced the Munnabhai series. Following the success of Lage Raho Munnabhai, Hirani took up bits and pieces of novelist Chetan Bhagat’s Five Point Someone and wrote 3 Idiots, starring Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, and R Madhavan. The result – a film which opened to a thundering response at the box office
Epic, spectacular, a thorough magnum opus, are just some of the rave reviews to have described James Cameroon’s Avatar. Voted as the most expensive movie of the year it managed to gross an estimated $73 million during its first weekend at the North American box office.