Police on Friday arrested BJP lawmaker Hema Malini’s driver, a day after her Mercedes collided with a Maruti Alto in Rajasthan killing a two-year-old girl and leaving the actor and four others injured.

    He was produced in court and later granted bail. Officials said Uttar Pradesh resident Mahesh Thakur, the accused, was facing charges of culpable homicide and causing death by negligence.

    Television footage showed Mathura MP Hema Malini walking away from the spot with blood dripping down her face following the crash on National Highway 11 near Dausa district in the western state.

    The incident brought the spotlight back on India’s dangerous roads where about 200,000 people die every year in traffic accidents, according to WHO data. Last year, Hema Malini’s party colleague Gopinath Munde was killed in a car crash in Delhi nearly a week after the 64-year-old took office as the country’s rural affairs minister.

    While the infant travelling in the Maruti hatchback reportedly died on the spot, her parents, a four-year-old brother and an aunt are undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Jaipur.

    Hema Malini, who was in the back seat of the Mercedes, was admitted to a private medical centre with a nasal fracture and injuries to her forehead, cheeks and legs.

    “A surgery of debridement (removal of damaged tissues) and repair of lacerated wounds was carried out post-midnight,” said Pratim Tambole, facility director at the Fortis hospital. “It was a two-hour long process under general anaesthesia. She is now in post-operative intensive care unit.”

    The 66-year-old actor was going to Jaipur after visiting a temple in Rajasthan’s Karauli district when her car crashed into the Maruti Alto carrying the family headed to Lalsot city.

    Read: After criticism, Hema Malini expresses sorrow over child's death

    Car crash victims protest 'lavish attention' to Hema Malini

Nicole Kidman: from a killer to a princess

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 09, 2014 14:22 IST

Nicole Kidman is back at a favourite haunt of hers this year -- Cannes Film Festival with another power-packed performance in Grace of Monaco. The film will have Kidman playing Grace Kelly – the American-actor-turned princess who steps into the Palace of Monaco. The film will kick start the 12-day festival.    

This is not the first time that a Kidman starrer will open the festival. In 2001, her Moulin Rouge (by Baz Luhrmann) did the honours, and as a terminally ill cabaret artist and courtesan who falls in love with an English poet, Kidman bought pain and pathos to the part.

This author first saw Kidman in To Die For at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. Helmed by Gus Van Sant (who went on to make riveting cinema -- Milk, Elephant), the movie was a crime thriller in which Kidman essays a ruthlessly ambitious woman who murders her own loving husband. Finally, she pays for her misdemeanour and lies buried under an ice-skating ring (with her own sister playing on it!).

A still from Grace of Monaco

Invariably, Kidman has done serious roles. She played Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a damsel in distress in Lars Von Trier’s Dogville escaping from gangsters, a mother of two photo-sensitive children in a haunted house in The Others, and as the wife of a war prisoner in The Railway Man trying to grapple with the demons of the past.

This year, post-Grace of Monaco, Kidman will once again portray a villain in Paddington, before starring as an amnesiac in Before I Go to Sleep, and as Middle East pioneer Gertrude Bell in Queen of the Desert. All these appear to be serious parts, though set in very different kinds of situations.

Talking about Grace of Monaco, Kidman told an interviewer that “it was the chance of a lifetime to play her. I really admire her, and I think she has such otherworldly qualities. I think she has an aura about her. I don't know if I'm able to capture that, but I was honoured to have the chance to. We'll see. It's only a six-month period of her life that we depict. It's a fairy tale. It's not a heavy drama. It's got beautiful costumes. It's sumptuous”.

Indeed, Grace of Monaco will be a perfect opener for the vibrant Cannes.


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