The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Amitabh backs editor

Mumbai, Dec. 7: Amitabh Bachchan today praised Farzana Contractor, former CEO of Afternoon Dispatch & Courier, for the way she conducted herself during her battle with the chairman of the newspaper’s board, industrialist and politician Kamal Morarka.

“Despite all the severe criticism and adverse reactions you had to face, you walked with your head held high,” Bachchan said after opening the Upper Crust Gourmet Show 2007, an annual food and fine-dine event organised by Farzana at the World Trade Centre.

The Farzana-Morarka clash had led to Afternoon, Mumbai’s only English-language eveninger apart from Mid-Day, stopping printing briefly two months ago.

“One of the most important lessons in life is to just continue walking and do what you have been doing. This puts the opposition and rivals in complete disarray,” said Bachchan, who rarely comments in public on such issues and is known for choosing his words with extreme care while replying to tricky questions.

“Do not get bothered by the questions posed to you. If they are asking questions about you, it is fine. Because it indicates they fear you,” PTI quoted Bachchan as saying.

Morarka was not available for comment.

The Afternoon was founded 22 years ago by Farzana’s husband, journalist Behram Contractor, who wrote “Round and About”, the paper’s popular column on Mumbai life, under the pseudonym Busybee.

The eveninger’s sales declined after Behram’s death in 2001. The paper stopped printing on September 27, a few days after Morarka, the larger shareholder, objected to Farzana describing herself as “editor” in a photo caption.

Officially, she was chief executive officer of Courier Publications. The company board later removed her.

Farzana now edits the Upper Crust gourmet magazine that she had founded. The magazine organises the annual food carnival, where chefs conduct live demonstrations. It has been bringing food connoisseurs together for the last four years.

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