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‘Artivist’ and her feminism library add to biennale’s infra-project

The red-and-white-walled Pepper House sports a pinkish library in one corner these days, and there’s something particularly striking about its books: the authors are solely women.
 
Gender inequality across the world and caste hierarchy in India form the chunk of the subjects in the collection with feminist perspectives that bear a historical approach as well. There are graphic novels as well as illustrated zines — those low-cost self-publications aiming a small circulation. All of it by young artist-archivist Aqui Thami.
 
The 29-year-old activist has been working on this moving library that is an infra-project under the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale. ‘Sister Library’, as it is called, reflects on the general reading culture in the country even as it seeks to “celebrate the contributions of women in the creative world”.
 
The 100-book library, along with Thami, has so far travelled five cities: Goa, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The sixth has been this coastal Kerala city amid the subcontinent’s biggest contemporary art festival that is on till March 29. Starting this week at the sea-facing venue of Pepper House in Fort Kochi, she is leading a month-long workshop featuring feminism-centric reading sessions, film shows, talks, discussions and art workshops.
 
So, why the word ‘Sister’ ahead of library? “Well, ‘sister’ is a word of solidarity that brings together women from all class, region or language,” explains Thami, who lives in Mumbai after having been brought up in West Bengal’s hilly Darjeeling.
 
Artist Anita Dube, who is curator of the 108-day biennale that began on December 12, notes Sister Library “aptly describes” the festival’s two running themes: feminism and pedagogy. “Aqui has prioritised through her workshops and aesthetics that learning can be pleasurable and accessible,” Dube notes. “This is a major aim for me.”
 
According to Thami, the year-old project is still evolving and generative. “The idea is to engage in an in-depth reflection on the visual and reading culture prevalent among women,” she says. “The library will make people look at the works of women seriously. The readers can celebrate the ideas of women authors,” she says. “The perception of women will be widely shared. It will start help shift some of the general perceptions about women around and hopefully bring a change some day.”
 
The artist had visited the biennale during its previous (2016) chapter. To be part of the latest edition is “great”, she feels, for the ongoing biennale women forming more than half of the 90-plus artists. Hailing curator Anita Dube’s vision, Thami says the biennale has boosted “artists, like me, who belong to an indigenous culture and come from the global south.”
 
Thami’s work reflects on the absence of safe community spaces that allow women to read works about other women. “Works of women writers are not easily available. It took me years to have collection of around 4,000 books. I come from the mountains that has an indigenous community, I have gone through so much intergenerational trauma. I face a lot of racism in the land. I went through a very dark age of my life where art became a ray of light and a healing element,” adds Thami, who received the 2017 Inlaks Fine Art Award for the project.
 
Some of the notable authors in her treasured collection include Sylvia Plath, Ursula le Guin Alison Bechdel, Naomi Wolf, Gloria Steinem, Susan Sontag, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir and Audre Lorde. Alongside them were displayed the works of Ishmat Chugtai, Imitiaz Dharker, Sharmila Rege, Taslima Nasrin, and Nayyirah Waheed besides plenty of non-fictional works on intersectional feminist history.
 
Thami has been working in the Dharavi Art Room at Mumbai with its founder-educator Himanshu Shady since 2012, providing women and children in the community with a place to express and heal them through art.
 
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Art Rises for Kerala auction raises Rs 3.2 crore for flood relief

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A first-ever international live contemporary art auction in Kerala saw all its works getting sold out and the proceeds of Rs 3.2 crore set to be donated to the state government’s rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the natural calamity five months ago.
 
The auction, conducted by Mumbai-based Saffronart and the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) last weekend, had no buyer’s premium — and comprised 42 artworks donated by leading Indian and international artists, gallerists and collectors. 
 
The amount from the Friday night event at the Grand Hyatt in Kochi is going to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund for the benefit of the people hit by the floods and landslides in August last year. 
 
The sale was led by eminent artist Anish Kapoor’s Untitled, 2018, a vivid blue canvas-and-resin work that sold for Rs 1.3 crore.
 
The KBF noted that the Kerala government has been the principal supporter of the biennale which has its fourth edition on for 108 days till March 29. 
 
“We’re proud to have been able to bring together the artist community to rebuild Kerala,” said KBF president Bose Krishnamachari. “I’m also happy that along with the important collectors in India, a new generation of art collectors have come forward in Kerala.I hope that this will strengthen the ecosystem for art here.”
 
Saffronart said it had partnered with the KBF once again in solidarity with the people of Kerala. “We thank the art community for their generous support in both donating and bidding on works for this important cause,” said Saffronart CEO Dinesh Vazirani. “We hope that the funds raised through this auction, with artworks by some of India’s leading artists, will support the commendable rebuilding efforts initiated by the state government that are already underway.” 
 
Sunil V, Secretary of the KBF, thanked the artists who generously contributed to the cause. “We also want to thank Saffronart and Dinesh Vazirani for their partnership,” he added.
 
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Kochi Biennale: Annu Matthew’s work pays homage to forgotten WWII heroes

Through her work that draws attention to parallel histories of immigrants and women among communities, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew hopes to enrich a collective cultural conversation with amplified voices. 
 
“I do this by drawing on history and the connected role of memory and its effect on identity,” says the 55-year-old artist about her exhibit at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
 
The ongoing fourth edition of the art festival showcases US-based Annu’s video work titled ‘Unremembered: The Indian soldiers of the Italian Campaign of World War II’. The project is about the forgotten history of Indian (South Asian) soldiers who fought during the Italian Campaign of the global conflict that lasted from 1939 to ’45.
 
“I stumbled upon the powerful story of a politically-complicated role of Indian soldiers who fought for the British colonial power during WWII,” notes the artist, a professor of art at the University of Rhode Island, 250 km northeast of New York. “I came across it through my decade-long research on the Partition of British India.”
 
This war had nearly 2.5 million Indians volunteering to fight for the British. In the end, no less than 87,000 people died. The Indian troops did achieve something particularly inspiring what with their role proving critical in winning a decisive battle at Monte Cassino and others in Italy against the Axis powers.
 
“The tenacity of the troops, especially that of Indian soldiers, is reflected in their being honoured with 30 per cent of the Victoria Crosses the British government awarded to all of the soldiers fighting in Italy during the war,” adds Annu, who was born in London and raised partly in India (largely Bangalore).
 
As for the installation at the main biennale venue of Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, the video spanning 3 minutes and 20 seconds has a reflection pool. The work builds on the idea that military cemeteries memorialise the dead while simultaneously reminding the living of their possible complicity in the same soldiers’ deaths.
 
“These spaces, embedded with multiple overlapping layers of narrative, encourage contemplation and reflection,” notes Annu. “Layering a contemporary inscription of the wartime past expands the narrative and prompts a reconsideration. It goes on to evolve as a dialogue of the larger history of WWII and the understanding of the complexities of the Partition of British India.”
 
Annu, with familial roots in Kerala, started her research on the project one-and-a-half years ahead of the biennale. She did her test shots while she was attending the Rome Summer Fellow at Richmond International University in 2017. “For that, I projected archival footage of the Indian soldiers in Italy during WWII onto the gravestones of those soldiers memorialised in Cassino, and Forli,” says the artist who was born in Stourport, England.
 
For over twenty years, she has been mining issues of identity, immigration and inter-generational memory with the insights of a woman who has twice lived the immigrant experience. The vignettes come through her photo-based works. “I work in a wide range of photographic media from the plastic-lensed ‘toy’ Holga camera, photo animation to interactive installations,” she says. “My larger work reconsiders — or what I like to call re-views — different histories. The first time I re-viewed history, it was my own childhood.”
 
Annu has predominantly worked with photography as a medium. To her, participating in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale allowed her to take the next bold move onto installation art. “Something that I have taken as a small step towards in the last few years,” she shrugs. “It has also been wonderful to see a show giving voice to many unheard narratives and to meet a number of the artists.”
 
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Smule Mirchi Cover Star begins hunt for India’s biggest cover artiste

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The best 100 entries from more than 15,000 received for the Smule Mirchi Cover Star are now open for public voting here as part of a hunt for India's biggest cover artiste.
 
"In the first phase of the competition, Smule Mirchi Cover Star received over 15000 entries. These 15000+ entries were screened and evaluated basis Tune, Expression and Pitch," a press release from the organisers said.
 
"Basis public votes, social engagement and screening by Mirchi programming, the Top 5 entries from these 100 entries will move into the finals of the competition," it said.
 
"Smule Mirchi Cover Star is India’s biggest cover artiste hunt that offers the winner a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the 11th Mirchi Music Awards in Mumbai in front of Bollywood’s biggest music celebrities, a truly incomparable experience for anyone who loves and follows music in India," the release said.
 
Created by Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, Smule Mirchi Cover Star is designed for people who have a flair for singing Bollywood songs. To participate, people needed to download the Smule app and sing the cover entry of their favourite song. Alternatively, people also sent their entries through special on-ground activation in malls and campuses across 12 cities. Participants also had the option of visiting Radio Mirchi studios to record their entry for the competition.
 
In the finals, Mirchi Cover Star celebrity judges, Jonita Gandhi, Meet Bros, Kanika Kapoor and Tony Kakkar, will assess and evaluate these top five entries. The five finalists will battle it out at an on-ground event in front of fans and media. 
 
"One winner will be chosen from the event who will then be groomed for the coveted performance at Mirchi Music Awards 2019," the release said.
 
Smule is a leading social network for music, connecting the world through a global community of 50 million monthly active users. Smule’s flagship app lets people sing and make music with friends and major artistes around the globe. Smule is available on iOS and Android.
 
Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL), popularly known as Mirchi, owns 73 frequencies and is advertising partner for another 3, across 63 cities, making it India’s largest private FM radio broadcaster. 
 
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NGMA to organise auction of mementos received by PM

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The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi, under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, will organise an auction of gifts presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from all across India.
 
The amount raised through the auction will be used for ‘Namami Gange’, the project to clean River Ganga, an official press release said.
 
The physical auction will be conducted on January 27 and 28 at NGMA, New Delhi from 12 noon onwards.
 
The e-auction will take place subsequently from January 29-31 for the remaining items, left after the physical auction, on this portal, where the items can also be viewed, the release said.
 
Around 1900 such exclusive gifts are currently on display in National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, New Delhi. The gift items include paintings, sculptures, shawls, Pagris, Jackets, traditional musical instruments, and so on, the release added.
 
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Modi to inaugurate National Museum of Indian Cinema on January 19

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) in Mumbai on January 19.
 
The state-of-the-art museum, built at a cost of Rs 140.61 crore, aims to take its visitors through an absorbing journey of over a century of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artefacts, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.
 
The creation of the museum has been guided by the Museum Advisory Committee headed by Shyam Benegal. An innovation committee headed by Prasoon Joshi was also constituted to provide an upgrade to NMIC.
 
The museum is housed in two buildings – the new museum building and the 19th-century palace Gulshan Mahal – in the Films Division campus in Mumbai.
 
The New Museum Building has four exhibition halls which encapsulate:
--Gandhi & Cinema: it not only depicts the movies made on the life Mahatma Gandhi but also showcases the deep impact his life had on cinema.
--Children’s Film Studio:  it gives visitors, particularly children, an opportunity to explore the science, technology and art behind filmmaking. It offers hands-on experience on various facets associated with making cinema like camera, light, shooting, experience of acting, etc. – presented in an interactive format. 
The exhibits displayed include chroma studio, immersive experience zone, stop-motion animation studio, virtual makeover studio, etc.
--Technology, creativity & Indian cinema: it showcases the creative use of technology by Indian filmmakers over the years to produce a cinematographic impact on the silver screen.
--Cinema across India: it showcases the charismatic kaleidoscopic presence of the vibrant cinematographic culture across India.
 
The museum, founded on an amalgamation of technology and amenities in a Victorian structure, has been constructed and refurbished by state-owned NBCC (India) Limited.
 
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Set in an elegant 19th-century heritage bungalow in South Mumbai, the project involved refurbishing the historic Gulshan Mahal and constructing the state-of-the-art NMIC building that has five floors and two mezzanine floors accounting for a total built up area of 12,000 sq metres. 
 
Gulshan Mahal is an ASI Grade-II Heritage Structure which has been restored as part of the project. The displays present here to showcase the journey of over a hundred years of Indian cinema.  
 
It is divided into nine sections -- The Origin of Cinema, Cinema comes to India, Indian Silent Film, Advent of Sound, The Studio Era, The impact of World War II, Creative Resonance, New Wave and Beyond and Regional Cinema.
 
"NBCC was able to complete the project despite facing challenges like the locality being a congested one, with barely any working space available. Apart from the space constraint, another major obstruction was restricted working hours along with regulated sound decibels. The movement and entry for the heavy vehicles was also restricted during day time," a press release from the company said.
 
In an endeavour to make the entire complex a potential ‘film hub’, the Victorian-Gothic era complex, which once drew luminaries to its musical soirées and cultural gatherings, is now well-equipped with modern amenities and facilities, including expansive auditoriums. In addition to this, the complex houses a multi-purpose hall that has been designed to be used as a movie preview theatre and for social functions, conferences and other seminars.
 
Another highlight of the project is its design features that involve a unique front elevation designed with inclined structural glazing supported by cable net with spiders and a glass façade which gives 3D view look to the structure. Besides adding aesthetics to the building, this unique feature, while giving an appearance of more space, allows more natural light to pass through the building making it highly energy efficient.
 
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Sangeet Natak Akademi launches second phase of web campaign ‘Sanjhi – Mujh Mein Kalakar’

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Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, launched on Wednesday the second phase of the web campaign ‘‘Sanjhi –Mujh Mein Kalakar’, an initiative to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and diverse cultural traditions of the country by direct public participation.
 
This is a unique talent search where the participants will showcase their talent in the fields of music, dance, drama, puppetry, folk and tribal arts, culinary skills, painting, sculpture, and so on. 
 
The literal meaning of the term Sanjhi is “to share” and “to partner”, and the cultural traditions of our country have developed and prospered on the notions of harmony, an official press release said.
 
The second phase of the campaign has its main focus area the folk, traditional, customary, social events and ritualistic art forms -- woven as a cultural fabric around the harvest festival season of January. 
 
It is celebrated all across the country, known variously as Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri, Bhogali Bihu, Torgya, Uttarayan, Attukkal Pongal, and so on.
 
It intends to bring forth such forms that are aligned with the domains of intangible cultural heritage as per the Convention of Safeguarding the ICH under UNESCO: Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; Performing arts; Social practices, rituals and festive events; Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; Traditional craftsmanship.
 
The first phase of this campaign was earlier initiated in the month of November 2018 during the festival season of Diwali. There was mass participation and with great enthusiasm, people uploaded various audios and videos for music, dance, poetry recitation etc. and images for visual art forms like painting, craftwork, terracotta work, rangoli, written poetry, etc. 
 
More than 500 entries were received from various regions of the country. A Screening Committee, constituting of various cultural bodies and eminent artists availed the opportunity to witness the talent reservoir of the country and considered many as worthy for further promotion and commendation.
 
The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is the nodal agency of the Ministry of Culture to coordinate the matters related to Intangible Cultural Heritage and various UNESCO Conventions addressing cultural diversity and promotion and dissemination of multifarious cultural traditions and expressions of the country.
 
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Ministry of I&B to provide support to Jharkhand International Film Festival, 2019

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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has decided to lend support to the organization of the 2nd Jharkhand International Film Festival (JIFF) in Ranchi, Jharkhand from February 1-3.
 
The festival is being organized by Navbharat Nirman Sangh, an NGO, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Ministry will provide financial support of Rs. 5 lakh to meet hiring charges of the venue, hiring charges of projection and sound system, cost of printing of brochures, invitation cards and cost of publicity of the festival in both print and online media. 
 
The financial support will be provided in form of grants-in-aid to the organizers, it said.
 
The Ministry will also be providing a package of Indian Panorama Films for the festival under Children section, Short Films/Documentaries section and Feature Films section.
 
JIFF aims to present not only the best Indian and international films, but also showcase the best of Jharkhand regional films being made in Napuri, Santhali, Kortha and Kumali languages. It is expected to generate interest in the local budding filmmakers and film enthusiasts as it provides them an opportunity to see the best of films from across the world, as well as promote tourism in the region, the release added.
 
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Govt. considering proposal to declare NSD as an Institution of National Importance

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A proposal to declare the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi as an Institution of National Importance is under consideration of the Government.
 
Till such time a final decision is taken in the matter, the NSD has decided to defer the opening of regional centres, Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
 
In a written reply to a question, Dr Sharma said the Broad-Based Committee (Vision Committee) set up by the National School of Drama (NSD) Society in February 2005, inter-alia, had recommended the opening of five regional centres of the NSD across the country.
 
He said that, on the basis of these recommendations, a decision to establish five regional centres during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012), one each in Kolkata, Mumbai/Goa, J&K, and North-East, besides upgrading the existing Regional Resource cum Research Centre, Bengaluru to a full-fledged regional centre, was taken by the Government. 
 
These regional centres were to be established in consultation with concerned State Governments, who were required to provide land/accommodation for the purpose. So far, only Karnataka has provided land/accommodation in 2013 at Bengaluru for the purpose. Till date, no other concerned State Government has provided land to the NSD for the opening of its regional branches, he said.
 
Under NSD’s Out-reach/Extension Programme, two Centres, one at Gangtok (Sikkim) and another at Agartala (Tripura) are functioning and are also conducting a one-year theatre training course in addition to the one being conducted at Bengaluru (Karnataka).
 
"A proposal to declare NSD as an Institution of National Importance is under consideration of the Government. Till such time a final decision is taken in the matter, the NSD has decided to defer the opening of regional centres," he added.
 
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Resul Pookutty joins MPSE as board member

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Indian Oscar-winning sound artiste Resul Pookutty has joined Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) as a board member.
 
"Absolutely delighted to share with you all that I'm elected as one of the Board Members of MPSE (Motion Pictures Sound Editors Guild Of America)," Pookutty posted on Twitter. 
 
"Sharing my name and seat with some of most prolific names in the industry... huge honour for Indian Film Industry. First of its kind," added the acclaimed technician, who is currently in the US, which he calls his "second home".
 
"A land that has given me everything," he said of the country.
 
Founded in 1953, MPSE is an organisation dedicated to improving the recognition of its members by educating the public and the rest of the filmmaking community as to the artistic merit of sound editing.
 
Other board members include James Barth, Perry LaMarca, Daniel Blanck and Garret Montgomery. 
 
IANS
 

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Actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan diagnosed with early stage cancer

Rakesh Roshan with Hrithik Roshan
Rakesh Roshan with Hrithik Roshan
Well-known actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan has been diagnosed with early stage squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer, his son Hrithik Roshan said on social media today.
 
The senior Roshan is slated to undergo surgery later today, Hrithik said.
 
"Asked my dad for a picture this morning. Knew he wouldnt miss gym on surgery day. He is probably the strongest man I know. Got diagnosed with early stage squamous cell carcinoma of the throat a few weeks ago, but he is in full spirits today as he proceeds to battle it. As a family we are fortunate and blessed to have a leader like him. Love you Dad," Hrithik said in a post on Instagram.
 
He also posted a picture of the two of them  together in the gym.
 
Rakesh Roshan, 69, son of late music director Roshan, started his career in films as an assistant director. He made his debut as an actor in Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani in 1970 and went on to appear in films such as Paraya Dhan, Khubsoorat, Aankhon Aankhon Mein, Aakraman, Khel Khel Mein, Dhanwan and Khatta Meetha.
 
In 1980 he set up his own production company Filmkraft which has produced movies such as Kaamchor. He has directed hits such as Khoon Bhari Maang, Kishen Kanhaiya, Karan Arjun and Koyla. He launched Hrithik's acting career with Kaho Naa...Pyar Hai (2000) and followed it up with  Koi...Mil Gaya and superhero film Krrish.
 
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Deepika Padukone turns 33, launches own website

File photo of Deepika Padukone.
File photo of Deepika Padukone.
After an eventful 2018 with the release of "Padmaavat" and her big fat wedding with Ranveer Singh, actress Deepika Padukone, who turned 33 on Saturday, announced the launch of her website.
 
Just a day earlier, the actress had taken to her Instagram handle and shared a handwritten note stating something "super exciting" was coming up, with a countdown. It left her fans curious.
 
After the countdown finished, Deepika announced the website's launch and captioned it: "Here's presenting my website - www.deepikapadukone.com. Love, Deepika"
 
The post also includes a QR code directing users to the website, which gives a landscape about Deepika's career.
 
The website features the landmarks and awards that Deepika has achieved, apart from information on Live Love Laugh, a foundation she has been supporting to spread mental health awareness.
 
It is Deepika's first birthday after her wedding to Ranveer in Lake Como, Italy, in November.
 
As far as her projects are concerned, Deepika will turn producer with "Chhapaak", which will feature her as an acid attack survivor.
 
On her birthday, she received greetings on social media from celebrities like Madhuri Dixit Nene, Preity Zinta and Manish Malhotra. Here's what they had to say:
 
Madhuri Dixit Nene: Happy Birthday darling Deepika Padukone! Hope this year brings you all that your heart desires. Have a good one. 
 
Manish Malhotra: The very beautiful Deepika Padukone... Happy Birthday keep that gorgeous smile always.
 
Preity Zinta: Happy Birthday Deepika Padukone. Wish you loads of love, happiness, joy and laughter always. Xoxo
 
Nikitin Dheer: Wishing the girl who is extremely beautiful inside and out Deepika Padukone a very happy birthday. You are one of the nicest people I have met in my life -- always real, humble, human. Wish you have a fantastic year ahead my Meenamma.
 
Urvashi Rautela: Here's to the one who inspires everyone with her unwavering determination and passion! The one we all love, adore and respect - The Queen of Hearts. Happiest birthday Deepika Padukone.
 
Mika Singh: Happy birthday to the most gorgeous, beautiful, talented and down to earth actress Deepika Padukone. May God bless you with loads of happiness, success and prosperity.
 
Diana Penty: Happy Birthday Deepika Padukone! Sending you lots of love and hugs... Have a super duper one.
 
Amruta Khanvilkar: Happy birthday Deepika Padukone there's only one queen who truly handles herself with grace, dignity and bravery at the same time... Have a blessed day you absolutely stunning beauty.
 
IANS
 

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Sotheby's India MD resigns following sexual harassment allegations

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Following sexual harassment allegations in November 2018 and an indefinite period of leave, Sotheby's Managing Director for India Gaurav Bhatia has stepped down from the post, an official statement said on Saturday.
 
Confirming the news, Bhatia in a statement said he has decided to move on from Sotheby's and wished the company luck for their future endeavours. 
 
"After two enriching years and the stellar opportunity to launch Sotheby's inaugural auction in Mumbai, I have decided to move on. It has been a pleasure working with the great team we have built, and I will enjoy watching them continue to build Sotheby's future in India. I wish them the very best," he said. 
 
Thanking and appreciating Bhatia, the auction house in a statement said: "Sotheby's Managing Director of India, Gaurav Bhatia, resigned on December 20, 2018, after two years with the company, during which time he launched the inaugural Mumbai auction. We appreciate and thank him for his service."
 
According to complaints posted on Instagram in November 2018, Bhatia touched the victims inappropriately and forcibly tried to kiss them. 
 
Following the complaints, Bhatia went on an indefinite leave from his position ahead of the auction house's inaugural sale in Mumbai.
 

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Actor Maniesh Paul undergoes surgery

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Host-actor Maniesh Paul has suffered an injury on his thigh and undergone surgery. He says he is now fine.
 
Maniesh on Saturday took to Instagram, where he shared a photograph of himself from the hospital bed and captioned: "Injury in the thigh. Had to be operated upon. I am fine now.
 
The 37-year-old actor did not share details about his injury, but added that he is off to Punjab for a show.
 
"Off to to punjab for a show... Thanks for the wishes," he added. 
 
Maniesh was last seen on the "Baa Baaa Black Sheep" in 2018. 
 
IANS

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Circular Design Challenge: 8 fashion entrepreneurs shortlisted for Sustainability Award

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The ‘Circular Design Challenge’ -- a collaboration of Reliance Industries Ltd.’s (RIL) R | Elan ‘Fashion for Earth’ initiative, Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and the United Nations (UN) in India -- has announced a shortlist of eight designers. 
 
"These designers were chosen based on innovative collections made by them using materials from diverse sources of waste including plastics. The aim of this initiative is to bring to the forefront environmental champions of tomorrow in the Indian fashion and textiles industry," a press release from RIL said.
 
Circular fashion is a concept aimed at reducing the waste that goes into landfills today and increase the lifespan, reusability and recyclability of the products created. 
 
The finalists -- Pozruh by Aiman Sabri, Bareek by Aman Singh, IRO IRO by Bhaavya Goenka, I Was A Sari by Poornima Pande & Stefano Funari, Lifaffa by Kanika Ahuja, Saltpetre by Pooja Monga, Miesu by Seerat Virdi and Doodlage by Kriti Tula -- were chosen after a rigorous selection process by an eminent jury. 
 
The challenge saw over 900 registrations from over 30 cities across the country, the release said.
 
The designers were required to incorporate circular components across the textile value chain in their design through the application of circular-design principles and demonstrate a positive impact on the environment and on society. They were evaluated and scored on usage of waste in their collection, fashion & aesthetic quotient, business viability and scalability, value chain and collaborations.
 
These chosen applicants will be mentored across personality, pitch and presentation development. There will be a final round where an esteemed panel will choose the winner on January 31, which will be celebrated as Sustainable Fashion Day at LFW Summer Resort 2019.
 
The winner will be felicitated with a cash prize of Rs 20 lakh, to build their sustainable fashion brand, and will also avail an exclusive opportunity to showcase at the next season which is LFW Winter/Festive 2019.
 
Mr. Vipul Shah, COO – Petrochemicals, Reliance Industries Ltd. said, “As an industry leader in petrochemicals, RIL has embraced circularity and sustainability in our core values and operations, aiming to make the world a better place for the generations to come.”
 
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“We are confident that the Circular Design Challenge will provide enormous opportunities for budding concept creators, fashion designers and the entire textile value chain to exhibit their innovative ideas, designs with a focus on circularity and sustainability. The initiative will help the entire Indian textile value chain to become a global leader in ingraining circularity in their business strategy and operations,” Mr Shah added. 
 
Yuri Afanasiev, UN Resident Coordinator in India, said: “The Circular Design Challenge is an opportunity for innovative young designers to combine sustainable design practices with new circular business models, rethinking how we design our products for their next use -- not for ‘end of life,’ but rather ‘end of use’.
 
Atul Bagai, UN Environment, Country Head, India said, “Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Creative approaches such as The Circular Design Challenge are a perfect opportunity to promote sustainable textile production and consumption and accelerate sustainable development in general.
 
Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance said, “We are committed to bringing new design talent and innovators to the fore season-on-season. Our partnership with the UN in India and R | Elan’s Fashion for Earth initiative for the Circular Design Challenge is a step towards identifying and supporting champions in the field of sustainability.”
 
Lakmé Fashion Week is jointly organized by cosmetics and beauty services major Lakmé and IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd., leaders in sports, fashion and entertainment marketing and management. Lakmé Fashion Week is organized twice every year. 
 
IMG Reliance Pvt Ltd. is an equal joint venture between RIL, India's largest private sector company, and IMG Worldwide (IMG), global leaders in sports, events, media and fashion.  
 
R|Elan is a fast-growing brand of innovative fabrics that are borne out of a future-ready balance of performance, aesthetics, and sustainability and committed to the cause of creating a circular economy in the textile and fashion industry. It is one of the world’s largest recycler of PET bottles, converting them into superior, wearable fabric using practices that help reduce waste and pollution. 
 
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'Accidental Prime Minister': Case filed against Anupam Kher, others in Bihar

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A case has been filed against actor Anupam Kher and others associated with upcoming film 'Accidental Prime Minister' in a Bihar court on Wednesday for damaging the image of some top people.
 
Lawyer Sudhir Kumar Ojha filed the case in Muzaffarpur's Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court. The court has admitted the case and fixed January 8 to hear the case in Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate court.
 
Ojha in his petition complained that Anupam Kher and Akshay Khanna, who have played the role of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his press advisor Sanjaya Baru in the film, have damaged the image of both of them. "It hurt me and many others," he said.
 
In his complaint, Ojha said others who have played the role of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra also damaged their image. He has also complained against the film director and producer.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Veteran Bollywood actor-director Kader Khan passes away at 81

Kader Khan
Kader Khan
Veteran Bollywood actor-director-writer-comedian and Quranic scholar Kader Khan died after a prolonged illness at a hospital in Toronto in Canada, a family member said here on Tuesday.
 
Kader, 81, is survived by his wife Hajra, son Sarfaraz, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
 
According to Ahmed Khan, a close relative, he passed away around 4 a.m. (IST). He added that the last rites will be held in a Toronto cemetery later in the day.
 
Reported to be critical and on a ventilator, rumours of Kader's demise had been doing the rounds on social networks and some media outlets (not IANS), since the past five days, which left the family and other relatives traumatised.
 
He spent nearly four months in hospital, for various old-age related ailments including breathing issues and finally succumbed on December 31 evening (Toronto time).
 
Born on October 22, 1937 in Kabul, Afghanistan, to a Pashtun family, Kader Khan was educated in a municipal school and later graduated from Mumbai's Ismail Yusuf College, Jogeshwari, a government-run institution.
 
An avid reader and a film-buff, he had a huge collection of books on various subjects related to film-making, acting, screenplay writing, penning story-dialogues and other departments, and had a mastery over Urdu.
 
Starting with his first film as an actor in "Daag", (1973), over the next 35 years he went on to act in over 300 films in memorable roles, and also wrote the story or dialogues for more than 250 films in Hindi and Urdu, starting with "Roti" (1974).
 
Some of his most memorable films as a comedian-character actor are: "Daag", "Adalat", "Bairaag", "Parvarish", "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, "Shalimar", "Mr. Natwarlal", "Suhaag", "Dhan Daulat", "Qurbani", "Jwalamukhi", "Abdullah", "Naseeb", "Ahista Ahista", "Yaarana", "Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai", "Satte Pe Satta", "Raaz", "Desh Premee", "Sanam Teri Kasam", "Mehndi Rang Layegi", "Himmatwala", "Coolie", "Ghar Ek Mandir", "John Jaani Janardhan", "Tawaif", "Loha", "Jawab Hum Denge", "Shahenshah", "Pyar Ka Mandir", "Khoon Bhari Maang", "Vardi", "Baap Numbri, Beta Dus Numbri", "Pyar Ka Devta", "Saajan", "Bol Radha Bol", "Meherbaan", "Aankhen", "Eena Meena Deeka", "Coolie No.1", "Saajan Chale Sasural", "Judaai", "Dulhe Raja," "Aunty No.1" and "Sooryavansham".
 
He penned the story-dialogues for top-grossing films like: "Jawani Diwani", "Benaam", "Roti", "Amar Akbar Anthony", "Parvarish", "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar", "Suhaag", "Mr. Natwarlal, "Yaarana", "Lawaaris", "Desh Premee", "Khuddar", "Coolie", "Sharaabi", "Ganga Jamna Saraswati", "Singhasan", "Khoon Bhari Maang" and "Aunty No. 1". He also produced a film, "Shama" in 1981.
 
IANS
 

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Veteran actor-director Kader Khan passes away

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Veteran Bollywood actor-director-writer-comedian and Quran scholar Kader Khan died after a prolonged illness at a hospital in Toronto in Canada, a family member said here on Tuesday.
 
Kader, 81, is survived by his wife Hajra, son Sarfaraz, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren.
 
According to Ahmed Khan, a close relative, he passed away around 4 a.m. (IST).
 
He said the last rites will be held in a Toronto cemetery later in the day.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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'Iconoclast' filmmaker Mrinal Sen passes away at 95

Mrinal Sen (File photo: IANS)
Mrinal Sen (File photo: IANS)
Legendary filmmaker Mrinal Sen famed for his ability to put searching questions before the society -- especially the middle class, died at his south Kolkata residence on Sunday following old age complications, family sources said.
 
Sen, 95, a widower, is survived by his only son Kunal.
 
Sen, who was ailing for a long time, breathed his last at his Bhowanipore home around 10 a.m. after a cardiac arrest, his family physician said.
 
His demise brings the curtains down on one of the most glorious chapters of filmmaking in India, where Sen and late directors Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak are revered as the 'trinity' for giving birth to the parallel (or new) cinema movement in the country.
 
The "trinity" gave a new direction to the idea of filmmaking in India, displaying spontaneity, aesthetic sense and deep knowledge of the medium, that made the world look up in wonder and respect at their creations.
 
Born on May 14, 1923, at Faridpur (now in Bangladesh), Sen made his first Bengali film "Rat Bhore" (The Dawn) in 1953, but it was his second directorial effort "Neel Akasher Niche" (Under the Blue Sky) that received acclaim in the country for its lyricism and humane qualities.
 
Sen followed it up with "Baishey Shravan" (Wedding Day), that earned him plaudits from the critics beyond Indian shores.
 
In 1969, Sen worked on a small budget provided by the Central government to direct "Bhuvan Shome" (Mr. Shome) -- a film regarded as an important milestone in the new cinema film movement in India.
 
A lifelong Leftist, who, however, never took the membership of any communist party in India, Sen has left behind a rich repertoire of 27 feature films, 14 shorts and four documentaries during a career spanning six decades.
 
Among his other venerated films are "Interview" (1971), "Ek Adhuri Kahani" (An Unfinished Story, 1971), "Calcutta 71" (1972), "Chorus" (1974), "Mrigayaa" (in Hindi - The Royal Hunt, 1976), "Oka Oori Katha" (in Telugu - The Outsiders, 1977), "Ek Din Pratidin" (And Quiet Rolls the Dawn, 1979), "Akaler Sandhane" (In Search of Famine, 1980), "Chalchitra" (The Kaleidoscope, 1981), "Kharij" (The Case Is Closed, 1982), "Khandhar" (The Ruins, 1983), "Genesis" (1986), "Ek Din Achanak" (Suddenly, One Day, 1989).
 
His last film "Aamaar Bhuvan" (This, My Land) came in 2002.
 
An intellectual par excellence and a great conversationist, Sen regaled in calling himself an "iconoclast" and "By accident, a maker of films".
 
Widely feted, Sen received the Padma Bhushan in 1981, the Dadasaheb Phalke -- the highest award in Indian cinema -- in 2005, the French government's Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et letters (Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters) in 2001, and Order of Friendship from the Russian government in the same year.
 
He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1997 to 2003, and president of the International Federation of the Film Societies for some time.
 
Respected across the globe, Sen served as a member of International Jury at various film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Tokyo, Tehran, Mannheim, Nyon, Chicago, Ghent, Tunis and Oberhausen.
 
He came out with his autobiography "Always Being Born" in 2004.
 
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Condoling Sen's death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said "it is an irreparable loss to the world of filmmaking".
 
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: "Mrinal Sen no more... a most amiable, distinguished creative cinematic mind, contemporary of Satyajit Ray and Rithik Ghatak. I did my first ever voiceover in his film 'Bhuvan Shome'. Prayers and condolences."
 
Famous Bengali filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta termed Sen's death as "the end of an era".
 
Acclaimed Bengali actor-filmmaker Aparna Sen, who worked in three films made by Sen, said more than a director and a colleague, he was like a family member.
 
Film and stage actor Kaushik Sen, who debuted in Sen's film "Ek Din Pratidin" as a child actor, was at a loss for words.
 
"My relationship with Mrinal Sen was very personal... cannot say much at this point. I learnt a lot of technical things about acting and filmmaking from him. I first acted in front of the camera because of him and my first film was also directed by him. I have also acted in the last film made by him," Kaushik said.
 
Veteran actor Ranjit Mullick, who also made his acting debut under Sen, grieved at the "painful news".
 
"Mrinal Sen's name is pronounced with stalwarts like Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak in the same breath. I cannot believe he is no more. It is a painful news. He had a great sense of humour," Ranjit said.
 
IANS
 

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Anupam Kher against special screening of 'The Accidental Prime Minister'

 
No prior screening for ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’: Anupam Kher
As controversy erupted over upcoming film "The Accidental Prime Minister", a biopic on former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, lead actor of the movie Anupam Kher on Friday said that. after certification of a film by the censor board, nobody has the right to ask for a screening of the film before its release.
 
Earlier in the day, Satyajeet Tambe Patil - President of the Maharashtra State Youth Congress, sent a letter to the producer of the film demanding a special screening before it is released. He raised objections to "incorrect presentation of the facts" in the film, the trailer of which was released on Thursday.
 
Sharing his view on the issue, Kher, who is narrating the character of Singh, told the media: "It's nobody's right to ask us to show our film to them before releasing it. The film is based on the book (by the same title), and it is based on facts. 
 
"We have bought the rights and have followed all the legalities. Everything was in the public domain... Now, how can people have issues? Why should I screen it for anyone? We have shown it to the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification), that's enough."
Actor Anupam Kher as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in
Actor Anupam Kher as former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in "The Accidental Prime Minister". (Photo: IANS)
However, he added: "If Dr Manmohan Singh asks us, we will show him for sure."
 
Directed by Vijay Ratnakar Gutte, the film also features Akshaye Khanna, Aahana Kumra and Arjun Mathur, among others.
 
While many Congress members found the film objectionable, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promoted its trailer in social media.
 
"I have done more than 500 films...there are not even that many political parties. So how can one say that I made this film to support any party?" he responded when mediapersons asked if he is doing the film to extend support to the BJP.
 
Asked if this is one of the strategies to make a political statement ahead of the 2019 elections, the National award winning actor said: "Why not? What is the problem in releasing a political film around elections? We do release patriotic films on national holidays..."
 
The film is scheduled to release on January 11.
 
IANS
 

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JioCinema to offer Disney content to users

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JioCinema, the digital app of telecom services provider Reliance Jio, and Disney have come together to offer content from brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucas film to Jio users across age groups. 
 
"For the first time ever, the app will host a dedicated Disney branded section on the homepage with content spanning across movies, animation, series and shorts," a press release from Jio said.
 
The release said that, through this association, Jio users can get access to stories ranging from Disney Classics, Pixar animation, movies from Marvel and Star Wars along with a host of international as well as locally created content which they can enjoy on-the-go. 
 
"With content available for the entire family, the app also offers a diverse collection of series and movies for kids and teens along with Marvel kids’ animation shows.
 
"In addition to this, the app also brings in a unique character customization option where fans can choose from their favourite Disney, Marvel, Pixar or Star Wars character such as Mickey Mouse, Captain America, and Lightening McQueen and browse the entire range of content available on that character," the release said.
 
"JioCinema is now home to heartwarming stories and memorable characters from Disney like The Jungle Book, The Lion King and the ever-so-popular tales of Disney Princesses like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty and more.
 
"Disney fans who prefer international content revolving around fun, music and adventure are in for a special treat with popular hits like Hannah Montana to blockbuster original movies like Descendants and more. 
 
"JioCinema offers original series like Mickey Mouse and the Roadster Racers along with the recently released DuckTales and local animation stories of Gaju Bhai and Simple Samosa for those young at heart.
 
"For fans who enjoy larger-than-life action, there’s Marvel’s mightiest Super Heroes who bring in their super powers with movies like Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor along with animated series such as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and more.
 
"JioCinema is also playing host to 50+ movies that have been nominated for Academy Awards over the last 90 years. Animation delights like Toy Story, Wall-E, Up and more have been included to bring the joy of world-class films to Indian audiences.
 
"The best of films from the Star Wars Universe such as Star Wars: Return of The Jedi, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back etc. are also available for fans of the Galaxy Far, Far Away," the release said.
 
JioCinema is an on-demand video streaming platform with more than 1 lakh hours of content, including movies, television shows, music videos in languages such as Hindi, English, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Malayalam and Punjabi.
 
Disney content is available through an exclusive Disney-Jio section on JioCinema’s welcome page. To access Disney content, existing users of Jio, will need to download the JioCinema app and perform a one-time activity of sharing a customizable message with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp. New users will need to buy a Jio SIM and follow the same process to gain this access, the release added.
 
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Televising theatre may be the next big step in entertainment

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Theatre has been so much a part of Indian culture that it's where some of the renowned Bollywood names have cut their teeth. However, it is struggling to keep its identity alive in the present-day, tech-driven frenzy, prompting some of the veterans to suggest it be given a cinematic and digital feel to make it more relatable and reachable to the young.
 
Film and theatre actress Sonali Kulkarni feels theatre is an important part of "our culture and it is our responsibility to pass on the legacy to the upcoming generations".
 
"The generation today is impatient, wants the best quality service, doesn't want to be stuck in a theatre, feeling deprived that they did not get a seat in the front row -- televising a play is the best opportunity for everyone to feel that they are in the centre seat of the first row," Kulkarni told IANS in an email.
 
She also feels that drama is one of the most original forms of art.
 
"I really like this culture of entertaining each other by story-telling. There are social stories, mythical, political stories, stories about our livelihood, our society, romanticism and poetry -- everything can be conveyed through a play.
 
"I believe this is the basic form of story-telling and it should be preserved. The fact of the matter is that today's audience is always racing against time. They need convenient and easy options of entertainment and hence it is important to make theatre available to them at their convenience," she said.
 
Joy Sengupta, another theatre veteran, echoed this and also pointed to the limitation of theatre.
 
"Performing art is experienced live and is experienced by several people at any one given time and at one given venue. But a particular performance cannot reach everywhere. That is the limitation of theatre as opposed to cinema, which can be showcased, or a serial which can be telecast in multiple mediums, multiple places at the same time.
 
"Millions of people can experience a film or serial at the same time, but not theatre," Sengupta told IANS.
 
So, is the emergence of new age Bollywood stories taking away the essence of watching a play?
 
"I don't think so," said Sengupta, adding: "I think Bollywood has actually benefited from theatre. The best of actors, the best of writers, best of directors have actually come from theatre. Theatre serves as a base for introspection of life, psychology, emotions, society, politics, everything."
 
"So theatre, in that sense, is probably the best vehicle for communicating human truth and the magic of theatre will never go out of fashion."
 
He disagreed that theatre is in any kind of crisis.
 
"Youngsters in India right now are definitely turning towards theatre as an outlet for their expression and are benefiting from it. More and more youngsters are experiencing theatre right from their college time, post college, into group theatre, into professional theatre. Theatre is benefiting from it, the youth is benefiting from it and I don't think theatre is in any kind of crisis," he said.
 
The cinematic format will give theatre a new boost, Mita Vashisht, whose oeuvre spans theatre, TV and films, pointed out.
 
"When it comes to educating the youth about the significance of theatre, exposing them to the exemplary performances of theatre stalwarts and reviving its glory, the cinematic format of theatre is the way to go," Vashisht told IANS.
 
She also felt it's vital to increase theatre's social and cultural space in society.
 
"It reflects the rich cultural heritage of our country and teaches society about itself, bringing to light the mindsets of current society and educating them about their conditions," she said.
 
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Aiming to preserving the art of drama and emotions of theatre, increasing its reach beyond a few privileged cities and taking it to audiences short of time, Tata Sky has recently launched Tata Sky Theatre -- a 24-hour dedicated platform to provide an ad-free theatre-watching experience on digital devices.
 
The content is curated with the best plays and performances from the finest theatre groups, bringing multiple genres of plays under one platform to be accessible from the comfort and convenience of one's home.
 
"We believed that, theatre, which is one of the oldest and the most appreciated entertainment art forms of India, should also be given a new stage and reach. That's when Zee Theatre came forward to partner with us with the concept of 'archiving' and 'televising' popular plays," Pallavi Puri, Chief Commercial Officer, Tata Sky, told IANS of the venture.
 
So is televising theatre the next big step on the small screen?
 
"Television viewership is only growing stronger with each passing day and televising India's most cherished art form is an interesting phase for the small screen.
 
"The plays have been recreated to suit the sensibilities of today's viewers and is shot using different techniques and technology. The result gives viewers a refreshing experience of watching excellent content and enjoying acclaimed theatre performances from the comfort and convenience of your home and across devices such as mobile, tablet, laptop and desktops," Puri explained.
 
IANS

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Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault

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Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenager at a bar in Massachusetts more than two years ago.
 
He will appear in court on January 7 over the incident, which allegedly occurred in Nantucket in July 2016.
 
On Monday, Spacey posted a video in which he appeared to deny any wrongdoing while in character as Frank Underwood from "House of Cards", the BBC reported.
 
"I'm certainly not going to pay the price for the things I didn't do," he said in the clip. "You wouldn't believe the worst without evidence, would you?" he said. "You wouldn't rush to judgements without facts."
 
The three-minute clip, which is titled "Let Me Be Frank", marks Spacey's first public appearance since the first allegation of sexual assault was made against him last November.
 
The alleged victim is the son of former television news presenter Heather Unruh, who spoke publicly about the incident in 2017.
 
She accused Spacey of buying her then 18-year-old son alcohol -- the drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 -- and then groping him.
 
In Monday's video, Spacey speaks in Frank Underwood's accent and addresses the viewer directly, much like he did throughout his five seasons on House of Cards.
 
"Of course some believed everything," he said. "They're just waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all," the BBC quoted him as saying.
 
"They're going to say I'm being disrespectful, not playing by the rules," he added. "Like I ever played by anyone's rules before. I never did. And you loved it."
 
Frank Underwood was the power-hungry and conniving protagonist of the Netflix series, and murdered a journalist and a politician before he was killed off ahead of season six.
 
Spacey has also been accused by actor Anthony Rapp of making a sexual advance in 1986 and a number of other allegations have since emerged.
 
Spacey said he had no memory of the event but publicly apologised before issuing an "absolute" denial of the other allegations.
 
Separately, in September, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said Spacey would not be prosecuted over an accusation of sexual assault that allegedly took place in 1992.
 
It said it fell outside of California's statute of limitations.
 
The UK police have also been probing several allegations that centre around his time serving as artistic director at London's Old Vic theatre.
 
The #MeToo controversy has led to Spacey being axed from a number of roles, including from "House of Cards" and the 2017 film "All the Money in the World", which was re-shot without him.
 
A film in which he appears, "Billionaire Boys Club", also took a record-breaking low of $126 on its first night in US cinemas in August.
 
IANS
 

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Haryana's Salman Ali wins 'Indian Idol'

Salman Ali.
Salman Ali
Haryana's Salman Ali was announced as the winner of the 10th edition of the singing-based reality show "Indian Idol" on Sunday here. He says he wants to do a lot of things, including Bollywood projects.
 
Salman was awarded a cheque of Rs 25 lakh from Sony Entertainment Television and a Datsun car during the grand finale.
 
"I would like to thank the audience and the judges for making me the winner. People from my village are very happy. I am getting lots of calls. They are distributing sweets there and bursting crackers," Salman, who hails from Mewat, Haryana, told IANS after his victory.
 
The first runner-up Ankush Bhardwaj was awarded a cheque of Rs 5 lakh. The second runner-up Neelanjana Ray also took home a cheque of Rs 5 lakh.
 
The other finalists -- Nitin Kumar and Vibhor Parashar -- were handed over a cheque of Rs 3 lakh each.
 
"We are all like a family only. We used to crack jokes, help each other and have fun so, there was no competition. As far as being a winner is concerned, everyone comes here to win only. But I had thought that even if I didn't win, at least I got a lot of love from the audience," he said.
 
Asked how he will utilise the prize money, the 20-year-old said: "I come from a very poor family. My house is also not in a good condition. The roof of my house needs to be fixed. We had taken loan also. So, I would like to use the money for all this. I want to take my life forward with this money."
 
But if he gets a chance, he would also like to help the underprivileged.
 
This is not his first show as a contestant. He had previously participated in another reality show. His journey in music started early.
 
"I have just studied till ninth or 10th grade. We have our family business which is singing. So, I started earning when I was just seven years old," he said.
 
He has Bollywood dreams now.
 
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"I want to do a lot of things in my life. I want to do something in Bollywood. A lot of people from Bollywood had come on the set of 'Indian Idol'. A lot of them even praised me. So, I am sure they will give me a chance and I will prove myself," he said.
 
He has already sung a song for Varun Dhawan-starrer "Sui Dhaaga: Made In India" and TV show "Chandragupta Maurya".
 
He even shared the stage with superstar Shah Rukh Khan during the grand finale.
 
Shah Rukh was accompanied by actresses Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. The top five even celebrated SRK 's cinematic journey by singing some of his hit songs like "Main Hoon Na", "Don" and "Zaalima". The superstar joined the contestants and did the signature steps when they sang "Chaiyya Chaiyya".
 
The finale also saw the show's judges Neha Kakkar, Vishal Dadlani and Javed Ali setting the stage on fire with their performances.
 
"It has been a wonderful emotional journey for me and 'Indian Idol 10' has been special in many ways. Salman Ali has showcased immense growth this season and I am extremely happy for his win," Neha said.
 
Dadlani added: "'Indian Idol Season 10' has been one of the greatest seasons of any reality show on Indian television ever. It's been truly hard fought, right from the beginning. The top 20 were incredible and the top 5 that we ended up with, are at a global level.
 
"Certainly, the best top 5 any show has ever had and to win amongst all of these is an achievement that will remembered by Indian television audiences for a long time."
 
IANS
 

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Samy Yusuf to make India debut at 2nd edition of The Sufi Route in Delhi

The second edition of India's travelling global Sufi festival, The Sufi Route, will be held here on February 9, 2019 and mark the India debut of British singer-songwriter of Azerbaijani origin Samy Yusuf along with music virtuoso A. R. Rahman. 
 
The festival, an initiative of Friday Music Project, has been conceptualized as the first of many steps to spread the charm of Sufi poetry and music the world over.
 
The Sufi Route’s debut edition was held at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Qutub Minar Complex, here.
 
This time around, it will be  held at the breathtaking Kalagram, Garden of Five Senses which will simultaneously be launched by Delhi Tourism, a press release from the organisers said.
 
Other artistes slated to perform during the festival include Satinder Sartaaj, Nooran Sisters and Dhruv Sangari.
 
Moderating the event will be renowned lyricist and poet Manoj Muntashir, who will present the plethora of the rich cultural heritage of sufism, making it a treasured experience. 
 
"Sufism goes beyond religion with Sufi music practiced in different regions of the world through myriad genres. Patrons can expect a perfect blend from around the world on one stage at The Sufi Route," the release said.
 
"Alongside the music, patrons can relish signature cuisines curated by the brilliant chefs from Andaz Delhi, a luxury lifestyle hotel by Hyatt. A multiplicity of offerings to opt from -- from street style fast food to luxury gourmet," it said.
 
Shital Bhatia, of Friday Film Music Project said, “In tumultuous and unpredictable times, we need to constantly reconnect with our roots. Over the years, not just the aged but also the youth have been pulled into the realm of ecstasy which Sufi poetry has owned in its fold for centuries and it’s encouraging to see how the festival attracts a diverse age group congregation. We are expecting a footfall of close to five thousand attendees this year.”
 
Samy Yusuf said, “Sufism is about seeing the truth and beauty at the essence of all things. Sufi music, while highly entertaining, communicates the complex layers of meaning found in Sufism directly to the souls of its listeners. India’s remarkable spiritual legacy has always been a fountain of wisdom for the rest of the world. Now with divisions on the rise, the universality and tolerance of Sufism can help us transcend surface differences and reach a place of harmony. This will be my first ever performance in India and I’m very excited to be part of this amazing event.”
 
The event is being organised in association with Delhi Tourism, Nomobo Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and its exclusive ticketing partner BookMyShow. It is also supported by Andaz Delhi as hospitality partner, Harman Pro India Pvt Ltd as technical partner and Red FM as radio partners.
 
NNN

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