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Lokesh Chandra appointed as President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations

Lokesh Chandra
Lokesh Chandra
President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed Prof Lokesh Chandra, a contemporary scholar of Buddhism and the Indian arts, as the new President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) for a period of three years with effect from October 27, an official press release said here today.
 
Prof Chandra, 87, is a former member of the Rajya Sabha and former chairman of the Indian Council for Historical Research.
 
He has earlier served as Vice-President of the ICCR and is currently the  Honorary Director of the International Academy of Indian Culture.
 
Prof Chandra, who is the 17th President of ICCR, succeeds former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Karan Singh, who demitted office on August 18.
 
He had served as a member of the Rajya Sabha twice from 1974-80 and 1980-86.
 
He was honoured by the Government with the Padma Bhushan in 2006 in recognition of his contribution to academic life and public discourse.
 
"Prof. Chandra’s major life-work is the study of cultural interflow between India and the countries of the world. Beginning with India’s linguistic sharing with the Indo- European languages of the West he has written on arts, histories and literatures of the Buryatia in Siberia, Mongolia, Central Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Cambodia and Indonesia. He believes in the shared plenitude of cultures of the world to enrich the secular and sublime dimensions of value-oriented life-patterns," the release said.
 
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He has to his credit over 596 works and text editions. Among them are Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and his Dictionary of Buddhist Art in about 20 volumes. 
 
Born in 1927 at Ambala, Haryana, he hails from an illustrious family of educationists. His father Prof. Raghu Vira was a scholar and thinker who made signal contributions to the understanding of Asian culture and to India’s linguistic development.
 
Prof. Chandra earned his M.A. in 1947 from the Punjab University at Lahore. In 1950, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Literature and Philosophy by the State University of Utrecht (Netherlands) in recognition of his contributions of critically editing the Gavamayana portion of the Vedic work Jaiminiya Brahmana with the help of newly discovered manuscripts.
 
According to the release, he knows several languages including Hindi, Sanskrit, Pali, Avesta, Old Persian, Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, Indonesian, Greek, Latin, German, French, and Russian.
 
"His appointment is a valuable addition to the glorious lineage of Presidents of ICCR who have all been respected cultural ambassadors of India," the release added.
 
Founded in 1950, the ICCR's role is to promote India's external cultural relations and foster and strengthen such ties and mutual understanding with other countries.
 
Among other things, it promotes cultural exchanges with other countries and people develops relations with national and international organizations in the field of culture. 
 
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Second edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale to be held from Dec 12-March 29

The second edition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the pioneering new-art show curated by well-known artist Jitish Kallat, will be held here from December 12 this year to March 29, 2015.
 
Titled Whorled Explorations, the exhibition will feature 95 artists from 30 countries and will take at multiple venues in the city, a press release from the organisers said.
 
The inaugural edition of the epoch-making art carnival had opened at the culturally-rich Fort Kochi on December 12, 2012.
 
The biennale's inaugural edition was founded and curated by artists Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu. Drawing on the rich tradition of public action in Kerala, the event strives to be a forum for intelligent and creative responses to the realities we inhabit.
 
Whorled Explorations, the central exhibition, will be accompanied by "History Now," a series of talks and seminars conceived by the Kochi Biennale Foundation running through the 108 days of the event.
 
In addition, there will be the Student's Biennale, a pilot programme opening on 13 December engaging students from government-run art colleges across India, led by young curators selected from all over the country. The programmes also include performances, collateral events, interactive projects for children, as well as the Artist's Cinema project.
 
"Two chronologically overlapping, but perhaps directly unrelated, historical episodes in Kerala during the 14th to 17th centuries became parallel points of departure for Whorled Explorations. Drawing from them, allusions to the historical and the cosmological recur throughout the exhibition like exaggerated extensions to gestures we make, when we try to see or understand something," Kallat said in his curatorial note.
 
"We either go close to it or move away from it in space, to see it clearly; we also reflect back or forth in time to understand the present. Whorled Explorations draws upon this act of deliberation, across axes of time and space to interlace the bygone with the imminent, the terrestrial with the celestial.
 
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"From the 15th century, the shores of Kochi were closely linked to the maritime chapter of the 'Age of Discovery,' a tale of grit, greed and human ingenuity as a string of navigators arrived here after traversing large uncharted portions of the planet seeking spices and riches. The era heralded an age of exchange, conquest, coercive trading and colonialism, animating the early processes of globalization. This drama of search, seduction and subjugation decisively altered the cartography of the planet. Within the shifting geography were sharp turns in history where we find, in an embryonic form, several of the themes we inherit in our world today.
 
"The 14th to 16th century was the time when astronomer-mathematicians belonging to what came to be known as the Kerala School of Astronomy and Mathematics were making transformative propositions for understanding our planet and locating human existence within the wider cosmos. They were making mathematical breakthroughs, amongst them treatise on trigonometry and the calculus. Acknowledging this vibrant history, Kochi might serve as an interesting site to invoke the mysterious expedition of our planet earth, our shared dwelling hurtling through space at a dizzying velocity. None of the interdependent cohabitants of this twirling tenement seem to experience its speed or comprehend its direction; a productive state of uncertainty from where we may investigate several questions about our existence take stock of our collective conflicts and ecological footprint, even as we continue to examine our place in an ever-inflating cosmos.
 
"Whorled Explorations is conceived as a temporary observation deck hoisted at Kochi. The exhibition draws upon a wide glossary of signs from this legendary maritime gateway to bring together sensory and conceptual propositions that map our world referencing history, geography, cosmology, time, space, dreams and myths," the note added.
 
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Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal of Thrissur wins Clint Memorial Painting Competition

Painting by Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal of Thrissur in Kerala, which won the first prize in the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition conducted by Kerala Tourism.
Painting by Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal of Thrissur in Kerala, which won the first prize in the Clint Memorial International Painting Competition conducted by Kerala Tourism.
Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal from Thrissur in Kerala won the first prize in the Clint Memorial International Painting Commpetition conducted by Kerala Tourism in memory of child prodigy Edmund Thomas Clint.
 
Irtiza Anika Haqe Probonti of Bangladesh came second, while the third prize was shared by Viara Pencheva of Bulgaria, Meenakshi Nair J from Kottayam, Kerala and Meghna Unnikrishnan from Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 
 
Winners of 20 consolation prizes and 100 certificates of appreciation have also been announced.
 
The competition for children in the age group of 4-15 was launched in January this year. 
 
Born in Kochi, Clint had drawn worldwide attention by creating more than 25,000 drawings and paintings as a child before he passed away in 1983 one month short of his seventh birthday.
 
The online competition received 4,350 entries from 40 countries. The theme was Kerala and the state tourism department had provided two e-books — one on the life of Clint and the other on Kerala — to all the participants.
 
Winners were selected by a jury, headed by renowned painter-journalist-writer and the Chairman of Kerala Lalit Kala Academy K A Francis, and consisting of art critic-writer-curator M L Johny, painter-writer Mimi Radhakrishnan, artist Anandamoy Banerjee and sculptor George Martin.
 
Of the 20 consolation prizes, four went to participants from outside India, six from Kerala and ten from various other parts of India. There were also prizes for two volunteers who brought in maximum number of participants. 
 
Kerala topped the number of entries with 1,125. A total of 2,800 paintings were received from other states of India while 425 paintings came from 36 foreign countries. Vietnam had the highest number of submissions from outside India, at 95.
 
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Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar said: “We were overwhelmed by the response of children from across the world to the competition. The fact that thousands of children from diverse regions drew paintings on Kerala is a display of creative solidarity among the global youth.”
 
"Clint was a genius who created a world of images, many representing the cultural landscape of Kerala, for the people to see," said Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism.
 
Kerala Tourism had also made two short films on the life of Clint and on the competition for preparing the participants. The films received a whopping one million views on YouTube and other online platforms within four months of their launch.
 
"The competition generated massive interest online worldwide," said Kerala Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth. "We are thankful to the participants and their families for their enthusiasm in knowing about Clint and the state where he lived and painted.”
 
Kerala Tourism had received limited rights to use 30 of Clint's paintings for the competition, from his parents, who had extended their whole hearted support to the international event. Clint's parents, M T Joseph and Chinnamma Joseph, were present at the launch of the short film on Clint, titled 'God's Own Child From God's Own Country'.
 
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Former CEC N Gopalaswami appointed Chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation

N. Gopalaswami
N. Gopalaswami
The Government has appointed former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, an arts academy established in 1936 by renowned Bharatanatyam dancer Rukmini Devi Arundale.
 
A notification issued by the Ministry of Culture yesterday said Mr Gopalaswami's appointment was for a term of five years.
 
Earlier, the Government had accepted the resignation of former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as Chairman of the institution with effect from June 3, 2014. Mr Gandhi had submitted his resignation on May 21.
 
Mr Gopalaswami is a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1966 batch (Gujarat cadre). He served as Chief Election Commissioner from June 30, 2006 to April 20, 2009.
 
He has an M.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Delhi and a diploma in Urban Development Planning from the University of London.
 
Before being appointed to the Election Commission, he served as Union Home Secretary and also held the posts of Secretary, Culture and Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission before that.
 
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Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest announces shortlist for three awards


 
Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest has announced the shortlists for three of the five literary awards that the festival has instituted. 
 
The fifth edition of the festival will be held between October 30 and November 2, 2014, at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point (Oct 30 - Nov 2) as well as the Prithvi Theatre, Prithvi House and The Easel in Juhu (Nov 1 & 2).
 
Yesterday, the festival organisers declared the shortlisted nominees for the coveted Tata Literature Live! First Book Award (Fiction & Non-Fiction), the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award (Fiction and Non-Fiction) and the Tata Literature Live! Business Book Award. 
 
"These awards endeavour to recognise and promote literary talent across the country, across all genres of literature. The winners will be announced on November 2nd at an Awards ceremony at the festival," the release said.
 
The Tata Literature Live! First Book Award recognises new talent in the Indian literary space across the fiction and non-fiction genres.
 
In the Fiction category, the shortlisted nominees are:
 
Meena Kandasamy for 'The Gypsy Goddess', a fictional retelling of a true-life massacre in Tamil Nadu in the late 1960s. Treading the line between powerful fiction and fearsome critique, this novel points out injustices of privilege, hypocrisies of authority and the unforgiveable politics of turning a blind eye. 
 
Mira Jacob for 'The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing', a fictional story about Amina, who finds herself at the centre of a mystery in her family’s painful past. With lush language, sharp dialogue, and an eye for detail, this novel is a heartbreaking, hilarious debut.
 
Mahesh Rao for his savagely funny and deeply poignant book, 'The Smoke is Rising'. The book is a riveting portrait of a city hurtling towards an epic clash of modernity and tradition, and all the wandering souls – some hopeful, some broken, and a few somewhere in-between – who find themselves caught in the middle.
 
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In the Non-Fiction category, the shortlisted nominees are:
 
Actor and director Naseeruddin Shah for his book, 'And Then One Day', a sparkling memoir of his early years, "from zero to thirty-two". Shah is a recipient of the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan awards for his contribution to Indian cinema.
 
Reshma Patil for 'Strangers Across The Border'. Is India a friend, rival or enemy? This was the question Patil asked people she met on her journeys through China where she set up the first China bureau of the Hindustan Times.
 
Karnatik music vocalist T M Krishna for his book, 'A Southern Music', which meticulously and lyrically explores every aspect of the world of Karnatik music. Krishna is a recipient of the Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar Award by the Central Sangeet Natak Academy.
 
The Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award has been constituted to recognise noteworthy work in the Indian literary space across the fiction and non-fiction genres.
 
In the Fiction category, the shortlisted nominees are:
 
Akhil Sharma for his book ‘Family Life’. Dark, sardonic, and written with biting wit and observation, Family Life is a portrait of one dysfunctional family that speaks to all families. Sharma is the author of An Obedient Father, for which he won the 2001 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2001 Whiting Writers' Award.
 
Damon Galgut for his book, ‘Arctic Summer’. Meticulously researched and vividly imagined, Arctic Summer conjures up the figure of E.M. Forster as he struggles to write his masterpiece, A Passage To India. Galgut’s earlier works have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize.
 
Neel Mukherjee for his novel, ‘The Lives of Others’, a book which unfolds a family history and anatomises a social class in all its contradictions. Mukherjee’s first novel, A Life Apart, won the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award for best fiction, and was shortlisted for the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
 
In the Non-Fiction category, the shortlisted nominees are:
 
Irwin Allan Sealy for 'The Small Wild Goose Pagoda', a natural and social history of 433 square yards of India where the Sealy family has a small brick house. Sealy looks back on his life as he turns 60 and goes from Householder to Forest Dweller (the two middle stages in the life of a man, as set out in Indian philosophical tradition). His novel, The Everest Hotel: A Calendar, was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1998.
 
Ramachandra Guha for 'Gandhi before India', a remarkable biography in which Guha argues that Gandhi's ideas were fundamentally shaped before his return to India in 1915. In 2008, and again in 2013, Guha featured in Prospect Magazine's list of the world's most influential thinkers.
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Rana Dasgupta for his book, 'Capital - The Eruption of Delhi' in which Dasgupta examines one of the great trends of our time: the expansion of the global elite. Capital is an intimate portrait of the city of Delhi that offers a glimpse of what capitalism will become in the coming, post-Western world. Dasgupta's earlier book 'Solo' won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book: Europe and South Asia.
 
The Tata Literature Live! Business Book of the Year Award, instituted this year, recognises the best business writing in the Indian literary space.
 
The shortlisted nominees are:
 
Dev Prasad for his book, 'Pitch It!' with inspirational stories from cricket dressing rooms and corporate boardrooms. Pitch It! has a Foreword by Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (CMD, Biocon) and Epilogue by former Indian cricketer & coach Venkatesh Prasad. Dev Prasad is an IT professional residing in Bangalore.
 
Rajiv Narang and Devika Devaiah for their book, 'Orbit-Shifting Innovation - The Dynamics of Ideas that Create History'. This book empowers readers to overcome obstacles to innovation and provides the tools to maximize the impact of transformative change. Narang was part of the National Planning Commission Panel to recommend 'India's Innovation Strategy'. Devika Devaiah is the Director of Erehwon Innovation Consulting.
Anil Dharker
Anil Dharker
 
Rama Bijapurkar for her book, 'A Never-Before World: Tracking the Evolution of Consumer India'. The book explores widely yet sharply, everything that businesses need to know and think about to win in the Indian market. Rama Bijapurkar is one of India's most respected thought leaders on market strategy and India's consumer economy.
 
This year, the fiction categories for the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award and Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award were judged by Carol Andrade, senior journalist; Anil Dharker, festival director; author, Basharat Peer; author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi; and poet and author Arundhathi Subramaniam.
 
The non-fiction categories for the awards were judged by author and editor, Madhu Jain; columnist, author and social commentator Santosh Desai; festival director Anil Dharker; and senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar.
 
The jury for the Tata Literature Live! Business Book Award comprised Harish Bhat, Member – Group Executive Council, Tata Sons; R. Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons; Abheek Singhi, Senior Partner and Director, The Boston Consulting Group; Usha Sangwan, Managing Director, Life Insurance Corporation of India; and Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman, Social Venture Partners India.
 
The festival will be free and on a first-come, first-served basis. The festival is conceived by Anil Dharker, the Founder and Festival Director of Literature Live! which organises the festival with the support of the Tata group.
 
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Seven Malayalam, five Bengali films in Indian Panorama at IFFI 2014

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Paresh Mokashi's Elizabeth Ekadashi has been chosen as the opening film of the India Panorama for the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014 to be held in Panaji, Goa from November 20 to 30.
 
The jury for features films headed by renowned filmmaker A K Bir selected 26 films out of a total of 181 eligible entries, an official press release said.
 
The list includes seven Malayalam films -- 1983, North 24 Kaatham, Njan Steve Lopez, Drishyam, Munnariyippu, Swapaanam and Njaan -- and five Bengali films -- Punashcha, Chotoder Chobi, Bodhon, Jodi Love Dile Na Praane and Teenkahon.
 
The Last Adieu, directed by Shabnak Sukhdev, will be the opening film in the non-feature films section of the Panorama. The jury for the non-feature films was chaired by well-known filmmaker Mike Pandey.
 
The following are the films selected for the Panorama:
 
Feature Films: 
1.   Othello -- Assamese -- Hemanta Kumar Das
2.   Punashcha -- Bengali -- Souvik Mitra
3.   Chotoder Chobi -- Bengali -- Kaushik Ganguly
4.   Bodhon -- Bengali -- Ayananshu Banerje
5.   Jodi Love Dile Na Praane -- Bengali -- Sudeshna Roy & Abhijit Guha
6.   Teenkahon -- Bengali -- Bauddhayan Mukherji
7.   Gour Hari Dastaan - The freedom File -- Hindi -- Ananth Narayan Mahadevan
8.   Ankhon Dekhi -- Hindi -- Rajat Kapoor
9.   1-December -- Kannada -- P. Sheshadri
10.  Ri -- Khasi -- Pradip  Kurbah
11.  1983 -- Malayalam -- Abrid Shine
12.   North 24 Kaatham -- Malayalam -- Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
13.   Njan Steve Lopez -- Malayalam -- Rajeev Ravi
14.   Drishyam -- Malayalam -- Jeethu Joseph
15.   Munnariyippu -- Malayalam -- Venu
16.   Swapaanam -- Malayalam -- Shaji N. Karun
17.   Njaan -- Malayalam -- Ranjith
18.   Ek Hazarachi Note -- Marathi -- Shrihari  Sathe
19.   Elizabeth Ekadashi -- Marathi -- Paresh Mokashi
20.   Killa -- Marathi -- Avinash Arun
21.   Dr. Prakash Baba Amte - The Real Hero -- Marathi -- Samruddhi Porey
22.   Yellow -- Marathi -- Mahesh Limaye
23.   Lokmanya – Ek Yugpurush -- Marathi -- Om Raut
24.   A Rainy Day -- Marathi -- Rajendra Talak
25.   Adim Vichar -- Odiya -- Sabyasachi Mohapatra
26.   Kuttram Kadithal -- Tamil -- Bramma G.
 
Non-Feature Films:
1.     A Dream Never Dies -- Assamese -- Aneisha Sharma
2.     The Last Adieu -- English -- Shabnam Sukhdev
3.     My Father Namgyal -- English -- Utpal Das
4.     On and Off The Records -- English -- Pratik Biswas
5.     Womb on Rent -- English -- Ishani K Dutta
6.     Qissa-E-Parsi - English & Hindi -- Divya Cowasji, Shilpi Gulati
7.     Songs of the Blue Hills -- English & Nagamese -- Utpal Borpujari
8.     Songs of the Bards of Bengal – The Bauls and Fakirs -- English, Bengali -- Monalisa Dasgupta
9.     An American in Madras -- English, Tamil, Hindi -- Karan Bali
10.  Bhoomiyil Chuvadurachu -- Malayalam -- Vipin Vijay
11.  Mitraa -- Marathi -- Ravi Jadhav
12.  Vithya -- Marathi -- Prasanna Shrikant Ponde
13.  Ek Hota Kau -- Marathi -- Viju Gopal Mane
14.  Bahadur The Accidental Brave -- Nepalese/ English -- Aditya Seth
15.  Candles in the Wind -- Punjabi & English -- Kavita Bahl & Nandan Saxena
 
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Leela Samson quits as Chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi

Leela Samson
Leela Samson
The Government today said it had accepted the resignation of renowned Bharatanatyam exponent Leela Samson as the Chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi with immediate effect.
 
Ms Samson had sent in her resignation from the post on September 5, and the Government accepted it through an order dated yesterday, an official press release said.
 
She did not give any reasons for her resignation, sources said. She had been appointed to the post by the President on August 10, 2010 for a term of five years.
 
Recognised as one of India's most energetic and engaging Bharatanatyam dancers, Ms Samson is known for her in-depth knowledge and impeccable style.
 
She is an alumnus of the famed Kalakshetra in Chennai, where she learnt dance under the tutelage of the late Rukmini Devi Arundale and later rose to become its Director.
 
Ms Samson has choreographed several group and solo compositions in Bharatanatyam and authored a book "Rhythm in Joy" as well as several articles. She has won many honours, including the Padma Shri and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
 
She has been the subject of two documentary films, "Sanchari: by Arun Khopkar and "The Flowering Tree" by Ein Lall.
 
The Sangeet Natak Akademi is India's national academy for music, dance and drama. It is the first national academy of arts set up in indepedent India, having been created on May 31, 1952.
 
As the apex body specializing in the performing arts of the country, the Akademi renders advice and assistance to the Government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the field. Additionally, the Akademi carries a part of the responsibilities of the state for fostering cultural contacts between various regions in India, and between India and the world.
 
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Actor Amitabh Bachchan turns 72, spends day with family

 
Amitabh Bachchan thanksfans for their wishes on his birthday
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan turned 72 today and spent the day with his family, saying that the best gift to him would be whatever his little grand-daughter Aaradhya chose to present him on the occasion.
 
"She is still sleeping. I am waiting to find out what gift she will give me," he told journalists this morning.
 
Aaradhya is the daughter of Mr Bachchan's son Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, both well-known actors in their own right.
 
Mr Bachchan said nothing special had been planned for the day, and he only wished to spend it with his family.
 
He said the women in the family -- his wife and actor Jaya Bachchan, daughter Shweta Nanda and daughter-in-law Aishwarya -- were observing a fast for the day on the occasion of Karva Chauth, when women pray for their husbands.
 
He said he would join them in celebrations after they break their fasts in the evening, after sighting the moon.
 
Mr Bachchan also used the opportunity to thank the thousands of his fans who greeted him on his birthday and said he could repay their love and affection only by entertaining them with his work.
 
"The hour has passed and the greetings have poured in and the family has been with me and that is the greatest gift, if gifts were to be any judge of affection," he wrote on his blog.
 
"But it is not a day to contemplate .. it is a time to deliver thanks and gratefulness to all those that have been responsible for my 72 in completion and my 73 to begin .. 
 
"There is a numbness in all that we do now .. as opposed to the gaiety and laughter and excitement of the earlier years .. I have always wondered why .. but it there and it shall remain I presume for the days left in my life .." he added.
 
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English Vinglish to release in Romania on October 24

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Close on the heels of the success of actress Sridevi's comeback film English Vinglish in Japan, where the film garnered box office collections of a whopping $ 1.4 million plus, Eros International is all set to release the blockbuster in Romania this month on October 24 across 15 screens.
 
A press release from Eros said the film had performed exceptionally well in other new markets like South Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Taiwan, too, and the team is confident of its continued appreciation in new territories.
 
English Vinglish, directed by Gauri Shinde released in October 2012 and has since fascinated audiences worldwide with its universal subject of people living abroad in an English-speaking world trying hard to learn English to be accepted by their society.
 
Cocktail and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara are some of the other releases by Eros which have enjoyed success in Romania, the release added.
 
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Birth centenary commemoration of Begum Akhtar begins

Begum Akhtar
Begum Akhtar
The year-long birth centenary celebrations of noted classical singer Begum Akhtar began here today with the release of a set of commemorative coins in the denominations of Rs 100 and Rs 5 by Union Culture Minister Shripad Naik.
 
Noted singers Rita Ganguly (Dadra), Shashank Shekhar (Thumri) and Prabhati Mukherjee (Ghazal) gave a performance on the occasion.
 
Born on October 7, 1914 as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, Begum Akhtar, as she was popularly called, was one the country's top singers of ghazals, dadras and thumris.
 
She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for vocal music and was honoured by the government with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan posthumously.
 
To mark her 100th birth anniversary year, the government has decided to commemorate the occasion and has set up a National Implementation Committee (NIC) under the Chairmanship of Union Culture Minister. It will chalk out programmes and activities to be taken up during the year.
 
Some of the programmes which will be held during the commemoration period are Centenary festivals in Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Kolkata, creation of a web portal and digitization and documentation of her works,  exhibitions and workshops, publications, seminars and a scholarship for young artistes.
 
Begum Akhtar died on October 30, 1974 after falling ill during a performance in Ahmedabad.
 
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Baroda artist Preyas Mehta among Indians invited for 1st Langkawi Art Biennale

A work by Preyas Mehta
A work by Preyas Mehta
Baroda painter Preyas Mehta is among several Indian artists invited for the  Langkawi Art Biennale 2014, the first such event in Malaysia, that wil be held from October 12 to 21.
 
Other artists invited from India include Babita Das, Ashok Kumar, Ganesh Chandra Basu, and Puspita Ray.
 
The event, organized by Art Malaysia Association and supported the country's Ministry of Tourism and Culture and orther organizations, will see the participation of artists from Malaysia and 37 other countries.
 
The biennale, which is on the theme of migration, is expected to bring art enthusiasts from around the world to Langkawi island.
 
The event will take place along Pantai Cenang, a picturesque two km beach with long stretches of white sand.
 
Mehta completed his B.A. (Fine) in Applied Arts from the M.S. University of Baroda here and has been active as a sculptor, painter and photographer and has exhibited in shows around the country. Most recently, he had exhibited at the International Art Group show "Across the Ocean" at the Birla Art Academy in Kolkata.
 
Basu is an artist and a freelance writer and has participated in more than 100 international and national shows and held some 40 solo exhibitions.
 
Ray has a BA degree in Bengali and is an artist and a writer. Apart from publishing several books, she has held solo exhibitions of her works and participated in group shows.
 
Ashok Kumar has a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Arts, Patna and then studied painting at the L’Ecole Superieure Des Beaux­Arts de Marseille, France. 
 
Some of the group exhibitions that he has participating in include the Sixth Biennial of Contemporary Indian Arts, (Bhopal), International Biennale Art Exhibition at Dallas (USA), contemporary art exhibition created by the artists residence ‘Crossings’ by Frac Reunion at MOCA, Saint Dennis (Reunion Island) and international art exhibition by SODEFA (Chandigarh).
 
Das has an M.A. in Fine Arts in Printmaking from Viswa Bharati Universty and has worked as an Indian National Scholar. She has been teaching art at primary and secondary Levels at a private school in Kolkata, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, since 1996. She has held more than 25 solo exhibitions and participated in an equal number of group exhibitions.
 
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CCI imposes penalty of Rs 2.83 crore on Super Cassettes for abusing dominant position

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) today imposed a penalty of Rs. 2.83 crore, calculated as eight per cent of its average turnover in the last three financial years, on Super Cassettes Industries Limited for abusing its dominant position .
 
The final order was passed today on information filed by HT Media Limited, an official press release said.
 
According to it, the Commission found Super Cassettes to be in a dominant position in the relevant market of licensing of Bollywood music to private FM radio stations for broadcast in India. 
 
It held that the company was in contravention of the provisions of section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Competition Act, 2002 for imposing unfair conditions of Minimum Commitment Charges (MCC) upon private FM Stations in its existing agreements. 
 
Apart from issuing a cease and desist order, CCI directed Super Cassettes Industries Limited to modify the unfair condition of MCC imposed on private FM Stations in the agreements within three months. 
 
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Sushant Singh Rajput to play role of Dhoni in official biopic

 
Actor Sushant Singh Rajput will play the title role in the official biopic of Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the film's producers said here today.
 
The film, titled "MS Dhoni - The Untold Story", will be directed by national award winning director Neeraj Pandey, who has produced hits like "A Wednesday" and "Special 26".
 
The film will trace the story of Dhoni, from his very humble and small-town beginning to being the most succssful Indian cricket captain.
 
"Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an institution by himself and a role model to countless youths," a press release from Rhiti Sports Management, which manages the careers of Dhoni and several other well-known crickters and is now moving into the filmed entertainment space through Inspired Entertainment, said.
 
"The feature film will not only cover the remarkable rise of the World Cup-winning captain but will also reveal the exciting facts of MS Dhoni’s personal life and journey, before he became a global sporting icon as the title truly suggests," it said.
 
Arun Pandey, Chairman, Rhiti Sports Management, said, “MS Dhoni is one of the biggest sporting icons in this world, and his biopic will certainly be an inspiration to those who dare to dream and then go all out to achieve their dreams. Neeraj Pandey one of the most acclaimed directors is always a great choice for helming the project and Sushant is very promising and was undoubtedly the first choice for the role.”
 
Rajput said: “I am immensely excited for the opportunity to play MS Dhoni on screen. He is an inspiration to the millions .. and Neeraj Pandey is one of the most prolific directors, Looking forward…!!.”
 
“It’s a unique journey of a unique individual, leader and an international icon," Neeraj Pandey added.
 
Rajput made his debut in movies with Abhishek Kapoor's Kai Po Che! last year. He had finished second in dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 4. He has also been associated with theatre.
MS Dhoni biopic's first look
 
Born in Purnea, Rajput and his family moved to Delhi in the early 2000s. He was a student at the Delhi College of Engineering before dropping out after three years to pursue a career in acting.
 
He has been part of dance troupes that performed at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and at the 51st Filmfare Awards. After moving to Mumbai, he continued to be involved with theatre.
 
He got a break in television when he landed the role of Preet Juneja in Balaji Telefilms' Kis Desh Mein Hai Meraa Dil. In the following year, he acted in Pavitra Rishta, another television serial.
 
Rajput's second movie was Shuddh Desi Romance, directed by Maneesh Sharma, with Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor as his co-stars.
 
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Bob Dylan to be honoured as 2015 Musicares Person of the Year

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Well-known American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan will be honoured as the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year in Los Angeles on Febrary 6, 2015, two days before the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
 
Neil Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation and The Recording Academy, and Bill Silva, Chair of the MusiCares Foundation, Board, announced that proceeds from the 25th annual benefit gala dinner and concert will provide essential support for MusiCares,which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.
 
Performers at the tribute concert will include Grammy winners Beck; the Black Keys; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Norah Jones; Tom Jones; Los Lobos; John Mellencamp; Willie Nelson; Bonnie Raitt; Eddie Vedder; Jack White; and Neil Young; as well as singer/songwriter John Doe. 
 
Three-time Grammy-winning producer and recent Emmy winner Don Was will be the evening's musical director, a press release from the Recording Academy said.
 
"In celebrating the 25th anniversary of our MusiCares Person of the Year tribute, it is most fitting that we are honoring Bob Dylan, whose body of creative work has contributed to America's culture, as well as that of the entire world, in genuinely deep and lasting ways," said Portnow.
 
"Bob Dylan's songwriting ability is unmatched, and it will be an extraordinary evening to hear his work showcased by such a remarkable group of artists," said Silva.
 
The 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will begin with a reception and silent auction offering an exclusive selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception and silent auction will be followed by a dinner, the award presentation and a tribute concert by renowned musicians. 
 
The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during Grammy Week. The celebration culminates with the 57th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
 
The MusiCares Foundation offers programs and services to members of the music community, including emergency financial assistance for basic living expenses such as rent, utilities and car payments and medical expenses. It also offers nationwide educational workshops covering a variety of subjects.
 
Established more than 20 years ago by The Recording Academy, MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. 
 
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Geetu Mohandas' Liar's Dice chosen as India's official entry to the Oscars

Geetanjali Thapa and Manya Gupta in a still from the film, Liar's Dice
Geetanjali Thapa and Manya Gupta in a still from the film, Liar's Dice
Hindi film Liar's Dice, directed by well-known Malayalam actress and filmmaker Geetu Mohandas, has been selected as India's official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards, or Oscars as they are popularly called.
 
The film was selected by a jury of 12 members constituted by the Film Federation of India (FFI), chaired by eminent director T Hariharan.
 
A press release from FFI said the jury, comprising an eclectic mix of film professionals representing various crafts and languages, saw as many as 30 films before submitting its recommendation to FFI Vice-President C Kalyan.
 
The road drama film is about a young woman, Kamala (Geetanjali Thapa), who embarks on a journey to Delhi from her small village in the mountains in Himachal Pradesh, along with her three-year-old daughter (Manya Gupta) in search of her missing husband.
 
Along the way, she encounters an army deserter (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), who decides to accompany them to their destination.
 
Geetu Mohandas
Geetu Mohandas
The film had won two awards at the 61st National Film Awards 2013 -- Best Actress for Thapa and Best Cinematographer for Rajeev Ravi, her husband.
 
Mohandas, 33, had written the script of the film much before her debut short movie Kelkunnundo, but could not raise the finance, partly because of the unusual storyline and the then relatively unknown cast. After the success of Kelkunnundo at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), she managed to get a project development grant of €10,000 from the IFFR’s Hubert Bals Fund. Eventually the film was co-produced by her own production company, Unplugged, and Jar Pictures. 
 
Born Gayathri Mohandas and popularly called Geetu, she has acted in more than 30 films in Malayalam and Tamil after making a memorable debut as a child artiste in 1986 in Onnu Muthal Poojyam Vare. 
 
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YuppTV launches Sun TV Network channels for audiences in UK, Europe

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Yupp TV, an over-the-top (OTT) content player for South Asian content, live TV and on-demand movies, has launched channels of the Sun TV Network for viewers in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
 
A press release from the company said it would now offer the network's offerings in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada for viewership in the UK and across Europe. 
 
The channels include Sun TV, K TV, Sun Music and Adithya TV in Tamil, Gemini TV, Gemini Comedy and Gemini Movies in Telugu, Surya TV and Kiran TV in Malayalam and Udaya TV in Kannada.
 
Mr. Uday Reddy, CEO of YuppTV said, “The Sun TV Network adds strength to our increasing spectrum of channels and this launch is indeed the most awaited by the UK and Europe audiences. The premium content we are offering to the viewers across the world continues to grow and expand in its scope as we add leading channels to our repertoire. This launch, we trust, will be the source of much pleasure to viewers across these regions.”
 
Yupp TV is an eight-year-old company with its headquarters in Atlanta, United States, and branch offices in the USA and India.
 
It delivers more than 200 TV channels, 4500 videos (daily), movies and live events to the six screens for video content consumption -- Connected TVs, Internet STBs, Smart Blu-ray players, PCs, Smart Phones and Tablets, the release added.
 
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Exhibition on indigenous printmaking opens at NGMA in Delhi

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An exhibition of graphic prints from the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), "Celebrating Indigenous Printmaking" began here today.
 
The exhibition was opened by Minister of State for Culture Shripad Naik, who said that this was the first time that such an extensive show on printmaking was being held.
 
He said the prints on display included many which had rarely been displayed before.
 
He pointed out that the art collection of the NGMA is vast and eclectic with more than 17,000 works, including a major collection of prints by iconic Indian printmakers. 
 
The exhibition showcases over 200 iconic prints of more than 100 eminent artists mapping the history of printmaking from the colonial period till the contemporary times. 
 
A special section has been dedicated to international prints from NGMA's own collection which were made in India by the respective artists. 
 
The exhibition along with its accompanying texts, journals and printmaking tools on display will benefit students, researchers and scholars to get an intimate understanding of printmaking practices, techniques and developments of the last two centuries in India, an official press release said.
 
NGMA would also be organising printmaking workshops under the guidance of noted printmakers of India along with regular screenings of documentary films on the art of printmaking in India, it said.
 
A set of three portfolios showcasing the prints of some of the iconic masters among other memorabilia produced by NGMA was also released. 
 
A documentary film made by noted filmmaker Bikram Singh would be screened at the NGMA auditorium daily at 11.00 am and 3.00pm.
 
The exhibition will be on view for the public from tomorrow.
 
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Eros International, Sajid Nadiadwala come together again for Housefull 3

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited today announced its continued partnership with fillm producer Sajid Nadiadwala to release the third instalment of the comedy franchise Housefull.
 
"Following the unprecedented success of the first two in the series, Eros once again teams up with Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment for the much awaited Housefull 3, directed by writer-turned-director duo Sajid-Farhad," a press release from the company said.
 
Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO - Eros International Media Ltd said, “We share a special relationship with Sajid that goes back several decades and are excited to have Sajid back with us. What better film to start with than the third instalment of the hit franchise Housefull. It promises to be a star studded laugh riot shot lavishly in the UK, Sajid Nadiadwala style.”
 
Nadiadwala added, “I’m happy to team up with Eros once more for this very popular series. Housefull 3 will be bigger and funnier and we are confident together we will once again successfully present some wholesome entertainment to audiences worldwide”.
 
The film is slated for a 2015 release.
 
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Oommen Chandy presents Kerala Govt.'s special award to singer Yesudas

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presenting a special award of the State Government to well-known singer K J Yesudas in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2014.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy presenting a special award of the State Government to well-known singer K J Yesudas in Thiruvananthapuram on September 11, 2014.
Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy presented well-known singer K J Yesudas with a special award of the State Government for his contribution in diverse fields at a function here today
 
Mr Chandy said Dr Yesudas was the pride of the state not ony as a singer but also as a person who involves himself in various socio-cultural activities. 
 
State Rural Development Minister K C Joseph presided over the function. The award comprised Rs 1 lakh and a citation.
 
Dr Yesudas congratulated the state government for its bold decision to ban liquor in the state also for implementing the Sruthitharangam project in the state, through which many children get back their ability to speak and hear thorough cochlear implantation.
 
Mr Chandy said the project would be extended to all places. He said the project had been initially planned for 100 children but more than 300 children had benefited from it so far.
 
He said that all those who apply for the benefit would be included under the project. He said it was Dr Yesudas who had suggested the project and the Governmet had gone ahead with it.
 
Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, Mr Palode Ravi, MLA, the state Chief Secretary and others were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
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Eros Music to release sound track of Murugadoss’ Kaththi starring Vijay

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited today announced its music label Eros Music's foray into Tamil music with the release of its first Tamil album, Vijay starrer Kaththi, directed by A. R. Murugadoss with music by Anirudh Ravichander. 
 
Eros Music will release the sound track of this coming action thriller, one of the most anticipated Tamil films of 2014, on September 18, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, the soundtrack of Kaththi consists of an eclectic mix of singers and six tracks – soulful melodies to folk songs with Vijay himself lending his voice to one of the tracks, "Selfie pulla”.
 
Ms Soundarya A Rajinikanth, Director - Creative & Head Eros Digital for south India said, “We are very excited to associate with the Kaththi team to release the music of this much awaited film. This move marks Eros’ debut in the Tamil music market and what can be more auspicious than joining hands with the stalwarts of Tamil cinema – Murugadoss, Vijay sir and youth icon Anirudh."
 
"With this move, we are looking forward to leveraging our strength in exclusively exploiting Tamil music content across all formats," she added.
 
The audio launch event of the movie is scheduled to take place on September 18 in Chennai.  After the success of Thuppakki, Murugadoss and Vijay are working together once again. Produced by Ayngaran International and Lyca Productions, Kaththi is scheduled to release on Diwali.
 
With this announcement, in addition to owning music rights of its Bollywood line up, Eros Music will retain, exploit and monetize the music rights of Kaththi across physical and digital formats, the release added.
 
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Eros International, Raj & DK to co-produce films starting with Farzi

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd today said it would co-produce films with Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s D2R Films, including their next directorial venture Farzi. 
 
With this multi-film alliance, the director duo popularly known as Raj & DK will make their debut as producers in the Hindi film industry.
 
"The tie-up signifies a long term association between Eros and D2R Films for future projects with other directors as well," a press release from the company said.
 
Mr Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, said, “Tying up with Raj and DK enforces our commitment to make more content driven films. They are a creative and dynamic duo who have gathered a following for their distinctive style of filmmaking. After collaborating together on Go Goa Gone and our forthcoming Happy Ending, we are excited about Farzi which promises to be very unique and thoroughly entertaining."
 
Raj & DK added, “Farzi is one of our favorite scripts and we can’t wait to work on it. Our experience with Eros has been wonderful for the last two films. They have always supported our vision and we are very happy to partner with them to produce films together.”
 
According to the release, Farzi will be a crime thriller with a dose of humour. Besides Shahid Kapoor in the lead, versatile actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui has also been signed up for the film.
 
Raj & DK co-wrote the script with their long time partner Sita Menon and debutant, Suman Kumar.  The film will go on the floors at the end of this year and will primarily be shot in India, the release added.
 
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President releases set of eight commemorative stamps on Indian musicians

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President Pranab Mukherjee released a set of eight commemorative postage stamps on eight of the greatest music maestros of contemporary India at a function here today and said music was at the core of the country's cultural and secular heritage.
 
The stamps feature sitarists Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan,  vocalists Bhimsen Joshi, D.K. Pattammal, Mallikarjun Mansur, Gangubai Hangal and Kumar Gandharva, Ustad Vilayat Khan and sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. 
 
"As we pay tribute to eight of the greatest music maestros of contemporary India, we celebrate their life and work and their matchless legacy. These eight maestros are, without a doubt, among the tallest luminaries in the history of world music," Mr Mukherjee said on the occasion.
 
"They have not only achieved personal perfection but have made extraordinary contributions, in their respective fields, to the development and evolution of the schools of music in which their talents were nurtured and honed. Their contribution and its enrichment of our cultural heritage cannot be quantified or estimated. It is infinite in its resonance and their names will be mentioned with great reverence. Their music will be cherished by the young and old, for many decades to come," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee congratulated the Department of Posts for its initiative in bringing out these stamps. 
 
"As these travel, pasted on letters and parcels and as they are added to the collections of stamp collectors and music connoisseurs and as they are used by people across the continents, these stamps will inform and remind all who see them of a golden era in musical achievements, a high point in the history of shastriya sangeet in India," he said.
 
The President said that, at this juncture, when Indians as a people were  deeply involved with so many things, political processes and economic growth and development, while also facing the challenges of a globalized world, it was comforting and invigorating to pause and reflect on the country's unique cultural heritage. 
 
"Music, in its pure form, is spiritual nourishment for our souls. It is at the core of our cultural and secular heritage. Our classical music, which has its origin in the Vedas, is said to be a gift of God himself; it is Nadabrahma, the sound of God, the music that pervades the universe," he added.
 
 "Ours is a generation that had the privilege of knowing and witnessing the awe-inspiring performances of these eight brilliant artistes. Future generations will marvel at their genius. Many among us have been blessed with the opportunity to have personally known and experienced their uncommon prowess.
 
"I, personally, do fervently believe that the music of India in all its diversity is one of the greatest gifts to human civilization," he said.
 
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Eros International announces partnership with Home Cable Network

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd today announced the launch of a partnership between Home Cable Network Private Ltd, one of the largest multiple system operators (MSOs) in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), and ErosNow, its online entertainment service.
 
This subscription-based broadband streaming service will enable Home Cable Network’s customer base to view content from Eros’ library of films and music on multiple devices like smart-TVs, PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles, a press release from the company said.
 
“ErosNow is the only unique online streaming service in the world to offer both current and classic Bollywood blockbusters, music videos and popular television shows. We are pleased to be partnering with a leading player like Home Cable and make our extensive film content available to their vast subscriber base. With this pairing we continue to extend the reach of ErosNow as a leading digital entertainment brand," Rishika Lulla, CEO, ErosNow said.
 
The release said that, as a dedicated online streaming entertainment service, ErosNow showcases premium Bollywood content through a catalogue of current and classic Bollywood films, TV shows and music. The ErosNow platform currently offers users thousands of new and catalogue movies from Eros as well as other major Bollywood studios, a large selection of premium television content syndicated from major TV studios as well as thousands of music videos and audio tracks.
 
Home Cable delivers high speed 50 Mbps as the default minimum speed to its broadband subscribers.
 
The streaming services will be offered at attractive monthly subscription prices with a base price for unlimited viewing of movies, the release added.
 
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Soundarya Rajinikanth joins Eros International as Director Creative & Strategy

Soundarya Rajinikanth
Soundarya Rajinikanth
Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited has announced the appointment of Soundarya A Rajinikanth as Director Creative & Strategy for Eros and head of the company’s digital initiatives including ErosNow in south India. 
 
In her dual role, Soundarya will be spearheading Eros Digital across all the new media platforms including ErosNow, it’s on demand entertainment portal and lend her creative expertise to the company’s filmed content, a press release from the company said.
 
“We are delighted to welcome Soundarya to the leadership team at Eros. We are in an exciting phase in the company with significant progress in the digital space including ErosNow, mobile, DTH, IPTV and broadband. Soundarya’s experience in the digital domain makes her an ideal candidate to spearhead Eros’ digital strategy and make strategic inroads in South India," Jyoti Deshpande, Group CEO - Eros International Media Ltd said.
 
“I am very happy to get involved and be a part of the digital and creative processes at Eros.  Eros is an established global player with the advantage of a large content library and a vision to make quality content for the future. With a fantastic film slate lined up and such exciting digital opportunities, I am looking forward to bringing on board my experience with technology and creative inputs. With the growing south industry, its rich catalogue of content and a captive audience base, we are confident of driving further growth and making our presence felt strongly," Soundarya said.
 
Along with her new role at Eros, Soundarya will continue with her passion of directing films. She is presently scripting her next venture, to be produced by Eros, the release added.
 
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Rashtrapati Bhavan's In-Residence Programme to feature two artists, two writers in September

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The Rashtrapati Bhavan’s ‘In-Residence Programme’ will feature two artists -- Rahool Saksena and Pratap Sudhir Morey -- and two writers -- Yishey Doma Bhutia and Vempalli Gangadhar -- in September this year.
 
An official press release said the four, selected by an expert committee on the basis of a nationwide application process, will stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan from September 8 to 26.
 
Dr. Gangadhar, a writer in Telugu, was awarded theYuva Puraskar of Sahitya Academi in 2011 for his work Molakala Punnami. He has written many books and articles on issues of farmers, women and the drought prone area of Rayalaseema. 
 
Ms. Bhutia, winner of the Sikkim Sahitya Samman 2013, is a journalist and writer. Presently a copy editor with Sikkim Express, she has written several books including Legends of the Lepchas: Folktales from Sikkim; Sikkim: the Hidden Fruitful Valley; Sikkim A Traveller’s Companion; the Legacy Maker: Pawan Chamling’s Ideas that Shaped Sikkim, and so on.
 
Mr Saksena describes himself as an ‘artist of change’ who transforms everyday material into unexpected art forms.  He believes that this quest for transformation forms the core - a rock solid foundation for multiple possibilities. He became a full time artist after relinquishing a 15-year career in the corporate world with various MNCs.
 
Mr Morey is an artist who has received many awards.  His works have also been exhibited at various places in India and abroad.  The central idea of his work revolves around the body, urban space and the connection between both. Through his work, he addresses issues of redevelopment, displacement and radical growth of urban space. 
 
The ‘In-Residence’ Programme for writers and artists was launched by the President of India on December 11, 2013 with a view to encourage young and upcoming writers and artists by facilitating them to stay close to nature in the picturesque and serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The programme seeks to provide an environment which will inspire creative thinking and rejuvenate artistic impulses. 
 
Mr Jogen Chowdhary, MP (Rajya Sabha); former Keeper (Art), Rashtrapati Bhavan and Professor Emeritus of Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan was the first Artist In-Residence under the programme.
 
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