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Kochi-Muziris Biennale to host four-month long cultural festival

Kochi Biennale Foundation Director of Programmes Riyas Komu, Curator Jitish Kallat, Culture Segment Curator Keli Ramachandran, mizhavu drummer V K K Hariharan, Nangiarkoothu performer Usha Nangiar, Chavittu Natakam scholar Fr Gilbert Antony Thacheri announcing details of the cultural segment of the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kochi on November 22, 2014.
Kochi Biennale Foundation Director of Programmes Riyas Komu, Curator Jitish Kallat, Culture Segment Curator Keli Ramachandran, mizhavu drummer V K K Hariharan, Nangiarkoothu performer Usha Nangiar, Chavittu Natakam scholar Fr Gilbert Antony Thacheri announcing details of the cultural segment of the second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Kochi on November 22, 2014.
The 108-day second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), a pioneering new-art show that will start here on December 12, will also feature a four-month long performing arts festival showcasing the country's rich heritage across regions and centuries.
 
More than 650 artists and 25 cultural groups will perform in an array of theatre, dance, music, percussion and literary programmes cutting across different cultural aesthetics of India’s south and north from ancient to medieval to modern times.
 
The events will begin next week in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts that trace a cultural commonality to the long-lost port of Muziris which currently borders them.
 
Also dotted with seminars and meet-the-artist sessions, the cultural segment of KMB’s second edition will begin with an innovatively conceived thayambaka ensemble on November 29 and dish out a string of art forms ranging from classical to folk to contemporary across central Kerala, North Malabar, Canara and eastern India before culminating in end-March with a theatre festival, the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) said today.
 
The events will also include Kathakali, Nangiarkoothu, Chavittu Natakam, ghazals and a Mappila Festival from Kerala besides Yakshagana of Karnataka and Chhau dance from Jharkhand in 10 venues, KMB organisers and performing-arts fete curator ‘Keli’ Ramachandran told a press conference, which was also attended by mizhavu drummer V K K Hariharan, Nangiarkoothu exponent Usha Nangiar and Chavittu Natakam scholar Fr Gilbert Antony Thacheri besides KMB’s Riyas Komu and Jitish Kallat.
 
A special interactive sequence, titled ‘A Day with the Artiste’, will feature both veterans and prodigies in the field of Kathakali (Kalamandalam Gopi), Melam ensemble (Peruvanam Kuttan Marar), Nangiarkoothu (Sarojini Nangiaramma and Usha Nangiar), Thampi Payyappilly (Chavittu Natakam), Sanjana Kapoor (contemporary theatre), V K K Hariharan (mizhavu drum) Payyannur Ramachandran (Theyyam) and Kalamandalam Rammohan (Kathakali makeup and costume) besides child prodigies in the fields of chenda (Anand Marar, Killikkurissimangalam Sreehari, Karthik P Marar), Chavittu Natakam (Jojo John) and Koodiyattam (Sreehari M Chakiar).
 
Komu, who is KMB Director of Programmes, said the cultural segment this time highlighted festivals as a mirror to tradition than showcasing individual artistry which was the chief feature of a similar endeavour in the 2012 edition of the biennale. “No other biennales of the world give prominence to performing arts as we do at Kochi-Muziris,” he added.
Thrissur-born K Ramachandran, who has been running the ‘Keli’ cultural forum in Mumbai for the past quarter century, said his curation sought to ensure that the upcoming festival presented the essence of each art-form. “Today’s art world often faces dilution in the name of improvisation and fine-tuning. KMB’s cultural segment is a strong check to this trend,” he added.
 
The inaugural evening at Changampuzha Park in suburban Edappally on November 29 will feature traditional as well as novel ‘kooru’ rhythmic passages in a trio thayambaka show by young chenda artistes Panamanna Sasi, Sukapuram Dileep and Udayan Namboodiri.
The same venue will see a December 8-11 Kathakali festival featuring four slow-paced ‘Kottayam plays’ also known for their weighty choreography. Kalamandalam Gopi (as Arjunan in Kalakeyavadham) will be the star performer at the event which has Bakavadham, Kalyanasougandhikam and Kirmeeravadham as the other stories penned during the 17th century.
 
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Contrastingly, Biblical themes come into deep focus at a festival of Chavittu Natakam stomp drama with roots in the Latin Catholic community of coastal Kerala dating back to the 16th century. The five-day ‘Chuvati’ festival at Gothuruthu near Paravur will start on December 26.
The Mahabharata will again come into focus at a three-day Women’s Classical Theatre Festival beginning January 27 at RLV College, Tripunithura. Draupadi (Usha Nangiar), Gandhari (Dr Indu G) and Subhadra (Kalamandalam Sangeetha) will be the characters presented in Nangiarkoothu that has 1,500 years of antiquity.
 
South Canara’s pre-classical Yakshagana will find stage in February, courtesy an Udupi-based troupe that will present ‘Chakravyuha’ with Abhimanyu (of the Mahabharata) as the protagonist.
 
On March 1, there will be a show of tribal martial dance Chhau in the Saraikela style by Gopal Dube and team. A week later, KMB will have a Mappila Festival (March 7-8), mirroring and echoing the Islamic aesthetics in Kerala.
 
‘Goshree Peruma’, which is a permanent KMB feature exploring the cultural anthropology of Kochi, will this time focus on the literary possibilities of the region. The March 13-15 event will also host Chavittu Natakam, Band of Kochi and Ghazals (by Umbai) besides seminars and open interviews.
 
A March 21-22 theatre festival on veteran Thuppettan (Subrahmanian Namboothiri) will be punctuated with symposia on the contributions of the Malayalam playwright, staging of his plays, screening of a documentary on him besides a face-to-face with the rustic octogenarian.
 
Kallat, who is KMB 2014 curator, spoke about how visitors to the biennale could engage with it through a variety of cultural and intellectual platforms beyond the central ‘Whorled Explorations’ exhibition he has curated, featuring the works of 94 artists from 30 countries. “While the cultural segment adds to their reaching out, the shows also ensure reinterpretation of traditional arts in a contemporary context,” he noted.
 
Mizhavu Hariharan said his scheduled interaction with the biennale audience would strive to alter the general impression that rhythm is all about keeping the time. Usha Nangiar, his wife, spoke about her struggles to conceive and present mythological characters hitherto untested in her millennium-old art.
 
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Actor Manoj Bajpai opens Indian Panorama at IFFI 2014

Actor Manoj Bajpai speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Panorama, during the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2014.
Actor Manoj Bajpai speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Panorama, during the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2014.
The Indian Panorama opened at the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014 with the screening of Paresh Mokashi's feature film Elizabeth Ekadashi and Shabnak Sukhdev's non-feature film The Last Adieu.
 
Well-known actor Manoj Bajpai was the chief guest at the opening. He and Festival Director Shankar Mohan felicitaed the jury of both sections on the occasion.
 
The jury for the feature films included A.K. Bir (chairman), SatarupaSanyal, Vinod Ganatra, Ganga Raju Gunnam, Utpal Borpujari, Oinam Gautam Singh, Gautaman Bhaskaran and Sameer Hanchate. Members of jury for the nonfeature films present incuded Abhiram Bhadkamkar, Babu Kambrath, Oinam Doren, R. Buvana, Shila Datta and Vivek Mohan.
 
The cast and crew of both the films were introduced to the audience and felicitated by Mr Bajpai.
 
The features section of the Panorama will feature 26 films. They include 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 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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IFFI 2014 off to a colourful start, Rajinikanth receives Centenary Award

Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
The 45th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2014) got off to a colourful start here yesterday with a series of enthralling performance that evoked nostalgic memories of the years gone by.
 
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha lit the traditional lamp to mark the beginning of the festival in the presence of Union Finance and Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore.
 
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan was the chief guest on the occasion, while Tamil mega star Rajinikanth was presented with the Centenary Film Personality of the Year Award for his lifetime contribution to Indian cinema on the occasion. The award consisted of a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a certificate and the Silver Peacock Medal. It was instituted last year to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema 
 
Rajinikanth received the Centenary award from Mr Jaitley and Mr Bachchan and dedicated it to his producers, directors, co-stars, technicians and fans.
 
The international jury of the festival -- chairman Slawomir Idziak, cinematographer and filmmaker from Poland, Zhang Jianya, a filmmaker from China, Marie Brenner, a New York-based writer, Indian actress Seema Biswas and Nadia Dresti, the head of International Locarno Film Festival -- were amongst those present.
 
Actors Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon were the comperes of the opening ceremony.
 
The highlight of the evening was a captivating performance by Malayalam actress and dancer Shobhana Pillai and her troupe, which took the audience down the memory lane of popular dance sequences from Indian films, including numbers such as “Hothon pe aisi baat mein dabaake chali ayee” and “Piya tose naina lage re”.
 
Other celebrities present on the occasion included actors Satish Kaushik, Manoj Bajpai and Roopa Ganguli. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bachchan traced the history of Indian cinema, touching on the issues and various aspects of Indian life as depicted on the silver screen.
 
"Those who do not know the stories of their forefathers, cannot write their own," he said.
 
Mr Jaitley said the Indian film industry had come of age in view of the diversity it offered in terms of the numbers of films produced in different languages and themes.
 
Cinema today acted as an "alternate religion" to cricket in India as it entertained, educated, gave a social perspective to issues, offered young growing minds the vision to learn and nurture talent, he said.
 
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Mr Jaitley said cinema had matured as a medium in the country and corporatization had made it more professional and vibrant. He also spoke of the National Film Heritage Mission to create a digital record of Indian cinema.
 
"The President" directed by eminent Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the opening film of the festival. 
 
As many as 178 films from 79 countries will be screened during the 11-day event in various sections: World Cinema (61 films), Master-strokes (11), Festival Kaleidoscope (20), Soul of Asia (7), Documentaries (6), Animated Films (6). 
 
Besides, the Indian Panorama section will include 26 Feature and 15 Non-Feature Films. 
 
Seven films from the North-East, the focus region of the festival, would be showcased. There will also be retrospectives on Gulfzar and Jahnu Baruah, special homage films on Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal and Suchitra Sen and a special tribute to Farooq Shaikh.
 
A special section of films that focus on dance, personality-based retrospectives, and Masterclasses/workshopswould also form a part of IFFI 2014. 
 
The open air screening of Indian films for the general public free of cost on first come first served basis would be a new attraction in IFFI 2014. Besides the world premieres, IFFI 2014 offers activities such as the Film Bazar, 3D Film Shows and Panel Discussions.
 
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Amitabh Bachchan to be chief guest at IFFI 2014 opening ceremony

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014 on November 20, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said here yesterday.
 
Col Rathore also announced that well-known Tamil actor Rajinikanth would be conferred the Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year, while Chinese filmmaker Wong Kar Wai would receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
 
Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, Swedish filmmaker Jan Troell and Polish filmmaker  Krzysztof Zanussi would be the guests of honour at the opening ceremony, he said.
 
The President directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf of Iran will be the opening film at the festival and The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai would be the closing film.
 
Col. Rathore also announced that China would be the focus country at the festival, and the first meeting of the India-China Joint Working Group in the area would be held on the sidelines of the event.
 
He said the partnership with China would provide a platform for opening new avenues from filmmakers from both countries by sharing best practices and technologies.
 
In all, IFFI 2014 will screen 179 films from 75 countries across different categories which include World Cinema (61 films), Master-strokes (11 films), Festival Kaleidoscope (20 films), Soul of Asia (7 films), Documentaries (6 films), Animated Films (6 films). 
 
Besides, th Indian Panorama section will feature 41 feature and non-feature films.
 
With the North-East being the focus region, as many as seven films from the region would be showcased at the festival.
 
Regional cinema would also be an integral part of the festival. Retrospectives of Gulzar and Jahnu Baruah, special homage films on Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal, Suchitra Sen, and a special tribute to Farooq Sheikh would be the other attractions this year.
 
A special section of films that focus on dance, personality-based retrospectives, and master classes and workshops will also form a part of IFFI 2014. 
 
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Eros International acquires worldwide rights of Rajinikanth’s Lingaa

A poster of 'Lingaa'
A poster of Lingaa
Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited has said that it has acquired the worldwide rights of the Tamil film Lingaa, starring superstar Rajinikanth and directed by K.S. Ravikumar.
 
Produced by Rockline Entertainments Pvt Ltd, producer Rockline Venkatesh and also presented by Muni Rathna, Lingaa has Rajinikanth reprising a dual role along with Anushka Shetty and Sonakshi Sinha who makes her debut in Tamil cinema. 
 
The sound track has been scored by Oscar winning composer, A R Rahman with cinematography by R. Rathnavelu and production design by Sabu Cyril.
 
The Tamil and Telugu audio launch of Lingaa is slated for November 16 in Chennai along with the trailer launch of all three languages -- Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. The Hindi audio is scheduled to release soon. The music rights of the film, across languages – Tamil, Telugu and Hindi -- have been acquired by Eros’ music label, Eros Music.
 
Mr. Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd said, “We are delighted to present and release worldwide superstar Rajnikanth's much anticipated film Lingaa.  Audiences across the globe keenly await his first live action film after the blockbuster Robot. There is a huge buzz within the consumers and trade for the film and we are very excited."
 
Venkatesh added, “We are very pleased to associate with a leading studio like Eros to present a prestigious project like Lingaa starring superstar Rajinikanth. With their global positioning, we hope to present the film on a worldwide platform with maximum reach”.
 
Eros will release Lingaa worldwide in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi amongst other languages this December, a press release from the company added.
 
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Three-day children's film festival to begin in Delhi on November 14

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A three-day children's film festival, the Rashtriya Bal Film Mela, will begin at the Siri Fort Auditorium here on November 14 with "Swachhta" (cleanliness) as its theme.
 
The festival is planned for the first time in Delhi on the sidelines of the Children's Day celebrations to mark the birth anniversary of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on November 14.
 
"Pappu Ki Pugdundi" will be the opening film at the festival, which is being organized by the Children's Film Societ of India under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
 
Minister for Information & Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar told newspersons here yesterday that tennis player Sania Mirza would be the chief guest at the inaugural function, at which the Shiamak Davar Dance Group will also perform.
 
A cinematography workshop by the Film and Television Institute of India FTII, Pune, a workshop on ‘Best out of waste’, a magic performance and an impromptu work of art by artist Vilas Nayak on the theme ‘Swacchta’ will be some of the other attractions at the event.
 
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Indians prefer printed books over e-books: Survey

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Despite all the strides taken by India in the digital world, nearly four out of five respondents in the Tata Literature Live! Survey 2014 conducted across the country say they favour printed books over electronic reading. 
 
In an attempt to understand the evolving landscape of literary reading, amidst technological, social and behavioural impacts, the survey brought forth key insights into Indians' reading habits, a press release from the Tata Group said.
 
According to it, the results of the survey revealed the preference of printed books across all generations. 
 
From among the respondents, hyper-connected post-millennials in the age group of less than 20, rank highest in this preference with 81%. This is followed by those in the age group of 21-30 with 79%, 31-40 age group and 41-50 age group with 75% each, the lowest being the age-group of 50 and above with 74%.
 
Regionally, Mumbai respondents lead with 80% opting for the printed word. This is followed by Delhi with 79%, Kolkata with 78%, Bengaluru with 77% and Chennai with 76%.
 
"The Tata Literature Live! Survey 2014 is an effort to look into contemporary India's literary leisure reading. The survey has not only explored reading tastes, but more importantly how India is reading today. It is heartening to see India's love for the written word, and the findings encourage us to celebrate it even further at the forthcoming editions of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest!" says Mr. Anil Dharker, Founder and Festival Director of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest.
 
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Dr. Mukund Rajan, Member – Group Executive Council and Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, says, "The Tata Literature Live! Survey has thrown up very interesting findings. In a world of primetime TV, breaking news, and intensive social networking, reading books remains a popular activity. Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest endeavours to promote the cause of literature, particularly amongst the younger generation, and the findings of the survey enthuse us to strengthen our efforts in this direction."
 
The survey looks deeper into other aspects of reading habits as well. Some of the highlights are:
  • 60% respondents read a literary piece once a week 
  • 42% respondents ranked reading as the best means to survive a bad day
  • 74% respondents prefer reading to internet, social media or gaming 
  • 69% respondents prefer reading over watching television shows or movies 
  • 61% respondents prefer reading over socialising 
  • 60% respondents prefer reading over outdoor/indoor games 
  • Mumbai respondents show highest preference for printed books (80%) and choose reading over digital entertainment (78%), socialising (66%) and indoor/outdoor games (64%)
  • The survey crowns Kolkata as the literary capital of India as - 67% people opt for leisure literary reading once a week, 17% respondents have more than 300 literary books and 49% people choose reading as an escape from a bad day, all highest among other metros
  • Across generations, it is the post-millennial readers (73.49%), who read literary pieces more often than any other age-group
  • Also, people of 50 years and above emerge as the generation of book hoarders, with 20.59% claiming to have more than 300 books on their shelves
  • Further, disclosing author preferences, respondents across regions and age-groups shared mythology as a genre where they enjoy Indian authors more than their non-Indian counterparts.
  • Interestingly, when quizzed about what they would bargain to read, about 37.61% of the respondents are willing to let go off their daily dose of favourite TV shows for reading, ranking the highest amongst other categories such as, giving up their lives, skipping a plan/party with friends, taking a day off at work, or not giving up anything at all
Tata Literature Live! Survey 2014 is an exclusive study by the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest on Indian reading habits. Conducted in October 2014, the survey took a close look into the evolving landscape of literary reading amidst technological, social and behavioural impacts. It focuses on how India is reading today and dwells into the perceptions on literature, across demographics. The research was conducted online, accumulating responses from 1,426 individuals, across the country.
 
The fifth edition of Mumbai's international literary festival, Tata Literature Live, brought internationally renowned writers and performances from all over the world to Mumbai. The festival which took place at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, and, for the first time, at Prithvi Theatre and The Easel in Juhu, had an invigorating line-up of debates, talks, and creative performances which not only started a vibrant exchange of ideas, but also connected with literary conversations currently happening on a broad global stage.
 
Extremely happy with this year's edition, Dharker said, "The past four days have been an incredible experience. We have witnessed a huge turnout of audience which is overwhelming. Our sessions have seen full attendance and we have had live projections to other venues which have been full as well. Literature has taken hold of the city in a significant way and perhaps Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest! has contributed in a small way to that."
 
Over 120 writers, thinkers and performers from countries as diverse as England, the USA, Germany, Italy, Israel and Ireland took centre stage at the festival.
 
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National Museum in Delhi to reopen Jewellery Gallery after decade

The genius of jewellery-making in India over the past five millennia will shine through a new gallery that is opening in the National Museum this Friday, showcasing varied aesthetics of ornaments across the class, gender and age of the wearer.
 
Alamkara, which features a total of 255 pieces of jewellery housed in 25 glass cases, will also throw light on techniques of moulding some of the ornaments integral to ancient, medieval and modern history.
 
Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Shripad Naik will inaugurate the gallery that will give visitors a peek at ornaments that bear the stamp of regal splendour as well as the ones used in common households.
 
Curated by jewellery historian Usha Balakrishnan, the permanent gallery housing necklaces, bracelets, pendants, bangles, earplugs, needles and girdles, among others, will make NM the country’s largest repository of jewellery.
 
The 65-year-old institution did have a similar section till a decade ago when it was closed and the objects moved to a vault inaccessible to the public.
 
National Museum Director-General Venu V said the comeback of the gallery was  a long standing demand of   heritage lovers, as it was one of the most popular galleries.  The objects have now increased in number and also become better in quality. The catalogue of spectacular objects includes hair ornaments, plaques, marriage pendants, armbands and belts.
 
“History should ideally portray the life of people across social strata. The ornaments at Alamkara are suggestive of the sense of beauty of the regal classes to common folk over the years,” he said about the gallery that has jewels spanning from the Indus Valley civilisation to the 20th century.
 
The curator of the gallery has ensured that Alamkara amply represents ornaments used in average households. “In India, we have very little details about jewellery in public domain. It is more so with non-royal families, as the general tendency is to hide them in vaults,” notes Mumbai-based Dr Balakrishnan.
 
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Expressing optimism that the gallery would prompt other museums in the country to emulate the National Museum, she said, “Jewels have a lot of stories to tell. It is one section that merits stronger collection and better display in India. I hope Alamkara would lead other museums to emulate.”
 
Dr Balakrishnan, who did the gallery’s layout as well in a month-long exercise of curation, pointed out that Alamkara would display ornaments worn by men as well as children. “You have turban ornaments, Maharajah’s jewels and ear-rings of the Rajasthani male, besides jewels for children at large,” she added.
 
The layout has been laid in such a way that the trail follows themes of varying nature. “At the start, to the left, it follows chronology — initially. The first glass-case has objects of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro; in fact that section has the oldest artefact as of now and it dates back to 2,900 BCE. It is followed by a segment on Taxila jewels from the 1st century CE,” she said.
 
Dr R K Tewari, Deputy Curator and Custodian of the jewellery gallery said it had cases with themes such as   ‘God’ (jewels seen on deities) and ‘Maharajas’ (regalia) in the next two glass cases. Next comes typology -- ornaments worn from head to toe. Then there is a set of four glass cases, displaying the stylistic difference of articles from the country’s north and south.
 
There are also exhibits showing the flora and fauna used in ornamentation, while there is a separate section on amulets. “One segment particularly interesting is that which depicts the Western influences in Indian jewellery in the 19th century. Plus, there is one that shows the manufacturing techniques of some of them,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
 
"Overall, the attempt is to bring to light some of the ornaments that have survived the times in different parts of the country, some of which are beautiful jewels     carved on sculptures in ancient temples," she added.
 
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RAF, IAF bands perform at India Gate to commemorate Indians' role in WWI

The Central Band of the Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra being conducted by Flight Lieutenant A. Murray and Squadron Leader G. Jayachandran respectively, at India Gate, in New Delhi on November 1, 2014.
The Central Band of the Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra being conducted by Flight Lieutenant A. Murray and Squadron Leader G. Jayachandran respectively, at India Gate, in New Delhi on November 1, 2014.
The Royal Air Force (RAF) Band of England and the Indian Air Force's Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) staged a scintillating performance at the India Gate here this evening to commemorate the contribution of Indian soldiers for the war effort during World War I.
 
Air Marshal H B Rajaram, Air Officer-in-Charge Administration at Air Headquarters was the chief guest on the occasion. 
 
The RAF Regiment band is regarded as one of the leading military bands in the United Kingdom. The band, which performed with a strength of 27 musicians today, has earned a worldwide reputation for its outstanding performances.
 
Originally formed from the Royal Air Force Coastal Command band in 1942, it has travelled extensively including tours of Europe, Canada, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Belize, Hong Kong, Iraq and South Korea. It is a regular performer at Edinburgh Tattoo and as a part of Royal Air Force Massed Bands giving musical support to the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment. 
 
The origin of the AWSO dates back to June 2002. It has 35 performing musicians who play brass, woodwind, reed, string, electronic and percussion instruments. The band has performed in Bangkok, Berlin, Bangladesh and  Sri Lanka, and has participated in international music festivals in Finland, France, Italy and Malaysia. The AWSO is the only military orchestra in the country, which has empanelled with Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). In 2005 the IAF Band became the first Asian Member of the International Military Music Society based in Norway. 
 
The two bands were be conducted by Squadron Leader G Jayachandran and Flight Lieutenant Richard A Murray. 
 
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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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