National Museum Research Bulletin published after a gap of 16 years

Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma released the National Museum Research Bulletin, published after a gap of 16 years, here on Tuesday.
The Minister also released Sindhu Ghati Sabhyata: Ek Parichay (Hindi) along with the in-house publication, the National Museum Research Bulletin Number 10 special issue.
Dr Sharma congratulated the efforts of the National Museum to revive the research bulletin which he said will help to generate awareness about its activities. 
“Although India is a country of diversity, it is bound together by its strong cultural heritage. New discoveries are continuously taking place about our past and new additions are being made to history which must be brought before the people, especially the youth,” he added. 
Publications like those brought out by the National Museum have a big role to play in this direction, he pointed out.
National Museum Director General B. R. Mani, in his message, said the research bulletin will now renew the interest of the people and inspire them to have engaging conversations about the National Museum’s pivotal role in public sphere.
The National Museum Research Bulletin No. 10: Special issue has a number of research paper that highlight the collection, display and education aspect that the National Museum engages with. The research bulletin is also illustrated with colour photographs, some of which belong to the Reserve collection of the National Museum, making the bulletin appealing to a wider audience.
This research bulletin has been revived this time after a long gap of 16 years under the guidance of the Dr. Mani, who is also the Editorial -In-Chief of the Bulletin.
Sindhu Ghati Sabhyata : Ek Parichay is a Hindi version of An Introduction To Indus Valley Civilization which is among the bestsellers at the National Museum. Co-authored by Dr. Sanjib Kumar Singh (Head Publication Department, National Museum) and Dr Gunjan Srivastava(Deputy Superintending Archaeologist, ASI) and Mr Rajesh Kumar( Hindi Translator, National Museum), this book throws light on the splendour of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The book is an important contribution to the field as most works on the subject are restricted to the English Language and this version will particularly help the vernacular readers.
Both the publications will be available for sale at the National Museum Reception Counter and will benefit students, scholars, artists, historians, museum professionals and art lovers among other readers.

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NCPA to hold specially curated events to raise funds for flood-hit Kerala

National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai will stage specially curated events from September 28-30 to raise funds for flood-hit Kerala.
The events include Kailash Kher in a live concernt on Septembr 28 and a multi-dance presentation, "Samapravaaha...A dance confluence" by eminent classical dancers on September 30, a press release from NCPA said.
The earnings from these events will be donated towards the cause, the release said, adding that the artistes will be performing free of cost.
In addition to the events, NCPA will also donate its box office earnings of "Shyam Rang" by Parthiv Gohil and two Wester music recitals for Kerala, it said.
"NCPA also appeals to its members and patrons to come together in support of the cause in form of donations. NCPA staff has volunteered to donate part of their salaries towards the cause.
Mr. Khushroo N Suntook, Chairman NCPA said, “We all are well aware of the current state in Kerala. Our hearts go out to those families who have lost their homes and dear ones. Kerala has given us many established artists and continues to do so. As an organization, it is our duty to help them re-build their lives and we will do so through all possible efforts. On behalf of NCPA, I would like to thank our artists, members and audiences who have come forward to help us with the cause.”

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'Jab Jab Phool Khile' writer Brij Katyal passes away

Veteran film writer Brij Katyal, who penned the story of the Shashi Kapoor and Nanda starrer "Jab Jab Phool Khile", passed away here on Thursday evening.
Sharing the news, writer-director-media strategist and a close associate, Anusha Srinivasan Iyer, told IANS that he was suffering from cancer.
Katyal was admitted to the Shanti Avedana Ashram located in Mount Merry, Bandra, where he died.
Iyer said: "Brijji was all of sixteen even as an octogenarian. His energy was infectious. I took my baby steps into writing assisting him in penning his scripts... He was always wanting me to direct, finding producers for me. When my short film 'Saare Sapne Apne Hain' travelled to 53 festivals, he was happier than me."
Katyal also wrote the story of many TV serials including 'Dillagi' and 'Saans' which was directed by Neena Gupta.
Renu Sharan, one of the producers who worked with Katyal, said: "He wrote many scripts for us, the first being 'Dillagi'. His characters were very real."

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Indian artists step forward to raise funds for Kerala relief work

An exhibition and sale of art works will take place at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here from September 21-23 in a step forward by the Indian art fraternity to raise funds for flood-ravaged Kerala.
Titled "Art for Kerala Flood Disaster 2018", the 3-day exhibition and sale will see artworks by leading modern and contemporary artists being sold.
"The entire sale proceeds shall be contributed towards Kerala Chief Minister Relief Fund," the NGMA said in a statement.
The initiative will see donated art works of Indian artists like A. Ramachandran, Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Jatin Das, Manu Parekh, Jogen Chowdhury, Madhvi Parekh, Raghu Rai, Shuvaprasanna, Gopi Gajwani, Rameshwar Broota, Paresh Maity and Subodh Gupta.
"The wide-ranging body of works encompasses drawings, paintings, photography, sketches etc," NGMA said.
The recent floods in the southeren state claimed over 483 lives, and left many homeless.
According to an August 30 statement by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, at the height of the floods, the worst to hit the state in a century, there were 14.5 lakh people in more than 3,000 relief camps.
The exhibition and sale will be inaugurated on September 21, and will go on till September 23.

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Actor Dilip Kumar still in ICU, improving

Veteran actor Dilip Kumar's health is improving at the intensive care unit of a hospital here for treatment of pneumonia, said a family friend.
The 95-year-old actor was on Wednesday admitted to the Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Bandra, after he felt uneasy due to chest infection. The treatment is on for a patch of pneumonia.
"He is in ICU and his condition is improving. Antibiotics are being given intravenously," Udaya Tara Nayar, compiler of Dilip Kumar's autobiography, told IANS.
His wife and actress Saira Banu has been by his side.
One of India's most iconic actors, Dilip Kumar has appeared in some classics like "Kohinoor", "Mughal-e-Azam", "Shakti", "Naya Daur" and "Ram Aur Shyam". 
He was last seen on the silver screen in 1998 in "Qila".

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Hollywood legend Burt Reynolds dead

Actor Burt Reynolds dies at 82
Burt Reynolds, the moustachioed megastar who first strutted on screen more than half a century ago, has died, according to his agent. He was 82.
The Michigan native, whose easy-going charms and handsome looks drew prominent roles in films such as "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Boogie Nights," suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday, CNN quoted the veteran actor's agent Todd Eisner as saying. 
An iconic Hollywood sex symbol in front of the camera, Reynolds also tried his directorial hand behind it, and later earned a reputation for philanthropy after founding the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film and Theatre in Florida.
His roles over the years ranged and pivoted from Southern heart throb to tough guy to comedy, notably in his role as Rep. David Dilbeck in the 1996 film "Striptease", which flopped at the box office but earned him widespread praise for his comedic prowess.
But it was John Boorman's 1972 thriller "Deliverance", which cast Reynolds as outdoorsman Lewis Medlock, that is widely credited for launching his early career.
Reynolds made an acting resurgence in recent years, appearing in numerous films and TV shows. 
He was cast in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino-directed "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood", scheduled for release next year. 
Reynolds had not yet started shooting his appearance in the film.

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Shahid Kapoor, Mira blessed with son

It's a baby boy for Mira and Shahid Kapoor
Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor and his wife Mira Rajput on Wednesday became parents again as they welcomed a son at a hospital here.
They had daughter Misha in 2016. The boy was born on Wednesday evening at the Hinduja Hospital here, a source told IANS.
Mira was admitted to the hospital in the evening and her mother Bela Rajput and other family members like Shahid's mother Neelima Azim, Shahid's step-brother and actor Ishan Khatter visited Mira before the baby's delivery.
Shahid and Mira got married on July 6, 2015. Theirs was an arranged match, and they have grown to be one of the most talked about couples of Bollywood.
Earlier this year, Shahid disclosed the news of Mira's second pregnancy via social media on Instagram.
Despite his busy schedule of promoting his upcoming film "Batti Gul Meter Chalu", Shahid has been managing to spend some quality time with Mira in the past few days.

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Dilip Kumar hospitalised due to chest infection

Veteran actor Dilip Kumar, 95, was on Wednesday admitted to a hospital here due to chest infection, but he is recuperating, said a family friend.
Faisal Farooqui, who tweets on behalf of the thespian, gave a health update on the ailing actor via Twitter.
"Saab has been admitted to Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital as he was bit uneasy due to a chest infection. He is recuperating. Requesting your duas and prayers," Farooqui tweeted. 
Dilip Kumar, one of India's most iconic actors, has appeared in some classics like "Kohinoor", "Mughal-e-Azam", "Shakti", "Naya Daur" and "Ram Aur Shyam". 
He was last seen on the silver screen in 1998 in "Qila". He is married to actress Saira Banu.

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JCB Literature Prize announces longlist of this year's '10 most distinguished novels'

Two novels in translation, two by debut women authors, two by established writers previously nominated for the Man Booker Prize, along with four other novels have made it to the longlist of the inaugural edition of the JCB Prize for Literature.
The longlisted books are: "Half the Night is Gone" (Amitabha Bagchi), "Clouds" (Chandrahas Choudhury), "Jasmine Days" (Benny Daniel/Benyam), "Poonachi" (Perumal Murugan), "Jasoda" (Kiran Nagarkar), "When the Moon Shines by Day" (Nayantara Sahgal), "Latitudes of Longing" (Shubhangi Swarup), "The Book of Chocolate Saints" (Jeet Thayil), and "Empire" (Devi Yesodharan).
The award, launched earlier in 2018, was open to entries till May 31.
The jury consists of award-winning film director Deepa Mehta (Chair), entrepreneur and scholar Rohan Murthy, Yale University astrophysicist and writer Priyamvada Natarajan, novelist Vivek Shanbhag, and author and translator Arshia Sattar.
"The Prize exists to celebrate distinguished fiction by Indian writers. This longlist is a true celebration of the diversity and scope of contemporary Indian literature. 
"I am particularly happy that there are two very powerful translations on this list, and two debut authors too. I hope the Prize will help readers in India and around the world discover just how vibrant and ambitious are the novels being written here today," Literary Director Rana Dasgupta said in a statement.
Of the ten books, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3.  The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each. 
The final award -- carrying Rs 25 lakh -- will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27. If the winning work is a translation, the translator receives an additional Rs 5 lakh.

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Shashi Tharoor's 'Why I Am A Hindu' to be made as web series

Shashi Tharoor (File photo: IANS)
Shashi Tharoor (File photo: IANS)
Politician and author Shashi Tharoor's book "Why I Am A Hindu" will be made into a web series with National Award-winning producer Sheetal Talwar as showrunner. The Congress MP will also narrate it.
Taking head-on the current misinterpretation and misappropriation of Hinduism, Tharoor's book is about the history of Hinduism and its core tenets, as well as socio-cultural developments in India that relate to Hinduism and his own religious convictions.
The book is a repudiation of Hindu nationalism, and its rise in Indian society, which relied upon an interpretation of the religion which was markedly different from the one with which he has grown up, practiced and had studied.
On its adaptation, Tharoor said in a statement to IANS: "In any time and era, an adaptation of this book into film would be relevant, but in the current political, social and cultural environment it is imperative that the message of true Hinduism - the Hinduism of acceptance reach the widest audience possible."
"I am glad that Sheetal and I - who share a similar belief system - are collaborating on this effort," he added.
Talwar, who will be seen producing in India after nearly 7 years, says when he gave "Why Am I A Hindu" a read, it shook him.
"I was ashamed that as someone whose profession is to voice, I had not raised my voice and done nothing while the inherent integrity of our pluralism was being threatened.
"After 'Dharm' and 'Rann', it is after years that I have been so excited about a subject. I am glad that I could convince Shashi to not only make this into a web series, but also offer his time as a narrator to the series."
The series will headline numerous known filmmakers film an episode each. It is set to be made in various Indian languages and will be released in the first quarter of 2019, the statement read.

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SC quashes FIR against Malayalam actress Priya Varrier

Priya Prakash Varrier
Priya Prakash Varrier
The Supreme Court on Friday quashed an FIR lodged in Hyderabad against Malayalam actress Priya Prakash Varrier, who shot to fame following her 'wink song' from the film "Oru Addar Love".
It also barred registration of any further FIR against her in connection with the same controversial song in the film which is still under production.
Observing that no case is made out for an offence of hurting any religious sentiments, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said there was "no sign of blasphemy".
The court said: "It (song) does not express any calculated tendency to insult or upset moral or public order, no sign of blasphemy."

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Kapoor family to sell iconic RK Studio, Kareena nostalgic

Bollywood's iconic Kapoor family has collectively decided to sell the sprawling landmark RK Studio. Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan says she has fond memories of the studio, built by her late legendary grandfather Raj Kapoor.
Kareena, who has been under the weather for a few days, told IANS here: "I don't know how far what is actually happening. In fact, I have been quite under the weather and I haven't even met my father in the last four or five days... But of course, we have all grown up walking around in those corridors."
"I think it's probably something that the family has decided, so it's upto my father, his brothers and up to them... If that's what they have decided, so be it," added the actress on the sidelines of the Lakme Fashion Week, where she was the showstopper for the finale show.
The Kapoor family has taken the tough decision of selling the two-acre RK Studio 70 years after it was established as it was not economically viable to rebuild it after it was gutted down in a fire last year.
Rishi Kapoor, in an interview to Mumbai Mirror on behalf of the family, said they were initially juggling with the idea of renovating the place with state-of-the-art technology, but the investment in rebuilding the studio would just not have yielded sufficient revenue to keep it going. He called it a "level headed decision".
In September last year, a major fire broke out on the sets of a dance reality show, leaving a section of the studio gutted.
R.K. Studio, the headquarters of the film production company R.K. Films, was founded and named after the Great Showman, Raj Kapoor, in 1948.
Its inaugural banner film "Aag" that year crashed at the box office, but the next year proved to be a good omen when its production "Barsaat" (1949), starring Raj Kapoor-Nargis was a superhit.
In fact, the company's logo was designed to reflect the poster of a scene from "Barsaat" and after that, the studio never looked back.
It had a string of successful black-and-white releases like "Awaara" (1951), "Boot Polish" (1954), "Shri 420" (1955), "Jaagte Raho" (1956).
Later, the studio was the venue for several other big ticket films like "Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hain" (1960), "Mera Naam Joker" (1970), "Bobby" (1973), the debut film for Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia, "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" (1978), "Prem Rog" (1982), "Ram Teri Ganga Maili" (1985), which was the founder-actor's last film before his death in June 1988.

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'English Vinglish' actress Sujata Kumar dead

Actress Sujata Kumar, fondly remembered for playing late veteran actress Sridevi's sibling in the film "English Vinglish" has died of cancer, said her sister Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, the actress-singer.
Suchitra tweeted that Sujata reportedly succumbed to cancer late on Sunday. "Our beloved Sujata Kumar has passed away and moved on to a better place leaving us with an umimaginable void. She left us an hour ago at 11.26 p.m. Life can never be the same again." 
Suchitra had earlier tweeted asking her fans and friends to pray for Sujata. "Please pray for my darling sister Sujata Kumar," she had tweeted.
On Saturday, Suchitra shared an update about her sister.
"It feels like somebody's plunged a hard cold knife into my heart and ripped the ground from under my feet as I sit outside ICU and pray for my big sister, my mother, my best friend, my darling Sujata Kumar as she battles for her life inside..."
Sujata worked in several TV shows like "Hotel Kingston" and "Bombay Talking". She also appeared in the Anil Kapoor-starrer "24" as Meghna Singhania. 
Apart from "English Vinglish", Sujata had worked in films like "Raanjhanaa", "Salaam-E-Ishq" and "Gori Tere Pyar Mein".

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Breaking moulds wasn't on our minds: Deverakonda on 'Geetha Govindam'


Actor Vijay Deverakonda is loving the overwhelming response to his new release "Geetha Govindam", which is a take on love and courtship.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What has the response been so far? Has the audience understood your impatience with conventional treatment of love and courtship?

A. The response is shocking. I can't even begin to assess what it is that's happening. My phone's ringing off the hook. Everyone is trying to understand what is happening. It's crazy! I am not even attempting to understand the response to "Geetha Govindam".

Q. The film deals with the dynamics of courtship in a healthy manner. How much of your own views are projected in the film?

A. I am figuring out my personal views. And evolving as a person every day. I have no fixed views on men, women and other issues. How I feel about various things is constantly changing, evolving. Breaking moulds wasn't on our minds. It's only a happy by-product.

Q. In the film, the heroine is shown to take advantage of your vulnerable situation. Normally it is men who are shown to be exploitative?

A. More than exploiting, I feel she has this pent-up anger and frustration at the sight of him. She is gracious enough to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he was not the one who harassed her when asked by her brother at their first meeting, seeing the trauma it would put his family through.

But that in no way meant she forgives him, and they are forced due to situations to spend so much time together. So then she gives him a tough time. I don't blame her though.

Q. But so many times men get wrongly accused of sexual harassment?

A. That is an extremely scary and discomforting thought. But in "Geetha Govindam", even though unintended, he shouldn't have gotten himself into that position. He could have avoided getting so friendly with a girl he had just met.

Q. Are you consciously breaking conventional moulds through your roles and films?

A. It's more unconscious. I am just drawn to this stuff more.

Q. Though clean and wholesome, the film is not shy about the gender equations. Do you think it's time Telugu cinema explored the man-woman equation beyond the surface level?

A. Cinema everywhere is growing up. We are no exception. I am glad "Geetha Govindam" has found an audience. If it hadn't, I'd still not embrace the conventional. That's not me.


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As human beings we should help others in need: Rani Mukerji


Bringing about social change is the onus of every citizen of the world and not just of a handful of those who are in powerful positions, says actress Rani Mukerji, whose films "Black" and "Hichki" have been instrumental in transforming people's outlook towards those with special needs.

As a celebrity with over two decades of experience in the world of Indian showbiz, Rani has also immersed herself in philanthropic works. While she finds it gratifying, she feels this is not something for actors or businessmen to do alone.

"I think we all being citizens of the world, have a responsibility and it's not just for the sake of doing certain things because I am an actor, socialite or a business person.

"I think what's important is that apart from the careers we choose, it is our basic duty as human beings to able to help other human beings... Or help in a cause because that's what makes us truly citizens of the world," Rani told IANS in a tete-a-tete here.

Her film "Hichki", in which she plays a woman with Tourette Sydrome has been widely lauded for spreading awareness on a little known nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, with an entertaining and emotional story at its core.

At the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here, Rani was awarded the Best Actress for her role in the film. She feels when a film like this wins an award, it helps in pushing the awareness it sets out to spread.

When "Hichki" had released, Rani had said she won't take long gaps if the movie works. So when do we see her on-screen again?

"I will be doing projects, and you will be getting to hear about them soon," she said.

Will she pick another issue-based movie?

"Let's see... I don't want to say much. So wait for the announcement," the actress, looking resplendent in a black ensemble by her forever favourite designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, said with a smile.

Her Melbourne trip was special. More so because her daughter Adira, who was born in December 2015, was travelling with her. She took the little one to the aquarium, zoo, a 'bouncing garden' and amusement park to entertain her.

"I got her all the way to Melbourne and it was my duty as a mother to entertain her as much as I could. I took her to an amusement park and it was the first time she sat on a roller coaster. And she is really brave. 'Mumma, I want to go again'. So, she's quite a daredevil like that," Rani said.

Is that like you?

"Yes," said the proud mother, who is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra.

As a mother, patience is one virtue that Rani has realised about herself.

"When you are a working professional and when you're working round the clock, I think you forget the word patience. Also, I think we as actors are used to the phenomenon because a lot of times we are waiting for shots in the vanity vans and waiting, waiting, waiting till the next shot comes.

"Being a mother I realised there's no time to sit ideal. For me, it's 24*7 work and attention. The only time when Adira will not need attention is when she is in deep sleep. The rest of the time I have to be all attentive for her."

Rani is glad she was able to break the cliche around actresses who become mothers. It was her husband who pushed her to work.

But what about being directed by him?

"I think there are some things that we should just leave for later... Probably Adira will make that phenomenon happen... I guess, all in time."


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Priyanka, Nick 'seal relationship' with 'roka' ceremony

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas (File photo: IANS)
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas (File photo: IANS)
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, following months of speculation, on Saturday solemnised their relationship with a traditional Indian 'roka' ceremony. The actress says she is "taken" with her "heart and soul" by the American singer, who has introduced her to the world as the "future Mrs Jonas".
"Taken... With all my heart and soul," Priyanka posted on Instagram with an intimate photograph following their pre wedding Punjabi ritual at her residence here.
Nick posted the same photograph in which the couple looks much in love, and wrote: "Future Mrs Jonas. My heart. My love."
Priyanka, 36, and Nick, 25, looked every bit 'desi' in traditional Indian wear for the ceremony, which was attended by their close family members and friends. Nick's parents -- mother Denise and father Kevin Jonas Sr -- who flew down from the US with their son for the occasion on Thursday -- also dressed in Indian wear for the celebrations.
Designer duo Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla, whose sunshine yellow creation made Priyanka glow with joy, posted on Instagram: "Priyanka Chopra is heavenly in Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla Couture at her roka ceremony. Here's wishing the beautiful couple every joy."
She wore a chikankari sherwani. "The colour is as auspicious as the embroidery is intricate to celebrate this sacred and romantic occasion," the designers said in a statement.
Nick wore a pristine white kurta churidar as he performed the 'puja'.
It was a Ganpati Puja, said Kamal Kumar Mishra and Pradip Kumar Trivedi, the two priests who took care of the 'roka' proceedings.
Nick performed all the rituals here as per 'Sanatam Dharam', the priests added.
Photographs from the occasion made a splash on social media.
In one of the first images that did the rounds, Nick was seen cosying up to Priyanka, who is seen holding on to him, as they stand against a green background with a logo that read 'NP' -- merged together to denote the amalgamation of the first letter of both their names.
While there was a buzz that Nick proposed to Priyanka on her 36th birthday on July 18, news had followed that he got a Tiffany & Co. store in London shut down to purchase an engagement ring for his lady love.
Priyanka had been making efforts to hide the sparkler, but in the photograph that she has shared from the 'roka', the rock takes the limelight.
The ceremony was attended by Priyanka's cousin Parineeti Chopra, as well as celebrities like Arpita Khan Sharma, Mushtaq Sheikh and Srishti Behl Arya.
Well-known names from Bollywood and Hollywood also sent in good wishes in abundance for the couple. Gigi Hadid, Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Ileana D'Cruz, Preity Zinta and Laura Brown are some of those who wished them a happily ever after.
Priyanka is a former Miss World, who established her space in the Hindi film industry with a slew of impressive projects like "Fashion", "Mary Kom", "Barfi!", "Bajirao Mastani" and "7 Khoon Maaf". She forayed into the international showbiz world with a singing career, and eventually landed the lead role in American TV show "Quantico".
It gave her a launchpad that pushed her presence in the global entertainment universe. She made her Hollywood debut with "Baywatch", followed by "A Kid Like Jake". She will also be seen in "Isn't It Romantic?"
She is also an active philanthropist.
Nick is a popular singer and has also acted in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", as well as done TV shows like "Hannah Montana", "Camp Rock" and "Scream Queens".
The two have been creating a buzz since a joint appearance at the Met Gala red carpet in 2017, leaving everyone wondering whether they were dating.
At the Met Gala, Priyanka had just laughed off a romance with Jonas, insisting they simply shared an agent and were friends. She had also said they went to the Met Gala together as they were both wearing ensembles by Ralph Lauren.
In December last year, Jonas, while promoting "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", had expressed a desire to visit India.
"I've never been (to India), but I'm dying to go and I have now heard from Priyanka, my new friend, a lot about it," Jonas had told IANS in a statement.
And who knew, when the friendship turned into love for the couple.

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I do have my downtime to keep a balance: Ranveer Singh


His infectious energy is something people take inspiration from and his quirkiness makes him one of the most versatile actors in Bollywood. However, Ranveer Singh makes sure to switch off from the world and unwind as his day gets over to take a break from his fast-paced life.

"I do that every day. At some point when my day ends, I switch off from the world and unwind. I live a very fast-paced life, so it's very important for me to have some downtime. It helps me keep a balance," Ranveer told IANS in an e-mail interview from Mumbai when asked if there is ever a time when he sits back, relaxes and enjoys the normalcy of not being a Bollywood actor.

Ranveer was present at the Jack & Jones 10th anniversary celebrations.

Some high street fashion labels like Jack & Jones, Vero Moda, Only, Junarose, Only & Sons, along with Selected Homme, hosted a celebration at Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. It was attended by Bollywood's young brigade of celebrities like Ranveer, Sonakshi Sinha, Kiara Advani, Shikha Talsania and Priyank Sharma, along with Jim Sarbh, who represented different brands.

Ranveer, 33, is synonymous with being quirky when it comes to his fashion choices. He says in school too he was called "atrangi" (different) for his appearances.

"In my first two years, I did not make very honest choices when it came to my fashion sensibilities. I was still in the process of figuring out who I was and that reflected in my fashion choices. In my early days, the concept of appreciation and criticism was new to me.

"I remember in school too, I was called 'atrangi' because of my Mohawk, ear piercings, baggy jeans. I have always been this way. But over time, I have been in situations where I have had the chance to reflect. I now no more worry about being judged or influenced by others' opinions. I have started making choices that are authentic, especially when it comes to fashion," the actor said.

After making his Bollywood debut with romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baaraat", the actor has proved his mettle in various roles in films like "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl", "Lootera", "Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela", "Gunday", "Dil Dhadakne Do", "Bajirao Mastani" and "Padmaavat".

Though he gave hits with different female stars in many films, his pairing with rumoured girlfriend Deepika Padukone was appreciated a lot in many of his cinematic offerings. The grapevine also has it that Ranveer and Deepika are planning to wed in November in Italy amidst a limited crowd of near and dear ones.

But neither of them have spoken about it yet.

Ranveer's next films are Rohit Shetty's "Simbaa", Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy" and Kabir Khan's "'83", in which he will be seen portraying the role of former cricketer Kapil Dev.

"It is a film based on the most glorious chapter in India's sporting history -- the Cricket World Cup. I play Kapil Dev in the movie. It is my first biographical portrayal of an individual who is still out and about, doing such great work... it is an absolute honour to have been able to lead an ensemble of characters that are so significant in our history," said Ranveer.

The actor says he is thoroughly enjoying all the projects that he is currently working on.

"And I hope that the upcoming projects continue to charm the audience just like my past work has," he said.


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I feel I've lost my father again': Lata Mangeshkar on her bonding with Vajpayee


Devastated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's death, Asia's nightingale Lata Mangeshkar who shared a very close bonding with him, said: "He was like my father. He called me Beti. I called him Dadda. I feel I've lost my father all over again.

"When I saw the glow on his face, his persuasive oratorical powers and his love for the arts, I was always reminded of my father (the legendary musician-stage actor Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar). When I was a child many national leaders and politicians would visit my home. Vir Savarkar was one of them. Atalji reminded me of Vir Savarkar. He was a noble soul. No words of praise can do justice to him. Atalji was never short of words. But I am."

Lataji gets pensive about her association with Atalaji. "He was very close to me, and I to him. When we Mangeshkars inaugurated a hospital in Pune in my name, I asked Atalji to do the inauguration. He happily agreed and gave a rousing speech -- as usual -- where he said he was in a dilemma as he thought naming a hospital after me was not right. There should be a music academy named after Lata Mangeshkar, not a hospital. Now what do I say? That people should fall sick so that this hospital named after my Beti would run?' His speeches were works of art. There is not one orator in Indian politics, or for that matter in India, to match Atalji."

In 2014 Lataji had the rare privilege of doing an entire album of song devoted to Atalji's poems.

Recalling the "unforgettable" experience, Lataji says: "I still remember the album was officially released in his home in Delhi. We had flown down for the occasion. All the poems in the album we entitled 'Antarnaad' were handpicked by me and my composer Mayuresh Pai. We then flew to Delhi to get his approval. When Atalji saw the poems we had selected he was very happy, specially with 'Geet naya gata hoon', which was among his personal favourites.

"However there was some doubt over another poem 'Thann gayi maut se' which we had selected. Though Atalji himself loved the selection his (adopted) daughter and others close to him felt it was wrong of him to challenge death through poetry. So we decided to drop that poem. When we told Atalji of our decision he was very quiet then he said, if that's what everyone wants, then so be it."

Lataji says she has seldom been more impressed by any other politician. "Atalji hriday se kavi the aur swabhav se sadhu (he was a poet at heart and a saint by nature). He was a visionary and India made rapid progress during his prime ministership. I remember how much he did to improve relations with Pakistan. He started the bus service to Pakistan. And he was very keen that I be one of the first passengers in that journey to the other side of the border. He told me that people in Pakistan were as keen to hear me as people in India. But I didn't go. It was always hard to say no to Atalji. He was such a wonderful human being and great statesman."

Lataji feels the nation has lost more than Bharat Ratna. "Dadda was man with a vision. He could see the future. His speeches were works of art. When he spoke, the nation listened. I still have his speeches on my mobile phone. I can listen to them for hours. In his going India has been orphaned. But then, if he was in so much pain it would've been selfish of us to hold him back. He is now relieved of all pain probably regaling the gods with his oration."


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Manto comes to vivid life in Nandita Das' film trailer


Let’s not beat around the bush. 2018 is the year of biopics in Bollywood. Barely have we gotten out of the two back-to-back hockey sagas "Soorma" and "Gold", when it’s time to relinquish the sportive spirit for a spot of sunshine in the literary world.

First things first. What shines the brightest in the trailer of "Manto" is the art direction and the cinematography. Swathed in sepia tones and bright rusty colours denoting a time that has clocked the past but not been forgotten in the present, the look of the film is so vivid and nostalgic, it conveys both regret and urgency.

Female directors -- be it Reema Kagti in "Gold" or now Nandita Das in "Manto" -- reflexively gravitate towards the correct colours to convey a past that could well return sometime very soon in the future. Manto's controversial writing, his vivid description of sexual violence and political turmoil, has been discussed and damned for decades. He is relevant to our times even if we have moved on to Chetan Bhagat.

Here is Manto revived by an actor and a director who get to the centre of Manto's universe by exploring the ambience that fostered his creative juices while constantly trying to stem its flow.

Manto never fought shy of describing bodily fluids and their outflow from one individual to another. Nandita's film seems to focus on how Manto's writing and his unorthodox views on love, sex, intimacy and religion influenced his own life and those around him.

"When we were under British rule, we dreamt of freedom. Now when we are free, what do we dream of?" Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Manto wonders aloud.

There is an element of disenchanted irony in Manto's personality, so evident in the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi and the cinema of Guru Dutt. Nandita's film seems to explore the dark side of Manto's personality without abandoning the sunshine.

It may be the year of biopics. But I want to see how Nawazuddin pulls off two such ideologically opposed personalities as Manto and Thackeray during the same year.


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Indian film fraternity pays tribute to 'selfless', 'warm' Vajpayee


Lata Mangeshkar felt the same pain upon hearing of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise on Thursday, as she did when she lost her father. The legendary singer led the Indian film industry's tributes to the selfless and beloved titan and statesman.

The 93-year-old leader, who had faded from public life for more than a decade following health complications, died at the capital's AIIMS, where he was admitted for the past several weeks.

His demise led to an outpouring of tributes from the movie world across India, and celebrities also remembered his much-loved poetic streak. Here's what they tweeted.

* Lata Mangeshkar: Rishitulya purva pradhan mantri Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji ke swargwas ki vaarta sunke mujhe aise laga jaise mere sar par pahaad toota hai, kyunki main unko pita samaan maanti thi aur unhone mujhe apni beti banaaya tha. Mujhe wo itne priya the ki main unko dadda kehke bulaati thi. Aaj mujhe waisa dukh hua hai jaise mere pitaji ke swargwas ke samay hua tha. Ishwar unki aatma ko shanti de.

(The news of respected former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's demise has been shocking. I used to regard him like my father, and he had made me his daughter. He was so dear to me that I used to call him 'Dadda'. I feel the same pain I felt when my father had passed away. May his soul rest in peace.)

* Rajinikanth: I'm saddened to hear the demise of a great statesman Shri Vajpayeeji. May his soul rest in peace.

* Sanjay Dutt: Indeed a big loss for our country as we pay our last tribute to Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. He was a close family friend and his legacy will forever be remembered. Thank you for your selfless service, sir! My heartfelt condolence to everyone.

* S.S. Rajamouli: One of the few statesmen who brought dignity and esteem to politics. His dream and steadfast application of road connectivity changed and continues to change millions of lives in our country. Bowing with respect to our beloved leader Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji.

* Prosenjit Chatterjee: A gentleman with immense knowledge whom we have lost. India has lost a great person. My deepest condolences for the entire family. Rest in peace sir.

* Resul Pookutty: At this hour of calamity and insecurity sad to hear of the passing of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister and a true statesman. One of the sane voices in the Indian politics. Dear Sir, you will be missed and your tribe, even more in this changing times.

* Vishal Dadlani: A Titan has departed. There was more impact and gravitas in the pauses between his words, than there are in the petty political speeches we hear these days. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

* Farhan Akhtar: RIP Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. You will be remembered as one of India's greatest leaders, as an exemplary statesman, as a tour de force for peace and unity and most of all as a genuine, warm, approachable human being.

* Dhanush: Deeply saddened to hear about the passing away of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. Heartfelt condolences to the family and dear ones of the great man.

* Ashoke Pandit: Atalji was a man of words but today no word would describe the loss India suffers in his death. He wasn't a politician... He was a thought, a vision. Mortal humans perish but a thought always remains alive and grows in the minds and hearts of millions.

* Sreenu Vaitla: Saddened by the loss of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji, one of my favourite leaders and our former prime minister. Some leaders leave such an immense influence that you just wish that they are never gone. May your soul rest in peace sir.

* Rana Daggubati: Today we lost a great statesman, poet and orator. A man who dreamed of a glorious nation and strived to take us on the path to prosperity. Rest in peace.

* Adnan Sami: Extremely saddened to learn of the passing away of former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji. Apart from being one of the greatest statesman India has seen, he was a great man of 'peace'. He spread love everywhere he went... May he rest in peace.

* Dia Mirza: "Let no one challenge India's secularism." - Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Growing up in India in the 1980s and 1990s, one can never forget what a deep impact Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji made on us... He was a great statesman and leader.

* Arjun Kapoor: Heartfelt condolences to Vajpayeeji's family and dear ones. May his soul rest in peace.

* Huma Qureshi: Respect always sir... RIP.


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Bryan Adams to bring 'The Ultimate Tour' to India in October

Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Bryan Adams will be coming to India in October for a multi-city tour, and says he is excited about performing in the "beautiful country" again.
This will be his fifth visit to the country. The gigs are lined up in support of the music veteran's 21-track compilation "Ultimate", which released in November last year.
"Namaste India. At the onset I'd like to wish each one of you a very happy Independence Day. India is one of my favourite places in the whole world," Adams said in a statement.
"The love and generosity that I have experienced here is immense," he added.
The tour will start with a concert in Ahmedabad on October 9 and move to Hyderabad (October 11), Mumbai (October 12), Bengaluru (October 13), before wrapping up in Delhi on October 14. The event is produced by ENIL and has partnered with Infibeam Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. for the gig in Ahmedabad.
"I am eternally grateful to ENIL for (giving me) the opportunity to perform again in this beautiful country," added the Canadian rocker, who is known for his signature brand of feel-good rock and roll and big ballads like "(Everything I do) I do it for you", "Summer of 69" and "Please forgive me".
Mahesh Shetty, Chief Operating Officer at ENIL, said: "Bryan Adams is one of the most exciting live musicians in the world and his energetic performance, effortless stage presence and incredible vocals are guaranteed to thrill and entertain. His first concert in India was in 1995 in Mumbai which set a precedent for other global artists who wished to perform in India. He enjoys a devout following in India... We are extremely excited to bring his tour to India and anticipate a total sell out."
The aim of "Ultimate" is to condense his extensive back catalogue - 13 studio albums, five live albums, five compilation albums and over 75 singles - into a 21-track offering guaranteed to capture the true essence of the hitmaker's much celebrated career.
'The Ultimate Tour' will see Adams perform material from the album, which is a mix of new tracks and his chart-topping numbers. 'The Ultimate Tour' has travelled to 53 cities and four continents.

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IFFM Awards: Rani, Manoj named Best Actors, 'Sanju' wins Best Film

Manoj Bajpayee (File photo: IANS)
Manoj Bajpayee (File photo: IANS)
Rajkumar Hirani's "Sanju" on Sunday walked away with the Best Film honour here at the Westpac IFFM Awards night, where Manoj Bajpayee won the Best Actor for his yet-to-release "Gali Guleiyan" and Rani Mukerji was named Best Actress for her performance in "Hichki".
Rani, who impressed with her performance as a woman faced with Tourette's Syndrome in "Hichki", walked away with two honours at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) as she was also bestowed an 'Excellence In Cinema' award.
Veteran actress Simi Garewal, looking elegant as ever in her trademark pristine white, gave away the honour to Rani, who has been a part of the film industry for over two decades.
Overwhelmed by the honour, Rani thanked her fans world over for loving her and her work through the years.
Hirani won the Best Director for "Sanju", a biopic on the life of Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt, while the IFFM Vanguard Award went to actor Ranbir Kapoor for his "breakthrough performance" in bringing alive Sanjay's tumultuous life journey on-screen.
The director told IANS here that he is happy with the recognition for the movie and is excited about showcasing the movie at La Trobe University here, with "Sanju" co-writer Abhijat Joshi and actor Vicky Kaushal.
Vicky won the supporting actor honour for his well-deserved performance as Kamli in "Sanju", and Richa Chadha won it too as she won the jury's heart with her power-packed role as a brothel owner in "Love Sonia".
The jury members for the fest, launched by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, comprised Simi Garewal, Sue Maslin, Jill Bilcock, Nikkhil Advani and Geoffrey Wright.
Wright, known for the Russell Crowe-starrer "Romper Stomper", told IANS that he was mighty impressed by the variety that Indian cinema currently has on offer. He said he feels that "perhaps it has gone from recreation to being serious cinema".
India's colourful and diverse culture was very much a part of the awards celebration as there were the beats of the dhol, performers dressed in traditional Indian classical attires, Odissi dance, Bhangra and more.
Composers Sachin-Jigar added the chutzpah with some of their Bollywood tracks.
The inclusion-themed ninth edition of the gala gave a Diversity Award to Freida Pinto, who shot to fame and prominence first with her role in Oscar-winning drama "Slumdog Millionaire". In her upcoming film "Love Sonia", Freida is seen in a never-seen-before avatar.
Tabrez Noorani-directed "Love Sonia", which opened the IFFM gala and left the audience moved with a story around sex trafficking, won the Best Indie film. A special mention in this space went to "Gali Guleiyan", which marks Dipesh Jain's debut as a director.
The Equality In Cinema Award was given to "Mahanati", the widely acclaimed Telugu and Tamil film on the life of south Indian actress Savitri, who made a mark in the 1950s and 1960s.
Actor Ali Fazal, who was the jury of the short film competition, chose "To-let" as the Indian winner and the Australian winner was "Found", which is on Islamophobia.
Richa also gave away the IFFM Heroes Award, which celebrates real life heroes who have done good deeds.
IFFM began on Friday. As part of the celebrations, Rani on Saturday hoisted the Indian flag at the Federation House, which also became a stage for a dance competition, bringing the huge and diverse Indian community of Melbourne together -- denoting the unifying power of cinema.
The festival will end on August 22.
(Radhika Bhirani is in Melbourne on an invitation by IFFM organisers.)

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What have I whitewashed? asks Hirani questioning critics of 'Sanju'


Whitewashing, media bashing and glorification. The makers of "Sanju" have been fielding allegations ever since the film on the tumultuous life of actor Sanjay Dutt hit the screens. Now, they have questions of their own.

"If I start on that, I can talk on it for the full day," Rajkumar Hirani told IANS when asked to comment on talks about the media bashing in "Sanju", which is playing at the ninth edition of the International Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here.

Abhijat Joshi, who has co-written the biopic with Hirani, was quick to add: "There is no media bashing at all. We are great fans of the media.

"What we are bashing is a certain section which sensationalises things and uses a question mark to make things 'chatpata' (spicy). That has been critiqued, and I am amazed there has been no introspection on that side. No one has even said that it happens," Joshi said.

The reference is in context to a scene featuring a newspaper cutting titled "RDX in a truck parked in Dutt house?" This question mark journalism is their problem.

"Today if the world believes that he had RDX, it's based on that one news, so we have criticised that. But now when we are told that the whole film is about media bashing, it's again picking up a headline," Hirani said.

"When we show a corrupt police officer, it doesn't mean all policemen are wrong… It's a section," he added.

From Sanjay's drug addiction, personal affairs, a jail term for possession of arms in connection with the 1993 serial blasts, to his bonds with his parents and friends -- "Sanju" has delved into different aspects of the actor's life but has also left out a lot.

Hirani, who has hits like "Munna Bhai" series, "3 Idiots" and "PK" to his credit, also wonders why is there talk that he has "whitewashed" Sanjay through "Sanju".

"Whitewashing as a word is being thrown open. If you've watched the film, what was Sanju's crime," he counter-questioned.

Sanjay had a gun.

"Yes, he kept the gun, and we have shown that. We have shown that he served five years in jail and that he is saying it was a mistake... So where is the question of whitewashing? What have I whitewashed? I want to understand that," Hirani asked.

Joshi added: "The crime has been shown graphically. He is destroying the gun, we have shown that the bullets are thrown away, we are showing that. So whatever is the crime is, is clearly shown."

Hirani went on: "People are using this word whitewash. I want to know what have I whitewashed? I have shown that he had 308 girlfriends, that he was so addicted to drugs, he slept with his friend's girlfriend. Is this whitewashing?

"If we had to whitewash anyone, we would have made him Mahatma Gandhi... What have we whitewashed? Tell us his crime?" he asks.

RSS mouthpiece "Panchjanya" had questioned whether Sanjay, son of late actors Sunil and Nargis Dutt, had qualities that his life story should be glamourised or glorified on the big screen or be portrayed as if he is an idol.

"Again, where have I glorified is what I want to ask? Is this glorification that he slept with his friend's girlfriend, kept a gun, did drugs, made a girl wear a commode on her neck?

"We have shown all this... Still, people are saying we have glorified his life. Who knew this that instead of putting a mangalsutra, he put a commode on a girl," Hirani asked.

Joshi said the "worst" allegation is that they made the film for money.

"It is ridiculous because if money was the criteria, we would have made 5 Munnabhais back-to-back... They would have been bigger hits, or '3 Idiots' parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6."

Hirani said when he was making the movie, he was told by people that "Sanju" will mark his "first flop" as Sanjay was a negative character.

"Now when the film has been made, everything is reversed that this has been made for money," he said.

Joshi questioned: "Do you think Rajkumar Hirani, at this time in his career, would spend 3 years of his life just to whitewash somebody?"

What upsets them is "people (who needed to introspect) have not introspected" at all.

"But the audiences have, luckily. Hats off to the Indian audience," Joshi said.


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Victorian government to establish $3 mn Indian Cinema Attraction Fund

In an effort to strengthen cultural and economic ties between India and Australia, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on Saturday announced plans to establish a $3 million Indian Cinema Attraction Fund, which will enable more Indian filmmakers to explore Victoria as a shooting location.
Andrews, who shared the dais with Bollywood actress Rani Mukerji as she hoisted the Indian national flag at the Federation Square here, said that beyond a cultural celebration, it will be a "profound economic opportunity and a way in which India and Australia could come even closer together".
"I am proud to announce that the Victorian government will establish an Indian Cinema Attraction Fund with $3 million in funding to make sure at least four films are made right here in Melbourne and Victoria over the next four years," Andrews said, urging Indian filmmakers to seize the opportunity.
Film Victoria has already been working closely with India's biggest production studios, and offering grants worth up to 25 per cent of their spends in Victoria.
The new investment, announced during an event organised by the ongoing Victoria government-backed Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM), is expected to grow the local film industry and create local jobs for the state, which has Australia's biggest Indian community.
Victoria has earlier played host to a number of Indian film productions, including "Chak De! India, "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" and "Salaam Namaste".
Rani, dressed in a chiffon sari in the biting cold -- "in true tradition of a Bollywood heroine" -- for the flag hoisting ceremony, sang a few tweaked lines from one of her songs in praise of the Premier's incentive move.
She was emotional as she recounted her father's patriotic themes as she hoisted the flag.
"When we are in India on August 15, the tradition is that in every nook and corner, in buildings and societies, we have the flag hoisting and ever since I was a baby, I would wake up from sleep, I would hear all the patriotic songs playing. And one of them was from my father's films, which he did in the 1960s with Mr Sunil Dutt."
She recited a few lines from the song "Chhodo kal ki baatein, kal ki baat puraani, naye daur mein likhenge milkar nayi kahaani… Hum Hindustani, Hum Hindustani."
"I miss my dad, especially on days like this because he made films like ‘Leader' and ‘Hum Hindustani' which had so much of the patriotic spirit. I hope it carries on with new generations," Rani said.
The Federation Square, despite the rain and chill in the wind, attracted a huge crowd of Indians and non-Indians to celebrate the colour, dance, music and spirit that India is known for the world over.
As inclusion is the theme of IFFM this year, the performances saw old, young and specially challenged participants putting up a heart-warming show.
A burst of tricoloured confetti as Rani hoisted the flag added to the patriotic vibes, which was backed by dhol, dances, music and food.
(Radhika Bhirani is in Melbourne at the invitation of IFFM organisers.)

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Tamil film 'Mersal' to release in China

Tamil film "Mersal" has been picked by China's HGC Entertainment, which is planning to release it in the country.
The Vijay-starrer will be dubbed into Mandarin later this year or in early 2019, reports
Directed by Atlee, the action thriller released in India in 2017, and had garnered a lot of positive response from critics and the audience.
The background score and soundtrack of the film were composed by Oscar and Grammy winner A.R. Rahman.
HGC President's Li Ying said: "We found the story of 'Mersal' to be a particularly touching story."
Be it superstar Salman Khan-starrer film "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" or recently added "Sultan" or Aamir Khan's "Dangal", in recent times, many Indian "content-driven" stories have connected with Chinese audiences on an intellectual and emotional level. 
HGC is one of China's oldest indie distributors that has previously released "Dhoom 3", "The Mechanic" and "Hellboy 3".

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