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Rashtrapati Bhavan's In-Residence Programme to feature two artists, two writers in September

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

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Ltd has said that its on-demand entertainment portal ErosNow has acquired the worldwide rights of popular Zee TV shows. 
 
With this announcement, content from Zee will be available to ErosNow members with no extra subscription costs, a press release from the company said.
 
With a reach of more than 169 countries and access to more than 670 million viewers globally, Zee TV is the largest media franchise serving the South Asian diaspora.
 
"This partnership allows ErosNow to showcase Zee’s premier television content ranging from top rated serials and soaps to reality shows," the reease said.
 
The titles that will be available to subscribers include: Ek Mutti Aasmaan,         Pavitra Rishta, Fear Files, Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, Jodha Akbar, Do Bandhe Ek Dori Se, Kumkum Bhagya, Qubool Hai, Aur Pyar Ho Gaya and        Armano ki Doli.
 
This would make ErosNow a one-stop destination for viewing quality Indian content online, the release said.
 
“We aim to provide a robust customer experience with an extensive content offering. We are thrilled to introduce prime television programming from Zee TV into our content mix," Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, ErosNow said.
 
"Partnering with a leading television player like Zee for compelling content is a natural step to providing the very best of Indian entertainment to our consumers worldwide. We are very excited to bring these shows to the platform and are confident this content will be enjoyed worldwide on ErosNow," she added.
 
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) said, “Zee has always been a leader in the media and entertainment space, having evolved from being a broadcaster to a content creator and aggregator. Our premium television content is enjoyed by a large global audience across diverse platforms, with a definitive surge in younger viewers who are more accustomed to consuming entertainment via digital platforms. It is therefore, a logical extension for us to make our popular programs available on leading online providers such as ErosNow. By partnering with ErosNow, we hope to capture viewers from around the world with the best shows from Zee’s library."
 
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Shripad Naik launches 60th anniversary celebrations of Lalit Kala Akademi

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Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Shripad Naik launched the year-long celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Lalit Kala Akademi, India's national academy of art, here yesterday.
 
The academy was set up by the Government as an autonomous body on August 5, 1954 and is its apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in the country.
 
The academy consists of a General Council that comprises artists, art critics, architects, photographers, experts in folk, tribal and traditional arts, art administrators and representatives of various government organizations. 
 
The festivities commenced with an exhibition of works of art selected from the collection of the Akademi that show how artists have been viewing India in their own perspective. 
 
An installation ‘Secret Life of Memories’ consisting of photographic prints, videos and sounds of the cultural lineages of Tibet and Sikkim as well as some re-enactment of Kalimpong Tibetan Opera is also organised at Kaustubh Auditorium of the Lalit Kala Akademi. 
 
The installation has been conceived by Arghya Basu and Rajula Shah. Krishen Khanna, one of the senior most artists of the country and Ravindra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture were the guests of honour on the occasion. 
 
The inaugural function was followed by a musical concert by Abhay Rustum Sopori. The compositions which he presented were based on classical ragas and took the listeners on a journey of India. Mahua Mukherjee and her troupe performed ‘Gaudiya Nritya’, a classical dance from Bengal as a part of the celebrations. 
 
The festivities will be continue today with a dance performance titled ‘Nrutya Vitana’ visualised by Dinanath Pathy and choreographed by Meera Das. The performance discusses the inter-connectivity of various visual art forms. 
 
Tomorrow, R.S. Nanda Kumar and his troupe will present a dance performance titled ‘Rasonmeelana’ which will be an interpretation of the ideas of rasa in Indian poetics. 
 
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Jogen Chowdhury to be first artist-in-residence in Rashtrapati Bhavan

Jogen Chowdhury. Photo: Biswarup Ganguly (Wikimedia Commons)
Jogen Chowdhury. Photo: Biswarup Ganguly (Wikimedia Commons)
Well-known painter and Rajya Sabha member Jogen Chowdhury has been invited to be the inaugural artist to stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan under its "In-Residence Scheme for Writers and Artists".
 
Mr Chowdhury, 75, is Professor Emeritus of Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan and former Keeper (Art) at Rashtrapat Bhavan (1972-87).
 
He will stay at Rashtrapati Bhavan for a period of 14 days beginning today, an official press release said. Several of his paintings already form part of the Rashtrapati Bhavan art collection.
 
The In-Residence Scheme for Writers and Artists was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee on December 11, 2013 with the aim of providing writers and artists an opportunity to stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan and be a part of the life of Rashtrapati Bhavan.  
 
The initiative is an attempt to encourage established as well as young and upcoming writers and artists by facilitating them stay close to nature in the picturesque and serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The programme seeks to provide an environment which will inspire creative thinking and rejuvenate artistic impulses.  Various activities like reading sessions, exhibitions of works of art and interaction with the residents of Rashtrapati Bhavan are also to be organized in consultation with the selected writers/artists under the scheme.
 
Mr Chowdhury has been elected to the Rajya Sabha as a candidate of the Trinamool Congress.
 
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Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan to launch Dilip Kumar’s biography

Actor Dilip Kumar and his actress wife Saira Bano
Actor Dilip Kumar and his actress wife Saira Bano
"Substance and Shadow", the biography of Bollywood thespian Dilip Kumar will be launched here on June 9 by well-known actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan.
 
The biography is written by author Uday Tara Nayar, who is also a close family friend of the veteran actor.
 
The book will be launched in the presence of Dilip Kumar, 91, his actress-wife Saira Banu Khan, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and Ms Nayar. 
 
The launch event is being arranged, managed and executed by Samara Productions, Astrus Talent and Event Management and MOH Entertainment. 
 
Glamsham.com is the Exclusive Digital Partner, Oye 104.8 FM is the Radio Partner while Zoom is the Channel Partner for Red Carpet coverage.
 
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I&B Ministry to release "India Film Guide" at Cannes Film Festival

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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) will release an India Film Guide at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, which will open today.
 
The guide, the first of its kind to be released at Cannes, is aimed at positioning India as a "filming destination" and has information on film policies, movies for sale and distribution.
 
The guide has exhaustive descriptions of the policy initiatives of the Ministry, its affiliated bodies; details of all India’s co-production agreements; all Indian films at Cannes and visiting Indian delegates; key databases pertaining to the sector and the winners of this year’s national awards.
 
An official press release said the resource book is expected to act as a catalyst in view of the branding of the India Pavilion, which will showcase Indian cinema across linguistic, cultural and regional diversity, with the aim of forging an increasing number of international partnerships in the realm of distribution, production, filming in India, script development and technology, and promoting film sales and syndication. 
 
The initiatives undertaken to promote co-production between stakeholders, viability of the Single Window Clearance mechanism and the possibility of enhanced cooperation within the domain of film archiving in the backdrop of the National Film Heritage Mission will be focus areas for interaction with foreign producers and organizations associated with the film industry.
 
"The India Pavilion aims to bring about substantial interest from the international community in exploiting India’s full potential as the largest film-making nation in the world. India has the most vibrant film sector and is currently occupying a significant space in the global arena. India produces over 1000 films in more than a dozen languages annually," the release said.
 
The India Pavilion will be will be inaugurated by Mr Bimal Julka, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Mr Arun K Singh, Indian Ambassador to France alongwith  Mr Jerome Paillard, Director, Marche du Film (the Cannes Film Market). 
 
Also expected to be present on the occasion is producer Uday Chopra, who is also one of the producers of the festival’s opening film, Olivier Dahan’s Grace of Monaco. There will also be a  discussion and felicitation of Titli, India’s official selection at the festival along with the cast and crew including director Kanu Behl.
 
The release said the Ministry will be organizing interactive sessions with Indian and international film industry stakeholders at the India Pavilion. 
 
Some of the prominent speakers at the India Pavilion are expected to be  Dave Gibson, CEO, New Zealand Film Commission; Cindy Shyu, CEO Lighthouse Productions, China; Colin Burrows, CEO, Special Treats Productions; and crew members from Grace of Monaco, the opening film at the festival. 
 
The pavilion will also be showcasing trailers of recent Indian films and displaying brochures and other literature of Indian film companies.
 
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Megastar Rajnikanth is now on Twitter

Actor Rajnikanth in a still from his latest film Kochadaiyaan
Actor Rajnikanth in a still from his latest film Kochadaiyaan
Tamil film megastar Rajnikanth made his much-awaited debut on micro-blogging site Twitter today, marking his maiden foray into the digital space.
 
CA Media Digital’s first venture, Fluence, a celebrity digital network, will manage Rajinikanth’s digital interests to further create and leverage his  social media presence.
 
"Twitter users around the world can follow and converse live with India’s original superhero, superstar Rajinikanth by visiting Twitter.com/SuperStarRajini or @SuperStarRajini on their Twitter app," a press release from the company said.
 
Fans can also follow the actor's Twitter account by dialling, or giving a missed call at 080 6700 6666 to access his tweets, which is possible due to a global integration between Twitter India and ZipDial.
 
A cultural icon, the normally reticent superstar said he is looking forward to interacting with his fans on the platform.
 
“I have always believed that my career graph is a miracle I owe my fans. I have been contemplating joining the social media platform for a while to connect with them, hear what they have to say and share my thoughts.  Unfortunately I never got around to it until now. By partnering with Fluence I am confident that I have the best team and the best guides who will help me connect with my audience," he said.
 
"I decided to start with Twitter because I felt that the platform is abuzz with all the news and the trends that happen across the globe and I'm told that this is where all the best Rajini one liners are!” he added.
 
Mr Ashish Joshi, VP Digital & Business Head – Fluence said, “We are thrilled to partner with the enigmatic Rajinikanth. The digital landscape is exploding and when you work with Thalaivar the possibilities are endless. Twitter is the first step in building and growing his online presence and getting all the fans out there to directly engage with the phenomenon that is Rajinikanth. We will work closely with him to broaden the horizons of the digital landscape to create interesting and entertaining consumer facing properties that will engage the fans in a way that only Rajini sir can.”
 
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Twitter's India Market Director Rishi Jaitly said, "Twitter is the world's leading real-time information network where users discover and converse with the people, organizations and media that interest them. This is truly an 'only-on-Twitter' moment as Superstar Rajinikanth’s debut on Twitter also marks his debut in the digital space more generally. We welcome Rajinikanth to Twitter, are happy to support his launch on the platform and look forward to watching him use our mobile service to engage in live, public conversations with fans and other icons around the world."
 
To make Superstar Rajinikanth’s debut on Twitter more exciting; fans from all over the world, who follow him on twitter @SuperStarRajini in the first week, will receive a ‘WelcomeGraph’, a personalized welcome picture from the icon, the release added.
 
Fluence currently manages the digital life of many celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Sonu Nigam, Shaan and Karishma Kapoor which includes; their social media presence, their digital endorsements, online/mobile monetization and equity-linked investments in the digital space.
 
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Mukherjee says cinema is a vehicle of influence, persuasion for youth

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday pointed out that cinema, besides being a strong medium of expression, was a vehicle of influence and persuasion for the youth and said cinematic content of films should have a desirable impact on the social behaviour of people, especially the new generation.

Veteran film lyricist, director, screen writer and poet Gulzar with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2013, presented by President Pranab Mukherjee, at the 61st National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2014.
Veteran film lyricist, director, screen writer and poet Gulzar with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2013, presented by President Pranab Mukherjee, at the 61st National Film Awards function, in New Delhi on May 3, 2014.
President Pranab Mukherjee today pointed out that cinema, besides being a strong medium of expression, was a vehicle of influence and persuasion for the youth and said cinematic content of films should have a desirable impact on the social behaviour of people, especially the new generation.
 
"When our children witness scenes depicting violence and bloodshed, it does affect their psyche. It is incumbent on our film makers to make a concerted effort to distinguish between what clearly is an art form and what is not," he said after presenting the 61st National Film Awards.
 
"Faced with erosion of values in today’s context, cinema should play a catalytic role in resetting our moral compass. Our film makers should deploy their creative efforts to present and propagate core values such as patriotism, respect for women, compassion and tolerance, and honesty and discipline. I am hopeful that everyone associated with the film industry will use their talent, creativity and artistic pursuits to create meaningful and socially relevant cinema," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee congratulated the recipients of the awards, especially well-known lyricist and writer Gulzar, who was given the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour in Indian cinema for his outstanding contribution to the Indian film industry.
 
"His contribution to cinema, as a writer, poet and a film maker of rare sensitivity, has been tremendous. The nation has honoured him with a Padma Bhushan and Hollywood with an Oscar. The Dada Saheb Phalke award is yet another feather in his cap. We are proud of you, Mr. Gulzar," he said.
 
Noting that a record 470 entries were received for this year's awards, he said this was indicative of the growth of quality cinema in the country.
 
"The vibrant Indian film industry produces over 1000 films in more than a dozen languages annually. Our cinema is not only a showcase of the multicultural diversity of our country but is also a tribute to our linguistic richness. It is a national treasure and our country’s 'soft power' in the true sense of the term, forging international ties and connecting global horizons with ease," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said India’s media and entertainment industry was today at the cusp of a transformation. 
 
"It is poised to leapfrog into a completely digital landscape. Indian cinema connects with millions of people – within the country and abroad, directly through theatres, close to two thousand multiplexes and through TV as well as the Internet. In 2013, the Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry registered a growth of 11.8 per cent over 2012 and did a gross business of around Rs. 92,000 crore. The industry is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 per cent to touch Rs. 1.8 lakh crore by 2018," he said.
 
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He said technology and scientific advancements of this digital decade had thrown open the floodgates of opportunities. 
 
"However, it is the triumph of the human spirit and the building of real talent that will always define the cinematic progress. We need storytellers to tell us the stories; artistes to translate these stories into celluloid; content creators and content editors to make our stories slick and cinematographers to speak to our souls through images. As we embrace the future, we must continue to draw inspiration from the cinematic greats of India - Dadasaheb Phalke, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy, Mrinal Sen, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, M.S. Sathyu, Girish Kasaravalli, Guru Dutt and many others who have been torchbearers within the country and on the world stage," he said.
 
He expressed happiness that more and more young filmmakers were entering the field of documentaries.
 
"Documentaries provide an opportunity to address contemporary social subjects, many of which have been long swept under the carpet on account of the discomforting questions they raise," he said.
 
In all, 40 awards will be given in the Feature Films category, 41 in the Non-Feature Films category and three awards in Best Writing on Cinema.
 
Highlights of the ceremony, held at Vigyan Bhavan here, included live performances by Rupankar and Bela Shinde, who bagged the awards for the Best Male Playback Singer and Best Female Playback Singer, respectively.
 
The award for the Best Feature Film went to Ship of Theseus (English-Hindi), produced by Recyclewala Films Pvt Ltd and directed by Anand Gandhi.
 
Well-known Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramoodu, who has earned a name for himself in comic roles, and Hindi actor Rajkumar Rao jointly received the Best Actor Award in the Feature Films category.
 
Venjaramoodu won the award for his "dignified and quiet portrayal" of a man on the lower margins of the society in the film Perariyathavar. "His turmoil struggles and sufferings are soulfully brought out with subtle body language and eyes which transcend word," the citation said.
 
Rajkumar was chosen for the award for his portrayal of the intriguing journey of a Muslim youth who is persecuted in Shahid. "He rebels and ultimately comes back to fight the injustice as a committed law abiding lawyer. Raj Kumar brings to life the soul of Shahid," the announcement said.
 
Shahid, which traces the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer, Shahid Azmi, in the backdrop of communal violence in Mumbai, also won for Hansal Mehta the award for Best Director. 
 
"The story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice, inequality and rise above his circumstances. It is an inspiring testament to the human spirit," the citation said.
 
Geetanjali Thapa won the Best Actress Award for her role in Liar's Dice (Hindi)
 
"If ever an actress could merge completely into a role and look the character to perfection, it is Geetanjali Thapa. Her searching eyes and vulnerability are breath taking," the jury said.
 
The film tells the story of an unusual photographer, an erudite Jain monk and a young stock broker in different segments which finally unites them through a strange circumstance. In the process the film depicts issues of intuitive brilliance, metaphysical belief and intricate morality in a world full of contradictions.
 
The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director went to Fandry (Marathi) directed by Nagraj Manjule.
 
The award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment was given to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi), directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, for retaining the story and values of the great athlete, Milkha Singh, and translating it into the cinematic medium with aplomb.
 
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Thalaimuraigal (Tamil), directed by Balu Mahendra, was given the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
 
Marathi film Tuhya Dharma Koncha was given the Award for the Best Film on Social Issues.
 
Malayalam film Perariyathavar, directed by Dr Biju, was in the limelight again when it won the award for the Best Film on Environment Conservation.
 
The award for Best Children's Film was given to Kaphal (Hindi), directed by Batul Mukhtiar.
 
Saurabh Shukla was given the Best Supporting Actor award for Jolly LLB (Hindi), while Amruta Subash got the award for Best Supporting Actress for Astu (Marathi) along with Aide El-Kashef for Ship of Theseus.
 
The Best Child Artiste award was shared by Somnath Avghade (Fandry-Marathi) and Sadhana ( Thanga Meengal-Tamil).
 
The following are the other awards:
 
BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Rupankar - Jaatishwar (Bengali) - for the song E Tumi Kemon Tumi
BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Bela Shende - Tuhya Dharma Koncha (Marathi) - for the song Khura Khura
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rajeev Ravi - Liar's Dice 
BEST SCREENPLAY: 
i)  Screenplay Writer      (Original) : P. Sheshadri - December I (Kannada)
ii)  Screenplay Writer (Adapted) : Panchakshari - Prakruti (Kannada)
iii)  Dialogues :Sumitra Bhave - Astu (Marathi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY:
i)    Location Sound Recordist: Nihar Ranjan Samal - Madras Café (Hindi)
ii)   Sound Design: Bishwadeep Chatterjee -  Madras Café (Hindi) 
iii)  Re-recordist of the final mixed track: D Yuvaraj - Swapaanam (Malayalam)
BEST EDITING: V J Sabu Joseph -  Vallinam (Tamil)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ashim Ahluwalia, Tabsheer Zutshi, Parichit Paralkar - Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: Sabarni Das - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
BEST MAKE-UP ARTIST: Vikram Gaikwad - Jaatishwar (Bengali) (for the make-up of actor Prasenjit)
BEST  MUSIC DIRECTION:
i)       Songs: Kabir Suman - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
ii)      Background Score: Shantanu Moitra - Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu)
BEST LYRICS: Na. Muthukumar for the lyric Ananda Yaazhai - Thanga Meengal (Tamil)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Yellow (Marathi) & Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Intermezzo Studio and Alien Sense Films Pvt Ltd - Jal (Hindi)
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Ganesh Acharya for Maston ka Jhund - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi)
 
BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ASSAMESE: Ajeyo
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BENGALI: Bakita Byaktigato
HINDI FILM: Jolly LLB
KANNADA: December 1
KONKANI: Baga Beach
MALAYALAM: North 24 Kaadham
MARATHI: Aajcha Diwas Majha
TAMIL: Thanga Meengal
TELUGU: Na Bangaaru Talli
 
BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED OTHER THAN SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ENGLISH: The Coffin Maker
KHASI: Ri
SHERDUKPEN: The Crossing Bridges
 
SPECIAL MENTION
Yellow (Marathi): Gauri Gadgil, Sanjana Rai
Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu): Anjali Patil
 
NON-FEATURE FILMS
 
BEST NON FEATURE FILM: Rangbhoomi (Hindi), Producer : Films Division,  
Director : Kamal Swaroop
BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR: Kanyaka (Malayalam), Producer : Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Director : Christo Tomy
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL/ HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION: The Last Adieu
(English), Producer : Films Division, Director : Shabnam Sukhdev
BEST ARTS /CULTURAL FILM: The Lost Behrupiya (Hindi) and O Friend, This Waiting ! (English, Telugu)
BEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FILM: The Pad Piper (English)
BEST PROMOTIONAL FILM: Chasing The Rainbow (English) and Kush
(Hindi)
BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM  INCLUDING AGRICULTURE: Foresting Life
(Hindi, Assamese)
BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi) 
BEST EDUCATIONAL FILM: The Quantum Indians (English)
BEST INVESTIGATIVE FILM: Katiyabaaz (Hindi,Urdu,English)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD:  Ananthamurthy – Not A Biography…But A Hypothesis (English) and Tamaash (Kashmiri)
BEST SHORT FICTION FILM: Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST FILM ON FAMILY VALUES: Heyro Party (Bengali)
BEST DIRECTION: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue) Director: Pranjal Dua
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Kavin Jagtiani, Reliance Media Works,  Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue)
BEST EDITING: Arjun Gourisaria - Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi)
BEST MUSIC DIRECTION: Anurag Saikia - Yugadrashta (Assamese)
BEST NARRATION/ VOICE OVER: Lipika Singh Darai - Kankee O Saapo
(Odia)
SPECIAL MENTION: Accsex (English, Hindi), Candles In The Wind
(Punjabi, Hindi), Dharmam (Tamil) and t the Cross Roads :  Nondon Bagchi Life and Living (English, Bengali)
 
BEST WRITING ON CINEMA
 
Best Book on Cinema: Cinema Ga Cinema (Telugu), Nandagopal
Best Film Critic: Alaka Sahani (English).
 
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Mukherjee to confer National Film Awards on May 3

Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from the film Perariyathavar
Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from the film Perariyathavar
President Pranab Mukherjee will confer the 61st National Film Awards at a ceremony at Vigyan Bhavan here on May 3.
 
In all, 40 awards will be given in the Feature Films category, 41 in the Non-Feature Films category and three awards in Best Writing on Cinema.
 
Eminent lyricist Gulzar to be given the 45th Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the Year 2013 at the ceremony, at which Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari will also be present.
 
Highlights of the ceremony will include live performances by Rupankar and Bela Shinde, who bagged the awards for the Best Male Playback Singer and Best Female Playback Singer, respectively.
 
The winners of the awards were announced on April 16.
 
The award for the Best Feature Film will go to Ship of Theseus (English-Hindi), produced by Recyclewala Films Pvt Ltd and directed by Anand Gandhi.
 
Well-known Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramoodu, who has earned a name for himself in comic roles, and Hindi actor Rajkumar Rao have been jointly chosen for the Best Actor Award in the Feature Films category.
 
Venjaramoodu won the award for his "dignified and quiet portrayal" of a man on the lower margins of the society in the film Perariyathavar. "His turmoil struggles and sufferings are soulfully brought out with subtle body language and eyes which transcend word," the citation said.
 
Rajkumar was chosen for the award for his portrayal of the intriguing journey of a Muslim youth who is persecuted in Shahid. "He rebels and ultimately comes back to fight the injustice as a committed law abiding lawyer. Raj Kumar brings to life the soul of Shahid," the announcement said.
 
Shahid, which traces the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer, Shahid Azmi, in the backdrop of communal violence in Mumbai, also won for Hansal Mehta the award for Best Director. 
 
"The story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice, inequality and rise above his circumstances. It is an inspiring testament to the human spirit," the citation said.
 
Geetanjali Thapa was chosen for the Best Actress Award for her role in Liar's Dice (Hindi)
 
"If ever an actress could merge completely into a role and look the character to perfection, it is Geetanjali Thapa. Her searching eyes and vulnerability are breath taking," the jury said.
 
The film tells the story of an unusual photographer, an erudite Jain monk and a young stock broker in different segments which finally unites them through a strange circumstance. In the process the film depicts issues of intuitive brilliance, metaphysical belief and intricate morality in a world full of contradictions.
 
The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director will go to Fandry (Marathi) directed to Nagraj Manjule.
 
The award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment will be given to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi), directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, for retaining the story and values of the great athlete, Milkha Singh, and translating it into the cinematic medium with aplomb.
 
Thalaimuraigal (Tamil), directed by Balu Mahendra, was chosen for the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
 
Marathi film Tuhya Dharma Koncha was given the Award for the Best Film on Social Issues.
 
Rajkumar Rao
Rajkumar Rao
Malayalam film Perariyathavar, directed by Dr Biju, was in the limelight again when it won the award for the Best Film on Environment Conservation.
 
The award for Best Children's Film will be given to Kaphal (Hindi), directed by Batul Mukhtiar.
 
Saurabh Shukla was chosen for the Best Supporting Actor award for Jolly LLB (Hindi), while Amruta Subash got the award for Best Supporting Actress for Astu (Marathi) along with Aide El-Kashef for Ship of Theseus.
 
The Best Child Artiste award was shared by Somnath Avghade (Fandry-Marathi) and Sadhana ( Thanga Meengal-Tamil).
 
The following are the other awards:
 
BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Rupankar - Jaatishwar (Bengali) - for the song E Tumi Kemon Tumi
BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Bela Shende - Tuhya Dharma Koncha (Marathi) - for the song Khura Khura
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rajeev Ravi - Liar's Dice 
BEST SCREENPLAY: 
i)  Screenplay Writer      (Original) : P. Sheshadri - December I (Kannada)
ii)  Screenplay Writer (Adapted) : Panchakshari - Prakruti (Kannada)
iii)  Dialogues :Sumitra Bhave - Astu (Marathi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY:
i)    Location Sound Recordist: Nihar Ranjan Samal - Madras Café (Hindi)
ii)   Sound Design: Bishwadeep Chatterjee -  Madras Café (Hindi) 
iii)  Re-recordist of the final mixed track: D Yuvaraj - Swapaanam (Malayalam)
BEST EDITING: V J Sabu Joseph -  Vallinam (Tamil)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ashim Ahluwalia, Tabsheer Zutshi, Parichit Paralkar - Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: Sabarni Das - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
BEST MAKE-UP ARTIST: Vikram Gaikwad - Jaatishwar (Bengali) (for the make-up of actor Prasenjit)
BEST  MUSIC DIRECTION:
i)       Songs: Kabir Suman - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
ii)      Background Score: Shantanu Moitra - Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu)
BEST LYRICS: Na. Muthukumar for the lyric Ananda Yaazhai - Thanga Meengal (Tamil)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Yellow (Marathi) & Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Intermezzo Studio and Alien Sense Films Pvt Ltd - Jal (Hindi)
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Ganesh Acharya for Maston ka Jhund - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi)
 
BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ASSAMESE: Ajeyo
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BENGALI: Bakita Byaktigato
HINDI FILM: Jolly LLB
KANNADA: December 1
KONKANI: Baga Beach
MALAYALAM: North 24 Kaadham
MARATHI: Aajcha Diwas Majha
TAMIL: Thanga Meengal
TELUGU: Na Bangaaru Talli
 
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BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED OTHER THAN SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ENGLISH: The Coffin Maker
KHASI: Ri
SHERDUKPEN: The Crossing Bridges
 
SPECIAL MENTION
Yellow (Marathi): Gauri Gadgil, Sanjana Rai
Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu): Anjali Patil
 
NON-FEATURE FILMS
 
BEST NON FEATURE FILM: Rangbhoomi (Hindi), Producer : Films Division,  
Director : Kamal Swaroop
BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR: Kanyaka (Malayalam), Producer : Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Director : Christo Tomy
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL/ HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION: The Last Adieu
(English), Producer : Films Division, Director : Shabnam Sukhdev
BEST ARTS /CULTURAL FILM: The Lost Behrupiya (Hindi) and O Friend, This Waiting ! (English, Telugu)
BEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FILM: The Pad Piper (English)
BEST PROMOTIONAL FILM: Chasing The Rainbow (English) and Kush
(Hindi)
BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM  INCLUDING AGRICULTURE: Foresting Life
(Hindi, Assamese)
BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi) 
BEST EDUCATIONAL FILM: The Quantum Indians (English)
BEST INVESTIGATIVE FILM: Katiyabaaz (Hindi,Urdu,English)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD:  Ananthamurthy – Not A Biography…But A Hypothesis (English) and Tamaash (Kashmiri)
BEST SHORT FICTION FILM: Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST FILM ON FAMILY VALUES: Heyro Party (Bengali)
BEST DIRECTION: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue) Director: Pranjal Dua
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Kavin Jagtiani, Reliance Media Works,  Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue)
BEST EDITING: Arjun Gourisaria - Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi)
BEST MUSIC DIRECTION: Anurag Saikia - Yugadrashta (Assamese)
BEST NARRATION/ VOICE OVER: Lipika Singh Darai - Kankee O Saapo
(Odia)
SPECIAL MENTION: Accsex (English, Hindi), Candles In The Wind
(Punjabi, Hindi), Dharmam (Tamil) and t the Cross Roads :  Nondon Bagchi Life and Living (English, Bengali)
 
BEST WRITING ON CINEMA
 
Best Book on Cinema: Cinema Ga Cinema (Telugu), Nandagopal
Best Film Critic: Alaka Sahani (English).
 
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Dia Mirza announces engagement with Sahil Sangha

Sahil Sangha and Dia Mirza
Sahil Sangha and Dia Mirza
Bollywood actress and model Dia Mirza today announced that she was officially engaged to long-time friend Sahil Sangha, with whom she co-owns a production house, Born Free Entertainment.
 
"Officially engaged :)," she posted on micro-blogging site Twitter, along with a picture of them at IIFA.
 
Dia is a former Miss Asia Pacific International. 
 
Born Free Entertainment's first film was Love Breakups Zindagi. Their next film is Bobby Jasoos, starring Vidya Balan.
 
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Rani Mukherjee gets married to Aditya Chopra at quiet Italian wedding

Rani Mukherjee
Rani Mukherjee
Popular Bollywood actress Rani Mukherjee today confirmed that she got married to Aditya Chopra, son of the late legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra and head of Yash Raj Films, at a quiet wedding in Italy last night.
 
"We are very happy to announce that Aditya Chopra and Rani Mukherjee got married last night on 21 April in Italy. The wedding was a very small intimate affair with very close family & friends. We wish the couple a very happy married life," a brief message posted on the 36-year-old actress's official Facebook page said.
 
The 36-year-old actress also put out a brief statement, confirming the wedding.
 
"I would like to share the happiest day of my life with all my fans all over the world whose love and blessings have been part of my journey all these years. 
 
"I know that all my well-wishers who have waited for this day will be really happy for me. It was a beautiful wedding in the Italian countryside with just a few of our close family and friends with us," she said.
 
"The one person I missed terribly was Yash Uncle, but I know he was there with us in spirit and his love and blessings will always be with Adi and me. 
 
"I have always believed in fairy-tales and with God's grace my life has been exactly like one, and now as I enter the most important chapter of my life - the fairy-tale continues," she added.
 
Ms Mukherjee has starred in films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Black, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Bunty aur Babli and No One Killed Jessica. 
 
Mr Chopra, 42, has directed successful films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Mohabbatein. He is a divorcee.
 
There was speculation about the relationship between the two for the past few years, but they never talked about it and were rarely spotted together.
 
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Fahad Faasil, Lal share Best Actor award in Kerala Film Awards

Fahad Faasil and Ann Augustine in a still from the movie Artist.
Fahad Faasil and Ann Augustine in a still from the movie Artist.
CR No. 89, directed by P P Sudevan, bagged the Best Film Award in the 46th Kerala State Film Awards announced here today by Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
 
Anil Radhakrishnan's North 24 Kaatham was chosen as the second best film, while Shyamaprasad won the Best Director Award for Artist.
 
Fahad Faasil (Artist and North 24 Kaatham) and Lal (Ayaal and Zachariayude Garbhinikal) shared the Best Actor Award while Ann Augustine bagged the Best Actress award for her role in Artist.
 
Suraj Venaramoodu, who has won a name for himself in comic roles and who won this year's Best Actor award in the National Film Awards, was chosen the 
Best Comedian for his roles in Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus and Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum.
 
Several of this year's awards went to younger artistes, Mr Radhakrishnan pointed out.
 
The awards were finalised by a jury headed by well-known Tamil filmmaker Bharathi Raja.
 
The following is the list of awardees:
 
Best Film: CR No 89, Director: Sudevan
Second Best Film: North 24 Kaatham, Director: Anil C Radhakrishnan
Best Actor: Fahad Faasil (Artist and North 24 Kaatham), Lal (Ayal and Zachariayude Garbhinikal)
Best Actress: Ann Augustine (Artist)
Best Director: Shayamaprasad (Artist)
Second Best Actor: Ashok Kumar (CR No 89)
Second Best Actress: Lena (Left Right Left)
Best Child Artist: Sanoop Santhosh (Philips and the Monkey Pen), Baby Anika (5 Sundarikal)
Best Comedian: Suraj Venjaramoodu (Daivathinte Swantham Cleetus, Pullipulikalum Aattinkuttiyum)
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Best Story: Aneesh Anwar (Zachariyayude Garbhinikal)
Best Screenplay: Bobby-Sanjay (Mumbai Police)
Best Cinematography: Sudeep Vasudevan (Ayaal)
Best Lyrics: Prabha Varma, Madhu Vasudev (Nadan)
Best Music Director: Ouseppachan (Ottakku Padunna Poonkuyile - Nadan)
Best Background Music Director: Bijibal (Balyakalasakhi)
Best Male Playback Singer: Karthik (Janmandarangalil - Orissa)
Best Female Playback Singer: Vaikom Vijayalakshmi  (Ottakku Padunna Poonkuyile - Nadan)
Best Film Editor: K. Rajagopal (Oru Indian Pranayakatha)
Best Art Director: M. Bava (Amen)
Best Sound Recordist: Harikumar
Best Colourist: Raghuraman (Ayaal) 
Best Makeup Artist: Pattanam Rasheed
Best Costume Designer:  Siji Thomas
Best Dubbing Artist: Ambooty (male), Sreeja Ravi (female)
Best Choreography: Kumar-Shanti
Best Film with Popular Appeal and Aesthetic Value: Drishyam, Director: Jeethu Joseph
Best Children's Film: Philips and the Monkey Pen, Directors: Rojin Thomas and Shanil Muhammed
Best Debut Director: K. R. Manoj (Kanyaka Talkies)
Special Jury Awards
Aneesh Anwar: Direction, (Zachariyayude Garbhinikal)
Suresh Unnithan: Direction (Ayaal)
Kalabhavan Shajon: Acting (Drishyam)
Sanusha: Acting (Zachariyayude Garbhinikal)
Mridula Warrier: Singing (Kalimannu)
Afzal Yusuf: Music Direction (Immanuel, God for Sale)
 
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Suraj Venjaramoodu, Rajkumar Rao share Best Actor prize at National Film Awards

Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from the film Perariyathavar
Suraj Venjaramoodu in a still from the film Perariyathavar
Well-known Malayalam actor Suraj Venjaramoodu, who has earned a name for himself in comic roles, and Hindi actor Rajkumar Rao have been jointly chosen for the Best Actor Award in the Feature Films category at the 61st National Film Awards for 2013 announced here today.
 
Venjaramoodu won the award for his "dignified and quiet portrayal" of a man on the lower margins of the society in the film Perariyathavar. "His turmoil struggles and sufferings are soulfully brought out with subtle body language and eyes which transcend word," the citation said.
 
Rajkumar was chosen for the award for his portrayal of the intriguing journey of a Muslim youth who is persecuted in Shahid. "He rebels and ultimately comes back to fight the injustice as a committed law abiding lawyer. Raj Kumar brings to life the soul of Shahid," the announcement said.
 
Shahid, which traces the true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer, Shahid Azmi, in the backdrop of communal violence in Mumbai, also won for Hansal Mehta the award for Best Director. 
 
"The story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice, inequality and rise above his circumstances. It is an inspiring testament to the human spirit," the citation said.
 
Geetanjali Thapa was chosen for the Best Actress Award for her role in Liar's Dice (Hindi)
 
"If ever an actress could merge completely into a role and look the character to perfection, it is Geetanjali Thapa. Her searching eyes and vulnerability are breath taking," the jury said.
 
The award for the Best Feature Film went to Ship of Theseus (English-Hindi), produced by Recyclewala Films Pvt Ltd and directed by Anand Gandhi.
 
Rajkumar Rao
Rajkumar Rao
The film tells the story of an unusual photographer, an erudite Jain monk and a young stock broker in different segments which finally unites them through a strange circumstance. In the process the film depicts issues of intuitive brilliance, metaphysical belief and intricate morality in a world full of contradictions.
 
The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director was given to Fandry (Marathi) directed to Nagraj Manjule.
 
The award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment was given to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi), directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, for retaining the story and values of the great athlete, Milkha Singh, and translating it into the cinematic medium with aplomb.
 
Thalaimuraigal (Tamil), directed by Balu Mahendra, was chosen for the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.
 
Marathi film Tuhya Dharma Koncha was given the Award for the Best Film on Social Issues.
 
Malayalam film Perariyathavar, directed by Dr Biju, was in the limelight again when it won the award for the Best Film on Environment Conservation.
 
The award for Best Children's Film was given to Kaphal (Hindi), directed by Batul Mukhtiar.
 
Saurabh Shukla was chosen for the Best Supporting Actor award for Jolly LLB (Hindi), while Amruta Subash got the award for Best Supporting Actress for Astu (Marathi) along with Aide El-Kashef for Ship of Theseus.
 
The Best Child Artiste award was shared by Somnath Avghade (Fandry-Marathi) and Sadhana ( Thanga Meengal-Tamil).
 
The following are the other awards:
 
BEST MALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Rupankar - Jaatishwar (Bengali) - for the song E Tumi Kemon Tumi
BEST FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER: Bela Shende - Tuhya Dharma Koncha (Marathi) - for the song Khura Khura
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rajeev Ravi - Liar's Dice 
BEST SCREENPLAY: 
i)  Screenplay Writer      (Original) : P. Sheshadri - December I (Kannada)
ii)  Screenplay Writer (Adapted) : Panchakshari - Prakruti (Kannada)
iii)  Dialogues :Sumitra Bhave - Astu (Marathi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY:
i)    Location Sound Recordist: Nihar Ranjan Samal - Madras Café (Hindi)
ii)   Sound Design: Bishwadeep Chatterjee -  Madras Café (Hindi) 
iii)  Re-recordist of the final mixed track: D Yuvaraj - Swapaanam (Malayalam)
BEST EDITING: V J Sabu Joseph -  Vallinam (Tamil)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ashim Ahluwalia, Tabsheer Zutshi, Parichit Paralkar - Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: Sabarni Das - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
BEST MAKE-UP ARTIST: Vikram Gaikwad - Jaatishwar (Bengali) (for the make-up of actor Prasenjit)
BEST  MUSIC DIRECTION:
i)       Songs: Kabir Suman - Jaatishwar (Bengali)
ii)      Background Score: Shantanu Moitra - Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu)
BEST LYRICS: Na. Muthukumar for the lyric Ananda Yaazhai - Thanga Meengal (Tamil)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD: Yellow (Marathi) & Miss Lovely (Hindi)
BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS: Intermezzo Studio and Alien Sense Films Pvt Ltd - Jal (Hindi)
BEST CHOREOGRAPHY: Ganesh Acharya for Maston ka Jhund - Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (Hindi)
 
BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED IN THE SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ASSAMESE: Ajeyo
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BENGALI: Bakita Byaktigato
HINDI FILM: Jolly LLB
KANNADA: December 1
KONKANI: Baga Beach
MALAYALAM: North 24 Kaadham
MARATHI: Aajcha Diwas Majha
TAMIL: Thanga Meengal
TELUGU: Na Bangaaru Talli
 
BEST FEATURE FILM IN EACH OF THE LANGUAGE SPECIFIED OTHER THAN SCHEDULE VIII OF THE CONSTITUTION
 
ENGLISH: The Coffin Maker
KHASI: Ri
SHERDUKPEN: The Crossing Bridges
 
SPECIAL MENTION
Yellow (Marathi): Gauri Gadgil, Sanjana Rai
Na Bangaaru Talli (Telugu): Anjali Patil
 
NON-FEATURE FILMS
 
BEST NON FEATURE FILM: Rangbhoomi (Hindi), Producer : Films Division,  
Director : Kamal Swaroop
BEST DEBUT FILM OF A DIRECTOR: Kanyaka (Malayalam), Producer : Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Director : Christo Tomy
BEST BIOGRAPHICAL/ HISTORICAL RECONSTRUCTION: The Last Adieu
(English), Producer : Films Division, Director : Shabnam Sukhdev
BEST ARTS /CULTURAL FILM: The Lost Behrupiya (Hindi) and O Friend, This Waiting ! (English, Telugu)
BEST SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY FILM: The Pad Piper (English)
BEST PROMOTIONAL FILM: Chasing The Rainbow (English) and Kush
(Hindi)
BEST ENVIRONMENT FILM  INCLUDING AGRICULTURE: Foresting Life
(Hindi, Assamese)
BEST FILM ON SOCIAL ISSUES: Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi) 
BEST EDUCATIONAL FILM: The Quantum Indians (English)
BEST INVESTIGATIVE FILM: Katiyabaaz (Hindi,Urdu,English)
SPECIAL JURY AWARD:  Ananthamurthy – Not A Biography…But A Hypothesis (English) and Tamaash (Kashmiri)
BEST SHORT FICTION FILM: Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST FILM ON FAMILY VALUES: Heyro Party (Bengali)
BEST DIRECTION: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue) Director: Pranjal Dua
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Kavin Jagtiani, Reliance Media Works,  Mandrake ! Mandrake ! (Hindi)
BEST AUDIOGRAPHY: Chidiya Udh (No Dialogue)
BEST EDITING: Arjun Gourisaria - Gulabi Gang (Hindi, Bundelkhandi)
BEST MUSIC DIRECTION: Anurag Saikia - Yugadrashta (Assamese)
BEST NARRATION/ VOICE OVER: Lipika Singh Darai - Kankee O Saapo
(Odia)
SPECIAL MENTION: Accsex (English, Hindi), Candles In The Wind
(Punjabi, Hindi), Dharmam (Tamil) and t the Cross Roads :  Nondon Bagchi Life and Living (English, Bengali)
 
BEST WRITING ON CINEMA
 
Best Book on Cinema: Cinema Ga Cinema (Telugu), Nandagopal
Best Film Critic: Alaka Sahani (English).
 
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Renowned lyricist, director Gulzar chosen for Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Gulzar
Gulzar
Renowned Hindi film lyricist, director, screenplay writer, producer and poet Gulzar has been chosen for the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2013 -- the top honour in Indian cinema -- for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the industry.
 
Gulzar is the 45th winner of the award, which is conferred annually by the Government of India on the basis of the recommendations of a committee of eminent persons. This year's award was decided by a seven-member jury, consisting of eminent artistes, who unanimously recommended Gulzar for the coveted award, an official press release said.
 
Gulzar is the pen name of Sampooran Singh Kalra, who was born on August 18, 1934 in Punjab in pre-partition India. He started his career in 1956. As a lyricist, he got his first break in Bimal Roy’s ‘Bandini’. He has worked with leading music directors including Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, Anu Malik, and Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy. He has had outstanding partnerships with Rahul Dev Burman, A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj. 
 
Along with lyrics, he has also contributed to several films as script, story and dialogue writer. Films directed by Gulzar have won numerous awards and critical acclaim. Among them are ‘Mere Apne’, ‘Koshish’, Áandhi’ ‘Kinara’, ‘Khushboo’, Ángoor’, ‘Libaas’,  ‘Meera’, ‘Lekin’and ’Maachis’. 
 
He has worked on the small screen as well and created outstanding series like ‘Mirza Ghalib’ and ‘Tahreer Munshi Premchand ki’. He wrote lyrics for several Doordarshan serials including ‘Hello Zindagi’, ‘Potli Baba ki’ and ‘Jungle Book’. 
 
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Gulzar was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award, one of the most prestigious literary awards in India, in 2002, and the Padma Bhushan, the country's third highest civilian honour, in 2004 . 
 
He has also won a number of National Film Awards and 20 Filmfare Awards. At the 81st Oscars in 2009, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Jai Ho" (shared with A.R. Rahman), for the film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. In 2010, the same song won him a Grammy Award in the category of ‘Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media’. 
 
Gulzar's poetry has been published in three compilations: ‘Chand Pukhraaj Ka’, ‘Raat Pashminey Ki’ and ‘Pandrah Paanch Pachattar’. His short stories are published in ‘Raavi Paar’ (also known as ‘Dustkhat’ in Pakistan) and ‘Dhuan‘ (smoke). He is also credited with having created a new type of stanza in Urdu poetry named ‘Triveni’ (stanza of 3 lines). 
 
"Gulzar’s contribution to mainstream cinema is well recognized, assuring him a place in the annals of Indian cinema," the release added.
 
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BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to perform in Mumbai on April 5-6

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The National Centre for the Performing Arts, one of India's premier arts institutions, will present the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra  (SSO) here on April 5 and 6 at its Jamshed Bhabha Theatre here on April 5 and 6.
 
The programme is part of an ambitious effort of cultural exchange to promote and educate children about Western classical music in the country.
 
Mr. Khushroo N. Suntook, NCPA Chairman and Founder of SOI, said, "We are pleased to be presenting the BBC SSO in Mumbai as part of their tour leading up to the Commonwealth Games. We share the BBC SSO's ambition of promoting and educating children about Western classical music. With this joint venture we are sure to get a few steps closer to achieving our plan to promote this genre in India and bring India on the international map for western music."
 
The BBC SSO will be on a tour of India as part of which it will hold concerts, workshops and exchange between students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the K M Music Conservatory of Bollywood composer A R Rahman.
 
Composer James MacMillan will lead the BBC SSO, accompanied by violinist Nicola Benedetti and students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. 
 
On April 5, animateur and music education expert Paul Rissmann will join the orchestra, Benedetti and MacMillan to present a special programme for young audiences and families - 'An Introduction tothe Symphony Orchestra for the Entire Family.', presenting the genre in the form of animation and projections. 
 
On April 6, the orchestra will present Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4.
 
Benedetti said: "This will be my very first trip to India and I am so excited. It's a highlight of my coming year because as well as playing some wonderful concerts, the orchestra and I will be staying in eachof the cities for a few days, giving workshops and getting involved with the local communities. This is an element of music making I have dedicated so much time to and I'm thrilled to be joining another organization equally serious about sharing this music with all members of the community, not just to the folk who can afford to attend the concerts."
 
Lloyd Anderson, Director of the British Council Scotland, said, "The Scottish Symphony Orchestra's tour  of India, accompanied by students from the Royal Conservatoire, will create a programme of ground breaking musical collaborations in order to build stronger links between India and Scotland. While our historical ties are strong, this tour, through engaging with young people at every stage, will make those relationships relevant to a new generation. The British Council is delighted to have helped to bring this tour about - renewing friendships and bringing musicians and music-lovers together from different parts of the world."
 
MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. He attracted attention with the acclaimed BBC Proms premiere of The Confession of Isobel Gowdie (1990). His music combines rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation and his percussion concerto Veni,Veni, Emmanuel (1992) has received over 400 performances. He is also active internationally as a conductor and is Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie.
 
He has conducted numerous orchestras around the globe, including the Baltimore Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the NHK Symphony Tokyo, amongst others.
 
Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. Winner of Best Female Artiste at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards, Benedetti records exclusively for Decca (Universal Music). Her most recent recording, The Silver Violin, reached No.30 in the UK pop charts simultaneously topping the classical charts.
 
Through her work with such organizations as Sistema Scotland, she has helped to demonstrate the power that music can have in transforming the lives of young people.
 
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Eros comes on board NH 10 with Phantom Films, Anushka Sharma

Anushka Sharma
Anushka Sharma
Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited today said it would join hands with Phantom Films and actor Anushka Sharma’s Clean Slate Production to co-produce director Navdeep Singh’s NH 10.
 
An action thriller about a road trip that goes wrong, NH 10 is Navdeep Singh’s second film after the critically acclaimed Manorama 6 Feet Under and stars Anushka Sharma who also debuts as producer with the venture.
 
“The film is an exciting collaboration with Anushka and Phantom and we are happy to associate with this talented team. NH 10 promises to be an interesting journey and we are looking forward to supporting and nurturing such strong content driven films," Sunil Lulla, Managing Director, Eros International Media Ltd, said.
 
Vikramaditya Motwane of Phantom Films said: "NH10 is a superb script, and we have a tremendous director in Navdeep Singh. We are excited about our partners on the film and look forward to making a kick-ass film."
 
Anushka Sharma said, “I’m doubly thrilled about NH-10, as it’s a superb role and it also kick-starts this new phase in my film journey. This is my second film after Bombay Velvet with Phantom, and it’s a blast working with them. It’s going to be super-exciting working together again on what promises to be an explosive film.”
 
Others involved in the making of the film include international action directors headed by Armin Sauer, who has done stunt work in The Bourne Supremacy, V for Vendetta and The Constant Gardner among other films. 
 
Being shot this winter across the northern plains around Delhi, NH 10 will release on September 12.
 
Formed in 2012, Phantom Films was floated by the directors’ league of Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena. 
 
Clean Slate is a film production helmed by Anushka Sharma and Karnesh Sharma.
 
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Composer Jerry Amaldev, team perform for patients at Ernakulam hospital

Music composer Jerry Amaldev and his team performing at the Ernakulam Government General Hospital as part of the Kochi Biennale Foundation's 'Arts and Medicine' project in Kochi, Kerala on March 18, 2014.
Music composer Jerry Amaldev and his team performing at the Ernakulam Government General Hospital as part of the Kochi Biennale Foundation's 'Arts and Medicine' project in Kochi, Kerala on March 18, 2014.
Well-known music composer Jerry Amaldev and his team of artistes performed for patients at the Ernakulam Government General Hospital here yesterday evening as part of the Kochi Biennale Foundation's (KBF) "Arts and Medicine" programme.
 
More than 500 people, including patients, bystanders and staff of the hospital, gathered at the venue to listen to the melodious rendering of Amaldev hits. The group also sang some old Hindi and Bengali melodies.
 
The Arts and Medicine project is being conducted by KBF, in association with the Mehboob Memorial Orchestra, with guidance from Iva Fattorini, Chair of Global Arts and Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, and the Ernakulam district administration.
 
Wednesday’s musical treat was the eighth in the series of programmes held as part of the project that was launched by Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas on February 1.
 
Amaldev, a three-time Kerala State Award winner, has many hits to his credit including “Mizhiyoram” from his first film “Manjil Virinja Pookkal” and “Aayiram Kannumai” from movie “Nokketha Dhoorathu Kannum Nattu”.
 
“The KBF is planning to organise a musical programme by the doctors of the Ernakulam Government General Hospital on March 26,” KBF Research-Coordinator Bonny Thomas said. “The Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) cultural wing has extended their support for this event,” he added.
 
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The Great Indian Police Band Show to be held in Delhi from March 14-16

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The Great Indian Police Band Show, which will showcase the musical talent of Indian police bands for the people of the capital, will be held at different locations here from March 14 to 16.
 
The show will be held from 4 pm to 6.30 pm at Select City Walk Mall, Saket; Dilli Haat, INA and DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj on March 14, at Central Park, Connaught Place on March 15 and India Gate Lawns on March 16.
 
In putting the event together, an attempt has been made to capture the spirit of India through the kaleidoscope of the evolving film and folk music from the 1950s to the present day, an official press release said.
 
The police bands participating in this show have secured top positions in the  All India Police Band Championship, held in Guwahati in February 2014.
 
Entry to all events is free and and open for all.
 
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Sahitya Akademi chooses 23 books for Prize for Translation for 2013

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The Sahitya Akademi today announced a list of 23 books that it had chosen for its Prize for Translation for 2013.
 
The books were selected on the basis of recommendations made by the selection committees of three members each in the concerned languages
 
The prizes relate to translations first published during the five years prior to the eyar immediately preceding the year of the prize, that is ebtween 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2011.
 
The prize carries an amount of Rs 50,000 and a copper plaque which will be presented to the translators of these books at a special function to be held in August this year, a press release from the Akademi said.
 
There is no award in Gujarati this year, the release added.
 
The following is the list of books chosen for the prize:
 
ASSAMESE: Sei Samay (Vol II) - (late) Dipika Chakraborty - Sei Samay (Novel), Bengali, Sunil Gangopadhyay
BENGALI: Gathanbad, Uttar Gathanbad Ebang Prachya Kavyatattva - Soma Bandyopadhyay - Sakhtiyat, Pas-Sakhtiyat Aur Mashriqi Sheriyat (Criticism), Urdu, Gopi Chand Narang
BODO: Jagari - Gobinda Boro - Jagori (Novel), Bengali, Satinath Bhaduri
DOGRI: Kalkatte Di Kahani: Via Bypass - Veena Gupta - Kali Katha: Via Bypass (Novel), Hindi, Alka Saraogi
ENGLISH: I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded - Ranjit Hoskote - Lalla's Vakh's (Poetry), Kashmiri, Lal Ded
HINDI: Ahiran - Bhuddhadev Chatterjee - Ahiran (Novel), Assamese, Indira Goswami
KANNADA: Mahatma Jyotirao Phule - J. P. Dodamani - Mahatma Jyotirao Phule (Biography), Marathi, Dhananjay Keer
KASHMIRI: Ze Gaz Zameen - Aziz Hajini - Do Gaz Zameen (Novel), Urdu, Abdus Samad
KONKANI: Kali-Katha: Via Bypass - Hema Naik - Kali Katha: Via Bypass (Novel), Hindi, Alka Saraogi
MAITHILI: Bangla Ekanki Natya Sangraha - Guna Nath Jha - Bangla Ekanki Natya Sangraha (Collection of One Act Plays), Bengali, Comp. & Ed. by Ajit Kumar Ghosh (Various Authors)
MALAYALAM: Thiruvachakam - Ulloor M. Parmeswaran - Thiruvachakam (Classical Poetry), Tamil, Manikka Vaachakar
MANIPURI: Khambi Meigi Mashashing - Ibocha Soibam - Wings of Fire (Autobiography), English, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
MARATHI: Subodh Bible-Nava Karar - Father Francis D'Britto - Bible: The New Testament (Religious Text), English
NEPALI: Maila Anchal - I. K. Singh - Maila Anchal (Novel), Hindi, Phanishwar Nath Renu
ODIA: Anabruta Andhakar: Saadat Hasan Mantonka Ardhasata Kahani - Bilasani Mohanty - Collection of 50 Short Stories, Urdu, Sadat Hasan Manto
PUNJABI: Rajkamal Chaudhary Dian Chonvian Kahaniyan - Balbir Madhopuri - Rajkamal Choudhary ki Chuninda Kahaniyan (Short Stories), Hindi, Rajkamal Choudhary
RAJASTHANI: Ardhnarishwar - (late) Shanti Bhardwaj 'Rakesh' - Ardhanarishwar (Novel), Hindi, Vishnu Prabhakar
SANSKRIT: Vijayaparva - Abhiraja Rajendra Mishra - Vijaya Parva (Play), Hindi, Ramakumar Varma
SANTALI: Malang Anal - Mangal Majhi (Murmu) - Bhagya Chakra (Novel), Bengali, Haradhan Adhikari
SINDHI: Dr. Ambedkar Hik Prernadayee Shakhisyat - Khiman U. Mulani - Dr. Ambedkar (Collection of Articles), Hindi, Ratan Kumar Sambharia
TAMIL: Avadeshwari - Iraiyadaiyan (Dass) - Awadeshwari (Novel), Kannada, Shankar Mokashi Punekar
TELUGU: Smaraka Silalu - Nalimela Bhaskar - Smaraka Silakal (Novel), Malayalam, Punathil Kunhabdulla
URDU: Kyap - Nizam Siddiqui - Kyap (Novel), Hindi, Manohar Shyam Joshi
 
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Delhi Metro, French Embassy organise photo exhibition on Indian cinema

French Ambassador François Richier, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director Mangu Singh and photographer Pablo Bartholomew at a photo exhibition on Indian cinema at the Rajiv Chowk metro station in New Delhi on March 4, 2014.
French Ambassador François Richier, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director Mangu Singh and photographer Pablo Bartholomew at a photo exhibition on Indian cinema at the Rajiv Chowk metro station in New Delhi on March 4, 2014.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), in association with the Embassy of France, has organised a photo exhibition titled “Film Industry: Then and Now” by acclaimed photographer Pablo Bartholomew at the Rajiv Chowk station.
 
The exhibition, which will feature a number of rare photographs chronicling the evolution of Indian cinema from the silent and black and white era to the present, will continue until March 20.
 
The fortnight-long event was unveiled today by DMRC Managing Director  Mangu Singh and the Ambassador of France to India, Mr. François Richier, at the paid concourse area of the station.
 
The exhibition is a part of the Fête de la photo (photography festival) initiative of the Embassy of France, as part of which similar exhibitions are taking place at various locations across eight major cities of the country. This event will be the first pan-India photography festival depicting art in public spaces.
 
Bartholomew's work has been exhibited all over the world, including in the Netherlands, Cambodia, Japan, France, United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, China and Bangladesh. For over 20 years he worked as a photojournalist, recording societies in conflict and transition. His photographs were published in international journals and magazines, including The New York Times, Time, National Geographic, Figaro Magazine, The Guardian, among many others .In 1984, he won the World Press Photo “Picture of the Year”.
 
The exhibition celebrating Franco Indian collaboration in creative practices, will encourage many more such joint initiatives by the two nations, both of which, are renowned all over the world for their rich, unique and diverse cultural heritage, a press release from DMRC said.
 
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Kerala government opens four museums on Muziris heritage

Paliam Trust manager Krishnabalan Paliath explaining the details of the antiques displayed at Kerala History Museum, opened at North Paravur near Kochi, to Kerala Toursim director S Harikishore on March 2, 2014.
Paliam Trust manager Krishnabalan Paliath explaining the details of the antiques displayed at Kerala History Museum, opened at North Paravur near Kochi, to Kerala Toursim director S Harikishore on March 2, 2014.
The Kerala government yesterday opened four museums under the Muziris Heritage Project near here to enable people to learn about the rich bygone era of a “lost city” which played a crucial role in moulding the socio-politico culture of the state.
 
The museums are the Kerala History Museum, housed in the Paliam Kovilakam, Kerala Lifestyle Museum in Paliam Nalukettu, Kerala Jews Historical Museum housed in Paravur Synagogue and Kerala Jews Lifestyle Museum in Chendamangalam Synagogue. 
 
All museums are equipped with video screens, touch screens and information panels to help the visitors understand the rich history of the region.
 
Kerala Tourism Director S Harikishore, who visited and opened the museums for the public on Sunday, said that the mega heritage project would be inaugurated after the completion of visitors centre, activity centre, convention and research centre and hop on-hop off boat service. 
 
“We decided to open the museums for public because we completed the conservation projects on time and deployed staff and guides in the museums. In addition to the four museums, the people can also visit heritage sites like Pattanam, Paravur Market, Kottappuram Fort, Kottapuram Market, Cheraman Juma Masjid, Gothuruthu Performance Centre and Pallipuram Fort,” he said.
 
Mr Harikishore said that the museums would remain open from 10 am to 5 pm on all days except Mondays.
 
“The Muziris Heritage Project is one of the biggest conservation projects in the modern history of India. It is because of this magnitude that both the Central and State governments have come together to conserve and showcase a culture of more than three millennia,” Kerala Minister for Tourism  A P Anil Kumar said.
 
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"The project gives the people an opportunity to walk the same road once travelled by explorers and traders in ancient Muziris," he said.
 
Paliam Kovilakam was the residence of Paliath Achans, who were prime ministers to the erstwhile maharajas of Kochi in the 16th century. An architectural wonder, with its carved stairways and balustrades, the Paliam Kovilakam is situated in Chendamangalam. The 18th century Paliam Nalukettu was where the female members and minor boys of the Paliam family lived.
 
The project site is spread across North Paravur municipality in Ernakulam district and Kodungallur municipality in Thrissur district with 12 panchayats--Chendamangalam, Chittatukara, Vadakkekara, Pallipuram, Eriyad,   Mala,  Mathilakam,   Poyya,   Puthenvelikkara, Sree Narayana Puram,  Vellangalore and Edavilangu.
             
“The Muziris Heritage Project focuses on sustainability and involvement of local communities. The project follows international guidelines such as the UNESCO Charters on heritage conservation,” said Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa.
 
The museums will provide the people an insight into multi-layered history of the ancient port city, which mysteriously disappeared sometime after the 1st century A.D.
 
The state government’s decision to revive the Muziris Heritage Project has been widely praised by countries across the world, including China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Russia and Bangladesh. The UNESCO and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have also backed the state government’s conservation efforts.
 
Muziris was an ancient seaport and urban centre that existed from around 1st century A.D. The port was a key to the trade between southern India and the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Roman Empire.
 
The important known commodities exported from Muziris were spices (such as black pepper and malabathron), semi-precious stones (such as beryl), pearls, diamonds, sapphires, ivory, Chinese silk, Gangetic spikenard and tortoise shells. The Romans brought money (in gold coins), peridots, thin clothing, figured linens, multicoloured textiles, sulfide of antimony, copper, tin, lead, coral, raw glass, wine, realgar and orpiment.
 
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The exact location of Muziris is still not known to historians and archaeologists, but it is generally speculated to be situated around present day Kodungalloor in Kerala, 18 miles north of Kochi. 
 
The Kerala Government has launched the Muziris Heritage Project as the largest heritage conservation project in India.
 
The Muziris Heritage Site (MHS) stretches across from the municipality of North Paravur in Ernakulam district to that of Kodungalloor in Thrissur district. It includes four panchayats in Ernakulam district -- Chennamangalam, Chittatukara, Vadakekkara, Pallippuram, and three panchayats in Thrissur district -- Eriyad, Mathilakam and Sreenarayanapuram.
 
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Sahitya Akademi to host Indian Ocean Rim Association Festival of Poetry

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The Sahitya Akademi, under the aegis of the Ministry of External Affairs, has organised an international festival of poetry, involving poets from member-countries of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), including India, here from tomorrow.
 
The three-day event will bring together more than 50 poets from 15 countries of the region, including 30 poets representing 24 Indian languages.
 
They will devote three days to exchanges of thoughts and poetry through reading sessions as well as panel discussions, which are expected to lead to a greater understanding and cooperation among the countries and cultures they represent.
 
The Akademi will also bring out an anthology on the occasion, in which the poems of all the invited poets would be included.
 
"The Indian Ocean Rim constitutes not merely a geographical area, but a cultural one, too," a press release from the Akademi, the National Academy of Letters, said.
 
"These countries got connected long ago through sea routes and exchanged ideas, concepts and forms of art. It is extremely important to retrieve that partly lost organic connection, both politically and culturally," it said.
 
"Poetry has always been the most natural and intimate expression of people's thoughts and feelings, dreams and visions, their memories of the past, their understanding of the present and their hopes about the future. It has been a ceaseless conversation between individuals, nations and civilizations and has an authenticity that few other forms of expression can claim," the release added.
 
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), was established in 1997 and is the largest grouping of countries in the Indian Ocean region.  
 
The association has 19 member countries - Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Yemen.
 
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India, Poland agree to collaborate in culture sector

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India and Poland today agreed to deepen collaboration in the culture sector, especially in areas such as conservation, museums, archaeology, archives, science museums, and performing arts. 
 
The details of the collaboration were discussed here today in a meeting between Secretary Culture, Ravindra Singh and visiting Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage of Poland, Prof. Malgorzata Omilanowska. 
 
Prof. Omilanowska, who was on a five-day visit to India appreciated the world heritage visits such as the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort and the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
 
Among other things, the two sides ageed to set up a joint working group to identify specific deliverables from both sides and develop an operational plan in preparation for the signing of a Cultural Exchange Program between the two countries.
 
An official press release said Poland would provide opportunities to young artistes from India to perform at the newly-constructed Krysztof Penderecki Luslawice National Music Hall and provide scholarships for emerging talents.
 
The two countries agreed to collaborate in the area of museum management, with particular emphasis on development of collaboration with the National Science Centre in New Delhi.
 
The two sides shall develop collaboration in Archives and Modern Art and agreed to identify projects for restoration. The Polish side expressed interest in restoration work in Gaya. 
 
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Actress Mallika Sherawat to participate in Oxford Union debate on gender

Mallika Sherawat
Mallika Sherawat
Indian actress and model Mallika Sherawat is among those invited to participate in a debate by the Oxford Union on February 27 on the proposition, "This House Believes Gender Exists to Oppress".
 
Ms Sherawat will speak against the motion, along with S Bear Bergman, trans activist, poet, playwright and theatrical performer, Jessi M'Bengue, model ad dancer, and Stephen Whittle, activist with transactive group "Press for Change", Professor of Equalities and Law and former President of the World Professional Association of Transgender Health.
 
Those speaking for the motion include Calpernia Addams, musician, actor and campaigner for transgender rights, David Aaronovitch, author, broadcaster and journalist, and Roberta Kaplan, American lawyer who has successfully argued the case against the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in front of the US Supreme Court in 2013, removing one of the last obstacles to gay marriage in the US.
 
The programme for the debate said Ms Sherawat is renowned for her roles in Bollywood films, her on-screen presence, and her outspoken criticism of attitudes towards women in India.
 
In its invitation to Ms Sherawat, a representative of the Union wrote, “We feel that as a figure who recently was very outspoken about the image of women and women’s rights in a country like India, Mallika would lend an interesting angle to the debate.” 
 
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"Yes, I have accepted the invitation. The date is set on Feb 27th. A lot of preparation is required. It's a great honour. I come from a small town, so it means a lot to be invited to speak at such a historic venue. I can use the platform to highlight issues like drop in the conviction rate in rape cases across the country," Ms Sherawat said.
 
Founded in 1823, the Oxford Union is one of the most famous debating societies in the world and has hosted world leaders from all fields. 
 
They include former US Presidents Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
 
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Penguin India defends decision to withdraw "The Hindus" by Wendy Doniger

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Penguin Books India today defended its decision to recall and destroy copies of "The Hindus", a book on Hinduism, by well-known American scholar Wendy Doniger, saying that a publishing company had the same obligation as any other organisation to respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however tolerant and restrictive they may be.
 
In a statement here today, the company said it believed, and had always believed, in every individual’s right to freedom of thought and expression, a right explicitly codified in the Indian Constitution. 
 
"This commitment informs Penguin’s approach to publishing in every territory of the world, and we have never been shy about testing that commitment in court when appropriate. At the same time, a publishing company has the same obligation as any other organisation to respect the laws of the land in which it operates, however intolerant and restrictive those laws may be," it said.
 
The statement said the company also had a moral responsibility to protect its employees against threats and harassment where it could.
 
"The settlement reached this week brings to a close a four-year legal process in which Penguin has defended the publication of the Indian edition of The Hindus by Wendy Doniger. We have published, in succession, hardcover, paperback and e-book editions of the title. International editions of the book remain available physically and digitally to Indian readers who still wish to purchase it. 
 
"We stand by our original decision to publish The Hindus, just as we stand by the decision to publish other books that we know may cause offence to some segments of our readership. 
 
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"We believe, however, that the Indian Penal Code, and in particular section 295A of that code, will make it increasingly difficult for any Indian publisher to uphold international standards of free expression without deliberately placing itself outside the law. This is, we believe, an issue of great significance not just for the protection of creative freedoms in India but also for the defence of fundamental human rights," the statement added.
 
A group called the Shiksha Bachao Andolan had filed a case against the publication of the book, saying it was offensive to Hindus.
 
After reaching an apparent out-of-court settlement with the group, the publishers decided last week to withdraw the book, a move that evoked widespread criticism.
 
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