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Actor-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan diagnosed with early stage cancer

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

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

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Sotheby's India MD resigns following sexual harassment allegations

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

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Actor Maniesh Paul undergoes surgery

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

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Circular Design Challenge: 8 fashion entrepreneurs shortlisted for Sustainability Award

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

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

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Veteran Bollywood actor-director Kader Khan passes away at 81

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

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Veteran actor-director Kader Khan passes away

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

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'Iconoclast' filmmaker Mrinal Sen passes away at 95

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

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

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

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JioCinema to offer Disney content to users

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

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

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Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault

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

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Haryana's Salman Ali wins 'Indian Idol'

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

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

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

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Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah on Friday gave the Ajmer Literature Festival a miss due to strong protests by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and other right wing associations for his controversial statements.
 
In a TV interview, Shah had said that he fears for his children in this country. He has reportedly said, "In some areas killing of a cow receives more importance than lynching of a police officer..."
 
Meanwhile, the Bollywood actor told the media that he loves the country he resides in. "What mistake did I make by expressing my thoughts," he asked.
 
Police officials in Ajmer confirmed that right wing demonstrators did protest against Shah. However, no FIR has been lodged. 
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Salman, Katrina, others attend Priyanka-Nick wedding reception

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Actress Priyanka Chopra and her singer husband Nick Jonas hosted their third wedding reception in Mumbai on Thursday. The newlyweds partied with some of the top Bollywood stars at Taj Lands End Hotel.
 
Priyanka looked stunning in white embellished outfit while Nick Jonas complemented her in a dapper green suit.
 
Salman Khan was present at the venue. Earlier, there were some rumours that he was upset with Priyanka for quitting his film 'Bharat'. 
 
Rekha arrived for the party in her usual stunning Kanjeevaram saree. Kangana Ranaut came with her mother and sister.
 
Newly-wedded couple Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone looked mesmerising in their black traditional outfits at the reception.
 
Other top Bollywood celebrities like A. R. Rahman, Katrina Kaif, Parineeti Chopra, Karan Johar, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Anushka Sharma, Kiara Advani, Sammera Reddy, Geeta Basra, Rajkummar Rao, Patralekha, Zaira Wasim, David Dhawan, Pooja Hedge, Raveena Tandon, Vivek Oberoi and Tamanna Bhatia also attended the reception.
 
Actors Kajol, Vidya Balan along with her husband Siddharth Roy Kapoor and singer Asha Bhonsle also arrived at the venue. Badminton star Saina Nehwal, Mukesh Bhatt and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra were also spotted at the reception.
 
Hema Malini looked beautiful in a blue saree. Tusshar Kapoor arrived at the reception with his father and veteran actor Jeetendra.
 
Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who worked with Priyanka in 'Fashion', was also present. Actor Shabana Azmi and fashion designer duo of Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla were also spotted at the reception.
 
Priyanka and Nick tied the knot in Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, and had two wedding ceremonies -- a Christian and Hindu. 
 
Nick Jonas, who was in the US after their short vacation in Oman, flew in for the Mumbai reception.
 
On the work front, Priyanka will be seen on the screen in Shonali Bose's 'The Sky Is Pink' along with Farhan Akthar and Zaira Wasim.
 
The film is being co-produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur, Ronnie Screwvala and Priyanka Chopra.
 
IANS
 

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Saira Banu pins hope on Modi to save Dilip Saab's home

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Veteran actress and wife of actor Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, has expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet her here and help save her husband's bunglow from the land mafia.
 
In so many words she has also slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for not doing anything in the matter despite assurances.
 
"Request from Saira Banu Khan: The Hon'ble @PMOIndia Shri @narendramodi Sir, Land Mafia Samir Bhojwani released from jail. 
 
"No action taken despite assurances by CM @Dev_Fadnavis. 
 
"Padma Vibhushit betrayed, threatened by money and muscle power. Request meeting with you in #Mumbai," read a tweet shared late on Tuesday on Dilip Kumar's official Twitter account. 
 
Interacting earlier with the media, Saira Banu had sought audience with Modi, who was here on Tuesday, to discuss the issue following the builder's release from jail.
 
Bhojwani had falsely claimed ownership of the two plots in upscale Pali Hill area of suburban Bandra on which the ailing 96-year-old actor's bungalow is, she said.
 
Saira Banu had also tagged Fadnavis in her tweet. 
 
Fadnavis later told the media that he would speak to the couple and try sort out the issue.
 
This came after Modi apparently directed Fadnavis to sort out the issue as soon as possible, Saira Banu said.
 
"We are hopeful that the Prime Minister will look into the matter and I hope our kind Chief Minister will also look into it and take due action," the veteran actress said.
 
"For the last three months, the CM has been promising me that he will talk to Bhojwani and resolve the issue. I hope he will stick to his words and do the needful," she added.
 
Giving details about the dispute, Saira Banu said: "We have been facing this court dispute and harassment by Samir Bhojwani for the last 10-12 years. 
 
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"This man (Samir Bhojwani) is an expert at land grabbing, forgery and fraudulent cases. He is doing these things because he has muscle power and money. He has big political connections, and therefore, no one is willing to take action against him."
 
She also stated that Bhojwani has violated BMC guidelines but they have not taken any action against him. 
 
"Earlier, he wanted to build a cottage for his sister in front of our residence. At that time, we gave him permission. After that, we went out of Mumbai for two-three months and when we returned, we saw that he had built a two-three storey building instead of a cottage, and while doing so he had violated BMC rules but no one has taken any kind of action against him.
 
"The entire world knows that this is Dilip Kumar saab's residence so how can he trespass on that land? He knows that Dilip saab has health issues and because of all this stress his health has deteriorated even more."
 
She said Dilip Kumar was emotionally attached to his house. "It is his only house and we all are emotionally attached to it. Dilip saab's younger sister and brother have grown up in this house.
 
"He hasn't worked in 300 films that he can afford to invest in properties. In his entire film career, he has hardly been part of 56 good films. He is a man who has contributed a lot for his country through his art." 
 
In December 2017, Saira Banu had lodged a police complaint alleging that Bhojwani was threatening and harassing her and Dilip Kumar over the property. Following the complaint, the Mumbai police had arrested Bhojwani.
 
IANS

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Legendary classical singer Arun Bhaduri passes away

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Legendary classical singer Pandit Arun Bhaduri, known for his deep and sonorous voice, passed away at a city hospital on Monday following age-related ailments and respiratory distress, family sources said.
 
Bhaduri, 75, is survived by his wife, son, daughter-in-law and a grandson.
 
Born in West Bengal's Murshidabad on October 7, 1943, Bhaduri received his initial lessons in Indian music from Mohammed Abu Daud, before fine-tuning his knowledge on the nuances and embellishments of the Hindustani Classical Music from Mohammed Sagiruddin Khan.
 
Later, he was also taught by the late Ustad Ishtiaq Hussain Khan of the Rampur-Sahaswan gharana, and Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh.
 
Greatly influenced by Ustad Ameer Khan, Bhaduri imbibed his aesthetic qualities, and successfully created a style of his own by fusing the various styles he learnt from the stalwarts.
 
He joined the ITC Sangeet Research Academy as a musician scholar and rose to become one of its most venerated Gurus.
 
A top grade radio and television artiste, Bhaduri received invitations from music festivals in the UK, the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
 
Bhaduri is also known for his excellent rendering of Bengali songs and bhajans.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief at Bhaduri's demise.
 
Recalling that the state government had conferred on him the state's highest civilian award, Banga Bibhusan, in 2014 for his outstanding contribution to music, Banerjee said his passing away would "create a big void in the world of music and culture".
 
IANS

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Documentary on India's Pad Man makes it to Oscar shortlist

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"Period. End of Sentence", a film about women in India fighting against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation and delving into the work of real life 'Pad Man' Arunachalam Muruganathan, has made it to the Oscar shortlist in the Documentary Short Subject category.
 
The film is executive produced by Guneet Monga and is co-produced by Monga's Sikhya Entertainment, which has backed films like "The Lunchbox" and "Masaan".
 
After the Oscar shortlist was announced here on Monday, Monga posted on Instagram: "Waking up to this shortlist! So proud and so exciting... I am so humbled to be a part of the producing team."
 
Directed by award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi, the film is created by created by The Pad Project, an organisation established by an inspired group of students at the Oakwood School in Los Angeles and their teacher, Melissa Berton.
 
The 26-minute film follows girls and women in Hapur in northern India and their experience with the installation of a pad machine in their village.
 
According to hollywoodreporter.com, the film also delves into Muruganantham's invention of an easy-to-operate machine that makes low-cost sanitary napkins using supplies that are readily available in India.
 
Muruganantham, whose story inspired the Bollywood feature film "Pad Man", brings his machines to these small towns, helping train women to operate them and in turn sell the supplies at very affordable prices to other women in their area. The women retain the profits of their labour, effectively creating a sustainable women-run micro-business that protects both their health and their community's economic future.
 
"Period. End of Sentence" is among ten films that have advanced in the Documentary Short Subject category for the 91st Academy Awards. A total of 104 films had originally qualified in the category.
 
India's entry for the Foreign Language Film Category, "Village Rockstars" is out of the Oscar race, as is Iram Haq's Norwegian drama "What Will People Say", starring Indian actors Adil Hussain and Ekavali Khanna.
 
Nominations for the 91st Oscars will be announced on January 22, 2019, over a month ahead of the Oscars ceremony which is slated to be held on February 24, 2019.
 
IANS

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India's 'Village Rockstars' out of Oscar race

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India's official entry for the best "Foreign Language Film" category at the Oscars 2018, "Village Rockstars", directed by Rima Das, is out of the race for the honour, as is Iram Haq's Norwegian drama "What Will People Say", starring Indian actors.
 
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Monday announced that nine films have advanced to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 91st Academy Awards, according to the official Oscars website.
 
An Assamese movie, "Village Rockstars" is set in Das' own village of Chhaygaon in Assam. It is the story of "poor but amazing children" who live a fun-filled life.
 
So far, "Mother India", "Salaam Bombay!" and "Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India" are the only Indian films that made it to the top five in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards, but none has won the honour.
 
Hopes were also pinned on "What Will People Say", which stars Indian actors Adil Hussain and Ekavali Khanna. It is set in Pakistan and Norway and traces how a Pakistani immigrant family deals with its teenage daughter's affair with a local boy in Norway. 
 
A total of 87 films had originally been considered in the Foreign Language Film category. Among the shortlisted ones are "Birds of Passage" (Colombia), "The Guilty" (Denmark), "Never Look Away" (Germany), "Shoplifters" (Japan), "Ayka" (Kazakhstan), "Capernaum" (Lebanon), "Roma" (Mexico), "Cold War" (Poland) and "Burning" (South Korea).
 
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is excited about "Roma" making it to the list.
 
"Made the shortlist of the Oscars for foreign language," tweeted the Academy Award winner, whose film is set in the early 1970s and is a semi-autobiographical take on his upbringing in Mexico City.
 
The movie, available on Netlfix, is among the front-runners for an Oscar this year.
 
The Academy also announced shortlists for the Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Make-up And Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects categories.
 
Nominations for the 91st Oscars will be announced on January 22, 2019, over a month ahead of the Oscars ceremony which is slated to be held on February 24, 2019.
 
IANS
 

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Miss Universe 2018: Philippines bags crown, India fails to make it to Top

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India's Nehal Chudasama failed to make it to the Top 20 of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, where Catriona Elisa Gray from Philippines pipped 93 contestants from around the world to emerge the winner -- as chosen by an all-women jury.
 
India had pinned high hopes on Nehal, 22, to end a long drought for the country at the pageant as Lara Dutta had last brought back the crown in 2000.
 
But South Africa's Tamaryn Green, a medical student, and Venezuela's Sthefany Guterrez, studying to be a lawyer, secured the first runner-up and second runner-up spots at the gala ceremony, where Spain's Angela Ponce made history as the first transgender woman to contend for the title of Miss Universe.
 
Hosted by Emmy Award-winning Steve Harvey, the show here on Sunday saw Gray taking an ecstatic first walk as Miss Universe in a dazzling red gown with a thigh-high slit. She was crowned by Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, who comes from South Africa.
 
Gray holds a Master Certificate in Music Theory. An adventure junkie, she is an HIV/AIDS advocate and volunteers as a Teacher's Assistant to the students at an NGO according to the official Miss Universe website.
 
In the final question round, Gray was asked about the most important lesson she has learnt in life and how would she apply it in her time as Miss Universe.
 
She said: "I work a lot in the slums of Manila and life there is very poor and sad. I have always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to asses where I could give something and provide something.
 
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"And if I could also teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity would not brew and foster, and children would have a smile on their face."
 
Earlier in the competition, Gray was asked about her views on legalisation of marijuana. She said: "I am all for it being used in medical use but not so much for recreational use, because I think if people were to argue what about cigarettes and alcohol... Well, everything is good, but in moderation."
 
The competition began with the Top 20, with five semi-finalists being chosen from each region -- The Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, as well as a Wild Card category.
 
In a newly formed segment, the contestants were made to make an 'Opening Statement', giving out a message for the world.
 
Then, the contestants were narrowed down to the Top 10, leading to the swimsuit and evening gown rounds. They were further streamlined to the Top 5 and were asked interesting questions ranging from issues like MeToo to immigration.
 
Singer Ne-Yo lent a musical touch and Ponce took a proud walk down the ramp, winning a standing ovation for representing diversity and inclusion in its true sense.
 
IANS
 

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India's Nehal Chudasama out of Miss Universe 2018

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India's Nehal Chudasama failed to make it to the Top 20 shortlist at the Miss Universe 2018 contest here.
 
The Mumbai girl, 22, was among the 94 contestants who competed for the crown at the 67th Miss Universe pageant at a glitzy finale here on Sunday.
 
Five semi-finalists were chosen from each region -- Top 20 - from each region - The Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, as well as a Wild Card category.
 
Representatives from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, Great Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Nepal, Philipinnes, Poland, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Thailand, US, Venezuela and Vietnam made it to the Top 20.
 
In a newly formed segment, the contestants were made to make an 'Opening Statement', in which each of them had to say a message for the world.
 
After the 20 semi-finalists shared their thoughts, the stage welcomed Angela Ponce, who made a mark as the transgender woman to contend for the title of Miss Universe. As she took a proud walk down the ramp, she won a standing ovation for representing diversity in its true sense at the competition.
 
The show was hosted by five-time Emmy Award-winner Steve Harvey.
 
IANS

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Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Jaa Riya Hoon kicks off Artists' Cinema at Kochi Biennale

The screening of Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Jaa Riya Hoon, a new film on subaltern life in Old Delhi, kicked off here on Saturday the Artists' Cinema section of the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), South Asia's biggest contemporary art event.
 
The 100-day film programme got off to a start at the Biennale Pavilion in Fort Kochi's Cabral Yard, one of the ten venues of the art event that began on December 12.
 
The Artists’ Cinema has both documentaries and feature films and is billed as the sub-continent’s biggest of its kind.
 
The brand-new Hindi movie known for its unconventional approach marked the start of the package being curated by filmmakers and scholars from across the world. 
 
Ghode Ko Jalebi Khilane Le Jaa Riya Hoon is the directorial debut in cinema by renowned theatre-person Anamika Haksar.  
 
Late Saturday evening, amid the twilight-hour chirps of birds in the verdant 1.6-acre plot, Haksar briefly spoke about the two-hour movie that has won rave reviews and critical acclaim for its magic-real treatment of marginalised communities in the historical Shajahanabad pocket of quaint Old Delhi.
 
“It took two years for us to shoot the film,” said Haksar, 59. “But then, we had been, prior to that, meeting the people in Old Delhi, interviewing and documenting them for seven years. Pickpockets, singers, vendors, rickshaw-pullers, daily-wagers, loaders, coolies, rag-pickers….”
 
Ghode ko Jalebi, the director said, is like an unfamiliar road. “It takes random turns, leads you to places you quite don’t anticipate or know,” she added.
 
At the Biennale, the film won thunderous applause even as Haksar introduced three of the movie’s actors to the gathering. Ravindra Sahu, Lokesh Jain and K Gopalan (incidentally a Malayali). The three artistes, who appear in key roles in the film, also spoke about their experience.
 
The Artists’ Cinema is to run till the last leg of the Biennale which concludes on March 29 next year. The others in the first segment are Laurence Anyways (French, Sunday) and Bangladeshi documentary Muktir Gaan and American movie I am Not Your Negro (Monday).
 
Artists’ Cinema became part of the KMB in the 2014 edition, which screened 163 films in 100 days, having been put together by 12 curators. The 2016 edition of Artists’ Cinema had nine curators and several institutional collaborations such as Forum Expanded of Berlin International Film Festival, Lux- Scotland and National Film Archives of India. 
 
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Amitav Ghosh becomes first writer in English to bag Jnanpith Award

Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh
In the first recognition for an Indian writer in English, Amitav Ghosh has been announced as 2018's Jnanpith Award winner for "outstanding contribution towards literature".
 
The 1956, Kolkata-born author was described as a "path-breaking novelist" by Bharatiya Jnanpith. The awarding body said that Ghosh, in his novels, treads through historical settings to the modern era and weaves a space where the past connects with the present in relevant ways. 
 
"His fiction is endowed with extraordinary depth and substance through his academic training as a historian and a social anthropologist. His major thematic concerns include migration and interconnections across places, cultures and races, and human distress and suffering caused by historical turbulences, especially at the level of girmitiyas, coolies and lascars," Bharatiya Jnanpith said in a statement. 
 
Ghosh has explored Indian protagonists ranging across a wide international field, including Bangladesh, England, Egypt and Myanmar in both his fictional and discursive writings. 
 
Some of his celebrated works include "The Circle of Reason", "The Shadow Lines", "The Calcutta Chromosome", "The Glass Palace", "The Hungry Tide" and the Ibis trilogy that includes "Sea of Poppies", "River of Smoke", and "Flood of Fire". 
 
The decision was taken in a meeting of Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by eminent novelist and scholar Pratibha Ray. 
 
Other eminent persons of the selection board included Girishwar Misra, Shamim Hanfi, and Harish Trivedi, among others. All the previous winners of the much coveted award have been writers in Indian languages, making Ghosh the first writer in English its winner. 
 
IANS
 

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