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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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B P Singh to be new President of FTII Society and Chairman of Governing Council

Brijendra Pal Singh
Brijendra Pal Singh
Brijendra Pal Singh, producer-director of popular TV serial CID which has had an unbroken 21-year-run, has been nominated as the new Chairman of the Governing Council of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune.
 
"Government of India has nominated Brijendra Pal Singh as President of the FTII Society and Chairman of FTII Governing Council, in pursuance of Rule 3 and Rule 22 of the Rules of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)," an official press release said.
 
His tenure will be for the remaining period of block of 3 years starting from 04.03.2017 as per the provisions of Rule 6(1) of the Rules of FTII, Pune and the explanation given thereunder or until further orders whichever is earlier, it said.
 
Singh will replace well-known actor Anupam Kher, who resigned from the position on October 30 citing lack of time to carry out his responsibilities in view of his international assignments.
 
Kher, 63, is currently busy working in the United States on the American television show "New Amsterdam".
 
Kher had been appointed to the prestigious position in October last year, succeeding Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, whose appointment had led to protests from many FTII students, who felt he did not have the professional credentials to lead and guide them.
 
Singh is an FTII alumnus (1970-73) who specialised in film cinematography. In 2004 he made it to the Limca Book of Records for taking a single continuous shot of 111 minutes to mark the completion of six years of CID.
 
Welcoming his appointment, Bhupendra Kainthola, Director, FTII Pune said, "FTII welcomes the appointment of Shri B P Singh as new Chairman. As former Chairperson of FTII Academic Council (2014-2017) and current Vice Chairman of FTII Governing Council, Shri Singh is fully conversant with all issues of the Institute. It is his vision that launched FTII's countrywide film education outreach initiative SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television) in May 2017 which saw nearly 120 short courses conducted in over 24 cities and towns across India touching nearly 5000 learners so far. FTII looks forward to his guidance and support in the times to come "
 
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Kerala's one-film wonder Ajayan passes away

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Ajayan, who shot into fame with the only film that he directed "Perunthachen" (master carpenter), died here on Thursday, said his colleague and veteran character actor Nedumudi Venu.
 
Ajayan breathed his last at a private hospital here after a cardiac arrest, Venu said.
 
He is survived by his wife and two children.
 
Venu said it was always a mystery that Ajayan failed to make more movies.
 
"He was certainly immensely talented but do not know what and where he got stuck. He was my junior in college and we have had a very long association."
 
State Culture and Cinema Minister A. K. Balan condoled Ajayan's death and said that the impact of his only film will continue for a long time.
 
Son of the legendary Malayalam playwright, screenwriter and film director, Thoppil Bhasi, Ajayan began his film career under his father and later worked as associate director to legends like Padmarajan and Bharathan.
 
It was in 1990 that Ajayan turned a full-time director with "Perunthachen", which was a runaway hit and one that won rave reviews and numerous awards.
 
Ajayan won the Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director, Kerala State Film Award for Best Debut Director, in 1990.
 
The film also won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Popular Film in 1990 and was nominated for the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1992.
 
IANS
 

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Kapil Sharma, Ginni Chatrath marry in Jalandhar

Kapil Sharma and Ginni Chatrath at their wedding at Jalandhar on December 12, 2018.
Kapil Sharma and Ginni Chatrath at their wedding at Jalandhar on December 12, 2018.
Star comedian Kapil Sharma married his lady love Ginni Chatrath here at a traditional Punjabi ceremony, which was enlivened by popular singer Gurdas Maan.
 
Kapil made a late entry at the wedding venue, which was done up in red and gold.
 
The bride stuck to the traditional for her attire, and accessorised her look with maatha patti, nath and statement earrings and a layered neckpiece.
 
Kapil sported a green sherwani, with string adding some drama to his look. His triple kalgi on the turban and sword grabbed attention, as did his bearded look.
 
He shared their first wedding picture himself via Instagram, with an emoticon with folded hands in gratitude for the love and blessings from all over.
 
The venue had ample security considering Kapil is an established name in the industry and has a huge fan following. Invitations to the wedding itself had a barcode for entry.
 
A guest on condition of anonymity told IANS that there was a limited gathering of the couple's close family members and friends, apart from a few names from the world of comedy.
 
It was very much a Punjabi wedding in terms of the food, barring special Thai food arrangements.
 
The star attraction was a performance by Gurdas Maan.
 
The "Comedy Nights With Kapil" star and Ginni wanted the wedding to be rooted in their culture. In fact, they chose Lovely Sweets, a 60-year-old Indian sweets manufacturer from here, for the sweets they have distributed, and Lovely Imagination, for designing the elaborate wedding invitations and sweets.
 
Their wedding was preceded by days of ceremonies and pre-marriage rituals, including a sangeet which saw their friends dance the night away.
 
IANS
 

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Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 to feature works of 94 artists from across world

As many as 94 artists' works will be on display at the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale -- South Asia's biggest contemporary art event -- that will begin here on Wednesday.
 
The 108-day event, that will go on until March 29, 2019 and will be held at ten venues here, will be inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
 
Curated by eminent artist Anita Dube, the event will also feature seminars, workshops, lectures, film screenings and performances.
 
What’s more, the curatorial theme of ‘Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life’ will encourage visitors at the Biennale to participate in its course beyond being viewers. For that, the Biennale pavilion will double up as a public space for conversation.
 
“The pavilion will have no hierarchies over who could speak on what, how long, when and in which language,” said Dube. “It is energised by the interactions between works, the dialogue sparked between artistic voices and practices. The audience is invited to share, to listen, and even to challenge the space.”
 
This emphasis on interaction will be a defining feature of the festival, according to Bose Krishnamachari, president of the Kochi Biennale Foundation. He said Dube has been credited with curating the first biennale anywhere in the world to have women totalling more than half of the participating artists.
 
On the evening of December 12 in Fort Kochi, the Chief Minister will declare the festival open. The function at Parade Ground, slated to begin with a Chenda Melam orchestra led by Peruvanam Kuttan Marrar will also be addressed by Yusuf Ali, Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group International, Nilima Sheikh, artist and Feroze Gujral, director, Gujral Foundation and trustee of the Biennale. 
 
The inauguration will be followed by a live performance by the Bangalore-based Vasu Dixit Collective.
 
Earlier that day, the Biennale flag will be hoisted at Aspinwall House, the main venue of the festival. This will be followed by a walk with the curator. The afternoon will see two artist performances — one by Mexican Tania Candiani (Aspinwall) and other by Netherlands-based Rana Hamadeh (MAP Project Space).
 
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Lucknow-born Dube, who studied Art Criticism at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, has conceived the Biennale following a year-long travel around the globe. That engagement, defined by intense research and diverse dialogues with artists, led her to shortlist the artists for the Biennale.
 
The event will be held across heritage venues in the twin towns of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry, as well as in downtown Ernakulam. The venues are: Aspinwall House, Durbar Hall (Ernakulam), Pepper House, Cabral Yard (site of the Biennale Pavilion), David Hall, Kashi Art Café, Kashi Town House, Anand Warehouse, TKM Warehouse and MAP Project Space.
 
A highlight of the Biennale is a team of 20 dedicated ‘art mediators’ who will be residing in Kochi through the event and giving guided tours every day free of charge. Another novel addition is the idea of infra-projects, which is a set of four art projects put together by external curators in alignment with the broader curatorial theme.
 
There will also be a Students’ Biennale, featuring 200 student-artists, belonging to private and public art schools from across India and parts of South Asia. Other ancillary events include the Let’s Talk series, presentations and discussions by artists and thinkers, Artists’ Cinema, which presents curated packages of films, and the Music of Muziris concert series, showcasing a wide range of traditional and contemporary music acts.
 
The Foundation’s ‘Art by Children’ (ABC) runs as an endeavour that offers resources for artistic experimentation. Integral to it is the ‘art room’, a learning project at Cabral Yard, aiming to introduce people to art making from a young age. Also, there is a two-month Graffiti Residency on till December 20.
 
Materials used for the Biennale's Pavilion will be subsequently repurposed to construct a dozen houses for those affected by the August floods and landslides in the state. In January 18 next year, select paintings, sculptures and installations of more than 40 artists will be auctioned in Kochi as part of the Foundation’s ARK (Art Rises for Kerala) initiative in partnership with auction house Saffronart.
 
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Singer Beyonce arrives in Udaipur to perform at Isha Ambani's pre-wedding celebrations

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Grammy Award-winning singer Beyonce arrived in the City of Lakes on Sunday to perform at a pre-wedding celebration for Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal.
 
Beyonce sported a white printed ensemble and a pair of shades as she stepped out of the Maharana Pratap Airport. A red lip colour brightened up her look as she let her curly tresses loose.
 
The "Crazy in love" singer will perform on Sunday night for a star-studded audience, which includes US former First Lady Hillary Clinton and a slew of Bollywood celebrities including newlywed Priyanka Chopra and her American singer husband Nick Jonas.
 
Beyonce's arrival for a private concert here has been much talked about since September when American singer John Legend performed at Isha and Anand's engagement in Italy's Lake Como.
 
The wedding celebrations are as grand as expected.
 
On Saturday night, a glitzy sangeet ceremony saw the bride and groom's family in a celebratory mood.
 
Among those who joined the party were business tycoons, as well as Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan with wife Kiran Rao, Abhishek Bachchan with mother Jaya, wife Aishwarya and daughter Aaradhya, Karan Johar, Salman Khan, Parineeti Chopra, Anil Kapoor and wife Sunita, Boney Kapoor with daughters Janhvi and Khushi, Siddharth Roy Kapur with wife Vidya Balan, John Abraham with wife Priya Runchal, Ronnie Screwvala with wife Zarine, Karisma Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Karan Tacker.
 
Veteran actress Rekha also arrived here on Sunday.
 
Isha and Anand, scions of the Ambani and Piramal business families respectively, will wed as per Indian traditions, customs and culture at the Mumbai residence of the Ambani family on December 12.
 
On Friday, the families started the pre-wedding functions with a special four-day 'Anna Seva' to feed 5,100 people, a majority of them with special abilities, here.
 
IANS
 

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'Kedarnath' director urges Uttarakhand government to lift 'ban'

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"Kedarnath" director Abhishek Kapoor has urged the Uttarakhand government to lift a ban on the movie.
 
"I plead with the Uttarakhand government to please lift the ban on my film 'Kedarnath'. It is an attempt to bring peace, harmony and healing to the people of this country. Please don't deprive us of this opportunity," Kapoor tweeted.
 
While there has been no official ban on the film by the state government, it wrote to all district magistrates about the film and the controversies surrounding it. 
 
The decision followed a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat that reviewed a report submitted by a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.
 
The government asked the district administration to take a call on their own and left it to their discretion whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions.
 
Following which Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Udhamsinghnagar banned the film. 
 
The Hindi film, with the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath as the backdrop, was being opposed by the right-wing activists from the day its shooting began in the hill state and they alleged that it hurt Hindu sentiments and promoted the idea of "Love Jehad".
 
The film, starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan, was shot extensively in Triyuginarayan, Gaurikund, Soneprayag, Rambada, Kedarnath and Chopta, and it had to face protests even then.
 
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday refused to ban the film and asked the petitioners to approach the District Magistrate with their complaints.
 
On its opening day, the movie garnered Rs 7.25 crore in India.
 
IANS
 

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'Kedarnath' not to release in Uttarakhand

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The Sara Ali Khan-Sushant Rajput starrer Bollywood film "Kedarnath' will not be released in the hill state of Uttarakhand, an official said on Friday.
 
While there has be no official ban on the film by the state government, it has written to all district magistrates (DMs) about the film and the controversies surrounding it. It has asked the DMs to take a call on their own and has left it to their discretion whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions.
 
Following this, all the DM's have banned the film's release in their districts. A decision to this effect was taken after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reviewed the report submitted by a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.
 
The Hindi film, with the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath as the backdrop, was being opposed by the right-wing activists from the day its shooting began in the hill state and they alleged that it hurt Hindu sentiments and promoted the idea of "Love Jehad".
 
With the latest orders by the DMs, it would mean that the film will not release now in state capital Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Udhamsinghnagar. Other districts of the state do not have a film theater. 
 
The film was shot extensively in Triyuginarayan, Gaurikund, Soneprayag, Rambada, Kedarnath and Chopta, and it had to face protests even then.
 
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday refused to ban the film and asked the petitioners to approach the District Magistrate with their complaints.
 
IANS
 

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Salman Khan to be first guest on Kapil Sharma's new show

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Comedian-actor-producer Kapil Sharma has started shooting for a new edition of "The Kapil Sharma Show" with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan as its first celebrity guest.
 
The episode, which will be aired on Sony Entertainment Television, will also feature Salman's brothers Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan as well as their father Salim Khan, read a statement.
 
Kapil will be joined by his original gang - Chandan, Kiku Sharda and Sumona Chakravarti.
 
The audience will also get to see comedians Bharti Singh and Krushna Abhishek along with Rochelle Rao. 
 
Meanwhile, Kapil will marry his fiance, Ginni, at her hometown in Jalandhar on December 12.
 
IANS
 

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Rajinikanth's '2.0' set for major China release

A still from the movie
A still from the movie "2.0". (Photo: IANS)
Superstar Rajinikanth's "2.0", which has set the cost registers ringing all over, is gearing up for a major China release across 56,000 screens, according to its makers.
 
In a statement, Lyca Productions confirmed the news of the Shankar-directed sci-fi movie's release in association with HY Media in China with at least 47,000 of the total screens playing it in 3D format.
 
"2.0" will release in China in May 2019 and it will be the widest 3D release for any foreign language film in history, the statement said.
 
A sequel to Shankar's 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran", "2.0" has been produced by Lyca Productions and was released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi on November 29.
 
The film, which features Rajinikanth in three different 'avatars', also stars Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Adil Hussain and Sudhanshu Pandey.
 
Akshay Kumar, making his southern debut, plays the antagonist. The film has been made on a budget of Rs 600 crore.
 
Rajinikanth plays a scientist and a robot. He also appears as a microbot, dubbed 3.0, which was one of the major surprise elements.
 
Earlier this week, Lyca Productions revealed that the film grossed a whopping Rs 400 crore in its opening weekend worldwide.
 
Shankar has also confirmed he is ready to commence shooting for Kamal Haasan's "Indian 2", which marks his reunion with the latter after two decades.
 
"We recently did a make-up test with Kamal sir and I was really excited to see him in the get-up of Senapathy. We are all set to begin shoot very soon," Shankar told the media.
 
Shooting of "Indian 2" may start from December 14. Kajal Aggarwal has been roped in to play the leading lady. Anirudh Ravichander will compose the music. Lyca Productions will also be bankrolling "Indian 2".
 
IANS
 

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Sonali Bendre beams with joy as she returns to 'motherland'

 
Husband Goldie Behl feels happy for Sonali’s recovery
Actress Sonali Bendre Behl beamed with joy, flashed smiles, gave a thumbs up and joined her hands in reverence for all the love as she arrived here on Monday months after she left for New York to seek treatment of a high grade cancer.
 
Sonali, known for films like "Sarfarosh", "Hum Saath-Saath Hain" and "Duplicate", has been putting up a brave fight against metastatic cancer for months.
 
She arrived here in an all-black look and flaunted her shaved head with as much confidence and bravado as she has been showcasing to her fans via social media. She was joined by her film producer husband Goldie Behl.
 
The paparazzi went clickety-click as Sonali made her way to the car and she obliged with a heartwarming smile and gratitude.
 
Before she left from New York, Sonali had shared a social media update, flaunting a casual white tracksuit. She had teamed them with shoes -- one of which read "mother" and the other read "land".
 
Clearly, Sonali was excited to be back in Mumbai -- where her heart is -- for a "happy interval".
 
Her Instagram post read: "I'm on my way back to where my heart is. It's a feeling I can't describe in words but I'm going to try - it's the joy to see my family and friends again, the excitement to do what I love and mainly the gratitude for the journey I've had up until this moment.
 
"The fight is not yet over... but I'm happy and looking forward to this happy interval."
 
For Sonali, who has spent the tumultuous time with a smile on her face, "it's time to learn that there is a new normal out there and I can't wait to embrace it and switch on the sunshine".
 
Sonali announced earlier this year that she was diagnosed with a high grade metastatic cancer. A mother of one, she said her family and close friends have provided her the best support system.
 
IANS
 

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