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More than 1800 mementoes received by PM auctioned in fortnight-long process

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More than 1,800 mementoes received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his term so far in office were auctioned to the highest bidders during a fortnight-long process that ended on Saturday.
 
The process consisted of two parts – a physical auction organized at the National Gallery of Modern Art for two days and an e-auction through the website pmmementos.gov.in.
 
The proceeds from this auction will go towards supporting the Namami Gange project, an official press release said.
 
During the auction organized at NGMA, a specially handcrafted wooden bike, received a successful bid of Rs 5 lakh. A similar bid was also received for a painting, which depicts Modi on a railway platform.
 
Some spectacular bids were received during the e-auction as well. A statuette of Lord Shiva, which had a base price of Rs 5000, was auctioned for Rs 10 lakh. A wooden replica of the Ashok Stambh, which had a base price of Rs 4000 was auctioned for Rs 13 lakh.
 
A traditional “Horai”, received from Majuli, Assam, (a traditional symbol of the state of Assam - an offering tray with a stand), which had a base price of Rs 2000 was auctioned for Rs 12 lakh.
 
A memento entitled “Divinity” received from SGPC, Amritsar, which had a base price of Rs 10,000 was auctioned for Rs 10.1 lakh.
 
A statuette of Gautam Buddha, which had a base price of Rs 4000 was auctioned for Rs 7 lakh. A traditional brass statue of a lion received from Sushil Koirala, former Prime Minister of Nepal, was auctioned for Rs 5.20 lakh.
 
A silver vase (Kalash) with embossing, with a base price of Rs 10,000 was auctioned for Rs 6 lakh. Many other mementoes fetched an auction value that is several times their base price, the release said.
 
Modi, even as Chief Minister of Gujarat, used to auction mementoes received by him, so that the proceeds could go for the education of girl children. 
 
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Two free guided tours in Agra this week as part of India Heritage Walk Festival

Tomb of I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra
Tomb of I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra
When Mughal empress Nur Jahan, the wife of Emperor Jahangir, built a tomb for her Persian father I'timad-Ud-Daulah in Agra between 1622 and 1628, it turned out to be  an imposing architectural masterpiece,  an artistic symbol of filial devotion and a statement of her royal power.  
 
A free guided walk on February 9, conducted as part of the second edition of India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF), will offer a chance to the participants to uncover how the position of a mausoleum in Mughal India metamorphosed into its peculiar stylistic character, providing immortality not only to the deceased and to the patron, but also to that particular time.
 
Agra is among 37 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2019, organised jointly by Sahapedia, the online resource on Indian arts and culture, and UNESCO, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns. 
 
Shivani Gupta, who pursued Masters in Fine Arts from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara (Gujarat) and is currently a research assistant at IIT Kanpur working on the subject of hunting miniatures in Indian painting, will lead the walk to explore what makes this medieval wonder so pioneering and distinctive, introducing visitors to elements of Mughal architecture.
 
Another guided walk in Agra, slated for February 10, will explore the bylanes of the city where one can be absorbed by the aroma of the different spices, various food stalls and diverse cuisines.
 
Whether it is the century-old spice shops at Rawatpada or the delectable mutton stew at Pakiza Meat Shop, it is a wonder how different spices and flavours blend into the living history of the city, and how modern alterations to the original dishes have created new flavours that retain the cultural significance of the dish.
 
Anal Jha, a flautist, poet and designer who has worked with several fashion accessories brands across the globe, will lead this culinary tour across the old city, taking the attendees through a journey of myriad palates, ranging from Mughlai non-vegetarian cuisine to braj ke bhalle, and discuss how the different spices/preparations used by generations have influenced the food and living culture of the city.  Agra Heritage Walks is the event partner for this  heritage trail.
 
The IHWF, which received the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2018 for its maiden edition organised last year, is a one-of-its-kind month-long festival covering 37 cities, with nearly 100 heritage walks and outreach events. The month-long festival is being supported by NMDC, a state-run mineral producer and explorer. 
 
The events’ bookings are facilitated by Odigos, an app that makes travel and discovery easier in India. 
 
Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, said: “We want to democratise access to local history and culture. One might be living in the same neighbourhood for years, but there is a big chance that an important landmark, tucked away in a back alley, has been missed and forgotten. The IHWF is that opportunity to discover the hidden gems linked to the history of a place, town or city.”
 
Junhi Han, Head and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi office, said, “The IHWF programme addresses knowledge of local architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, with a special focus on gender-related issues and accessibility in cultural heritage facilitating more inclusive and better outreach. The festival is expected to involve, engage and sensitize more people, in particular the youth, about their cultural heritage.”
 
Details about the walks, registration and other programmes of IHWF 2019 are available here.
 
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Kovind presents Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2017 to 42 artistes

President Ram Nath Kovind with the recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind with the recipients of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 201 to 42 eminent artistes at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan here today.
 
The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of Music, Dance and Drama, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India at its meeting held on June 8, 2018 in Imphal, Manipur, had selected the 42 artistes for the awards from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts. 
 
The 42 artistes include one joint award, an official press release said.
 
In the field of Music, eleven artistes received the award. They are Lalith J Rao - Hindustani Vocal, Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha (Gundecha Brothers) (Joint Award) - Hindustani Vocal, Yogesh Samsi - Hindustani Instrumental- Tabla,  Rajendra Prasanna - Hindustani Instrumental - Shehnnai/Flute, M.S.Sheela - Carnatic Vocal, Suma Sudhindra - Carnatic Instrumental – Veena, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan - Carnatic Insrumental – Mridangam, Shashank Subramanyam - Carnatic Instrumental – Flute, Madhurani- Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, Haimanti Sukla -Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, and Gurnam Singh - Other Major Traditions of Music - Gurbani.
 
In the Field of Dance, nine artistes got the awards. They are: Rama Vaidyanathan for Bharatanatyam, Shobha Koser for Kathak, Madambi Subramanian for Kathakali, L. N. Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi for Manipuri, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Sujata Mohapatra for Odissi, Ramkrishna Talukdar for Sattriya, Janmajay Saibabu for Chhau, and Aashit Desai for Music for Dance.   
 
In the field of Theatre, nine artistes received the Akademi Awards 2017. They are Abhiram Bhadakamkar for Playwriting, Sunil Shanbagh for Direction, Bapi Bose for Direction, Hema Singh for Acting, Deepak Tiwari for Acting, Anil Tickoo for Acting, Nuruddin Ahmed for Allied Theatre Arts - (Stage Craft), Avtar Sahani for Allied Theatre Arts - (Lighting), Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh for Other Major Traditions of Theatre - Shumang Leela, Manipur.
 
In the field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry,  ten artistes received the awards. They are: Anwar Khan Manganiyar , Folk Music, Rajasthan, Prakash Khandge, Folk Arts, Maharashtra Jagannath Bayan, Traditional Music - Khol, Assam, Ramchandra Majhi, Folk Music, Bihar, Rakesh Tiwari, Folk Theatre, Chhattisgarh, Parvathy Baul, Folk Music (Baul),  West Bengal, Saravjit Kaur, Folk Music, Punjab, K.C. Runremsangi, Folk Music, Mizoram, Mukund Nayak, Folk Music, Jharkhand, and Sudip Gupta, Puppetry, West Bengal.
 
Vijay Verma and Sandhya Purecha were given the Akademi Award 2017 in the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship in the Performing Arts.
 
The honour of Akademi Award has been conferred since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution. 
 
The award carries a cash component of Rs 1 lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
 
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President to confer Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for 2017 on 42 artistes on Wednesday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will confer the prestigious Sangget Natak Akademi Awards for 2017 on 42 artistes at a special investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here tomorrow.
 
The General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the national academy of Music, Dance and Drama, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India at its meeting held on June 8, 2018 in Imphal, Manipur had selected the 42 artistes for the awards from the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts. 
 
The 42 artistes include one joint award, an official press release said.
 
In the field of Music, eleven artistes have been chosen for the award. They are Lalith J Rao - Hindustani Vocal, Umakant Gundecha and Ramakant Gundecha (Gundecha Brothers) (Joint Award) - Hindustani Vocal, Yogesh Samsi - Hindustani Instrumental- Tabla,  Rajendra Prasanna - Hindustani Instrumental - Shehnnai/Flute, M.S.Sheela - Carnatic Vocal, Suma Sudhindra - Carnatic Instrumental – Veena, Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan - Carnatic Insrumental – Mridangam, Shashank Subramanyam - Carnatic Instrumental – Flute, Madhurani- Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, Haimanti Sukla -Other Major Traditions of Music -Sugam Sangeet, and Gurnam Singh - Other Major Traditions of Music - Gurbani.
 
In the Field of Dance, nine artistes have been selected for the awards. They are: Rama Vaidyanathan for Bharatanatyam, Shobha Koser for Kathak, Madambi Subramanian for Kathakali, L. N. Oinam Ongbi Dhoni Devi for Manipuri, Deepika Reddy for Kuchipudi, Sujata Mohapatra for Odissi, Ramkrishna Talukdar for Sattriya, Janmajay Saibabu for Chhau, and Aashit Desai for Music for Dance.   
 
In the field of Theatre, nine artistes have been selected for the Akademi Awards 2017. They are Abhiram Bhadakamkar for Playwriting, Sunil Shanbagh for Direction, Bapi Bose for Direction, Hema Singh for Acting, Deepak Tiwari for Acting, Anil Tickoo for Acting, Nuruddin Ahmed for Allied Theatre Arts - (Stage Craft), Avtar Sahani for Allied Theatre Arts - (Lighting), Shougrakpam Hemanta Singh for Other Major Traditions of Theatre - Shumang Leela, Manipur.
 
In the field of Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre and Puppetry,  ten artistes have been selected for the awards. They are: Anwar Khan Manganiyar , Folk Music, Rajasthan, Prakash Khandge, Folk Arts, Maharashtra Jagannath Bayan, Traditional Music - Khol, Assam, Ramchandra Majhi, Folk Music, Bihar, Rakesh Tiwari, Folk Theatre, Chhattisgarh, Parvathy Baul, Folk Music (Baul),  West Bengal, Saravjit Kaur, Folk Music, Punjab, K.C. Runremsangi, Folk Music, Mizoram, Mukund Nayak, Folk Music, Jharkhand, and Sudip Gupta, Puppetry, West Bengal.
 
Vijay Verma and Sandhya Purecha have been selected for the Akademi Award 2017 in the field of Overall Contribution/Scholarship in the Performing Arts.
 
The honour of Akademi Award has been conferred since 1952. These honours not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution. 
 
The award carries with it Rs 1 lakh, besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
 
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20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav gets under way in New Delhi

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The 20th Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), a 21-day national theatre festival and the largest event of its kind in Asia, hosted by the National School of Drama (NSD), got under way at the Kamani Auditorium here on Saturday.
 
The event was inaugurated by Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma in the presence of NSD Acting Chairman Arjun Deo Charan, renowned  danseuse, theatre artiste and Rajya Sabha member Sonal Mansingh and former NSD Director Ram Gopal Bajaj, among others.
 
NSD is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
 
The 20th BRM will feature 111 national and international acts, including folk and other traditional theatre forms, invitee plays and produtions by the students of NSD.
 
The inaugural ceremony was followed by a 50-minute musical performance ‘Karanth ke Rang’ based on the compositions of late B V Karanth, directed by Amod Bhatt and presented by Rangpurva group, Mumbai. Karanth was a well-known director, actor and musician of modern Indian theatre in Kannada as well as Hindi. His plays like ‘Jokumara Swamy’, ‘Sankranti’, ‘Huchu Kudure’, and ‘Oedipus’ were trendsetters, which touched upon aspects of language music, songs and stylization. Karanth’s use of unusual instruments such as wood, stones, etc. in creating music and his ability to blend contemporary, classical and folk genres reflected his originality and style. He was an alumnus of batch 1962 of NSD and later became its director.
 
This year's BRM will also include allied activities such as ‘Director’s Meet’, ‘Living Legends’, and ‘Master Class’.  
 
Apart from New Delhi, the NSD has arranged parallel festivals of the 20th BRM in Dibrugarh (4th to 10th February, 2019), Varanasi (7th to 13th February, 2019), Ranchi (9th to 15th February, 2019), Mysore (11th to 17th February, 2019), and Rajkot (13th to 19th February, 2019). The festival will culminate in New Delhi on 21st February, 2019
 
Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM) was established two decades ago to stimulate the growth and development of theatre across India. Originally a national festival showcasing the work of the most creative theatre workers in India, BRM has evolved into an international event, hosting theatre groups from around the world, and is now the largest theatre festival of Asia.
 
Till date, BRM has presented 1787 plays, and riveted thousands of theatre-goers.
 
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Saregama offers devotional songs without internet with Carvaan Mini Bhakti

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Saregama, formerly known as The Gramophone Company of India Ltd, which owns the largest music archives in India and one of the biggest in the world, today announced the launch of Carvaan Mini Bhakti, a product designed to cater the generation that has high dependency on others to listen to their favourite devotional songs.
 
It has preloaded 300 devotional songs and can be started with just press of a button, a press release from the company said.
 
"Like other Carvaan devices, it does not need internet or connectivity with your phone to play it. A perfect device to start your day!" it said.
 
Categorized by deities like Shiv, Ganesh, Krishna, Sai, Devi and Ram, Hanuman, Carvaan Mini Bhakti has a pre-loaded repertoire of 300 songs - bhajans, aartis, mantras and more. Much like the previous versions of Carvaan Mini, it is compact in size with power speakers and features like AM/FM, Bluetooth and a USB to enjoy one’s personal favorites as well. 
 
"The mornings in most homes in India start with devotional practices and it is considered as integral part of our culture. What better can we ask for, but the company of melodies sung by Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam, Anup Jalota and many more prominent artists during mornings Puja and offerings. Shirdi ke Sai Baba, Tune mujhe bulaya.. and O shreawali among other songs will fill your heart with devotion," the release said.
 
Vikram Mehra, Managing Director, Saregama India says, “Carvaan is an undoubted success in India and expanding across the globe now. New variants of the product is launched based on our customer feedbacks and demands. We are proud to have constantly been able address the need between the demand and supply. With launch of a new variant – Carvaan Mini Bhakti, we hope the experience of listing to devotional songs is enhanced and made easier.”
 
This mini version of Carvaan has a long lasting battery of up to 4 hours. The product also offers a 6-month warranty.
 
"The Carvaan Mini Bhakti is economically priced at Rs 2490 and will be available on Saregama website and your nearest retail outlets," the release added.
 
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Well-known Malayalam actor-director Sreenivasan hospitalised

Sreenivasan
Sreenivasan
Well-known Malayalam film actor and director Sreenivasan was admitted to a private hospital here today after complaining of acute breathlessness and chest pain.
 
Sources in the Ernakulam Medical Centre (EMC) told NetIndian that Sreenivasan, 62, was admitted to the intensive coronary care unit (ICCU) and kept on ventilator support.
 
He said the actor's vital parameters, which were weak at the time of admission around 9.45 am, had improved.
 
Doctors treating him would meet around 11 am tomorrow to discuss the further course of treatment, the sources added.
 
Sreenivasan was dubbing for a new movie at a studio in the Kakkanad area of the city when he complained of the uneasiness and was rushed to the hospital, located near the Palarivattom Junction.
 
“Actor Mr Sreenivasan, aged 62 years, presented to the emergency department of this hospital on 30.01.2019 at 9:46 am with complaints of acute breathlessness, following physical exertion. Patient was hemodynamically unstable on presentation, suggestive of Acute Left Ventricular Failure, warranting admission to Intensive Coronary Care Unite where he was intubated and ventilated in view of his poor oxygen saturation following persisting dysponea. He is being treated by a team of specialists consisting of Cardiologist, Intensivist, Anesthesiologist and Physician," a statement from the hospital said.
 
“Professional diagnosis: Accelerated hypertension, Acute LVF on a previously diagnosed patient with Hypertension, Diabetes, IHD, Old CVA. At present, patient is in the ICU with ventilatory support, hemodynamically stable," the statement added.
 
Sreenivasan, who has a huge fan following, has excelled in comic and character roles and is also an acclaimed scriptwriter in Malayalam cinema. He has also produced movies.
 
In January last year, Sreenivasan had been hospitalised for some days due to variations in his blood sugar level.
 
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NGMA to launch 'Night at the Museum' on Wednesday night

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The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here will hold the first edition of a new initiative, 'Night at the Museum', here tonight in collaboration with the India Art Fair.
 
As part of the event, to be held from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm. NGMA shall conduct a guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery. 
 
Highlight objects include works of art of Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, to name a few, an official press release said.
 
Visitors would also get an opportunity to view special exhibitions entitled Roopantar, an exhibition of sculptures from the treasures in NGMA and Dandi Yatra, an exhibition that pays homage to the iconic Dandi March, the release said.
 
NGMA aims to conduct Night at the Museum as a regular activity and organise it on the last working day of every month. 
 
The details of activities will be available on NGMA's official website and Facebook page. 
 
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Javadekar to inaugurate new campus for National Museum Institute in Noida on Wednesday

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Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar will inaugurate the new campus of the National Museum Institute at Sector 62 in the Institutional Area in Noida near here tomorrow.
 
The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology (NMI) is one of the leading centres in the country for training and research in the field of art and cultural heritage. It imparts higher education leading to Master of Arts and PhD in the field of History of Art, Conservation and Museology.
 
The institute is a registered Society (Deemed to be University) under the Societies Registration Act 1860, fully funded by the Ministry of Culture.
 
It was formed and registered on January 27, 1989, and was accorded the status of ‘Deemed to be University’ on April 28, 1989, under the UGC Act 3 of 1956. The degree programs, MA, PhD as well as short-term courses commenced in 1990.
 
As approved by the Academic Council and its highest body, the Society of which the Chairman is the Minister of Culture, four new courses -- Archaeology;  Palaeography, Epigraphy & Numismatics; Structural Conservation and Cultural & Heritage Management,  are expected to be started soon.
 
In addition to these regular courses, short-term courses of five-months duration, Art Appreciation and Bhartiya Kalanidhi (Hindi),  which are very popular, are also conducted by the institute to disseminate knowledge about the country’s tangible and intangible heritage.
 
Right from the beginning, the National Museum Institute has been working from the first floor of the National Museum, Janpath, New Delhi.  For its independent campus, a land of approximately 12000 sq. m was allotted in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
 
In view of the requirement of different segments of the complex, a total budget of  Rs 90.40 crore (including 10% escalation charges) was approved by the Standing Finance Committee, Ministry of Culture and the project work was allotted to CPWD.
 
The foundation stone was laid by on January 31, 2015, by Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma, who is also the Chancellor of the Institute.  After preparing the drawings/ layouts of the building structures and getting clearances from different agencies involved and approval from the NMI, the construction work began in April 2017.
 
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Day one of auction of mementos received by Modi sees overwhelming response

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The physical auction of mementoes received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received an overwhelming response from bidders on day one, an official press release said. 
 
The two-day physical auction organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, will be followed by e-auction from January 29-31 for the remaining items which are not sold during the physical auction on this portal
 
The items that were auctioned included statues, photographs, paintings and articles such as angavastram, shawls, commemorative coins, traditional musical instruments, hats, pagris and jackets, to name a few. 
 
There has been tremendous buzz generated in respect of these gift items in view of the fact that these items have been accessible to the general public through auction being espoused for the noble charitable work. The proceeds contribute towards the project ‘Namami Gange’.
 
The bidders supported the cause wholeheartedly as certain items such as statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, base priced at Rs 1000, was finally auctioned for Rs 22,000, items such as statues of Gautam Buddha, portraits, photographs and paintings of Prime Minister, 3D painting of  Gomukh (origin of the Ganga), statue of Mahatma Basveshwara, statue of Swami Vivekananda and silver coated Shivlinga were also auctioned at a high price. 
 
The items were on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art. 
 
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Kochi Biennale to screen films on artists Kaushik Mukhopadhyay, Nilima Sheikh

The Kochi-Muziris Biennale will give this week a peek into the life and work of two leading Indian artists, with films on Kaushik Mukhopadhyay and Nilima Sheikh set to be shown on Monday and Tuesday at a key venue of the festival.
 
Both the movies are directed by noted cinematographer Avijit Mukul Kishore, and will be screened at the Pavilion in Cabral Yard at Fort Kochi. ‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ on Monday, followed by ‘The Garden of Forgotten Snow’ the next evening.
 
Avijit, who is based in Mumbai, works in documentary and interdisciplinary moving-image practices while also being a curator. He also collaborates with visual artists on moving-image-based art projects and is a lecturer in film and media schools.
 
‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ essays the inimitable Mukhopadhyay and his works that “exist at a peculiar intersection of machine, organism and toy”, says Avijit. “The artist uses discarded household objects to create works that are fragile, humorous and poignant.”
 
The hour-long film made last year traverses the overlapping spaces of art, invention and pedagogy through Mukopadhyay’s work, following him through his 2017 solo titled ‘Squeeze Lime in Your Eye’ and his practice as a teacher in an architecture school in Mumbai.
 
‘The Garden of Forgotten Snow’, about septuagenarian Nilima’s art practice and her engagement with Kashmir over decades, traverses “the many layers of memory and history as embodied in her work”, the filmmaker says. The 30-minute work also scans the pertinent literary and art-historical traditions.
 
Baroda-based Nilima’s work is on at the 108-day biennale that ends on March 29.
 
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Five-day long ‘Bharat Parv’ begins at Red Fort in Delhi

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‘Bharat Parv’ (India Festival), a five-day event showcasing the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat, began at Red Fort here on Saturday as part of the Republic Day 2019 celebrations. 
 
Satyajeet Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism inaugurated the Parv, now in its fourth edition, which will be open till January 31. 
 
It has been organized by the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with other Central Ministries and State Governments.
 
Bharat Parv will be open for public from 12 noon to 10 pm during this period, and the entry will be free. However, identity proof is to be carried for entry to the event. 
 
The major highlights of this year are the replica of the Statue of Unity created by sculptor Ram Vanji Suttar and a Gandhi Gram in which ten artists will create paintings on the theme of 'Ideology of Mahatma Gandhi'.
 
Other highlights of this year are the display of Republic Day Parade Tableaux, performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static as well as dynamic), and Photo Exhibition by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP). 
 
The event will also include IRCTC’s promotions on special tourist trains, ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ Consumer Awareness campaign, and exhibition-cum-sale of crafts items. 
 
The Parv is also hosting Theme State Pavilions where each State showcases its strength along with its tourism products. The other attractions are a multi-cuisine food court, Crafts Mela and cultural performances from different regions of the country. The Food Court will have stalls set up by States and Union Territories and the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI) showcasing street food from different regions. 
 
A live ‘Cookery Demonstration Area’ has been set up in the food court to promote cuisines of different States of India. 
 
In addition to these, the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) will be conducting daily cultural performances from different regions of the country, an official press release added.
 
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‘Artivist’ and her feminism library add to biennale’s infra-project

The red-and-white-walled Pepper House sports a pinkish library in one corner these days, and there’s something particularly striking about its books: the authors are solely women.
 
Gender inequality across the world and caste hierarchy in India form the chunk of the subjects in the collection with feminist perspectives that bear a historical approach as well. There are graphic novels as well as illustrated zines — those low-cost self-publications aiming a small circulation. All of it by young artist-archivist Aqui Thami.
 
The 29-year-old activist has been working on this moving library that is an infra-project under the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale. ‘Sister Library’, as it is called, reflects on the general reading culture in the country even as it seeks to “celebrate the contributions of women in the creative world”.
 
The 100-book library, along with Thami, has so far travelled five cities: Goa, Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The sixth has been this coastal Kerala city amid the subcontinent’s biggest contemporary art festival that is on till March 29. Starting this week at the sea-facing venue of Pepper House in Fort Kochi, she is leading a month-long workshop featuring feminism-centric reading sessions, film shows, talks, discussions and art workshops.
 
So, why the word ‘Sister’ ahead of library? “Well, ‘sister’ is a word of solidarity that brings together women from all class, region or language,” explains Thami, who lives in Mumbai after having been brought up in West Bengal’s hilly Darjeeling.
 
Artist Anita Dube, who is curator of the 108-day biennale that began on December 12, notes Sister Library “aptly describes” the festival’s two running themes: feminism and pedagogy. “Aqui has prioritised through her workshops and aesthetics that learning can be pleasurable and accessible,” Dube notes. “This is a major aim for me.”
 
According to Thami, the year-old project is still evolving and generative. “The idea is to engage in an in-depth reflection on the visual and reading culture prevalent among women,” she says. “The library will make people look at the works of women seriously. The readers can celebrate the ideas of women authors,” she says. “The perception of women will be widely shared. It will start help shift some of the general perceptions about women around and hopefully bring a change some day.”
 
The artist had visited the biennale during its previous (2016) chapter. To be part of the latest edition is “great”, she feels, for the ongoing biennale women forming more than half of the 90-plus artists. Hailing curator Anita Dube’s vision, Thami says the biennale has boosted “artists, like me, who belong to an indigenous culture and come from the global south.”
 
Thami’s work reflects on the absence of safe community spaces that allow women to read works about other women. “Works of women writers are not easily available. It took me years to have collection of around 4,000 books. I come from the mountains that has an indigenous community, I have gone through so much intergenerational trauma. I face a lot of racism in the land. I went through a very dark age of my life where art became a ray of light and a healing element,” adds Thami, who received the 2017 Inlaks Fine Art Award for the project.
 
Some of the notable authors in her treasured collection include Sylvia Plath, Ursula le Guin Alison Bechdel, Naomi Wolf, Gloria Steinem, Susan Sontag, bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir and Audre Lorde. Alongside them were displayed the works of Ishmat Chugtai, Imitiaz Dharker, Sharmila Rege, Taslima Nasrin, and Nayyirah Waheed besides plenty of non-fictional works on intersectional feminist history.
 
Thami has been working in the Dharavi Art Room at Mumbai with its founder-educator Himanshu Shady since 2012, providing women and children in the community with a place to express and heal them through art.
 
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Art Rises for Kerala auction raises Rs 3.2 crore for flood relief

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A first-ever international live contemporary art auction in Kerala saw all its works getting sold out and the proceeds of Rs 3.2 crore set to be donated to the state government’s rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the natural calamity five months ago.
 
The auction, conducted by Mumbai-based Saffronart and the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) last weekend, had no buyer’s premium — and comprised 42 artworks donated by leading Indian and international artists, gallerists and collectors. 
 
The amount from the Friday night event at the Grand Hyatt in Kochi is going to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund for the benefit of the people hit by the floods and landslides in August last year. 
 
The sale was led by eminent artist Anish Kapoor’s Untitled, 2018, a vivid blue canvas-and-resin work that sold for Rs 1.3 crore.
 
The KBF noted that the Kerala government has been the principal supporter of the biennale which has its fourth edition on for 108 days till March 29. 
 
“We’re proud to have been able to bring together the artist community to rebuild Kerala,” said KBF president Bose Krishnamachari. “I’m also happy that along with the important collectors in India, a new generation of art collectors have come forward in Kerala.I hope that this will strengthen the ecosystem for art here.”
 
Saffronart said it had partnered with the KBF once again in solidarity with the people of Kerala. “We thank the art community for their generous support in both donating and bidding on works for this important cause,” said Saffronart CEO Dinesh Vazirani. “We hope that the funds raised through this auction, with artworks by some of India’s leading artists, will support the commendable rebuilding efforts initiated by the state government that are already underway.” 
 
Sunil V, Secretary of the KBF, thanked the artists who generously contributed to the cause. “We also want to thank Saffronart and Dinesh Vazirani for their partnership,” he added.
 
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Kochi Biennale: Annu Matthew’s work pays homage to forgotten WWII heroes

Through her work that draws attention to parallel histories of immigrants and women among communities, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew hopes to enrich a collective cultural conversation with amplified voices. 
 
“I do this by drawing on history and the connected role of memory and its effect on identity,” says the 55-year-old artist about her exhibit at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
 
The ongoing fourth edition of the art festival showcases US-based Annu’s video work titled ‘Unremembered: The Indian soldiers of the Italian Campaign of World War II’. The project is about the forgotten history of Indian (South Asian) soldiers who fought during the Italian Campaign of the global conflict that lasted from 1939 to ’45.
 
“I stumbled upon the powerful story of a politically-complicated role of Indian soldiers who fought for the British colonial power during WWII,” notes the artist, a professor of art at the University of Rhode Island, 250 km northeast of New York. “I came across it through my decade-long research on the Partition of British India.”
 
This war had nearly 2.5 million Indians volunteering to fight for the British. In the end, no less than 87,000 people died. The Indian troops did achieve something particularly inspiring what with their role proving critical in winning a decisive battle at Monte Cassino and others in Italy against the Axis powers.
 
“The tenacity of the troops, especially that of Indian soldiers, is reflected in their being honoured with 30 per cent of the Victoria Crosses the British government awarded to all of the soldiers fighting in Italy during the war,” adds Annu, who was born in London and raised partly in India (largely Bangalore).
 
As for the installation at the main biennale venue of Aspinwall House in Fort Kochi, the video spanning 3 minutes and 20 seconds has a reflection pool. The work builds on the idea that military cemeteries memorialise the dead while simultaneously reminding the living of their possible complicity in the same soldiers’ deaths.
 
“These spaces, embedded with multiple overlapping layers of narrative, encourage contemplation and reflection,” notes Annu. “Layering a contemporary inscription of the wartime past expands the narrative and prompts a reconsideration. It goes on to evolve as a dialogue of the larger history of WWII and the understanding of the complexities of the Partition of British India.”
 
Annu, with familial roots in Kerala, started her research on the project one-and-a-half years ahead of the biennale. She did her test shots while she was attending the Rome Summer Fellow at Richmond International University in 2017. “For that, I projected archival footage of the Indian soldiers in Italy during WWII onto the gravestones of those soldiers memorialised in Cassino, and Forli,” says the artist who was born in Stourport, England.
 
For over twenty years, she has been mining issues of identity, immigration and inter-generational memory with the insights of a woman who has twice lived the immigrant experience. The vignettes come through her photo-based works. “I work in a wide range of photographic media from the plastic-lensed ‘toy’ Holga camera, photo animation to interactive installations,” she says. “My larger work reconsiders — or what I like to call re-views — different histories. The first time I re-viewed history, it was my own childhood.”
 
Annu has predominantly worked with photography as a medium. To her, participating in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale allowed her to take the next bold move onto installation art. “Something that I have taken as a small step towards in the last few years,” she shrugs. “It has also been wonderful to see a show giving voice to many unheard narratives and to meet a number of the artists.”
 
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Smule Mirchi Cover Star begins hunt for India’s biggest cover artiste

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The best 100 entries from more than 15,000 received for the Smule Mirchi Cover Star are now open for public voting here as part of a hunt for India's biggest cover artiste.
 
"In the first phase of the competition, Smule Mirchi Cover Star received over 15000 entries. These 15000+ entries were screened and evaluated basis Tune, Expression and Pitch," a press release from the organisers said.
 
"Basis public votes, social engagement and screening by Mirchi programming, the Top 5 entries from these 100 entries will move into the finals of the competition," it said.
 
"Smule Mirchi Cover Star is India’s biggest cover artiste hunt that offers the winner a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the 11th Mirchi Music Awards in Mumbai in front of Bollywood’s biggest music celebrities, a truly incomparable experience for anyone who loves and follows music in India," the release said.
 
Created by Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM, Smule Mirchi Cover Star is designed for people who have a flair for singing Bollywood songs. To participate, people needed to download the Smule app and sing the cover entry of their favourite song. Alternatively, people also sent their entries through special on-ground activation in malls and campuses across 12 cities. Participants also had the option of visiting Radio Mirchi studios to record their entry for the competition.
 
In the finals, Mirchi Cover Star celebrity judges, Jonita Gandhi, Meet Bros, Kanika Kapoor and Tony Kakkar, will assess and evaluate these top five entries. The five finalists will battle it out at an on-ground event in front of fans and media. 
 
"One winner will be chosen from the event who will then be groomed for the coveted performance at Mirchi Music Awards 2019," the release said.
 
Smule is a leading social network for music, connecting the world through a global community of 50 million monthly active users. Smule’s flagship app lets people sing and make music with friends and major artistes around the globe. Smule is available on iOS and Android.
 
Entertainment Network India Limited (ENIL), popularly known as Mirchi, owns 73 frequencies and is advertising partner for another 3, across 63 cities, making it India’s largest private FM radio broadcaster. 
 
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NGMA to organise auction of mementos received by PM

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The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi, under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, will organise an auction of gifts presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi from all across India.
 
The amount raised through the auction will be used for ‘Namami Gange’, the project to clean River Ganga, an official press release said.
 
The physical auction will be conducted on January 27 and 28 at NGMA, New Delhi from 12 noon onwards.
 
The e-auction will take place subsequently from January 29-31 for the remaining items, left after the physical auction, on this portal, where the items can also be viewed, the release said.
 
Around 1900 such exclusive gifts are currently on display in National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, New Delhi. The gift items include paintings, sculptures, shawls, Pagris, Jackets, traditional musical instruments, and so on, the release added.
 
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Modi to inaugurate National Museum of Indian Cinema on January 19

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) in Mumbai on January 19.
 
The state-of-the-art museum, built at a cost of Rs 140.61 crore, aims to take its visitors through an absorbing journey of over a century of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artefacts, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.
 
The creation of the museum has been guided by the Museum Advisory Committee headed by Shyam Benegal. An innovation committee headed by Prasoon Joshi was also constituted to provide an upgrade to NMIC.
 
The museum is housed in two buildings – the new museum building and the 19th-century palace Gulshan Mahal – in the Films Division campus in Mumbai.
 
The New Museum Building has four exhibition halls which encapsulate:
--Gandhi & Cinema: it not only depicts the movies made on the life Mahatma Gandhi but also showcases the deep impact his life had on cinema.
--Children’s Film Studio:  it gives visitors, particularly children, an opportunity to explore the science, technology and art behind filmmaking. It offers hands-on experience on various facets associated with making cinema like camera, light, shooting, experience of acting, etc. – presented in an interactive format. 
The exhibits displayed include chroma studio, immersive experience zone, stop-motion animation studio, virtual makeover studio, etc.
--Technology, creativity & Indian cinema: it showcases the creative use of technology by Indian filmmakers over the years to produce a cinematographic impact on the silver screen.
--Cinema across India: it showcases the charismatic kaleidoscopic presence of the vibrant cinematographic culture across India.
 
The museum, founded on an amalgamation of technology and amenities in a Victorian structure, has been constructed and refurbished by state-owned NBCC (India) Limited.
 
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Set in an elegant 19th-century heritage bungalow in South Mumbai, the project involved refurbishing the historic Gulshan Mahal and constructing the state-of-the-art NMIC building that has five floors and two mezzanine floors accounting for a total built up area of 12,000 sq metres. 
 
Gulshan Mahal is an ASI Grade-II Heritage Structure which has been restored as part of the project. The displays present here to showcase the journey of over a hundred years of Indian cinema.  
 
It is divided into nine sections -- The Origin of Cinema, Cinema comes to India, Indian Silent Film, Advent of Sound, The Studio Era, The impact of World War II, Creative Resonance, New Wave and Beyond and Regional Cinema.
 
"NBCC was able to complete the project despite facing challenges like the locality being a congested one, with barely any working space available. Apart from the space constraint, another major obstruction was restricted working hours along with regulated sound decibels. The movement and entry for the heavy vehicles was also restricted during day time," a press release from the company said.
 
In an endeavour to make the entire complex a potential ‘film hub’, the Victorian-Gothic era complex, which once drew luminaries to its musical soirées and cultural gatherings, is now well-equipped with modern amenities and facilities, including expansive auditoriums. In addition to this, the complex houses a multi-purpose hall that has been designed to be used as a movie preview theatre and for social functions, conferences and other seminars.
 
Another highlight of the project is its design features that involve a unique front elevation designed with inclined structural glazing supported by cable net with spiders and a glass façade which gives 3D view look to the structure. Besides adding aesthetics to the building, this unique feature, while giving an appearance of more space, allows more natural light to pass through the building making it highly energy efficient.
 
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Sangeet Natak Akademi launches second phase of web campaign ‘Sanjhi – Mujh Mein Kalakar’

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Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, launched on Wednesday the second phase of the web campaign ‘‘Sanjhi –Mujh Mein Kalakar’, an initiative to document and promote the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and diverse cultural traditions of the country by direct public participation.
 
This is a unique talent search where the participants will showcase their talent in the fields of music, dance, drama, puppetry, folk and tribal arts, culinary skills, painting, sculpture, and so on. 
 
The literal meaning of the term Sanjhi is “to share” and “to partner”, and the cultural traditions of our country have developed and prospered on the notions of harmony, an official press release said.
 
The second phase of the campaign has its main focus area the folk, traditional, customary, social events and ritualistic art forms -- woven as a cultural fabric around the harvest festival season of January. 
 
It is celebrated all across the country, known variously as Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri, Bhogali Bihu, Torgya, Uttarayan, Attukkal Pongal, and so on.
 
It intends to bring forth such forms that are aligned with the domains of intangible cultural heritage as per the Convention of Safeguarding the ICH under UNESCO: Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; Performing arts; Social practices, rituals and festive events; Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; Traditional craftsmanship.
 
The first phase of this campaign was earlier initiated in the month of November 2018 during the festival season of Diwali. There was mass participation and with great enthusiasm, people uploaded various audios and videos for music, dance, poetry recitation etc. and images for visual art forms like painting, craftwork, terracotta work, rangoli, written poetry, etc. 
 
More than 500 entries were received from various regions of the country. A Screening Committee, constituting of various cultural bodies and eminent artists availed the opportunity to witness the talent reservoir of the country and considered many as worthy for further promotion and commendation.
 
The Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) is the nodal agency of the Ministry of Culture to coordinate the matters related to Intangible Cultural Heritage and various UNESCO Conventions addressing cultural diversity and promotion and dissemination of multifarious cultural traditions and expressions of the country.
 
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Ministry of I&B to provide support to Jharkhand International Film Festival, 2019

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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has decided to lend support to the organization of the 2nd Jharkhand International Film Festival (JIFF) in Ranchi, Jharkhand from February 1-3.
 
The festival is being organized by Navbharat Nirman Sangh, an NGO, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Ministry will provide financial support of Rs. 5 lakh to meet hiring charges of the venue, hiring charges of projection and sound system, cost of printing of brochures, invitation cards and cost of publicity of the festival in both print and online media. 
 
The financial support will be provided in form of grants-in-aid to the organizers, it said.
 
The Ministry will also be providing a package of Indian Panorama Films for the festival under Children section, Short Films/Documentaries section and Feature Films section.
 
JIFF aims to present not only the best Indian and international films, but also showcase the best of Jharkhand regional films being made in Napuri, Santhali, Kortha and Kumali languages. It is expected to generate interest in the local budding filmmakers and film enthusiasts as it provides them an opportunity to see the best of films from across the world, as well as promote tourism in the region, the release added.
 
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Govt. considering proposal to declare NSD as an Institution of National Importance

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A proposal to declare the National School of Drama (NSD) in New Delhi as an Institution of National Importance is under consideration of the Government.
 
Till such time a final decision is taken in the matter, the NSD has decided to defer the opening of regional centres, Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
 
In a written reply to a question, Dr Sharma said the Broad-Based Committee (Vision Committee) set up by the National School of Drama (NSD) Society in February 2005, inter-alia, had recommended the opening of five regional centres of the NSD across the country.
 
He said that, on the basis of these recommendations, a decision to establish five regional centres during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012), one each in Kolkata, Mumbai/Goa, J&K, and North-East, besides upgrading the existing Regional Resource cum Research Centre, Bengaluru to a full-fledged regional centre, was taken by the Government. 
 
These regional centres were to be established in consultation with concerned State Governments, who were required to provide land/accommodation for the purpose. So far, only Karnataka has provided land/accommodation in 2013 at Bengaluru for the purpose. Till date, no other concerned State Government has provided land to the NSD for the opening of its regional branches, he said.
 
Under NSD’s Out-reach/Extension Programme, two Centres, one at Gangtok (Sikkim) and another at Agartala (Tripura) are functioning and are also conducting a one-year theatre training course in addition to the one being conducted at Bengaluru (Karnataka).
 
"A proposal to declare NSD as an Institution of National Importance is under consideration of the Government. Till such time a final decision is taken in the matter, the NSD has decided to defer the opening of regional centres," he added.
 
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Resul Pookutty joins MPSE as board member

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Indian Oscar-winning sound artiste Resul Pookutty has joined Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) as a board member.
 
"Absolutely delighted to share with you all that I'm elected as one of the Board Members of MPSE (Motion Pictures Sound Editors Guild Of America)," Pookutty posted on Twitter. 
 
"Sharing my name and seat with some of most prolific names in the industry... huge honour for Indian Film Industry. First of its kind," added the acclaimed technician, who is currently in the US, which he calls his "second home".
 
"A land that has given me everything," he said of the country.
 
Founded in 1953, MPSE is an organisation dedicated to improving the recognition of its members by educating the public and the rest of the filmmaking community as to the artistic merit of sound editing.
 
Other board members include James Barth, Perry LaMarca, Daniel Blanck and Garret Montgomery. 
 
IANS
 

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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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