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Nokia launches Music Theatre, unveils "Asha-Discovery of the Peninsula"

Artistes performing at the launch of Nokia Music Theatre initiative in Delhi on March 6, 2012.
Artistes performing at the launch of Nokia Music Theatre initiative in Delhi on March 6, 2012.

Mobile telephone handets manufacturer Nokia India has launched Nokia Music Theatre, a first-of-its-kind platform for discovering and nurturing musical talent from the grassroots in the country and providing them with an opportunity to showcase their talent.

The project was piloted in Rajasthan in 2010 where 17 artistes were handpicked from small towns and villages across the state. The pilot culminated with the launch of the first music album – "Asha – discovery of the Peninsula" under the banner of Nokia Music Theatre and published by Universal Music. The album is also available for download on the Nokia Music Store.
 
A Nokia press release said the project was in line with its strategy to connect people to their passions.
 
The release said Nokia Music Theatre, the result of a partnership between Nokia India and The Peninsula Studios, was an effort to nurture the rich and diverse musical heritage of India.
 
"Nokia Music Theatre aims to provide a 360-degree support to talented musicians across the country transcending boundaries of languages, genres and musical forms," it said.
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“Nokia has a formidable musical legacy – from Nokia Music Store, the largest repository of legal and digital Indian music, to offering DRM free music on our recently launched Nokia Asha series of feature phones – we have built a strong music connect with Indians. India is one of the key markets for our music portfolio and, with the Nokia Music Theatre, we aim to discover the musical talent at the grass root and provide these budding musicians with a platform to nurture and showcase their talent," Viral Oza, Marketing Director, Nokia India, said,
 
According to Sita Raina, Chief Operating Officer, The Peninsula Studios, “The Peninsula Studios is a content creation company that is aimed at facilitating, mentoring and curating quality music from across the peninsula. We are a unique studio where aficionados enjoy live performances while being recorded in a single take. Nurturing diversity in music and reviving forms of music on the brink of extinction is our vision. Nokia is an ideal partner in realizing this vision because of its own formidable musical legacy and a strong commitment to connecting people to their passions.”
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Speaking of the launch of the first Nokia Music Theatre album - ‘Asha – discovery of the Peninsula’, Devraj Sanyal, Managing Director, Universal Music India & SAARC, said, "Universal Music is most known for breaking more talent than any other label the world over. This project is very close to our heart and we think that the Nokia Music Theatre along with The Peninsula Studios (TPS) and us will be a major paradigm shift in the music publishing scene in India. I expect to see a brand new set of musicians that have never had the chance to showcase their art before be discovered and published due to this great initiative and `Asha’ - the first album is exactly this. One listen and you will experience the brilliance of TPS as well as the exceptional raw and untapped talent that’s brought in as part of the Nokia Music Theatre album."
 
After the Rajasthan success, culturally vibrant Uttar Pradesh will be the next stop for Nokia Music Theatre which takes off in the Autumn of 2012.
 
Conceptualized in partnership with “The Peninsula Studios”, Nokia Music Theatre has taken the role to discover musical talent from all over India and present it to the world. The Peninsula Studios has been set up in the National Capital Region as a centre which will curate music, facilitate content creation and mentor talent to present the Nokia Music Theatre. It provided artistes with the opportunity to interact with other artistes and the unique experience of recording in a studio in front of a live audience.
 
The 17 artistes selected from the auditions of about 700 musicians representing a diverse array of alternative genres of music from folk, classical, spiritual, tribal, sufi, thumri, khayal to instrumental, were mentored by some of the heavyweights in the music industry including Shuzaat Khan, Zeb and Haniya among others.
 
The Nokia Music Theatre finalists performed to an enthralled audience on the occasion.
 
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RAF, IAF bands to play together at India Gate in Delhi on March 3

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The Royal Air Force's (RAF) Regimental Band and the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra will play together for the public at India Gate here on March 3.

This will be the first time that the two bands will play together. The concert will start at 4 pm, an official press release said.
 
The RAF Regiment band is considered to be one of the leading military bands in the United Kingdom with a strength of 41 musicians and has earned a worldwide reputation for its outstanding performances. 
 
Originally formed from the Royal Air Force Coastal Command band in 1942 it has travelled extensively including tours of Europe, Canada, Cyprus, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Belize, Hong Kong, Iraq and South Korea. It is a regular performer at Edinburg Tattoo and as a part of Royal Air Force Massed Bands giving musical support to the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment. 
 
The IAF’s Air Warriors Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) was set up in June 2002. It has 76 musicians who play brass, woodwind, reed, string, electronic and percussion instruments. The band has performed in Bangkok, Berlin, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and has participated in International Music Festivals in Finland, France, Italy and Malaysia. The AWSO is the only military orchestra in the country, which has empanelled with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). 
 
In 2005 the IAF Band became the first Asian Member of the International Military Music Society based in Norway. 
 
The two bands would be conducted by Squadron Leader G Jayachandran and Flight Lieutenant Mathew Little. 
 
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Iraqi oud player Rahim Alhaj to perform with Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan in Delhi on Feb 27

Rahim Alhaj
Rahim Alhaj

Rahim Alhaj, the well-known Grammy-nominated Oud player from Iraq and sarod players Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan will perform at a concert of Indo-Iraq fusion music here on February 27 under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Amaan and Ayaan are sons of amed sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and are the seventh generation of the Senia Bangash musical lineage.
 
The three players of ancient stringed instruments will present "Ancient Sounds" in effort to bring together the musical heritage of their respective cultures in a contemporary way, resulting in a harmonious dialogue. 
 
They will be accompanied by Satyajit Talwalkar on the tabla and Chetan Rajbhatt on the dholak.
 
Rahim Alhaj and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan were nominated in 2010 for the Grammy Awards in the Best Traditional World Music category for their CD "Ancient Sounds".
 
According to an ICCR press release, the sarod has evolved from rubab, which is similar to the oud in character. It said the concert would demonstrate the musical synergy and commonality which exists between India and its neighboring region including Central Asia, Iraq and so on.
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"The project is yet another attempt by ICCR to demonstrate the larger cultural spectrum to which the region belongs," said ICCR Director General Suresh K Goel.
 
Alhaj was born in Baghdad and began playing the oud at age nine and displayed remarkable talent very early.
 
He studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad.
 
Alhaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. 
 
In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Alhaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the United States in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. He became a US citizen on August 15, 2008.
 
Alhaj has performed around the world and is considered one of the finest oud players in the world.  He has won many accolades and awards including two Grammy nominations.  He has recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including American guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek and indy-rock pioneers REM.  He has composed pieces for solo oud, string quartet,symphony and beyond.  
 
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ICCR chief Karan Singh reveals talent as singer

Indian Council for Cultural Relations President Karan Singh singing his favourite songs at an evening of music presented by ICCR in New Delhi on February 22, 2012.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations President Karan Singh singing his favourite songs at an evening of music presented by ICCR in New Delhi on February 22, 2012.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) President Karan Singh provided an insight into a lesser known aspect of his multi-layered personality when he sang his favourite songs -- ghazals, classical, geet and Dogri -- at an evening of music presented by ICCR here yesterday.

In the process, Karan Singh, a member of the Rajya Sabha and former Union Minister, also became the first ICCR chief to perform at a function organised by it.
 
“Music has been a major and magnificent input into my consciousness from a very early age. I first heard my mother singing Dogri folk songs and devotional hymns when I was very small. Subsequently, I learnt Indian classical music for several years, and continue my practice down to the present day," Karan Singh said.
 
“In one of his shorter poems, Sri Aurobindo has a memorable line- all music is only the sound of his laughter. There is indeed a certain divine quality in music that is found in no other form of artistic expression, and this is true alike of the rich majesty of classical music as also the lyrical quality of folk music the world over.
 
"India particularly, with its wide spectrum of language and tradition, has a rich store of folk music to which every region has made its contribution. This music expresses in a simple and direct manner the joys and sorrows, the triumph and tragedy, the shadow and sunlight of rural India," he said.
 
Karan Singh had revealed his musical talent when he inaugurated the International Jazz Festival organised by ICCR at Nehru Park here last year by playing an old Bollywood tune on the piano.
 
"I decided to make him really sing this time for the public and I am delighted that he humoured me by agreeing to my request," ICCR Director General Suresh K Goel said.
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Describing himself as an amateur musician, Karan Singh says he makes it a point to sing once a week. “Music plays an important role in my life. I am fond of listening not only to Indian classical music but also Western pop. In fact, I am a big fan of Whitney Houston who died recently. I have also admired the likes of Billy Joel.”
 
Karan Singh was given lessons in music by Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma, father of santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma. “He was my teacher in Kashmir. As ICCR is the hub of cultural activities, I decided to sing and hope people liked it," he said.
 
The show started with a half-hour programme by Radhika Chopra. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur was the chief guest at the event.
 
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Asahi, Shin-Ei Animation collaborate with Reliance Mediaworks on Ninja Hattori episodes

Ninja Hattori
Ninja Hattori
Japan's leading private broadcaster TV Asahi and its subsidiary Shin-ei Animation have collaborated with Reliance MediaWorks to create all-new episodes of Ninja Hattori, the comedy action animation franchise that has a strong following in India and many other Asian countries.
 
Reliance MediaWorks, a film and entertainment services company, is a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG).
 
A press release from Reliance MediaWorks said Shin-ei’s experienced team of writers and directors, in collaboration with the team of 100 animators at the Reliance MediaWorks’ animation studio, is creating the new Ninja Hattori episodes in 2D-HD through a digitally mastered process. 
 
Reliance MediaWorks has also done the post-production and sound effects for the series, the release said.
 
“Being an end to end service provider helps us offer our clients with a one stop solution for their creative requirements and Ninja Hattori is an excellent showcase of our talent. Being associated with some of the top Japanese talent through Shin-Ei and TV Asahi for such a legendary show and bringing it back through digital technology has been an immensely challenging and great working experience for our animation team," Naresh Malik, COO – Creative Services of Reliance MediaWorks said, 
 
Satoshi Kaisho, producer at Shin-ei Animation said, “It is our first collaboration with any
Indian company, and also very first challenge for us to make the classic show transformed into all new digitally mastered show without losing look and feel of the original episodes. Our hope is to get Ninja Hattori out to more children all over the world."
 
Takahiro Kishimoto, producer at Programming and Entertainment Division for TV Asahi, said,  “Being one of the first Japanese companies who started marketing animation shows to India, we are glad to announce this project with the aim to explore new possibilities. We TV Asahi, together with Shin-ei Animation, are thrilled to work with Reliance MediaWorks and hope this collaboration would lead to greater things."
 
Being produced by Shin-ei Animation, original episodes of Ninja Hattori had been telecast on TV Asahi in the 1980s. In India, it has been one of the top-rated children's shows since its launch on Nick India in August 2006, and the new episodes will premiere on air on Nick India from May 2012. 
 
“Ninja Hattori has been a runaway success in India and we are sure that the new episodes will take Ninja Hattori’s popularity to newer heights in India," Anu Sikka, VP-Programming, Nick India said.
 
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NCPA to present operas Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci in Mumbai

A scene from Cavalleria Rusticana
A scene from Cavalleria Rusticana

The National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA) will present operas Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci at the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre in Mumbai on February 18, 20 and 21.

Cavalleria Rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni and I Pagliacci is an opera in to two acts by Ruggero Leoncavallo.
 
Since they first burst onto the operatic scene at the end of the 19th century Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci have more often than not been performed together, and have become known as ‘Opera’s Heavenly Twins’.
 
Their composers Mascagni (1863-1945) and Leoncavallo (1858-1919) —both of whom did create several other operas— never again quite achieved the success, and therefore world-wide popularity, that has seen Cav & Pag—as they are also frequently and affectionately referred to—featured in so many opera seasons worldwide.
A scene from I Pagliacci
A scene from I Pagliacci
 
The shows will feature members of the Kazakh State Philharmonic Capella, the Paranjoti Academy Chorus, Living Voices and Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy with Riccardo Bonci as the chorus master.
 
The Symphony Orchestra of India will be conducted by Antonello Allemandi on February 18 and 20 and Zane Dalal on February 21.
 
Tickets for the shows are priced at Rs.3,000, 2,400, 1,800 and 1,200 while there is a special price of Rs 600 for students against valid student identity cards, a press release from NCPA said.
 
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Model, actress Sheena Chohan to be face of Bangladesh Premier League 2012

Sheena Chohan
Sheena Chohan
Sheena Chohan, the model and actress who made her debut in the Malayalam movie
"The Train" as a leading lady of popular actor, Mammotty has been chosen as the face of first season of  the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL 2012). 
 
The cricket tournament began on February 9 and the final is slated for February 29. Each of the six teams will play against every other side in the doube round robin grup stage. These will be followed by two semi-finals and the final.
 
Matches will be held in Dhaka and Chittagong with a total of six franchises taking part. The
franchises will represent Dhaka, Barisal, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet and Khulna divisions.
 
A press release issued on behalf of the actress said that she would report live from the stadium during the matches and the award ceremony. She will also be part of studio interviews with cricket legends after every match.
 
"I love sports and cricket is one of my favourite sports. I have always followed IPL matches
and World Cup and cheered for my favourite team. But I never realized the effort and detailing that went into each and every match till today when I got an opportunity to be a part of BPL 2012. Bangladesh Premiere League has given me an excellent platform to witness and enjoy the journey of this great sport as well as observe the cricket fanatics cheering to its top. My
role is to connect with the audience, share their journey of learning as well as present this journey in a more enjoyable and intriguing manner. I am really honored to be a part of this international sports extravaganza and I am looking forward to this new experience which will help me connect and reach out to a much larger audience," the Kolkata-born actress said.
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Ajay Kapoor, Director and Producer, Talking Pictures - the official broadcasters of Bangladesh Premiere League said, "Sheena is a perfect combination of beauty and talent. She represents interests of youth and works on various youth issues such as youth participation and education.Her charisma and her glamorous persona as well as fluency in Bengali make her the perfect choice as the voice of Bangladesh Premiere League. Her role will be largely to add glitz and glamour, bring in the elements of fun and make the sport an interesting watch for the viewers."
 
The release said Sheena would appear soon in yet another project based on the works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, to be produced by eminent filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta.
 
The Hindi movie is a tribute to the India's first Nobel laureate and will mark a milestone in Sheena's career. Sheena will portray the lead roles in two of the thirteen short Hindi films in the series titled Mukti and Patralekha.
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Sheena Chohan is a former Miss Kolkata, a trained contemporary dancer and one of the title winners of Miss Universe India "I am voice" at I AM SHE 2010 beauty pageant. She has by former Miss Universe and actress Sushmita Sen.
 
She is also a State level swimmer, martial arts expert and trained violin player. She recently has been chosen as "The Face and the National spokesperson" for the NGO "Youth for Human Rights International - India".
 
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Retrospective of Ramkinkar Baij's works opens at NGMA in Delhi

Ramkinkar Baij
Ramkinkar Baij
A retrospective of the works of renowned sculptor and painter Ramkinkar Baij, one of the most seminal artists of modern India, opened at the National Gallery of Modern Art here today.
 
The show was inaugurated by Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja. It has been curated by sculptor K S Radhakrishnan, who was also a student of Ramkinkar.
 
Well-known painters K G Subramanyan, who was recently chosen for the Padma Vibhushan award, and A Ramachandran were advisers to the curator.
 
Selja said Ramkinkar was one of the pioneers of modern Indian sculpture. "He was a modernist with his themes, well grounded in the local and the present. His work was a unique assimilation of what he took away from European art and his deep rooted Indian sensibilities. The range of human suffering he saw around him led him to transform immediate facts into allegorical, symbolic and occasionally even didactic images. This gave a new thematic focus to his works, as well as an element of drama and expressive-immediacy to his execution," she said.
 
Ramkinkar (1906-1980) was born in Bankura, West Bengal, into a family of little economic and social standing, and grew by sheer determination, into one of the most distinguished early modernists in Indian art. In 1925, he made his way to Kala Bhavana, the art school at Santiniketan and was under the guidance of Nandalal Bose. Encouraged by the liberating intellectual environment of Santiniketan, his artistic skills and intellectual horizons blossomed thus acquiring greater depth and complexity. 
A painting by Ramkinkar Baij
A painting by Ramkinkar Baij
Soon after completing his studies at Kala Bhavana, he became a faculty member, and along with Nandalal and Benodebehari Mukherjee played a pivotal role in making Santiniketan one of the most important centres for modern art in pre-Independent India. In 1970, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his irrefutable contribution to Indian art. 
 
Ramkinkar’s monumental sculptures established landmarks in public art. One of the earliest modernists in Indian art, he assimilated the idioms of the European modern visual language and yet was rooted it in his own Indian ethos.
 
He experimented restlessly with forms, moving freely from figurative to abstract and back to figurative, his themes were steeped in a deep sense of humanism and an instinctive understanding of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Both in his paintings and sculptures, he pushed the limits of experimentation and ventured into the use of new materials. For instance, his use of unconventional material, for the time, such as cement concrete for his monumental public sculptures set a new precedent for art practices. The use of cement, laterite and mortar to model the figures, and the use of a personal style in which modern western and Indian pre-classical sculptural values were brought together was equally radical. 
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The retrospective includes over 350 works from various important collections including paintings, drawings, graphics and sculptures- covering about six decades of his artistic journey. The exposition is also enhanced by diverse media interventions such as photographic blow ups, digital prints, texts and video clips in an attempt to ontextualize the man and the artist in the most comprehensive manner. 
 
Radhakrishnan, the curator, said, “My curatorial venture aims at flagging those junctures where Ramkinkar Baij met all those who travelled before him, with him, and after him. In other words, this retrospective aims to be a context in which the post 1980s generation of Indian artists see, accept, reject, understand or misunderstand the master creator, the artist, the man, Ramkinkar Baij”. 
 
NGMA released several publications on the occasion: ‘Ramkinkar Baij’ by R. Siva Kumar, being brought out in collaboration with the Delhi Art Gallery, ‘My Days with Ramkinkar’ translated by Bhaswati Ghosh originally authored by Somendranath Bandhapadhyaya being brought out in collaboration with Niyogi Books, ‘Ramkinkar’s Yaksha Yakshi’ by K.S Radhakrishnan brought out by the Musui Art Foundation and supported by Aakar Prakar and Navya Gallery, ‘Ramkinkar Straight from Life’ by Johnny M.L brought out by the Musui Art Foundation.
 
NGMA has also published two comprehensive books on Ramkinkar that provide a holistic view of Ramkinkar the man and the artist: ‘Ramkinkar and his Work’ authored by K.G Subramanyan and ‘Ramkinkar: The Man and the Artist’ authored by A. Ramachandran. The NGMA has also produced three portfolios drawn from the repertoire of watercolour, oil and graphic works of Ramkinkar Baij. 
 
“I on behalf of the NGMA am extremely delighted to present the retrospective exhibition of Ramkinkar Baij, a bold and daring creative personality. Perceived as a bohemian, he has been the subject of much mythification. His powerful experimentations, ranging from the representational to the abstract have inspired generations of younger artists. The exhibition sheds light on an enlightened and creative soul who was more of a fakir and a wanderer and through his work represents the larger-than-life persona of the artist and his creative genius.” said Rajeev Lochan, Director, NGMA. 
 
This is the ninth retrospective exhibition organized by NGMA as part of an endeavour to showcase the lifetime achievements of artists whose contributions in the field of art are outstanding. 
 
The exhibition will subsequently travel to NGMA's regional centres at Mumbai and Bangalore.
 
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UF Group to launch E box for movies on demand, online shopping, e-learning

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The UF Group, whose Southern Digital Screenz is the southern franchisee of UFO Moviez, is planning to launch a next generation E box called Ufx EmaginE that will offer to customers movies on demand, media player, social networking, video conferencing, online shopping an e-learning and other features.

The product will be launched in collaboration with Malaysia-based companies Select-tv and Creative Experience Sdn Bhd.
 
A press release from the company said that, over the last few years, Southern Digital Screenz had changed the way movies are being screened in the theaters. "Through a centralized server, they are able to screen movies in digital quality across 1200 plus theaters. These movies are delivered to cinemas through satellite downloads. The digital mechanism of movie screening has not only changed the quality but has also plugged piracy to a greater extent," it said.

London Talents to stage educational theatre shows at schools in Mumbai, Delhi

London Talents, a United Kingdom-based organisation that stages educational theatre performances for children and their parents, will hold shows in the next few weeks at selected schools in Mumbai and Delhi as well as selected venues in Mumbai that will also be open to the public.
 
The group's multisensory shows are performed by adult specialist actors and are conceptually researched with educationalists, percussionists, performers, focus groups of children and with the latest knowledge of neuroscientists' work in child development, a press release from London Talents said.
 
"These shows use theatre techniques such as puppetry, emoting through material, movement, vocal rhythm, music, dance and play to look at concepts from a child's perspective and explain the logical outcome from very much a child's perspective," it said.
 
"Examples of the concepts we work with are sharing, caring, empathising, good eating habits to name a few! London Talents cover a range of concepts and themes that are universal and close to the hea! rt of every parent and child," it said.
 
"Very often as parents and care takers of young children we find ourselves instructing our children… 'No, no. no…its wrong…you must share!', but how often do we pause and show them that by sharing and caring we can build beautiful things in life together and that we can explore humanitarian feelings and empathise with others through play? The show 'From Here to There' explores the above," it said.
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The release said the show encourages 'shared play' and explores humanitarian feelings through play! 
 
"A show that's all about bridges! Musical bridges and magic bridges, bridges that tell stories of hungry trolls and greedy goats. Bridges where people can meet and make a friend! We take children through a world of the imagination where two quite independent individuals discover ways to share, play together and reach each other. A show truly fun and educational for children & their parents!" it said.
 
Following the main performance by the specialised actors, there would be workshops with the actors and musicians and free play sessions for the children to help them explore concepts from the show.
 
There will also be a session for parents with the group's education consultant and a parental awareness guide, which addresses day-to-day situations with children and equips parents with hands-on techniques using drama in education.
 
The performances will be followed by optional show-related games, worksheets & reading corner. 
 
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Tyeb Mehta's untitled work fetches Rs 2.28 crore in Osian's auction

Tyeb Mehta , Untitled- Oil on Canvas, 1966
Tyeb Mehta , Untitled- Oil on Canvas, 1966
An untitled 1966 work by the late Tyeb Mehta got the highest bid of Rs 2.28 crore at the second of four auctions in Osian's Creative India Series which concluded on the night of January 27.
 
This was followed by a bid of Rs 1.44 crore received for a 1969 untitled work by painter Ramkumar.
 
Two rare miniatures – Folio leaf from a Harivamsha Khil Series (Kangra School) and Folio leaf from a Mahabharata Series (Kangra or Guler School) fetched Rs 52.80 lakhs each.
 
The auction featured important and rare Pahari School Miniatures (Kangra, Guler and Mandi Schools) along with modern and contemporary Indian art by eminent artists such as Sailoz Mookherjea, Satish Gujral, Ramkumar, Manjit Bawa, Biren De, Tyeb Mehta, J. Swaminathan, Vivan Sundaram, G.R. Santosh, Shanti Dave, V.S. Gaitonde, Rameshwar Broota, Sohan Qadri, R. Kaleka, Anjolie Ela Menon, Aparna Caur, V.T. Broota and Subodh Gupta, among others.
 
In all, the auction, fetched Rs 14.14 crores, a press release from Osian's said. It said that, of the  123 lots put up for auction, 82 (65.6 per cent) were sold at the auction with a total sales of Rs 14.14 crore ($ 2,719,269) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,724,415 ($ 33,162).
 
Total lots sold (17 out of 20) in the Antiquities Section of Pahari Miniatures were 85% valued at Rs  18,550,000 ($ 356,730) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,030,556 ($ 19,818). Total lots sold (65 out of 103) in the Modern & Contemporary Art Section were 62% valued at Rs 122,852,200 ($ 2,362,542) with an Average Lot Price of Rs 1,919,566 ($ 36,915).
Ramkumar- Untitled, Oil on canvas 1969
Ramkumar- Untitled, Oil on canvas 1969
According to the release, this second auction in the series manifested an improvement in terms of revenue on the ‘Bengal’ Auction (as was expected) which realized sales of Rs 7.95 crores. 
 
Neville Tuli, Founder & Chairman of Osian’s said, “These last two auctions in the Creative India Series are a clear pointer to the ongoing consolidation of Osian’s and the art market after two very difficult years. With lessons imbibed from the past, the progress of Osian’s after consolidation will reveal many new institutional changes and innovations in the coming months. These processes will naturally contribute towards the stabilization and continued growth of the Indian art market and its infrastructure. 
 
"The results of the antiquities sales at this auction were especially encouraging and underscore the huge potential for the Indian antiquities domestic market. Hopefully the government will facilitate this growth wherever possible.”
 
The next two auctions in the series will be held in in Mumbai on March 23 focusing on art from Bombay and Baroda and thereafter in New Delhi on May 28 featuring the Cholamandal School & the Art of South India.
 
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Kolaveri Di versions grab 5 out of 10 top mobile video spots in India in December

Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif

As many as five different versions of the Kolaveri Di song made it to the top 10 mobile videos in India in December, three of which were mobile videos relating to singer Sonu Niigaam’s son, Nevaan, at #1, #8, and #10 positions in the Top 10 India Videos category.

The other two versions included female versions of Why This Kolaveri Di (#4) and a digitally remixed version by Dhanush (#7), according to Vuclip, an independent mobile video service, in its Global Video Insights Report for January 2012.
 
The report captures mobile trends for the last month and looks back at some of the biggest searches of 2011, a press release from Vuclip said.
 
For the second year in a row, Hindi film actress Katrina Kaif retained her title of being 2011's most searched celebrity in mobile videos in India.

Pianist Terry Riley to perform in Mumbai on January 21

Terry Riley
Terry Riley
The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) has organised a piano recital by the well-known pianist and composer Terry Riley at the Tata Theatre here on January 21.
 
Riley's career spans some 50 years since the time he was a Master of Music candidate at the University of California. Back then, he gave concerts with his colleagues, La Monte Young, David Del Tredici and Pauline Oliveros. Over the years, he has performed all over the world and also issued CDs of his piano music.
 
According to an NCPA press release, Riley has learnt Indian classical music from the great kirana master, Pran Nath, and accompanied him in many concerts till his demise in 1996. 
 
He is a prolific composer having written in virtually every form including solo piano, a chamber opera, a triple concerto for two guitars and violin, two violin concertos, a piano concerto, works for choir and orchestra besides 23 works for string quartet, which include a string quartet concerto and a piano quintet. 
 
His seminal work IN C changed the course of western classical music in 1964, and introduced the style that was to be named Minimalism. IN C is arguably the most performed and famous piece of the latter part of the 20th century.
 
Riley was named one of the 1,000 makers of the 20th century, by the The Times of London. 
 
The release said the event would include works spanning the past 34 years:
 
Baby’s Song (2001) was written for the play Josephine, the Mouse Singer by Michael McClure.
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The Bull (2008) is an arrangement for piano of a work originally written for the massive organ at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
 
Simply M... (2007) was written in memory of Margaret Lyon, who was the chairman of the Mills College, California) music department and who always encouraged Riley to compose.
 
Song from the Old Country (1979) is a work commissioned by the Kronos String Quartet.
 
I Like Your Eyes, Liberty (2003) is a piece in three sections played without pause and  rotating in rondo fashion.
 
Requiem for Wally (1989) was written in memory of Riley’s ragtime piano mentor, Wally Rose, one of the great masters of the ragtime style. This work combines elements of ‘Ragtime’ with sections built on the Raga Nat Bhairav. Much of the ragtime pattern in Requiem... is in 7/4 instead of the traditional 4/4 meter. 
 
Salome Dances for Peace (1985–87) is a cycle of five string quartets and was also commissioned by the Kronos quartet. Riley subsequently adapted the materials for solo piano.
 
The Shape of Flames (2008) was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a solo organ concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles in 2008. Riley will play an adapted piano version at the NCPA.
 
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Mahindra Blues Festival to be held in Mumbai on February 11-12

Five-time Grammy winner Buddy Guy, with special guest Robert Randolph, Taj Mahal Trio, John Lee Hooker Jr, Ana Popovic and Soulmate are some of artistes slated to perform at the second season of the Mahindra Blues Festival on February 11 and 12 in Mumbai.
 
The event, which will also have workshops and talks, will be held at the historic Mehboob Studios at Bandra in the metropolis, the Mahindra Group said.
 
Billed as Asia's largest and finest blues event, the weekend festival will give Indians a chance to witness a number of international blues superstars, many of whom are considered to be among the best in the world, and top home-grown talent like Soulmate, the organisers said.
 
Buddy Guy & Robert Randolph
Buddy Guy & Robert Randolph
“Our presence in various international markets helps us in transplanting local performing arts to other geographies thereby connecting communities around the world. The Mahindra Blues Festival – now an annual event and in its second year – is one such endeavour that seeks to promote a genre that has yet to receive the recognition it deserves in India and around the world," Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said.
 
With a brand new line-up, multiple concerts and sessions with the artists, and an iconic venue designed to create a fantastic blues-like atmosphere, the festival promises to be one to look forward to, a press release from the organisers said.
 
Chicago Blues veteran and multi-Grammy winner Buddy Guy, a definitive Blues artiste and a key influence on popular rock and Blues artistes like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan will be on his second visit to perform at the festival, and will also feature special guest and funk legend Robert Randolph who was included by the Rolling Stones Magazine in its list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Taj Mahal  Photo By Baron Wolmans Circa 1974 Berkeley C
Taj Mahal Photo By Baron Wolmans Circa 1974 Berkeley C
The line-up also includes two-time Grammy nominee John Lee Hooker Jr., and award-winning Serbian blues guitarist and singer Ana Popovi. Grammy winner and nine-time nominee Henry Saint Clair Fredericks’s well-known blues outfit, Taj Mahal Trio will join these artistes.
 
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Open air concert of Mozart's music in Delhi on January 6

In a rare treat for music lovers in Delhi, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will present a selection of arias, choruses and orchestra pieces from the vast repertoire of Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in an open air concert in the Central Park in Connaught Place here on January 6.
 
The production will include pieces from Mozart's famous operas - The Magic Flute, Idomeneo, Cosi Fan Tutte and the Marriage of Figaro.
 
Entry to the open air concert will be free. It will be followed by two concerts at the Siri Fort Auditorium here on January 7 and 8.
 
"This is the first time that ICCR is taking Western classical music to the people in an open space," ICCR Director General Suresh Goel said.
 
He said another concert is scheduled on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati on January 11.
 
The show, in collaboration with the Neemrana Music Foundation, will bring together 19 musicians from the Rouen Opera House, France, 26 from the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and 40 singers from the Neemrana Music Foundation. There will also be a conductor from the United States, a choir conductor from Russia and a visiting voice coach from New Zealand.
 
The programme is also being supported by the Embassy of France in India and the Hungarian Information and Cultural Centre. 
 
"The performance at Siri Fort is expected to be a tremendous show with costumes and stage direction, featuring 40 musicians, 40 choir singers, and 12 solo singers, For the first time, it will have Indian solo singers intensively trained in France for the performance," an ICCR press release said.
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The Neemrana Music Foundation here has been actively producing operas since 2002, with its founder Francis Wacziarg dreaming of linking the Orient and the Occident with the strains of music.
 
The programme "Mozart Magic in India" will be in two parts, the first half featuring selections from The Magic Flute lasting about 45 to 50 minutes while the second half will be of about 45 minutes with seven acts from Idomeneo, Cosi Fan Tutte and The Marriage of Figaro.
 
The Bombay Chamber Orchestra (BCO) Society was founded in 1962 as an educational trust to offer free coaching to the young musical talent of the city in the techniques of orchestral playing. Its aim is not only to offer free music education but also to create an environment and incentive to encourage young talent to continue to work at the instruments of their choice.
 
The show will have wind musicians from the orchestra of the Rouen Haute-Normandie Opera House which was founded in 1988 under the authority of the Austrian Oswald Sallaberger. The wind orchestra has been specially trained in Mozart’s music. 
 
The Indian artistes include Aude Priya, Sunanda Rao, Vikrant Subramaniam, Nitya Vaz, Payal John, Ashwin Sahay, Ashwati Parameshwar, Ramya Rao, Sparsh Bajpai, Pallavi Seth, and Tara Grover. Daniel Schostok is the tenor from Vienna. 
 
Singapore-born Indian conductor George Mathew, founder and Artistic Director of ‘Music for Life International’ and ‘Ubuntu-Shruti’, graduated from the Manhattan School of Music. In 2010, he was named Artistic Director and Conductor of the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, marking the first public appearance of ‘Ubuntu-Shruti’.
 
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PPL serves notices to hotels on music license fee for year-end bashes

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The Phonographic Performance Ltd. (PPL) has served legal notices to several hotels and pubs in the city and elsewhere which have not paid the requisite music license fee to play music at their year-end events.

A press release from PPL said it planned to initiate strict legal action against defaulters in case the license fee does not get paid ahead of their planned events.

Vipul Pradhan, CEO, PPL said: "New Year parties attract people promising them a good time through a combination of entertainment, food and beverage. A significant component of the sum charged from the customers is for music – an integral element of entertainment. Therefore, the music companies whose sound recording is regularly used have a right towards claiming their due because their product is getting consumed too.”

According to the release, under the statutory sanction of section 35 in the Indian Copyright Act, playing commercial music in public without paying the requisite license fee is an offence liable to contempt of court.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event, it said.

The release said that, every year pubs/ hotels target revenues with customized New Year packages but are reluctant to pay a nominal license fee (which varies depending on the number of hours for which the music is played) to PPL, flouting the norms and eating into the royalties of the music labels, it said.

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PPL said disc jockeys too need to abide by PPL guidelines if they continue to play music without paying the license fees.

The release said that, according to Music Listening Laws in India, any performance of Indian or even international music, in public places or commercial establishments such as hotels & resorts, restaurants, bars, pubs, shacks, discotheques, DJ’s, cruise liners, cinema halls, shops, banks, offices, amusement parks etcetera, rendered without first having obtained a license from PPL constitutes an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act, 1957.

Section 35 grants exclusivity to PPL to issue licenses to hotels/pubs for playing music during the events in their respective premises. The tariff for the same is calculated on the basis of the number of hours the music is to be played and the number of people expected to attend the event.

PPL, incorporated in 1941, is the apex-licensing arm of the Indian Music Industry (IMI), and was formulated to administer the Broadcast, Telecast and Public Performance rights of its member companies. Formerly known as Indian Phonographic Industry (IPI), PPL currently has more than 241 member companies and is registered with the Registrar of Copyrights since 1996.

The member companies of PPL have assigned their performing rights in sound recordings to PPL, by virtue of which it is the designated authority to issue Public Performance Licenses all over India and also ensure fair payment of tariffs to all the recording companies. This includes the communication of music to the public in any form, be it acoustic or visual and covers music recorded in any format or communicated by way of a radio, a World Space Receiver, a television set or a cable network.

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PPL has its registered office at Kolkata, administrative office in Mumbai and licensing offices in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

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57th Filmfare Awards to be held on January 29, 2012

 

The 57th edition of the Filmfare Awards will be held in January next year, it was announced here last night.
 
Addressing a press conference here to announce the awards, Tarun Rai of the Worldwide Media, the organisers, said the 2011 edition of the awards is very special as this year Filmfare will be giving its 2500th trophy. 
 
The figure includes awards presented till date across ceremonies through the years.
 
"The Filmfare awards 2011 will be very special to us as we will be giving out the 2500th Black Lady at the awards show on January 29, 2012. The Black Lady, which is a testament of Filmfare's long association with Indian cinema and its commitment to recognise and celebrate the immense talent of our film industry for the last 57 years, will be given to someone special," Mr Rai said.
 
The press meet to announce the awards, to be held at Film City in Goregaon in Mumbai, was graced by Bollywood’s current heartthrob Imran Khan, who has enthralled cinebuffs in films like 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na', 'I Hate Love Stories' and 'Mere Brother Ki Dulhan', and the chief corporate affairs officer of Idea Cellular, Rajat Mukherjee.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Imran, who has hosted the Filmfare awards for the last two years, said, "I am fortunate that in the last three years, I have hosted the Filmfare awards twice. Both times it has been fun. The relation with the awards has added a great deal to my career."
 
At the same time, he admitted that getting into the shoes of Shahrukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan, who had been hosting the awards in the previous years, was not easy.
 
"To live up to the act by Shahrukh and Saif was a very scary feeling. We (he and Ranbir ) knew we had big shoes to fill," Imran said.
 
Incidentally this year is also the centenary year of Indian cinema.
 
Mr Mukherjee said, "This year of Idea Filmfare awards is special as it celebrates the centenary year of Indian cinema and also coincides with 'Idea' crossing the 100 million subscriber mark."
 
Asked if the Filmfare awards this year would be paying tribute to the evergreen star Dev Anand, who died of cardiac arrest in London recently, Rai said, "We are working on a programme to pay tribute to some of the stalwarts who passed away this year."
 
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Thane theatre complex to be named after Kashinath Ghanekar

Citizens of Thane will pay a tribute to the great film actor of yesteryears Kashinath Ghanekar by naming a multi-crore theatre complex in the city after him.

A resolution to this effect will be passed at the General Body meeting of the Thane Municipal Corporation on December 15, sources said.
 
The theatre complex has been funded and developed by construction firm Hiranandani Group and will house a 1,200 capacity auditorium, besides a mini auditorium.
 
In addition to these, the complex will have at least four rehearsal/make-up rooms, three conference halls and other facilities.
 
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16th IFFK gets off to colourful start in Thiruvananthapuram

The 16th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2011) got off to a colourful start here this evening with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declaring the event open in the presence of eminent film personalities and cultural leaders.

Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan was the chief guest in the inaugural function held at the Nishagandhi Open air auditorium at Kanakakkunnu Palace.
 
A 23-minute cultural show, featuring 25 Kathakali artistes, was the main highlight of the inaugural function, followed by the screening of the Chinese film Under The Hawthorn Tree, set against the backdrop of the ancient Yangtze River.  
 
The week-long festival will feature 196 films from across 65 countries in 15 different sections. More than 100 delegates from abroad, including 50 eminent personalities, were attending the festival. 
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Eleven films from Asia, Africa and Latin American countries will figure in the competition section. In the retrospective section, films of Robert Bresson (France), Nagisa Oshima (Japan), Theo Angelopoulose (Greece), Adolfas Mekas (USA) and Djibril Diop
Mambety (Senegal) would be screened.
 
In the homage section, films of Raul Ruiz, Mani Kaul, Tariq Masood and Elizabeth Taylor, artists who passed away in 2011, will be screened.
 
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Vatavaran film festival kickstarts from tomorrow

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The sixth edition of the CMS Vatavaran Film festival, the premier festival of films on environment and wildlife in India, kickstarts in the capital from tomorrow.
 
More than 100 films on diverse subjects will be screened at the five-day event.
 
The inaugural ceremony tomorrow evening will be attended by eminent conservationists George Schaller and A J T Johnsingh, the Ambassador of Norway to India Ann Ollestad and officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
 
The theme of CMS Vatavaran 2011 is "Biodiversity Conservation" and is in sync with India hosting the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the 11th Conference of Parties (COP11) in October 2012.
 
A special section on children will also start tomorrow at the National Science Centre at Pragati Maidan. More than 50 schools, 200 teachers and 3,000 school students will participate in the five-day long children festival.
 
More than 100 films from 15 countries will be screened during the festival at two different venues. The films to be screened will be from different themes like Climate Change, Biodiversity, Water and Environment Conservation.
 
The festival will have a special section on "Best of Natural History and Conservation Cinema" which will showcase some of the award- winning films of prestigious environmental film festivals from across the world including the Jacksonhole film festival (USA), Cineambiente (Italy), inkafest (Peru), Wildlife Vassa (Finland), Animal Festival (China) and others.
 
Under the section "Master Class", specialised sessions will be conducted by experts including George Schaller (USA), Evertt Van Den Bos (Germany), Dennis Aig (USA), Andie Clare (UK), Indian filmmakers Shyam Benegal and Prakash Jha and Adam Schmedes (Denmark).
 
There are 19 Indian and 9 international awards worth Rs 15 lakh that will be presented at the festival on December 9.
 
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Porfirio bags Golden Peacock for Best Film at IFFI 2011

Actor Surya presenting the award for the Best Film to director Alejandro Landes and producer Franciso Aliure for the film “Porfirio” at the closing ceremony of the 42nd International Film Festival of India at Panaji on December 3, 2011.
Actor Surya presenting the award for the Best Film to director Alejandro Landes and producer Franciso Aliure for the film “Porfirio” at the closing ceremony of the 42nd International Film Festival of India at Panaji on December 3, 2011.

Columbian film Porfirio directed by Alejandro Landes and produced by Franciso Aljure has bagged the coveted Golden Peacock Award for the Best Film at the 42nd International Film Festival of India 2011, which concluded here today.

The Silver Peacock Award for the Best Director went to Asghar Farhadi for his film Nader and Simin-A Seperation.

Malayalam film Adaminte Makan Abu won the Special Jury Award. The director of the film, Salim Ahamed, received the award which consists of a Silver Peacock, certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakhs.

Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Choudhury Mohan Jatua, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and well-known ator Suriya were present on the occasion.

The Best Actor award of Rs. 10 lakh went to the Israeli actor Sasson Gabay for his role in the Restoration while the Best Actress Award was won by Nadezhda Markina of Russia for her role in Elena

The winners were chosen by a five member Competition Jury comprising Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Laurence Kardish, Lee Yong Kwan, Tahmineh Milani and Dan Wolman.

The festival concluded today with the screening of the English film The Lady directed by acclaimed French director Luc Besson, which starred Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis in the lead roles.

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Reliance MediaWorks forges strategic alliance with VenSat

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Film and entertainment services company Reliance MediaWorks Ltd today said it had forged a strategic alliance with VenSat Tech Services Pvt Lt to expand its VFX, CG and Animation capabilities and create a studio in Chennai that will cater to the growing needs of the media & entertainment industry.
 
VenSat is a media and entertainment company, founded by Satyanarayana Mudunuri
and Venkatesh Roddam, which offers creative services for the international motion
picture, television, home entertainment, gaming, and mobile entertainment markets.
 
The company is currently best known internationally for having worked on some of the highest grossing films in India in 2010 and 2011 such as Dabangg, Bodyguard and Ra.One.

Actor Aamir Khan to promote better nutrition for children as UNICEF Ambassador

Actor Aamir Khan with UNICEF representative in India Karen Hulsof after being appointed as the UN agency's Goodwill Ambassador in New Delhi on November 30, 2011.
Actor Aamir Khan with UNICEF representative in India Karen Hulsof after being appointed as the UN agency's Goodwill Ambassador in New Delhi on November 30, 2011.
Popular Bollywood actor-producer Aamir Khan has taken on a new role as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), teaming up with the UN agency to promote better nutrition for children in India.
 
"Mr Khan, 46, will use his profile to spotlight nutrition issues in India, where as many as one out of every two children is classified as malnourished, leaving them vulnerable to disease and health problems," a press release from UNICEF said.
 
“I realize there is a lot to be done and I hope that by lending my voice I can make a difference to the lives of children and hereby to the future of our country,” Khan said after the appointment was announced here yesterday.
 
Khan – who has already been working with UNICEF, the Government and prominent figures to create a national campaign on malnutrition – said he will focus his advocacy work on India’s most vulnerable and marginalized children.
 
Karin Hulshof, UNICEF’s representative in India, described Khan as a “compelling advocate” who can help to transform the lives of countless children.
 
“I am honored to formalize my association with UNICEF as their Ambassador to help raise awareness on the issue of malnutrition amongst children.” Khan said.
 
“Over the past one year, I have worked with the team at UNICEF, partners from the Government, Citizen’s alliance and Prasoon Joshi and his team, to create a nationwide campaign against malnutrition," he said.
 
In India, one out every two children is malnourished, leaving them vulnerable to poor health and disease, particularly children from the country’s most remote and disadvantaged communities, according to UNICEF.
 
“I realize there is a lot to be done and I hope that by lending my voice I can make a difference to the lives of children and hereby to the future of our country. Partnering with UNICEF will enable me to advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized children in India," the actor said.
 
“We know Aamir Khan as a leading star of Indian cinema. He is also a compelling advocate, with an enormous drive and commitment, to transform and improve the situation of children in the country. ” Ms. Hulshof said.
 
“I cannot stress enough how fortunate we are to welcome him into the UNICEF family in India. His voice and unwavering commitment will help to reach every child, irrespective of their background, caste or religion. India is a rising power on the world stage. And yet, so many rights and entitlements of children remain to be fulfilled. Working side by side, we will address this and combine our collective efforts to create a world fit for children,” she added.
 
UNICEF Ambassadors are celebrities with a demonstrated commitment to improving the lives of children. Highly talented in their individual right, they all share an ability to bring children’s issues to attention, to galvanize support from the public and lead decision makers and to raise urgently needed funds for vital UNICEF programmes.
 
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
 
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NGMA hosts retrospective of artist K K Hebbar's works

File photo of K K Hebbar
File photo of K K Hebbar
The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here has organised a retrospective exhibition of the works of K K Hebbar, one of India's seminal modern artists as part of the celebrations to mark his birth centenary.
 
The exhibition, titled "An Artist's Quest: K K Hebbar - A Retrospective" will be inaugurated this evening by Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar, while renowned painter Krishen Khanna will be the guest of honour at the function.
 
This is the eighth retrospective organized by the NGMA as part of its endeavour to showcase the lifetime achievements of artists who have contributed their life in the field of art.
 
Curated by Rekha Rao, well known artist and Ms. Rajani Prasanna, art historian and also the daughters of K.K Hebbar, the exhibition brings together a large body of Hebbar’s drawings and paintings from every period of his life and traces the development of his thoughts and art through the years.

It's a baby girl for Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan became the proud parents of a baby girl, their first child, early today.

Aishwarya, a former Miss World, gave birth to the baby at the Seven Hills Hospital in suburban Andheri here this morning.

"I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl!!", Abhishek's father and megastar Amitabh Bachchan said on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

"A dada ji..Ecstatic!!!!", he said, adding a big "thank you all!" to all those who sent them greetings on hearing the news.

Aishwarya was admitted to the hospital on Monday night.

A UNI report said Aishwarya delivered the baby under the care of Dr Vinita Salvi, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital. Dr Salvi said the mother and daughter were both doing fine.

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"It's a girl!!," Abhishek, 35, posted on Twitter. He had recently said he wanted a daughter. who looked like Aishwarya.
 
Hospital sources said the delivery was normal and came a few minutes before 10OO hrs. The Bachchan and Rai families were present at the hospital.
 
Aishwarya, 38, developed labour pains around 0400 hrs and was taken to the labour room, where the delivery took place after nearly six hours, the sources said.
 
The baby is Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan's third grandchild, after Agastya and Navya Naveli--children of his daughter Shweta and son-in-law Nikhil Nanda.
 
Aishwarya was married to Abhishek in April 2007.
 
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