13th Mumbai Film Festival to unveil impressive line-up


The 13th Mumbai Film Festival (MFF), a Reliance Entertainment initiative, today announced an impressive line-up of about 200 films under various sections for the festival, scheduled to be held from October 13 to 20.

Film by Mammoottty on anti-narcotic activities released

Film star Mammootty handed over a CD of a short film on anti-narcotics activities to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here today.

The film was produced by the film star for the State Excise Department as part of a camapign against the use of drugs among the people.

Mr Chandy said the film would be screened in all the schools in the state and theatres as part of the campaign against the drugs.

Earlier, the actor assurred the Chief Minister during the observation of the Anti-Tobacco Day that he would produce a film for creating awareness among the people about the ill effects of narcotics abuse.


South Asian Film Festival to kick off Thursday with "Kashmir ki Kali"

The four-day 6th South Asia Film Festival (SAFF) will commence in Goa tomorrow with a special screening of "Kashmir Ki Kali" as a tribute to celebrated Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor, who changed the meaning of romance on the silver screen in Indian cinema in the 1960s.

India to host a cultural evening "Remembering Tagore" at UNESCO in Paris

India will host a cultural programme in memory of poet Rabindranath Tagore at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris tomorrow at which the Nobel laureate's works of literature, art and music will be showcased.

The event, "Remembering Tagore" has been organised to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore.

An official press release here said the programme was part of the two-day High-Level Sponsoring Committee (HLSC) for the Reconciled Universal for Rabindranath Tagore, Pablo Neruda and Aime Cesaire.

The Additional Secretary, Union Ministry Of Culture Mr Rakesh Garg will represent the Ministry on the occasion. Arrangements have been made for live webcast of the programme from 10 pm IST on September 12.

The programme will include screening of a documentary on Tagore by Satyajit Ray in English with French sub-titles, Hindi rendition of Tagore's songs by Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, a violin recital of Tagore's music by L Subramaniam, Bangla rendition of Tagore's songs by Shama Rahman, recitation of Tagore's poems by Aparna Sen, Tagore Lounge by Bickram Ghosh (tabla) and Shama Rahman (vocals) and Bangla rendition of a Tagore song by Santanu Roy Choudhary.


Patil presents National Film Awards, says Indian cinema now global enterprise

President Pratibha Patil today said that Indian cinema had, in the 21st century, had become a global enterprise and an example of how the country's soft power was engaged in projecting the nation worldwide.

"Rapidly improving technology has helped the industry upgrade itself, as also to radically alter the manner in which cinema reaches the audience. I am proud that Indian cinema has found a market in a large number of countries," she said after presenting the 58th National Film Awards here this evening.

Marriage will take place at right time: Actor Prabhu Deva


Breaking his silence over his proposed wedlock with actress Nayantara, popular Tamil film actor and choreographer Prabhu Deva today said the marriage would take place at the right time, but said she was free to act in films till the wedding takes place.

Playback singer Asha Bhosle turns 78

Bollywood singer Asha Bhonsle cuts her birthday cake during the first  dubbing for her debut hindi film
Bollywood singer Asha Bhonsle cuts her birthday cake during the first dubbing for her debut hindi film "MAAEE", at Sight & Sound Studio, in Mumbai on September 8, 2011.UNI PHOTO

Veteran playback singer Asha Bhosle turned 78 today.

She had started her career in 1943 and her lilting melodies have been a hit with music lovers for over six decades. She has lent her voice in more than 1000 Bollywood movies and has also sung for many Marathi movies as well.

She has recorded many private albums and has participated in numerous concerts in India and abroad.

Bhosle is the younger sister of legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.


Amitabh Bachchan to make Hollywood debut in "The Great Gatsby"


Well-known actor Amitabh Bachchan is making his Hollywood debut with "Great Gatsby", the new big screen adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel that is being directed by Baz Luhrmann and produced by Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures.

Stephen Inglis to deliver special lectures on Indigenous Art of Canada

Renowned anthropologist Stephen Inglis will deliver a Special Lecture Series on Indigenous Art of Canada and its representation in Canadian museums under the auspices of the National Museum Institute (NMI) in association with the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) here from September 5-8.

Amitabh Bachchan to play Hazare-like character in Prakash Jha film

File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.
File photo of Amitabh Bachchan.

After "Aarakshan", noted film-maker Prakash Jha and actor Amitabh Bachchan are now collaborating on "Satyagraha", focussing on the ethos of a peaceful mass protest against corruption.

Industry sources said Jha is working on the script of Satyagraha, but the cast of the film is yet to be finalised. Bachchan will play an Anna Hazare-styled crusader, who will take on the establishment in his fight against corruption. The film will be launched in January, next year, the sources said.

Mr Hazare, 74, is currently leading a major campaign against corruption and for a strong Lokpal (ombudsman) to curb the evil.

Jha feels there has to be a less hardline approach to a matter as deep-rooted as corruption. Also, the fight against corruption should be more focused and specific in its motivation. For instance, why not start by simply campaigning against anyone giving or taking a bribe?, he asked.

Bachchan's character in Satyagraha will have plenty of elements of Hazare, but the film will make a marked departure from the ideology of an autonomous movement, the sources said.

The protagonist takes on corruption at the state, not national level. "It is important for any movement to be rooted to a specific population. It's the only way it can be effective," says Jha.


National Museum to organise Croatian photo exhibition from August 19


The National Museum will organise a photo exhibition on Croatian Monuments in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) List of World Heritage Sites here from August 19 to September 4.

The exhibition will be inaugurated by Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja in the presence of Croatian Ambassador Boris Velic and other dignitaries.

This is the first time Croatian Embassy is organising such an exhibition in India. "We are very pleased to be associated with the National Museum and Ministry of Culture to showcase Croatia’s heritage to the Indian people. After this exhibition in Delhi, we will organise a similar exhibition in Kolkata from October 27, 2011 and after that we plan to do this in Mumbai. We believe that this initiative will go a long way in making the Indian people understand about Croatian culture and let them know about our World Heritage Sites," Dr Velic said.

Dr C.V. Ananda Bose, Vice Chancellor of National Museum Institute and Administrator of National Museum said, "This is for the first time that people in India will be able to see the rich and diverse heritage of Croatia and I am sure that they will cherish this experience. We expect that in the future, we will be able to do more such innovative activities with the Croatian Embassy."

According to a press release from the museum, the exhibition will showcase Croatia's contribution to world heritage and culture and the steps it has taken to preserve its monuments for future generations.

An important part of Croatia’s identity is also its landscape, the most beautiful of which is to be found in its national parks. One of these is the Plitvice Lakes National Park, which was also inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979.


Also on display will be the last inscribed site in Croatia ---Stari Grad --- which is on the island of Hvar with the surrounding fields, the ancient Greek estate from the IV Century BC.

The division of agricultural land from this period has been completely preserved and one can find today the same cultures grown there, such as olive trees, vineyards and lavender, something unique in all of Europe, while the urban image of Stari Grad is made up of buildings from all the historical periods of its existence, the release added.


American Center to host festival of all-time favourite musicals


The American Center in Delhi, in collaboration with Cine Darbaar, will host a film festival featuring some Hollywood’s all-time favourite musicals from August 19-21.

"The festival will be a journey into American musicals, highlighting the development of the musical film genre," a press release from the Center said.

The festival opens with "The Broadway Melody," the first sound feature film to win an Oscar. The closing film of the three-day festival will be a modern classic from master director Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

On August 20, the festival will feature a double-bill by renowned auteur Vincente Minnelli, with the screening of "Gigi," which won nine Oscars, and another one of his hits, "An American in Paris." Other festival highlights include classics like "Singing in the Rain," "West Side Story," and "Saturday Night Fever."

The screenings will be accompanied by interactive sessions on, "The Emergence of Musicals," "Gene Kelly and Musicals," and "A Critical Look at Contemporary Musical Films" led by members of Cine Darbaar.

Following the movies, there will be quizzes with prizes, and a competition where participants will be invited to write a programming proposal on a series of American films that they would like to curate.

The festival begins on August 19 at 6 p.m. Entry is free and open to all. A photo identity card is required for access to the American Center, the release added.


Shammi Kapoor's last film "Rockstar" to release in November


Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor, who died here yesterday, will be seen on screen soon in his last film, Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar starring the actor's grand-nephew Ranbir Kapoor.

The actor will be seen playing a shehnai and Ranbir will be playing the guitar, industry sources said.

Kapoor, who died of renal failure on Sunday morning, was on dialysis when he was shooting for the film.

The film is slated for release on November 11, the sources added.


Romantic adventure novel "Overland" launched in India

Paraplegic woman biker Deepa Malik releasing
Paraplegic woman biker Deepa Malik releasing "Overland" by Mark Stephen Levy at a function in Delhi on August 12, 2011

"Overland", a romantic adventure novel written by American author Mark Stephen Levy, was released by Ms Deepa Malik, a paraplegic woman biker and car rallyist with a difference, at a function here last week.

The event took place on August 12 at Landmark bookstore at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj in Delhi, where lot of visitors took interest in Levy’s book.

The story of Overland is an awe-inspiring journey of graduating medicine student Danny Benson and his pursuit of the girl he loves travelling across the European continent and through Asia. The story revolves around different places like Istanbul, Kabul, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Kathmandu and in the course of the journey the protagonist witnesses a drastic change in his outlook for love.

"Travelling has been a passion for me and I can very much relate to this book because even after suffering chest below paralysis and three spinal tumour surgeries 11 years ago, I have not given up travelling," Ms Malik said.

"I can also understand the protagonist’s quest for love and how a person can get transformed by travelling. I would like to wish Mark all the success for this book and also his coming ventures in the future," he said.

Levy, who was on his second visit to India after 26 years, has in the last 10 weeks travelled 16 cities and being a prolific traveller ended the trip with the launch of this book and also with lot of ideas with which he plans to pen a sequel to Overland.


"I came to India for the first time in 1985 and that was my inspiration to write ‘Overland’. After leaving India, I always thought of returning to this country and after waiting for 26 years I came here again with a lot of hope and passion. Kashmir is the favourite place for me across the world and in this visit I have been to many places like Goa, Kerala, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ranchi, Kathmandu etc. In the last two months of my travelling I have already started writing a memoir which I will release soon and after that I plan to pen the sequel to Overland."

He also said that India has changed a lot since his last visit as there have been many developments which have taken place over the years but the most valuable part was the hospitality he received from this country. He is also moved the way so many cultures survive together in this nation.

The launch also witnessed excerpts of the book being read by Rashmi Kumar, a journalist and the author of the book "Stilettos in the Newsroom".


Punjab revokes ban on screening of "Aarakshan"

The Punjab government today decided to revoke a ban on the screening of movie Aarakshan after the deletion of objectionable scenes and dialogues from it.

An official spokesman here said that the decision was taken after the seven-member committee constituted by the government, which had earlier recommended the ban on the film due to some objectionable dialogues and scenes, reviewed the amended version of the film today and expressed its satisfaction with it.

The Committee was constituted in view of intelligence reports that the movie has certain scenes/dialogues which may hurt the sentiments of some communities in Punjab.

The Committee in its earlier report had said that there were certain objectionable words and dialogues in the movie which were against the norms of decency and provided a potential cause for raising the tempers of certain communities.

"This may prove to be a disturbing factor in the society especially in Punjab where more than 31 per cent of the 2.77 crore population belongs to the weaker sections including the Scheduled Castes," it added.

However, the Committee felt that the movie had depicted the educational backwardness of the Dalits which could be addressed in a positive manner and the "same is well brought out."

"The movie focuses on the bane of commercialisation of education. It has clearly brought out the message that the educational system needs to be improved for the uplift of the Dalits. Since the overall message of the movie is positive, the Committee feels that the movie may be released in Punjab after making the amendments as suggested above," the report had said.

The Committee had recommended that the issue be taken up with the producer of the movie requesting him to make the above changes so that the movie might be released in the state.

Principal Secretary Home Punjab had written a letter to Prakash Jha Productions, producer of movie, in this regard who then deleted the objectionable scenes and dialgues from it, the spokesman said.

The Committee reviewed once again the movie today and was satisfied to find out that all objectionable matter was deleted from it. The government thereafter permitted the screening of the amended version of the movie in the state, he added.


Prakash Jha moves SC against ban on "Aarakshan"

Producer and director of the film "Aarakshan" Prakash Jha today moved the Supreme Court, challenging the ban on release of the movie by the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab in their respective states.

In his petition, Mr Jha contended that his fundamental right of speech and expression cannot be taken away or restricted in an arbitrary manner through government orders.

He has also challenged the competence of state governments to ban the film when it has already been cleared by the Censor Board. The Censor Board is the only competent authority in the country to decide whether a movie can be released for exhibition or not, he said.

The matter is likey to come up for hearing next week.

The movie is reported to be containing some portions offending to the economically, socially and educationally backward sections of society such as SC/ST and OBCs.

The Mayawati government has banned it for two months, while in Punjab it will be in place till a government-appointed panel gave its report.


Mukherjee releases audio-visual presentation of all 5 verses of "Jana Gana Mana"

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee launching a new audio-visual presentation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem Jana Gana Mana in New Delhi on August 12, 2011. Also seen are Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Culture Minister Kumari Selja.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee launching a new audio-visual presentation of Rabindranath Tagore’s poem Jana Gana Mana in New Delhi on August 12, 2011. Also seen are Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and Culture Minister Kumari Selja.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today launched a new audio-visual presentation of the full version of poet Rabindranath Tagore's "Jana Gana Mana", the first verse of which is sung as the national anthem.

The presentation, titled "Jaya Hey", has been brought out to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate.

Mr Mukherjee is also the chairman of the National Implementation Committee to commemorate the anniversary. Information and Broadcasting Miniser Ambika Soni and Culture Minister Kumari Selja were amongst those present on the occasion.

According to an official press release, the full version of five verses delves into a variety of emotions that range from Tagore's paeans to nature and love across to writings that expressed his political concerns and beliefs. This all culminates into articulating his essential philosophy of universal brotherhood.

The presentation features all the five verses, sung and played by 39 celebrated Indian artistes such as Girija Devi, M Balamuralikrishna, Nithyashree Mahadevan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma on Santoor, Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt on the Mohan Veena, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kailash Kher, P Susheela, Jagjit Singh and Shankar Mahadevan, and folk singers like Lopamudra Mitra and Lakhandas Baul.


Prakash Jha's Aarakshan banned in Andhra Pradesh


The Andhra Pradesh government today issued orders to ban the release of Prakash Jha's controversial film Aarakshan in cinema theatres across the state, initially for a week.

Based on representations from Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Kulala Shamikshama Sangam and Andhra Pradesh Ambedkar Yojana Sangam, the government decided to ban the film.

"The ban has been imposed initially for a week or till a final decision was taken on receipt of the report of the committee constituted for the purpose," Government Principal Secretary B P Charya said in a release here.

In their representation, the associations requested inter-alia to suspend the release of the film as certain contents of the said film were likely to hurt the sentiments of SC, ST & BC communities.

However, based on the representation and a report from Information and Public Relations Commissioner Venkatesam orders were being issued separately constituting a committee to view the film and make recommendations to the Government, the release said.

In the exercise of the powers conferred under Section 8 of the A P Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1955 (Act No 4 of 1955), Government suspend the exhibition of the Hindi film, the release added.


Dutt turns producer, Bachchan launches first look of "Rascals"


Bollywood thespian Amitabh Bachchan today said Indian cinema had reached stupendous heights because of good actors like Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Ajay Devgan.

Launching the first look of the upcoming movie "Rascals", which marks Dutt's debut in Bollywood as a producer, Amitabh wished him success in the venture and hoped the film will break box-office records.

The actor, whose movie "Aarakshan" is slated to release tomorrow, told reporters that "Sanjay is part of my family. Ajay and Abhishek are like brothers and director David Dhawan has a close association with my family as well. The fact that the trailer of 'Rascals' will air before my film 'Aarakshan', gives me great joy."

Dhawan said "Rascals is one of the easiest movies I have directed. Sanjay and Ajay are perfect for this movie. The level of comfort on the sets was very contagious. This movie is extremely special to all of us."

Dutt, who is the latest actor to join the producers' bandwagon, said, "Rascals was the perfect opportunity for me to turn into a producer. The shooting of this film was very smooth and a lot of fun. Also, Amitji launched the trailer, which is a big deal for me, as I am his biggest fan. I would like to thank him for taking time out for us."

Devgan, whose latest film "Singham" has rocked the box office, sounded cheerful. He said "I am certain that Rascals will create a stir at the box office. It is the perfect comedy. Sanjay and me share a great level of friendship, which will be reflected on screen."

"Rascals" is scheduled for release during Dussehra and also stars Arjun Rampal and Kangana Ranaut.


UP bans screening of Prakash Jha's Aarakshan for two months

Prakash Jha
Prakash Jha

Uttar Pradesh government has banned the screening of the controversial Prakash Jha film "Aarakshan" in the state for two months due to its "objectionable dialogues".

The UP government took this decision on the basis of a report by a high-powered committee under Article 19(2) of the Constitution read with Section 6 (1) of the UP Cinema Act 1955.

An official statement said here last night that the government was forced to ban the screening of the film for two months in the state apprehending violence due to the "objectionable dialogues" on the sensitive issue of reservation.

The committee included the principal secretaries of finance, culture, tourism, secondary education, rural development and panchayati raj and the entertainment commissioner. The committee watched the film on Tuesday during a special screening at a multiplex.


The government said that the decision on ban of the release of the film would be considered again after two months. The film is slated to be released countrywide next Friday.

Earlier, the UP government had cancelled the permission given to hold an interactive session with students on the film by actor Amitabh Bachchan and Mr Jha.

The decision was taken because officials apprehended violene during the programme.


Prasar Bharti conducts e-auction for its DTH Platform


National broadcaster Prasar Bharti has conducted an e-auction for the available slots on its Direct-To-Home (DTH) platform.

The auction, aimed at optimally utilising the available slots on Doordarshan (DD) Direct Plus platform and maximising its revenue, was held yesterday.

The purpose of the e-auction was to select the channels on DD Direct Plus Platform in a transparent and objective manner, an official press release said.

Conducted through e-tender process, the entire mechanism was facilitated by NCDEX SPOT Mumbai, the agency selected for conducting the proceedings.

Prior to conducting the e-auction mechanism, Doordarshan undertook a detailed exercise to fine tune the mechanism to suit the professional requirements. It issued letters to all the channels who had applied to be placed on DD Direct Plus DTH platform and all those existing channels on DD Direct Plus platform that were completing their Annual Agreements upto 30th June 2011, inviting them to participate in the auction process by submitting a bank guarantee of Rs.1.5 crore within 15 days of the issuance of the letter.

Open public Notices were issued in leading national newspapers on an all-India level. Thirty seven channels applied with a bank guarantee of Rs 1.5 crore and necessary downlinking/uplinking permissions from Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Out of the 37 channels, 32 participated in the final e-auction process.

As part of the orientation, the channels were given thorough training and also participated in a series of mock auctions to give them complete familiarity with the process. Each service provider was issued individual IDs and passwords to all the channels to enable them to log onto the defined website to participate in the closed e-auction process using their unique digital signatures.


Through the auction, 21 successful bids have been received ranging from Rs 2.17 crore to Rs 2.25 crore. All 21 vacant slots on DD’s DTH platform have been auctioned through this transparent e-auction process, the release said.

The bidding details that have been received from different channels as per the price bands are as follows:

• Rs. 2.25 cr- Sadhana News (Uttarakhand/Himachal), Aastha Bhajan, B4U Movies, Sanskar.

• Rs. 2.22 cr- RK News (Sadhana), Sahara Samay.

• Rs. 2.21 cr-Enter 10 music, TV 24, Day& Night News.

• Rs.2.20 cr- B4U Music, Time TV, Divya, Katiani.

• Rs. 2.19 cr-Sahara Aalmi (Urdu), Sahara Firangi.

• Rs. 2.18 cr-Zee Salaam, Zee Smile, Etc music, 9X, Zee Jagran.

• Rs. 2.17cr-Enter 10 Movies.

As per the computation by Prasar Bharti under the given e-auction process, it is expected that revenue earned from the auction will be more than Rs.46 crores. It may be mentioned, that prior to this e-auction process, Doordarshan was earning Rs.16.8 crores at the rate of Rs 80 lakhs per channel.

As on date, there are 59 channels on DD Direct Plus bouquet, of which 19 are Doordarshan channels (including Lok Sabha).


Music composer Raghavan gets first M G Radhakrishnan Award

Eminent Malayalam music composer K Raghavan has been selected for the first M G Radhakrishnan Award for his overall contribution to music.

According to a press release here today, the award, carrying a cash prize of Rs 50,001, citation and a statuette, would be presented to him at his home in Thalasseri.

Raghavan is often credited for the renaissance of Malayalam film music. He gave a new direction and identity to Malayalam film music.

He had composed around 400 songs in Malayalam cinema in the last four decades.


Sanjay Arora's "Butterfly Wings" to be screened in Washington

"'Butterfly Wings", a dramatized version based on the true story about a victim of quadri-paralysis and comatose by the United States-based Sanjay Arora, will be screened on August 16 at the World Music Independent Film Festival at in Washington.

Produced and directed by Arora and written by Princess Reineeta Lakshman, the film was shot in Delhi and stars Mark Lovejoy, Vaishali Ray, Manish Jain, Abhimanyu, Subhashani Dewada and Manish Srivastava. It has background score and music composed by Peter Eisenhauer. The background singer is Diane Brandt.

The film was premiered at the annual WeCare Film Festival on Disability Issues organised by the NGO Brotherhood in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Arora, New York Film Academy graduate, made the film on meeting Neha Bhatia and hearing her story. His prior films "Expression" and "Chase" were shot in Detroit and New York.

Neha Bhatia, a free-spirited and fun-loving person, ends up as the victim of an accident and the doctors and even her parents virtually give up. However, her determined older sister Ayesha who is a medical student, is convinced her sister will come out of this. The film is not only about the recovery but also about sibling love.

Sanjay is currently in pre-production on his next film to be shot in India and the US. He is exploring opportunities for creative collaboration.


Cinépolis launches Patna’s first multiplex with four screens


Cinema chain and exhibitor Cinépolis has launched a 4-screen multiplex at the P&M Mall in Pataliputra Industrial Area of Patna.

The all digital, 3-D equipped multiplex will feature more than 22 shows every day and will have a seating capacity of more than 1000 patrons, a press release from the company said.

The multiplex has state-of-the-art 3-D technology from Real-D systems and Dolby 7.1 surround sound systems, it said

"Additionally, Patnaites can now look forward to enjoy a wide selection of movie titles ranging across Hollywood, Bollywood and selective regional content. The 4 screen multiplex will offer more than 22 shows each day and will typically feature between 7 to 10 movies in any given week," the release said.

Mr Milan Saini,Managing Director and Country Head, Cinépolis India, said: "We applaud Mr. Prakash Jha for his vision to introduce the concept of modern shopping malls to Patna and we are excited to partner with him in introducing the first modern multiplex of the city. With our state-of-the-art facilities and our international standards of service excellence, cinema patrons can now look forward to a new era of a wholesome, family-based entertainment in the city."


"P&M Mall is designed and positioned to be the finest retail and entertainment destination in Patna. With Cinépolis, we are thrilled to bring one the world’s best cinema brands and the city’s first multiplex to our mall," Mr. Prakash Jha, Managing Director, P&M Mall said.


Vice-President confers Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships, Awards

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship to eminent vocalist Girija Devi in New Delhi on July 22, 2011. Culture Minister Kumari Selja and Sangeet Natak Akademi chairperson Leela Samson are also seen.
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship to eminent vocalist Girija Devi in New Delhi on July 22, 2011. Culture Minister Kumari Selja and Sangeet Natak Akademi chairperson Leela Samson are also seen.

Vice-President M Hamid Ansari conferred the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards for 2010 on 42 artistes and scholars at a ceremony here today.

The highest honour of Akademi Fellowship (Akademi Ratna Sadasyata) was conferred on eminent vocalist Girija Devi, renowned dance guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, Dhrupad maestro Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar and Mridangam artiste T. K. Murthy.

They received purse money of Rs 3 lakh, besides an "angavastram" and a "tamrapatra".

The Fellowship of the Akademi is a rare honour, which is bestowed on a very limited number of artistes and scholars at a given time.

As many as 36 artistes and two scholars received the Akademi Awards for 2010. They received purse money of Rs 1 lakh, an angavastram and tamrapatra.

The fellowships and awards are the most coveted national honours conferred on performing artistes, teachers and scholars of performing arts. These honours are decided by the Akademi’s General Council, the apex body consisting of eminent artistes, scholars and nominees of the Government of India and of different States and Union Territories of the country.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi, established by the Government of India on 31 May 1952, is India's National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama.


Speaking on the occasion, Mr Ansari stressed the need to ponder how to popularise each of the fields of classical and folk music, dance and drama at the level of the mass media and common people.

Technology has enabled quicker and cheaper dissemination of products of performing arts, including in digital format, among a diverse and dispersed audience, he pointed out.

"The challenge is to be able to go beyond the dictates of what can loosely be termed 'the market'. The form, format and grammar of art itself is sought to be tailored to the medium and the taste of the market. On the one hand, purists worry about this trend, sticking to tradition and shunning experimentation that dilutes the essence of the art from. Others cite the necessity to adapt and preserve classical and indigenous art forms in a globalizing world that flattens cultural diversities," he said.

"No one has the perfect answer. Probably, there is no perfect answer. Yet, we must continue our effort to preserve that which makes us Indian – to be able to enjoy Indian art, sing, dance and play music as our ancestors did!" he added.


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