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KWAN founder attempts suicide after #MeToo allegations

Anirban Das Blah (File Photo: IANS)
Anirban Das Blah (File Photo: IANS)
KWAN Entertainment founder Anirban Das Blah, a popular Bollywood celebrity manager who has been accused of sexual misconduct, reportedly tried to end his life early on Friday but was saved at the last minute, police said.
 
The incident happened at 1 a.m. on Friday. Blah was caught and rescued by a traffic police patrol in Vashi area and handed over to police, a traffic police official told IANS.
 
Blah's statement was recorded and he was released. The police advised his family to seek professional counselling for him.
 
Blah was asked to step aside from his position in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him after multiple reported accounts indicated that Blah had made sexual advances towards women.
 
Following this, KWAN Entertainment said on Wednesday that Blah had resigned from all his responsibilities and designations (including as a member of the Board of Directors) at KWAN and its subsidiaries/affiliates with immediate effect.
 
The company manages prominent names like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Pritam, Mahesh Babu and Rana Dagubatti. 
 
The #MeToo movement in India sparked with actor Tanushree Dutta renewing a 10-year-old allegation against fellow actor Nana Patekar, opening the floodgates for a sea of complaints against several other celebrities.
 
Actors and corporates in the movie industry have stepped up efforts to take stern action against offenders.
 
IANS

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Dileep removed from AMMA: Mohanlal

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Senior actor Dileep, who was named in a Malayalam actress kidnapping case, was on Friday removed from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, its chief Mohanlal said.
 
Ending months of uncertainty, the actors' body at its executive committee meeting held here agreed to end Dileep's membership from AMMA as he has been facing trial in the case that took place in February 2017. 
 
The decision came amidst the raging #MeToo furore in the country. 
 
Superstar Mohanlal told the media that the issue was already lingering long enough and a decision was way overdue.
 
"I called him (Dileep) and told him about the decision and asked for his resignation. He sent us the signed resignation letter," said Mohanlal.
 
Earlier in October, the Women's Collective in Cinema (WCC) had criticised the way the actress kidnapping case was handled. They had named Mohanlal as the main culprit shielding Dileep.
 
"I really don't know why the WCC is taking on me personally. All of them have been my co-stars. We have had good relations. Now it has come to such a pass that it has started to hurt me. I do not feel good at all," the actor added.
 
Dileep has spent 85 days in jail and is now out on bail.
 
At a press conference on October 13, the WCC-led by actress Revathy, alleged that AMMA had not supported the victim whereas Dileep had got all the backing.
 
Others who took part in that conference included Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas, who had earlier quit AMMA to protest against the way the actress kidnapping issue was handled by the actors' body.
 
Mohanlal said the actresses who have resigned from the AMMA if they wished to return, they would have to give a letter. It would have to be considered by the executive committee and then by the general body.
 
"Why should we ask them to return, it was they who resigned. Hence they have to make the first move," said Mohanlal. He, however, added that they need not apologise for their actions.
 
AMMA Secretary and veteran actor Siddique, who had earlier this week attacked the conduct of the WCC members, on Friday said that he feels the women's body was out to create a rift in the AMMA.
 
IANS

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Anna Burns wins 50th Man Booker Prize for 'Milkman'

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Anna Burns from Northern Ireland has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for her third novel "Milkman". She won the much coveted 50,000 pound award for her timely, troubles-set novel about a young woman being sexually harassed by a powerful man.
 
Burns, 56, became the first Northern Irish winner of the award and accepted the prize at a ceremony at Guildhall here late on Tuesday. 
 
She is also the first female winner since 2012, when Hilary Mantel took the award with "Bring Up the Bodies".
 
Booker's chair of judges, the philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, said that the novel is "incredibly original". 
 
"Milkman" is narrated by an unnamed 18-year-old girl, known as "middle sister", who is being pursued by a much older paramilitary figure, the milkman.
 
"None of us has ever read anything like this before," said Appiah, announcing the prize. 
 
"Anna Burns' utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in a surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour."
 
Written in lengthy blocks of paragraphs, eschewing character names for descriptions, Appiah admitted that "Milkman" could be seen as "challenging, but in the way a walk up Snowdon is challenging. It is definitely worth it because the view is terrific when you get to the top," he said. 
 
Previous Irish winners, including John Banville, Anne Enright and Roddy Doyle, all come from the Irish Republic. 
 
Burns beat writers including American literary heavyweight Richard Powers, Canadian Esi Edugyan and Daisy Johnson, at 27 the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the award. 
 
According to Appiah, the judges, picking from a shortlist that delved into some dark themes, were "unanimous" in their choice of winner -- and not influenced by concerns that picking a third American winner in a row could cause controversy.
 
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Burns, who was born in Belfast and now lives in East Sussex, drew on her own experiences growing up in what she called "a place that was rife with violence, distrust and paranoia". 
 
As the milkman presses his advances on the reluctant middle sister, rumours begin that she is having an affair with him. 
 
Milkman also spoke to the concerns of today, Appiah said. "I think this novel will help people think about #MeToo ... It is to be commended for giving us a deep and subtle and morally and intellectually challenging picture of what #MeToo is about."
 
First awarded in 1969, the Man Booker Prize is recognised as the leading award for quality literary fiction written in English. 
 
Its list of winners includes many of the giants of the last five decades, from Salman Rushdie to Margaret Atwood, Iris Murdoch to J.M. Coetzee. 
 
The prize has also recognised many authors early in their careers, including Eleanor Catton, Aravind Adiga and Ben Okri. 
 
No Indian authors were longlisted or shortlisted for the 50th edition of the prize. 
 
IANS

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Truth will prevail: Nandita Das on #MeToo allegations against father

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Actress-filmmaker Nandita Das, whose father -- artist Jatin Das -- has been accused of sexually harassing a woman, says that, while she will continue to add voice to the #MeToo movement, she believes the truth will prevail in the "disturbing allegations" against the Padma Bhushan recipient.
 
"As a strong supporter of the #MeToo movement, I want to reiterate that I will continue to add my voice to it, despite the disturbing allegations made against my father, which he has categorically denied," Nandita posted on Facebook.
 
"I have maintained from the very start that this is the time we all need to listen, so that women (and men) feel safe to speak up. At the same time, it is also important to be sure about allegations so as not to dilute the movement. I am touched by the number of people - friends and strangers - who are concerned and are trusting my integrity. I do believe truth will prevail. And that is all I have to say on this matter," she added.
 
Conservationist Nisha Bora on Tuesday accused Jatin Das of sexually harassing her at his Khidki village studio in 2004. Das refuted the allegation as "ridiculous and vulgar".
 
The #MeToo movement in India has been on a rise with victims of sexual harassment from all walks of life voicing their stories. Nandita has been vocal about urging women to speak up against any such unsavoury experiences that they have faced at their work place.
 
IANS
 

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Malayalam actor Alencier named in #MeToo storm

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Actor Alencier Ley Lopez has been named by an upcoming actress for allegedly harassing her a few times.
 
The actress took to her Facebook page and said the incident took place nine months ago.
 
"I had spoken to Justice Hema Commission (a state government appointed body to study the issues of women in the film industry) and they agreed to give me time to register my complaint. But now I have decided to come out," the actress said.
 
Alencier, 52, hails from the state capital and began his career in theatre. He made his debut in the Malayalam film industry in 1998 and since then, he has excelled in character roles.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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AMMA must look into issues raised by actresses: Kerala Minister

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A Kerala Minister on Sunday urged the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) to look into the grievances raised by actresses.
 
The Women's Collective in Cinema (WCC) has raised concerns over how AMMA, led by superstar Mohanlal, has handled the case involving the kidnapping of an actress.
 
The Kerala government will step in if a need arises, State Minister for Law, Cinema and Culture A.K. Balan said here.
 
"Now that the WCC has raised issues, in all fairness, AMMA should look into it and sort out it," said Balan.
 
The WCC was formed last year by women drawn from various sectors of the film industry to fight for their cause, after they found that AMMA was not protecting their interests.
 
Senior actor Dileep is an accused in a kidnapping case that took place last year. The actor was in jail for 85 days and is now out on bail.
 
It was at a lengthy press conference that the WCC, led by actress Revathy, alleged that AMMA has not supported the victim, whereas Dileep has got all the backing.
 
Others who took part included Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas, who had earlier quit from AMMA to protest against the way the actress' kidnapping issue was handled by AMMA.
 
On Saturday, Revathy said things were not clean in the Malayalam film industry. She said she was shocked to see a 17-year-old young girl knocking at her door and complaining about the way she was exploited.
 
But on Sunday, Revathy issued a statement, clearing her stance regarding something she said during the press conference, in reference to an incident which took place years ago.
 
"I wish to clarify that the said incident happened 25-26 years back and not one and a half years back as some are projecting it to be. She said that someone repeatedly knocked at her door asking her to open and she did not know who it was. I asked her to come inside the room and locked the door. She was scared and I was also equally scared and both of us waited out that night in fear. No sexual or physical assault actually happened," said Revathy.
 
Meanwhile, a lawyer has filed a petition at a police station in Kochi against Revathy for withholding the information and not reporting to the concerned authorities.
 
Following the WCC press meet on Saturday evening, their Facebook page has come under cyber attack.
 
IANS
 

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AMMA under fire from actresses over AMMA's handling of actress abduction case

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The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), led by super star Mohanlal, came under fire on Saturday from the Women's Collective in Cinema (WCC) over the way the kidnapping case of an actress is being handled.
 
The WCC was formed last year by women drawn from various sectors of the film industry to fight for their cause, after they found that AMMA was not protecting their interests.
 
Senior actor Dileep is an accused in a kidnapping case that took place last year. The actor was in jail for 85 days and is now out on bail.
 
The WCC alleges that AMMA has not supported the victim, whereas Dileep has got all the backing.
 
Leading actress Revathy on Saturday said that many like her were shocked to hear Mohanlal address them as mere actresses.
 
"It really hurt us very much... he could have mentioned us by our name. We have now realized that AMMA's executive committee is taking us for a ride and is not serious about the victim getting justice in the kidnapping case," said Revathy, adding AMMA should be handled by responsible people.
 
Trouble stared soon after Mohanlal took over as AMMA President in June. He took back into the AMMA fold actor Dileep, prompting leading actresses Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas to quit AMMA in protest. Another 14 members announced their decision to quit, citing lack of fairness.
 
At Saturday's press meet, Revathy, Padmapriya, Parvathy and the three actresses who quit AMMA and a few others were also present.
 
The decision on Dileep's status has been left to the next general body meeting of AMMA.
 
"They (AMMA) use bye-laws when they find it useful for their requirements and when it comes to our needs, they cling on bye-laws," said Parvathy.
 
Revathy said things are not clean in the Malayalam film industry, adding she was shocked to see a 17-year-old young girl knocking at her door and complaining about the way she was exploited.
 
"I will not name her, but things are bad in the industry," said Revathy.
 
She said that none should take the actresses lightly, and that they would continue to expose the goings-on in the industry.
 
Beena Paul, who is vice-chairman of the state-run Kerala State Chalachitra Acadmey, said their intention is not to shame the industry.
 
"There are so many stories of victimization... slowly these will come out," said Paul.
 
IANS
 

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Sajid Khan steps down as 'Housefull 4' director

Sajid Khan (File photo: IANS)
Sajid Khan (File photo: IANS)
Filmmaker Sajid Khan on Friday said he is stepping down as director of "Housefull 4" amid allegations the he indulged in sexual misconduct with multiple women.
 
At least two actresses and a female journalist came out about their unpleasant experiences with Sajid on social media on Thursday in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
 
In response, Sajid wrote on Twitter: "In the wake of the allegations against me and the pressure being put on my family, my producer and the stars of my film 'Houseful4', I must take the moral responsibility of stepping down from my directorial post, till the time I can allay the allegations and prove the truth... I request my friends in the media to kindly not pass judgment till the truth is out."
 
The film "Housefull 4" also features Nana Patekar, who too is accused of sexual misconduct by actress Tanushree Dutta.
 
Akshay Kumar, the star of "Housefull 4", has called off the film's shooting until "further investigation".
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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#MeToo fallout: Aamir Khan steps away from film

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Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan on Wednesday stepped away from a film, as "someone" associated with it has been accused of sexual misconduct.
 
Aamir and his wife Kiran Rao, who run production company Aamir Khan Productions, issued a statement late on Wednesday.
 
"Two weeks ago, when traumatic #MeToo stories began emerging, it was brought to our attention that someone we were about to begin work with has been accused of sexual misconduct. Upon enquiry we found that this particular case is sub judice, and that the legal process is in motion.
 
"We are not an investigative agency, nor are we in any position to pass judgement on anyone -- that is for the police and judiciary to do. So, without casting any aspersions on anyone involved in this case, and without coming to any conclusions about these specific allegations, we have decided to step away from this film," read the statement posted by Aamir on Twitter.
 
The power couple said they do not want their action to reflect in any manner on the people involved in this case.
 
While Aamir did not name the person or the film, it is noteworthy that filmmaker Subhash Kapoor, who was roped in to direct the Gulshan Kumar biopic -- to be co-produced by Aamir Khan Productions -- has been accused of molestation by an actress in 2014.
 
Aamir and Kiran said that as creative people, they have been committed to foregrounding and finding solutions to social issues.
 
"At Aamir Khan Productions, we have always had a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual misconduct and predatory behaviour of any kind.
 
"We strongly condemn any act of sexual harassment, and equally we condemn any and all false accusations in such cases," the joint statement read.
 
They believe the #MeToo movement, which has led to people openly calling out those who have indulged in sexual harassment, is an opportunity for the film industry to introspect and take concrete steps towards change.
 
"For far too long, women have faced the brunt of sexual exploitation. It has to stop. In this regard, we are committed to doing any and everything to make our film industry a safe and happy one to work in."
 
Kiran is also the Chairperson of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, which has dropped two movies -- Rajat Kapoor's "Kadakh" and AIB's "Chintu Ka Birthday" -- from its line-up in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against the actor-filmmaker and some members of the comedy collective.
 
IANS
 

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#MeToo: More accusations, denials, legal actions in showbiz

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The dark underbelly of showbiz continued to shine bright on Wednesday as well-known women like actors Sandhya Mridul and Amyra Dastur and singer Sona Mohapatra came out about their unsavoury harassment experiences, even as the IFTDA sent a notice to actor Alok Nath who has been accused of rape by writer-producer Vinta Nanda.
 
A day after Nanda addressed a press conference here, claiming Alok sexually violated her around 19 years ago, Sandhya came out and supported her, recounting her own experience with the actor who is known for his 'sanskaari' on-screen image.
 
Sandhya took the social media route to describe her ordeal with Alok during an outdoor shoot, where he would trouble her in an inebriated state.
 
"The problem is sexual harassment has been open to interpretation. I come from a time when nobody wanted to hear. I was a nobody. When I tried to speak I was labelled arrogant and difficult. And replaced from work. And there was no social media to make ourselves heard, directly. It has taken me years to lay those demons to rest and move on," said Sandhya.
 
Alok on Tuesday had addressed Nanda's claim, calling it "absurd". His lawyer Ashok Sarogi on Wednesday said the accusations against Alok were false.
 
On its part, the Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) on Wednesday said it has drafted a notice to be sent to Alok, and it has already sent a notice to Vikas Bahl.
 
Bahl was last year accused of sexual harassment by a former employee of the film collective Phantom Films, for an incident that took place in 2015 in Goa. The allegation resurfaced as the #MeToo movement garnered steam in India. 
 
Kashyap last week came out in support of the allegations in a HuffPost India report and also tweeted about it, while Motwane called Bahl a "sexual offender".
 
Bahl, known for "Queen", has sent legal notices to his former Phantom Films partners Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, whom he has called "opportunists" for making "defamatory allegations" in the wake of the ongoing #MeToo movement.
 
In the  notices, Bahl has "denied all allegations and suggestions" made by them. He has reserved his "right to take appropriate legal action" against them, and claims the statements have been made as a result of professional jealousy and with the sole intent to defame him, malign his image and destroy his career.
 
While singer Kailash Kher has already been named by a female journalist, Sona came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct too.
 
"I met Kailash for coffee in Prithvi Café to discuss a forthcoming concert where both our bands were playing and after the usual, a hand on my thigh with lines like, 'You're so beautiful', 'Feel so good that a musician got you (Ram) not an actor'," she tweeted.
 
Amyra came forward to tell IANS that she has faced harassment in Bollywood as well as in the southern film industry.
 
Citing an incident, Amyra said: "I have had an actor squeeze himself up against me during a shot in a song and whisper in my ear that he was so glad that I was in the film with him. When I threw him off me and refused to speak to him again, he made my experience miserable. 
 
"My director told me to suck it up and honestly couldn't care less. I was constantly called early to set, made to wait for hours and hours for my shot. I was made to shoot 18 hours a day, I slept for 4-5 hours if I was lucky."
 
However, she says she doesn't have the "guts" to name and shame the people. "Until I don't feel safe and secure, I won't point fingers."
 
Actor Kay Kay Menon is all for making the society safer by dealing with sexual harassment cases "seriously".
 
The world of Indian showbiz has woken up to volley of allegations against prominent names ever since Tanushree Dutta two weeks ago reiterated her experience with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the set of a 2008 film.
 
IANS
 

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#MeToo: Was asked to visit Vairamuthu in hotel, says singer Chinmayi

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Popular singer Chinmayi Sripaada on Monday backed accusations of sexual harassment against veteran Tamil lyricist-poet Vairamuthu by sharing her own story about how she was asked to "cooperate" and visit him in a hotel.
 
After endorsing allegations of sexual harassment against Vairamuthu by several users on Twitter in the wake of the #MeToo movement, Chinmayi shared her own story to corroborate the reports.
 
In a series of tweets, Chinmayi recalled an incident where she alleged that the concert organiser asked her to cooperate and visit Vairamuthu in his hotel room.
 
"Year 2005/2006 maybe. Veezhamattom. An album for Sri Lankan Tamizhs that I had sung in, as had Manikka Vinayagam sir. I don't remember if it was a book or an album release or both now; the performances and launch happened in Switzerland in Bern/Zurich maybe," she tweeted, and added that she returned to Switzerland after the concert with her mother.
 
"Everyone left. Only my mother and I were asked to stay back. The organiser (I don't remember his name) asked me to visit Vairamuthu sir in a hotel in Lucerne," she wrote.
 
Chinmayi added that she was asked to "cooperate". But she refused.
 
"We demanded to be sent back to India. He said 'you won't have a career!' My mother and I both put our foot down, career vendam mannum vendam (don't need career, need self-esteem). Demanded an earlier flight to India and came back."
 
Recalling another incident, which she said happened three or four years ago, Chinmayi alleged that Vairamuthu threatened to make false claims when she turned down his request to sing at an event.
 
"He had a book release function & asked me to sing Tamizh Thaai vaazhthu. I said I would be unable to. He in turn responded I'll tell (a politician) you spoke ill of him on stage, yelled at me and kept the phone down. I bawled," wrote Chinmayi.
 
She went on to write that her work place has been mostly clean save for some bad apples.
 
"In 17 years, not one man in the industry across languages Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi has misbehaved."
 
"I call Vairamuthu sir out alone and I dare," she wrote.
 
She also alleged that the staff of Vairamuthu's office are well aware of his behavior. 
 
"His close confidants know. They are also his enablers," she said.
 
IANS
 

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#MeToo: Film bodies act against artistes accused of sexual harassment

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The raging #MeToo movement on Tuesday led film associations CINTAA and IFTDA to react in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against actor Alok Nath and director Vikas Bahl. The Producers Guild of India said it will form a committee to help the film fraternity to call out and report sexual harassment and abuse.
 
The Indian Film and Television Directors Association (IFTDA) took a hard stand against "Queen" director Bahl for "outraging the modesty of his female colleague" and condemned his "predatory behaviour" against a female crew member of a film or TV unit, read a statement.
 
"We will not tolerate the abuse of power against our female professionals... In light of the events, IFTDA has taken a stern stand against Vikas Bahl by issuing a show cause notice and asked him to respond within one week, failing which his membership will be terminated," read a statement signed by IFTDA President Ashoke Pandit.
 
They have further set up a Women's Grievances Redressal Cell and a three-member all-women committee to create a safe place for its women professionals.
 
This apart, the Cine & TV Artistes Association (CINTAA) on Tuesday decided to send a show cause notice to Alok Nath, who has been accused of rape by "Tara" fame writer-producer Vinta Nanda. She says the actor, known for his 'sanskaari' on-screen image, raped her almost two decades ago.
 
Alok has said the allegation was "absurd" as he "made her what she is".
 
He told ABP News: "Neither I am denying this nor do I agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it. As for the matter, if it has come out, it will be stretched."
 
CINTAA General Secretary Sushant Singh said a show-cause notice will be sent to Alok. He urged Nanda to file a complaint against "this vile creature" and added: "We extend you full support."
 
Nanda, who held a press conference here on Tuesday, feels this was "just the beginning" of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood and other fields in India.
 
"It will not stop now and it should not stop. It is encouraging. It is just a beginning. Women should not be afraid to speak up."
 
Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of India announced that it recognises the "urgent need to set up a robust process to ensure the highest standards of safety for employees and crew members at the workplace - whether in offices or on sets of productions.
 
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"We are instituting a committee within the Guild to lead this effort, and we are determined to stay the course till workplaces in the industry are safe spaces for everyone," read a statement.
 
Several celebrities including Nana Patekar, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath and members of comedy collective AIB have been named and shamed for sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo wave.
 
The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) decided to drop two films -- AIB's "Chintu Ka Birthday" and Rajat's "Kadakh" -- from the line-up of the upcoming 20th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
 
"We as an Academy (MAMI) strongly support the #MeToo movement. In light of recent developments, we have decided to drop the following films from our line-up -- AIB's 'Chintu Ka Birthday' and Rajat Kapoor's 'Kadakh'," read a statement from MAMI.
 
"We want to use this opportunity to open up the conversation and find solutions to harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Starting with this edition of the festival, we would like to unite the community to find positive and constructive ways to deal with it," the fest's organisers said.
 
Filmmaker Anurag Basu believes the #MeToo movement will make Bollywood a safer place to work for everyone.
 
"I am glad that people are coming up with their experience and sharing it in the public. This will make everyone conscious and they will think twice before indulging in any misconduct and sexual harassment," Basu told IANS.
 
IANS
 

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Sonali Bendre says she refuses to allow negative emotions control her life

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Actor-model-author Sonali Bendre Behl, who is undergoing treatment for cancer in New York, refuses to allow negative emotions gain control over her life and says her “visual focus remains to just get better and get back home”.
 
Posting a picture of herself applying an eyeliner, Sonali says in a tweet on the micro-blogging site Twitter, “Over the past couple of months, I have had good days and bad ones. There have been days when I’ve been so exhausted and in so much of pain that even lifting a finger hurt.
 
“I feel like sometimes it’s a cycle...one that starts off with physical pain and leads to mental and emotional pain. The bad days have been many...Post chemo, post-surgery and the like...when even laughing hurts,” she says.
 
“Sometimes I felt like it took everything I’ve had to push past it...a minute to minute battle with myself. I got through it knowing that even though I was fighting a long drawn out, draining battle...it was one that was worth the fight.”
 
Sonali feels that forced cheerfulness all the time is of no use and negative emotions should find an outlet. “It’s important to remember that we’re allowed to have those bad days. Forcing yourself to be happy and cheerful all the time serves no purpose. Who are we being fake and putting on an act for?
 
“I allowed myself to cry, to feel the pain, to indulge in self-pity...for a short while. Only you know what you’re going through and it is fine to accept it. Emotions aren’t wrong. Feeling negative emotions isn’t wrong. But after a point, identify it, recognize it and refuse to let it control your life. It takes an immense amount of self-care to get out of that zone. Sleep always helps, or having my favourite smoothie after chemo, or just talking to my son.
 
“For now, as my treatment continues...my visual focus remains to just get better and get back home,” she says.
 
“It’s yet another test...Student all my life...Learning all my life..” Sonali says in the tweet with the hashtags #LearningAllMyLife #OneDayAtATime.
 
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Someone else would have done the rape: Alok Nath on Vinta Nanda's allegation

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Actor Alok Nath, who has been accused of rape by "Tara" writer-producer Vinta Nanda, on Tuesday said the allegation is "absurd" as he "made her what she is".
 
Alok told ABP News: "Kuch to log kahenge (People will say something). Neither I am denying this nor do I agree with it. It (rape) must have happened, but someone else would have done it. Well, I do not want to talk much about it. As for the matter, if it has come out, it will be stretched.
 
"However, we only have to hear to women's stand because they are considered weak."
 
IANS tried contacting Alok since Nanda wrote about her experience via a Facebook post on Monday. But calls and messages went unanswered.
 
Nanda, a veteran writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s' show "Tara" fame, accused Alok -- known for his "sanskaari" on-screen image -- of sexually violating her almost two decades ago. The Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA) has decided to send him a show-cause notice.
 
Asked about his "sanskaari" image, Alok said: "What do I have to do with people? People will say anything to spoil the image. Leave my image, whatever has been said, it is absurd."
 
He said at one point, Nanda used to be his good friend.
 
"...today she said such a big thing. In a way, it was me who made her what she is. It is useless to react on the allegations as in today's world, whatever a woman says, only that will be considered. In such a situation, it would be wrong to say anything," he said.
 
Nanda held a press conference here on Tuesday, talking further about how when she had opened up two decades ago, nobody came to support her.
 
"When I spoke years ago, not a single person came in support of me. And now one Facebook post became viral and I am standing in front of you with so much support. Not a single person questioned him that (time), everyone knew what happened... Silence is dangerous. I became silent, due to which I had to suffer so much. I left the industry," she said.
 
Has she filed a police complaint, Nanda said: "I have not filed a police complaint yet."
 
However, she feels this is "just the beginning" of the #MeToo movement in Bollywood and other fields in India.
 
"It will not stop now and it should not stop. It is encouraging. It is just a beginning. Women should not afraid to speak."
 
Why was she silent for so long?
 
"I took a lot of time to open. I was blaming myself that why I was so bold, why I was so open... I was questioning myself... So, I was not able to come out. But now I have realised that I should not be ashamed of myself and the man who harassed me should be ashamed of himself."
 
IANS

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IFFK 2018 gets a nod, to be held on 'limited scale'

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After keeping many film buffs on edge, state film body Kerala State Chalachitra Academy which organises the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), on Tuesday said the 23rd edition of the gala will be held on a "limited scale".
 
The IFFK will this year be held from December 7-13.
 
The academy, in a statement issued here, said that on Thursday, the organising committee of the upcoming event would be formed, and that the IFFK would be held on a very limited scale as directed by the state government.
 
The uncertainty around whether the movie jamboree will be held or not loomed large due to paucity of funds as the state is presently going through a rebuilding process after being hit by the worst ever floods in August.
 
It was decided in August that all events which require funding from the state government will be cancelled, and this event also came under the hammer. But the state government has now cleared it.
 
IANS

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Bryan Adams picks Harshdeep Kaur, Aditi Singh Sharma, Abi Sampa for opening acts on India tour

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Canadian singer-songwriter Bryan Adams will be joined by women-led acts  -- Harshdeep Kaur, Aditi Singh Sharma, Abi Sampa and Threeory Band -- as the official opening acts on his five-date greatest hits India tour that will kick off from Ahmedabad today.
 
Adams will be joined by Harshdeep in Mumbai and New Delhi, Aditi in Bengaluru, Abi Sampa in Ahmedabad and Threeory Band in Hyderabad, a press release from the organisers said.
 
The gigs are lined up in support of the music veteran’s current 21-track compilation, Ultimate, which released in November last year. 
 
Adams will perform at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad today, Hitec City in Hyderabad on October 11, Jio Gardens in Mumbai on October 12, Ozone Urbana in Bengaluru on October 13 and Leisure Valley Open Ground in New Delhi on October 14.
 
The gates will open at 6 pm and the event will conclude by 10 pm, the release said.
 
While the singer has performed in India previously, his fifth outing in this country  and his 19th concert tour promises to be one of the biggest productions of the year.
 
Shyam Tallamraju, Business Head, ENIL said, “The artiste and the management feel Harshdeep Kaur, Aditi Singh Sharma, Abi Sampa and Threeory Band would be the ideal fit as the opening acts since their music sensibilities are quite similar. There was a lot of back and forth on the opening acts before a final conclusion was taken.”
 
Aditi said, “I can't overstate the impact Bryan Adams' music has had on my career. I've literally grown up listening to his music and covering his songs, with my very first band, way back in college. It is truly an honour to open for this musical legend. I can proudly cross one thing off my bucket list!”
 
Harshdeep said, “I remember performing Bryan Adams songs at my school fest. Each song of his has a memory attached to it.  I always wanted to watch him perform live but to share the same stage with him will be truly magical. I’m really looking forward to this event and I’m preparing a special Bollywood fusion set with my band.”
 
This event is produced by ENIL and has partnered with Infibeam Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. for Ahmedabad. 
 
The legendary musician has performed in India before in 1995, followed by 2001, 2003, and ‘The Bare Bones Tour’ in 2011.
 
The aim of "Ultimate" is to condense his extensive back catalogue - 13 studio albums, five live albums, five compilation albums and over 75 singles - into a 21-track offering guaranteed to capture the true essence of the hitmaker's much celebrated career.
 
'The Ultimate Tour' will see Adams perform material from the album, which is a mix of new tracks and his chart-topping numbers. 'The Ultimate Tour' has travelled to 53 cities and four continents.
 
On  the India tour, the 58-year-old vegan Vancouverite is expected to entertain the audience with hits like ‘Run To You’, ‘Can’t Stop This Thing We Started’, ‘Summer of ’69’, ‘Cuts Like A Knife’, ‘Heaven’, ‘Run To You’, ‘When You’re Gone’ , ‘Cloud Number Nine’, ‘Everything I Do I Do It For You’, ‘Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman’, ‘All for Love’ as well as 'Ultimate Love' and 'Please Stay'.
 
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Hailed as Sufi Ki Sultana by Amitabh Bachchan, Harshdeep Kaur who started singing when she was 12 years old has delivered hit tracks in Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Rang De Basanti, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Raazi and more recently Manmarziyaan.
 
Aditi Singh Sharma never gave up on her dreams and continues her quest today. From not knowing Hindi properly, to being the only girl singing in a rock band, to fighting racism as a teenager, to going door to door with a demo CD to all musicians while her single mother battled cancer, Aditi has done it all. She made her playback singing debut in the film industry with Anurag Kashyap's Dev. D and thereafter has contributed to films like Roy, Veere Di Wedding, 2 States, Dhoom 3.
 
From a young age, London-born Abi Sampa has been passionate about music, learning to play the saxophone and veena when she was only 8 years old! After her parents worried that a career in the music industry would be risky, Abi opted for a career in dentistry. Combining western popular music elements with qawwali, carnatic and hindustani classical music, she and her band have moved from strength to strength and inspired a generation of young British-Asian artistes.
 
Based out of Oxford, The Fusion Project founded by Rushil Ranjan is a collective of specialist musicians and producers that focus on bringing Indian classical music to audiences across the globe.
 
Threeory is a progressive rock fusion band which blends Indian classical with different kinds of world music. With Nagaland resident, Syntyche Mongro giving her jazz and blues touch, Tarun Vishal on drums, Parsa Datta Sai on the violin, Mark on keyboard and Shillong based guitarist Sentilong the band is complete.
 
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MAMI drops AIB, Rajat Kapoor's films from fest's line-up

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The Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI) has dropped two films -- AIB's "Chintu Ka Birthday" and Rajat Kapoor's "Kadakh" -- from the line-up of the 20th edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in the wake of the #MeToo tide.
 
"We as an Academy (MAMI) strongly support the #MeToo movement. In light of recent developments, we have decided to drop the following films from our line-up -- AIB's 'Chintu Ka Birthday' and Rajat Kapoor's 'Kadakh'," read a statement from MAMI.
 
It was sent to IANS via Whatsapp by MAMI's Creative Director Smriti Kiran.
 
"We want to use this opportunity to open up the conversation, and find solutions to harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace. Starting with this edition of the festival, we would like to unite the community to find positive and constructive ways to deal with it," the statement read further.
 
Actor-director Rajat Kapoor has been called out by two women for inappropriate behaviour. He has apologised.
 
Comedy collective, All India Bakchod (AIB), on the other hand, landed in a full-fledged controversy after Utsav Chakraborty -- once associated with the group -- was accused by a barrage of women on social media of sexual harassment.
 
Chakraborty accepted and apologised for his misdeeds, but the #MeToo fire soon spread out to reveal how AIB's CEO and co-founder knew about it all along but did nothing against it. It even opened up a box of complaints against some of the group's other comedians, notably Gursimran Khamba.
 
On its part, AIB announced on Monday that Bhat and Khamba are "stepping away" from the group.
 
IANS
 

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#MeToo: Alok Nath raped me, says writer-producer Vinta Nanda

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Vinta Nanda, a veteran writer-producer of the avant-garde 1990s' show "Tara" fame, has accused actor Alok Nath -- known for his "sanskaari" on-screen image -- of sexually violating her almost two decades ago.
 
"I have waited for this moment to come for 19 years," Nanda wrote in a long, heart-wrenching Facebook post, referring to the "predator in question" as "the actor par excellence who is known as the most 'sanskaari' (cultured) person in the film and television industry".
 
Her suggestive remarks like "sanskaari" and that the person concerned was the "lead actor" and a "television star of that decade" were good enough to make out that Nanda was indeed pointing the finger at Alok.
 
Later, confirming the same to IANS via SMS, Nanda said: "It is Alok Nath. I thought saying 'sanskaari' would do the needful."
 
Alok is known for his roles as a stereotypical Indian father, personifying religious traditions and moral values in films and TV shows.
 
It is the escalating voices against sexual harassment across the world as part of the #MeToo wave that gave Nanda the courage to pen down the exeriences which had left her "shattered".
 
"He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour, many of the guys would also egg him on to be his worst," Nanda wrote, adding that he even harassed the show's lead actress who was not interested in him.
 
Sharing the "worst" that happened, Nanda recounted the incidents that followed after she left a party at Alok's house at 2 a.m. She says her drinks were mixed.
 
"I started to walk home on the empty streets... Midway I was accosted by this man who was driving his own car and he asked me to sit in it and said he would drop me home. I trusted him and sat in his car.
 
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"I have faint memory after that. I can remember more liquor being poured into my mouth and I remember being violated endlessly. When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn't just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised.
 
"I couldn't get up for my bed. I told some of my friends but everybody advised me to forget about it and move on."
 
Later, she got a job to write and direct a series for Plus Channel, and again her paths crossed with Alok.
 
"The man found his way through the casting route and became one of the lead actors on the show. He created an environment in which I was made to feel threatened, so I asked the producers to release me from directing the series because I didn't want to be around where he was.
 
"I continued to write the show."
 
The "most difficult part" and the "main reason" why Nanda took so long to come out with the truth was because while she was working on this new series, she says, "he asked me to come to his house again and I went to allow him to violate me".
 
"I needed the job and didn't want to leave it as I needed the money. It was after this that I quit."
 
Nanda has urged people "who have suffered at the hands of predators, to come out and say it aloud".
 
"Don't hold yourselves back. This is a moment for change, so your silence will only hold barriers to its evolution. Speak out. Shout out from the top of the roof."
 
IANS
 

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Hrithik urges 'Super 30' producers to take 'hard stand' against Vikas Bahl

Hrithik Roshan (File photo: IANS)
Hrithik Roshan (File photo: IANS)
Actor Hrithik Roshan has urged the producers of his upcoming film "Super 30" to take a "hard stand" if need be amid sexual harassment allegations against the movie's director Vikas Bahl.
 
"It is impossible for me to work with any person if he/she is guilty of such grave misconduct. I am away and have access to some sporadic information. I have requested the producers of 'Super 30' to take stock of the apparent facts and take a hard stand if need be.
 
"This is not to be hushed or brushed under the carpet. All proven offenders must be punished and all exploited people must be empowered and given strength to speak up," Hrithik tweeted on Monday.
 
His statement comes a day after filmmaker Hansal Mehta took an indirect dig at Hrithik.
 
Mehta had commented that as a father of two daughters, he fears they may have to deal "with such predators just because nobody took any action against (Vikas) Bahl -- on the contrary a major star has acted in his new film. Who is empowered here? The victim or the creep?"
 
This didn't go down too well with Hrithik's fans who trolled Mehta and led the filmmaker to quit the social media platform.
 
Bahl has been accused by a woman of sexually harassing her repeatedly after the first incident in 2015 in Goa. She spoke about it in the media last year and her allegations resurfaced in the wake of the #MeToo wave which has taken Bollywood by storm ever since last month Tanushree Dutta renewed a 10-year-old allegation against Nana Patekar.
 
Phantom Films, which Bahl was a part of with business partners Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane and Madhu Mantena, was last week dissolved.
 
IANS

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#MeToo drives Tanmay Bhat, Gursimran Khamba out of AIB

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Comedians Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba on Monday "stepped away" from All India Bakchod (AIB) amid the sexual harassment allegations surrounding the comedy collective's members.
 
This comes after a slew of sexual assault allegations surfaced on social media against the members of the comedy group, and some accused Tanmay of not acting on complaints against Utsav Chakraborty. 
 
"We have been closely monitoring the sequence of events on social media around the allegations against AIB and also against our co-founder and CEO Tanmay Bhat. We cannot overlook Tanmay's role and in light of this he will be stepping away from his association with AIB until further notice," read a statement from Vidhi Jotwani, AIB's Head of Human Resources.
 
"This implies that Tanmay will not be involved with the day to day function of AIB or in any other matter," read the statement, posted on Twitter.
 
With a new wave of #MeToo movement sweeping into the Indian entertainment industry, trouble for AIB arose when a volley of allegations against Chakraborty -- a YouTuber who was once associated with AIB -- cropped up after a woman Twitter user wrote Chakraborty had sent unsolicited pictures of private parts to women and harassed girls, including minors, through social media platforms.
 
Gursimran was also accused of sexual misconduct. 
 
"We have also just been appraised of the allegations against Gursimran Khamba on social media. At the point in time, these allegations pertain to a private matter and he has released a statement of his own about the same. However, as an organisation, we believe it would be prudent to place Gursimran Khamba on a temporary leave until we have more clarity on the matter."
 
A woman claimed that Gursimran had "hooked up two-three times, consensually and continued being friends", but things escalated when on two separate occasions, Khamba tried "repeatedly to make out with me while we were hanging out".
 
Gursimran has denied all such claims. 
 
"I am aware of the person who has stated the above incident but will not disclose their identity to protect their privacy. In 2015, we had hooked up consensually multiple times. But I categorically deny the incident mentioned in October and December I was not forceful. 
 
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"It is true that I developed feelings for her while she was dating someone else. During that time, given our friendship and history, I felt rejected and was angry and did not behave appropriately at all. It had become a toxic relationship and I would like to apologise unconditionally for it like I had done in the past. That behaviour was extremely uncalled for. She rightly stopped talking to me. 
 
"...I am sorry for my bad behaviour and all the hurt it caused her but I categorically deny any violation of consent," he said. 
 
After the disbanding of Phantom Films, now the future of AIB seems to be uncertain. 
 
"We understand that disconcert of any kind adversely affects the work culture and creates an unsafe space for our employees. Nobody should have to work in an environment such as that. We hope to enable measures to establish our commitment to creating a gender sensitive workspace.
 
"We are in the process of consulting various experts to ensure that our work culture incorporates sensitivity, inclusivity, respect and fairness," the statement posted on the official AIB Twitter account read. 
 
"Truthfully, we do not know what this means for the future of AIB or whether there is one. In the interim, Ashish Shakya, Rohan Joshi and other senior team members will work towards being able to answer that question over the next several months." 
 
IANS

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Dilip Kumar admitted to hospital for recurrent pneumonia

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Veteran actor Dilip Kumar, 95, has been admitted to a hospital here and is being treated for recurrent pneumonia, a family friend said.
 
Faisal Farooqui, who tweets on behalf of the thespian, gave a health update on the ailing actor via Twitter.
 
"Want to inform you Dilip Kumar has been admitted to hospital last night. He is being treated for recurrent pneumonia. Praying. Will keep you updated on twitter," Farooqui tweeted on Monday.
 
He was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital here around 1 a.m. on Monday, Udaya Tara Nayar, compiler of the actor's autobiography, told IANS.
 
"Dilip saab has chest congestion. Antibiotics through IV drip (are) required. He is stable now," Nayar said via Whatsapp.
 
The nonagenarian was admitted to the hospital here last month too due to pneumonia.
 
Last week, amidst reports of Dilip Kumar's deteriorating health, Nayar had told IANS: "He is as well as he can be at his age... He is well looked after by his wife Saira Banu."
 
Dilip Kumar, one of India's most iconic actors, has appeared in some classics like "Kohinoor", "Mughal-e-Azam", "Shakti", "Naya Daur" and "Ram Aur Shyam". His last silver screen appearance was in the 1998 film "Qila".
 
IANS
 

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Kerala film artistes plan show in Abu Dhabi to raise relief funds

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The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) will organise a show in Abu Dhabi on December 7 to raise funds for Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF), an official said.
 
Veteran character artist and AMMA treasurer Jagdish said they are now working out the other details for the show. 
 
"It would be held in Abu Dhabi on December 7. Several of our members will take active part in the stage show. We expect to raise Rs 5 crore after meeting all the expenses which would go to the CMDRF," Jagdish told IANS. 
 
Kerala had devastating floods from May-end to mid-August that claimed nearly 480 lives. The deluge forced at least 14.50 lakh persons to take refugee in over 3,000 relief camps across the state.
 
Soon after the tragedy, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged all Malayalees to donate one month's salary to the CMDRF.
 
The AMMA members are now getting together to raise funds through the show. 
 
"Talks have commenced with a leading Malayalam TV channel to air the stage show and besides there will be several sponsors also for the event. It's certainly going to be a great success," Jagdish added.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala: Popular violinist Balabhaskar passes away

Balabhaskar (Photo: www.balabhaskar.in)
Balabhaskar (Photo: www.balabhaskar.in)
Popular musician and violinist Balabhaskar, who was grievously injured in a car accident near here on September 25, passed away at a private hospital here in the early hours of today.
 
He was 40. He is survived by his wife Lakshmi, who also suffered serious injuries and is still undergoing treatment in the hospital. Their two-year-old daughter, Thejaswini Bala, had died in the accident.
 
Arjun, a friend of the couple, who was driving the car, also suffered serious injuries in the mishap and he is also undergoing treatment.
 
The family was returning to Thiruvananthapuram after visiting temples in Thrissur when their car crashed into a wayside tree at Pallipuram on the outskirts of the state capital after Arjun apparently dozed off at the wheel.
 
Local people and the police reached the spot and managed to extricate the victims from the wreckage of the car and rushed them to a hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. The child was born 16 years after the couple married.
 
Doctors at the hospital said Balabhaskar breathed his last around 1 am today. His body will be taken to the Medical College Hospital here for an autopsy.
 
Sources close to the family said the musician's mortal remains would later be kept at the University College, his alma mater, for his fans and admirers to pay their last respects. 
 
Later, his body will be taken to his residence at Poojappura here for the last rites, scheduled for tomorrow, they said.
 
Balabhaskar had shot to fame when, at the age of 17, he had composed the music for the Malayalam film "Mangalya Pallak". He went on to score the music for several other films, including "Kannadikadavathu" and "Moksham".
 
Born on July 10, 1978 to Chandran, a retired postmaster from Thirumala, and Santhakumari, a retired music teacher at the Swathi Thirunal College of Music here, Balabhaskar was introduced to the world of instrumental music by his unclude B. Sasikumar, a reputed violinist, and was soon recognized as a child prodgy as he began performing on stage at the age of 12. His grandfather Bhaskara Panikkar was a well-known Nadaswara musician.
 
He received the Bismillah Khan Yuva Sangeetkar Puruskar from the Sangeet Natak Akademi for instrumental music (violin) in 2008.
 
He was part of a band "Balaleela" and his stage shows across the country won him thousands of fans, thanks to his ability to connect with his audiences. His many fusion music performances with top musicians such as Ustad Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, Fazal Qureshi, Hariharan, Mattannoor Sankarankutty, Vikku Vinayakram and Louis Banks added to his popularity.
 
Balabhaskar brought out many albums including his debut album let it B in 2011 and later Ninakaai, Aadyamai and Bhajati.
 
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Goyal launches Rail Heritage Digitisation Project in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture

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Railway Minister Piyush Goyal launched the Rail Heritage Digitisation Project in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture here on Friday.
 
The project is stated to be a landmark effort, the first of its kind in this part of the globe, to showcase the country’s rail heritage to the national and international audience.
 
Launching the project through video conferencing, Mr Goyal said, “Whenever we look at the evolution of the transport system in India, all these rich traditions, history and culture will play an important role in understanding how the Indian Railways has evolved.
 
“We will be setting up 22 digital screens across different locations in India for showcasing this historic project. This project is a gift from the 13 lakh railway employees to the 130 crore citizens of India,” he added.
 
The project can be accessed through the link: https://artsandculture.google.com/project/indian-railways. The Minister said this initiative by the Indian Railways and the Google Arts and Culture Association has taken over two years of hard work, research, inquiry and execution.
 
“It is often said that civilisation is built over millennia by countless generations, with each generation leaving its footprints in the sands of time. A culture must reserve these footprints to remember what it was and where it came from. Whenever we look at the evolution of the transport system in India, all these rich traditions, history and culture will play an important role in understanding how the Indian Railways has evolved.
 
“Being a 165-year-old organisation, the Railways have a lot of material which we need to preserve and leave behind for posterity. The Indian Railways has a lot of treasured moments for the world to see how technologies evolved over time: Mumbai has a special place in the Railways, being the first Railway line to be set up in India. It was way back on April 16, 1853, when the first train ran between Bori Bunder and Thane.
 
“We will be setting up 22 digital screens across different locations in India for showcasing this historic project,” he added.
 
“This partnership between the Railways and Google also has the dimension of the Wi-Fi, which we have proliferated to over 400 stations in India. This shows the potential of collaborations to serve people. The Wi-Fi that has been set up in 711 stations now have faster Wi-Fi access than any other system in the nation.
 
“We should take Wi-Fi to over 6,000 stations to provide it to people who cannot afford it. We have already offered around 5,000 odd stations for public-private partnership through Rail Sahyog (http://RailSahyog.in) where we have invited people to come and make offers to pick up stations so as to expand it throughout the Railways,” he added.
 
This project is the largest cultural heritage digitization project not only in India but possibly the Asia Pacific region, he said.  
 
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, other Railway Board Members, Vice President, South East Asia and India, Google, Rajan Anandan, Director, Google Cultural Institute UNESCO representatives and Railway enthusiasts were among those present on the occasion.
 
Mr Lohani said collaboration with Google Art & Culture has enabled Indian Railways to digitize National Rail Museum, Rewari Steam Centre, three World Heritage Railways, CSMT Mumbai building and other prominent aspects of country’s rail heritage.
 
During the event, Mr Lohani also felicitated a few of the railway heroes associated with the conservation of World Heritage Railways and said that Railway is a human-centric organisation and it is the railway heroes who make it run.
 
Introducing this collaborative digital project between Indian Railways and Google Arts & Culture, Mr Rajan Anandan, described it as an extension of Google’s partnership with Indian Railways of providing public with Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations. It was an endeavour to bring incredible Indian Rail Heritage online.
 
Mr Amit Sood said Google was committed to preserving and breathing new life into artistic and cultural treasures around the world. “The extraordinary wealth of heritage, history and culture that Indian Railways inherits, is truly fascinating, and a treat for both the young and the old. This project is all about the iconic moments, the movements, and the making of Indian Railways, which today is the backbone of the country in many ways,” he added.
 
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Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi passes away at 64

Kalpana Lajmi (File photo: IANS)
Kalpana Lajmi (File photo: IANS)
Filmmaker and screenwriter Kalpana Lajmi, noted for films like "Rudaali", "Darmiyaan" and "Daman", died here on Sunday following a multiple organ failure, said her spokesperson. She was 64.
 
"Extremely sorry to inform you that Kalpana Lajmi passed away this morning at 4.30 a.m.," the filmmaker's spokesperson Parul Chawla told IANS.
 
Lajmi breathed her last at a hospital here, where she was admitted in the intensive care unit since Tuesday due to kidney-related issues, the spokesperson added.
 
The cremation will take place at 12.30 p.m. at the Oshiwara crematorium.
 
Lajmi had been undergoing dialysis for a couple of years, and true to her indomitable spirit, had said in an interview last year: "My kidneys have failed, but I haven't."
 
She debuted as a feature film director with "Ek Pal". Her last directorial was "Chingaari", based on the novel "The Prostitute and the Postman" by the late Bhupen Hazarika, her long-time companion.
 
Her memoir "Bhupen Hazarika: As I Knew Him" was launched earlier this month.
 
The filmmaker is survived by her brother and mother, painter Lalita Lajmi.
 
Known for fearless filmmaking with women in strong roles, Lajmi's 1993 Dimple Kapadia-starrer "Rudaali" was even chosen as India's official entry to the 66th Academy Awards.
 
Actress Raveena Tandon, who played the lead role as a battered wife in "Daman", mourned Lajmi's demise.
 
"You will be missed Kalpanaji. Was not your time to go... But may your heart now be at peace. Those days while shooting 'Daman' will be a treasured memory. Om Shanti."
 
Actor Viveck Vaswani was shattered at the news of the death of his friend and colleague.
 
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta, who had worked with Lajmi as an editor when she made "Darmiyaan", wrote: "Will always remember her with fondness and respect for being a fearless woman and a powerhouse of a person in a male dominated industry. Rest in Peace dear Kalpana."
 
Actress Soni Razdan said: "Our dear beloved friend Kalpana Lajmi has gone to a better place. RIP my darling Kalpana. I shall miss you so terribly."
 
Actress Huma Qureshi said she was "deeply saddened" by the news.
 
IANS
 

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