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KBC creator pens book on making of modern India

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A curation of the landmark events, iconic personalities and benchmark institutions that have shaped India over the last century will be released in the form of a full-fledged book by the creator of the hugely popular "Kaun Banega Crorepati", Siddhartha Basu.

Titled "Indian Century" it will be published by DK Books India, known for its illustrated reference books and a part of the Penguin Random House group.

"The 20th century is where the hinge of history turned for modern India. This book, timed to release as the country completes 70 years of independence, recounts the milestones of that century, and of the millennial years that follow, together with thumbnail profiles of many of its major players," Basu said in a statement.

"For me, the best quiz facts always open up layers of little or lesser-known details.

"This is a curated collection of facts I find fascinating about the events and people that have shaped the India we know today," he said.

The publisher informed IANS that the book will be divided into two parts.

The first part, "Headlines" will showcase dramatic events, the rise of landmark institutions, political evolutions and changing sociocultural landscapes of India.

"Snapshots," the second section in the book will elucidate the lives and achievements of the most iconic personalities of 20th-century India in a question and answer format.

This format will make it easier for the reader to capture information and gather facts quickly, the publisher said.

The book will also feature more than 250 images.

"The book visually documents the evolution of modern India and provides much-needed insight into our political landscape. It features milestone events from each year of the past century and gives a glimpse into the lives of the game changers -- people who helped shape modern India," the publisher added.

Priced at Rs 500, the book will be released on August 20.

Siddhartha Basu is an award-winning television producer, director, and India's foremost quizmaster. He is the man behind landmark shows such as "Kaun Banega Crorepati" and "Mastermind India".

IANS

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Sonali Bendre's health is stable, says her husband Goldie Behl

Sonali Bendre Photo: Twitter @iamsonalibendre
Sonali Bendre Photo: Twitter @iamsonalibendre
Filmmaker Goldie Behl has said that his actress-wife Sonali Bendre Behl, who has been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer, is stable and following her treatment in New York without any complications.
 
"Thank you all for the love and support for Sonali... she is stable and is following her treatment without any complications. This is a long journey but we have begun positively," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter on Thursday night.
 
The actress had disclosed on July 4 that she had been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer and was undergoing medical treatment in New York.
 
"Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently  been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming," the actress had said in a post on Twitter.
 
"A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providng the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them," she said.
 
Sonali, 43, said there was no better way to tackle the situation than to take swift and immedite action. "And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way. What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I've received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful.
 
"I'm taking this battle head on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me," she added.
 
Sonali got married to filmmaker Behl in 2002 and the couple have a son. 
 
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Sahitya Akademi expresses solidarity with writers as threats continue

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In a major development that has averted a possible return of the 2015 "award wapsi" protest, the Sahitya Akademi has vociferously expressed solidarity with writers after at least 26 heavyweight authors urged India's National Academy of Letters to condemn repeated ongoing threats to Goa's award winning writer Damodar Mauzo and Malayalam novelist S. Hareesh.
 
"I must make it clear that the Akademi condemns all attacks against writers and I am saddened by the news of Mauzo and Hareesh. I condemn these threats in strongest of words," Sahitya Akademi President Chandrashekhar Kambar told IANS over telephone from Bangalore. 
 
The 81-year-old said that he will be writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and draw his attention to the "pressures and attacks" writers like Hareesh are facing. I am also trying to speak to the concerned minister (Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma) but he is not available," he said. 
 
"The Akademi is meant to uphold free speech and I will not hesitate. I will talk," Kambar asserted. 
 
On being reminded that the same body took as many as 54 days to publicly condemn the killings of rational thinkers and writers M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar that had triggered massive protests by writers bringing the Akademi to a standstill in 2015, Kambar said that the past should be left behind as the Akademi was on the cusp of revival. 
 
"Forget the past, we are doing everything in our capacity and we have taken a stand already, that we condemn these attacks against S. Hareesh and Damodar Mauzo," he said. 
 
In an official statement released Thursday afternoon, the Akademi reiterated that it "condemns all attacks on writers, thinkers and poets, not only in India but all over the world". 
 
It said that the Akademi received "the news of threat" to writers with "great pain". 
 
"Sahitya Akademi strongly condemns these attacks and stand behind the writers' community of India," read the one-paragraph press statement from the Sahitya Akademi, signed by Kambar. 
 
A collegium of heavyweight and multiple award winning writers such as Nayantara Sahgal, Keki Daruwalla, K. Satchidanandan, Ritu Menon, Jerry Pinto and Meena Alexander, among several others, had written to the Akademi under the banner of Indian Writers' Forum, urging it to condemn such instances.
 
The writers' forum pointed out that the Akademi had failed to take a "bold, public stand" in 2015. 
 
"We hope this would not happen in your dispensation and that this big literary institution will take a brave stand now," the letter read. 
 
Reacting to Akademi's statement, writer and poet Keki Daruwalla, who had returned his Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 and was among the writers who urged the Akademi to condemn threats on Wednesday, said that it was "excellent news". 
 
"I am happy that the same scenario (like 2015) has not been repeated. We have done our part and I complement the Akademi for having spoken out, and particularly Mr Kambar, for taking immediate cognisance of the matter, instead of sitting silent like the Akademi did in 2015," Daruwalla told IANS. 
 
In the meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that the culture of banning books impacts the free flow of ideas and should not be taken recourse to unless they are hit by Section 292 of the IPC that prohibits obscenity.
 
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud reserved its order on a plea seeking to omit certain excerpts from "Meesha" by Hareesh.
 
"You are giving undue importance to this kind of stuff. In the age of Internet, you are making this an issue. It is best forgotten," said Justice Chandrachud. 
 
But even as top writers express their solidarity, the vitriol against Malayalam novelist S. Hareesh and his publisher DC Books have continued as they received numerous threats and messages of intimidation from some right wing outfits. The Kerala state government has assured the publisher of their support. 
 
An officer of the Cantonment Police station in Thiruvananthapuram said a case has been registered on Thursday against four acitivists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party) who took part in a protest before the DC Books office on Wednesday.
 
"The case has been registered against four people who have been identified. They burned the book, that has now become controversial. However, today also there was a protest, but no case has been registered," said the police officer who did not wish to be identified.
 
Mauzo has been provided police security following threats to his life in view of revelations made by those arrested in the murder case of activist-journalist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru. 
 
The award-winning Konkani writer and progressive thinker Mauzo had earlier confirmed to IANS that round-the-clock security was provided to him after he was informed by a central intelligence agency about threat to his life. 
 
IANS
 

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Google celebrates Meena Kumari’s 85th birth anniversary with doodle

Google celebrated the 85th birth anniversary of Meena Kumari, known as the tragedy queen of Indian cinema, who had appeared in more than 90 films in a 38-year-long career that began when she was just four years old.
 
“Born on this day in 1933, Meena Kumari grew up on camera, lighting up the silver screen from the age of four when she was known as Baby Meena. Over time, she emerged as one of Indian cinema’s foremost actors,” Google said in a write-up about the doodle.
 
“As shown in today’s Doodle, she captivated audiences with her beautiful, expressive eyes. Appearing in more than 90 films during her 38-year career, she portrayed strong yet vulnerable women who made their own way through life, although they were often devastated by romance.
 
“Leading men were so bedazzled by Meena’s presence that Bollywood star Raaj Kumar admitted to flubbing his lines when shooting scenes with her. Today, her screen appearances are studied for flawless moments and the complex emotions she could evoke without uttering a word,” Google said.
 
“In addition to being a talented actress, she was also an accomplished poet who recorded an album of her compositions in Urdu titled I Write, I Recite, with music composed by Khayyam. Her legacy as a screen actress is unrivalled in Bollywood history. At India’s prestigious Filmfare awards in 1963, she was the only best actress nominee for her performances in three different films,” it added.
 
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Known for her pitch-perfect dialogue delivery, strong screen presence and ability to portray emotions, her first lead role came in 1946 with the film ‘Bachchon Ka Khel’ but it was 1952's ‘Baiju Bawra’ that turned her into a star.
 
Another memorable role for Meena Kumari was as ‘Choti Bahu’ in ‘Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam’. In 1963, she was nominated in the Filmfare Best Actress category for her roles in three films -- Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Aarti and Main Chup Rahungi. She won the award for ‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’.
 
In 1968, she was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis due to excessive alcohol consumption. She visited London and Switzerland for treatment and came back in better condition. Contrary to doctor's advice, she resumed work within days of her return to India.
 
Pakeezah, written and directed by her husband Kamal Amrohi, in which she played the role of a Lucknow nautch girl, was her last film. Just three weeks after  Pakeezah's release, she became critically ill,  slid into a coma and died on March 31, 1972.
 
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Jaipur’s walled city, the next proposed site for UNESCO World Heritage recognition

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The walled city of Jaipur has been proposed for recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said on Tuesday.
 
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha during Question Hour, Dr Sharma said as per Operation Guidelines 2017, only one site can be nominated by the state party each year.
 
"The recognition as a World Heritage site is a matter of great pride. It impacts the local economy by giving a boost to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, the creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of the sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia. Besides, it adds to the prestige of the country as well as the prescribed site," he said.
 
At present, there are a total of 37 World Heritage sites in India. Cultural sites under protection of the Archaeological Survey of India are Agra Fort (1983); Ajanta Caves (1983); Ellora Caves (1983); Taj Mahal (1983); Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984); Sun Temple, Konarak (1984); Churches and Convents of Goa (1986); Fatehpur Sikri (1986); Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986); Khajuraho, Group of Temples (1986).
 
Elephanta Caves (1987); Great Living Chola Temples at Thanjavur, Gangaikondacholapuram and Darasuram (1987 & 2004); Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987); Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989); Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (1993); Qutab Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993); Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003); Champaner-Pavagarh Archaeological Park (2004); Red Fort Complex, Delhi (2007).
 
Hill Forts of Rajasthan (Chittaurgarh, Kumbhalgarh, Jaisalmer and Ranthambhore, Amber and Gagron Forts) (2013) Amber and Gagron Forts are under protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums; Rani-ki-Vav (The Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan (2014); Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) (2016).
 
Under Protection of Ministry of Railways: Mountain Railways of India (Darjeeling,1999), Nilgiri (2005), Kalka-Shimla(2008), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004).  
 
Under Protection of Bodhgaya Temple, Management Committee is the Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, (2002). Under Protection of Rajasthan State Archaeology and Museums are The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010).
 
Under Protection of Chandigarh Administration is The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016).
 
Under Protection of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is the Historic City of Ahmedabad (2017).
 
Under Protection of Government of Maharashtra is Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018).
 
In natural sites, under the protection of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes is Kaziranga National Park (1985); Keoladeo National Park (1985); Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985); Sunderbans National Park (1987); Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988, 2005); Western Ghats (2012) Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra,Tamil Nadu; Great Himalayan National Park (2014).
 
Under the Protection of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes are Khangchendzonga National Park (2016).
 
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Nandita Das serves on jury for UNESCO award

Nandita Das
Nandita Das
Acclaimed actress-filmmaker Nandita Das was among the jury members of the 2018 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence.
 
Nandita, who is in the midst of a gruelling schedule, working towards the India release of her much-awaited film "Manto" and its participation in international film festivals, found it rejuvenating to get this invite to participate in a meaningful initiative.
 
"Having been on many film juries, right from 2005 when I was on the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival, I have always enjoyed the deliberation process. One gets to know different perspectives that reflect different experiences and contexts," Nandita said in a statement.
 
In recognition of a lifelong devotion to communal harmony and peace, the Prize bears the name of its benefactor Madanjeet Singh, who was a Unesco Goodwill Ambassador, Indian artist, writer and diplomat.
 
It is awarded every two years, on the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance on November 16. The Prize is marked by a ceremony and the winner is presented with a sum of $100,000.
 
For Nandita, this was the second time that she was on a jury for a social impact initiative.
 
She finds such engagements "very inspiring".
 
"One gets to meet and read about people who are doing incredible work around the world. It's a good distraction between our own indulgences.
 
"Having been caught up with 'Manto', it was actually refreshing and brought back a certain sense of hope. Opportunities like this allow one to feel connected to a larger community of people, all of whom are seeking ways to make the world around them more liveable," she added.
 
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay had appointed the jury, which also included Nadia Bernoussi, a celebrated academic and legal expert from Morocco, and Abdoulaye Konate, a prominent artist and cultural voice in Mali.
 
Celebrating its 22th anniversary and its eleventh edition this year, the prize rewards significant activities in the scientific, artistic, cultural or communications fields aimed at the promotion of a spirit of tolerance and non-violence, according to the official UNESCO website.
 
IANS
 

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Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas engaged, reports US media

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas during their recent visit to India, in Mumbai on June 28, 2018.(Photo: IANS)
Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas during their recent visit to India, in Mumbai on June 28, 2018.(Photo: IANS)
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American pop singer Nick Jonas are engaged after two months of dating, the US media has reported.
 
People.com has quoted a source as saying the couple got engaged a week ago on Priyanka's 36th birthday on July 18 while the two were in London.
 
Jonas closed down a Tiffany store in New York City to buy an engagement ring, according to the insider.
 
"They are so happy," the source told people.com.
 
A source close to Jonas said the singer is "very, very happy."
 
"His friends and family have never seen him like this, and they're all really excited for him. He's definitely very serious about her," the source added.
 
Priyanka and Jonas had made their relationship public earlier in the month of June, but they are yet to officially comment on it.
 
Meanwhile, Bollywood director Ali Abbas Zafar on Friday announced Priyanka's exit from his film "Bharat" in a cryptic tweet alluding to her beau.
 
He said the reason for her opting out in the "Nick of time" is "very special".
 
Over the last several weeks, Priyanka and 25-year-old Jonas have been spotted on several dates, including a dinner date in New York City and a Beauty and the Beast Live in Concert show in Los Angeles.
 
Priyanka was also seen celebrating July 4 -- the American Independence Day -- with Nick's family. Nick earlier visited India with the "Quantico" actress to meet her friends and family. The couple has been sporting similar gold rings.
 
IANS
 
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Scholar calls for efforts to preserve Aramaic and its Indian connect

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Heritage lovers should make efforts to preserve Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus Christ, which is deeply intertwined with the cultural heritage of the country, said Dr Joseph J Palackal, Musicologist and the founder- president of the Christian Musicological Society of India.
 
He was speaking at ‘Abhimukham’, conducted by Sahapedia, an online resource on Indian art, culture and heritage,  on the topic  ‘ Aramaic Language and Music: Cultural Influences of Early Christianity in India”here today.
 
 “It might come as a big surprise that the Christians in India received the message of Jesus in his own language- Aramaic. Hence, the prominence of the language is so deep that all efforts should be made to retain it.  Unfortunately, it is not happening,” he pointed out.
 
Touching on the history of Aramaic, he said not only language but artefacts, chants, music, literary texts and theology associated with it had flowed to India.
 
 “Though Aramaic tradition flourished in the country, the scenario underwent a radical change when Portuguese landed in Kerala in 1498,” Dr Palackal noted.
 
“Though they (Portuguese) were happy with the fact that there were Christians here, they could not accept that they were following the Syrian tradition. The Bishop of Syrian Christians came from the Middle East and it was not acceptable to them. Thus, they brought the concept of  ‘Roman Catholicism’. To establish their influence on the common people, they introduced many musical instruments, violin being the most important among them,” he said.
 
Dr Palackal pointed out that there is a resemblance between the Aramaic Christian songs and the folk songs of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, citing Kerala’s folk tradition  ' Panan Pattu' as an example.
 
It is quite surprising to note that the translation of one of the ancient Aramaic chant is in Tamil, Dr Palackal noted.  “Until 2014, I too believed that these chants came from West Asia. But the peculiarities seen in the Tamil version is so age old that it shows that it might have come to India in the first century AD,” he said.
 
 Dr Palackal also lauded the interest shown by   Sahapedia in the cultural heritage of early Christianity.
 
IANS
 
 
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Now, support starts pouring in for superstar Mohanlal

Mohanlal (Photo: IANS)
Mohanlal (Photo: IANS)
After 100 people, including people from the film industry, wrote to the Kerala government that Mohanlal should not be invited as the Chief Guest to the annual state film awards here in August, support has started coming in for the Malayalam superstar.
 
Award winning actor Prakash Raj, who was said to be among the 100 signatories, on Tuesday denied that he was among them.
 
"I wish to say that I have not signed any such thing that Mohanlal ji, should not be invited," he said.
 
State Culture Minister A.K. Balan told the media that no decision was taken that Mohanlal will be the chief guest.
 
After this, Edavela Babu, General Secretary of actors body AMMA, said that there seemed to be some conspiracy that was being whipped up against Mohanlal.
 
"When the state government itself has now said that Mohanlal was never invited, then how come there is a demand that he should not be invited. There is something happening against the actor," he said.
 
Film bodies like FEFKA, and Film Chamber as well as distributors and exhibitors have also come out in support of the superstar.
 
Mohanlal, who last month took over as President of AMMA, first came under fire from the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) for revoking the suspension of accused actor Dileep's membership of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA). Dileep is an accused in the 2017 kidnapping of an actress.
 
IANS
 
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National Library, Kolkata to host exhibition on four eminent personalities of Bengal

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A world-class permanent exhibition on four eminent personalities of Bengal -- Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Syama Prasad Mukherjee -- will open at the National Library in the near future, Secretary, Culture Raghvendra Singh said on Thursday.
 
Reviewing restoration, renovation and modernization work being carried out by the Central Public Work Department (CPWD) at the Belvedere House of the National Library, Mr Singh expressed satisfaction and said that this house will be illuminated and sound and light shows will be organised to entertain the visitors.
 
Literary festivals would also be held to restore old glories of the building and to make new generations aware of their rich heritage. Permanent art galleries pertaining to paintings and pictures of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, different sculptures and antiquities would be displayed there, he added. He sai that all these renovation and revamping works would be completed before Durga Puja at a cost of around Rs 8 crore.
 
Mr Singh said Kolkata will soon have an artists’ hub. The Kolkata chapter of the National Gallery of Modern Art will soon be opened at the Old Currency Building in the city, he said. After reviewing the ongoing revamping works in the building, he said all open spaces of the building will be utilized.
 
These spaces would be sealed with thick glass to make them sound-proof. Permanent and rotating air-conditioned art galleries with paintings of eminent painter Ramkinker Baij and others will be organized. Concerts will be held on the ground floor of the building to entertain the visitors. Restoration and renovation work at the Old Currency Building would be completed before Durga Puja at a cost of Rs. 3 crore, he added.
 
The Currency Building is a beautiful three storeyed structure built in the early 19th century (1833 CE), designed in Italian style with Venetian windows reflecting the colonial architectural style. Initially, this building housed the Agra Bank Ltd., later on, it was used by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for housing the issue and exchange of government paper currency.
 
The entire structure is made of bricks and lime masonry, the floor areas measuring approximately 35,920 sq. feet. The central hall covered with a large dome is now collapsed before protection of the monument by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
 
Earlier in the day, Mr Singh visited Metcalfe Hall. He reviewed restoration and revamping works there too. The double storeyed building of Metcalfe Hall at the junction of the Hare Street and Strand Road was constructed in 1844 and dedicated to the memory of Charles Metcalfe who officiated as Governor General of India from 1835 to 1838.
 
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Mohanlal's stand on Dileep fails to cut ice with women's body

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) on Wednesday said it did not agree with Malayalam movies superstar Mohanlal's explanation for revoking the suspension of actor Dileep, an accused in the actress kidnap case, from AMMA.
 
At a meeting of Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) last month, after Mohanlal took over as its new President in place of Innocent, Dileep's suspension was revoked. 
 
The WCC expressed resentment over the development and four of its supporters resigned from AMMA while another three demanded a meeting to discuss the issue.
 
On Saturday, the superstar told the media that there was no vested interest in revoking Dileep's suspension from the actors' body and the decision was taken as not even a single member was opposed to the move in the annual general body meeting.
 
The WCC, in its official Facebook page, on Wednesday said that it's "most unfortunate that Mohanlal is hanging on to technicalities and not seeing the sufferings of one of their own members, who suffered badly".
 
The WCC said it was still hopeful about the next meeting of AMMA that Mohanlal had agreed to call either by the end of this month or early next month on the matter.
 
Dileep is an accused in the kidnapping case and has remained in jail for 85 days. He is now out on bail. He was suspended from AMMA last year. 
 
IANS
 
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Theatre should be on everyone's agenda: Rajeshwari

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National Award-winning actress Rajeshwari Sachdeva has perfected the art of balancing plays with TV shows and films. She enjoys every medium of acting but feels that theatre should be on everyone's agenda as it keeps the actor in the person alive.

The actress, who has been in the profession since the 1990s, is currently busy with two plays -- "Gohar" and "Shabd Leela".

"I think theatre should be on everyone's agenda. It is a great learning experience that keeps you alive. It keeps the actor in you alive. Sometimes, one has to push himself or herself and sometimes one has to feel the fear.

"When we feel the fear on stage, that brings out the best in us. Or if it is creating trouble for you, then you are going to learn something from your mistake. Apart from that, it is an exercise," Rajeshwari told IANS in an email interview.

Though she believes in spontaneity, she feels people need to rehearse before going on the stage.

"Rehearsal makes one perfect. It is amazing indeed when you bring out something new from the hat each time on the sets because when we do same things regularly and on a routine basis, it becomes quite challenging to bring something unique every time.

"Each time you have to keep pushing yourself on the stage to deliver the best performance. Also, interacting with a live audience is an amazingly different experience.

"Theatre doesn't have a phenomenal reach as compared to movies. We have an audience that's limited to 100-200 people. But that is also a different feeling and something important to experience."

Talking about reaching a wide audience, she has joined the cast of the show "Dil Hi Toh Hai" as a replacement of actress Poonam Dhillon.

"I am not aware of any changes in the character. I am simply following the brief given to me by the creative team," she said.

"Dil Hi Toh Hai", which also stars Karan Kundra and Yogita Bihani, is a "great team" to work with.

"At present, I have just begun working with the team and everything seems absolutely fine. It gets a bit hectic while shooting but we have to manage it all the way and we are successfully doing so," she said.

There are certain actors who continue their association with a show for five years or more, but Rajeshwari is not one of them. She featured in shows like "Peshwa Bajirao" and "Balika Vadhu" for a brief period of time.

The "Hulle hullare" singer has multiple reasons for not taking up television shows on a regular basis.

"Due to the format of the evolving entertainment industry, we are heading towards web series and we have episodic line-ups. We have 12 episodes and they are more than welcome.

"But when you commit yourself for one year to a television show, you know you have to do it day in and day out and shoot for at least 15 days a month. The commitment level is high because no matter what the situation is, you have to be there doing your part. Problems come and go, we have to manage things the best way we can. But television has a great reach so that's a plus point," she said.

Among films, she has a Marathi movie titled "Ek Sangaychay - Unsaid Harmony" coming up.

"I thoroughly enjoyed working on 'Ek Sangaychay - Unsaid Harmony'. Director Lokesh Gupte is the visionary who formed the script as well. He is very good at his job and is convinced about what he is making. This reflects perfectly in his scripts," she said.

Working with him has always been very comfortable for her.

"As an actor, it is imperative that you communicate with the director because one needs to present their vision on the screen," she said, adding that Gupte knows how to get the best out of his actors. "I think it helps that he himself is a very good actor and an editor."

"Also, the director of photography is a calm person to work with. Things moved very smoothly and the production was well executed. Everything happened on time and we finished everything before schedule."

She also heaped praise on her co-star Kay Kay Menon. "He is a wonderful guy, apart from being such a great actor."

IANS

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Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko dead

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Artist Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, has died. He was 90.

The New York Police Department has confirmed his death, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

No cause of death was announced. Ditko was found dead in his apartment on June 29 and it is believed he died about two days earlier.

In 1961, Ditko and Lee created Spider-Man. Lee, the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, gave Ditko the assignment after he wasn't satisfied with Jack Kirby's take on the idea of a teen superhero with spider powers.

The look of Spider-Man -- the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design -- all came from Ditko. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. The comic was an unexpected hit, and the character was spun off into The Amazing Spider-Man.

Ditko helped create such classic Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin.

In 1963, Ditko created the surreal and psychedelic hero Doctor Strange. The character debuted in Strange Tales No. 110, and Ditko continued on the comic through issue No. 146, cover dated July 1966.

After that, Ditko left Marvel Comics over a fight with Lee, the causes of which have always remained murky.

The pair had not been on speaking terms for several years. Ditko never explained his side and Lee claimed not to really know what motivated Ditko's exit.

Ditko went on to work for Charlton, DC Comics and other small independent publishers. He returned to Marvel in 1979, where he worked on Machine Man and the Micronauts and he continued working for them as a freelancer in the 1990s. Among his last creations was Squirrel Girl in 1992, who has become a cult favourite in recent years, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

Ditko maintained a Manhattan studio until his death, where he continued to write and draw, though how much, and what unpublished material remains, is unknown. Ditko has no known survivors. He is believed never to have married.

IANS

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Words like democracy, patriotism have lost their meaning: Saeed Mirza

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Words like democracy and patriotism have lost their significance in today's age, and there's a need to "retrieve" them, says National Award winning filmmaker Saeed Akhtar Mirza.

Known for pushing the bar for parallel cinema with movies like "Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho!", "Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai", "Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro" and "Naseem", Mirza discussed democracy with academic and activist Ritu Dewan and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt at the launch of his new book "Memory In the Age Of Amnesia" at the Crossword Book Store here on Friday.

"Words like democracy, patriotism, national interest have lost their meaning today. We need to retrieve those words again. This book is to remind people of the past and give them hope. I don't write a book they are installations of my experiences and memories in my mind," he said.

"Memory In The Age of Amnesia" seeks to establish multiple realities through a series of tales and stories that are rooted in one's understanding of dreams, nightmares, violence and repentance.

This book is a collection of excerpts from Mirza's personal life that showcase the past and links it to the present. It portrays a vision of building up of a nation from the colloquial tales and experiences of common people.

Mirza also discussed his childhood and the conflict-driven situations he had faced while growing up, with the panellists, who also spoke about the nostalgic past of India while sharing insights on their hope of what the future should be.

Bhatt said: "What is unique about the book is that if you have torn the enemy to shreds, you still have the ability to reflect. Our nation's soul is much bigger than the government; the nation is not the government. And this book looks unflinchingly at that reality. This book has the audacity of hope."

Also gracing the event were Ashutosh Gowariker, Sudhir Mishra, Aziz Mirza and Makarand Deshpande.

The book is available at bookstores as well as on commerce platforms.

IANS

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I stumbled into acting: Iain Armitage of 'Young Sheldon'

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Iain Armitage was seen as a troubled Ziggy Chapman in the hit show "Big Little Lies", and then entered "The Big Bang Theory" universe as the lead character in its prequel "Young Sheldon". The child actor says he didn’t dream of getting into showbiz, and considers it to be a happy turn of events.

"My very first gig was ‘Big Little Lies' and then I did a few other things. I think ‘Big Little Lies' was a pretty good one to start with," Armitage told IANS in an email interview.

"I kind of stumbled on acting. I didn't think, ‘I want to be an actor when I grow up'. I do theatre reviews and I always thought I was just a great audience member. I loved coming to the shows. I don't watch too much TV, which is ironic. An agency asked if we'd like them to represent me, and we said, ‘Yes.' My wonderful agents are pretty incredible," added the 9-year-old.

Armitage's started as a theatre critic but found his big ticket to fame with "Big Little Lies" as Ziggy, son of actress Shailene Woodley's character Jane.

The son of actor-singer Euan Morton and Lee Armitage has also featured in Indian filmmaker Ritesh Batra's directorial "Our Souls at Night". And is seen as young Sheldon Cooper in a "The Big Bang Theory" spin-off which focuses on Sheldon's life while growing up.

"The Big Bang Theory" universe originated with the story of how four nerds -- Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) and Raj Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar) -- react when a girl Penny (Kaley Cuoco) enters their life as a friendly neighbour.

With all the idiosyncrasies, quirky behaviour, cultural one-liners -- including a lot of Indian references courtesy British-Indian actor Kunal -- as well as dating fundas, the story that highlights the personal life of scientists and geeks was loved by one and all, making it a phenomenon. To cash in on the popularity of the show worldwide, the makers extended the franchise with the prequel, which is aired in India on Comedy Central.

He might be essaying the role of Sheldon Cooper, but he hasn't seen "The Big Bang Theory" till now.

"Well ‘Big Bang...' isn't really appropriate for me, plus it's not really aimed at my audience level. So, I only watched a few clips. I haven't really watched ‘Big Bang...', though I would love to see it. Mr Jim (Parsons) was coaching me so I got the character pretty quickly. Mr Jim is a very fun guy and very nice."

Is it challenging to get into a role -- which one hasn't been following meticulously?

"It's not too hard. Once you get in Sheldon's mindset it's easier to do it. Getting into that mindset is kind of hard but you get to do it every day.

"And putting on the clothes of Sheldon and reciting my lines, going to hair and make-up and doing Sheldon's voice, all that helps me to get into character. Once I am on stage, it comes more naturally," he said, describing Sheldon as "funny, a misfit but in a funny way".

Getting into confession mode, he said: "I do love science but I'm definitely not as smart as him."

At the moment, Armitage, who will soon be seen in "Big Little Lies" season two, is "just glad to be a part of something that makes people happy".

"When I do get recognised, I feel happy that those people are happy," he concluded.

IANS

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IGNCA introduces 5 PG Diploma and 6 Certificate Courses in Art, Culture and related subjects

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Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) has decided to introduce five diploma and six certificate courses in art and culture and related subjects, an official release said today.
 
The basic aim of these courses is to design and develop content exploration system to intensify culture learning and visualisation. It employees modern digital tools, techniques, and methodologies to achieve the intended purposes.
 
This initiative attempts to make India’s ancient knowledge and achievements accessible on a multimedia platform, the release added.
 
The PG diploma evening courses introduced in the academic year 2018-19 are in Cultural Informatics, Preventive Conservation, Buddhist Studies, Digital Library & Data Management, Manuscriptology and Palaeography.
 
The deadline for submission of applications is July 10. Course details, fee structure are available on IGNCA’s website.
 
The six certificate courses to be introduced shortly are Academic Integrity and Research Ethics; Open Access for Library and Information Science Professionals; Open Access for Researchers; Digital Library and Information Management; Research Methodology; Cinema Studies and Cultural Documentation.
 
The courses will provide an opportunity to scholars, researchers and the students to develop modern management techniques and professional approach, so far lacking in the art management field to project the rich art and cultural heritage of the country on a global platform.
 
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Cabinet okays accession to WIPO Copyright, Performance & Phonograms treaties

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal submitted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) regarding accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty which extend coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.
 
The approval is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on May 12, 2016, which aims to get value for IPRs through commercialization by providing guidance and support to EPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through the Internet and mobile platforms, an  official press release said.
 
Meeting the demand of the copyright industries, these treaties will help India to enable creative right-holders to enjoy the fruit of their labour, through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works, it said.
 
The treaties facilitate international protection of domestic rights holder by providing them with a level-playing field in other countries as India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and these treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad.
 
It will instil confidence and distribute creative works in a digital environment with return on investment and to spur business growth and contribute to the development of a vibrant creative economy and cultural landscape.
 
After the administration of Copyright Act, 1957 was transferred to DIPP in March 2016, a study was initiated to examine the compatibility of Copyright Act 1957 with WCT and WPPT. Also, a joint study was undertaken with WIPO.
 
The Copyright Act, 1957 was amended in 2012 to bring it in conformity, with WCT and WPPT, includes amendment in definition of "Communication to the public" to make it applicable to digital environment (Section 2(ff)) as also introduced provisions related to Technological Protection Measures (Section 65A) & Rights Management Information (Section 65B); Moral rights of performers (Section 38B); Exclusive rights of the performers (Section 38A); safe harbour provisions over electronic medium (Section 52 (1) (b) and (c)).
 
WIPO Copyright Treaty came in force on March 6, 2002, and has been adopted by 96 contracting parties till date and is a Special agreement under Berne Convention (for protection of literary and artistic works). It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment. Further, it recognises the rights specific to the digital environment, of making work available, to address "on-demand" and other interactive modes of access.
 
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty came in force on May 20, 2002, and has 96 contracting parties as its members. WPPT deals with rights of two kinds of beneficiaries, particularly in digital environment - (i) Performers (actors, singers, musicians etc.) (ii) Producers of Phonograms (Sound recordings). The treaty empowers right owners in their negotiations with new digital platforms and distributors. It recognizes moral rights of the performers for the first time & provides exclusive economic rights to them.
 
Both the treaties provide a framework for creators and rights owners to use technical tools to protect their works and safeguard information about their use i.e. Protection of Technological Protection Measures (TPM) and Rights Management Information (RMI).
 
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Broadway-style musical 'Aladdin' premieres in Delhi

A Broadway-style musical based on the classic tale of "Aladdin" enthralled the audience in Delhi at its premiere show, attended by popular names from the capital city's social circuit.
 
The magic carpet for the Disney India show -- produced by BookMyShow -- rolled out at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
The evening was marked by the presence of Amjad Ali Khan, models Hasleen Kaur, Sapna Kumar and Laxmi Rana, designer Siddharth Tytler, Nikhil Mehra, Tanisha Mohan and Sanjoy Roy among others.
 
This musical on "Aladdin", whose characters Jafar, Jasmine and Aladdin are well-known to Disney fans, was staged in Mumbai in April.
 
It has been reimagined for the Indian stage, with around 50 performers entertaining the audience with foot-tapping music, choreography and acting. It is complete with songs such as "Friend Like Me" and "A Whole New World", celebrating the love between Aladdin and Jasmine and of his friendship with Genie.
 
The actors who have brought the tale alive on stage include Siddharth Menon, Taaruk Raina, Kira Narayanan, Mantra and Vikrant Chaturvedi.
 
"Aladdin" is being staged here till July 15.
 
IANS
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Sonali Bendre says diagnosed with high grade cancer

Sonali Bendre Photo: Twitter @iamsonalibendre
Sonali Bendre Photo: Twitter @iamsonalibendre
Well-known Bollywood actress Sonali Bendre Behl has said that she has been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer and that she is undergoing medical treatment in New York.
 
"Sometimes, when you least expect it, life throws you a curveball. I have recently  been diagnosed with a high-grade cancer that has metastised, which we frankly did not see coming," the actress said in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"A niggling pain led to some tests, which led to this unexpected diagnosis. My family and close friends have rallied around me, providng the best support system that anyone can ask for. I am very blessed and thankful for each of them," she said.
 
Sonali, 43, said there was no better way to tackle the situation than to take swift and immedite action.
 
"And so, as advised by my doctors, I am currently undergoing a course of treatment in New York. We remain optimistic and I am determined to fight every step of the way. What has helped has been the immense outpouring of love and support I've received over the past few days, for which I am very grateful.
 
"I'm taking this battle head on, knowing I have the strength of my family and friends behind me," she added.
 
Sonali started out as a model and made her film debut in 1994 in Aag opposite Govinda. Among her other movies are Diljale, Bhai, Sarfarosh, Zakhm, Duplicate, Hum Saath Saath Hain and Anahat. 
 
In recent years, she has appeared as a judge on television shows, including Indian Idol on Sony. 
 
She got married to filmmaker Goldie Behl in 2002 and the couple has a son. Sonali took a break from films for some years before acting in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara! as her comeback movie.
 
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SC pulls up Rajinikath's wife for not repaying loan

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up Latha Rajinikanth, the wife of Tamil superstar-turned-politician Rajinikanth, for not complying with its order and her undertaking to repay the outstanding amount of Rs 6.2 crore to an advertising agency.
 
Latha Rajinikanth is one of the Directors of the Mediaone Global Entertainment Ltd. that had taken Rs 14.90 crore loan from Bengaluru-based Ad-Bureau Advertising to finish post-production work of 2014 Rajinikanth-Deepika Padukone starrer film "Kochadaiiyaan", directed by Rajinikanth's younger daughter Soundarya. The amount outstanding is Rs 6.2 crore.
 
Counsel for Latha told the court that she had not authorised the lawyer to give such an undertaking before the court earlier.
 
At this, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R. Banumathi said: "We do not like people playing around with court's order. 
 
"The long and short of it is that you (Latha) have not paid and the law will take its own course. We will pass order."
 
It also observed that it did not "think that this is a case for quashing". 
 
Posting the matter for July 10 for further hearing, it said: "We had kept the matter pending (on February 20) because you had said that you will pay the amount."
 
On February 20, the bench while keeping the petition by the advertising agency pending for three months, had said that Mediaone would pay the amount in three months failing which Latha Rajinikanth would bear the burden of payment.
 
The bench in its February order had stated: "Special leave petition is kept pending for three months. Within the aforesaid period of three months if the company - Mediaone Global Entertainment Ltd - does not pay the balance dues, the respondent-accused (Latha Rajanikanth) has undertaken before the court to pay the amount due."
 
The bench was hearing a plea filed by the Ad-Bureau Advertising against the March 10, 2016 order of the Karnataka High Court quashing the proceedings against Latha, which were initiated after a trial court order.
 
She had approached the high court after the trial court had referred the private complaint filed by the advertising agency to police for investigation.
 
IANS
 
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Dileep row: 14 actresses say no to joining 'unfair' AMMA

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
As many as 14 actresses on Sunday said they will not join the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) as it lacks any fairness, a week after the members of the association revoked the suspension of actor Dileep, accused of kidnapping an actress.
 
The 14 active members of the recently-formed Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) took the decision even as superstar Mohanlal, who heads AMMA, said on Saturday that there was no vested interest in taking back Dileep.
 
Also, two Kannada film bodies -- the Kannada Film Industry and the Film Industry for Rights & Equality -- on Sunday wrote to AMMA expressing their displeasure in the manner in which Dileep's suspension was revoked.
 
In a Facebook post, the actresses, including Amala Akkineni, Archana Padmini, Divyaprabha, Sajitha Madathil and Jolly Chirayath, wrote: "It has been a year since the WCC was formed by women from various facets of the Malayalam film industry and we decided to become members as we knew the issues of women will be addressed by WCC.
 
"We decided not to take membership in AMMA because when there is no pay parity between males and females in the industry, all have to pay an entry membership fee of Rs 1 lakh which is not justified.
 
"It has become difficult to believe the organisation, given their stand towards the victim in the actress kidnap case... besides it's tough to go forward with any sort of meaningful discussion on women issues." 
 
The actresses said that after realising that there is nothing positive in the horizon, "as no meaningful discussion can take place because it's caught between certain groups, fans associations and it fails to have a humane approach towards issues concerning women, we are unable to take membership in AMMA".
 
The WCC has been vocal about the issue since last Sunday when the annual general body meeting of AMMA decided to revoke the suspension of Dileep ordered last year, saying it did not follow the guidelines of AMMA.
 
Earlier, Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas, all of whom are leading lights in the Malayalam film industry, resigned from AMMA.
 
This was followed by actresses Revathy, Padmapriya, and A. Parvathy writing to AMMA General Secretary Edavela Babu, demanding an emergency executive meeting of AMMA on July 13 or 14.
 
IANS
 
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India gets its 37th UNESCO World Heritage Site

India's nomination of the "Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai" has been inscribed on  UNESCO's World Heritage list.
 
The decision was taken at the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO at Manama in Bahrain today. 
 
As recommended by the World Heritage Committee, India accepted the renaming of the ensemble as “Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai”, an official press release said.
 
The release said India has been successful in securing the inscription of the "Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai” on UNESCO's World Heritage List under Criteria (ii) and (iv) as defined in the UNESCO's Operational Guidelines.    
 
This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. In the past five years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. India now has overall 37 World Heritage Inscriptions with 29 Cultural, 7 Natural and 1 Mixed sites. While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
 
Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma has congratulated the residents of Mumbai and the entire country for this landmark achievement. In his statement, the Minister said that the international recognition to the heritage precinct of the city of Mumbai is a matter of great pride to the nation and it will boost the local economy in a number of ways. He added that this achievement is expected to give a tremendous fillip to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, creation of world-class infrastructure and augmentation of sale of local handicrafts, handlooms and heritage memorabilia.
 
The Ensemble comprises two architectural styles, the 19th century collection of Victorian structures and the 20th century Art Deco buildings along the sea, conjoined by means of the historical open space of the Oval Maidan. Together, this architectural ensemble represents the most remarkable collection of Victorian and Art Deco buildings in the world which forms the unique character of this urban setting, unparalleled in the world, the release said.
 
The Ensemble consists of 94 buildings primarily of 19th century Victorian Gothic revival and early 20th century Art Deco style of architecture with the Oval Maidan in the centre. The 19th century Victorian buildings form part of the larger Fort precinct situated to the east of the Oval Maidan. These public buildings include the Old Secretariat (1857-74), University Library and Convention Hall (1874-78), the Bombay High Court (1878), the Public Works Department Office (1872), Watson’s Hotel (1869), David Sasoon Library (1870), the Elphinstone College(1888), etc. The Art Deco styled buildings to the west of the Oval Maidan were raised in early 20th century on the newly reclaimed lands at Marine Drive and symbolised the shift in expression to represent contemporary aspirations.
 
The inscription has been done under Criteria (ii) and (iv) as defined in the UNESCO's Operational Guidelines. Criterion (ii) refers to the important interchange of human values, over a span of time on development of architecture, monumental arts, town planning and landscape while Criterion (iv) refers to being an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stage (s) in human history. This achievement is especially remarkable in the view of the successive inscription of another Indian city after Ahmedabad last year.
 
In addition, 42 sites from the country figures in the Tentative List of World Heritage and the Ministry of Culture would be recommending one property every year for nomination to UNESCO, the release added.
 
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Will not return till cleared, Dileep tells AMMA after actresses complain

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
With the row over revocation of his suspension from Malayali actors' body AMMA heating up after three top actresses demanded its urgent meeting to discuss the matter, actor Dileep on Thursday said he will not return to the association till he gets cleared in the case of abducting and sexually assaulting an actress.
 
In a letter to Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) General Secretary Edavela Babu, Dileep, who is currently out on bail after being in jail for 85 days, said that he has learned from the media that the AMMA general body meeting held on Sunday held that the Executive Committee decision to suspend him was not done as per the by-laws and would not stand.
 
"I am happy that such a decision has been taken, but now that I am facing a case in which I have done nothing wrong, I do not wish to be active in any body till I come clean. I am deeply pained in hearing various criticism against AMMA in my name. I wish the newly elected committee of AMMA all the best," said Dileep in the letter, a copy of which has been posted in the public domain.
 
Dileep's action came after top actresses Revathy Asha Kelunni, Padmapriya Janakiraman and A. Parvathy wrote to Edavela Babu and demanded an emergency executive meeting to be called on July 13 or 14 to discuss his reinstatement.
 
The open letter was also posted on the Facebook page of the newly-formed Women in Cinema Collective (WCC).
 
As women members of AMMA, the three actresses expressed concern over its Sunday decision to bring back an expelled member who was involved in an alleged assault of another women member from the same organisation.
 
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"At this meeting, a very crucial decision was taken... Considering the gravity of the circumstances and the matter being sub judice, it is shocking that such an important matter was decided without listing it on the agenda or being discussed among all members prior to the meeting.
 
"AMMA had publicly pledged full support to the member who survived the assault but the decision taken for reinstating the expelled member who is now a chargesheeted suspect goes against the promise made to the survivor," they said.
 
As a result, on Wednesday, "the survivor resigned and in solidarity with her three other women members have also resigned", the actresses said.
 
"This does not reflect well on AMMA," it said.
 
Earlier, the Kerala State Women's Commission slammed superstar Mohanlal, who heads AMMA, over the reinstatement of Dileep who is an accused in the February 2017 actress kidnapping case.
 
This was the first decision taken by the new committee under Mohanlal.
 
Kerala Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty on Thursday expressed surprise in the manner in which AMMA revoked Dileep's suspension.
 
"It should not be forgotten that actors are icons and they should be perfect role models, but this decision that they took is baffling," she said.
 
All eyes are on superstar Mammootty, who had announced the decision to remove Dileep from AMMA. However, he is not an office bearer any more.
 
IANS
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Revathy, Padmapriya, Parvathy slam AMMA, demand meet

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Three actresses on Thursday demanded an urgent meeting of the top artistes' body AMMA to discuss the controversial reinstatement of actor Dileep, who has been accused of abducting and sexually assaulting an actress.
 
Revathy Asha Kelunni, Padmapriya Janakiraman and A. Parvathy wrote to the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes General Secretary Edavela Babu and demanded an emergency executive meeting to be called on July 13 or 14.
 
The open letter was also posted on the Facebook page of the newly formed Women in Cinema Collective (WCC).
 
As women members of AMMA, the three actresses expressed concern over its Sunday decision to bring back an expelled member who was involved in an alleged assault of another women member from the same organisation.
 
"At this meeting, a very crucial decision was taken... Considering the gravity of the circumstances and the matter being sub-judice, it is shocking that such an important matter was decided without listing it on the agenda or being discussed among all members prior to the meeting.
 
"AMMA had publicly pledged full support to the member who survived the assault but the decision taken for reinstating the expelled member who is now a chargesheeted suspect goes against the promise made to the survivor," the letter said.
 
As a result, on Wednesday, "the survivor resigned and in solidarity with her three other women members have also resigned", the actresses said. 
 
"This does not reflect well on AMMA," it said.
 
Earlier, the Kerala State Women's Commission slammed superstar Mohanlal, who heads AMMA, over the reinstatement of the actor who is an accused in the February 2017 actress kidnapping case which took place in Kochi. This landed Dileep in jail for 85 days.
 
This was the first decision taken by the new committee under Mohanlal.
 
Kerala Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty on Thursday expressed surprise in the manner in which AMMA revoked Dileep's suspension.
 
"It should not be forgotten that actors are icons and they should be perfect role models, but this decision that they took is baffling."
 
Everyone is now awaiting superstar Mammootty's decision. It was Mammootty who had announced the decision to remove Dileep from AMMA. However, Mammootty is not an office bearer any more.
 
IANS
 
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4 Malayalam actresses resign from AMMA over Dileep row

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
The row over the reinstatement of accused actor Dileep into an artistes body took a turn on Wednesday with four leading actresses, including the kidnap victim, resigning from the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA).
 
Dileep is an accused in the February 2017 actress kidnapping case which took place in Kochi, that landed him in a Kerala jail for 85 days.
 
Those who have decided to resign include the victim, besides Rima Kallingal, Remya Nambisan and Geetu Mohandas, all of whom are leading lights in the Malayalam film industry.
 
The decision to resign was posted in the official Facebook site of the newly formed Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), led by Dileep's former wife Manju Warrier.
 
The WCC had earlier also expressed its displeasure, soon after Dileep was reinstated at the annual general body meeting held in Kochi on Sunday.
 
The victim in the kidnapping case noted in the post: "In the past when this star had thwarted to keep me away from films by denying opportunities to me, I did approach the organisation, but no action came up. 
 
"And now when I have gone through very tough times, the organisation appears to be protective of this person and hence I feel there is no point in being a member of this organisation."
 
Remya Nambisan wrote that she has no other way but to resign from AMMA as it has taken the most irresponsible decision with regards to the trials and tribulations faced by her co-actress.
 
"AMMA has taken a very inhuman stand against my actress colleague and hence I am resigning...," said Nambisan.
 
"I feel I should have resigned long back because AMMA does not want any member to question their decisions. I cannot stand such acts again...," said Geetu Mohandas, a former executive member of AMMA.
 
Rima Kallingal in her post said: "I decided to resign for the upcoming generation who will be able to pursue their profession without making any compromises." 
 
Late thespian actor Thilakan's daughter, Sonia Thilakan also slammed AMMA for having different standards for Dileep and her father, who was suspended in 2010 for criticising AMMA.
 
IANS
 
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