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Malayalam actress Lissy resumes acting career after 25 years

Lissy
Lissy
Lissy, a popular Malayalam actress of yesteryears, has announced her return to an acting career after a gap of 25 years, saying that she regretted quitting movies at the age of 22.
 
"Many of my friends and well wishers have been asking me for quite some time whether I will come back to movies. Well!!! I can now confirm that after over 25 years of absence I am acting in a Telugu movie. 
 
"The movie, yet to be titled, is produced by Telugu star Pavan Kalyan, ace director Thrivikram Srinivas and Sudhakar Reddy, directed by Krishna Chaitanya and has Nithiin and Megha in the lead," Lissy said on her Facebook page. She said she was playing a significant character in the movie.
 
She said that, after so many years of absence, she had faced the camera for the first time in New York.
 
"It was a nervous yet thrilling moment. I must say I had missed it!!! We just finished the first schedule in America and second in Conoor. The movie is scheduled to be released early next year. 
 
"Before I quit acting I had a short but very successful tenure in Telugu. I did 8 movies in Telugu and out of that 6 went on to be super hits which included Magaadu and 20va Satabdham, the remakes of Malayalam movies Moonnam Mura and Irupatham Noottandu, respectively. To be honest I was sad to leave Telugu industry at that time but I had no choice. So when it came to acting I always felt kind of an 'unfinished business' with Telugu cinema," she said.
 
Lissy said she had, in the last three years, heard several subjects in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu and finally chose this as her comeback movie.
 
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"I had a wonderful experience during both the schedules. The entire crew was very supportive and shooting was lots of fun! The entire crew welcomed me back with both arms and made me feel like I was never away. Most of the offers I had was from Malayalam and I certainly hope to do a Malayalam movie soon. Likewise, having lived more than half of my life in Chennai I consider myself as half Tamilian and it will be an honour to do a Tamil movie at some point. In fact Gautham Menon has mentioned a subject, which we will discuss once he finishes his current projects.
 
"Managing my studios and preview theaters remains my priority but I may do one or two movies per year if the roles are interesting. Quitting acting at the age of 22 when I had my bag full of movies was a decision I always regretted. Obviously I cannot get back my lost years or the roles I may have had but I certainly hope to do my best in this second innings. Thanks for all your support," she added.
 
Lissy had quit acting after her marriage to well-known film director Priyadarshan in December 1990 and adopted the name Lakshmi. The couple divorced in September 2016.
 
She had made her debut in films in the  early 1980s and very soon became on of the top young actresses of that time. Some of her popular films include Chithram, Thalavattom, Odaruthammava Alariyam, Muthaaramkunnu P.O and Boeing Boeing. 
 
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Three-day India-Afghan Cultural Festival inaugurated

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A three-day India-Afghan Cultural Festival has started in the national capital jointly organized by the Government and Embassy of Afghanistan and ICCR.
 
The festival was inaugurated on Wednesday by Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma and Minister of Culture and Information of Afghanistan, Prof. Moh. Rasool Bawari.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sharma said India and Afghanistan enjoy age-old cultural and civilizational ties and the deep-rooted linkages in the fields of music, art, architecture, language and cuisine constitute an important bond of friendship between the people.
 
While exponents of Afghan classical music such as Ustad Sarahang were trained in the Patiala Gharana, the popular Indian music of Bollywood resonates in Afghan homes, he said. The central Bamyan province of Afghanistan is an epitome of a shared Buddhist heritage, he said.
 
Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore’s ‘Kabuliwala’ has connected Indians with the honest and large-hearted Afghans, he added.
 
Highlighting the common values shared by the two countries, he said the four Gurudwaras and the two temples in Kabul itself are testament to the tolerant and diverse society of Afghanistan.
 
Emphasising the developing partnership being extended by India for the people of Afghanistan, Dr Sharma said restoration of Afghan cultural heritage and strengthening its cultural institutions has been an important part of our support in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The restoration of Storay palace in Kabul and support to the Afghan National Institute of Music are a few such examples, the Minister added.
 
The India-Afghan Festival will further bring out the commonalities between the two countries through art, handicrafts, dance, music and other forms, he said.
 
The festival includes cultural performances, handicrafts, exhibitions, cuisine and cultural shows from Afghanistan as well as India.
 
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'120 Beats Per Minute' wins Golden Peacock at IFFI 2017, Parvathy is Best Actress

Minister of Tourism, Uttar Pradesh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi presenting the Silver Peacock Award for the Best Actor (Female) to Parvathy Thiruvoth for the Malayalam film TAKE OFF, at the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2017.
Minister of Tourism, Uttar Pradesh, Rita Bahuguna Joshi presenting the Silver Peacock Award for the Best Actor (Female) to Parvathy Thiruvoth for the Malayalam film TAKE OFF, at the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2017.
Morocco-born French director Robin Campillo’s drama film ‘ 120 BPM’ or ‘120 Beats Per Minute’ won the coveted Golden Peacock Award at the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which concluded here today.
 
The film, set in France in the 1990s deals with homosexuality and the AIDS epidemic. The film, starring Nahuel Perez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois and Adele Haenel, had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. It had its India premiere at the IFFI 2017. 
 
The Indian Film Personality of the Year Award was presented to Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan amidst thunderous applause at the closing ceremony. 
 
The Golden Peacock Award carries a cash prize of Rs 4 million to be shared equally between the producer and the director, a trophy and the citation. 
 
Chinese director Vivian Qu won the Best Director Award for her 2017 film ‘Angels Wear White’. The film is about the travails of two teenage girls who are assaulted by a middle aged man in a seaside town in China. Vivian’s hard hitting social drama provides a social context for violence against women. 
 
The Best Director got the Silver Peacock Award and a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million.
 
The Best Actor (Male) Award went to Nahuel Perez Biscaryat for his portrayal of AIDS activist Sean Dalmazo, an effective member of ACT UP to represent all the horror of the epidemic in the French film ‘120 BPM’ . A caring lover and firm in his beliefs, Sean isn’t simply an ideologue, but someone who binds his activism to the strongest will to live. 
 
The Best Actor (Female) went to Parvathy Thiruvoth for her portrayal of a nurse who wages a battle for the release of her husband held hostage by the rebel army in war-torn Iraq in Mahesh Narayanan’s Malayalam film ‘Take Off’. Parvathy, who made her Bollywood debut with Qarib Qarib Singlle, has won many awards and accolades including the Kerala State Film Award and Filmfare award. 
 
Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Smriti Irani presenting the Indian Film Personality of the Year Award to Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, at the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2017.
Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Smriti Irani presenting the Indian Film Personality of the Year Award to Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, at the closing ceremony of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2017), in Panaji, Goa on November 28, 2017.
Both Best Actor Male and Female were honoured with the Silver Peacock Trophy and a cash prize of Rs 1 million each.
 
Mahesh Narayan also walked away with the Special Jury Award for Take Off, which was his directorial debut, which focused on the dramatic rescue of Indians trapped in Tikrit. Survival films is a genre of cinema in which one or more characters find themselves pitted against seemingly insurmountable odds and have to look within themselves to find the strength to escape/survive. 
 
The Special Jury Award carried a cash prize of Rs 1.5 million, a Silver Peacock Award and a citation. 
 
Bolivian director Kiro Russo won the Silver Peacock for the Best Feature Film. Russo’s debut film ‘Dark Skull’ offers a darkly beautiful subterranean study in atmosphere and mourning. 
 
Manouj Kadaamh’s Marathi film ‘Kshitij’ won the ICFT-UNESCO Gandhi Medal. The criteria for the Gandhi Medal reflect UNESCO’s fundamental mandate of building peace in the mind of men and women, particularly human rights, intercultural dialogue, promotion and safeguard of diversity of cultural expressions. 
 
One of Canada’s most celebrated art house directors, Atom Egoyan was honoured with the IFFI 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, consisting of a cash prize of Rs 1 million, certificate, shawl and a scroll is conferred upon a master film maker for his /her outstanding contribution to cinema. 
 
Egyptian born French Canadian filmmaker Egoyan’s work often explores themes of alienation and isolation, featuring characters whose interactions are mediated through technology, bureaucracy or other power structures. Egoyan's films often follow non-linear plot structures, in which events are placed out of sequence in order to elicit specific emotional reactions from the audience by withholding key information. His films have been presented in several retrospectives across the globe. ‘Exotica (1994) ’, ‘The Sweet Hereafter (1997)’ and ‘Remember (2015) were screened at IFFI 2017. 
 
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Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai to hit theatres on December 22

 
Salman, Katrina sizzle in Swag Se Swagat
Actor Salman Khan's Tiger Zinda Hai, in which Katrina Kaif is his co-star, billed as the Bollywood's biggest action adventure of 2017, is set to hit the theatres on December 22.
 
The espionage drama has been shot in five different countries across the world to capture what is being described as a "gripping, explosive and entertaining story'.
 
A dramatic journey of two intelligence agents -- Tiger and Zoya -- the film is huge in scale and director Ali Abbas Zafar wanted the expanse of the movie to come out through Tiger’s adventures across Austria, Greece, Morocco, Abu Dhabi and India.
 
“To meet the scale of the film, we had to travel to four different countries for different reasons. Certain landscapes needed to become a part of the film, so we had to go to Austria to get the snow-covered mountains. We also had to go to Morocco to feature crucial fight sequences of horseback riding. The country’s landscape and topography brings a certain texture to these sequences. It also has horses trained for some fight sequences, as many Hollywood films like Troy, and Mummy Returns. Greece was absolutely picturesque and was the perfect location to shoot the celebratory anthem ‘Swag Se Karenge Sabka Swagat’.  Abu Dhabi gave us desert terrain. We got great support from the Abu Dhabi government be it locations, production, army and air-force requirement. They helped us create larger than life action drama sequences. We also shot a couple of scenes in North and South block, Delhi. Overall, each location has huge significance and is part of turning points in the film’s script," Zafar said.
 
As part of the efforts to make a movie with international standards, Yash Raj Films' Tiger Zinda Hai team engaged, in each foreign location, with film crews that have handled major Hollywood films.
 
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Kangana Ranaut injured during shooting for 'Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi'

 
Kangana Ranaut suffers ankle injury during film shooting in Jodhpur
Well-known  Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut suffered a sprain in her ankle during the shooting for 'Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi', a biopic on Rani Laxmibai, here late last night.
 
The actress was taken to a private hosptial in the town for treatment of the injury, which she suffered while shooting an action scene at the Mehrangarh Fort,
 
A doctor who attended on her said she had suffered a sprain and her foot had been put in a cast. She has been advised rest for a few days, he added. The actress left for Mumbai later in the day.
 
The actress, who has starred in hits such as Queen, Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu Returns and Simran, had suffered a forehead injury while filming a sword-fight scene in Hyderabad for the same movie some months ago. She received stitches on her forehead and was kept under observation for a few days then.
 
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48th IFFI opens in Goa, Irani invites filmmakers from all over world to India

Information & Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani today invited filmmakers from around the world to come to India, the land of stories, festivals, celebrations and dynamic youth, where stories are told in over 1600 dialects.
 
Speaking at the inauguration of the 48th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, she said the fetival would help film lovers meet some of the biggest and brightest names of the Indian film industry.
 
Bollywood mega star Shah Rukh Khan, a special guest at the opening ceremony, as well as other film personalities such as music composer A. R. Rahman and actors Sridevi, Nana Patekar and Shahid Kapoor were present at the event, as was Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
 
The opening ceremony was anchored by popular actors Raj Kumar Rao and Radhika Apte.
 
Mr. Parrikar said Goa would be ready in 2019 to host the 50th edition of IFFI in a magnificent way. He said Goa had developed a good film culture over the last few years and the state government would continue its work towards further developing the film industry in the state.
 
Shahrukh Khan said films were about loving, about an idea transformed into reality by hundreds of people working together. He said story tellers and story listeners are like a family and stories have the power to bind every one together.
 
The inaugural ceremony also witnessed some mesmerizing performances like ‘Drums of India’, a musical treat with drums from all across the country and ‘Utsav’, a visual spectacle showcasing the diversity of Indian culture.
 
The 48th IFFI will showcase the best of recent international cinema, along with special sections such as Retrospectives, BRICS Award-Winning films, Homages and an Indian Panorama section featuring the best of Indian cinema produced in the past year, with the aim of providing a platform for young creative minds to interact, view and learn.
 
IFFI 2017 will showcase 195 films from over 82 countries of which there will be 10 world premieres, 10 Asian and international premieres and over 64 Indian premieres. The International Competition section of IFFI 2017 will have 15 films competing for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards. The International Competition jury is headed by renowned filmmaker Muzaffar Ali and other jury members include Maxine Williamson from Australia, actor-director Tzahi Grad from Israel, Russian cinematographer Vladislav Opelyants, and director and production designer Roger Christian from the United Kingdom.
 
IFFI 2017 will also witness Indo-centric projects with a strong international connect at the opening as well as the closing films. Iranian master Majid Majidi’s first film made in India, “Beyond the Clouds” and Pablo Cesar’s Indo-Argentine co-production “Thinking of Him”, centered on an episode in the life of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, will be screened as opening and closing films, respectively.
 
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As the first of its kind in the country, IFFI 2017 has a specially curated section of James Bond films. The special section, with nine iconic James Bond films, will showcase the various leading actors who have essayed the character of James Bond from 1962 to 2012. Further, IFFI 2017 will have a special focus on Canada curated by the Toronto International Film Festival.
 
The homage presentations at the 48th IFFI will include tributes to the late actors Om Puri, Vinod Khanna, Tom Alter, Reema Lagoo, Jayalalitha, directors Abdul Majid, Kundan Shah, Dasari Narayana Rao and cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta.
 
IFFI 2017 will also host a special curated selection of seven award winning films from BRICS region as part of the BRICS Film package. The Accessible India, Accessible Cinema section at IFFI 2017 will showcase two audio-described cinematic works for the visually impaired thereby continuing the support for Government of India ‘Accessible India Campaign’.
 
Indian Panorama 2017 will screen both feature and non-feature films. The opening film of the feature film section of Indian Panaroma will be Pihu, directed by Vinod Kapri and the opening film of the non-feature film section of Indian Panorama is Pushkar Puran which has been directed by Kamal Swaroop. This will showcase the new Indian cinema from across the country.
 
This edition of the festival will also be presenting films from a record number of women filmmakers (more than 30) in addition to a carefully curated section of restored classics from across the globe, which include the recently completed restorations of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice.
 
Additionally, the festival will present four films from young filmmakers of the Biennale College as a first of its kind collaboration with the the Venice International Film Festival. 
 
The 2017 edition of the festival will also host a Mixed Reality Sidebar featuring Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality activities in addition to a series of master classes and panel discussions featuring the who’s who of the entertainment industry, including noted filmmakers Atom Egoyam, Shekhar Kapur, Nitesh Tiwari and Farah Khan, as well as Oscar winning sound designer Craig Mann.
 
IFFI 2017 will present the coveted Indian Film Personality of the Year award to acclaimed actor Amitabh Bachcchan and the Lifetime Achievement award to celebrated Canadian director Atom Egoyan.
 
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"Padmavati" makers defer release of film as protests, threats continue

 
'Padmavati' makers voluntarily defer release of film
Viacom18 Motion Pictures, the makers of the movie "Padmavati", have deferred the release of the film from the slated date of December 1, as Rajput and other groups continued their protests and threats against the period drama for allegedly distorting history.
 
In a statement here yesterday, the company, a division of Viacom18 Media Private Limited, said it had taken the decision voluntarily and that it hoped to obtain the necessary clearances for the release of the film and announce the revised release date soon.
 
"Viacom 18 Motion Pictures, the studio behind 'Padmavati', has voluntarily deferred the release date of the film from December 1st 2017. Along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, amongst the most gifted filmmakers of his generation, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has clreated a beautiful cinematic masterpiece in 'Padmavati' that captures Rajput valour, dignity and tradition in all its glory.
 
"The film is an eloquent portrayal of a tale that will fill every Indian with pride and showcase our country's story-telling prowess across the globe," the statement said.
 
"We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies including the Central Board of Film Certification. We always have and are committed to continue following the established procedures and convention. We have faith that will soon  obtain the requisite clearances to release the film. We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course.
 
"We stand firm in our commitment to tell endearing tales that resonate withour audiences the world over as we have in the past with our other proejcts such as 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha', 'Queen', 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' and many more," the statement from the company's spokesperson added.
 
The film has become the subject of a major controversy, with various groups accusing its makers of distorting Rajput history and the story of Rani Padmini. While some say that Padmini was only  a fictional character, there are others who insist she was a historical figure. In any case, she is widely revered in Rajasthan.
 
Fringe elements have issued death  and violence threats against Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the title role in the film. Also, the state governments of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have said that they would not allow the screening of the movie in cinemas unless the producers made changes. 
 
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Shah Rukh Khan to attend IFFI opening, Salman Khan to grace closing ceremony

Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh and Salman Khan will grace the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively, of the  will be the special guest at the inauguration of the 48th International Film Festival of India, 2017, to be held in Goa from November 20-28.
 
As many as 195 films from 82 countries will be screened at the festival, which has been accorded Grade "A" status by the International Federation of Producers' Associations (FIAPF).
 
These will include 10 world premieres, 10 Asian and international premieres and 64 Indian premieres, an official press release said here today.
 
The festival will open with the much talked about new feature, “Beyond The Clouds” from acclaimed filmmaker Majid Majidi and presented by Namah Pictures and Zee Studios and close with the world premiere of the Indo Argentinian co-production “Thinking of Film” directed by Pablo Cesar. 
 
A galaxy of noted industry professionals, international guests, dignitaries and film celebrities will attend the opening and closing ceremonies and other events at the festival, the release said.
 
The press and delegate screenings that will kick off on November 21 will also see the opening of the Indian Panaroma section, which will be inaugurated by renowned actress Sridevi. 
 
The same day will also see the IFFI 2017 Country Focus on Canada being celebrated with a grand red carpet opening and amidst the presence of noted Canadian actors and celebrities. The Country Focus on Canada  has been organized in association with the government of Canada with the collaboration of Telefilm Canada and curated by the Toronto International Film Festival.
 
The International Competition section of IFFI 2017, which carries a cumulative cash prize of over Rs. 1 crore, will showcase 15 of the finest films of this year, competing for the Golden and Silver Peacock awards.  The International Competition jury will be headed by renowned filmmaker Muzaffar Ali and include Festival director Maxine Williamson from Australia, actor-director Tzahi Grad from Israel, Russian cinematographer Vladislav Opelyants, director and production designer Roger Christian from the United Kingdom.
 
This edition of the festival will also be presenting films from a record number of women filmmakers (more than 30) in addition to a carefully curated section of restored classics from across the globe, which include the recently completed restorations of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice.
 
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Among many other firsts, IFFI 2017 will present a specially curated section celebrating the most loved spy in films, James Bond. The section will showcase films featuring the various leading actors who have essayed the iconic character, through a package of nine films. Additionally, the festival will present four films from young filmmakers of the Biennale College as a first of its kind collaboration with the the Venice International Film Festival. 
 
Venice International Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera said, “I am particularly grateful to IFFI for the collaboration that gives the Venice Film Festival the opportunity to present four films produced in the frame of the Biennale College Cinema, a project we are greatly proud of for the results obtained in supporting young filmmakers from all over the world.  I am sure that the audience of the prestigious IFFI will appreciate the quality of these micro-budget films, and combined efforts of our two institutions to offer them a larger visibility. I wish that we will be able to continue our collaboration, which is based on shared feelings of love for good cinema and passion for young talented film directors."
 
The 2017 edition of the festival will also host a Mixed Reality Sidebar featuring Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality activities in addition to a series of master classes and panel discussions featuring the who’s who of the entertainment industry, including noted filmmakers Atom Egoyam, Shekhar Kapur, Nitesh Tiwari and Farah Khan, as well as Oscar winning sound designer Craig Mann.
 
IFFI 2017 will present the coveted Indian Film Personality of the Year award to acclaimed actor Amitabh Bachcchan and the Lifetime Achievement award to celebrated Canadian director Atom Egoyan.
 
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Karan Johar unveils first look of Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter’s debut film

 
Karan Johar unveils first look of Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khatter’s debut film
The wait is finally over! Karan Johar has unveiled the first look of ‘Dhadak’, starring Sridevi's daughter Janhvi and Shahid Kapoor's brother Ishaan Khatter in the lead roles.
 
The ace filmmaker took to his Twitter handle and shared three posters of the film. The first poster features the two young actors in an embrace against the backdrop of a setting sun in a desert.
 
Interestingly, Sridevi was quick to catch wind of it and wished Janhvi and Ishaan all the very best for their first step in the world of cinema. She wrote, “Wishing @karanjohar @ZeeStudios_, Ishaan,@ShashankKhaitan & the entire cast and crew of #Dhadak all the good wishes. May all blessings be with you'll to make a honest film.”
 
‘Dhadak’ is being directed by Shashank Khaitaan and is slated to release on July 6 next year.
 
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Parvathy arrives in Bollywood with Qarib Qarib Singlle

Irrfan Khan and Parvathy Thiruvoth in a still from Qarib Qarib Singlle.
Irrfan Khan and Parvathy Thiruvoth in a still from Qarib Qarib Singlle.
Parvathy Thiruvoth, the remarkable actress who has made a name for herself in Malayalam and other South Indian language films, has arrived in Bollywood with a bang with Qarib Qarib  Singlle (QQS) and for that reason alone the fun-filled movie about loneliness and companionship is worth watching.
 
The accomplished Irrfan Khan, whose delightful humour is, of course, the icing on the cake, and the breathtaking beauty of the exotic locations where the movie has been shot in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Sikkim as well as the scenes on the vintage Fairy Queen train make for an engaging romantic comedy.
 
Enjoyable as it is, the movie may be a little disappointing, too, for discerning viewers, leaving as it does quite a few loose ends. But Parvathy, bringing a breath of fresh air to Bollywood, makes up for everything and leaves you wanting for more.
 
Parvathy, who made her debut in the 2006 Malayalam movie Out of Syllabus, was also noticed for her performances in such films as Vinodyatra, Notebook, Poo and Bangalore Days. She won the 2015 Kerala State Film Award for Best Actress for her performances in Ennu Ninte Moideen and Charlie. She was more recently applauded for her role in Take Off.
 
QQS also marks the return of director Tanuja Chandra to filmmaking after nine years. The inspiration for the movie came from a radio play her mother Kamna Chandra wrote years ago. She has co-written the screenplay with Gazal Dhaliwal and given it a contemporary feel.
 
In essence, QQS is the story of a man and a woman in their 30s. Jaya is a widow, having lost her husband, an Army officer. Yogi has had girl friends, three of them, who end up marrying other men. He imagines they must be still pining for him. Both are lonely and yearn for companionship. The two, polar opposites, end up meeting each thorugh a dating website, Ab Tak Single.
 
The rest of the movie is about their meetings, their conversations, their interaction and their journey together to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, Alwar in Rajasthan and Gangtok in Sikkim, during which they revisit their past and discover themselves and finally each other. A road movie, except that much of the travel is by air and by train, and a coming of age romance of sorts, though the two people concerned are way beyond the "coming of age" stage.
 
QQS crackles with fun, right from the word go as, first, Jaya and, then, Yogi are introduced to us. Parvathy is on top of her role as role as Jaya and Irrfan, as always, is superb, though his playing of the rich happy-go-lucky Yogi will remind you of his role in the recent Hindi Medium. The chemistry between  the lead pair is crackling.
 
The movie is different from most Bollywood films in that the two main characters are mature adults who have already logged years and lived through experiences. Both have pleasant memories of their past, which they preserve. Yogi is still looking for a partner who will share his life, Jaya has started looking out again, prodded along by friends and colleagues.
 
 
Irrfan Khan, Parvathy at screening of Qarib Qarib Singlle
However, you do not get too many details of the back stories of the two characters. In the case of Yogi, you never really find out what he does for a living, where his money has come from and why the women in his life decided to move on. You can't help feeling that his part is mainly to serve as a foil for the character of Jaya and it is to Irrfan's credit that he gives us so much from a rather thinly written role. 
 
Jaya's character is slightly more fleshed out. She has a career, goes to work, has a family with whom she interacts over the telephone and through internet chats and we meet a few of her colleagues and acquaintances. We also become a little aware of her inner thoughts and fears, not just through her conversations with the camera but also through her expressions.
 
Still, you never get to know Jaya enough to understand her decisions or what makes her change her mind at different points. To that extent, many of the situations appear contrived and the ending rather abrupt.
 
Both the lead actors are perfectly cast, with Irrfan Khan underplaying his character and allowing Parvathy to walk away with the honours with a performance that makes Jaya appear very real and entirely relatable.
 
There are some good actors in the minor roles, too, but, unfortunately, they get to do very little. Many of them walk in and out, none of them is etched out in any detail and most of them are not related to each other. So while there are actors like Neha Dhupia, Luke Kenny, Siddharth Menon, Isha Sharvani, Pushtiie Shakti, Brijendra Kala, Bajrangbali Singh and Navneet Nishan in the cast, very few of them appear long enough to make a big difference to the story. Within  these constraints, Aman Sharma makes an impact in the role of a taxi driver.
 
Overall, the movie is worth a watch. And if you like Parvathy's performance, it might be a good idea to catch up on some of her Malayalam films.
 
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Islamic calligraphy show from Rampur Raza Library opens in Brunei Darussalam

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An exhibition of photographs of a valuable collection of Islamic calligraphy from the Rampur Raza Library of the Ministry of Culture has opened as the inaugural event of Festival of India at ?Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei Darussalam.
 
 The exhibition was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof.
  
The exhibition consists of 36 photographs of calligraphy including of verses from the Holy Quran, and poetry in Persian and Arabic, selected from the over 3000 calligraphy pieces in the Rampur Raza Library collection.
  
The exhibition is being jointly hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the High Commission of India and will stay open to the public till November 25.
  
At the inaugural event, Nagma M Mallick, High Commissioner of India, described the Exhibition as a gesture of solidarity and friendship on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Sultan.
 
She described the calligraphy on display as another example of the syncretic culture that amalgamated the ancient Indian artistic traditions with Islamic culture over hundreds of years to produce a cultural flowering under the Mughal Empire.
 
The Exhibition of Islamic and other Monuments of India held in Brunei in December 2016 had also showcased the architectural aspects of the same syncretic culture. The art of calligraphy is still a living tradition in India, where over 60 Departments of Arabic and Persian Studies flourish in Indian universities.
  
Prof. Syed Hassan Abbas, Director of the Rampur Raza Library, gave details of some of the treasures stored in the Library, including 17000 original manuscripts. He detailed the names and careers of some of the renowned calligraphers whose works form part of the Rampur collection. The High Commissioner gifted an example of calligraphy in marble to the Minister of Brunei.
 
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Hindi film Pihu to be opening film of Indian Panorama at IFFI 2017

Hindi film Pihu, directed by Vinod Kapri, will be  the opening film of the feature film section of Indian Panorama of the 48th International Film Festival of India, 2017 to be held in Goa from November 20-28.
 
The opening film of the non-feature film section will be Pushkar Puran in Hindi, directed by Kamal Swaroop.
 
The final selection of feature and non-feature films of the Indian Panorama was announced today. Five mainstream films have also been selected under Panorama section.
 
Five Mainstream films have also been selected under Indian Panorama Section -- Telugu blockbuster Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, directed by S. Rajamouli;  Jolly LLB 2,  Hindi, Subhash Kapoor; Ventilator - Marathi - Rajesh Mapuskar; Poorna - Hindi - Rahul Bose; and Meghnad Bodh Rahasya - Bengali - Anik Datta.
 
Following is the list of 26 feature films selected for the Indian Panorama:
 
1.       Pihu - Hindi - Vinod Kapri
2.       Kshitij A Horizon - Marathi - Manouj Kadaamh
3.       Kachcha Limbu - Marathi - Prasad Oak
4.       Manusangada - Tamil - Amshan Kumar
5.       Muramba - Marathi - Varun Narvekar
6.       Railway Children - Kannada - Prithvi Konanur
7.       Juze - Konkani - Miransha Naik
8.       Newton - Hindi - Amit Masurkar
9.       Pimpal - Marathi - Gajendra Ahire
10.   Village Rockstars - Assamese - Rima Das
11.   Maza Bhirbhira - Marathi - Yogesh Soman & Vivek Wagh
12.   Maacher Jhol - Bengali - Pratim D. Gupta
13.   Bisorjon - Bengali - Kaushik Ganguly
14.   Take Off - Malayalam - Mahesh Narayanan
15.   Redu - Marathi - Sagar ChhayaVanjari
16.   Rukh - Hindi - Atanu Mukherjee
17.   Kadvi Hawa - Hindi - Nila Madhab Panda
18.   Idak - Marathi - Deepak Gawade
19.   Xhoixobote Dhemalite - Assamese - Bidyut Kotoky
20.   Khyanikaa - Oriya - Amartya Bhattacharya
21.   Kaasav (Best Feature – 64th NFA) - Marathi - Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar
 
The Best Feature Film of the National Film Awards is included as a direct entry in the Indian Panorama under the regulations of the event.
 
Mainstream Cinema selections
 
22.   Jolly LLB 2  -  Hindi - Subhash Kapoor
23.   Baahubali 2: The Conclusion - Telugu - S Rajamouli
24.   Ventilator - Marathi - Rajesh Mapuskar
25.   Poorna - Hindi - Rahul Bose
26.   Meghnad Bodh Rahasya - Bengali - Anik Datta
 
 
The Jury for Feature Films was headed by acclaimed film director, actor and screenwriter Sujoy Ghosh. The jury previewed 153 eligible entries. Other members of the jury are: Suresh Heblikar, Filmmaker, Director & Actor; Rahul Rawail, Film Director; Satarupa Sanyal, Film Director, Producer, Actress, Poet & Social Activist; Gopi Desai, Film Director & Actress; Nishikant Kamat, Filmmaker; Gyan Correa, Film Director;  Merlvin Mukhim, Actor & Producer;  Nikkhil Advani, Film Producer, Director & Screenwriter; Apurva Asrani, Film Maker, Film Editor & Screenwriter; Hari Viswanath, Film Director, Screenwriter & Producer; Sachin Chatte, Film Critic; and Ruchi Narain, Film Director & Screenwriter.
 
The list of 16 Non-Feature Films selected for Indian Panorama are:
 
Pushkar Puran - Hindi - Kamal Swaroop
Aaba - Apatani - Amar Kaushik
Dugga - Bengali - Chandrasish Ray
Our Grandparents Home - Bengali - Supriyo Sen
Palash - Bengali - Vaibhav Hiwase
A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings - English - Prateek Vats
The Waterfall - English - Lipika Singh Darai
Amma Meri - Haryanvi - Tarun Jain
 Name|Place|Animal|Thing - Hindi - Nithin R
Chutney - Hindi - Jyoti Kapur Das
8½ Intercuts- Life And Films Of KG George - Malayalam - Lijin Jose
Gi - Malayalam - Kunjila (Akhila Henry)
Baluta - Marathi - Ajay Kurane
Khidkee - Marathi - Rohan Parshuram Kanawade
Epil - Santali - R K Soren
Fireflies in the Abyss (64th NFA – Best Non Feature) - English - Chandrasekhar Reddy
 
 The Non-Feature Film Jury was chaired by well-known film director and screen writer Sudhir Mishra. The jury previewed 154 eligible entries. The other members of the jury are: Tuhinabha Majumdar, Film Director and Film Writer; Shankhajeet De, Film Maker; Mithuchandra Chaudhari, Film Director; Shiny Jacob Benjamin, Film Producer, Film Director and Writer;   Ms. Tinni Mitra, Film Editor and K.G Suresh, Journalist & Columnist.
 
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Festival of India in Fiji and neighbouring region till March 2018

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A Festival of India has started in Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru, Tuvalu and Cook Islands, an official release said today. 
 
The festival, being held from October 2017 to March 2018, will showcase diverse cultural forms, including folk dances, music and cuisine and international conferences. 
 
The events will be held in various cities of Fiji -- Suva, Nadi, Lautoka, Labasa and Ba -- and the capital cities of Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru, Tuvalu and Cook Islands.
 
An ‘International Conference on Integral Humanism’ was held to commemorate the birth centenary of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay in  Fiji  in the first week of October. A Food Festival was held from October 13-20.
 
A Qawwali programme by the 7-member Sabri Brothers group took place from October 23-30. Oddisi dance by Meera Das Group of Gunjan Dance Akademi, Cuttack will be held from November 2-14 in Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu.
 
An episode from the Ramayana, “Jatayu Moksham” by Kalakshetra will be held in Fiji from November 25-30.
 
An International Hindi Conference will be held in Fiji  from November 24-26. Kuchipudi Dance and Yoga Demonstration by Dr Yashodha Thakore is scheduled in Fiji and in Cook Islands from January 12-17.
 
Bollywood Dance and Musical Group show will be held in Fiji, Nauru and Tuvalu from January 25 to February 3. Folk Dance by Avishkar Akademy of Performing Arts will take place in Fiji from February 16-18. The folk band ‘Aarug’ of Ramanuj Sharma will perform in Fiji from March 16-18.
 
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Exhibition on “Decorated Arms & Armours” from National Museum reserve collection begins

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An exhibitions titled “Decorated Arms & Armours”, displaying select daggers, swords, armours as well as pistols from National Museum’s reserve collection, began here today.
 
The exhibition, inaugurated by National Museum Director General B R Mani, will continue till November 5.
 
The history of Indian arms and armours begins in pre- and proto-historic times. In the historical context, they are testified by several sculptures, paintings and coins. During the medieval period, there was considerable ingenuity and craftsmanship in manufacturing them.
 
During the Sultanate and the Mughal rule, weapons underwent significant modifications, and weapons with Persian, Arab and Turkish influences became common. Examples are the ‘Shamsheer’ from Persia and the ‘Zulfikar’ from Arabia.
 
A variety of daggers, imported weapons for self-protection and hand-to-hand combat were also in vogue. There were regional variants like the Jamadhar, Jambia and Khanjar of Mughal the Chura of Afghans, the Khapwa of Rajputs, the Qurauli of Sikhs and the Khukri of Nepalis. Many daggers were adorned with ivory, jade, crystal and soapstone and sometimes embellished with calligraphy.
 
From pre-historic period to the later Gupta period, the arms and armour were basically of a functional nature and do not bear much of an aesthetic element. It was from the medieval period that arms and armour began to be profusely ornamented.
 
The ornamentation on weapons began to symbolize an individual's identity, his political power and economic authority. The study of ornamented arms and armour is interesting for the part they played in shaping history. On the technical side, arts were applied in various ways in the ornamentation techniques, the metallurgy and utility of various materials such s gold, silver, copper, brass, jade, crystal, agate, ivory, horn, mother of pearl, tortoiseshell, wood, hide, precious and semi-precious stones, and so on.
 
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The arms and armours of the common man, used on the battlefield or for hunting, were often plain and the decoration kept to a minimum. However, arms and armour of the nobility, military commanders and elite warriors were adorned with precious decoration, especially for ceremonial use.
 
Weapons used by the royal houses of different dynasties were usually embellished with decorative designs bearing testimony to the fact of historical personalities. The edged weapons like swords, daggers, spears, and so on were extensively decorated with hunting scenes; and several other patterns. Many of the arms also bore the name of their owners.
 
Arms, most importantly ornamented daggers, were the most common gifts presented to distinguished individuals in recognition of their services. A custom which was prevalent right from the ancient times is still practised in many parts of India.
 
The arms and armours which made up as gifts were opulently decorated. The decoration constituted things from everyday life and was subjected to a symmetrical arrangement, with pommel itself shaped like the head of a horse, figures of deities and parrot among others.
 
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Ali Fazal, Shriya Pilgaonkar come together for a web series

Shriya Pilgaonkar
Shriya Pilgaonkar
Actress Shriya Pilgaonkar, who was appreciated for her Hindi film debut as  Shahrukh Khan's love interest in Fan and for her viral short film Jai Mata Di, is now going to be seen in a web show called Mirzapur produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani for a global online platform where she stars opposite Ali Fazal in the lead. 
 
Mirzapur is a gangster drama directed by the makers of Inside Edge and is currently being shot in Varanasi. The show also stars Pankaj Tripathi  and Vikrant Massey.
 
When asked, Shriya said "I am thrilled to be part of Mirzapur and to be working with Excel. We have already started shooting in Varanasi. The cast is fantastic and the character I play is completely different from what I have done before."
 
"Ali and I have been friends since college, so it's even more special that we are working together," she added.
 
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Reliance Foundation provides "generous gift" to The Met to support Indian art programming

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited Director Isha Ambani with Mia Fineman, Curator of the Raghubir Singh exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where Reliance Foundation is supporting exhibition of Indian Art.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited Director Isha Ambani with Mia Fineman, Curator of the Raghubir Singh exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, where Reliance Foundation is supporting exhibition of Indian Art.
Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited, has promised a "generous gift" to the Metropolitan Museum of Art here to support exhibitions that explore and celebrate the arts of India.
 
"This is an outstanding commitment that will have a direct impact on The Met and the exhibitions it presents to its millions of yearly visitors.” said Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Met. 
 
“As a global institution, we are devoted to studying and displaying art from every corner of the world, which is made possible only through the generosity of our friends," he said.
 
Mr. Weiss said RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani and his wife Nita are truly visionary benefactors. "We are enormously grateful for this meaningful gift," he said.
 
A press release from the Reliance Foundation said the gift would support a range of exhibitions examining the accomplishments and influence of the arts and artists of India across time and media.
 
The first exhibition to benefit from this gift is this fall’s Modernism on the Ganges: Raghubir Singh Photographs, which opened on October 11, a retrospective of the pioneering artist that will present his work from the late 1960s through his last unpublished projects of the late 1990s. 
 
The focus of the remaining exhibitions that will benefit from this sponsorship will range from early Buddhist art from the 1st century B.C. to 4th century A.D to 17th century Mughal art to contemporary Indian sculpture.
 
Nita and Mukesh Ambani are great champions of The Met. In 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Ambani and the Reliance Foundation supported the exhibition Nasreen Mohamedi, the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in the United States that was presented as one of the inaugural exhibitions when The Met Breuer opened that spring.
 
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"With this new gift, Mr. and Mrs. Ambani and the Reliance Foundation will have sponsored and made possible the showcasing of three important Indian exhibitions at the Met Breuer, allowing their Indian culture and heritage to be shared with global audiences from across the world who visit The Met. Their generosity will be recognized in the iconic building among other leadership donors to this important initiative. 
 
"In 2017, the Museum honored Mrs. Ambani at The Met Winter Party celebrating achievements made toward greater diversity and inclusion in the world of art. In addition, Mrs. Ambani is generous with her time and expertise, which she shares as a member of The Met’s new International Council," the release said.
 
“India has a rich heritage of art and culture that can be traced back to the 3rd-4th century BC. At Reliance Foundation, it has been our ongoing mission to recognise and promote this valuable tradition by offering opportunities and platforms for Indian art locally in India and at various institutions around the globe. This partnership with The Met enables Indian art to be shown at an iconic institution and further encourages us to continue our work in the art world. We are truly delighted to be part of this long term collaboration. We believe this will prove to be a wonderful partnership for learning and sharing that will go a long way for art in India," said Ms. Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation.  
 
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Veteran actor Anupam Kher appointed as Chairman of FTII, Pune

Anupam Kher
Anupam Kher
Well-known actor Anupam Kher has been appointed as Chairman of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, succeeding Mr. Gajendra Chauhan, an official press release said here today.
 
FTII is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is regarded as a centre of excellence across the world. Films made by FTII’s students have enjoyed excellent receptions in festivals in India and abroad and have won national and international awards. 
 
"I feel deeply humbled & honoured to be apportioned as the Chairman of iconic #FTII. I will perform my duties to the best of my abilities," Mr. Kher said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Mr. Kher, 62, has appeared in more than 500 films and has won many national and international awards during his distinguished career.
 
Earlier he served as the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and was the Director of National School of Drama (NSD), Delhi from 2001 to 2004. He is also an alumnus of NSD (1978 batch).
 
He was honoured by the Government with the Padma Shri in 2004 and the Padma Bhushan in 2016 for his contribution to the field of cinema and arts.
 
Apart from films, Mr. Kher has acted in scores of plays. While he has worked mainly in Hindi films, he has appeared in films made in other languages such as Malayalam and Malayalam and also in international films such as the 2002 Golden Globe nominated Bend It Like Beckham, Ang Lee's 2007 Golden Lion-winning Lust, Caution, and David O. Russell's 2013 Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook. He has also hosted several television shows
 
His wife, actress Kirron Kher, is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh.
 
Mr. Kher made his film debut in the Hindi movie Aagman. In 1984 came Saaransh, where the 28-year-old Kher plated a retired middle-aged Maharashtrian man who has lost his son, a performance for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor.
 
He won the Special Jury Award twice in the National Film Awards -- for Daddy in 1989 and for Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara in 2005. He has won the Filmfare Award for Best Comedian five times. 
 
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Dialogue of Civilizations – IV to open on Sunday

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Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma will inaugurate the ‘4th Dialogue of Civilizations’ here today.
 
Jointly organised by the Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture and National Geographic, the theme of the week-long conference is “Technology and Civilization”.
 
Culture Secretary Rashmi Verma will preside over the function. The inaugural function of the Dialogue will be followed by academic sessions at Ahmedabad and Dholavira and the final dialogue will take place at the important Harappan centre of Dholavira in the Rann of Kachchh.
 
The inaugural function will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr B.R. Mani, Director General, National Museum. The participants will be Prof. B.B. Lal (Harappa), Dr Fransisco Estrada-Belli (Maya), Prof. Augusta McMohan (Mesopotamian), Dr Anna Latifa Mourad (Egyptian) and Dr Xinwei Li (China).
 
International scholars will include Barbara Helwing, Li Liu, Renee Friedman, Asl?han Yener, Anabel Ford, Augusta McMahon, Xinwei Li, Monica Smith, Chase Harrison, Yukinori Kawae, Thomas E. Levy and Francisco Estrada-Belli.
 
In 2013, the National Geographic Society initiated a five-year annual conference called “The Dialogue of Civilizations,” to encourage scholarly and public discourse about the five ancient, literate civilizations of the world (i.e., Egypt, Mesopotamia, South Asia, China, and Mesoamerica) and how the study of the past can inform the present and the future.
 
The first conference of this series was inaugurated in Guatemala in 2013, followed by Turkey in 2014 and in China in 2015. The fourth dialogue in this series was scheduled to be held in October 2016. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the event was shifted to October 2017.
 
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First edition of ASEAN India Music Festival to be held in New Delhi from Oct 6-8

The first edition of the ASEAN-India Music Festival will be held at Purana Quila (Old Fort) here from October 6-8 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations.
 
The event has been organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Seher.
 
"The theme for this commemorative year 'Shared Values, Common Destiny' along with this music festival aims to boost cultural influences among the peoples of the ASEAN member states and India," a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
 
The festival will witness performances by musicians of 10 bands from member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam) along with five prominent Indian bands. 
 
The ASEAN bands performing in the festival include The Ugly Band (Myanmar), Cherpen (Malaysia), Tim De Cotta (Singapore), Kong Southearith (Cambodia), Red Bamboo (Vietnam), L’alphalpha (Indonesia), Nam Fon Indee (Lao PDR), A Band Once (Brunei Darussalam), Asia7 (Thailand) and The Ransom Collective (Philippines). 
 
Indian bands which will perform in the festival are Raghu Dixit Project, Avial, Papon LIVE, Bipul Chettri and the Travelling Band, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. 
 
Entry to the festival will be free, the release added.
 
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Jio and Roy Kapur Films in multi-year deal for Original Digital Content

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Telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. (RJIL) and Roy Kapur Films (RKF), a leading film and media production company founded by Siddharth Roy Kapur, today announced an association wherein original digital video content for the Jio platform will be curated, developed, commissioned and creatively produced by Roy Kapur Films. 
 
This will include finite and continuing series, long form and short form content across genres, and over time, ‘First on Jio’ feature films, a press release from RJIL, a subsidiary of the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), said.
 
"RKF will tap into the vibrant content production ecosystem in India and together with Jio’s cutting edge technologies, power the Jio platform with a robust content pipeline of Jio Originals. This exclusive content will be available to more than 128 million Jio subscribers all over the country, an unparalleled reach compared to any other digital platform showcasing original content in India," the release said.
 
Mr. Jyotindra Thacker from Jio said, “India is the leading country in the world for mobile data usage, and a significant part of this usage is driven by video content. Jio currently carries over 5.5 crore hours of video daily on its network, already making it one of the largest and most superior mobile video networks globally. This association with Roy Kapur Films will help us to power forward towards our goal of delivering the highest quality video entertainment content to our mobile subscribers. Over the last decade, Siddharth has developed and produced some of the most commercially successful and creatively pathbreaking movies in Indian cinema, and we are happy to partner with him in the creation of a creative ecosystem that enables everyone to fully live and experience the Jio Digital Life.” 
 
Siddharth Roy Kapur said, “Jio’s digital platform offers an unparalleled opportunity to produce and deliver high quality and world-class entertainment content at scale. Content that can be watched all over India, across all demographics and best of all completely at one’s convenience, across all screens mobile, tablet, laptop and TV. Never before has so much entertainment been so accessible to so many. Our goal is to provide Jio subscribers with a wide variety of content that caters to their diverse tastes and sensibilities, and keeps them coming back for more. Partnering with Jio to produce digital video content and sharing in its long term vision for an Indian digital revolution and global digital leadership is truly exciting!”
 
The release said the collaboration between RKF and Jio marks a milestone in the confluence between the rapidly evolving entertainment, technology and telecom sectors in India.
 
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Tamannaah Bhatia to play lead in Telugu version of Hindi movie "Queen"

Tamannaah Bhatia
Tamannaah Bhatia
Tamannaah Bhatia, who has acted in  more than 50 films in three different languages, including the Baahubali series, is understood to have bagged the lead role in the Telugu version of Kangana Ranaut-starrer "Queen".
 
Tamannaah has been focusing on women-centric films like Kalloori , Ananda Thandavan, Kanden  Kadhalai, 100% Love and Devi over the past one decade.
 
The Telugu version of Queen will be produced by Manu Kumaran under the banner of Mediente Films. National award winning director and a South favourite,  G. Neelakanta Reddy will be directing the Telugu remake and the film will go on the floors on October 25.
 
The entire film will be shot in an international locale and will release in the middle of next year, sources said.
 
The sources said Tamannaah was initially approached to play the lead protagonist in both the Tamil and Telugu versions of the critically acclaimed Queen but signed only the Telugu version citing creative preferences.
 
“Queen is an interesting film and I have always been motivated by roles that help elevate women empowerment in some form. I am very excited to be doing the Telugu version and can’t wait to start shooting next month. This is the first time I’m working with Neelakanta Reddy and I’m sure together we will create magic on the 70 mm screen.”
 
The South remakes of Vikas Bahl’s Queen will be made in Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam apart from Telugu.
 
Tamannaah who started off at the age of 15 in the film industry, has worked with a list of notable actors including Ranveer Singh, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Riteish Deshmukh, Ajay Devgan, Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Dhanush, Allu Arjun, Ram Charan, amongst others. In the past she has acted in the South remakes of Bollywood films like Jab We Met, Kick and Rowdy Rathore.
 
She is the first actress from India who was nominated at Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress. 
 
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Isha Ambani unveils Reliance Foundation "Holistic Healing" Art Project in Mumbai

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Ms. Isha Ambani, a Director of telecom services provider Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), recently launched "Holistic Healing" a new public art project at the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai.
 
Through this initiative, Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of energy and petrochemicals giant Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), aims to introduce cutting-edge, contemporary art to the Indian public.  
 
"It also offers patients and their families an opportunity to experience the extraordinary power of visual art. Holistic Healing offers a unique opportunity to introduce site-specific artworks by contemporary artists," a press release from the foundation said.
 
The release said 12 of India’s leading contemporary artists have created nine works of art to change the atmosphere of the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre. 
 
"Splashing color, shape and rhythm to corridors of the hospital, the art simultaneously provokes thought and evokes conversation.  Rohini Devasher, Shilpa Gupta, Reena Saini Kallat, Suhasini Kejriwal, Sandeep Mukherjee, Sachin George Sebastian, Praneet Soi, Thukral & Tagra and Raqs Media Collective have all created the site-specific works which will be placed across various locations within the hospital," it said.
 
“Holistic Healing hopes to transform the environment of a hospital into a space that transports the viewer outside the confines of its walls. This initiative at the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre will further motivate us to continue our work in the art world. We are truly delighted to be part of this inspiring collaboration with some of India’s leading contemporary artists," Ms. Ambani, daughter of RIL Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani, and his wife Nita Ambani, Chairperson of the Reliance Foundation, said.
 
As part of the launch, a panel discussion was held celebrating the new works of art at the hospital. Moderated by Dr. Deepanjana Klien, International Head of Classical and Contemporary South Asian Art at Christie’s, the panel featuring artists Sree Goswami, Shilpa Gupta, Reena Kallat, Sumir Tagra and Jiten Thukral discussed the significance of Public Art in India.
 
One of the Reliance Foundations’ key ongoing missions is to promote and offer opportunities and platforms for Indian art locally in India and at various institutions around the globe, the release added.
 
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Simran is worth a watch, for Kangana Ranaut

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Simran
Kangana Ranaut in a still from Simran
We went to see Simran, Hansal Mehta's latest offering, with Kangana Ranaut in the lead, on Sunday. As we set out, it occurred to us that it was the first time that we had not even bothered to find out the names of the rest of the cast of the movie.
 
Simran has been projected as a Ranaut-centred movie and that is how it turned out to be. She is one of the few Bollywood actresses who can carry a film almost entirely on her own, and the movie highlights this throughout.
 
The movie tells the story of Praful Patel, played by Ranaut, a 30-year-old Gujarati divorcee who lives in Georgia, Atlanta with her middle class parents. She works in the housekeeping department of a hotel and wants to buy her own apartment so that she can move out of the home of her parents, with whom she has a love-hate relationship. Her parents, of course, want her to remarry but she turns down every proposal.
 
The rest of the movie is about how Praful ends up in a serious mess as she chases her dream of buying a house. Along the way, we discover her "character flaws". Revealing more than this would amount to playing spoiler.
 
So does the movie work? Ranaut is in command almost throughout and essays her role well. But that is about all.
 
The film suffers from the lack of a good script. The character of a young Gujarati woman in the United States, with her Gujarati accent and living with her conservative parents, offered possibilities which have not been fully exploited. As the film progresses, you seem to be watching the same thing over and over again as the story moves forward ever so slowly.
 
Secondly, it would appear to be a case of poor casting. A movie clicks when the right actor is chosen for each role, even the minor ones, and they play their part well. This is not quite the case here. But then, given that Ranaut commands all your attention almost throughout, it does not seem to matter.
 
Sohum Shah, who appeared in Ship of Theseus and Talvar, plays Sameer, Praful's love interest and endears himself to the audience with an understated performance. He holds his own against Ranaut in all the scenes in which they appear together. Hiten Kumar, as Praful's constantly nagging father who runs a small business that is not doing too well and Kishori Shahane, who plays her mother, manage to get by.
 
One cannot get the feeling that Mehta did not pay much attention to the other characters in the movie and there are quite a few of them. Many of them have not been clearly etched out and remain unidimensional.
 
Most of us willingly suspend our disbelief when we go to the movies, and, if some parts of the story seem implausible, we can handle that. And you will have to do quite a bit of that with this one. Despite all that, the family scenes, Praful's interactions with her colleagues, the bank robberies and the car chase are all enjoyable for the elan with which Ranaut carries them off.
 
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Simran is one of those rare Bollywood movies in which the woman is not apologetic for what she describes as her "character flaws". It is also rare to see a Bollywood heroine who starts out as a divorcee in a movie, appearing to enjoy herself and living by her own set of rules. It is that spirit that leads Praful into a life of crime as the movie progresses.
 
The problem is that the movie drags quite a bit. If it is meant to be a comedy, it does not make you laugh enough. If it has a serious message, it does not quite touch or move you. Of course, a filmmaker has the right to tell a story the way he wants to and is not obliged to stick to a single theme or genre. Here, you often get the feeling that you are watching a light-hearted flick, but then it turns dark in parts and emotional at other points, and then ends abruptly, leaving you a bit confused.
 
The movie is based entirely in the United States, and you get to see quite a bit of Atlanta, Las Vegas and other parts of that country through Anuj Dhavan's efficient handling of the camera. Sachin-Jigar's music and the songs add to the charm of the movie.
 
In the end, you keep watching because Ranaut is a delight in almost all the scenes, getting the Gujarati accent right often enough, though not consistently, but always on top of all her scenes. But the lack of other competent actors and characters who could have provided a foil to Praful Patel shows.
 
Simran is loosely based on the real-life story of Sandeep Kaur, whose story had captivated the United States in the summer of 2014. The movie closely follows many of the details of Sandeep's improbable story. Reading up about her might help you understand some of the twists and turns in the story of Praful Patel which otherwise might appear strange and illogical.
 
Overall, Simran works well in its lighter moments but does not do so in the dramatic scenes and, to that extent, it becomes a bit of a stretch. Only Ranaut  can carry off a movie without relying on a top male star. The movie delivers only in part and could have been much more fun. But, still, you will enjoy it.
 
Rating: 3.5/5
 
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Festival of India in Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, and Guinea from August 15 - January 28

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A Festival of India is being organized in Cote d’Ivoire and concurrently accredited countries of Liberia and Guinea from August 15, 2017 – January 28, 2018.
 
The Festival will showcase diverse Indian culture through classical and folk dances. The events will be held in four cities of Cote d’Ivoire -- Abidjan, Yamoussoukro and Grand Bassam and Daloa -- and capital cities of Monrovia of Liberia and Conakry of Guinea.
 
The events being showcased are Bharatnatyam Dance Group led by D. Bhavani Shankar (August 15-16) and Mohiniattam Dance Group led by Aswathy Nair (September 22-25). The group will also perform in Monrovia, Liberia, an official press release said.
 
Folk Dance of Arunachal Pradesh Rinchin Droma will be staged on October 27-30. The group will also perform in Conakry, Guinea.
 
Manipuri Dance Group led by B. Sanjita Devi will perform on January 26-28, 2018.
 
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Crowdfunding campaign launched to save 1,000 years old theatre art in Kerala

Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help protect one of the world’s oldest known theatre art forms from dying out for want of patronage and interest in the modern world.
 
The Nepathya Centre for Koodiyattam in Kerala is being supported by Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, in its goal to raise Rs 20 lakh via the crowdfunding platform BitGiving, to train a new generation of artistes in what constitutes the only surviving form of ancient Sanskrit theatre in the world.
 
Koodiyattam, a performance art that draws on the plays of Sanskrit dramatists of antiquity, is believed to have followed an unbroken tradition for more than 1,000 years in the state of Kerala. 
 
A highly stylized art form, Koodiyattam (Kutiyattam) evolved its unique theatre grammar over centuries with its own complex conventions, gestures and expressions, which require many years of arduous training to master.
 
Once limited to temples, Koodiyattam emerged on to performance stages and international audiences in the 1950s, thanks to the efforts of celebrated gurus such as Mani Madhava Chakyar, Painkulam Rama Chakyar and Ammannur Madhava Chakyar.
 
Today there are only around 50 practitioners of this art form and institutions such as Kalamandalam, Margi and Ammannur Gurukulam in Kerala impart training in Koodiyattam.
 
Nepathya, a school based in Moozhikulam in Thrissur district, is focused exclusively on Koodiyattam and is trying to preserve the most difficult of its traditional repertoires which need more time to master and which are not as popular as others because of their scholarly content. A not-for-profit institution, it was started 15 years ago to train a new generation of actors exclusively in Kutiyattam.
 
Nepathya’s founder and guru Margi Madhu says the lack of public awareness is one of the reasons for poor financial support and dearth of young artistes keen to learn. The crowdfunding drive is also doubling up as an awareness campaign.
 
“Nepathya has been struggling to raise funds for the past 12 years,” he says. “Currently, we are at risk of losing our trained artistes. Training a new student takes almost a decade and each time an artiste leaves, we go back to square one. We only have three senior students (and two young ones) and four drummers left because of lack of funding.”
 
These senior students — Rahul Gopinath, Yadhukrishnan K R and Vishnuprasad K R — aged around 20, have been training at Nepathya since the age of seven. They have undergone the preliminary stages of training and are now ready for the rigours of the more scholarly repertoires.
 
Margi Madhu says the funds raised on BitGiving will support the training of the three in Anguliyankam, the sixth act of the play 9th Century play Ascharyachudamani (The Wondrous Crest Jewel) by Saktibhadra.
 
It is an extremely difficult sequence to learn, needing up to three years of comprehensive study of the manuscripts, choreographic texts, and acting principles; and takes a full month to perform on stage. There are only three or four artistes in Koodiyattam today who can perform it in its entirety and only one or two artists who know its drumming patterns.
 
Nepathya will use the funds to enable its student artistes and drummers to dedicate more of their time and efforts to learning.
 
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Rahul, Yadhukrishnan and Vishnugopal are about to graduate from engineering colleges and under pressure to take up full-time jobs to earn a living. Margi Madhu says their families are supportive, but Koodiyattam will not sustain them unless it finds both aficionados and patronage.
 
“The real depth of the art lies in its ability to elevate the minds of the viewers. To do that the artistes themselves have to experience the pleasure of the art, and explore the depths of the performances,” he adds.  “They cannot do so if they are burdened by the prospect of looking for paying jobs, which is why we need funds to support them.”
 
UNESCO has declared Koodiyattam as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.
 
“It would be a tragedy and a shame if an art form that has survived for a thousand years dies on our watch,” says Dr. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, the Executive Director of Sahapedia, “We are wholly behind Nepathya’s efforts to save and popularize this ancient art. Koodiyattam is intimately connected to the cultural history of Kerala and the great traditions of Sanskrit literature, we have to preserve it whichever way we can. Supporting Nepathya is one step in that direction for all of us.”
 
The architect of the crowdfunding campaign, Neha Paliwal, Sahapedia’s Director, Projects says the campaign, which was launched on at the end of July and will run for two months, has so far raised Rs 1.02 lakh from ten patrons. “Such campaigns offer platforms for public participation in culture conservation efforts. It will also, hopefully, enable more people to see the beauty and value of art forms such as Koodiyattam that have historically been accessible to smaller communities.”
 
She said Sahapedia will use both its online portal as well as social media and other digital platforms to introduce Koodiyattam to a wider audience.          
 
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