Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Riveting Performance in ‘Aadujeevitham’ Sparks Heartfelt Exchange with Real-life Inspiration

Director Blessy’s survival epic Aadujeevitham (The Goat Life), starring Prithviraj Sukumaran in the lead, continues its triumphant streak at the box office, buoyed by a wave of positive reception. Based on Benyamin’s 2008 novel of the same title, Aadujeevitham draws inspiration from the harrowing real-life ordeal of Najeeb Muhammad, also known as Shukoor, who, in the 1990s, journeyed to the Persian Gulf states to support his family but found himself trapped in a life of servitude as a goat herder in the desert for over three years.

Prithviraj’s portrayal of Najeeb stands as a cornerstone of the film’s acclaim, widely hailed as one of his most compelling performances to date. The revelation that Prithviraj hadn’t met the real-life inspiration until after filming wrapped sparked intrigue, prompting reflections on how he managed to encapsulate the character’s essence without direct interaction.

Following the film’s success, Prithviraj engaged in a poignant exchange with Najeeb, bridging the chasm between reel and real experiences. Reflecting on the journey, Prithviraj shared, “In 2008, when Blessy first approached me for this role, I grappled with how to approach it. Should I seek insight from you directly, or should I interpret the Najeeb envisioned by Benyamin and Blessy? Ultimately, we decided that I would portray the Najeeb conceived in our minds, based on the novel and Blessy’s vision. That’s the Najeeb you’ll witness in the film. There’s a stark contrast.”

During their conversation, Prithviraj inquired if Najeeb, amidst his days herding goats, could discern the passage of time. Najeeb somberly responded in the negative, stating, “The sun rose and set… that’s all I knew,” leaving Prithviraj momentarily speechless.

Najeeb delved into the depths of his anguish, revealing, “I often thought escape was impossible. There were no gods left to pray to. I contemplated death as preferable to continued existence. Many times, I lay on the sand, hoping some creature would end my suffering. Yet, upon waking, thoughts of my family consumed me. My wife was eight months pregnant when I arrived there. Her well-being was my sole preoccupation.”

The exchange also includes reflections from Najeeb’s wife and son, offering poignant insights into their shared ordeal.

Prithviraj, moved by Najeeb’s resilience, remarked, “At times, I’ve felt you’re chosen by a higher power to share your story with the world. You are divine providence’s emissary.” Najeeb, though bearing the scars of his past, managed a pained smile in response. When asked if he would ever return to that place, Najeeb’s immediate response was a resolute “No.” “It’s still a nightmare,” he added.

Najeeb further revealed, “Even my wife and family learned of my trials only after the novel’s publication, through Benyamin’s work.”

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Epic Web Series ‘Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar’ Premieres May 1st on Netflix Amidst Glittering Drone Light Show Spectacle

Mumbai, Acclaimed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s highly anticipated web series “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar” is set to debut on the streaming giant Netflix on May 1.

The unveiling of the premiere date took place during a spectacular drone light show event at the Mahalaxmi Race Course in South Mumbai.

A glimpse into the captivating universe of “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar”, marking Bhansali’s foray into the digital realm, was showcased through formations created by drones against the evening sky.

The event witnessed the presence of the series’ ensemble cast including Manisha Koirala, Sonakshi Sinha, Richa Chadha, Sharmin Segal, and Sanjeeda Sheikh, along with Prerna Singh, CEO of Bhansali Productions, and Tanya Bami, Director of Series, Netflix India.

Described as an epic narrative of love, authority, vengeance, and liberation, the series delves into the cultural intricacies of ‘Heeramandi’, an opulent precinct, narrating tales of courtesans and their patrons within the tumultuous backdrop of India’s struggle for independence in the 1940s.

Reflecting on the creation of the dream-like ambiance in “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar”, Sinha remarked, “We were completely engrossed in his world, it was surreal, magnificent, and utterly captivating. As actors, it was an unparalleled experience.”

She further added, “The lesson we learned from working with him is that regardless of one’s proficiency, he always extracts something superior from you.”

Chadha, who collaborated with Bhansali in 2013’s “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela”, commended the director for his meticulousness.

“… Nothing can be approached with half-heartedness. Every aspect, be it dialogue delivery, performance, choreography, music, everything demands your utmost dedication. He even pays attention to every background actor. It’s an enriching experience to collaborate with him. We all evolved as performers,” she expressed.

“I believe his dedication to his craft is unparalleled,” added Koirala, who collaborated with Bhansali on his directorial debut “Khamoshi: The Musical” in 1996.

Aditi Rao Hydari, another star of “Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar”, was absent from the event due to her wedding to longtime partner, actor Siddharth, earlier in the day.

The series, conceptualized by Moin Beg, is helmed and produced by Bhansali himself.

S. Nandakumar’s Book, “Intricacies of Mridangam” Released

This book describes end to end playing techniques of Mridangam and elaborates unique concepts in Music

“My style in Carnatic Music, especially playing Mridangam, an ancient South Indian classical percussive instrument is very unique,” says T. Shankaranarayanan Nandakumar, while describing the objective of writing of his new book, “Intricacies of Mridangam”  is being released in hardcover both Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. “I want to pass on this rich knowledge and skills that I have received from my Masters to the new generation, who are often not familiar with the nuances of this ancient musical instrument.”

Mridangam (2)World renowned for his mastery of the Mridangam and with expertise in various other percussion instruments, including konnakol (vocal percussion), thavil, ghatam, kanjira, and morsing, Nandakumar is a well-known south Indian music artist, showcasing his versatility in Carnatic music and has devoted his entire life to the cause of popularizing Indian classical music around the world.

Nandakumar developed a string interest in music at a very young age. Throughout his professional career, he has accompanied many well-known names in Carnatic music and continues to perform all over the world. As a percussionist, TSN has accompanied luminaries in Carnatic music, including Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M. D. Ramanathan, Bhimsen Joshi, T. N. Krishnan, M. Balamuralikrishna and others. His role as an accompanist has greatly enhanced the events with the performances of these eminent artists.

Through his musical engagements, TSN engages in cultural diplomacy, fostering an appreciation for Indian musicTSN Mridangam 04 (2) and drumming traditions. This indirect form of education occurs as audiences experience the artistry and cultural depth of the mridangam during performances. He has taken up his life mission to perpetuate Indian ancient art form and has dedicated himself in teaching the same to hundreds of students worldwide.

With the mission to spread the knowledge and provide education on this ancient Indian musical instrument, Nandakumar established TSN’s Percussive Arts Centre. Inc (TSNPAC), where students are trained in diverse instruments. Since its inception in 1998 in Mumbai, India, TSNPAC has evolved into a hub for students to refine their skills and collaborate within the realm of Carnatic arts. Upon migrating to New Jersey, USA, TSN seamlessly incorporated TSNPAC, offering courses in higher learning for Carnatic percussion enthusiasts in the United States. Today, TSNPAC stands as a beacon for aspiring artists seeking to master the intricacies of Carnatic percussion.

Leading concert (2)Nandakumar’s belief that “Music is like a horizon which is never ending and has no boundaries” has enabled him to take music with him wherever he goes. Since his coming to the United States, Nandakumar continues his life’s mission through stage performances at prestigious orchestras, participation in global music events, educational initiatives and contributions, collaborations, global impact, and philanthropic endeavors. He has demonstrated a commitment to social responsibility through charity work, including organizing a 24-hour non-stop Akanda Seva Bhajan in aid of India’s tsunami victims.

According to Nandakumar, playing Mridangam requires mastering of several intricacies and mathematicalLifetime Achievement Award by SAFE (2) calculations. This new volume is aimed at providing the skills to an enthusiastic learner of Mridangam to be able to play with any artist without practice.

TSNPAC conducts Mridangam Arangetram annually, where students, without prior rehearsal, accompany main artists like A. Kanyakumari, culminating in a graduation ceremony. Notably, TSNPAC’s influence extends globally, with dozens of professional student performances, including drumming, at the Cleveland Thyagaraja festival. TSNPAC’s significant milestones include a decennial celebration marked by a grand performance featuring over 100 students.

TSN Mridangam 03 (2)TSN’s participation in international festivals and workshops has contributed to the global awareness of Indian percussion, showcasing the richness of Indian drumming traditions and providing a platform for cross-cultural exchange. By actively participating in musical collaborations and performances in the United States, TSN not only showcases the beauty of the mridangam but also educates audiences about the intricacies and significance of this traditional Indian percussion instrument.

“Through music, you can reach god,” says Nandakumar who wants to spread this path to the Almighty. “I feel very good about my accomplishment in spreading my knowledge about music to everyone. I have students all over the world, students of Indian origin and from other nationalities, some of them have become full-time musicians and are accompanying renowned artists,” Nandakumar says with pride.

In recognition of his great accomplishments, TSN was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award by the ShantiWith K J Yesudas (2) Foundation in Chennai. He was awarded the “Best Teacher Award” from several organizations with the most prominent being awarded by Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and the Cleveland Thygaraja Aaradhana Festival and by the Shanmukhananda Fine Arts, Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai in 2007, Bharat Ratna Dr. M. S. Subbulakshmi Sangeetha Pracharya Award), and Visionary Award by Academy of Indian Music, USA.

Dedicating his entire life to the spreading of Carnatic Music, Nandakumar has been highly sought after as a teacher in India and abroad. He has conducted several musical concerts, lectures, demonstrations, and workshops at universities in the United States abroad like Lamar University of Houston and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. TSN conducted special classes in percussive arts at the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Pittsburgh, and the Academy of Indian Music in New Jersey and Switzerland. He also conducted 24 hours nonstop Akanda Seva Bhajan (Offered a Prayer through the medium of music) with his students in Mumbai for the tsunami-affected victims of India.

In Performance (2)Nandakumar says, “My aim of contributing to Carnatic music by spreading knowledge has been successful and I forever am indebted to my parents and my teacher. I feel even more proud that some of my students have become masters of mridangam and it’s an honor knowing that the knowledge I shared with my students is now spreading around the world, imparting to many generations.”

Nandakumar’s new volume, “Intricacies of Mridangam” gives an overview of the ancient South Indian Classical Carnatic music style for the percussive instrument, mridangam. This book describes end to end playing techniques of Mridangam and elaborates unique concepts in Music, which arecollage (2) explained with examples as well as some original creations and compositions from the author.

The funds generated from the sale of the book will support (TSN’s Percussive Arts Centre. Inc) TSNPAC’s initiatives, such as organizing events that offer students the chance to participate in full-fledged concerts.

“Intricacies of Mridangam” is now available for purchase online! You can find it at the following links: Barnes & Noble: and at: Amazon on:

Actor’s Parallel Journey: From Film’s Immigration Woes to Real-Life Legal Struggles

A lawyer sits opposite his client, delivering a grave ultimatum.

“You have one month to secure a co-signer for your visa,” he solemnly states. “Otherwise, you’ll be forced to depart from the United States.”

Such dismal scenes are commonplace at Khalil Immigration Law, where individuals facing defeat often seem to vanish into thin air. Even the office’s decor fails to inspire confidence, with a plaque offering a tepid reassurance: “We’ll do what we can!”

This surreal setting is just one of many eccentric locales viewers encounter in the newly released film “Problemista.” The story follows Alejandro, portrayed by writer-director Julio Torres, as he embarks on a frantic journey to remain in the US and fulfill his aspirations.

Early in the movie, we witness a pivotal moment between Alejandro and his lawyer, Mr. Khalil, played by Laith Nakli. Faced with impending deadlines, Khalil urges Alejandro to find a solution promptly. Could a newfound acquaintance serve as his sponsor?

“I mean, we’ll see,” Alejandro responds with a shrug.

Rather than proposing a groundbreaking legal strategy, Khalil’s reaction is unexpectedly lighthearted. “We’ll see,” he echoes, envisioning the phrase adorning a new plaque in the waiting room. “That’s a much better motto for us.”

Such humorous interludes pepper “Problemista,” a film that underscores the uncertainties inherent in the US immigration system and the surreal hurdles confronting those who navigate it.

Despite the absurdities, Alejandro persists against the odds, contending with the erratic behavior of his employer, art critic Elizabeth Asencio, portrayed by Tilda Swinton, whose default mode seems to be confrontation.

For Torres, the film is both a work of fiction and a reflection of personal experiences. Having migrated from El Salvador to pursue his education in the US, Torres empathizes deeply with Alejandro’s struggles. Recalling his own anxiety while transitioning from a student visa to a work visa, he admits, “I would wake up and my heart was already racing.”

Similarly, Nakli, who portrays the well-intentioned but ineffective immigration lawyer in “Problemista,” finds parallels between his own journey and Alejandro’s plight. Despite achieving success in his acting career, Nakli’s past legal troubles continue to cast a shadow over his life.

In 1998, Nakli, originally from the UK and a former bodybuilding champion, faced federal charges related to conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances. Reflecting on his remorse, he expressed profound regret for betraying the trust of the country that welcomed him.

Transitioning from bodybuilding to acting, Nakli found himself haunted by his past, yet hesitant to share his story due to shame. Despite the closure of his deportation case under the Obama administration, Nakli remains vigilant, aware that any misstep could reignite legal proceedings.

The perpetual uncertainty weighs heavily on Nakli, reminiscent of the tense atmosphere depicted in “Problemista,” where waiting room scenes evoke a palpable sense of dread.

Nakli’s decision to pursue a presidential pardon underscores the ironic juxtaposition of his role as an immigration lawyer in the film. Torres believes Nakli’s experience highlights the unforgiving nature of the immigration system, which disproportionately affects immigrants like Nakli.

“Problemista” offers a satirical lens through which to examine the labyrinthine bureaucracy of immigration. Torres drew inspiration from his own struggles, recalling the absurdities of navigating the visa process through unconventional means, such as the gig economy and online platforms like Craigslist.

The film’s surreal elements mirror the Kafkaesque realities of immigration, where legal pathways are convoluted, and success often hinges on bending the rules. Despite the challenges, Torres maintains that “Problemista” isn’t merely an exposé but a testament to resilience in the face of adversity.

Both Alejandro and Torres embody the spirit of a “problemista” – individuals who thrive amidst challenges and find creative solutions to navigate life’s complexities.

As Nakli awaits a decision on his pardon application, he remains hopeful for a fresh start. Recognizing the transformative power of second chances, he embraces the possibility of redemption and a renewed sense of belonging in the country he calls home.

While uncertainties loom, Nakli’s resilience echoes the hopeful message of “Problemista,” where perseverance and resourcefulness ultimately triumph over adversity. Unlike the ghostly figures of rejected immigrants depicted in the film, Nakli’s story is one of resilience and the enduring pursuit of a brighter future.

Music Maestro A. R. Rahman To Work With Blessy On ‘The Goat Life’

Music maestro A. R. Rahman has expressed his deep joy working with director Blessy, whose latest venture ‘The Goat Life’ is all set to hit the theatres on March 28.

The film is being released in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.

Speaking about his journey in the film, Rahman said, it is an honour to work with such a passionate man as Blessy, who believes in cinema, goodwill, stories and humanity.

“Working with him taught me so much because he is a very patient person. I want to thank you for coming and supporting us. This movie is a story of all of us, we are all struggling in some kind of way,” said Rahman, who was in the city here coinciding with the music launch of the film.

“For some people the struggle is internal, in the movie, the struggle of the hero is being trapped in a desert, but still, a lot of people are relating to this. Returning to the Malayalam film industry, I personally feel like I have come back home. Coming back in this way for such a special movie with such great people to support this, it is such an honour, and it has been a very interesting journey,” said Rahman.

Talking about the music of the film, the hero of the film Prithviraj Sukumaran said he had the privilege of working in two films that Rahman sir had composed.

“Both the films had amazing music, but, I have done over 120 films and I do not remember another time when I have heard the score of a film after having done it entirely and then wished that I had the score with me when I was acting. I wish I could hear the music before each take now, but that is the process of cinema, you don’t get to do that. I would like to thank you for what you have done for the film, you are as big a character as Najeeb is in The Goat Life. It’s an amazing piece of work,” said Prithviraj.

The film is based on the novel ‘Aadujeevitham’, one of the most popular best sellers ever from the Malayalam literary world, which has been translated in 12 different languages, including those that are foreign.

Penned by noted writer Benyamin and it follows the true story of the life of a young man Najeeb, who in the early 90s migrates from the lush green shores of Kerala in search of the fortunes in a land abroad. (IANS)

Miss India Sini Shetty Bows Out Of The Miss World Beauty Pageant

India’s hopes of winning the coveted Miss World 2024 title came crashing after Miss India Sini Shetty failed to make it to the Top 4 of the beauty pageant, on Saturday last week. Sini Shetty, India’s representation to the 71st Miss World pageant has been ruled out of the race from Top 4. Sini Shetty had participated in the grand finale of Miss World 2024, being held at Jio World Centre in BKC, Mumbai.

Besting 111 of her fellow titleholders from across the globe, Krystyna Pyszková of the Czech Republic was crowned Miss World 2024 on Saturday in Mumbai, India, where the international pageant was held this year.

Pyszková’s victory came over these three runners-up — Yasmina Zeytoun of Lebanon, Aché Abrahams of Trinidad and Tobago and Lesego Chombo of Botswana. These women, along with Jessica Gagen of England, are considered the pageant’s “continental winners.”

Across a series of events during the pageant’s preliminary competition, including fitness, beauty, talent and public speaking, several contestants won “fast track” places in the top 40, a cohort announced at the start of the show.

Shetty was bested by Miss Lebanon who made it to the top 4. The 22-year-old Bharatnatyam dancer represented India at the beauty pageant. She was born and raised in Mumbai.

A 12-member jury — consisting of Miss World 2017 winner Manushi Chhillar, actors Kriti Sanon, Pooja Hegde, Julia Morley, chairperson and CEO of the Miss World Organization, film producer Sajid Nadiadwala, former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, and news personality Rajat Sharma, presided over the Miss World 2024 pageant.

Sini was asked about the role of social media in the empowerment of women across the globe, and it seems like the judges’ panel wasn’t too impressed with her answer.

She said that social media has the power to change the world, adding that it has led to increasing participation of women in different fields. She also said that social media has the power to place the world on a progressive path.

India eventually lost to Yasmina Zaytoun of Lebanon in the Asia and Oceania category. The top four countries still in contention for the title are Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana, the Czech Republic, and Lebanon.

Producer-director Karan Johar is hosting the event along with the winner of Miss World 2013, Megan Young. The event is being held at the Jio Convention Centre in the BKC area here. The mega event is being hosted by India after a gap of 28 years.

Representatives from 112 countries participated at the event, which was held at the Jio World Convention Centre in BKC in Mumbai. It was hosted by Karan Johar and Megan Young, winner of Miss World 2013 pageant.

Manushi Chhillar was the most recent Indian to win the pageant.  Earlier, Reita Faria Powell, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Diana Hayden, Yukta Mookhey and Priyanka Chopra Jonas won the competition.

The Miss World pageant returned to India after 28 years. The country last hosted the event in 1996 which saw Irene Skliva of Greece win the title.

At the event, Nita Ambani was conferred the Miss World Humanitarian Award.  Nita Ambani was awarded for her work with Reliance Foundation, a non-profit organisation. Julia Morley CBE, the Chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, presented her with the award.

Further Aché Abrahams of Trinidad and Tobago was crowned Miss America and Caribbean at the 71st Miss World pageant.

Meanwhile, Lesego Chombo of Botswana won the Miss World Africa title. Krystyna Pyszková of Czech Republic won the Miss Europe title, and Yasmin Azaytoun of Lebanon won the Miss World Asia and Oceania title.

Miss World is widely viewed as the oldest international beauty pageant, first founded in the United Kingdom in 1951 as a “bikini contest.” Perhaps its two best-known winners are both from India: the actors Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Miss World 1994) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Miss World 2000). Chopra Jonas appeared at the pageant in a video message, paying tribute to both Miss World owner Julia Morley and Nita Ambani, winner of the pageant’s Humanitarian Award.

The finale of the beauty pageant saw Miss World 2023 Karolina Bielawska of Poland crowning her successor.

96th Academy Awards: A Playful and Memorable Ceremony with Ryan Gosling Shining Bright

The Oscars ceremony always aims to achieve three main goals: recognizing the year’s best films and talent, promoting cinema attendance, and delivering an entertaining show for both the audience at home and the industry elite. In recent years, boosting movie theater attendance has become particularly crucial due to a decline caused by factors like the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of streaming platforms. However, the 96th Academy Awards predominantly excelled in entertainment value, characterized by its playful tone and memorable moments, notably featuring Ryan Gosling’s captivating contributions.

While the ceremony succeeded in providing an enjoyable spectacle, the actual awards followed a predictable trajectory, culminating in “Oppenheimer” claiming the coveted best picture award, among its total of seven wins under director Christopher Nolan’s helm. The lack of suspense surrounding most categories, except for best actress, was notable. Emma Stone clinched the award for her role in “Poor Things,” offering a touching acceptance speech, although it meant Lily Gladstone missed out on a potentially historic win.

The predictability of the awards mirrored the extensive preparation and rehearsal time nominees had during the lengthy awards season, which kicked off in early January. Despite the show’s quality, there were concerns about its ability to improve television ratings, especially with its earlier start time and the concurrent shift to Daylight Savings Time. However, in today’s fragmented TV landscape, maintaining viewership can be considered a success in itself, as demonstrated by the recent record-low ratings of the Emmys, even with a well-executed broadcast.

Highlighting the evening’s notable moments, several factors stood out:

  1. Acting Testimonials: Previous Oscar winners introducing nominees in the acting categories added a warm touch, emphasizing the honor of being nominated. While there were emotional moments, such as Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s reaction, overall, it contributed to the celebratory atmosphere of the event.
  2. Ryan Gosling’s Performance: Gosling’s rendition of “I’m Just Ken” was a standout moment, living up to the anticipation with his spirited performance, including a humorous exchange with Emily Blunt. His contribution earned him the unofficial title of Oscars MVP for the year.
  3. Jimmy Kimmel’s Hosting: Jimmy Kimmel brought his trademark light-hearted approach to the hosting duties, effectively balancing humor with addressing industry challenges, such as the strikes affecting the entertainment sector.
  4. Efficient Timing: The ceremony managed to conclude within its allotted time, thanks to starting earlier and pacing the program effectively, allowing for meaningful tributes and performances without feeling rushed.
  5. Political Statements: While most of the evening focused on the awards, there were poignant political moments, including speeches by directors highlighting global issues, such as the conflict in Gaza and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  6. Diverse Recognition: Despite one film dominating the awards, several others received recognition, ensuring a more diverse spread of accolades among the nominees.
  7. International Representation: The awards reflected an increasingly globalized film industry, with winners from various countries, showcasing the diversity and talent beyond Hollywood.
  8. John Cena’s Appearance: John Cena’s playful nod to Oscar history by presenting the best costume design award in a humorous manner added a fun touch to the proceedings.

However, there were some shortcomings:

  1. Presenter Banter: While some presenter interactions were enjoyable, overall, the banter felt lacking, with only a few moments standing out amidst mediocrity.
  2. Honorary Oscars Oversight: The oversight of not showcasing clips from previously presented honorary awards felt like a missed opportunity to honor industry veterans.
  3. “Flamin’ Hot” Performance: While most song performances were strong, the rendition from “Flamin’ Hot” came across as overly theatrical and out of place.

Overall, the 96th Academy Awards succeeded in delivering an entertaining and memorable ceremony, albeit with some areas for improvement. Despite challenges in the industry and the broader television landscape, the Oscars maintained their position as a significant cultural event, celebrating the best in film while offering moments of reflection and entertainment.

Taylor Swift Wows Singapore with Surprise Album Announcement and Magical Performances!

In a dazzling display of talent and surprise, Taylor Swift, 34, captivated an audience of approximately 55,000 fans at the Singapore National Stadium. Amidst her performance, she stunned her admirers with an unexpected revelation.

Seated gracefully at her piano during her second show in Singapore, Swift unveiled the fourth and final rendition of her upcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department. A snapshot shared by a fan on X showcased the album’s new iteration displayed on stage, unveiling a bonus track titled “The Black Dog,” accompanied by previously unreleased artwork featuring Swift elegantly running her fingers through her hair.

Taking to Instagram, the pop icon shared the news alongside an image mirroring the artwork showcased during her live performance. “‘Old habits die screaming…’ File Name: The Black Dog ���,” she expressed, urging fans to pre-order the ultimate edition of THE TORTURED POETS DEPARTMENT, inclusive of the exclusive bonus track “The Black Dog” available on her website.

Included in her post was another snapshot revealing the album’s track listing, featuring a distinct image of Swift with the phrase “Old habits die screaming” emblazoned across it.

This performance marked the second of six shows scheduled in the country, with Swift set to grace the Eras Tour stage once again for three consecutive nights following a two-day hiatus.

Prior to her enchanting Singaporean performances, Swift shared her profound connection to the city, particularly emphasizing its significance due to her mother, Andrea Swift, who spent a significant part of her childhood there. Recounting fond memories, Swift reminisced about her mother driving her past their old family home and school during previous tours, weaving Singapore’s narrative into her life story.

Before her Singaporean rendezvous, Swift delighted audiences in Sydney, Australia, cherishing what she described as “magical” moments in an Instagram post reflecting on her time down under. Despite facing a weather-related setback that led to the cancellation of her supporting act Sabrina Carpenter’s set, Swift graced her fans with a heartfelt mashup of her songs “White Horse” and “Coney Island.”

Throughout her Sydney performances, Swift continued to surprise her fans with inventive mashups, blending classics like “Haunted” with newer hits like “Exile” from her 2020 album folklore. Additionally, she seamlessly fused the vault track “Is It Over Now?” from the 2023 release 1989 (Taylor’s Version) with another gem from the same album, “I Wish You Would.”

Swift’s presence in Sydney drew a constellation of celebrities, including Katy Perry, Rebel Wilson, and her beau Travis Kelce, the 34-year-old Super Bowl champion tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs. Notably, Kelce, stepping into a role traditionally reserved for Swift’s father, Scott, distributed guitar picks to ecstatic fans during her inaugural Sydney performance.

Disney and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Forge $8.5 Billion Media Merger in India’s Entertainment Market Power Play

Walt Disney Co. and the conglomerate led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani have entered a binding agreement to combine their media operations in India, forming a dominant entity worth $8.5 billion in one of the world’s most rapidly expanding entertainment markets.

According to a statement by Reliance Industries Ltd. on Wednesday, the US media giant will hold a 36.84% stake, while Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. will possess 16.34% in the joint venture. Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd. will retain the remaining 46.82%.

Reliance plans to inject an additional 115 billion rupees ($1.4 billion) into the joint venture for expansion purposes, with Disney potentially contributing additional assets pending regulatory approvals. The joint venture will gain exclusive rights to distribute Disney content in India, encompassing a vast catalog of over 30,000 assets.

The deal is slated to conclude either in the final quarter of 2024 or the initial quarter of 2025.

The agreement, previously reported by Bloomberg on January 25, reflects Disney’s strategic shift to engage the burgeoning audience in India, a nation boasting over 1.4 billion inhabitants. Intense market competition has posed challenges for global players seeking to establish a foothold. The merger, upon finalization, will forge one of India’s largest entertainment conglomerates, empowering it to compete more vigorously against international rivals like Netflix Inc. and Amazon Prime Video.

Additionally, the partnership will aid Reliance, a relative newcomer in India’s media landscape, in fortifying its streaming service, Jio Cinema, by leveraging Disney-Star India’s content reservoir and tapping into its expertise in sports broadcasting.

Nita Ambani is set to chair the joint venture, with Uday Shankar designated as vice chairperson, as outlined in the Reliance statement.

Goldman Sachs provided financial and valuation advisory services for Reliance and Viacom18, while Raine Group and Citi Group served as financial advisors to Disney.

Disney has grappled with various challenges in India, including subscriber retention and securing sought-after media assets. Conversely, Reliance has adopted a more aggressive stance in recent years, seizing a larger share of the local media and entertainment sectors.

Ambani’s conglomerate has emerged as a formidable rival to Disney in the Indian market. In 2022, Reliance outbid Disney for the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League, a hugely popular cricket tournament valued at $6.2 billion. Furthermore, it clinched a multi-year agreement in April to broadcast HBO shows from Warner Bros Discovery Inc., including acclaimed series such as Succession, House of the Dragon, and The Last of Us, which were previously under Disney’s purview.

Geetha Ranganathan, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, noted in a December 12 report that the merger “can result in meaningful cost savings and improve Disney’s bottom line.”

Renowned Ghazal Singer Pankaj Udhas Passes Away at 72

Veteran ghazal-playback singer and Padma Shri recipient Pankaj Udhas passed away today at the age of 72 in Mumbai after battling a prolonged illness. He breathed his last at 11 am at Breach Candy Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for some time. The news of his demise was confirmed by his family, who mentioned that he had been suffering from a long-term illness. His daughter, Nayaab, shared the sad news on Instagram, stating, “With a very heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness.”

Expressing their condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the iconic singer, recalling his contributions to Indian music and the profound emotions his ghazals evoked. He noted the personal interactions he had with Udhas over the years and highlighted the irreplaceable void left by his departure.

Similarly, Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam reminisced about the significant role Udhas played in his childhood, expressing deep sadness at his passing and thanking him for his presence in his life.

Indian Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, also mourned the loss, acknowledging Udhas’ immense contribution to the world of ghazals and extending heartfelt condolences to his family.

Pankaj Udhas, survived by his two daughters, Nayaab and Rewa Udhas, will be remembered for his soul-stirring ghazals that transcended generations. His famous compositions such as ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’, ‘Chandi Jaisa Rang Tera’, ‘Thodi Thodi Piya Karo’, ‘Ek Taraf Uska Ghar’, and ‘Aaj Jinke Kareeb Hote Hai’ will continue to resonate with listeners, offering solace in times of joy and sorrow.

As we bid farewell to this legendary artist, let us cherish the legacy of his mesmerizing voice and the profound impact he had on our lives through his timeless music.

Oppenheimer Triumphs at SAG Awards Amidst Tributes and Recognition for Actors’ Strike Impact

Christopher Nolan’s biographical film Oppenheimer took center stage at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards on Saturday, with multiple winners acknowledging the significance of last year’s actors’ strike. Cillian Murphy secured the award for best actor, while Robert Downey Jr. clinched best supporting actor, and the Oppenheimer ensemble triumphed with outstanding performance by a cast.

In his remarks at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Irish actor Murphy expressed gratitude for being recognized by his peers, reminiscing about his early struggles as an aspiring actor. He stated, “Twenty-eight years ago when I was trying to become an actor, I was a failed musician, and I felt extremely like an interloper. But looking out on all of you guys here today, I know I’m part of something truly wonderful.” Oppenheimer chronicles the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, often hailed as “the father of the atomic bomb.”

Accepting the accolade for outstanding cast, British actor Sir Kenneth Branagh lauded the actors’ union strike, which caused delays in numerous Hollywood projects last year. He expressed appreciation, saying, “Thank you for fighting for us, thank you for every Sag-Aftra member whose support and whose sacrifice allows us to be standing here better than we were before.”

Lily Gladstone, star of Killers of the Flower Moon, claimed the title of best leading actress and also addressed the impact of the strike in her speech. “This has been a hard year for all of us,” remarked Gladstone, emphasizing solidarity with other unions.

The SAG Awards often serve as a barometer for predicting winners at the upcoming Academy Awards, slated for March 10. While Murphy is a frontrunner for the best actor category, the competition is tighter for best actress, with Gladstone and Poor Things star Emma Stone vying for the honor.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph from The Holdovers secured best supporting actress, while Robert Downey Jr. from Oppenheimer was recognized as best supporting actor. In television categories, Succession clinched best ensemble drama cast for its fourth and final season, and The Bear was awarded best ensemble comedy cast.

Barbra Streisand received this year’s lifetime achievement award, presented by Jennifer Aniston and Bradley Cooper. Reflecting on her journey, Streisand reminisced, “I didn’t like reality, I wanted to be in movies. Even though I knew I didn’t look like the other women on screen. My mother said ‘you’d better learn to type’. But I didn’t listen. And somehow, some way, it all came true.”

During the In Memoriam segment of the show, tributes were paid to notable figures such as Matthew Perry, Harry Belafonte, Sir Michael Gambon, Tina Turner, and others. The Devil Wears Prada stars Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Emily Blunt reunited to present the first award of the night, offering a nostalgic sketch featuring iconic lines from the movie, nearly two decades after its release.

Idris Elba, the London-born actor, hosted the ceremony, marking the 30th SAG Awards, which were streamed on Netflix for the first time. Elba injected humor into the proceedings, joking, “Personally, I can’t wait to get home, and have Netflix recommend this show to me.”

Air India’s Captivating Inflight Safety Video Celebrates India’s Cultural Heritage

Air India has unveiled its latest inflight safety video on X, showcasing a captivating celebration of India’s cultural heritage. The video ingeniously integrates various classical dance and folk art forms from across the nation to convey essential safety guidelines for air travel.

“Air India’s new Safety Film draws inspiration from the rich tapestry of Indian classical dance and folk art forms, which have historically served as mediums for storytelling and instruction,” the airline announced alongside the release of the video.

In this innovative safety presentation, viewers are treated to a visual journey through eight distinct dance forms, with each mudra or gesture symbolizing a different safety instruction. The featured dance styles include Bharatnatyam, Odissi, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Kathak, Ghoomar, Bihu, and Gidda, each representing a unique facet of India’s cultural diversity.

Since its debut just a day ago, the video has rapidly gained traction, garnering over a million views and counting, with an array of reactions flooding social media platforms.

Online users have expressed admiration for the video’s artistic approach to safety guidelines. One commenter praised it as “Beautifully classical in a classy safety film,” while another exclaimed, “Wow. Wow. Wow. Yes, this is the word here,” highlighting the awe-inspiring nature of the presentation.

Others commended the video for its cultural representation and innovative delivery of safety information. “So nicely articulated, shows the diverse culture our country has. Well done!” remarked a viewer, emphasizing the film’s ability to showcase India’s rich traditions.

Many lauded Air India for departing from conventional safety demonstrations, with one individual noting, “What a breath of fresh air! Colourful, vibrant and so full-of-life safety instructions instead of a tape-recorded script or an uninteresting drill by flight attendants.” Another praised the airline’s initiative, stating, “It’s a delightful way to showcase the essence of Indian traditions while emphasizing the importance of in-flight safety. Kudos to Air India for this creative and innovative initiative!

Air India’s new inflight safety video has captured the hearts of viewers with its artistic depiction of safety guidelines, seamlessly blending tradition with modernity to create a memorable and engaging experience for passengers.

All India Rank: Varun Grover’s Directorial Debut Takes Center Stage as the First Indian Film to Close IFFR in Over 5 Decades

Indian writer, lyricist, and comedian Varun Grover ventured into the realm of directing with his debut film ‘All India Rank,’ marking a significant milestone as it closed the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2024, making it the first Indian film to achieve this feat in 52 years.

The storyline of the movie unfolds in Kota, India, encapsulating the late 1990s era. It portrays the journey of 17-year-old Vivek, who is dispatched to a preparatory school to ready himself for the fiercely competitive IIT entrance examination, often dubbed as “the MIT of India.”

The narrative delves into the intensity and grim reality surrounding the arduous exam preparation process. Furthermore, it serves as a reflection of the socio-cultural landscape of India during the liberalization era of the 1990s.

Through a semi-autobiographical lens, Grover presents a poignant depiction of the lives of Indian adolescents and the societal pressures entwined with academic success. The film not only follows the protagonist’s personal odyssey but also delves into the dynamics between parental aspirations and individual dreams, resonating with a wide audience.

Boasting a stellar ensemble cast including Bodhisattva Sharma, Shashi Bhushan, and Samta Sudiksha, the film is backed by a proficient crew featuring cinematographer Archana Ghangrekar and editor Sanyukta Kaza.

Grover, acclaimed for his lyrical prowess, earned accolades such as the Best Lyricist award at the National Film Awards for his work in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha.’ His notable contributions extend to serving as the lyricist for acclaimed films like Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ I and II, the 2015 hit ‘Masaan,’ and the recent blockbuster ‘RRR,’ among others. Notably, he recently concluded a world tour of ‘Aisi Taisi Democracy,’ a satirical stand-up comedy show.

The film made its grand debut at the IFFR 2024 on February 6 and is slated for release in Indian cinemas on February 23.

After Beyonce, Paris Hilton stuns in Indian designer Gaurav Gupta’s sculpted dress

New Delhi– Socialite and entrepreneur Paris Hilton has made heads turn in a “sculpted” outfit by ace Indian designer Gaurav Gupta.

The designer and the socialite took to their respective Instagram accounts to share the look. In the picture, Paris looked every bit like an angel in the all white sculpted dress. She completed the look with elbow high gloves paired with embellished stilettos. She left her golden hair open, chose bold eyes and nude lips.

Paris shared the image in the white dress and captioned it: “Paris In Wonderland.”

The designer also shared another picture of Paris in the same outfit but in black. He shared that the outfit was from his Paris Couture Week collection Spring Summer 23 called Shunya.

He captioned the image: “@parishilton in Gaurav Gupta Couture For @numeromagazine’s Exclusive Interview. Paris wears the white orbit sculpted dress and the black smoke dress from Shunya, Paris Couture Week SS’23.”

Last week, Gupta shared a picture of Grammy-winning singer Beyonce sporting his ensemble for the New York Fashion Week. The statement outfit was from the designer’s recent collection, ‘Aarohanam’.

Gupta detailed the look for the readers: “@beyonce in Gaurav Gupta Couture for #NYFW. She wears the Galaxy crystal jacket with embroidered body suit and boots from our recently launched Paris Couture SS’24 collection, Aarohanam.”

He has previously styled globally popular names such as Priyanka Chopra, Lizzo, Kylie Minogue and Megan Thee Stallion. (IANS)

ZEE5 Global’s Most anticipated show ‘Sunflower Season 2’ To Begin on March 1

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, today unveiled the trailer of the much-awaited second season of the crime comedy, ‘Sunflower.’ This riveting trailer offers a tantalizing glimpse into the intriguing world of Sunflower, a middle-class housing society in Mumbai, teeming with quirky characters. Sunil Grover, reprising his role as the enigmatic Sonu Singh, once again infuses humor and mystery while Adah Sharma adds her charm as Rosie Mehta to the already stellar cast. Produced by Reliance Entertainment and Cinergy in association with A Good Co. Production, the new season boasts of an ensemble cast led by Sunil Grover. The show also features Ashish Vidyarthi, Ranvir Shorey, Mukul Chaddha, and Girish Kulkarni. Directed by Navin Gujral, the show promises to deliver an even more exciting and layered story, ‘Sunflower Season 2’ that will premiere on March 1 exclusively on ZEE5 Global.

Trailer Link:

Picking up from where we left off, police duo DG and Tambe, portrayed by Ranvir Shorey and Girish Kulkarni respectively, continue their relentless hunt for Mr. Kapoor’s murderer. As seen in the trailer, the new season will witness India’s most loved murder suspect coming back, Ahuja’s confession and Rosie’s entry into Sunflower Society. Rosie is a captivating bar dancer, who has inherited Kapoor’s penthouse, raising more questions and spotlight to the case. As the story progresses, love and romance will flourish between Sonu and Rosie… How will their equations alter the course of the story? Is there more than what meets the eye?

With more intriguing characters emerging as suspects, the question remains: Will the cops nab the actual killer, or they will keep going in circles? Sunflower Season 2 is a rollercoaster ride of laughter and thrill that the audience will uncover on March 1.

Actor Sunil Grover, reprising the role of Sonu Singh from Season 1, expressed, ‘I am genuinely thrilled to finally share the exciting new season of ‘Sunflower’ with our incredible fans. The wait has indeed been long, and I know fans are eagerly waiting for this next chapter. The love for Season 1 has been overwhelming, and I sincerely hope that fans will appreciate this season even more. Sunflower Season 2 has more suspense, filled with thrill and laughter, while introducing complex characters. I particularly enjoy playing such multilayered characters as it gives a chance to explore the character a lot more. The aim was to keep this season light-hearted while adding that layer of intrigue and mystery. To all the viewers out there, get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions, laughter, and unexpected twists in the fresh sequel of ‘Sunflower,’ premiering on ZEE5 Global!”

Adah Sharma who is thrilled to be a part of Sunflower Season 2, shared her excitement, “Joining the cast of ‘Sunflower,’ which has already garnered a massive fandom, has been an absolute delight, and I am thrilled for the show’s much-awaited sequel. My character, Rosie adds a new layer to the narrative. Rosie is mysterious and very sharp. She’s very attractive however she’s the woman of every man’s nightmare. Rosie comes to live in Sunflower society and turns everyone’s lives upside down. She is on a mission right from the start, she claims she is a bar dancer but as the episodes progress you realise, she’s an excellent liar who can fool everyone with her innocence. Right from the cops to Mr. Iyer to Sonu she manages to outsmart everyone.”

Mark your calendars now and don’t forget to unveil the mystery in ‘Sunflower Season 2’ premiering on 1st March exclusively on ZEE5 Global!

ZEE5 Global is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

Super Bowl 2024 Breaks Records: Taylor Swift’s Presence and Usher’s Halftime Show Propel Viewership to New Heights

This year’s Super Bowl drew in an average of 123.4 million viewers in the United States, marking it as the most-watched broadcast since the 1969 Moon landing. Initial US TV ratings positioned Sunday’s game closely trailing Apollo 11’s momentous touchdown, which garnered an estimated viewership of 125 to 150 million individuals. The match saw the Kansas City Chiefs triumph over the San Francisco 49ers with a score of 25-22 in overtime.

The anticipation surrounding Taylor Swift’s attendance to support her boyfriend Travis Kelce likely contributed to the heightened viewership figures. Speculation had been rife leading up to the event regarding Swift’s return from Japan, where she had been touring. According to Variety, there is ongoing discussion regarding the extent of her impact on the audience numbers, although consumer research firm Numerator, through a flash poll, concluded that 20% of Super Bowl viewers were inclined towards the Chiefs due to the singer’s association with Kelce. The cameras certainly captured the Swift factor, with footage showcasing her entrance into the arena, interactions with actress Blake Lively and rapper Ice Spice, and a celebratory kiss with Kelce post-match.

Out of the 123.4 million average viewers, 112 million tuned in to CBS for the game, while the remainder accessed it through platforms such as Paramount+, Nickelodeon, Univision, CBS Sports, and NFL digital channels. Nielsen, the media analysis firm, reported a record-breaking 202.4 million individuals watched at least a portion of the game. This year’s figures might have also received a boost due to Nielsen’s revised methodology in counting viewers watching outside their homes, such as in social gatherings or public venues like bars.

Comparatively, last year’s Super Bowl matchup between the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles attracted 115.1 million viewers. The defending champion status of the Chiefs, coupled with Usher headlining the halftime show, added to the allure of this year’s event. Usher’s halftime performance featured guest appearances from Alicia Keys, H.E.R.,, Lil Jon, Ludacris, and Jermaine Dupri.

Post-game festivities for Usher included his marriage to long-time partner Jennifer Goicoechea in Las Vegas, where the Super Bowl took place. The couple tied the knot at Vegas Weddings’ Terrace Gazebo, an outdoor wedding venue accommodating up to 30 guests, as per People magazine. A representative for the singer confirmed the marriage, expressing their anticipation for the couple’s continued journey together raising their children amidst love and gratitude for the well-wishes received.

Defensive Dominance and Dramatic Turnovers Define Super Bowl Showdown: 49ers and Chiefs Battle to Overtime Thriller

In the much-anticipated clash under the dazzling lights of the city, offensive fireworks were expected from the star players of both teams. However, it was the defensive units that stole the spotlight, turning the game into an error-laden contest marked by four turnovers.

The first turnover occurred early in the game, on the fifth play, as San Francisco’s running back, Christian McCaffrey, unexpectedly fumbled the ball – a rare occurrence for him, given that it was only his third fumble of the season. Despite this setback, the 49ers managed to open the scoring with a field goal at the onset of the second quarter.

As both Patrick Mahomes and 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy struggled to ignite their respective offenses, San Francisco introduced a trick play into the mix. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings, who hadn’t thrown a competitive pass since high school, executed the play to perfection, connecting with McCaffrey for a touchdown.

The Chiefs responded with a field goal just before halftime, narrowing the gap. They then took the lead with a field goal and a touchdown by Marquez Valdes-Scantling late in the third quarter.

Undeterred, the 49ers swiftly retaliated, and it seemed like coach Shanahan would finally overcome the Super Bowl woes from his two previous appearances. Shanahan made a bold decision to go for it on fourth down, a move that paid off as Purdy successfully converted. Two plays later, Purdy found Jennings, making him only the second player in Super Bowl history to both throw and catch a touchdown pass in the same game – a feat previously achieved by Nick Foles in the Eagles’ victory over the Patriots in 2017.

However, the jubilation was short-lived as Jake Moody’s attempt for the extra point was blocked. This turned out to be a pivotal moment, leaving the score at 16-13. The Chiefs capitalized on this opportunity, tying the game with a field goal on the next drive. Harrison Butker’s fourth field goal leveled the score at 19-19, forcing the game into overtime after Moody’s third successful kick had given the 49ers a slim lead with two minutes left in regulation time.

Indian Musicians Shankar Mahadevan and Zakir Hussain’s Ensemble ‘Shakti’ Triumphs at Grammy Awards 2024

Indian musicians Shankar Mahadevan and Zakir Hussain’s collaborative ensemble, known as ‘Shakti’, emerged triumphant at the Grammy Awards, clinching the esteemed title of ‘Best Global Music Album’ for their latest musical endeavor titled ‘This Moment’.

The Grammy’s official X account, previously recognized as Twitter, shared a snapshot capturing Mahadevan and another band member, Ganesh Rajagopalan, accepting the prestigious accolade on stage. They aptly captioned the moment with, “Congrats Best Global Music Album winner – ‘This Moment’ Shakti. #GRAMMYs.”

Expressing gratitude during his acceptance speech, Mahadevan extended heartfelt thanks to his colleagues, the divine, his loved ones, and his homeland, India. His words resounded with pride for India, earning resounding cheers from the audience. He concluded with a touching dedication of the award to his wife, emphasizing her pivotal role in his musical journey.

The album ‘This Moment’, unveiled on June 30 in the preceding year, showcases a collection of eight tracks masterfully crafted by John McLaughlin on guitar synth, Zakir Hussain on tabla, Shankar Mahadevan as the vocalist, V Selvaganesh on percussion, and Ganesh Rajagopalan as the violinist. Their nomination for the Grammy stood alongside other noteworthy artists like Susana Baca, Bokante, Burna Boy, and Davido.

Meanwhile, Zakir Hussain also secured another significant win, clinching the Grammy for ‘Best Global Music Performance’ for his remarkable contribution to ‘Pashto’ alongside Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, featuring the virtuoso flute player Rakesh Chaurasia. Hussain’s remarkable achievement amounted to three Grammys in a single night, while Chaurasia himself bagged two awards.

The 66th annual Grammy Awards for the year 2024 are currently underway in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, marking yet another momentous occasion in the realm of global music recognition.

Robert De Niro’s Heartfelt Reflections on Fatherhood at 80 and Historic Oscar Nomination

In a recent interview with AARP: The Magazine, veteran actor Robert De Niro expressed his deep affection for his newborn daughter, describing the experience of fatherhood at 80 as “wonderful.” De Niro, a two-time Oscar winner, welcomed his seventh child, named Gia, with his partner Tiffany Chen last May. Reflecting on his bond with his daughter, De Niro shared, “Everything that I’m consumed with or worried about or this and that just goes away when I look at her. So, that in itself is wondrous.”

De Niro spoke of Gia’s captivating presence, noting her sweet and observant nature. He expressed curiosity about her future development, remarking on her ability to perceive and absorb her surroundings. Despite being an 80-year-old father, De Niro emphasized the joy he finds in Gia’s presence and his desire to cherish every moment with her.

The actor has six other children from previous relationships: Drena and Raphael with his first wife Diahnne Abbott, twins Julian and Aaron with ex Toukie Smith, and Elliot and Helen Grace with his second wife Grace Hightower.

De Niro’s recent Academy Award nomination for his supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” marks a historic moment in his career. With this nomination, De Niro now holds the record for the longest gap between his first and most recent Oscar nominations, spanning 49 years since his initial nod for “The Godfather Part II” in 1975.

Alongside De Niro, his “Killers of the Flower Moon” collaborators Martin Scorsese and Lily Gladstone also achieved significant milestones. Scorsese earned his 10th Oscar nomination, solidifying his status as the most-nominated living filmmaker. Meanwhile, Lily Gladstone made history as the first Native American actor to receive an Oscar nomination. Notably absent from the nominations was the film’s lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, who was overlooked by The Academy.

Miley Cyrus Shines in 14,000 Gold Safety Pins: A Fashion Spectacle at the Grammys

Pop sensation Miley Cyrus made a bold statement at the Grammys as she graced the red carpet adorned in a gown crafted from an astonishing 14,000 golden safety pins.

Sporting a hairstyle reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett’s iconic bouffant, the singer-songwriter, who later clinched her inaugural Grammy awards, donned a bespoke ensemble from Maison Margiela. The fashion house disclosed that the creation demanded an exhaustive “675 hours of meticulous work.” The attire, a metallic mesh-like dress, evoked a fusion of a 1920s flapper and an Egyptian deity, with the pins meticulously arranged to emulate a collar and undergarments.

John Galliano, the creative genius behind Maison Margiela, seemingly drew inspiration from his own past collections, as eagle-eyed social media users noted the striking resemblance between Cyrus’ daring attire and pieces from the designer’s Fall 1997 ready-to-wear line.

Completing her red carpet ensemble, Cyrus opted for a pair of yellow tabis, the distinctive split-toe shoes beloved by aficionados of Margiela’s creations.

In recent weeks, the luxury label has been the subject of fervent discussions. Its couture exhibition in Paris in January, featuring actor Gwendoline Christie, garnered widespread acclaim from critics. Additionally, the attention-grabbing “china doll” makeup showcased during the show went viral, sparking endless speculation about its intricacies.

Legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath, the mastermind behind that captivating look, was also involved in Cyrus’ appearance. However, the ethereal “glass skin” effect seen on the Margiela runway was eschewed. Instead, fellow makeup artist James Kaliardos utilized McGrath’s products to craft a sun-kissed aesthetic, accentuated by winged eyeliner.

Taking to Instagram, Kaliardos expressed his vision for Cyrus to “glow like a golden goddess, sublime, with sheer skin, glowy finish, a touchable beauty.”

Meanwhile, Cyrus’ luscious locks were artfully styled by hair maestro Bob Recine. Sculpting dramatic curls from Cyrus’ highlighted brown hair, which some likened to the signature styles of her godmother, Dolly Parton, Recine imbued each strand with a sense of vitality.

“In the previous year, I showcased Miley’s wet look for hair,” Recine remarked, as per a press release from haircare brand Nexxus. “This year, we decided on something dry and bigger… fuller hair, yet sexy and tousled and touchable.”

The golden safety pin masterpiece marked just one of Cyrus’ five wardrobe changes throughout the eventful evening. Later, she swapped it for a glittery black jumpsuit when accepting her Best Pop Solo Performance award (for “Flowers”) from pop icon Mariah Carey. This was followed by a vintage silver flapper-style dress, reminiscent of Tina Turner’s glamour, for her on-stage performance.

Her fourth look, glimpsed backstage, featured a strapless black lace jumpsuit accompanied by a marabou feather jacket. And finally, for the acceptance of the Record of the Year award, Cyrus opted for a brown sequined one-shoulder Gucci gown, adorned with a side slit, complemented by a miniature bamboo bag from the same design house.

How To Have Sex” delves into the less glamorous aspects of Gen Z’s party culture

Molly Manning Walker received the news of her double BAFTA nomination while at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Her film, “How To Have Sex,” was being showcased at the festival, portraying the misadventures of teenagers during a summer holiday. Despite the film’s portrayal of wild partying, Manning Walker celebrated her nomination with a simple cup of tea in the quiet of the mountains.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Manning Walker acknowledged that some of her fondest memories were from similar holidays. Inspired by her time in Magaluf, Spain, the film is set in Malia, Greece, capturing the essence of youthful abandon and the consequences that follow.

One of the central themes of the film is the exploration of consent and its complexities, particularly in the context of teenage experiences. Manning Walker’s portrayal of Tara’s coerced sexual encounter prompts a deeper discussion about consent and its implications.

Following its success at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won a top prize, “How To Have Sex” has garnered BAFTA nominations and sparked conversations about consent in the UK. Manning Walker noted its unexpected resonance globally, with audiences from different countries relating to their own versions of similar coming-of-age experiences.

In an interview, Manning Walker discussed the film’s universal appeal and the societal pressures young people face regarding sex. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging the anxieties and pressures inherent in such experiences and advocating for more open and honest discussions about consent.

The film’s approach to intimacy scenes was carefully managed, with intimacy coordinators on set to ensure the well-being of the cast. Manning Walker emphasized creating a supportive environment where cast members felt comfortable expressing any concerns.

Regarding the portrayal of drunkenness in the film, Manning Walker highlighted the challenge of realistic drunk acting and the rigorous audition process to find actors who could authentically portray intoxication.

Reflecting on the impact of the film, Manning Walker shared emotional moments, including bringing the film into schools to teach consent. Witnessing students engage in discussions about consent and sexual assault was particularly moving, highlighting the potential for films to spark important conversations and empower young people.

As “How To Have Sex” prepares for its US release, Manning Walker hopes the film will continue to foster dialogue and promote understanding about consent and the complexities of sexual experiences.

96th Academy Awards Nominations Unveiled: Surprises, Snubs, and Diversity Rule Take Center Stage

The nominations for the 96th Academy Awards have been unveiled, and there are a couple of glaring omissions that caught the attention of many. Notably, actress Margot Robbie and director Greta Gerwig were left out of the list for their contributions to “Barbie.” Additionally, the star of “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” Leonardo DiCaprio, was notably absent from the Best Actor category. Despite these surprises, “Oppenheimer” dominated the nominations with an impressive 13 nods, alongside “Poor Things” and “Killers Of The Flower Moon” (minus its male lead) with 11 and 10 nominations, respectively.

Lily Gladstone, Leonardo DiCaprio’s co-star in “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” made history earlier this year by becoming the first indigenous actress to win a Golden Globe. Now, she is in the running for an Oscar. On the other hand, Team Barbie faced heartbreak with its star and director missing out on nominations. However, America Ferrera’s name did make the cut among the Best Supporting Actress contenders. Ryan Gosling, who sang “I’m Just Ken,” earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and the song itself got a nod for Best Original Song.

The acting nominations for “Oppenheimer” were as expected, with Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr, and Emily Blunt earning nods for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. It’s worth noting that the first two actors secured victories at the Golden Globes in their respective categories. The nominee list also included other Golden Globe winners from the year, such as Emma Stone and Da’Vine Joy Randolph.

This year, the Academy, responsible for presenting the Oscars, introduced a diversity rule for Best Picture nominees. To compete in this category, films must meet at least two out of four “representation and inclusion standards.” The aim of this rule is to enhance the portrayal on screen and, subsequently, increase employment opportunities for traditionally under-represented communities, including women, LGBTQ+, and various racial, ethnic, and disabled groups.

The Oscar nominations were announced by actors Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid. The highly anticipated award ceremony is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on March 10 (early morning of March 11 for India), with Jimmy Kimmel returning as the host.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the list of nominees for the various categories:


– Oppenheimer

– Barbie

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Poor Things

– The Holdovers

– American Fiction

– Maestro

– Past Lives

– The Zone Of Interest

– Anatomy Of A Fall


– Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer)

– Martin Scorsese (Killers Of The Flower Moon)

– Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things)

– Jonathan Glazer (Zone Of Interest)

– Justine Triet (Anatomy Of A Fall)


– Lily Gladstone (Killers Of The Flower Moon)

– Emma Stone (Poor Things)

– Carey Mulligan (Maestro)

– Sandra Huller (Anatomy Of A Fall)

– Annette Bening (Nyad)


– Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer)

– Bradley Cooper (Maestro)

– Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction)

– Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers)

– Colman Domingo (Rustin)


– Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers)

– Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer)

– Jodie Foster (Nyad)

– America Ferrera (Barbie)

– Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple)


– Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer)

– Ryan Gosling (Barbie)

– Robert De Niro (Killers Of The Flower Moon)

– Sterling K Brown (American Fiction)

– Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things)


– Anatomy Of A Fall

– The Holdovers

– Maestro

– May December

– Past Lives


– American Fiction

– Barbie

– Oppenheimer

– Poor Things

– The Zone Of Interest


– Io Capitano (Italy)

– Perfect Days (Japan)

– Society Of The Snow (Spain)

– The Teachers’ Lounge (Germany)

– The Zone Of Interest (UK)


– The Boy And The Heron

– Elemental

– Nimona

– Robot Dreams

– Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse


– Bobi Wine: The People’s President

– Four Daughters

– Eternal Memory

– To Kill A Tiger

– 20 Days In Mariupol

In addition to the major categories, there are nominations in various technical and artistic categories:


– The ABCs Of Book Banning

– Island In Between

– The Barber Of Little Rock

– The Last Repair Shop

– Nai Nai & Wai Po


– The After

– Invincible

– Knight Of Fortune

– Red, White And Blue

– The Wonderful Story Of Henry Sugar


– Letter To A Pig

– 95 Senses

– Our Uniform

– Pachyderme

– War Is Over! Inspired By The Music Of John & Yoko


– American Fiction

– Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

– Oppenheimer

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Poor Things


– I’m Just Ken (Barbie)

– What Was I Made For (Barbie)

– The Fire Inside (Flamin’ Hot)

– It Never Went Away (American Symphony)

– Wahzhazhe (Killers Of The Flower Moon)


– The Creator

– Maestro

– Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

– Oppenheimer

– The Zone Of Interest


– Oppenheimer

– Poor Things

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Napoleon

– Barbie


– El Conde

– Maestro

– Oppenheimer

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Poor Things


– Golda

– Maestro

– Oppenheimer

– Poor Things

– Society Of The Snow


– Barbie

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Napoleon

– Oppenheimer

– Poor Things


– Anatomy Of A Fall

– The Holdovers

– Killers Of The Flower Moon

– Oppenheimer

– Poor Things


– The Creator

– Godzilla Minus One

– Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 3

– Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

– Napoleon

The excitement builds as the cinematic world eagerly awaits the outcome of the 96th Academy Awards, set to unfold in March.

Sundance Film Festival Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Diverse Lineup of Films

Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck reflect on their early days at the Sundance Film Festival, recalling the excitement of being newcomers in 2004. Their short film, “Gowanus, Brooklyn,” not only won an award but also garnered enough support to develop the feature version, “Half Nelson,” which later earned Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination.

“I remember being like, oh my God, this festival has been around 20 years, it’s such an old festival,” Boden reminisced. “Now it’s 20 years later, and we’re the old people.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Boden expressed the relativity of the term “old” at Sundance, a discovery festival where emerging directors have the opportunity to make a breakthrough. Boden and Fleck, like many other Sundance alumni, have moved on to larger projects, such as their work on “Captain Marvel.”

Their latest film, “Freaky Tales,” a tribute to Fleck’s hometown, Oakland, in the 1980s, is set to debut on the opening night of the 40th edition of the festival at the Eccles Theater. Featuring Pedro Pascal, Jay Ellis, Dominique Thorne, and Ben Mendelsohn, the film is described by Boden as a “movie lover’s movie” with a blend of reality and fantasy.

The festival’s first day also premieres several high-profile documentaries, including Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s “Girls State,” Yance Ford’s “Power,” and “Frida,” directed by Carla Gutiérrez. In “Frida,” Gutiérrez utilizes Kahlo’s own words from her diary and letters to provide an intimate and raw portrayal of the iconic artist.

Gutiérrez, an immigrant and former art student, expressed her admiration for Frida Kahlo, stating, “Uncovering her own words and her own voice, I think what we’re presenting is a new way of getting into her world and in her mind and her heart and really understanding the art in a more intimate, raw way.”

The festival lineup includes a variety of anticipated documentaries, such as “Daughters,” “Gaucho Gaucho,” “Sue Bird: In the Clutch,” “DEVO,” “Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story,” “Seeking Mavis Beacon,” and “The Greatest Night in Pop.”

Celebrities expected to attend Sundance this year include Kristen Stewart, Saoirse Ronan, Kieran Culkin, Sebastian Stan, Glen Powell, Woody Harrelson, Steven Yeun, Lucy Liu, Danielle Deadwyler, Aubrey Plaza, Melissa Barrera, and Laura Linney.

Chiwetel Ejiofor will present his sophomore feature, “Rob Peace,” a biographical drama about the short life of a brilliant kid from East Orange, New Jersey. Ejiofor expressed his excitement, saying, “It’s a dream to take this film there as well. It’s an American story, it’s an independent film, and it wants to sit in that world.”

Sundance programmers meticulously selected 83 feature films from 17,435 submissions, showcasing a diverse mix of behind-the-camera talent. The lineup includes new episodic projects from Debra Granik and Richard Linklater, along with 31 feature debuts.

First-time director Carla Gutiérrez and acclaimed contemporary artist Titus Kaphar, making his narrative debut with “Exhibiting Forgiveness,” are among those presenting their work. Kaphar, expressing his gratitude, said, “My favorite films are Sundance films. To be allowed into this new community of artists, a community of directors and filmmakers… it’s pretty extraordinary.”

Jesse Eisenberg, a Sundance regular since “The Squid and the Whale,” brings his film, “A Real Pain,” which explores modern pain versus historical pain. Eisenberg wrote and directed the film, emphasizing its humor and lightness.

Sundance, founded by Robert Redford, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by honoring the art that has emerged over the decades. The “all-time top 10” list includes classics like Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Blood Simple,” Soderbergh’s “sex, lies and videotape,” Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” and Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash.”

Festival director Eugene Hernandez acknowledged the vibrancy in this year’s lineup, reminiscent of the festival’s early days in the 1990s. “It’s such a rich, rich combination of films that I think exhibit some really wild and adventurous creativity,” Hernandez commented. “That is really nourishing in a year when we’re acknowledging and marking this 40th edition of Sundance.”

The Sundance Film Festival will run from Jan. 18 through Jan. 28, offering audiences a diverse array of films and celebrating four decades of groundbreaking cinema.

New Beginnings, New Content: Here’s What’s Coming up on ZEE5 Global Add-ons!

Kicking off 2024 with an electrifying lineup of new content for viewers in the US on ZEE5 Global Add-ons! From gripping mysteries to heartwarming tales, we have it all to get you hooked to your screens this January! Here’s what you should not miss watching.

Video Cam Scam on Epic On

A thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Epic On web series Video Cam Scam, premieres from 12th January onwards on the platform. With an ensemble cast including Rajniesh Duggal, Amruta Khanvilkar, Farnaz Shetty, Kunj Anand, Aradhana Sharma, Rahul Singh, Pritam Singh, and Hansika Jangid Vaibhav Khisti, this Hindi series follows Sub Inspector Vinay Kumar as he unknowingly falls into the trap of a video calling app by Sonu, Titu & Sweety, leading to a thrilling and dramatic situation.

Gaddi Jaandi Ae Chalaangaan Maardi on Chaupal

Chaupal is bringing Gaddi Jaandi Ae Chalaangaan Maardi, a Punjabi movie filled with laughter and mischief. Streaming now on the platform, with a star-studded cast including Ammy Virk, Binnu Dhillon, Jaswinder Bhalla, and BN Sharma, this rollercoaster of hilarity takes you on a journey adorned with rib-tickling moments and uproarious escapades. The film centres on comical chaos as the protagonist attempts to marry his ladylove Pooja amidst his family’s long list of dowry demands, further complicated by a smashed car.

Parinda Paar Geyaa on Chaupal

Another Chaupal addition is Parinda Paar Geyaa a Punjabi drama that narrates the story of courage and determination. Streaming on the platform from 25th January the film witnesses individuals soaring beyond their limits, breaking free from societal constraints, and spreading their wings to reach new heights. Starring Gurnam Bhullar and Roopi Gill, the plot revolves around Jassi, a village boy with musical dreams and a torn heart, overcoming challenges in love and career to become a rockstar and win the girl of his dreams.

Swathi Mutthina Male Haniye on Simply South

Swathi Mutthina Male Haniye streaming now, brought to you by Simply South is a Kannada movie that revolves around Prerana, a hospice counselor, who finds new meaning in her life as she befriends Aniketh, a terminally ill patient. Their bond challenges conventional notions of love, life, and humanity, with a cast featuring Raj B. Shetty, Siri Ravikumar, Balaji Manohar, and Surya Vasishta.

Users can download the ZEE5 Global app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store. It is available on Roku devices, Apple TVs, Android TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. Users can also access ZEE5 Global on

About ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

ZEE5 Global Twitter:

ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: Global/

Media Contacts

Srabani Sen

[email protected]

Surabhi Deshpande

[email protected]

The makers of the unconventional superhero film ‘American Sikh’

(RNS) — Once the idea for Sikh Captain America — a turbaned, bearded version of the Marvel comic hero — was born, it took more than a year for him to appear on the streets of his native New York City.

The creation of Vishavjit Singh, a writer and illustrator in Harlem, and the photographer Fiona Aboud, who was working on a photo project, “Sikhs: An American Portrait,” the character is a social experiment about what it means to be American, and to be Sikh in America. Now, it is also a short animated film by Singh and Ryan Westra that recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film tells the true story of Singh, 52, who, besides inventing in the face of anti-Sikh bigotry after 9/11, is a performance artist and diversity speaker. After a lifetime of facing prejudice, self-doubt and violence, his animated self, as in life, finally finds acceptance in a superhero costume. He first drew Captain America in a turban and beard in 2011, but it took almost a year after Aboud discovered the character to convince Singh to step out as Sikh Captain America on the streets, where his mission is to tackle bias and intolerance, powered by his humor, turban, beard and storytelling prowess.

webRNS American Sikh1 091321 1536x864
Picture: Religion News

I had the opportunity to speak with Singh and Westra to discuss the what, why and how of “American Sikh.” This interview has been adapted for clarity and concision.

How did this film come together?

RW: In 2014, as my very last student project in film school, I happened to be assigned to do a live action documentary about Vishavjit’s work as Sikh Captain America. While shooting that project (“Red, White, and Beard”), I was so impressed by Vishavjit’s ability to inspire people to open up about their stereotypes and biases in a positive way. Yet as we wrapped the shoot, I watched a stranger on the street call Vishavjit “Osama bin Laden,” moments after changing out of his superhero costume.

It was a shocking juxtaposition to witness, and it made Vishavjit’s work even more impactful to me. Ever since then, I had been interested in working with Vishavjit again on a more in-depth and ambitious project. In 2019, I reached out with the idea of doing an animated short about his life and, more broadly, the struggles that the Sikh community has gone through.

What do you hope the film will accomplish?

webRNS American Sikh2 091321 240x240
Picture: Religion

RW: In a recent interview, our incredible executive producer, Vikas Khanna, had a beautiful answer to this question. He said, “I believe that the answer to hate cannot be hate.” With the difficult times we are facing right now around the world, I think now, more than ever, is a perfect time for us to gain greater understanding, empathy and compassion for those around us.

VS: I’ve spent years traveling around the nation visiting schools, companies and government agencies to share my story and create a space for conversations about identity, bias, vulnerability and transformative power of art. I hope in amplifying this message via an animated film, we can encourage others to do the same with their story.

I hope this film opens doors for the most underrepresented and misrepresented stories to be shared across American media, cultural and entertainment landscape.

RW: Unfortunately, especially since 9/11, turbans and beards have been villainized and portrayed as un-American in the media. Sikh Captain America challenges those stereotypes in a lighthearted, creative and familiar way. Our hope is that this image sticks with people, and they are able to walk away with a greater empathy for all Americans who, as Vishavjit says, “look a little different.”

What’s been most gratifying so far now that audiences have seen the movie?

VS: Hearing feedback from people from varying backgrounds about connections they find with my story.

RW: It’s extremely exciting to be working with Vishavjit on such a historic project. Never has an American Sikh story reached this level of prominence. With so little representation in the media, it’s exciting that we have the privilege of introducing Vishavjit’s beautiful religion and work to so many for the first time.

How does this film depict Sikh characters differently than other media?

VS: Much of the Sikh media I’ve seen has been created by Sikhs for Sikhs. This film is meant for people who maybe have had little to no experience with Sikhs. It’s created with a national audience in mind and tells a story that is relatable to many Americans, not just Sikhs.

What were some of the biggest challenges to pulling this story together?

VS: With animation being extremely expensive, we had a lot of back and forth narrowing down the few key chapters of my life to tell the most compelling and concise story. There were 30 different cuts of the film that we user-tested on Ryan’s friends and family who knew nothing about me or Sikhism at all. This helped us pick the most impactful moments. But there are a few poignant moments and experiences that did not make it into the final version of the film that I typically include in my life story.

Did you ever doubt that animation was the right medium?

VS: We knew there are two major tragedies that are part of this story — the 1984 genocidal massacre of Sikhs in India, which I survived, and the post-9/11 hate/bias crime wave, which targeted many Sikhs, including me. One of the main reasons we chose animation was it allowed us to showcase these tragedies without overwhelming the viewer.

RW: We didn’t want the tone to focus too much on tragedy, but rather leave the audience feeling inspired and encouraged at the end.

Where do you go from here?

VS: The “American Sikh” has had an amazing journey on the film festival circuit. We always wanted this film to be accessible to American and global audiences. Ryan and I are also writing pitches for full-length films and series. We would love to tell a more comprehensive American story with a Sikh lead character.

RW: We are interested in working together again on a longer and more ambitious project featuring a Sikh lead character. We want to make Sikh characters a part of the bigger cultural landscape we see in all media — not just exclusively Sikh stories.

Golden Globes 2024: ‘Oppenheimer,’ Lily Gladstone, and Diverse Talents Shine in a Night of Triumphs and Surprises

The 81st edition of the Golden Globes marked the commencement of Hollywood’s annual awards season, but it was not without its share of chaos and disorder. Jo Koy, the host, delivered a monologue that some described as a train wreck, setting the tone for an evening where winners oscillated between taking the ceremony seriously and not at all, and awards were distributed across a diverse range of films and television shows.

The biographical blockbuster, “Oppenheimer,” directed by Christopher Nolan, emerged as a frontrunner in the upcoming Oscar race, securing five Golden Globes, including Best Drama, Best Director for Nolan, and Best Actor for Cillian Murphy. The film, based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s 2005 biography “American Prometheus,” surpassed expectations, considering its three-hour runtime and the weighty subject matter of the physicist behind the first nuclear weapons.

In a groundbreaking moment, Lily Gladstone made history by becoming the first Indigenous person to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Her portrayal of Mollie Burkhart in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” garnered critical acclaim. Gladstone, with Blackfeet and Nez Perce heritage, is only the second Native actress recognized by the Globes, following Irene Bedard’s nomination in 1995 for “Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee.”

“Poor Things,” Yorgos Lanthimos’s black comedy featuring Emma Stone, secured the top Globe for the best musical or comedy, triumphing over competitors like Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” and Cord Jefferson’s cerebral satire “American Fiction.” Stone’s performance as a young Victorian woman in this riff on the classic Frankenstein story earned her a second Golden Globe.

Paul Giamatti clinched the award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his role in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” The film, where Giamatti portrays an unpopular classics teacher stuck at a New England prep school during Christmas break in the 1970s, received widespread acclaim.

“Succession” reached a pinnacle by tying the record for most wins in the Best Drama category at its final Golden Globes. The HBO drama won its third statuette for Best Drama for its fourth and final season, joining the ranks of “Mad Men” and “The X-Files.”

“The Bear” emerged as the surprise winner for Best Comedy, beating out favorites like “Ted Lasso” and “Abbott Elementary.” Despite questions about its classification as a comedy due to its intense and often dramatic content, the show created by Christopher Storer won over Globe voters.

Billie Eilish’s haunting ballad, “What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie,” secured the Golden Globe for Best Song. The pop star collaborated with her brother, Finneas O’Connell, on the song, outshining other nominees from the blockbuster.

Cillian Murphy, known for his intense onscreen presence, clinched his first Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s biographical drama “Oppenheimer.”

Emma Stone celebrated her second Golden Globe win for her role in “Poor Things,” a comedy-drama riff on the Frankenstein legend. Critics praised Stone’s discreet and nuanced performance as Bella, a Victorian-era woman brought back to life with the brain of a fetus.

Christopher Nolan finally secured a Best Director win for “Oppenheimer,” breaking a streak of four previous nominations. The simultaneous release of “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” created a pop culture phenomenon known as Barbenheimer, drawing moviegoers to theaters for two vastly different productions.

Hayao Miyazaki’s deeply personal work, “The Boy and the Heron,” won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Motion Picture, marking the Japanese master’s first win in the category.

The courtroom thriller “Anatomy of a Fall” received the Globe for Best Non-English-Language Film, earning its writer-director Justine Triet her second Globe of the night. The film, which won the 2023 Palme d’Or at Cannes, centers on a German woman accused of murdering her French husband.

The newly introduced stand-up comedy category failed to impress, with Judd Apatow criticizing the lack of understanding about comedy among the voters. Nominees included Ricky Gervais, Trevor Noah, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Wanda Sykes, with the choices seemingly driven by fame rather than comedic prowess.

Jo Koy, in his opening monologue, opted for standard celebrity teasing, avoiding any mention of the Golden Globes’ recent troubled history. Last year’s host, Jerrod Carmichael, had addressed the lack of diversity in the voting body during his opening remarks.

Ali Wong made history by becoming the first actress of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in the Limited Series or TV Movie category. Her performance in the Netflix comedy “Beef” alongside Steven Yeun, which explores a bitter feud after a traffic incident, garnered acclaim.

As the awards season unfolds, these Golden Globe winners showcase the diverse and exceptional talent across the film and television industry. The recognition of groundbreaking performances and achievements marks a significant moment in the evolution of Hollywood’s prestigious awards landscape.

Glamour on the Global Stage: Indian Stars’ Timeless Fashion Statements at the Golden Globe Awards

As the 81st Golden Globe Awards approach, the excitement is palpable to witness the unveiling of winners across diverse categories. Set to take place on January 7, 2024, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, this star-studded event, orchestrated by Dick Clark Productions, Ricky Kirshner, and Glenn Weiss, promises a lavish celebration of excellence in the realms of film and television. Beyond the accolades, the global event sparks anticipation for a dazzling display of fashion on the red carpet, leaving fashion enthusiasts eagerly awaiting the stylish ensembles that their beloved celebrities will showcase.

While we eagerly await the awards ceremony, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the unforgettable moments when Indian celebrities graced the Golden Globe Awards, leaving an indelible mark on the global stage with their exquisite outfits and glamorous looks.

Deepika Padukone’s Radiant Presence at Golden Globes 2017

Deepika Padukone, a true style icon, showcased her prowess on the red carpet, leaving a lasting impression at the Golden Globes in 2017. Collaborating with fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Deepika donned a yellow satin gown with a one-shoulder wrap and flowing skirt, accentuating her curves with finesse. Complementing her ensemble with subtle pearl encrusted silver earrings, the actress exuded sophistication. With wavy curls and sultry makeup by Hung Vanngo, including smoky eyeshadow, black eyeliner, mascaraed lashes, groomed eyebrows, contoured cheeks, and nude lipstick, Deepika Padukone set the fashion bar high.

In the words of the original article, “The actor dazzled us with her exquisite ensemble while attending the Golden Globes 2017. Playing the role of muse for fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Deepika chose the yellow satin gown with a one-shoulder wrap and flowing skirt as it accentuated her curves and hugged her figure perfectly.”

Priyanka Chopra’s Golden Moments on the Red Carpet

A red carpet chameleon, Priyanka Chopra made her debut at the Golden Globe Awards in 2017, bedecked in a stunning golden gown from luxury designer Ralph Lauren Couture. The floor-length gown featured a plunging neckline, floor-length sleeves, and a figure-hugging sequined dress, radiating glamour. With sculpted face makeup, champagne lipstick, smoky eyebrows, mascara, and glowing blushed skin, Priyanka completed her look with a diamond necklace and loose hair styled in a center part.

In the subsequent years, Priyanka graced the Golden Globes red carpet in 2020 with her husband Nick Jonas. Opting for a pink off-the-shoulder gown with a plunging neckline, figure-hugging design, and ruffled embellishments, Priyanka exuded elegance. The ensemble was accentuated by a long train, a luxurious diamond necklace, glamorous makeup, and soft curls framing her face.

Neena Gupta’s Statement Saree at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards After-Party

Making a distinctive statement at the 2019 Golden Globe Awards after-party in California, Neena Gupta opted for a striking saree that seamlessly blended modern style with Indian customs. Choosing a creation from the late Wendell Rodricks’ clothing line, Neena draped a monochromatic chiffon saree in the traditional manner. The saree featured a full-sleeved blouse with glittering embellishments, a sheer overlay, a fitted silhouette, and a round neckline.

Completing her look with a pastel-colored stole, open hair, silver purse, traditional earrings, and a red bindi, Neena Gupta looked nothing short of an elegant princess from a Disney movie. The original article describes her outfit in these words, “The monochromatic chiffon outfit was elegantly draped in the traditional way with the pallu hanging from the shoulder, along with a full-sleeved blouse with glittering embellishments, a sheer overlay, a fitted silhouette and a round neckline.”

Manasvi Mamgai’s Debut at the 76th Golden Globe Awards

Miss India 2010, Manasvi Mamgai, made her debut at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, leaving an indelible mark on the red carpet with her blush pink embroidered saree. The net drape featured exquisite floral embroidery and sequins on the pallu and borders. Paired with a matching blouse with spaghetti straps, a square neckline, cropped midriff, and a backless design, Manasvi’s ethnic style was a perfect blend of tradition and modernity.

Completing her look with side-parted, open, wavy locks, a matching minaudière, bracelets, delicate earrings, high heels, and soft lilac lips, Manasvi made a stunning fashion statement. The original article captures her appearance with the following words, “The stylish diva made a stunning fashion statement on the red carpet as her breathtaking appearance showcased the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, making her look the ultimate showstopper.”

In anticipation of the 81st Golden Globe Awards, let’s celebrate these iconic moments when Indian celebrities graced the red carpet with their sartorial elegance and added a touch of Bollywood glamour to the global stage.

Marital Shifts Among the Stars: Navigating the Changing Landscape of Celebrity Unions

The traditional belief regarding marital satisfaction follows a U-shaped trajectory. It commences with an exhilarating romantic phase, then experiences a decline as individuals grapple with the reality that life with a partner is not always a steady ascent to happiness but can resemble more of an arduous journey. However, as time progresses, satisfaction often returns, either through acceptance of one’s circumstances or, ideally, through the negotiation of a more harmonious union.

Contrary to this conventional wisdom, the events of 2023 have challenged the notion that a long marriage is synonymous with a lasting one, particularly when it involves two high-profile and driven individuals. This year witnessed the surprising dissolution of well-established celebrity couples, previously held up as #couplesgoals, signaling a clearcutting in what was once considered the old-growth forest of enduring unions.

In September, Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness, a resilient icon of celebrity coupledom, announced their separation after 27 years. The shockwaves continued in October when Jada Pinkett Smith revealed in her memoir that she and Will Smith had been living apart for seven years, constituting a quarter of their marriage. Meryl Streep and her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, married for 45 years, disclosed that they had been leading separate lives for six years. Additionally, Kellyanne and George Conway decided to part ways after more than two decades, surprising many with the longevity of their union.

Leaving a spouse after a quarter-century might appear perplexing to some, akin to learning Chinese and then relocating to Mexico or meticulously ironing a stack of laundry only to throw it all back in the wash. To others, it may indicate a shift in affections. Notably, in these high-profile splits, there have been no public accusations of infidelity as the root cause, though such details are often kept private.

Various perspectives offer more mundane explanations for these late-stage divorces. In the absence of children to raise, there may be a lack of a joint project to engage in. After 25 years, spouses may find it challenging to surprise each other, with their stories, habits, and chewing noises growing thin. Divergent views on retirement, coupled with the myriad distractions in today’s world, from food-delivery apps to OnlyFans, contribute to the perception that the benefits of growing old together no longer outweigh the drawbacks.

Alternatively, these late-in-life separations can be viewed as a positive sign—a refusal to settle for the hand life has dealt, an insistence on seeking change even after decades of marriage. It signals a message to the cosmic order that one is not done yet, that there’s still room for transformation and new beginnings.

This theme of resilience and continued pursuit of dreams is echoed in the experiences of prominent figures in 2023. Madonna, at 65, is on tour, while Barbra Streisand (81) and Martha Stewart (82) grace glossy magazine covers, the latter flaunting a different kind of “rack.” Annette Bening, aged 65, stars in a biopic about Diana Nyad, who swam 110 miles at 64. Even in the realm of politics, the leading candidates for the next U.S. presidency are 77 and 81 years old. The success of “The Golden Bachelor,” depicting a widower’s quest for love in his 70s, underscores that the elderly are not fading away quietly but are defying the waning of their cultural influence and romantic aspirations.

However, it’s worth noting that this resilience is more evident among the affluent. Just as the past two decades have witnessed a growing income gap between those who choose to marry and those who don’t, late-life separations and the subsequent quest for senior love are endeavors typically undertaken by high-net-worth individuals. The discreet nature of these splits, involving separate but desirable residences, comes with a hefty price tag, requiring both partners to be financially secure enough to handle the bills without public disputes over assets.

The pursuit of new love, although a perennially captivating fantasy, can also be a daunting endeavor. Even for individuals like Gerry Turner, the golden bachelor, who have potential suitors delivered to their doorstep, finding a new mate is not without its challenges. Embracing a fresh start with someone whose flaws are already known may not lead to a springtime of new experiences, but there’s a certain allure to the prospect of a spectacular autumn.

As we navigate the changing landscape of celebrity unions, it may be prudent to extend positive thoughts to our favorite celebrity couples, particularly the more seasoned ones. How are Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon faring? Has anyone heard from Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance recently? Perhaps a Groupon for a date night for Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks would be a thoughtful gesture. In the unpredictable realm of celebrity relationships, 2023 serves as a reminder that caution is never unwarranted.

Watch Punjab’s Fearless Sheroes Unleash – Now Streaming On ZEE5 Global’s Add-On In USA

 ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, has announced the addition of Buhe Bariyan in their US market, yet another hit-comedy title aimed at expanding its Add-ons content library. The newly released Add-on Chaupal aims to provide customers in the US a wide selection of South Asian content in languages like Punjabi, Bhojpuri, and Haryanvi.

Buhe Bariyan, the movie, is not just a cinematic treat but is also an inspiration for all those women who are looking for some sort of strength in their lives. The movie is about the lives of a group of women, played by ace artists from the film industry namely – Rubina Bajwa, Gurpreet Bhangu, Nirmal Rishi, Seema Kaushal, Rupinder Rupi, Dharminder Kaur, Baljinder Kaur, Malkeet Rauni, and Jaswinder Brar, who have in some way, or the other been abused by either their partners or abused by the societies or in their marital homes. The actors have played their parts perfectly and one is sure that their roles can be resonated with a lot of women across. The core of the film has Neeru Bajwa who plays the role of Prem Kaur, an upright police officer who gets involved in the lives of these women and the story takes on from there.

The movie brings up a lot of important issues that have crippled society where women are looked down upon and not treated well. Neeru Bajwa starrer, Kali Jotta, which was released earlier this year, and it is now streaming on OTT platform Chaupal, also showcased a portrayal of women who could neither speak up about their traumas nor take any action as victims of domestic abuse.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global mentioned, “Punjabi movies have always delivered a strong performance for us in the US. Our Add-on partner Chaupal’s large Punjabi content library now added in, opens up a huge gamut of content options for our viewers in the US. Buhe Bariyan weaves a powerful narrative, and we are confident that the addition of this title is bound to delight our audiences.”

Nitin Gupta, Chief Content Officer, Chaupal remarked, “In the spirit of year-end festivities, we extend our heartfelt gift to esteemed audiences in Punjab and beyond. Watch an array of big releases from the year gone by exclusively on Chaupal, that can be enjoyed by all. Among these treasures, Buhe Bariyan stands out as a delightful offering that touches on an important issue of society and invites families to partake in its timeless charm and to immerse themselves in the joy of classic cinema with us.”

Users can download the ZEE5 Global app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store. It is available on Roku devices, Apple TVs, Android TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. Users can also access ZEE5 Global on

About ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global is the world’s leading South Asian streaming platform. It brings together the largest offering of content across 18 languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, , Marathi, Oriya and Bhojpuri, and  six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic wigth all content being subtitled in English, ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search. ZEE5 Global now also launches ZEE5 Add-ons where you can access and subscribe to multiple South Asian streaming platforms like Chaupal, Oho Gujarati, Namma Flix. Simply South and iStream all in one single destination, ZEE5.

ZEE5 Global Twitter:

ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: Global/

First Kali Jotta, now Buhe Bariyan, watch Punjab’s Fearless Sheroes unleash – Now streaming on ZEE5 Global’s Add-on offering in the United States

Global, 20th December 2023: ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, has announced the addition of Buhe Bariyan in their US market, yet another hit-comedy title aimed at expanding its Add-ons content library. The newly released Add-on Chaupal aims to provide customers in the US a wide selection of South Asian content in languages like Punjabi, Bhojpuri, and Haryanvi.

Buhe Bariyan, the movie, is not just a cinematic treat but is also an inspiration for all those women who are looking for some sort of strength in their lives. The movie is about the lives of a group of women, played by ace artists from the film industry namely – Rubina Bajwa, Gurpreet Bhangu, Nirmal Rishi, Seema Kaushal, Rupinder Rupi, Dharminder Kaur, Baljinder Kaur, Malkeet Rauni, and Jaswinder Brar, who have in some way, or the other been abused by either their partners or abused by the societies or in their marital homes. The actors have played their parts perfectly and one is sure that their roles can be resonated with a lot of women across. The core of the film has Neeru Bajwa who plays the role of Prem Kaur, an upright police officer who gets involved in the lives of these women and the story takes on from there.

The movie brings up a lot of important issues that have crippled society where women are looked down upon and not treated well. Neeru Bajwa starrer, Kali Jotta, which was released earlier this year, and it is now streaming on OTT platform Chaupal, also showcased a portrayal of women who could neither speak up about their traumas nor take any action as victims of domestic abuse.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global mentioned, “Punjabi movies have always delivered a strong performance for us in the US. Our Add-on partner Chaupal’s large Punjabi content library now added in, opens up a huge gamut of content options for our viewers in the US. Buhe Bariyan weaves a powerful narrative, and we are confident that the addition of this title is bound to delight our audiences.”

Nitin Gupta, Chief Content Officer, Chaupal remarked, “In the spirit of year-end festivities, we extend our heartfelt gift to esteemed audiences in Punjab and beyond. Watch an array of big releases from the year gone by exclusively on Chaupal, that can be enjoyed by all. Among these treasures, Buhe Bariyan stands out as a delightful offering that touches on an important issue of society and invites families to partake in its timeless charm and to immerse themselves in the joy of classic cinema with us.”

Users can download the ZEE5 Global app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store. It is available on Roku devices, Apple TVs, Android TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. Users can also access ZEE5 Global on

About ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global is the world’s leading South Asian streaming platform. It brings together the largest offering of content across 18 languages: Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam, , Marathi, Oriya and Bhojpuri, and  six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic wigth all content being subtitled in English, ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search. ZEE5 Global now also launches ZEE5 Add-ons where you can access and subscribe to multiple South Asian streaming platforms like Chaupal, Oho Gujarati, Namma Flix. Simply South and iStream all in one single destination, ZEE5.

ZEE5 Global Twitter:

ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: Global/

Media Contacts

Srabani Sen

[email protected]

Surabhi Deshpande

[email protected]

‘Barbie’ Leads Golden Globe Nominations With 9, Followed Closely By ‘Oppenheimer’

(AP) Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” dominated the Golden Globe Awards nominations with nine nods for the blockbuster film, including best picture musical or comedy as well as acting nominations for Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling and three of its original songs.

It was closely followed by its release date and meme companion Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” which scored eight nominations, including best picture drama and for actors Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr. and Emily Blunt.

In a statement, Gerwig said she, “can’t wait to bring the Barbie party to the Globes.”

Ryan Gosling Margot Robbie

The revamped group, now a for-profit endeavor with a larger and more diverse voting body, announced nominations Monday for its January awards show, after scandal and several troubled years, including one without a broadcast. Cedric the Entertainer and Wilmer Valderrama presided over the announcements from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where the show will also take place on Jan. 7.

Films nominated for best motion picture drama included “Oppenheimer,” Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” Celine Song’s “Past Lives,” Justine Triet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” and Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest.”

In the best motion picture musical or comedy category, “Barbie” was joined by “Air,” “American Fiction” “The Holdovers,” “May December” and “Poor Things.”

‘Barbie’ Leads Golden Globe Nominations With 9 Followed Closely By ‘Oppenheimer’ (Charlotte Observer)
Picture: Charlotte Observer

Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” and Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” both received seven nominations each. “Poor Things” saw nominations for Lanthimos, its actors Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, and Tony McNamara for screenplay. “Killers of the Flower Moon” got nods for Scorsese, for direction and co-writing the screenplay with Eric Roth, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone and Robert De Niro.

Stone, who was also nominated for the Showtime series “The Curse,” said in a statement that she was “Feeling extremely bewildered and thankful for it all.” She also said her “Poor Things” character Bella Baxter is her favorite.


DiCaprio praised Gladstone in his statement: “She is the soul of our film and helped to bring this sinister and painful part of our nation’s history to life,” he wrote. The film is about the murders of wealthy Osage individuals in Oklahoma in the early 20th century.

“Barbie” tied for second-most nominations in Globes history with “Cabaret,” from 1972. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” remains the record-holder with 11 nominations. It went into the morning as a favorite and got a big boost from its three original song nominations, including “I’m Just Ken,” and one of the year’s new categories, recognizing cinematic and box office achievement. One person who was not nominated was America Ferrera, who delivered the movie’s most memorable monologue.

“Succession” was the top-nominated television program, with nine nods including for series stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin, followed by Hulu’s “The Bear.”

As always there were some big surprises, like Jennifer Lawrence getting nominated for her bawdy R-rated comedy “No Hard Feelings” for best performance by a female actor in a musical or comedy. She was nominated alongside Robbie, Stone and Fantasia Barrino (“The Color Purple”), Natalie Portman (“May December”) and Alma Pöysti (“Fallen Leaves”).

Barrino heard the news from her husband who she immediately called back to make sure she wasn’t dreaming.

“My voice is shot because I’ve been screaming, crying and just telling God, ‘Thank you.’ I almost allowed fear to hinder me from this role, to keep me from this role,” she told the AP through tears. She’s been on the road for work and said she’s excited to go home and experience it with her children.

“The Color Purple” was expected to do better. The adaption of the stage musical got only two nominations total, both for actors, for Barrino and Danielle Brooks for her supporting performance. Left out was Colman Domingo, who was nominated for best drama actor for “Rustin.”

Cord Jefferson’s comedy “American Fiction” also came up with only two nods, best musical or comedy and for lead actor Jeffrey Wright, who plays a frustrated writer.

“I don’t think it’s totally healthy to think about these things too much, but they’re there, so one does,” Wright told the AP Monday. “I’m really pleased that the film is being recognized more so than my own personal recognition.”

Sofia Coppola’s widely acclaimed “Priscilla” got only one nomination, for actor Cailee Spaeny’s portrayal of Priscilla Presley. Her category mates in best female performance in a drama include Gladstone, Annette Bening for “Nyad,” Sandra Hüller for “Anatomy of a Fall,” Greta Lee for “Past Lives” and Carey Mulligan for “Maestro.”

The Globes won’t have to worry about anyone criticizing its “all male” directors this year, however. Gerwig was nominated as was Celine Song, for her romantic debut “Past Lives,” alongside Nolan, Scorsese, Cooper and Lanthimos.

Netflix got the most nominations overall, with 13 total for a slate which included “Maestro,” “May December” and “Rustin,” followed by Warner Bros., which made “Barbie” and “The Color Purple” with 12.

Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” was not nominated at all. Instead, its star Joaquin Phoenix was recognized for “Beau is Afraid” in the lead actor comedy/musical category, with Wright, Matt Damon (“Air”), Nicolas Cage “Dream Scenario,” Timothée Chalamet (“Wonka”) and Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”). Michael Mann’s “Ferrari,” with Adam Driver, and Wes Anderson’s starry “Asteroid City” also got zero nominations.

The voting body has now grown to 300 members, following backlash to a 2021 report in the Los Angeles Times that found that there were zero Black members in the group that was then composed of only 87 foreign journalists.

Perhaps as a result, there were more international films and actors nominated in prominent categories including the Finnish comedy “Fallen Leaves,” the courtroom thriller “Anatomy of a Fall” and the harrowing Auschwitz drama “The Zone of Interest.”

The 81st Golden Globes will be the first major broadcast of awards season, with a new home on CBS, but no word yet on a host. It’s been tumultuous few years behind the scenes in the aftermath of the L.A. Times report, which also exposed ethical lapses like its members accepting lavish gifts and travel from awards publicists and studios.

The Globes had long been one of the highest-profile awards season broadcasts, second only to the Oscars. Before the pandemic, it was still pulling in around 19 million viewers. The show was touted as a boozy, A-list party, whose hosts often took a more irreverent tone than their academy counterparts.

Some years, the HFPA were pilloried for nominating poorly reviewed films with big name talent with hopes of getting them to the show, the most infamous being “The Tourist,” with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. In the past decade, they’ve more often overlapped with the Oscars.

This year, NBC’s Tuesday night broadcast got its smallest audience ever for the ceremony, with 6.3 million viewers.

ZEE5 Global Strengthens US Presence With Aggregation Of Leading South Asian Streaming Platforms

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming service for South Asian content, announced a strategic move to aggregate multiple South Asian streaming platforms within the ZEE5 Global platform with the launch of Add-ons in the US. ZEE5 Global Add-ons will offer subscribers in the US a single-window to access their favorite South Asian entertainment platforms on the ZEE5 Global platform itself, with Add-ons pricing starting from just $1.49 onwards.

ZEE5 Global Add-ons was unveiled by Amit Goenka, president, Digital Businesses and Platforms, and Archana Anand, chief business officer, ZEE5 Global, at an event at Mumbai’s Hotel Taj Land’s End on November 28. The show was attended by various Hindi film, TV and web series celebs as well as regional names. Subhash Ghai, Anu Malik, Gulshan Grover, Amisha Patel, Luv Sinha, Aamir Ali, Rohitashv Gaur, Aasif Shaikh, Shubhangi Atre Poorey, Sharad Kelkar and others were spotted at the launch.

Said Goenka: “We have become No. 1 in the US market, and also Europe, Australia and Middle-East and more, that too within a short span of four years, Our user base is 15 times that of our nearest competitor. And because we have reached  this pinnacle, we thought we can go further.”

ZEE5 Global Strengthens US Presence With Aggregation Of Leading South Asian Streaming Platforms 2“The launch of Add-ons on ZEE5 Global is a significant milestone, further cementing our leadership position as the No.1 South Asian streaming platform,” said Anand. “Add-ons will bring the best of South Asian content from multiple streaming platforms within ZEE5 Global for the diaspora in the US and soon globally, and at the best possible value.”

ZEE5 Global Add-ons currently offers content across languages from streaming platforms like Simply South (all South Indian languages), Oho Gujarati (Gujarati), Chaupal (Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Haryanvi), NammaFlix (Kannada), EPIC ON (Hindi) and iStream (Malayalam) with at least six more about to join. As a first for ZEE5 Global, Gujarati content will be available on the platform to delight the huge Gujarati-speaking population in the US.

ZEE5 Global Add-ons partner titles will further add to the platform’s huge catalogue of over 250,000 hours of movies, TV shows, and originals across languages. Currently, audience fragmentation looms large, their being over 30 South Asian streaming platforms.

Goenka added, “As digital entertainment consumption and delivery models evolve in the global landscape, addressing the growing consumer demand for engaging content and a seamless, personalized experience that combines accessibility and affordability is the need of the hour. With the launch of our aggregator platform, ZEE5 Add-ons, we aim to unite the entertainment ecosystem for the discerning viewer to build a robust monetization opportunity for multiple players in the global markets. We are pleased to have on board some of the most renowned names offering South Asian content to the diaspora, and we look forward to building a healthy partnership by enhancing capabilities in the realm of content creation and distribution by establishing ZEE5 Global Add-ons as the single destination for all South Asian content.”

Sharing her vision for ZEE5 Global Add-ons, Anand added, “As the foremost South Asian streaming platform in the United States, ZEE5 Global has played a crucial role in connecting the South Asian diaspora with their cultural roots. Building on our leadership, the natural progression was to evolve into the premier aggregator for South Asian entertainment. Add-ons will help address challenges such as content and consumer fragmentation and empower subscribers to effortlessly access their preferred content at one destination. It also benefits our partners, who can bank on our extensive reach in the US and save on customer acquisition and marketing costs.”

Users will now have just one app to download, only one login and a single password to remember. Billing and payment is also simplified through a single platform for all streaming subscriptions. Personalized recommendations across languages, unified user interface and search across platforms, and an ad-free viewing experience are just some of the other key benefits for consumers in the US.

In addition to Add-ons, ZEE5 Global is set to launch the largest consumer giveback program, the Great ZEE5 GiveAway, for its US consumers over the next few weeks in association with multiple partners like Quicklly, the leading online South Asian marketplace in the US, wherein with every purchase of ZEE5 or any Add-On pack, all new or existing subscribers will stand to win guaranteed gifts with sweepstakes ranging from gift cards to all-expenses-paid trips to destinations like Hawaii, Las Vegas and more.

A unique India-to-US Referral Program will also be rolled out shortly. Subscribers in India will be able to share their unique referral link with friends or family in the US and earn Rs.500 for each successful referral. The best part is: no capping on the number of referrals, so there is no upper limit to how much one can get.

Speaking at the event, Anand also announced a massive campaign against global piracy to be launched soon with ZEE5 Global, offering a logical and legitimate option for consumers tempted by the content variety and low costs offered by pirate platforms.

Tied in with her aspiration around ZEE5 Global being at the forefront of making South Asian entertainment larger on the global stage, the launch event also featured a panel discussion titled “The Coming of Age of South Asian Entertainment: The Time is Now.” The panel discussion, moderated by Anupama Chopra, featured Manoj Bajpayee, Guneet Monga, Vishal Bhardwaj and Pratik Gandhi besides Anand. The panelists discussed a range of topics around the subject covering how South Asian content is finally taking centrestage, their own perspectives about the South Asian audience, how storytelling has evolved and whether crossing over was a personal aspiration for them.

Antarctic Ice Shelves Release Trillions of Tons: Widespread Melting Raises Alarming Concerns for Global Ocean Circulation

Antarctica has witnessed the release of around 66.9 trillion tons of freshwater into the oceans over the last 25 years, according to scientists from the University of Leeds. The research indicates that nearly 67 trillion tons of ice have melted into the ocean during this period, with 59 trillion tons added back to the ice shelves. Despite this, there is a net loss of 7.5 trillion tons. The western side of Antarctica’s ice shelves, in particular, has been heavily impacted, with human-induced global warming identified as the likely culprit.

In the analysis of 162 ice shelves surrounding Antarctica, 71 have seen a reduction in volume from 1997 to 2021. The study highlights that most ice shelves on the western side have experienced loss, while those on the eastern side have generally remained unchanged or even expanded in volume. The research involved examining over 100,000 satellite radar images to comprehensively evaluate the “health” of the ice shelves.

The potential repercussions of ice shelf loss or reduction are substantial for Antarctica’s ice system and global ocean circulation. This could impact the vital “conveyor belt” responsible for transporting nutrients, heat, and carbon throughout the polar ecosystem. Dr. Benjamin Davison, the lead researcher from the University of Leeds, explains the varying conditions around Antarctica: “The western half is exposed to warm water, which can rapidly erode the ice shelves from below, whereas much of East Antarctica is currently protected from nearby warm water by a band of cold water at the coast.”

The study’s findings challenge expectations, with almost half of the ice shelves shrinking without signs of recovery. Dr. Davison notes the impact of ocean temperature and currents, emphasizing that the susceptibility of the western side to warm waters beneath the ice shelves contributes to their erosion.

The researchers attribute these changes to global warming, arguing that if natural climate fluctuations were responsible, there would have been indications of ice regrowth, especially on the western ice shelves.

Ice shelves, acting as extensions of the continental ice sheet, float on the surrounding seas, serving as significant barriers that regulate the pace of glacier ice flowing into the oceans. As these barriers diminish or weaken, the acceleration of glacial ice loss occurs.

Notable ice losses were observed on the Getz Ice Shelf, with a total of 1.9 trillion tons of ice lost during the study period. Calving, where large ice portions detach and drift into the sea, accounted for only five percent of this loss, while the remainder was attributed to base melting. The Pine Island Ice Shelf experienced a loss of 1.3 trillion tons, with approximately 450 billion tons due to calving and the rest from base melting. Conversely, the Amery Ice Shelf on Antarctica’s eastern side gained 1.2 trillion tons, attributed to its colder surrounding waters.

This influx of freshwater can alter the density of salty ocean water, potentially disrupting the global ocean conveyor belt—an essential component for global ocean circulation. A separate study in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests that this disruption may already be underway.

Professor Anna Hogg, a co-author of the study, comments on the consistent losses observed through melting and calving, stating, “With 48 shelves losing over 30% of their original mass in just a quarter-century, it’s clear evidence of Antarctica’s response to a warming climate.” The ongoing research underscores the urgency of addressing climate change to mitigate the far-reaching impacts on Antarctica’s ice shelves and the global climate system.

A R Rahman’s Daughter To Make International Debut As Composer In ‘Lioness’

Singer and musician Khatija Rahman is set to make her international debut as a composer with the UK-India co-production film Lioness, the makers announced last week. The film is backed and supported by India’s National Film. ‘Lioness’, which is an India-UK co-production is directed by filmmaker Kajri Babbar.

Starring Paige Sandhu and Aditi Rao Hydari, the film narrates the story of two women who lived a century apart. The first story in Lioness will revolve around Sophia Duleep Singh, the daughter of Maharaja Duleep Singh — the last ruler of the Sikh empire — and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. Sophia was among the leading suffragettes who fought for women’s right to vote in 1900s Britain.

A R Rahman’s Daughter To Make International Debut As Composer In ‘Lioness’ (Metro Vartha) avifMaking her debut as a film composer in the upcoming Tamil film ‘Minmini’ which is currently in-the-works, Music maestro A.R Rahman’s daughter has released her first single ‘Farishton’ in 2020, which was composed and produced by her Oscar-winning father.

She later featured on Grammy Award-winning composer and environmentalist Ricky Kej’s song ‘Iltaja’ and collaborated with Tamil rapper-playback singer Arivu on his track ‘Sagavaasi’.

‘Lioness’ is a drama film centered around the lives of two completely different women who lived a 100 years away from each other, according to Variety.

The first story revolves around the suffragette (women’s protest for the right to vote) by Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of the legendary king Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the god-daughter of Queen Victoria, which will be played by Paige Sandhu.

The second story introduces a fictional character, Simranjeet Kaur, living in London’s Southall Asian suburb in the early 1990s, to be played by Aditi Rao Hydari.

Speaking to the outlet, Khatija said: “Thrilled and honored to be a part of ‘Lioness.’ I connected deeply with the film’s values from the moment I heard its compelling story and the reason behind bringing her story to life. Our aspiration is to ensure that Princess Sophia’s struggle receives the long-overdue recognition it truly deserves.”

A.R Rahman told Variety: “I’m always proud of her. She is herself. She’s not under the shadow of me or anything. She never played any song to me. And I didn’t even ask her. So she released it (‘Sagavaasi’) and then people sent me the song. And it’s doing well now, it’s number six on the charts. I think we’re in for surprises, what she’s gonna do”.

The upcoming singer-composer was noted for opting to wear the niqab on her own. Talking about this, A.R Rahman said: “She has a very strong mind. And she’s a rebel. What she has done by wearing the niqab, standing for it and standing for all the people who wear the niqab as a statement – she got more attention than not wearing it.”

The film is written and directed by Kajri Babbar, who unveiled the first poster of the movie, at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Film Bazaar, in Panaji. The event was attended by Prithul Kumar, Joint Secretary Films and NFDC; Agnieszka Moody, head of International Relations at BFI; and Hydari during the ‘Knowledge Series’ panel discussion on the co-production journey of both countries. ‘Lioness’ will commence production in the first quarter of 2024, with a global release planned for early 2025.

Vir Das Calls Johnny Lever His Inspiration

Vir Das made history by taking home the trophy for the best unique comedy at the 2023 International Emmy’s, for his comedy special ‘Vir Das: Landing.’

Comedian-actor Vir Das made history by bagging the prestigious Emmy Awards for best unique comedy for his Netflix show ‘Vir Das: Landing’. After accepting the honor in New York City, Vir returned to India on Wednesday. During an interaction with the media at the New Delhi airport, he talked about his experience of winning the trophy.

He said, “I am very happy to bring this home. Now, I have a show in Panchkula so I will go to Panchkula and then to Benagluru. This award will tour India like me and I am very excited. We are here because of the people who have come before us, like Johnny Lever.This is the first award for Indian comedy internationally but hopefully not the last, hopefully, many comedians can win it.”

Johnny Lever is an Indian film actor and one of the most noted comedians in Hindi cinema. Lever is one of the first stand up comedians in India.

Das added, “There is love for India in every joke of mine and there will be love in every joke in the future as well. If you love your nation, write about it.”
The award for the Comedy Category was a tie, with ‘Derry Girls Season 3’ also receiving the recognition.

‘Vir Das: Landing’ marks his fourth Netflix comedy special that presents a show about what it means to be truly global while looking for a home. To carry your country across the world with you, whatever that country is, and to find your feet.

A show about growing up in India, seeing the globe, love troubles, colossal failures, social media madness, the perils of outrage, unplanned drugs, war-zone boarding schools, metaphorical mathematical equations, the current state of comedy, getting nominated, getting intoxicated, and ultimately just getting situated.

‘Vir Das: Landing’ which premiered on the OTT platform Netflix, was competing with Le Flambeau from France, El Encargado from Argentina, and Derry Girls Season 3 from the UK.

Earlier, Vir’s third standup special ‘Vir Das: For India’ received a 2021 International Emmy Nomination for “Best Comedy.”

As the comedian received the prestigious award which he shared with UK comedy series ‘Derry Girls’, Vir Das shared his vote of thanks.

In his statement, the Indian comedian said, “This moment is truly surreal – an incredible honor that feels like a dream.  Winning an Emmy for ‘Vir Das: Landing’ in the ‘Comedy Category’ is not just a milestone for me but for Indian comedy as a whole. It’s heartening to see ‘Vir Das: Landing’ resonate globally, thanks to Netflix, Akash Sharma and Reg Tigerman who made it special. My journey from crafting local stories to receiving a global accolade has been both challenging and rewarding, and Netflix has been instrumental in that growth. I’m excited about the continued exploration of diverse narratives, from Noida to the International Emmys – India gets you there.”

‘Masterchef India’ Adds Healthy Twist To Culinary Art With Nutritionist Pooja Makhija

The new episode of the cooking reality show ‘MasterChef India’ sees renowned nutritionist Pooja Makhija gracing the kitchen. She introduces a challenge that tests the culinary talent of the contestants and adds a nutritional dimension to their creations.

The ‘Health Challenge’ will require contestants to create a healthy dish by incorporating essential elements like fibre, vitamins, protein, and carbs. There’s also a mid-challenge twist awaiting them as they will need to incorporate two more ingredients in their dishes – moringa leaves and flaxseeds.

Talking about the challenge, Pooja said: “Bringing the ‘Health Challenge’ to the ‘MasterChef India’ kitchen has been incredibly rewarding. It was exciting to witness the passion these home cooks exhibited while balancing the nutritional aspects of their creations. The challenge was a reminder that great cooking goes beyond taste – it is about nourishing the body as well.”

Amidst the challenge, contestant Kriti Dhiman finds herself in a tricky situation as incorporating dark chocolate proves to be a daunting task for her.

Sharing her experience, Kriti said: “Working with dark chocolate was definitely a challenge. Its intense flavour required a delicate balance to ensure it complemented the overall dish. This challenge has taught me the importance of experimenting with diverse ingredients to create a balanced blend of flavours.”

‘MasterChef India’ on Sony LIV. (IANS)

Nine Indians On ‘TIME’s 100 Climate’ List

The Times has published its annual list of influential business executives who have embedded climate goals into their initiatives. Nine prominent leaders hailing from India have been named to the ‘Time 100 Climate’, the magazine’s first-ever list of the world’s most influential leaders driving business to real climate action.

The list, which includes CEOs, founders, philanthropists, musicians, policymakers and government officials from across the world, comes ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference, scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30.

“It’s fair to say climate leadership is ­embedded across all of our coverage today. But we believe more could be done to draw attention to the people who are shaping and leading climate action,” Time said, releasing the list last week.

Ajay Banga, who assumed the role of president of the World Bank Group in June, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Climate Leaders in Business for 2023. Speaking at the 2023 World Bank Group-IMF Annual Meetings in Morocco, Banga stated, “If you can’t breathe and you can’t drink clean water, there’s very little point in eradicating poverty.”

In October 2023, Banga highlighted the urgency of the situation, stating, “Time is of the essence.” His commitment to aligning financial incentives and loans with climate-friendly initiatives shows a proactive approach to tackling global challenges. Banga works for a sustainable and equitable future.

Geeta Aiyer, founder of Boston Common Asset Management, is among the five Indian Americans on the list. Leading a firm with over $5 billion in assets, Aiyer works to address biodiversity loss and invest in earth renewal. Emphasizing their impact on global food supply, water access, and technology development, Aiyer called for swift government legislation to guide corporate company policies. Moreover, she also stressed the intersectionality of climate change and human rights, urging activists to advocate for stricter policies.

Nine Indians On ‘TIME’s 100 Climate’ List

Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, spearheaded climate-focused initiatives. Notably, the foundation launched the Coal to Clean Credit Initiative, aiming to shift from coal to renewable energy in emerging economies.

Rajiv advocated for expanding access to renewable electricity, emphasizing its potential to improve lives and avert a climate crisis. He urges climate activism to prioritize vulnerable populations and calls for wealthy countries to fulfill and exceed their climate financing commitments.

Jigar Shah, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, led the public investment of hundreds of billions into clean infrastructure and energy projects. He works to meet the 2030 climate goals using cost-effective technologies.

Moreover, Jigar tries to implement solutions that save money. He also identified climate technologies deserving more attention and funding, including enhanced geothermal, low-impact hydro, small modular nuclear reactors, carbon sequestration, hydrogen, and long-duration energy storage.

Manoj Sinha, CEO of Husk Power Systems, made it on the list. He achieved profitability with 200 minigrids across Asia and Africa. Advocating for long-term systemic change, he calls for a carbon tax, corporate emission offsets, and investor support for renewable innovations.

Nine Indians On ‘TIME’s 100 Climate’ List 2

Sinha emphasizes solarizing the agricultural value chain and underscores the need for a uniform carbon tax, considering cumulative emissions and societal equity. His vision reflects a holistic approach to sustainable solutions.

Sanjayan is a conservation scientist and CEO of Conservation International (CI), a non-profit working with governments and companies to conserve nature, primarily in the Global South.

Sanjayan’s skills as a science communicator have helped CI facilitate powerful partnerships for environmental protection.

The organisation created the Restore Fund in 2021 alongside Apple, which this year pledged $200 million in additional funding to support nature-based carbon removal technologies.

Seema Wadhwa is executive director for environmental stewardship for Kaiser Permanente, one of the largest health care providers in the US.

By 2050, it aims to be net zero. Under Wadhwa’s leadership, this year Kaiser Permanente’s office in Santa Rosa, California, was recognised as the country’s first net-zero medical facility.

Amit Kumar Sinha is managing director and CEO of Mahindra Lifespaces, the real estate and infrastructure development arm of Indian conglomerate company Mahindra Group.

Since 2013, Mahindra Lifespaces says it has had an entirely green portfolio, prioritizing water efficiency, passive energy design, renewables, and more.

In January of 1938, TIME’s editors considered how the sun might become a future energy source. A year later, TIME observed that scientists were seeing evidence of a warming planet. In 1953, TIME cautioned that an “invisible blanket” of greenhouse gases, at its present rate of increase, would “raise the earth’s average temperature 1.5° Fahrenheit every 100 years.”

The term ­climate change, as we currently understand it, was first used by TIME when the editors named the “Endangered Planet” the Person of the Year for 1988.

Much great work engaging with the climate story has been created by TIME journalists in the years since, and this year is no exception. It’s fair to say climate leadership is ­embedded across all of our coverage today. But we believe more could be done to draw attention to the people who are shaping and leading climate action. That is why we’ve created the inaugural TIME100 Climate list.

The TIME100 Climate is not only a community, it is an argument for how we see the future: we are recognizing those who are connecting climate action and business value, because we believe progress for the planet will come from the engagement with and leadership by the business world.

To assemble this list, TIME tried to capture the latest economic and scientific thinking by selecting individuals who are leading change across five critical areas: energy, nature, finance, culture, and health. Our reporters, editors, and colleagues at TIMECO2 sought out measurable, scalable achievements and prioritized recent action.

“Our hope is that decades from now, the creation of the TIME100 Climate will be seen as another watershed moment for TIME and our coverage of the planet,” Time wrote. .

Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios Crowned Miss Universe 2023 In History-Making Contest

In a histroy making beauty pageant, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios won the coveted Miss Universe 2023 title, beating her 83 coconstaentans from as many countries during a dazzling pageant on November 18th, 2023 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Tis is the first time ever in the 72 year-old history of the pageant, a conteststant from Nicaragua, a central American country has won the covetetd ttile.

Palacios, 23, a mental-health activist and audiovisual producer, became the first woman from Nicaragua to win the crown at Saturday night’s pageant. The organization shared on Instagram that the new winner copes with anxiety and launched a TV segment called “Understand Your Mind,” in which she interviews experts in emotional care.

Last year’s winner, Miss Universe and Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel crowned Palacios with the prestigious crown. The 23-year-old, a TV host and model, beat first runner-up Anntonia Porsild from Thailand and second runner-up Moraya Wilson from Australia. The other contestants who made the top 10 to appear in the final were Colombia’s Camila Avella, El Salvador’s Isabella García-Manzo, Peru’s Camila Escribens, the Philippines’ Michelle Dee, Puerto Rico’s Karla Guilfú Acevedo, Spain’s Athenea Pérez and Venezuela’s Diana Silva.

Palacios appeared to secure the win when she confidently answered the question of which woman’s shoes would she like to spend a year in by saying Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th-century English writer and philosopher. Wollstonecraft was an advocate of women’s rights and is considered one of the forerunners of feminism. Palacios said she wants to work to close the salary gap between the genders so that women can work in any area.

Miss Universe was last held in El Salvador in 1975. This year’s event was another opportunity for President Nayib Bukele to tout changes made under his administration, especially greatly improving the country’s safety.

“El Salvador has changed for good and we have shown it again,” Bukele said Saturday night. “Miss Universe has given us the opportunity to show the world what we are capable of. Thank you for choosing to be part of El Salvador’s rebirth.”

Shweta Sharda, who had represented India at this year’s Miss Universe pageant did not make it to the top 10. Shweta – a 23-year-old model from Chandigarh – won the prestigious Miss Diva Universe title this year. Shweta made Mumbai her home with her mother at the age of 16 to make a career in modelling. Shweta has made silverscreen appearances on several reality shows. She has appeared in Dance India Dance, Dance Deewane, and Dance Plus. Shweta also used to work as a choreographer in the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. Shweta holds a bachelor’s degree from Indira Gandhi National Open University, and she won the Miss Diva 2023 title this year. Shweta did not make it to the top 10 this year.

Hours before the final, Palacious, who had competed in many pageants before, shared a heartfelt message on Instagram about fulfilling a childhood dream to take part in the global competition.

“Tonight, I dedicate it to my inner child and to each of the girls who yearn to fulfill this dream,” she wrote in Spanish, “even the sky itself is the limit, dream so big that people think it is impossible to achieve, because that is where you know that your dreams and goals will exceed obstacles, and remember to accompany them with determination, perseverance and passion.”

She continued, “My beautiful homeland, thank you for allowing me to be an ambassador of your culture, of your landscapes, of our identity and colonial beauty, my Nicaragua…will be an honor to scream one more night your name and prove to the universe that the homeland may be small but we are full of big dreams.”

Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios Crowned Miss Universe 2023 In History Making Contest

Eighty-four contestants — each representing their home countries — were in contention, but most only briefly: at the beginning of the competition, the field then narrowed to 20 semi-finalists, selected based on their performance in the pageant’s preliminary stage and, in one case, a global fan vote.

As the night progressed, the field was further winnowed; by the time the pageant’s evening gown round played out, only 10 contestants were in the running for the Miss Universe title (and tiara, of course). While it was tradition for the eliminated beauty queens to walk the stage, en masse, to show off their looks at this point, it was usually just a brief — and tightly-choreographed — glimpse at all the sequins, corsetry and fishtail trains.

All that fashion finery was not lost entirely in the blink of an eye, however: each contestant had their runway moment during the aforementioned preliminary proceedings. At the end of it all, multiple other contestants made Miss Universe history at the 72nd event, hosted by Olivia Culpo, Maria Menounos and Jeannie Mai.

Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios Crowned Miss Universe 2023 In History Making Contest

Miss Colombia Camila Avella, a married mother, made the top five. After winning the Miss Colombia title, she posted portraits of herself in her crown and sash, hugging her young daughter, Amelia, and tux-clad husband Nassif Kamle. “Without them, and without the teachings that leave me each day to day, none of this would be possible,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.

2023 was the first year, married women and mothers were allowed to compete. Avella competed alongside Miss Guatemala Michelle Cohn, a mother of two. “MOM QUEEN,” Cohn captioned a pageant portrait of herself on Instagram with her two children.

Plus-size contestant Miss Nepal Jane Dipika Garrett was the pageant’s first body-inclusive contestant and finished in the top 20. “I love my curves! My body is my temple and I will take care of it as holy ground,” she wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo of herself from the swimsuit competition.

For the first time, the pageant included a Miss Pakistan, Erica Robin, who wore a pale-pink, floor-length caftan for the swimsuit competition. “When I was young, I always watched Miss Universe and I used to believe that a woman from Pakistan couldn’t join the greatest Olympics of its kind,” she wrote on Instagram after winning the Miss Pakistan title and celebrated “being able to use my platform for good change and transformation.

Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios Crowned Miss Universe 2023 In History Making Contest

This year’s competitors also included two transgender women: Miss Portugal Marina Machete, who placed in the top 20, and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Valerie Kollé. On Instagram, Machete gave thanks for “the opportunity to share my story and represent the diversity and unshakable strength we have as women” and added, “I’ll keep inspiring the change I want to see in the world!”

Miss Universe pageant represents the most beautiful women in the entire universe. A woman can stand tall and be Miss Universe only if she is ‘confidently beautiful’. Governed by the Miss Universe organization from the US, nearly a hundred women compete annually across the globe for this most celebrated and coveted crown. According to the organisers, the contestants were judged based on several metrics – personal statements, in-depth interviews and presentations in evening gowns and swimwear.  Besides beauty, one’s grace, elegance, attitude, and culture are key aspects that decide the winner.

The winner of this highly honored title righty echoed these sentiments: “Nicaragua, I feel you in my heartbeat, the sound of your marimba runs through my veins,” Palacios, the new Miss Universe 2023 wrote on Instagram. “I will show what Nicaraguans are made of: valor, courage and determination.”

ZEE5 Global Announces The World Digital Premiere Of Shiva Rajkumar Starrer Kannada Blockbuster ‘Ghost’

Global, 15th November 2023:  ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content,  announced the world digital premiere of the recently released Kannada movie, ‘Ghost’ today. After creating a resounding impact in theatres last month, ‘Ghost’ has garnered praise from both audiences and critics for its dynamic storyline and powerhouse performances.

The highest grosser of the year in Kannada revolves around an exciting chase between a cunning criminal and a determined police officer. It has spared no effort in entertaining viewers with its non-linear screenplay, breathtaking elevation scenes, and top-notch action sequences that showcase the renowned actor Shiva Rajkumar in a compelling new light. The highly acclaimed movie that collected over 3M USD at the box office is now set to have its digital premiere on November 17th exclusively on ZEE5 Global.

ZEE5 Global Announces The World Digital Premiere Of Shiva Rajkumar Starrer Kannada Blockbuster ‘Ghost’
Picture: ZEE5

‘Ghost’ envelopes the details of a prison hijack in Karnataka led by a mysterious criminal named Dalavayi Muddanna (Shiva Rajkumar) while following an intense chase between Dalavayi and the determined ACP Chengappa (Jayaram). With hidden gold bars, unexpected twists, and an engrossing storyline, the film keeps its viewers engaged as the characters navigate through a complex web of suspense and betrayal, leading to an exciting climax.

Directed by M. G. Srinivas and produced by Sandesh Productions, the film stars Shiva Rajkumar in the lead role alongside Jayaram and Prashant Narayanan in other prominent roles. The film also boasts noteworthy cameo appearances by Dattanna, Archana Jois, and veteran actor Anupam Kher, adding depth and nuance to this thrilling narrative.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, said, “We’ve seen great success with thrillers globally, thanks to stories deeply rooted in South Asian culture that offer an exciting cinematic experience. Our new addition, ‘Ghost,’ is a thrilling Kannada chase drama Packed with excitement, it’s a complete must-watch entertainer that we’re proud to add into our bouquet.”

Director M.G. Srinivas mentioned, “I am overwhelmed by the incredible response ‘Ghost’ has received in theatres, and I am delighted that the film’s reach will now expand globally through ZEE5 Global. The exceptional performances by Shiva Rajkumar, Prashanth Narayan, Jayaram, and other talented ensemble, along with the remarkable contribution of Anupam Kher, have truly brought the vision of ‘Ghost’ to life. I am thrilled to share our labour of love with audiences worldwide and look forward to the film’s continued success on the digital platform.”

Actor Shiva Rajkumar who is seen in the role of Ghost, said, “Since the movie’s release, I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions within me. Initially, I was anxious about how my performance would be perceived by the audience, but I am elated to see the kind of reviews the film has received. ‘Ghost’  has a unique narrative with a fresh perspective to the thrilling tale. My character in ‘Ghost’ embodies multiple shades, each serving a different purpose. While the term ‘ghost’ often evokes fear, the film presents a nuanced play on the concepts of good, bad, and the complexities in between. I am excited to know that the film is now available to an even wider audience on ZEE5 Global.”

Jayaram who is seen in the role of ACP Chengappa, said, “Being a part of ‘Ghost’ working with a powerhouse of talents like Shiva Rajkumar, Director Srinivas has been an exciting journey for me, and I am happy to see the movie being appreciated by critics and fans alike. The interesting story and the relationships between the characters have made this film a special project for me. The way the movie explores human emotions is fascinating, and I am thrilled that more people can now enjoy it on ZEE5 Global.”

The 2024 Grammy Nominations: Notable Omissions and Unexpected Inclusions

The Grammy nominations for 2024 were unveiled on Friday morning, and SZA emerged as the front-runner with an impressive nine nominations, closely followed by Victoria Monét and Phoebe Bridgers, each securing seven nods. Sharing the third spot with six nominations each were Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift, Boygenius, Jon Batiste, Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, and Brandy Clark.

The 2024 Grammy nominations were disclosed by a lineup of artists including Kim Petras, St. Vincent, Jon Bon Jovi, Muni Long, and others. Anticipation had been high for SZA and Swift, given their acclaimed 2022 albums, “Midnights” and “SOS,” respectively. Swift set a new record with six nominations this year, breaking the record for the most nominations in the Song of the Year category, accumulating seven in total, though she has yet to secure a win in this category.

The Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place on February 4 at the Arena in Los Angeles. As the music industry awaits the event, let’s delve into some notable surprises and snubs from this year’s nominations.

Surprise: Victoria Monét Triumphs

Earlier in the year, Victoria Monét faced disappointment at the MTV Video Music Awards, where she was denied a performance, with her team deeming it “too early in [her] story” for such an opportunity. However, those sentiments are likely regretted now as Monét received her first Grammy nomination, along with six others, including one for Record of the Year. Her nominations span multiple categories, such as Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Album.

Original Quote: “Earlier this year, Victoria Monét did not get to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards, taking to X to explain that her team said it was ‘too early in [her] story’ for that opportunity.”

Surprise: Pop Dance Category is an Australian Wonderland

Two Australian artists, Kylie Minogue and Troye Sivan, found cause for celebration as their songs made it to the nominations list. Kylie Minogue’s “Padam Padam,” a widely acclaimed earworm in queer spaces and online, secured a nomination, marking her sixth overall and potentially her second Grammy win. Troye Sivan, recognized for his internet phenomenon single “Rush,” received his first-ever Grammy nod after over a decade in the music industry.

Original Quote: “Two Aussies have means for celebration today and their songs will provide the perfect soundtrack.”

Snub: Peso Pluma Overlooked in Best New Artist Category

Despite a significant year with features on hits like “Ella Baila Sola” and collaborations with KAROL G, Becky G, El Alfa, and more, Peso Pluma was overlooked in the Best New Artist category. His album “GÉNESIS,” released in April, showcased his boundary-pushing approach to corridos tumbados, making his absence in the category notable.

Original Quote: “Peso Pluma had a big year with his feature on the breakout hit, ‘Ella Baila Sola,’ and a quick ascent to fame working with the likes of KAROL G, Becky G, El Alfa, and more.”

Surprise: Barbie Racks Up Four Nods in One Category

The cultural phenomenon that was Barbie in 2023, with its star-studded soundtrack, garnered significant attention from the Recording Academy. It dominated the Best Song Written for Visual Media category, securing four nominations for tracks like Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie World,” Dua Lipa’s “Dance The Night,” Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For,” and the Ryan Gosling rock-ballad “I’m Just Ken.”

Original Quote: “Barbie was the moment—the closest we got in 2023 to the days of monoculture.”

Surprise: Rihanna’s Black Panther Song Gets Grammy Love

Rihanna’s song “Lift Me Up” from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, marked her return to music after a seven-year hiatus. The Grammy nomination suggests anticipation from both the Recording Academy and her fans for a potential full-length project in the future.

Original Quote: “When the song “Lift Me Up” was released, the public heralded it as Rihanna’s return to music because she hadn’t released an album in seven years.”

Snub: Foo Fighters Do Not Receive Album of the Year Nod

Despite the Foo Fighters’ highly anticipated return to music with the album “But Here We Are,” following the tragic loss of drummer Taylor Hawkins in 2022, the band did not secure a nomination for Album of the Year. Earlier predictions from outlets like Rolling Stone had anticipated the Foo Fighters to receive recognition for turning a terrible tragedy into an artistic triumph.

Original Quote: “The Foo Fighters’ longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins died in 2022, prompting the band to step away from the spotlight.”

Surprise: The First-Ever African Music Performance Category Picks Strong Contenders

The Recording Academy introduced the Best African Music Performance category to acknowledge the growing influence of afrobeats and African music in the United States. Notable nominations in this category include Asake, Davido, Ayra Starr, and Tyla, all receiving their first-ever Grammy nominations. The inclusion of Tyla’s song, “Water,” reflects the song’s popularity with its blend of amapiano, afrobeats, pop, and R&B.

Original Quote: “The Recording Academy introduced the first-ever Best African Music Performance category following the success of afrobeats and African music in the United States.”

The 2024 Grammy nominations present a mix of expected recognitions and unexpected twists, with artists like SZA, Victoria Monét, and Phoebe Bridgers leading the pack. As anticipation builds for the awards ceremony on February 4 at the Arena in Los Angeles, music enthusiasts will be keen to see which artists take home the prestigious trophies in their respective categories.

ZEE5 Global Announces Digital Premiere Of Abhishek Bachchan And Saiyami Kher Starrer – Ghoomer

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content,  today announced the world digital premiere of ‘Ghoomer’. With an inspiring storyline, the movie features a stellar cast of Shabana Azmi, Abhishek Bachchan, Saiyami Kher, Angad Bedi and a special appearance by none other than Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Helmed by R. Balki, Ghoomer is all set to make an indelible mark via its OTT release on 10th November exclusively on ZEE5 Global.

Produced by Hope Film Makers and Saraswati Entertainment, Ghoomer is an emotional story with multiple layers. In ‘Ghoomer,’ Saiyami Kher plays Anina Dixit, a talented cricketer whose dreams are shattered by a tragic accident leading to the loss of her right arm. Paddy (played by Abhishek Bachchan), a former test cricketer, becomes her coach and helps her become the first-ever one-armed spinner, propelling her to play for the Indian National Team. The coach gives her new hope, trains her with unconventional techniques and invents a Ghoomer bowling style to turn her fate around. ‘Ghoomer’ shows how people can win over tough times and get another shot at success beating all odds.

ZEE5 Global Announces Digital Premiere Of Abhishek Bachchan And Saiyami Kher Starrer – Ghoomer 2 (1)Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global said, “Outstanding stories of might and perseverance hold the power to unite viewers across the globe. With the digital premiere of the critically acclaimed film Ghoomer on ZEE5, we hope to inspire viewers across the globe as the film’s remarkable story highlights the unbreakable human spirit. The title further expands our robust blockbuster movies library and is sure to resonate deeply with viewers worldwide.”

Director R. Balki said, “Ghoomer on ZEE5 Global will finally take the film to the widest possible audience the film deserves. Loved unanimously by those who have seen it in its limited release in the theatres, this magical story of a one-armed girl who is given a new lease of life by a man who believed in the impossible and changed the rules of the game, can atleast be witnessed by every home around the globe. I am thrilled now Ghoomer will finally reach the hearts of millions.

 Abhishek Bachchan shared his excitement, stating, “Working alongside Saiyami Kher and under R. Balki’s brilliant direction was an enriching experience that allowed us to delve deep into the intricacies of our characters. The success of this Ghoomer should be credited to the stellar team both on and off-screen who brought this story to life. I am thrilled that the film is set to make its digital premiere on ZEE5 Global, bringing this heartfelt tale to a wider audience who can now enjoy the film from the comfort of their homes.”

 Saiyami Kher mentioned, “Ghoomer has been the best experience of my life. The film has my blood, sweat, toil and my entire heart. Getting to play a differently abled cricketer, getting to work with the genius R. balki. Getting to share the screen with AB, Shabana ji and Angad has been a dream. This film is everything I could have asked for. I am delighted that the film will now be accessible to a wider audience on ZEE5 Global, allowing viewers to experience the magic of life, live Anina and paddy sir’s journey and get inspired by Anina’s courage.”

Viewers can catch ZEE5 Global’s unmissable slate and stock up on their yearlong entertainment by subscribing to the Annual pack and grabbing the limited-time special offer price.

ZEE5 Global Announces Direct-To-Digital Film ‘Kadak Singh’ Starring Pankaj Tripathi

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, announced its next direct-to-digital film, Kadak Singh today. This will mark the second collaboration between national award-winning director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and ZEE5 Global after the success of Yami Gautam starrer ‘Lost’ and the third direct-to-digital collaboration between national award-winning actor, Pankaj Tripathi and ZEE5 Global after the success of ‘Yours Truly’ and ‘Kaagaz’. Produced by Wiz Films (Andre Timmins, Viraf Sarkari & Sabbas Joseph), HT Content Studio (Mahesh Ramanathan), and KVN and co-produced by Shyam Sunder and Indrani Mukherjee, Kadak Singh also stars Sanjana Sanghi, Jaya Ahsan, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Dilip Shankar, Paresh Pahuja and Varun Buddhadev in prominent roles and is set to premiere on ZEE5 Global later this year.

Kadak Singh is an engaging thriller filled with mystery and suspense. The movie follows the perplexing journey of AK Shrivastav (Pankaj Tripathi) as he battles retrograde amnesia, uncovering a web of conflicting narratives from his past. Amidst the process of piecing together his life, the film delves into his quest to expose the truth behind a significant financial crime.

Pankaj Tripathi going live on Instagram two days ago and seeming a little lost and confused and ending the live abruptly, leaving people perplexed now makes sense as he seems to be playing out his character suffering from retrograde amnesia live for his virtual audience, giving them a sneak-peek into his character. The direct-to-digital film, Kadak Singh is set to premiere on ZEE5 Global later this year.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Globalsaid, “We are proud to unveil ‘Kadak Singh,’ our latest direct-to-digital release. We’ve delivered outstanding original content this year, earning the love of global audiences and are pleased to bring this film which marks our third collaboration with the phenomenal Pankaj Tripathi. We have full confidence that viewers will find ‘Kadak Singh,’a film well worth watching.”

Viraf Sarkari, Director Wiz Films and Producer of Kadak Singhsaid, “It’s been 12 years since I first thought of this story & started developing this film. I am so happy to finally realise this dream. We have done our best to put the best team of actors, director & crew to be a part of this film. On behalf of Wiz Films & my partners Andre Timmins& Sabbas Joseph I’d like to thank our Director Annirudha Roy Chowdhury, our producers KVN & Suprith, HT Content Studio’s Mahesh Ramanathan, & our co producers Shyam Sunder & Indrani Mukherjee, our writer Ritesh Shah and Music Director Shantanu Moitra for their love & support. Hope the audiences enjoy watching this film as much as we all did while making it”.

Director, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury said, “Kadak Singh is a special film and talks about the responsibility of one government official towards the common people. Pankaj Tripathi and Sanjana Sanghi have done a fabulous job at portraying this complex father daughter story. Infact, I was in a paradise full of great actors including Parvathy and Jaya Ahsan and collaborators where each one of them has really pushed the boundary to deliver a terrific thriller. The highlight of this film is that it has relationships in different forms and how these relationships provide different perspectives and help the story move forward. It is also about a dysfunctional family coming on their own and becoming functional after a series of events leading to a rollercoaster of emotions. I hope that the film enriches people as it is a commentary on the society, and I am looking forward to another successful collaboration with ZEE5 Global”.

 Viewers can catch ZEE5 Global’s unmissable slate and stock up on their yearlong entertainment by subscribing to the Annual pack and grabbing the limited-time special offer price.

ZEE5 Global is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music, Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

Users can download the ZEE5 Global app from Google Play Store / iOS App Store. It is available on Roku devices, Apple TVs, Android TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs. Users can also access ZEE5 Global on

Glamorous Showdown: Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt Shine at Jio World Plaza Launch

Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt made individual appearances at the grand opening of the Jio World Plaza Launch on Tuesday. Both actresses looked dazzling as they posed for the paparazzi in their off-shoulder dresses.

Deepika opted for an elegant off-shoulder grey Louis Vuitton dress, which she complemented with knee-high black boots. Her look was finished off with a chic messy bun. Deepika graced the star-studded event without her actor-husband Ranveer Singh, graciously posing for the photographers before heading inside.

On the other hand, Alia Bhatt chose a different off-shoulder dress featuring bold design patterns near the waist. She kept her accessories minimal and her hair untied. Alia arrived without her actor-husband Ranbir Kapoor, exuding her own unique style.

Among the notable stars in attendance were Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Riteish Deshmukh with Genelia D’Souza, singer Kanika Kapoor, and Javed Jaffrey, among others.

Deepika’s Revelations on Koffee with Karan

Deepika has been in the spotlight since her appearance with Ranveer Singh on Karan Johar’s chat show, Koffee with Karan. During the episode, Deepika disclosed that she and Ranveer hadn’t committed to each other and that she continued to see other people until he proposed to her.

“I was going through a phase where I said, ‘I just don’t want to be attached, don’t want to be committed.’ And I had fun! And then he comes along, so I didn’t commit until he proposed to me. There was no commitment as such. Even if we were technically allowed to see other people, we would just keep coming back to each other,” she candidly shared.

After her comments garnered both attention and criticism, Congress leader Supriya Shrinate extended her support to Deepika with a heartfelt note. Actor-comedian Vir Das also humorously addressed the men upset by her comments in his recent social media post.

Upcoming Projects for Deepika and Alia

Deepika’s most recent appearance was in a special role as Shah Rukh Khan’s mother in the blockbuster film Jawan. Her next project is “Fighter,” alongside Hrithik Roshan, directed by Siddharth Anand. “Fighter” is set for release on Republic Day next year.

Alia Bhatt, who recently won the National Award for Best Actress for her outstanding performance in “Gangubai Kathiawadi,” is gearing up for her next film, “Jigra,” directed by Vasan Bala.

The Journey to the 56 International Championship

In the realm of card games, where countless classics like Poker, Bridge, and Blackjack have captured the hearts of players worldwide, a hidden gem stands out among the rest. Meet “56,” a captivating and strategic card game combining luck, skill, and deception. While less widely known than its famous counterparts, 56 has garnered a devoted following due to its engaging gameplay, tactical depth, and historical roots in the Malayali community.

Madhu Kutty and I are roommates from NSS College of Engineering in Palakkad. We met our teammate Rajeev George in November 2019 when our mutual friend Frank from New Haven organized 56 games at his residence. We made a team for the Kerala Boat Club game in December 2019. You can guess what happened. We lost most of the round-robin games. In January 2020, we played a local tournament in Boston;  there, too, we lost most of the round-robin games. Then came the regional New Jersey tournament, and the same losing saga continued. The worst part was not the loss. It was the part that we did not understand why we lost.

Then came COVID and shutdowns in March 2020. Now, we started to play a lot online. I knew Tommy personally and since we knew they were two-time champions at 56 International, we decided to learn from them. They graciously taught us techniques and the ability to read the unsaid “calls”.

56 International is the world championship of 56 held among the Malayali community for 25 years. It started as a small tournament 24 years ago organized by Appachen and Mathew Cheruvil in Detroit. We mainly played against Tommy and his teammates online for some time. Regular online play at helped us study and analyze the game of 56. There is nothing to replace practice. Only practice can get you closer to perfection. You realize standard hands and patterns that can then be played from muscle memory rather than trying to analyze at that point.

And then came the 56 International in Chicago in 2021. We qualified for the round-robin stage and lost in the round of 16. 56International Chicago was a great experience: the food, the drinks, the singing and all the fun.

We were annoyed we made a crucial mistake and lost the game. I am sure there were more, but we did not even realize those due to inexperience.

The best part of International is that we made new friends with like-minded people across America.Then, we kept learning more and looking forward to the Tampa tournament.

Meanwhile, we started playing live at Simon’s office with Tommy and Shaji once a week.

The hurricane spoiled our plans to test all our learning as the rain date was when Madhu already booked his tickets for India. Our stopgap team could not win more than three matches required to make it to the knockout round. One more disappointing year as we could not implement everything we practiced for a year.

Individually, there are only certain things you can achieve in life or there are limits. A team can achieve much greater things, whether in your career or personal life or when you are planning to change the world. But you need to build trust among members, know how each other thinks, and you need to coordinate. You need to analyze past games and reassess strategies. Teams can create beautiful things that individuals cannot. Take the Beatles as an example; I think they never made a great song individually but made many as a team.

Every week, we practically had Malayali food at fancy restaurant steak prices (Every loss was $ 20 each, and we were losing 4-5 games a night). In Rajeev’s words, we were paying steak prices for Malayali beef “uLarthirachi”.

Long story short, we won the 24th 56 International tournament in New Jersey in October 2023. The triumphant smiles on our faces are a testament to the hard-fought battles we endured at the recent tournament. Our journey from the grueling hours of practice to the exhilarating moments on the field has been filled with relentless efforts. This essay aims to celebrate our victory, reflect on the excitement of the games, express our gratitude to the organizers, and highlight the incredible camaraderie among players that made our triumph possible.

Winning a tournament is no small feat; it culminates countless hours of dedication, determination, and sacrifice. Our journey was marked by late-night strategy sessions. These very struggles strengthened our resolve and made the victory all the sweeter. We each understood the value of hand analysis, patience during tough matches and perseverance.

The tournament was a rollercoaster of emotions as we battled formidable opponents. The excitement of each game was palpable, with the stakes growing higher as we advanced through the rounds. The tension in the air, and the thrill of competition pushed us to perform at our best. Every call, every cut, and every well-executed play sent waves of jubilation through our team. The games were a testament to our skill, teamwork, and determination and will be etched in our memories forever.

Our Pre-Quarter was a tough one with Sreekumar, Thankachan and Santhosh. They had beaten us during round-robin. But this game went into a tie. Then the two tie-breakers games also tied and we barely and luckily survived the sudden death.

Our semi-finals with Alex, Sajan and Kochumon was a fantastic game. We were down considerably but we waited for that one mistake and we caught on it and that also went to a tie. The first game in tie we called a 40 and won. They called a 48 for the next one and in that one “Pidi” we had we could eke out 9 points.

The finals with Benny George and team from Chicago was a hard-fought one. They were outstanding players. They never made a mistake and we lost the first game. Then we won the second game towards the last two shuffles. Then the third game went to a tie again. During the tiebreaker hands, the second hand we got the almost perfect hand to win but involved risks when we called 56 Diamonds because if the trump was concentrated in one hand we would have lost. But fortune favors the brave sometimes.

Behind every successful tournament are dedicated organizers who work tirelessly to ensure its smooth execution. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the organizers for their unwavering commitment to the sport and their meticulous planning.

While the thrill of victory is undoubtedly sweet and loss disappointing, the camaraderie among players truly enriches the sporting experience. Throughout the tournament, we witnessed not only the fierce competition but also the mutual respect and friendship that transcended the boundaries of teams. Shared moments of celebration and commiseration with opponents underscored the sportsmanship that defines our community. We are grateful for the friendships forged on and off the field, as they remind us that sport is not just about winning but also about the bonds we create.

Our triumph is a testament to the power of resilience, teamwork, and dedication.As we bask in the glory of our triumph, we are reminded that the journey is as important as the destination, and the memories we have created will stay with us forever.

We look forward to future tournaments, knowing that they will be filled with challenges, excitement, and the enduring bonds of friendship. We among ourselves formed a family friendship, including our spouses.

The beauty of a card game is you can play it all your life. It will help you maintain a sharp mind. Unlike cricket or basketball, where the body’s physical limits apply, the mind has infinite possibilities. I believe passionately that after a certain age, like maybe thirty five, you should only play cards 🙂 You cannot physically hurt yourself playing cards.

Plus, playing cards is the main thing you learn in a college hostel in Kerala among Malayalees or in a field or regular long train journeys. This game recreates our nostalgic moments, whether in our homes with our relatives or our paddy fields with our local populace. Many of us would have night outs to play 28 or 56 but never to study for an exam; thats how card crazy we are as a community.

We credit our spouses for their support who let us go through all this, which does not bring them any joy, money, or fame but they agreed just for our passion for the game.

As we drove back to Connecticut, we played one of rock’s greatest anthems, written and sung by Freddie Mercury

I’ve paid my dues

Time after time

I’ve done my sentence

But committed no crime

And bad mistakes

I’ve made a few

I’ve had my share of sand

Kicked in my face

But I’ve come through

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions, my friends

And we’ll keep on fighting till the end

We are the champions

We are the champions

No time for losers

‘Cause we are the champions of the World!

The Powerful Conclusion of “Killers of the Flower Moon”: A Cinematic Exploration

In contemporary film criticism, there’s a well-established rule: avoid revealing a movie’s ending unless your audience is particularly niche. Delving into the details of a final scene or closing shot is often met with disdain from the spoiler police. Yet, once in a while, a film’s ending is so emotionally charged, so impactful in its own right, and as the culmination of everything preceding it, that it warrants separate consideration. Martin Scorsese’s exceptional film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” adapted from David Grann’s 2017 book that delves into the systematic and macabre murders of wealthy Osage landowners in 1920s Oklahoma, is precisely one of those instances. The concluding moments of the film are so compelling that they underscore Scorsese’s profound connection with the material and enable us to express our own emotions about it. In my case, the movie lingered with me for days, even weeks, with memories of it resurfacing unexpectedly, like messages etched in smoke. If you haven’t seen “Killers of the Flower Moon” yet, please consider this your warning to stop reading here. However, if you’ve watched it and are haunted by it, this is an opportunity for us to share in that haunting together.

The film is set in Osage territory in the early 1920s in Oklahoma. Lily Gladstone delivers a mesmerizing performance as Mollie Burkhart, an Osage Indian whose oil-rich land, previously acquired through coercion by the U.S. government, has made her a wealthy woman. Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), an ambitious but not particularly bright World War I veteran, pursues and marries Mollie. Much of this decision is influenced by his uncle, the corrupt cattleman William Hale (Robert De Niro), although Ernest seems to genuinely love Mollie. Nonetheless, he willingly becomes part of Hale’s nefarious plan to murder affluent Osage to obtain their oil rights.

One by one, Mollie’s family members are brutally murdered, with their deaths masked as accidents or coincidences. Ernest is aware of or directly involved in at least two of these murders, and he actively participates in the planned murder of his own wife. In reality, these heinous acts were part of a series of crimes, many of which remain unsolved and may have claimed the lives of around 100 members of the Osage nation, if not more. An upright Bureau of Investigation agent named Tom White (Jesse Plemons) arrives to investigate the community’s murders and eventually solves the case. However, Scorsese places the story’s emphasis on Mollie, her family, and Ernest’s terrible betrayal of the woman he genuinely loved. The primary narrative concludes with Mollie’s reluctant and painful acknowledgment of her husband’s role in the murders. But this ending is followed by a coda in which Scorsese himself makes an appearance, a moment where the storyteller reaffirms Mollie as the heart of this saga and reminds us that while life is fleeting, history endures.

This coda draws inspiration from the radio serials of the 1930s and 1940s, a time when home entertainment involved gathering around a device that sparked the imagination through sound, rather than visuals (which were reserved for the movies). In real life, the Osage murders were dramatized in a 1933 episode of “The Lucky Strike Hour,” with the approval of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s chief, J. Edgar Hoover, who recognized its potential for positive public relations. “Killers of the Flower Moon” ends with a reimagined recreation of the broadcast recording, featuring a mostly male voice cast (including Larry Fessenden and musician Jack White) narrating the aftermath of the case. We learn that Hale and Burkhart were convicted but later pardoned, and the Osage perspective is presented through a voice actor using cartoonish pidgin English.

Through this coda, Scorsese conveys how events are remembered and retold and how they become part of history, typically by individuals who didn’t directly experience them. While storytelling keeps these stories alive, it’s often the people who suffered the most who lack the means to share their stories with the wider world. In the early 1930s, about a decade after the actual events, the story of the Osage murders was retold by a group of white voice actors dressed in suits and equipped with various Foley effects. Almost 95 years later, that story is recounted in meticulously researched form by a white journalist. And approximately a century later, it becomes a movie created by a white director, possibly the world’s greatest living director.

Scorsese has occasionally made uncredited appearances in his films, whether through his voice or brief glimpses on screen. It’s as if he has immersed himself so deeply in the act of storytelling that he can’t resist including himself in the narrative, even if subtly. He’s the artist who can’t help but secretly embed his own image on the canvas, akin to Jan van Eyck’s self-reflection in his painting.

However, Scorsese’s presence in “Killers of the Flower Moon” as a radio producer who steps up to the microphone for the last word in the reimagined “Lucky Strike Radio Hour” broadcast is distinct. In a few brief sentences, he encapsulates the essence of Mollie Burkhart’s obituary. She passed away in 1937, a full-blood Osage, and was laid to rest next to her family members who had preceded her in death. Then he adds a poignant detail. Although his tone is measured, you can’t help but wonder if his own heart is breaking as he reads it: “There was no mention of the murders.”

With this statement, Scorsese seems to be conveying how Mollie Burkhart’s life was assessed and summarized at the time of her death. In his book, Grann had provided more details about her story. In restructuring the material for the film, Scorsese attempts to further restore her dignity, although he recognizes the paternalistic nature of the notion of “restoring dignity.” A person’s, especially a woman’s, dignity is a personal matter, and does she truly need another person, particularly a man, to tidy it up and return it to her?

In a single sentence, Scorsese, a man who is dedicated to storytelling, implicitly acknowledges the inherent fallacy of this idea. Directors are generally self-assured individuals, at times to the point of hubris. However, in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Scorsese’s concluding words are an act of humility, offered by a filmmaker who is aware that he is nearing the twilight of his career.

The film’s closing image is an Osage celebration, a circle of dancers depicted as a kaleidoscopic whirl. Mollie’s spirit, her history, lives on in them. Yet Scorsese, the outsider, wants to pay homage to her as well. He has done his utmost to bring her to life for us through Gladstone’s performance, in a film so vivid and empathetic that it leaves an indelible after-image. This is the greatest tribute he can offer to Mollie Burkhart. Nevertheless, he understands that it falls short of being enough.

Vijay’s “Leo” Roars with a Staggering $16 Million Global Debut

In a stunning feat, Indian actor Vijay’s latest blockbuster, “Leo,” raked in an astounding $16 million (₹140 crore) worldwide on its opening day. This phenomenal success was unveiled in a report by CNBC. Notably, “Leo” managed to outshine the collections of Shah Rukh Khan’s “Jawan,” which had hit the screens on October 19, 2023.

“Leo,” an action-packed thriller, was unveiled in multiple languages, encompassing Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. A social media post by the renowned film trade analyst Ramesh Bala, shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), disclosed that the movie swiftly crossed the remarkable ₹100-crore (US$ 12 million) milestone at the global box office within its opening day.

Citing information from industry tracker, CNBC confirmed that director Lokesh Kanagaraj’s “Leo” had scripted history by achieving the ‘most significant worldwide opening for a Kollywood (Tamil) film.’ Notably, this film marks the third installment in the Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU), following “Kaithi” (2019) starring Karthi and “Vikram” (2022) featuring Kamal Haasan. “Leo” drew inspiration from “A History of Violence” (2005), an adaptation of the graphic novel bearing the same title.

The star-studded cast of “Leo” includes Vijay in the lead role as Leo Das/ Parthiban, Sanjay Dutt portraying Antony Das, Arjun as Harold Das, Trisha taking on the character of Sathya, and director-cum-actor Gautham Vasudev Menon stepping into the shoes of a forest ranger. Complementing this ensemble are Madonna Sebastian, George Maryan, Mathew Thomas, Mansoor Ali Khan, Mysskin, and Sandy Master.

The film, initially announced in January 2023, marked Vijay’s 67th cinematic venture. The musical score for this cinematic spectacle was crafted by Anirudh Ravichander, known for his work on “Kaavaalaa.” Manoj Paramahamsa lent his expert touch as the cinematographer, and the editing was masterfully executed by Philomin Raj. The production of this cinematic marvel was overseen by S S Lait Kumar and Jagadish Palanisamy, under the esteemed banner of Seven Screen Studio. The script was expertly crafted by Lokesh Kanagaraj, Rathna Kumar, and Deeraj Vaidy.

Vijay’s last appearance on the silver screen was in “Varisu,” which premiered in January 2023 under the direction of Vamshi Paidipally. On the other hand, Trisha graced the screens as Kundavai in Mani Ratnam’s “Ponniyin Selvan: II,” released in April 2023.

The soaring success of “Leo” signifies the unwavering star power of Vijay and the enduring appeal of Indian cinema, captivating audiences across the globe.

Allu Arjun’s National Award Triumph: Fans Accord Grand Welcome With Flowers And Dhol

Pan-India superstar Allu Arjun, who has received the National Award for ‘Best Actor’ for his movie ‘Pushpa: The Rise’, was accorded a grand welcome on his arrival at home, with fans welcoming their favorite actor with dhol and crackers.

On Tuesday, Allu Arjun was bestowed with the National Award at the 69th National Awards held in New Delhi, and the happiness among the fans seeing him receive the National Award was at its peak. Following his return to Hyderabad, the actor’s triumph was celebrated by the fans with full enthusiasm. The celebration was sort of like a festival.

The video that went viral on social media, shows Allu Arjun in a black kurta and white pyjama. He is seen coming out of the sun roof of his car, and waving at people. The fans are showering flower petals on him, and are holding flags bearing ‘AA’. The fans are also seen holding placards of Allu Arjun’s movies, while they clicked pictures of the actor.

Allu Arjun has made history by winning the National Award as in the history of Telugu cinema, he is the only actor to have the Award for the best actor.

His performance in the role of iconic Pushpa Raaj received unanimous love from the fans and the masses across the globe. The movie has also received the award for Best Music Direction, which was given to Devi Sri Prasad.

The actor also took to Instagram and shared the photos from the ceremony. He wrote: “Honoured to receive the National Award. I want to thank the jury, the Ministry, the Government of India,
for this recognition. This award is not only a personal milestone, but belongs to all people who have supported and cherished our cinema. Thank you, @aryasukku garu. You are the reason behind my achievement.”

On the professional front, Allu Arjun is currently shooting for his highly-anticipated movie ‘Pushpa: The Rule’, which is scheduled to release on August 15, 2024.

The first installment, ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ depicted the rise of coolie Pushpa Raj (Allu Arjun) in the smuggling syndicate of red sandalwood, that grows only in the Seshachalam Hills of Chittoor
in Andhra Pradesh.

‘Pushpa 2: The Rule’ is directed by Sukumar and also stars Rashmika Mandanna, and Fahadh Faasil. The film is produced by Mythri Movie Makers. (IANS)

ZEE5 Global Announces The World Digital Premiere ‘Gadar 2’ starring Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content,  announces the world digital premiere of the biggest Hindi blockbuster of the year, ‘Gadar 2’ today. After a successful theatrical run collecting 63M USD in India and still counting, Gadar 2 is set for another successful innings on ZEE5 Global on 6th October. Produced by Zee Studios and directed by Anil Sharma, the superhit sequel to the 2001 hit ‘Gadar’ will see Sunny Deol, Ameesha Patel and Utkarsh Sharma reprise their roles as Tara Singh, Sakeena and Charanjeet “Jeete” Singh respectively.

Gadar 2 brings back India’s most loved family of Tara, Sakeena & Jeete; 22 years after its predecessor. Set against the backdrop of Indo-Pakistan war of 1971, Tara Singh, once again, will face every enemy to protect the honor of his country and family. This time, the narrative will delve deeper into the enduring love of Tara Singh and Sakeena and additionally, will see a strong father-son bond between Tara Singh and Charanjeet as the latter lands in Pakistan and ends up being caught and tortured. While the last time, Tara Singh visited Pakistan to get his wife back, this time, he will return to rescue his son.

So, gear up for bigger, better and bolder action sequences from Sunny Deol and a repeat of his most popular dialogue “Hindustan zindabad tha, zindabad hai aur zindabad rahega” which will continue to echo in every Hindustani’s heart for a long time. The movie will also see Sunny Deol reprise his famous handpump scene and sing and dance to the original chartbusters (from the 2001 film) like ‘Udd Jaa Kaale Kaava’, ‘Main Nikla Gaddi Leke’ and recreate the same magic from 2001.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global said, “Bollywood blockbusters have always transcended geographical boundaries and resonated with global viewers through their powerful and emotionally charged stories. With the World Digital Premiere of Gadar 2, ZEE5 Global is thrilled to present our global viewers with the sequel to one of Hindi cinema’s all-time blockbuster hits that has captivated audiences for over 22 years”.

Shariq Patel, CBO, Zee Studios said, “Gadar 2 brought back India’s most loved family of Tara Singh, Sakeena and Jeete; 22 years after its predecessor. Hindustan Ka Asli Blockbuster will make history once more with its digital premiere on ZEE5 Global”.

Sunny Deol said, “We are absolutely delighted with the overwhelming response that ‘Gadar 2’ has received in theatres. Now with its World Digital Premiere on ZEE5 Global, I am very excited for the movie to reach a wider, global audience. Gadar 2 is a perfect family entertainer which will keep the viewers completely engaged and entertained. I urge everyone to watch it if you haven’t already and watch it again if you have”.

Ameesha Patel said, “Sakeena is a character who has stayed with me throughout my career, and I was so excited to revisit her in ‘Gadar 2.’ The chemistry between Tara and Sakeena is timeless, and the sequel reignites that magic for our fans. ZEE5 Global’s platform allows us to connect with a global audience, and I’m thrilled that viewers from around the world will have the opportunity to witness this epic love story, all over again but with more twists and action”.

Director Anil Sharma said, “The story of ‘Gadar’ is etched in the memories of every movie lover and with Gadar 2, we have tried to recreate the same magic. I am beyond thrilled that Gadar 2 has become one of the most successful Hindi films of all time and now with its World Digital Premiere on ZEE5 Global, I hope that the film breaks more records and reaches more people across the world”.

The Journey to the 56 International Championship

In the realm of card games, where countless classics like Poker, Bridge, and Blackjack have captured the hearts of players worldwide, a hidden gem stands out among the rest. Meet “56,” a captivating and strategic card game combining luck, skill, and deception. While less widely known than its famous counterparts, 56 has garnered a devoted following due to its engaging gameplay, tactical depth, and historical roots in the Malayali community.

Madhu Kutty and I are roommates from NSS College of Engineering in Palakkad. We met our teammate Rajeev George in November 2019 when our mutual friend Frank from New Haven organized 56 games at his residence. We made a team for the Kerala Boat Club game in December 2019. You can guess what happened. We lost most of the round-robin games. In January 2020, we played a local tournament in Boston;  there, too, we lost most of the round-robin games. Then came the regional New Jersey tournament, and the same losing saga continued. The worst part was not the loss. It was the part that we did not understand why we lost.

Then came COVID and shutdowns in March 2020. Now, we started to play a lot online. I knew Tommy personally and since we knew they were two-time champions at 56 International, we decided to learn from them. They graciously taught us techniques and the ability to read the unsaid “calls”.

56 International is the world championship of 56 held among the Malayali community for 25 years. It started as a small tournament 24 years ago organized by Appachen and Mathew Cheruvil in Detroit. We mainly played against Tommy and his teammates online for some time. Regular online play at helped us study and analyze the game of 56. There is nothing to replace practice. Only practice can get you closer to perfection. You realize standard hands and patterns that can then be played from muscle memory rather than trying to analyze at that point.

And then came the 56 International in Chicago in 2021. We qualified for the round-robin stage and lost in the round of 16. 56International Chicago was a great experience: the food, the drinks, the singing and all the fun.

We were annoyed we made a crucial mistake and lost the game. I am sure there were more, but we did not even realize those due to inexperience.

The best part of International is that we made new friends with like-minded people across America.Then, we kept learning more and looking forward to the Tampa tournament.

Meanwhile, we started playing live at Simon’s office with Tommy and Shaji once a week.

The hurricane spoiled our plans to test all our learning as the rain date was when Madhu already booked his tickets for India. Our stopgap team could not win more than three matches required to make it to the knockout round. One more disappointing year as we could not implement everything we practiced for a year.

Individually, there are only certain things you can achieve in life or there are limits. A team can achieve much greater things, whether in your career or personal life or when you are planning to change the world. But you need to build trust among members, know how each other thinks, and you need to coordinate. You need to analyze past games and reassess strategies. Teams can create beautiful things that individuals cannot. Take the Beatles as an example; I think they never made a great song individually but made many as a team.

Every week, we practically had Malayali food at fancy restaurant steak prices (Every loss was $ 20 each, and we were losing 4-5 games a night). In Rajeev’s words, we were paying steak prices for Malayali beef “uLarthirachi”.

Long story short, we won the 24th 56 International tournament in New Jersey in October 2023. The triumphant smiles on our faces are a testament to the hard-fought battles we endured at the recent tournament. Our journey from the grueling hours of practice to the exhilarating moments on the field has been filled with relentless efforts. This essay aims to celebrate our victory, reflect on the excitement of the games, express our gratitude to the organizers, and highlight the incredible camaraderie among players that made our triumph possible.

Winning a tournament is no small feat; it culminates countless hours of dedication, determination, and sacrifice. Our journey was marked by late-night strategy sessions. These very struggles strengthened our resolve and made the victory all the sweeter. We each understood the value of hand analysis, patience during tough matches and perseverance.

The tournament was a rollercoaster of emotions as we battled formidable opponents. The excitement of each game was palpable, with the stakes growing higher as we advanced through the rounds. The tension in the air, and the thrill of competition pushed us to perform at our best. Every call, every cut, and every well-executed play sent waves of jubilation through our team. The games were a testament to our skill, teamwork, and determination and will be etched in our memories forever.

Our Pre-Quarter was a tough one with Sreekumar, Thankachan and Santhosh. They had beaten us during round-robin. But this game went into a tie. Then the two tie-breakers games also tied and we barely and luckily survived the sudden death.

Our semi-finals with Alex, Sajan and Kochumon was a fantastic game. We were down considerably but we waited for that one mistake and we caught on it and that also went to a tie. The first game in tie we called a 40 and won. They called a 48 for the next one and in that one “Pidi” we had we could eke out 9 points.

The finals with Benny George and team from Chicago was a hard-fought one. They were outstanding players. They never made a mistake and we lost the first game. Then we won the second game towards the last two shuffles. Then the third game went to a tie again. During the tiebreaker hands, the second hand we got the almost perfect hand to win but involved risks when we called 56 Diamonds because if the trump was concentrated in one hand we would have lost. But fortune favors the brave sometimes.

Behind every successful tournament are dedicated organizers who work tirelessly to ensure its smooth execution. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the organizers for their unwavering commitment to the sport and their meticulous planning.

While the thrill of victory is undoubtedly sweet and loss disappointing, the camaraderie among players truly enriches the sporting experience. Throughout the tournament, we witnessed not only the fierce competition but also the mutual respect and friendship that transcended the boundaries of teams. Shared moments of celebration and commiseration with opponents underscored the sportsmanship that defines our community. We are grateful for the friendships forged on and off the field, as they remind us that sport is not just about winning but also about the bonds we create.

Our triumph is a testament to the power of resilience, teamwork, and dedication.As we bask in the glory of our triumph, we are reminded that the journey is as important as the destination, and the memories we have created will stay with us forever.

We look forward to future tournaments, knowing that they will be filled with challenges, excitement, and the enduring bonds of friendship. We among ourselves formed a family friendship, including our spouses.

The beauty of a card game is you can play it all your life. It will help you maintain a sharp mind. Unlike cricket or basketball, where the body’s physical limits apply, the mind has infinite possibilities. I believe passionately that after a certain age, like maybe thirty five, you should only play cards 🙂 You cannot physically hurt yourself playing cards.

Plus, playing cards is the main thing you learn in a college hostel in Kerala among Malayalees or in a field or regular long train journeys. This game recreates our nostalgic moments, whether in our homes with our relatives or our paddy fields with our local populace. Many of us would have night outs to play 28 or 56 but never to study for an exam; thats how card crazy we are as a community.

We credit our spouses for their support who let us go through all this, which does not bring them any joy, money, or fame but they agreed just for our passion for the game.

As we drove back to Connecticut, we played one of rock’s greatest anthems, written and sung by Freddie Mercury

I’ve paid my dues

Time after time

I’ve done my sentence

But committed no crime

And bad mistakes

I’ve made a few

I’ve had my share of sand

Kicked in my face

But I’ve come through

And we mean to go on and on and on and on

We are the champions, my friends

And we’ll keep on fighting till the end

We are the champions

We are the champions

No time for losers

‘Cause we are the champions of the World!

Tasveer Film Festival Presents 18th Edition Lineup, Bridging Cultures And Breaking Barriers Through Film

Tasveer South Asian Film Festival (TSAFF) is gearing up for its 18th edition from October 12 to 22, 2023, across multiple venues in Seattle, WA. This year, TSAFF achieves a momentous milestone as the first and only South Asian film festival whose winning films will qualify for submission to the esteemed Oscars. The significance of a South Asian film festival qualifying for the Oscars illustrates the importance of representation and inclusivity in media as it challenges historically limited narratives and promotes cross-cultural understanding.

With the theme of “Breaking Cinematic Barriers,” this year’s lineup unveils an impressive collection of 83 selected films spanning diverse genres and captivating themes. The carefully curated selection includes 23 features, 60 shorts, 20 documentaries, and 63 narratives; 25 World Premieres, 36 North America Premiere, with 33 Female identified directors. These films, presented in 26 languages, promise an unparalleled global cinematic journey reflecting the rich tapestry of South Asian stories.

Tasveer co-founder Rita Meher expressed her pride in the festival: “As the only Oscar-qualifying South Asian festival, we are committed to presenting a program of unparalleled depth and significance. Our festival winners can directly compete in the Academy Awards run, allowing authentic South Asian narratives to shine on the grandest stage, unfiltered and unmediated.”

The 18th Annual Tasveer Festival kicks off with in-person screenings from October 12th to 15th at premier venues, including the Paccar IMAX Theater at Pacific Science Center. The festival will continue in a virtual format on TasveerTV from October 16th to 22nd, offering audiences the flexibility to engage with the content from the comfort of their homes.

Film + Event Highlights:

Opening Night Film: The opening night will feature the gripping drama of “Munnel (Sand in Tamil)” from Sri Lanka. The film skillfully weaves together themes of love, loss, faith, and desperation that immerse us in the post-war landscape of Sri Lanka, where Rudran, an ex-Tamil militant, returns home in search of his vanished lover, Vaani. The film won a jury award at the 2023 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).

Centerpiece: “Pasang: In the Shadow of Everest” presents an inspiring tale from Nepal, chronicling the remarkable journey of mountaineer Pasang Lhamu Sherpa as she challenges racism, gender bias, and political opposition to become the first Nepali woman to conquer Mount Everest.

Washington State/Climate Change Film: “Between Earth and Sky” delves into the life of ecologist Nalini Nadkarni as she explores the effects of disturbance and recovery of rainforest canopies, with a special local focus on the Olympic National Park in Washington state.

LGBTQIA+ Focus: “Blue Sunshine” is a groundbreaking film by and about a Transgender woman, based on the real-life events of Samyuktha Vijayan, who wrote, directed, produced, and acted in it.

Tasveer Youth Collective Focus: “Alone Alone Alone on a Wide Wide Sea” is a creation, in collaboration with Tasveer, from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Documentary Focus: “Tortoise Under the Earth” presents an Indigenous Tribal Rights docu-feature, co-presented in collaboration with the University of Washington South Asia Center.

Local Focus: “Alien” poignantly portrays the struggles of Indian immigrants on H1B visas, exposing the dichotomy between America’s dependence on foreign talent and its treatment of these individuals.

Bangladeshi Film: “Pett Kata Shaw” breathes life into ancient South Asian folktales through a supernatural anthology, embracing the burgeoning popularity of the horror genre in contemporary Bengali films.

Closing Night Film: “Catfish,” World Premiere, explores themes of prohibiting queer love, longing, and loneliness in the digital age as a lonely office worker from Pakistan engages in a desperate online attempt at companionship.

Special Partnership: South Asian House proudly hosts a Happy Hour at Tasveer to celebrate the screening of three films produced and executive produced by co-founders Rohi Mirza Pandya (14 YEARS & EID MUBARAK) and Jitin Hingorani (CALL ME DANCER), featuring lead protagonist and dancer Manish Chauhan on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at PACCAR IMAX Theater. The Happy Hour will take place right after the CALL ME DANCER screening and will take place at The Masonry 20 Roy St, Seattle, WA 98109 from 5 to 7pm. More info at

7 Questions On JAWAN For SRK and Vijay

Shah Rukh Khan’s JAWAN has hit the big screens last week and the excitement among the audience is at its peak. After seeing the action-packed trailer, it has been hard for the audience to wait for the release of the film, and the evidence of the same is well-witnessed at the advance booking windows where this action entertainer is creating records.

Now, to elevate the ever-rising excitement, the makers have released a video via social media, titled 7 QUESTIONS FOR 7TH SEPTEMBER, which gives everyone a fun insight into the film.

1) Question for SRK: *1. Is it true that Atlee and you wanted to work together for a long time? * While answering this, SRK said, I met with Atlee during the making of Bigil and he went for the match of CSK and KKR. Ahead of this, Atlee had spoken to me on an idea for Jawan saying, ‘It’s you, sir, along with 5 girls and that’s my film because my wife Priya and myself really feel that you look the nicest when you have a bunch of ladies with you in a film’ and that’s how Jawan started.

Furthermore, the video brought a question for Vijay Sethupathi playing the role of Kaali in Jawan.

Picture : News9Live

2) Question for Vijay Setupathi – How did you get the role of villain in Jawan and are you the real villain in the film or Shah Rukh Khan is? While answering, Vijay Sethupathi reminisces about his interaction with SRK and Atlee. He told SRK, ‘Sir I wanted to be a part of your film’ to which SRK replied ‘We were also thinking of you for the past few years’ and that’s how he got into this film. Moreover, while addressing who the real villain is in the film, him or Shah Rukh Khan? Vijay smartly answered both are playing their roles and are villains for each other.

3) Question for SRK – Are you the villain or hero or vill-hero? Let us in on your secret?
Answering the same, SRK says, ‘It’s a common man, doing uncommon things for the common good of everybody’.

4) Question for Vijay Setupathi – Your experience working with Shah Rukh Khan?
While answering this, Vijay mentioned how he enjoys the way SRK gives interviews, with spontaneity and how intrigued he is! And how he keeps asking him lots of questions to know more about him as a person.

5) Question for SRK – Are you an action hero or just a guy with a great insurance policy?
SRK responded to this jokingly saying my insurance policy is over! As he has been injured so many times no one wants to insure him. Furthermore he added, the only reason he likes doing action films is because his youngest son Abram loves cool films with action, anime and superheroes and he wants to do cool action films for him.

6) Question for Vijay Setupathi – How do you prepare for such an intense antagonist role?
Vijay Sethupathi, said, ‘I just know that I am good at choosing scripts and I do not want to bring anything  else into my headspace, I believe that it spoils the artist in my mind which I do not want to do.’

7) What was your “That is why I signed up for Jawan” moment?
While mentioning this one moment, SRK, said, “There is a shot where I am introduced as the bald hero (does the clapping action) and I remember Atlee putting a lot of powder in my hand and I think I sneezed also doing that shot, but when I finally saw the shot, and that’s my moment for doing Jawan.

With this, SRK left the excitement of the fans on edge and promised that there is a lot more than this in the film. The superstar further urges everyone to enjoy Jawan on 7th September 2023.

‘Jawan’ is a Red Chillies Entertainment presentation directed by Atlee, produced by Gauri Khan, and co-produced by Gaurav Verma. The film will release worldwide in theatres on September 7th, 2023, in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu languages.

ARAR Premieres At Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2023

A riveting story of human emotions, FARAR is set for its world premiere at the 14th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF) as the ‘Marquee Web Series’ of the festival. The first collaboration under the landmark partnership of Applause Entertainment and Zindagi, FARAR’s global premiere is a strong reinforcement of bridging cross-cultural gaps and creating universally- relatable South Asian content for the diaspora.

Two episodes from the show, based on the themes of friendship, freedom, and hope, will be screened on Saturday, September 23rd, as part of the four-day festival program. The premiere will be attended by producers Shailja Kejriwal (Juror at International Emmy Awards 2023) and Umnia Iftikhar, director Mehreen Jabbar (Pakistan’s Oscar Selection Committee), and lead actor Sarwat Gilani (JOYLAND, CHURAILS). The six-episode series, also produced by Sameer Nair and Deepak Segal features Mariam Saleem & Maha Hasan, and is set in the sprawling city of Karachi, Pakistan.

Expressing her excitement, lead actor Sarwat Gilani says, “As an actor, being part of FARAR has been an incredible journey of exploration and dedication. This show is not just a story for us; it’s a piece of our souls, a representation of the rich emotions that connect us as humans. As FARAR gets ready for its premiere at CSAFF, my heart is brimming with happiness. This compelling storyline, delicately weaving the tapestry of female friendships and triumphing over obstacles, is now set to captivate and resonate with audiences worldwide.’’

Recognized as one of the most prolific directors from Pakistan, director Mehreen Jabbar adds, “I am thrilled to have our series premiere in Chicago. This vibrant city not only has a thriving South Asian diaspora but also houses a festival that has consistently championed diverse genres and formats. In a time marked by divisions and jingoism, it is truly heartwarming to see the convergence of two of the world’s largest South Asian nations, uniting in celebration of the art of storytelling.”

Reflecting on this significant milestone, Chief Creative Officer (Special Projects) Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., Shailja Kejriwal says, “Personally, nothing gives me greater joy than seeing content from our subcontinent reach a world stage. FARAR’s premiere at CSAFF is extra special as it is our first collaboration with Applause Entertainment.  The potential for South Asian content is unmatched, and we are so thrilled to have such an amazing partner and such brilliant teams on board this journey with us”.

Producer Umnia Iftikhar adds: “Bringing FARAR to Chicago South Asian Film Festival is a moment of immense pride and gratitude for our entire team. This show is a labor of love, a convergence of passion and storytelling. As we premiere here amidst the world, we hope FARAR resonates with the universal emotions that bind us all. The power of storytelling lies in its ability to bridge cultures and ignite conversations, and we are thrilled to share our narrative with this wonderful audience.”

Presented by Applause Entertainment, a Zindagi original FARAR tells the story of three independent women who are navigating the complexities of modern life. The series highlights the universal human experiences of friendship, love, and personal growth, while simultaneously tackling issues such as societal pressures, identity, taboos, and body shaming.

Earlier this week, in a groundbreaking move, Applause Entertainment and Zindagi announced their strategic partnership to energize investment in South Asian content creation that connect with today’s diverse global audience.

About Applause Entertainment

Applause Entertainment is a leading Content & IP Creation Studio with a focus on premium drama series, movies, documentaries, and animation content. A venture of the Aditya Birla Group, led by media veteran Sameer Nair, the studio has produced and released popular series across genres and languages which includes shows like Rudra: The Edge of Darkness, Criminal Justice, Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, Scam 2003: The Telgi Story, Undekhi, Kafas, and others that have gone on to win acclaim and applause. Applause’s feature film Zwigato, directed by Nandita Das and starring Kapil Sharma released in cinemas worldwide to tremendous critical acclaim. The first Tamil cinema ‘Por Thozhil’ struck gold at the Box Office with rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. The Rapist, directed by Aparna Sen, recently won the prestigious Kim Jiseok Award at the Busan International Film Festival. Applause has partnered with leading platforms like Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Sony LIV, MX Player, ZEE5, and Voot Select for its creative output.

About Zindagi

Zindagi, a flagship channel launched in 2014, owned by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, introduced India to captivating and thought-provoking stories from across the border. With a focus on exploring the human experience through compelling narratives, Zindagi has gained acclaim for its diverse range of shows like Humsafar, Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Aunn Zara to originally created shows such as Churails, Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, Dhoop ki Deewar and so on that transcend borders and languages.

In the last 9 years, Zindagi has traveled its journey from television to OTT (launched in 2020 on ZEE5) and recently returned to television as a DTH value-added service provider. Last year, Zindagi took home over 10 awards for their original shows, including Qatil Haseenaon Ke Naam, which was titled the National winner of ‘Best Anthology Award’ at the Asian Academy Creative Awards in 2022 as well as ‘Best Programme Title Sequence’ at the Promax India Awards 2022. Another original show Dhoop Ki Deewar won ‘Best Key Art’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media’ in Marketing at various Awards and so on. Zindagi continues to be at the forefront of storytelling innovation, fostering cross-cultural understanding and forging memorable connections between audiences and the South Asian stories it brings to life.

Santhanam’s Tamil Horror Comedy ‘DD Returns’ Is Streaming On ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, expands its library with Tamil blockbuster ‘DD Returns’. The movie celebrated huge success in theatres with astounding performance and dialogue delivery which made the audiences smile throughout the movie. DD Returns traces the journey of Sathish [Santhanam] who is desperate to save his girlfriend which leads him to a haunted house. Produced by RK entertainment and directed by S. Prem Anand, the film is one of the best Tamil comedy films in recent times with a pinch of horror. The acclaimed movie is currently streaming on ZEE5 Global.

The movie features an ensemble cast that includes Santhanam, Surbhi, Redin Kingsley, Lollu Sabha Maaran, Pradeep Rawat, Masoom Shankar, FEFSI Vijayan, Rajendran and Munishkanth. The horror comedy chronicles around Sathish and his quest to find and rescue his girlfriend – Sofia when her predicament spirals into a do-or-die situation. Satish and his team are forced to play a dangerous game called ‘Win or Run’ organized by the ghosts inhabiting the palace. The cryptic ghosts who devised the lethal game during their lifetime designed it to brutally kill contestants upon failure to advance. Will Sathish and his team emerge victorious and escape the ghosts? Or will someone meet an unfortunate end at the hands of the phantom game designers?

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global said, “Outstanding stories that resonate with our viewers have been at the heart of our Tamil content library. We are now proud to expand our offering further with a prominent title like DD Returns. The horror comedy brings alive the story of one man’s struggle against rules set by paranormal creatures and is sure to entertain our global viewers.”  

 Producer RK Entertainment C. Ramesh Kumar said, “Although horror comedies are generally considered to be cringe, I was confident that Prem will do justice to the script and make a superb film. The cast and crew have worked tremendously to make this film a success. I am certain that the audience will provide immense support to the film post its digital premiere like they did at the box office.’

 Director S. Prem Anand commented,“I really wanted the film to make a mark in the horror comedy genre. I took my time to envision a perfect balance between the horror and comic elements so that the hilarity of the plot lasts till the end. I wanted it to be a fun-filled experience for the audience and I was glad when they showered us with love in the theatres. I have my fingers-crossed hoping ‘DD Returns’ receives a greater appreciation in the digital space.”

 Actor Santhanam added, “When I was first presented with the storyline of the film, I was really impressed by the tightly knit writing. I am delighted that I was able to bring life to Prem sir’s vision for the film. All of us spent a lot of time and effort on the making of this film but the overwhelming response from my fans made it worth it. I hope the viewers appreciate the movie equally post its launch on ZEE5 Global.”

Viewers can catch ZEE5 Global’s unmissable slate and stock up on their yearlong entertainment by subscribing to the Annual pack and grabbing the limited-time special offer price.

ZEE5 Global Introduces A New Twist To The Latest Edition Of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa

After the raging success of its previous season last year, ZEE5 Global’s iconic singing reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa returns with an exciting new season that has Himesh Reshammiya, Neeti Mohan, Anu Malikas judges and Aditya Naryanas the host. Streaming on ZEE5 Global, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, the new season of the Zee TV show is poised to change the game with a new format that includes spontaneous challenges thrown at contestants by the judges after one of their peers has delivered an outstanding act in a particular style or genre. Rather than a set template with weekly rounds one is familiar with, this challenging environment is bound to shake up the room a bit, stimulate a competitive edge amongst the contestants and pack in a new surprise for its viewers in every single episode!

The show can be watched ad free only on ZEE5 Global in countries across the globe, and anytime at one’s convenience on any device of their choice. Viewers can catch up on past episodes and even download episodes and watch the show offline.

Two months ago, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa announced a nation-wide quest for ‘OG’ voices across India. For the first time ever, the audition process went paperless – led by a strong digital leg and even the on-ground phase saw negligible use of paper as a part of the channel’s endeavour of being environmentally responsible.

This season features contestants hand picked by the judges from across India like West Bengal’sAlbert Kabo LepchaKharagpur’s Sonia Gazmer, Delhi’s Sana Arora,Mumbai’s Abdul, Uttar Pradesh’s Nishtha Sharma and Kolkata’s Ranita Banerjee.The talented bunch promise viewers an exceptional musical extravaganza that marks a grand celebration of music this season!

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Globalsaid, Our marquee music reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa is much loved by fans across the globe, driving us to innovate it further into a brand-new format this year. It draws in fans from every corner of the world who enjoy the immense convenience of watching it ad free at their convenience on ZEE5 Global or catching up on missed episodes, and we are thrilled to bring them this latest season that will surely delight them.”

Here’s what the judges had to say at the show’s launch:

Judge Himesh Reshammiya said, “Although I have been a part of several seasons of this reality show, each season has left me surprised with the kind of talent that has performed on this stage. I truly believe that it is going to be a real treat to watch these raw gems perform, and a brilliant opportunity for them would be to get a chance to sing a song that will be released by Zee Music. The idea is to specifically look for OG singers so that we can give fresh and new voices to our Indian music industry.”

Judge Neeti Mohan added, “I am all set to judge the new season of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and it’s an honor to be on the same judging panel as the esteemed singers and composers of our music industry – Himesh Reshammiya and Anu Malik. I must say that selecting the best among the best for this season is undoubtedly a challenging task for all of us, but we will do our best to shape the future of the emerging talent that comes our way.”

Judge Anu Malik said, “I am really excited to be part of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa once again, and after witnessing the amazing performances of the new talent during the audition episodes, Himesh, Neeti and I will ensure that we do justice to them by guiding them to the best of our abilities. I believe the franchise has nurtured exceptional talent over the last few decades, and this year as well, the audience will get to watch extraordinary talent perform some mesmerizing songs.”

About ZEE5 Global

ZEE5 Global is the digital entertainment destination launched by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL), a global Media and Entertainment powerhouse. The platform launched across 190+ countries in October 2018 and has content across 18 languages: Hindi, English, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi, including six international languages Malay, Thai, Bahasa, Urdu, Bangla and Arabic. ZEE5 Global is home to 200,000+ hours of on-demand content. The platform brings together the best of Originals, Movies and TV Shows, Music and Health and Lifestyle content in one destination. In addition, ZEE5 Global offers features like 15 navigational languages, content download options, seamless video playback and Voice Search.

ZEE5 Global Twitter:

ZEE5 Global LinkedIn: Global/

Barbie Is The Biggest Movie Of The Year

Barbie is on top of the world. Every week since its release on July 21, it’s broken a record: The year’s biggest opening weekend; the largest opening for a female director everWarner Bros.’ highest grossing domestic release in history, surpassing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. But now, it’s breaking a big one: Barbie has become the highest-growing movie of 2023 reaching $575.4 million domestically this week, according to Variety

It has already grossed $1.3 billion globally and will soon surpass Super Mario Bros. in its worldwide gross as well.

It’s a big number for any film, but it’s especially significant for Barbie. When I wrote a cover story about the film earlier this year, box office prognosticators initially predicted the movie would make $55 million its opening weekend. It nearly tripled that estimate with a $162 million haul in just those first few days after release. It’s also the first time Warner Bros. has managed to snag the title of biggest release of the year since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.

Will Barbie be topped this year? Probably not. Here’s why and what it may mean for the future of Hollywood movies.

Unfortunately, Hollywood tends to take away the wrong lessons from the success of idiosyncratic films. After The Dark Knight became a blockbuster, Hollywood decided that gritty was always good—even if it didn’t fit the material (think: Snow White and the Huntsman, the body horror Fantastic Four movie, and Zack Snyder’s dark take on Superman, comics’ most hopeful superhero). Avatar’s history-making numbers spawned a trend of films rendered in 3D for no particular reason. And the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe spawned dozens of imitation cinematic universes, like Universal’s failed “Dark Universe” that ended as quickly as it began after Tom Cruise’s (gritty) The Mummy remake bombed.

In this instance, the same logic would follow: a toy movie performed well, so toy movies will inevitably proliferate. Mattel executives told me that they had already planned to build the brand’s own cinematic universe long before Barbie was ever released, but now other studios are rushing to turn toys into films: Hasbro launched a new entertainment division in August.

It’s difficult to imagine any other movie based on a toy ever reaching Barbie’s heights. Barbie is an icon. She has name recognition across the world equal to Mickey Mouse and Coca-Cola. And, sure, Hot Wheels may be popular, but won’t a Hot Wheels movie just be a racing movie, even if J.J. Abrams is at the helm as executive producer?

Mattel certainly isn’t shying away from taking risks: I’m particularly interested in Daniel Kaluuya’s involvement with what sounds like a very meta Barney movie (as in, yes, the big purple dinosaur); whether Lena Dunham can find a quirky take on Polly Pocket; and if a Magic 8 Ball horror movie can actually prove to be scary. And yet just about every girl in the world has played with Barbie at some point and has (often complex) feelings about her. I could be wrong, but I don’t think many people have strong feelings about the Magic 8 Ball.

Beyond Mattel’s film division, other studios are looking for major takeaways. One obvious one, that I’ve argued before: Make movies for women, and audiences will come! Barbie leans heavily into femininity—the assault of pink has been relentless, and yet people seem to have not tired of it. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Randall Park hit the nail on the head: “I feel like, just in general, this industry is taking the wrong lessons. For example, Barbie is this massive blockbuster, and the idea is: Make more movies about toys! No. Make more movies by and about women!”

I fear that even if studios heed Park’s advice, in the short-term that will mean Disney hyping up the fact that The Marvels is a female-fronted superhero film, even though superhero movies have traditionally catered to a young male audience, regardless of who stars in them. Or studios might paint a sheen of pink on other films without stuffing the stories without Gerwig’s complex considerations about male fragility, female frustrations, and whether we can reach a state of equity.

 Gerwig happened to make two masterpieces before Barbie about the complex interiority of women: Lady Bird and Little Women. She found a way to pack considerations she has already articulated beautifully in those films into a blockbuster movie, a feat pulled off by a select few artists. (Ryan Coogler’s interrogation of race in the context of an increasingly globalized world in Black Panther and James Cameron’s blunt but effective advocacy for saving our dying planet in the Avatar films come to mind.) It’s easy to make a blockbuster. It’s hard to make a thoughtful one.

Perhaps most depressing for theater owners: Gerwig’s next project is a series of Narnia movies…for streamer Netflix.

Barbie was special. Credit the Warner Bros. and Mattel marketing teams that partnered with seemingly every clothing line, decor company, and makeup brand on earth to turn our social media timelines pink.

Or praise director Greta Gerwig, who could have made a toy commercial and instead stuffed a fun summer romp with meditations on God and feminism and Sylvester Stallone’s bizarre wardrobe.

Or acknowledge that TikTok played a massive role in turning a rivalry between two movies that could not be more different into the Barbenheimer phenomenon that made moviegoing fun again. Think about how many people spent more than five hours in a movie theater—sometimes in the same day—over the course of a hot summer weekend.

In short, Barbie was fun. And we were all in desperate need of fun. Barbie simply had to be experienced in a theater, ideally with friends, and definitely with a flock of other pink-clad moviegoers.

Loss Of Antarctic Ice Hurting Survival Of Emperor Penguin Chicks

(AP) — The loss of ice in one region of Antarctica last year likely resulted in none of the emperor penguin chicks surviving in four colonies, researchers reported Thursday.

Emperor penguins hatch their eggs and raise their chicks on the ice that forms around the continent each Antarctic winter and melts in the summer months.

Researchers used satellite imagery to look at breeding colonies in a region near Antarctica’s Bellingshausen Sea. The images showed no ice was left there in December during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, as had occurred in 2021.

Researchers said it is likely that no chicks survived in four of the five breeding colonies they examined. Penguin chicks don’t develop their adult waterproof feathers until close to the time they usually fledge, in late December or January, scientists say.

“If the sea ice breaks up under them, the young chicks will drown or freeze to death,” said Peter Fretwell, a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey and co-author of the study published Thursday in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

FILE – Emperor penguin chicks stand together in Antarctica on Dec. 21, 2005. The loss of ice in a region near Antarctica’s Bellingshausen Sea in 2022 likely resulted in none of the emperor penguin chicks surviving in four colonies in that area, researchers reported Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Nature Communications Earth and Environment. (Zhang Zongtang/Xinhua via AP, File)

Overall, the ice around Antarctica reached near record low levels last year. The researchers say that climate change will make such losses more frequent in the future.

Fretwell’s team has also completed a preliminary analysis of known nesting sites — visible in satellite photos because of colored guano, or poop stains, left on white ice — across Antarctica, the only continent where the emperor penguin lives. There are about 300,000 breeding pairs left of the world’s largest penguins.

Of 62 known penguin colonies, around 30% were harmed by low sea-ice levels last year — and 13 likely failed entirely, Fretwell said. “That this could happen doesn’t shock me, but I’m shocked that it has happened already. I thought it would be further down the line,” said Daniel Zitterbart, a researcher who studies Antarctica for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, but was not involved in the new paper.

If penguins aren’t successful breeding in one location, they may look for another site the next year, he said. While it’s possible for the population to recover from one or two bad breeding years, he’s worried about the future. “If you look further out down the line, how many suitable places will be left?” he asked.

Alaudin Ullah’s Dishwasher Dreams West Coast premiere at The Old Globe

The Old Globe is presenting the West Coast premiere of Dishwasher Dreams, written and performed by Alaudin Ullah (filmmaker of the award-winning documentary In Search of Bengali Harlem; featured comedy acts on HBO, Comedy Central, PBS, and more; the hit film American Desi) and directed by Chay Yew (Cambodian Rock Band – Craig Noel Award; Durango – Obie Award), with music by acclaimed tabla percussionist Avirodh Sharma. Performances begin September 16 and play through October 15, 2023, with the opening on Thursday, September 21 in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park. Tickets are on sale now at

 What exactly is the American Dream? For Alaudin Ullah’s Bangladesh-born parents, it means opportunity and a stable job. But to comedian Alaudin, America is the home of the New York Yankees and George Carlin. In an autobiographical solo show that the Hartford Courant calls “memorable and meaningful,” Ullah and musician Avirodh Sharma take audiences on a journey of vivid remembrances and discoveries from 1930s Bangladesh to 1970s Spanish Harlem to present-day Hollywood. Through comedy and music, this remarkable play recounts the immigrant experience, how this country gets made, and the dreams of those who make it.


 Dishwasher Dreams is the companion piece of Ullah’s award-winning documentary film In Search of Bengali Harlem, which will be streaming on PBS this fall. Plans for a theatrical release of the film and distribution on other streaming platforms are slated for later this year.

 “The Old Globe is thrilled to be presenting the West Coast premiere of Alaudin Ullah’s exuberantly funny Dishwasher Dreams,” said Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein. “And we couldn’t be more honored to have the esteemed Chay Yew, one of the country’s leading theatre directors, at the Globe. Alaudin and Chay’s artful collaboration vibrantly tells the stories of the complexities and struggles of achieving the American Dream, enhanced further by the extraordinary live music by tabla percussionist Avirodh Sharma. I’m certain our audiences will have an exciting evening of laughter and joy.”

 In addition to playwright Alaudin Ullah, director Chay Yew, and musician Avirodh Sharma, the creative team includes Yu Shibagaki (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Anshuman Bhatia (Lighting Design), and Darlene Miyakawa (Production Stage Manager).

Dishwasher Dreams was originally developed under the name Indio through the Joseph Papp Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group Program. Playwright Alaudin Ullah was part of the program’s inaugural 2010–2011 cohort of writers. In 2018, Castillo Theatre in New York presented the world premiere of Ullah’s play, which was directed by Gabriel Vega Weissman. In 2022, the play was directed by Chay Yew at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, and Hartford Stage in Connecticut.

 Dishwasher Dreams will play in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, part of the Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in San Diego’s Balboa Park (1363 Old Globe Way). Performances for the five-week limited engagement run September 16 – October 15, 2023, with the official press opening Thursday, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. The performance schedule is Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Notes: A 2:00 p.m. matinee is scheduled on Wednesday, October 11, and there are no performances on Saturday, September 23. 

Tickets are available online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE (234-5623), or in person at The Old Globe’s Box Office in Balboa Park. The Vicki and Carl Zeiger Insights Seminar, scheduled for Tuesday, September 19 at 6:00 p.m., will provide patrons an exploration of the themes and background of Dishwasher Dreams from selected artistic company members. Post-Show Forum events will be held on Tuesday, October 3; Tuesday, October 10; and Wednesday, October 11. Community Nights at The Old Globe will provide festive opportunities to connect over refreshments and conversation for BIPOC community on Saturday, September 16 and LGBTQIA+ community on Friday, October 6. For additional information, visit

 Dishwasher Dreams is supported by Major Production Sponsors Vicki and Carl Zeiger. Financial support for The Old Globe is provided by The City of San DiegoThe Theodor and Audrey Geisel Fund provides leadership support for The Old Globe’s year-round activities.

 The Tony Award–winning The Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional nonprofit regional theatres. Now in its 89th year, the Globe is San Diego’s flagship performing arts institution, and it serves a vibrant community with theatre as a public good. Under the leadership of Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and the Audrey S. Geisel Managing Director Timothy J. Shields, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 16 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages, including its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. 

More than 250,000 people annually attend Globe productions and participate in the theatre’s artistic and arts engagement programs. Its nationally prominent Arts Engagement Department provides an array of participatory programs that make theatre matter to more people in neighborhoods throughout the region. Humanities programs at the Globe and around the city broaden the community’s understanding of theatre art in all its forms. 

The Globe also boasts a range of new play development programs with professional and community-based writers, as well as the renowned The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program. Numerous world premieres—such as 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and MurderBright Star, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!—have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

Australia and Bollywood Forge Cinematic Bond

In a narrative that could rival Asia’s grandest movie plots, an unexpected love story has unfolded between Australia and the luminaries of Bollywood. Despite the considerable geographical distance, a genuine connection has burgeoned between the two realms, showcasing the depth of this cross-continental relationship.

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese embarked on a journey to Delhi to engage with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. The discussions spanned a gamut of topics, encompassing trade, defense, and cricket. One particular announcement captured the headlines—an agreement on bilateral Audiovisual Co-production. This accord was designed to foster collaboration and cultural interchange through joint Indian-Australian film projects. Australian arts minister Tony Burke humorously referred to it as “bringing a slice of Bollywood to Brisbane.”

Picture : TheUNN

Contrary to its recent prominence, this bond traces back several decades, as depicted in the forthcoming documentary “Brand Bollywood – Downunder.” The film, set to debut this fall, delves into the expansion of ties between the Indian film industry and Australia since the late 1990s. Anupam Sharma, the documentary’s producer, writer, and director, was born in India but ventured to Australia as a child to visit relatives. In the 1990s, he enrolled in a Sydney film school, choosing acting as his sub-major.

In a video interview with CNN, Sharma reflected on those early days, saying, “There was a distinct lack of opportunities. I was doing the usual thing, playing a doctor or a spice shop owner in a TV commercial.” Fast forward to the present, and the landscape has transformed dramatically.

The shift is palpable in Melbourne, where the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, now in its 14th year and the largest of its kind outside India, has unfolded. Over ten days, more than 100 films in 20 languages are showcased, alongside panel discussions, an awards ceremony, and even a Bollywood dance competition.

Sharma narrates the evolution of this unique connection with a touch of serendipity. In 1997, a fortuitous twist of fate led him to seek out Feroz Khan, often referred to as “Bollywood’s Clint Eastwood,” who was visiting town. With a daring attitude, Sharma cold-called hotels, hoping to connect with the star. His gamble paid off when Khan’s assistant reached out for a meeting. This encounter led to a fruitful partnership, culminating in the production of “Prem Aggan” in 1998, a movie Khan directed, wrote, and Sharma produced.

The collaboration gained momentum from there, with Khan pioneering the trend. Bollywood enthusiasts flocked to cinemas to witness stars performing exuberant song and dance routines against the backdrop of iconic Australian landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and the Twelve Apostles. A slew of Indian movies was filmed in Australia over the ensuing years.

In 2008, “Love Story 2050,” starring Harman Baweja and Priyanka Chopra, was shot in South Australia, becoming a significant moment in the cinematic landscape. Baweja shared that the film was a result of seamless production environments, efficient government support, and breathtaking locations. This cultural fusion was so impactful that the then-state premier Mike Rann even secured a cameo role.

As the success story spread, Australia encountered a deluge of requests, not only for visas for future productions but also from tourists eager to explore the movie locations. Sharma aptly described it as a “huge Bollywood bandwagon.”

The narrative shifted in 2009 when tensions emerged due to apparent racially motivated attacks on Indian students in Australia. This marked the end of the honeymoon period, but Sharma pointed out that the enthusiasm for collaboration persisted. He emphasized, “Australia realized that after ‘servicing’ Bollywood for over 13 years, it was time to shift gears and move to collaboration with Indian cinema.” This transition birthed a new phase, concentrating on shared narratives and narratives that highlighted the Indo-Australian experience.

In a tale where distance couldn’t deter the power of cinematic connection, Australia and Bollywood found themselves in an enduring love story, building bridges of creativity and culture across continents.

The unfolding romance between Australia and Bollywood has led to the creation of a new genre of films, characterized by a Western structure and an Indian essence. This bond has given rise to acclaimed movies like “Lion,” “Hotel Mumbai,” and Anupam Sharma’s very own creation, “UnIndian,” a romantic tale centered on an Australian woman with an Indian soul.

Describing this unique blend, Sharma elucidated, “It means films made with a Western beat – around 90 minutes long, not the three hours of Bollywood. The distribution, the financing, the structures, the editing are Western, but the soul, the emotions, the music, the drama is still Indian.” However, the term “Bollywood” occasionally stirs mixed feelings. Sharma acknowledged, “There are people who would swear at me for saying the word Bollywood.” He highlighted the diversity within the industry, likening it to an Indian goddess with multifaceted arms.

Australia has already formed 13 formal co-production partnerships with countries like Canada, China, and the UK. If India follows suit, it would unlock co-production opportunities, granting access to government funding, grants, loans, and tax offsets.

Once ratified by both the Australian and Indian parliaments, the Audiovisual Co-production Agreement could yield substantial benefits for both nations—both economically and culturally. Garth Davis, the Australian director of “Lion,” eagerly welcomed the prospect, emphasizing the enrichment that collaboration brings. He praised India’s history, humanity, and spirit, along with the exceptional skill level within the industry.

Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, Mumbai-based composers and musicians who worked on “UnIndian,” expressed their enthusiasm for more collaborations. Salim Merchant applauded Australia’s “vibe,” stating, “I think it’s wonderful there’s that synergy. Film is a beautiful medium. Making films that have both the diverse cultures and traditions creates a lot of love and respect between the two countries.”

The burgeoning audience for Bollywood productions in Australia has added to the allure of collaboration. The Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, initiated in 2010 by Mitu Bhowmick Lange, has drawn immense success. Lange set up the festival in response to her own desire to watch Indian films and has seen it grow beyond the Indian community. Australia’s Indian-born population is now the second-largest migrant community in the country, accounting for 9.5% of the overseas-born population and 2.8% of the total population.

As cultural connections deepen, both sides aspire to broaden their appeal. Sharma asserted, “Australia wants to boost its diversity credentials.” Simultaneously, Sharma noted a friend’s perspective that “Bollywood is not after a wider audience, but a Whiter audience.”

However, the shifting dynamics of global consumption seem promising. Lange observed, “The world is getting smaller and smaller, and streaming has changed everything.” She believes that the global appetite for foreign content has evolved, contributing positively to bridging cultural gaps.

The agreement’s potential is met with hope and optimism. Sharma stressed, “Indian films have always been a universal language for foreign governments to engage with India.” This alliance between Australia, a highly professional film industry, and India, a prolific cinematic powerhouse, is anticipated to be mutually beneficial. In Sharma’s words, “The marriage between the two has to be a win-win for both.”

India Day Parade Celebrates Indian Spirituality, Art, Cinema, and Women

The 41st India Day Parade in New York City, organized by The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), witnessed a remarkable convergence of Indian creativity, empowerment, spirituality, and art, with the notable participation of two exceptional women: Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji, a revered Indian spiritual leader, and Neha Lohia, an award-winning and acclaimed filmmaker. Notable figures like Grammy Award-winning singer Falu Shah and Bollywood actresses Jacquline Fernandes and Samantha Ruth Prabhu also graced the event. This year’s parade celebrated the rich tapestry of Indian culture, tradition, and heritage while highlighting the influential role of women on the global India stage.

Promoting Indian culture globally and established in 1970, The Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) has played a pivotal role in uniting the Indian diaspora in the Northeastern United States. The India Day Parade, widely regarded as the largest parade outside India, brings thousands of Indian Americans together for an extraordinary cultural extravaganza in the heart of New York City.

Picture : TheUNN

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji, known for her transformative journey from Hollywood to the Himalayas, expressed her joy at being part of this celebration: “It’s been such a great blessing to live in India for the last 27 years, on the banks of Mother Ganga, and for my life journey to move both physically and spiritually from Hollywood to the Himalayas. Indian culture, teachings, traditions, sanskriti, and sanskaras are not only relevant to the people born on the land of India but also to individuals from every culture and country. This parade beautifully showcases the universality and gifts of our Indian culture and traditions, available for the whole world to embrace.”

Spirituality and Artistry were in Harmony on this day. The parade was meticulously planned, seamlessly blending Indian spirituality, arts, cinema, culture, music, dance, cuisine, and the message of inner peace. Filmmaker Neha Lohia, known for her heart-centered narratives, shared her deep feelings: “It was a profound experience to stand alongside Sadhviji, nestled in the serene Himalayas, while I represent the vibrant creativity of Hollywood. Witnessing and showcasing India’s enduring legacy of transformation, devotion, integrity, and strength through storytelling, cinema, culture, music, and spirituality at the 41st India Day parade was a true honor.”

Neha Lohia, a versatile filmmaker, brings an Eastern perspective to her work in the USA, with a focus on women-oriented subjects and consciousness-raising projects. With over two decades of storytelling experience in advertising, Hollywood, and Bollywood, she continues to create inspiring content.

Additionally, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji and Neha Lohia were warmly greeted by Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs and former Deputy Comptroller of Minority Affairs in Nassau County, New York.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji, a Spiritual Beacon based in Rishikesh, India, is a world-renowned spiritual leader, motivational speaker, and social activist. Her profound spiritual journey spans over 25 years, from Los Angeles to the banks of the sacred Ganga River. She is the Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, President of the Divine Shakti Foundation, and Co-President of Religions for Peace. Her teachings bridge the gap between Western knowledge and Eastern spirituality, making her a global spiritual ambassador.

Sadhvi Ji’s work extends to international platforms, where she shares her wisdom with luminaries such as HH the Dalai Lama, Prince Charles, and world leaders. She has received numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from U.S. President Joe Biden for her lifelong commitment to volunteer service. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati Ji continues to oversee humanitarian projects, teach meditation, lecture, write, counsel individuals and families, and serve as a unique female voice of spiritual leadership, inspiring people in India and around the world.

The 41st India Day Parade in New York showcased the indomitable spirit of Indian creativity, empowerment, spirituality, and artistry, reminding the world that the essence of India serves as a beacon of inspiration for all.

“Made In Heaven Season 2” With A Stunning New York Segment

Get ready for the much-awaited return of “Made in Heaven Season 2” on Amazon Prime Video, premiering on August 10, 2023. To announce this momentous release date and ignite excitement worldwide, an exuberant promo was crafted in three iconic locations – Mumbai, London, and New York City.

Neha Lohia, an acclaimed female Filmmaker from India now based in the USA, takes immense pride in her role as segment director of the New York portions for the launch promo of Made In Heaven Season 2 which showcases a groundbreaking team with a majority of All Female Directors, writers, and creatives at the helm.

With Reema Kagti co-writing and directing alongside Zoya Akhtar, Alankrita Srivastava, and Nitya Mehra, the show is majorly led by an inspiring female team. Neha’s direction captures the grandeur of an Indian Baraat in the vibrant American backdrop of Times Square. Fueled by her passion for authentic storytelling and admiration particularly for Reema Kagti, one of the show creators, Neha’s creative brilliance shines brightly in this captivating promo.

“This project was both challenging and immensely enjoyable,” shared Neha Lohia. “With a three-camera setup and an enthusiastic team, we turned Times Square into a global celebration. The response from onlookers and the incredible performances from the all-woman band and talented actors made it truly memorable, nobody wanted to stop dancing in this baraat.”

The 7-episode series, co-produced by Excel Media & Entertainment and Tiger Baby, promises to be a cinematic masterpiece, boasting an impressive lineup of directors, including Alankrita Shrivastava, Neeraj Ghaywan, Nitya Mehra, Reema Kagti, and Zoya Akhtar.

Featuring a stellar cast in New York, including Hervender Pal Singh, Kaitlyn N.S. Mitchell, Reena Sharma, Madison Hadley, Christine Mendes, and Kai Whitehead, the promo exudes the spirit of a true Indian wedding celebration touching hearts globally. The all-woman Brass Queens NYC band provided a lively and spirited musical performance, amplifying the grandeur of this Baraat promo.

Assisting in the coordination of this international project were Abhishek Singh from Celebbazaar for the New York leg and Chaitanya Bagai from Tryz Innovationz in Mumbai.

The promo, launched on YouTube and Instagram, surpassed expectations with over 500,000 views within a day, garnering global attention. Audiences eagerly anticipate the return of “Made in Heaven Season 2.”

As the director of the New York portion, Neha Lohia artfully helped build the show’s reputation, co-creating an unforgettable and attention-grabbing visual spectacle with the worldwide creative teams headquartered in India. “Reema has been an inspiration for me and her work in the past with her film particularly Talaash has helped me tremendously in my personal life, I hope to meet her in person someday and share with her how much her work has impacted and healed me. This promo work is my thank you and expression of gratitude to her,” said Neha Lohia, the Segment Director for this promo.

“Made In Heaven Season 2” promises to deliver more spice, mad fun, and unbridled celebrations, leaving audiences worldwide on the edge of their seats. This show has garnered accolades, including nominations for Best Actor at the International Emmy Awards in season 1, and promises to be a heart-stealer in this second round.

The worldwide premiere of “Made In Heaven Season 2” on August 10 invites viewers to embark on a journey of love, celebration, and the complexities of life. Brace yourself for a captivating exploration of high-end wedding planners portrayed by Sobhita Dhulipala and Arjun Mathur in the bustling city of New Delhi. Their performance in this promo itself sets the stage and teases audiences for what lies ahead in the show with their flare and flamboyance.

Prepare to immerse yourself in the opulence and drama of Indian weddings globally while embracing the heartfelt storytelling that brings the world together. Join the grandest baraats, and get ready to revel in the wedding season and relationship dynamics once again!

“Neha Lohia’s Directorial Brilliance Sparks Global Celebration and Anticipation with a Grand Indian Baraat Promo Embracing Indian-Origin Content”

About “Made In Heaven Season 2”: “Made In Heaven Season 2” is a highly anticipated web series returning after four years, streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The show is known for its compelling storytelling, star-studded cast, and captivating visuals, making it a global favorite among audiences giving a taste of India to the entire world.

About Neha Lohia: Neha Lohia is an accomplished award-winning director with a passion for creative storytelling and visual excellence. With an impressive portfolio of successful projects, Neha’s conscious creations, talent, and expertise continue to create a significant contribution to the entertainment industry. Watch the GRANDEST BARAAT promo here: More: or

Chandrika Tandon To Release New Album

Indian American businesswoman and philanthropist Chandrika Tandon is all set to release her fifth album, titled Ammu’s Treasures, in September. According to a press statement, Chandrika’s new recording described as “a hug for the world,” was inspired by her grandchildren.

The 3-volume collection of 35 familiar songs and 20 soothing chants features a distinguished lineup of musicians including Béla Fleck, Kenny Werner, Eugene Friesen, Romero Lubambo, Rakesh Chaurasia, Purbayan Chatterjee, and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. “This album, which began as a simple gift from a loving grandmother to her grandchildren, has become an expression of intergenerational love and wisdom for everyone,” a release said.

Tandon has released four albums, including the Grammy-nominated Soul Call (2009) and Shivoham – The Quest (2018), an oratorio that premiered in a sold-out concert at the Kennedy Center. Her performances have reached iconic venues including Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian, Olympiastadion (Berlin), NYC’s Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, and the World Culture Festival (New Delhi).

The Grammy-nominated musician is recognized for her donation of US$100 million to New York University (NYU), where the School of Engineering now bears her name. She chairs the board of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering and is a trustee of the University, NYU Langone Health; and also a board member of the NYU Stern School of Business.

Tandon is a Harold Acton Fellow at NYU and a Sterling Fellow at Yale University, where she serves on the President’s Council on International Activities. She was one of the eminent personalities whom Indian Prime Minister Modi met at the United Nations during his visit to the US last month.

The New York-based businesswoman came to the United States at the age of 24, earning her bachelor’s degree from Madras Christian College, Chennai, and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad.

Indo-American Arts Council Announces Annual Festival Of Indian Music

The much-anticipated IAAC Festival of Indian Music is back for its second year, promising three incredible days filled with mesmerizing melodies, soulful rhythms, and a celebration of India’s rich musical heritage. From the 11th to the 13th of August, New York City will come alive with the harmonious sounds of renowned artists, and pay homage to the late Pandit Vijay Kichlu, one of the greatest proponents of Indian classical music.

The line-up of events includes:

  • Tribute to Late Pandit Vijay Kichlu
    August 11, 2023 at 5:30 p.m. ET
    The Consulate of India in New York, 3 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
    On the opening day of the festival, we pay tribute to the esteemed Pandit Vijay Kichlu, whose contributions to the world of classical music are immeasurable. This emotional journey will be accompanied by exclusive screenings of snippets from the documentary Raga Revelry, shedding light on the extraordinary life and musical journey of Pandit Vijay Kichlu.
  • Queen of Folk, Malini Awasthi In Concert
    August 12 at 5:30 p.m. ET
    Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center, 129 West 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
    Tickets: Click here
    Prepare to be enthralled as Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center, plays host to the soul-stirring melodies of folk music sensation, Malini Awasthi. With her powerful voice and remarkable talent, Malini Awasthi effortlessly captures the essence of Indian folk music, transporting the audience to the culturally diverse landscapes of India. This unforgettable evening promises to be a celebration of the country’s rich folk traditions, showcasing the beauty of its regional music. She will present a collection of foot tapping songs in various languages – Hindi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Bundelkhandi & more. She will also present semi-classical compositions from her vast repertoire. Accompanied by: Anubrata Chatterjee – Tabla, Monty Lalani – Dholak,  Brij Joshi – Keyboard,  Mayank Patel – Octopad, Rohan Prabhudesai – Harmonium.
  • Three Generations In Concert
    August 13 at 5:30 p.m. ET
    Symphony Space Level, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
  • The grand finale of the Music Festival will feature a breathtaking performance by the legendary Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan, accompanied by his exceptionally talented sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. Joining them on stage will be Ayaan’s twin sons, Abeer Ali Bangash & Zohaan Ali Bangash, marking a truly remarkable display of three generations of musical brilliance. Symphony Space will reverberate with the captivating sounds of the sarod, enchanting the hearts of all music enthusiasts. It is an incomparable journey where the Guru leads you from the visible to the invisible, from the material to the divine, from the ephemeral to the eternal.

A wonderful and strange mystery of Indian classical music is the fact that one can spend a lifetime trying to obtain knowledge and perfection and still feel that one has only touched a mere drop of an ocean. The learning never stops along the Journey of searching and discovering. Indian Classical music has indeed had a very spiritual and scientific development and growth. This was a phenomenon that existed from Vedic times.

The Sarod Quintet concert will start with a solo presentation by Maestro Amjad Ali Khan. This will be followed by a Sarod duet by Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. They present a traditional Raga of Indian Classical music set to various rhythmic time cycles. Keeping India’s ethos of traditions and legacies alive, Three Generation Quintet represents the 6th, 7th and 8th generation of musicians coming together on stage and performing together. This will be the third segment featuring Sarod Grand Master Amjad Ali Khan and his virtuoso sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash on Sarods.

They will be joined by Ayaan’s Twins Zohaan Ali Bangash and Abeer Ali Bangash. They present a Tribute to India’s ongoing 75th year of Independence celebration. Amit Kavthekar and Anubrata Chaterrjee, two brilliant Tabla (Indian two-piece drums) players provide accompaniment for this concert.

Dr. Nirmal Mattoo, IAAC Chairman, remarked, “Preserving the rich traditions of folk and classical music is of utmost importance in today’s rapidly evolving world. The IAAC Festival of Indian Music serves as a platform to cherish and uphold these age-old traditions, allowing us to connect with our roots and experience the profound beauty of our musical heritage.”

Sunny Thakkar, Music Festival Director, expressed his excitement for the event, saying, “After the grand success of last year’s star studded Festival of Music specially organized for India@75, we are thrilled to curate the festival again this year and continue to bring something special to the audiences in New York City. Our aim is to create an immersive experience that showcases the diversity and magnificence of Indian music. This year’s lineup promises to be an extraordinary journey through the realms of classical, folk, and inter generational performances.”

About Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC):
The IAAC supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the U.S. to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Our focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here. The IAAC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. For information, please visit

Bollywood Star, Cricket Greats Combine To Launch World Cup Campaign

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) have joined forces to unveil a new campaign ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India later this year.

The ‘It Takes One Day’ campaign was launched in Mumbai on Thursday just 77 days out from the first match at this year’s World Cup, with the campaign aiming to connect fans across the world to the ‘Navarasa’ which symbolises the nine emotions fans most commonly experience during a cricket match.

A film featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan – along with renowned cricketers JP Duminy, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik, current World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Jonty Rhodes and Jemimah Rodrigues – was released in conjunction with the campaign launch and showcases many decorated moments in the history of the Men’s Cricket World Cup.

The campaign displays the journey of raw emotions experienced by both players and fans collectively over One Day, with the film connecting the nine ‘Navarasa’ emotions – anguish, bravery, glory, joy, passion, power, pride, respect and wonder – and explores how it takes one day to experience this rollercoaster.

ICC CEO Geoff Allardice was thrilled to launch the campaign and is eagerly awaiting the commencement of the World Cup in Ahmedabad on October 5.

“This campaign is a true celebration of One Day International cricket and builds a sense of anticipation of what we can expect when the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 returns to India. The emotions, or Navarasa, are felt by fans and players alike during One Day and this campaign brings to life that shared experience,” Allardice said in a statement.

“Cricket and cinema are at the heart of Indian psyche, and we’ve infused the two to create appeal far and wide. The involvement of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan together with an exceptional line-up of cricketers will only help us deepen our connect in this country, while captivating the attention worldwide.”

BCCI secretary Jay Shah echoed Allardice’s sentiments. “The ODI format holds an unparalleled significance with its ability to deliver thrilling moments, intense battles, and unpredictable outcomes that will truly captivate fans globally. As we embark on this journey, we are proud to see the launch of the Men’s Cricket World Cup campaign and create real excitement for the event across the world,” he said.

“We are fully committed to creating a world-class event that will witness the birth of a new generation of heroes, providing fans with unforgettable experiences and we believe the campaign does this. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India will be a celebration of cricketing excellence, cultural diversity, and the unifying spirit of the game.” (IANS)

Padma Lakshmi Wins Three Emmy Nominations

The Television Academy announced the nominations for the 2023 awards, and Padma Lakshmi, popular TV host, model and activist secured three nominations. The Indian American was nominated in the Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program category for ‘Top Chef’ making it her third consecutive Emmy nomination as a host.

Lakshmi recently announced her decision to step down from her role as the host of ‘Top Chef’ to focus on her new show  ‘Taste The Nation With Padma Lakshmi’, where she serves as both the host and executive producer. She also earned a nomination for the new show in the Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series.

“I am so excited and grateful for THREE @televisionacad nominations this morning, thank you from the bottom of my heart! It feels incredibly sweet to end my tenure at @bravotopchef with nominations for Outstanding Reality Competition and one for me as Host,” Lakshmi, who hosted the show for two decades, wrote in the caption of her Instagram post.

She added, “But it feels supremely special to get one for Taste the Nation in the category of Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series. It’s a show built from an idea in my head that has come to fruition exactly as intended with so much help and love from a whole team of amazing people. I am so grateful to both of our crews behind the scenes, our producers, our network executives, and for everyone who has watched and supported us along the way.”

In June 2023, ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi’ tied for first place at the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Real TV prizes.

Why Hollywood Stars Are On Strike

The contracts between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) expired, indicating that no agreement had been reached between the two organizations. The negotiating committee of SAG-AFTRA voted unanimously to suggest a strike to the organization’s national board, which then announced a strike on Thursday afternoon.

On June 5, almost 65,000 of the roughly 160,000 individuals that make up List AFTRA supported a hit approval with a 97.91% “yes” vote. Actors, dancers, DJs, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists, and other professionals in the media are all members of the union.

SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP—Amazon/MGM, Apple, NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC/Fox, Netflix, Paramount/CBS, Sony, and Warner Brothers—engaged in contract negotiations two days later. On June 30, the agreements between the two were expanded, lapsing at 12 PM on Wednesday.

“There has been a sea change in the entertainment industry, from the proliferation of streaming platforms to the recent explosion of generative AI, and at stake is the ability of our members to make a living,” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, said in a letter about the strike authorization referendum. “We must ensure that new developments in the entertainment industry are not used to devalue or disrespect the performers who bring productions to life.”

On Tuesday, Droop AFTRA consented to AMPTP’s somewhat late solicitation for government intervention, which would get an impartial outsider to help pursue a split the difference. However, SAG-AFTRA made it clear that the negotiations would not be extended a second time.

“We won’t be occupied from haggling in that frame of mind to get a fair and simply bargain by the termination of our understanding,” the organization said in a public statement. ” We are focused on the arranging system and will investigate and debilitate each conceivable chance to make an arrangement, but we are not certain that the businesses have any goal of bartering toward an understanding.”

Among Droop AFTRA’s requests are expanded least compensation rates, expanded streaming residuals (neither of which have stayed aware of expansion), and worked on working circumstances. Eminence installments, which are dependent upon the quantity of a show’s reruns, are at this point not solid. Streaming, which has moved to more limited seasons over longer timeframes, has made less work accessible to entertainers. Additionally, union members demand assurances from studios and production companies regarding the precise manner in which artificial intelligence will be utilized. They want to safeguard their identities and ensure that they are compensated fairly in the event that any of their labor is utilized to train AI.

On June 27, a larger number of than 300 entertainers — including Meryl Streep, Quinta Brunson, and Jennifer Lawrence — marked a letter to the Hang AFTRA Initiative and Arranging Panel expressing that “Droop AFTRA individuals might be prepared to make forfeits that initiative isn’t.”

“We trust you’ve heard the message from us: This is an uncommon expression point in our industry, and what may be viewed as a reasonable setup in some other years is basically sufficiently not,” the letter peruses. ” We believe that the power of our union, our wages, our craft, and our creative freedom have all been diminished over the past decade. We really want to invert those directions.”

“I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us,” Fran Drescher said in a passionate speech on Thursday afternoon when she announced the strike against AMPTP.

At the union’s press conference on Thursday afternoon to announce the strike, Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, discussed the impact that AI and streaming have had on the business model of the industry.

“This is a snapshot of history and is a decision time. On the off potential for success that we don’t have tall the present moment, we will be in a difficult situation,” she said. ” We will be in risk of being supplanted by machines and huge business who care more about Money Road than you and your loved ones.”

The association won’t acknowledge “gradual changes on an agreement that no longer distinctions what’s going on right now with this plan of action that was foisted upon us,” Drescher said, adding: ” On the Titanic, what are we doing, moving furniture around? It’s insane. So the dance is up AMPTP.”

Who belongs to SAG-AFTRA?

Entertainers and media experts become qualified for participation in List AFTRA by finishing an entire day of association work in a head or talking job, finishing three days of association fill in as a foundation entertainer, or being utilized under a subsidiary entertainers’ association.

Individuals from various associated associations — AEA, ACTRA, AGMA or AGVA — are qualified for List AFTRA enrollment following one year (and one chief agreement) under their own association’s purview.

Equity, the United Kingdom’s acting union, and SAG-AFTRA jointly issued a statement on Thursday stating that they “will support SAG-AFTRA and its members by all lawful means” for overseas films.

“Value U.K. remains in unflinching fortitude with List AFTRA and its individuals in their work to accomplish a fair and impartial agreement, and to ultimately benefit entertainers working all over the planet,” the assertion read.

However, U.K. actors working under Equity contracts cannot legally strike in support of the U.S. union because of “existing anti-trade union laws.” According to the statement, “SAG-AFTRA members working under an Equity U.K. collective bargaining agreement should continue to report to work.”

When did Hang AFTRA last take to the streets?

Strikes and boycotts have been common in SAG-AFTRA’s long history. In 2021, the association banned Donald Trump from truly rejoining in light of the fact that he hindered the quiet exchange of capacity to Joe Biden — and due to his assaults on columnists. ( Trump had left the gathering before that month.)

After the global advertising agency stated that it would no longer honor its long-standing contract with the union, SAG-AFTRA announced a strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty in 2018. After ten months, the promoting office consented to sign Droop AFTRA’s new plugs contract.

When SAG and AFTRA merged in 2012, they went on strike together for the first time in 2016 against eleven American video game publishers. This was the longest strike in SAG history.

In 2000, preceding they consolidated, Hang and AFTRA gave a dubious half year work stoppage over the convention for paying entertainers who show up in television ads. Twenty years earlier, Hang and AFTRA mutually required a fruitful blacklist against 1980s’ Emmy Grants, striking for an expansion in least compensations.

How the continuous journalists’ strike factors in

In 1960, Hang took to the streets against AMPTP over pay, joining the Essayists Society of America (WGA), which had proactively been protesting for over a month with comparable requests, to a great extent over pay rates. That was Hollywood’s first industry-wide strike.

Today, the WGA has been on strike since the beginning of May, and if SAG-AFTRA’s demands are not met this time, it will join the WGA on strike, bringing Hollywood to a near standstill. This is a historical echo. SAG-AFTRA has asked members to volunteer to be strike captains, and WGA captains, who are already on strike at a number of studios, have offered to train from the picket lines.

How this affects motion pictures and Network programs

If Hang AFTRA individuals really do protest, any film or television creation that has not as of now been ended by the WGA strike will basically close down. Abroad creations, specifically, where studios have attempted to keep shooting a few shows without WGA essayist makers, are probably going to feel the effect.

Legends And Superheroes

With Hollywood zeroed in on establishments, superhuman universes and spin-offs, there’s rising rivalry to discover some subject that will stick out.

For Sara Stewart, there is one remarkable exertion: ” Director, musician, and activist Boots Riley created Amazon Prime’s “I’m a Virgo,” a satire set in Oakland, California, about a 13-foot-tall Black teenager named Cootie (Jharrel Jerome). In its debut end of the week, the series was accounted for to be the most famous one on the stage.”

“I can confidently say that “I’m a Virgo” is also the most original new show currently available on Prime or anywhere else. This series has so many big ideas that it’s nearly impossible to pick one out all at once; Visceral harms from capitalism, racism, and the police state, as well as the role of mainstream pop culture in encouraging complicity in all three, are major concerns.

One more motivated move, composed Holly Thomas, was the projecting of Phoebe Waller-Extension in the new Indiana Jones film featuring Harrison Passage.

Indy’s last movie is said to be “Dial of Destiny.” In the film, “we meet Indy in 1969 no less than 25 years over the hill, snoozing through the moon arrival and debilitated to the back teeth of his occupation as a schoolteacher. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena, his cunning goddaughter, wakes him up from his slumber. Together, they set out determined to recover the Antikythera, a time-traveling gadget concocted by Archimedes (yes).”

“It’s a mantle-passing in each sense: From Jones to his younger relative, and from Hollywood legend to millennial side-eye queen. The differentiation is uplifted by Waller-Scaffold’s mooring in the famous creative mind as Fleabag — of which we are continually reminded, on account of Helena’s bare personal responsibility at times tempered by looks at heart.”

Elton John Ends an Era of Musical Brilliance

Elton John gave his final tour performance, complete with gold confetti and glitz on Saturday last week. The last show was set in Stockholm, Sweden. It marked the conclusion of the British singer’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, which lasted for five years and included 16 Gucci suits and 330 performances. The visit is viewed as the most elevated netting in Announcement Boxscore history. Last month, it turned into the very first visit to make more than $900 million.

Before the show, John wrote on Instagram, “What a journey this tour has been and now we find ourselves at the end of it.”

Several of John’s most famous songs, like Tiny Dancer, Rocket Man, and Candle in the Wind, were performed in the performance.

In heart-molded pink shades, he said thanks to his fans for their help consistently.

“You have no clue about how it affects me, your consideration. I’ve had the most great vocation,” he said. ” How fortunate I am to perform. But if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you.”

The around the world, goodbye visit started off in 2018, however had to stop in 2020 for almost two-years because of the pandemic. The 76-year-old headlined the Glastonbury Festival last month, marking the end of his U.K. tour.

In 2021, the worldwide pop star let NPR know that he anticipated resigning from visit so he could invest more energy with his youngsters.

“A decade ago, all I planned to do was tour and make records. John stated, “And I had nothing planned for the rest of my life except to make music and tour.” And afterward we had two remarkable young men. And afterward David, my better half, said, all things considered, what is it that you deeply desire now? Do you actually need to visit? “No, I don’t,” I declared.

“As much as I love playing, I want to be with my boys now,” he said later. I need to show up for them.”

Kamal Haasan’s ‘Project K’ to Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

Kamal Hassan starrer Project-K directed by Nag Ashwin will become the first Indian film to debut at the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2023, the actor said on Twitter.  SDCC will take place in San Diego, California, from July 20, 2023, to July 23, 2023. The film produced by C Aswani Dutt’s Vyjayanthi Movies, will also feature prominent Indian actors like Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, and Disha Patani.  Additional details of the film are yet to be released.

The event will take place in San Diego, California, from July 20, 2023, to July 23, 2023 According to a Variety report, exclusive footage from the film will be released at the convention on Thursday, July 20, 2023, in a panel called “This is Project K: First Glimpse of India’s Mytho-Sci-fi Epic”, with will feature Deepika Padukone, Prabhas, and Kamal Hassan. The teaser and release date will also be disclosed at the event.

Celebrating the proud moment, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan wrote on Twitter, “I never realized how important and big this is.” Deepika also took to social media to express her excitement. “Proud to be a part of the first-ever Indian Movie to go to Comic-Con. See you there,” she wrote.

“India’s storytelling tradition has ancient roots, with its epics serving as the origins for many civilizations worldwide. A world as big as this needs a platform as big to introduce it to the people. Comic-Con felt like the perfect place, where the honesty and enthusiasm needed for ‘Project K’ will be found,” Director Ashwin was quoted saying in the Variety report.

San Diego Comic-Con International is a comic book convention and nonprofit multi-genre entertainment event held annually in San Diego, California, since 1970. BAPS NJ showcases versatility of Bharatanatyam

Netflix’s “Scoop” Sheds Light on Wrongful Arrest of Journalist in High-Profile Murder Case

The country was astonished by the sensational murder of India’s most famous crime reporter in June 2011 and the subsequent arrest of a female crime reporter on suspicion of involvement in the crime.

Jyotirmoy Dey, prominently known as J Dey, was shot dead in Mumbai by men on bikes on orders from perhaps of India’s most famous criminal, Chhota Rajan – he was sentenced in 2018 and is carrying out a day to day existence punishment for the killing.

However, newspaper journalist Jigna Vora became entangled in the commotion and was falsely accused of being involved in the murder.

Before being granted bail, she was held in Byculla jail for more than nine months. Ms. Vora, a single mother of a 10-year-old boy, was found not guilty in 2018 because the police didn’t have any evidence against her.

This account of a writer’s homicide – and of another’s illegitimate imprisonment – is the subject of Scoop, another web series on Netflix that is wowing pundits and watchers the same.

In light of Ms. Vora’s 2019 journal – Behind The Bars In Byculla: The gripping tale of a real-life crime, Mumbai’s mafia, and the role of the press and police in it is My Days in Prison – Scoop. Ms. Vora states that “the series makers have exercised cinematic leverage” despite the fact that many of the real-life incidents have been recreated.

As Ms Vora’s screen symbol Jagruti Pathak, who lives by pursuing scoops that would get her a byline on the first page, winds up in a jail cell with those she once covered, she likewise starts to ponder her life and needs.

Ms Vora let the BBC know that she’s satisfied with the manner in which the series has ended up yet it was hard to watch it.

“It was like going back to the entire trauma. It was hard to see on screen what I went through, the embarrassment and character death I confronted. Yet, I’m glad that the series got made on the grounds that individuals expected to see reality that I was not blameworthy.

A couple of months after J Dey’s homicide, bits of hearsay began whirling around that a female wrongdoing correspondent was engaged with the homicide. Police sources were cited in some of the media reports.

“We were likewise pondering who it very well may be? “I told her that I had no idea that it could be me.

She claims that when a report naming her appeared in a newspaper at the end of October, her initial reaction was shock. She then became aware that her arrest was imminent, and on November 25, she was apprehended.

“It was a very difficult time for me; I was afraid and even considered suicide, but my family motivated me to fight. They let me know that on the off chance that I committed suicide, individuals would feel that I was liable. I had to fight if I wanted to clear my name.”

Ms. Vora claims that the murder of J. Dey changed her life forever. The police said she was associated with the hidden world and had helped the killers by giving them data about J Dey. She was accused in accordance with the severe Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (Mcoca), a law that, in serious cases, carries the death penalty.

Some in the Mumbai press pursued her, with a significant number of her previous partners enjoying a vicarious her ruin. She was called a gangster’s mistress and a murderer. They conveyed unconfirmed stories, frequently credited to “sources in the police”, and censured her for being “excessively aggressive”.

She tells me, “I think there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.” However, in my case, it was used to make me look bad.”

According to Ms. Vohra, “when female colleagues and editors made disparaging remarks about me, saying that I was sleeping around with people to get stories, but I had no-one to tell my side of the story” was the part of the experience that caused the most distress.

The show shows the circus that is the media as reporters harass her family, including her son. The child appears perplexed and terrified as television cameras ask him about his mother’s alleged crimes.

Ms. Vora asserts that her time in prison was “a very difficult phase of life, I think it would have been for anyone in my position.” She adds, however, that the inmates at the prison tried to cheer her up and were very helpful.

“The jail authorities additionally treated me well, they’d advise me advising me to require every day as it comes and that all that will be okay.”

Ms. Vora, who was found not guilty of any charges by both the trial court and the high court, claims that she “no idea who fixed me.”

“The only thing I am aware of is that it took place, and I accept it as my karma.” Presently regardless of whether I figure out who fixed me, could I have the option to transform anything?” She demands.

She claims that she did a lot of soul searching while she was in jail, and after she was granted bail, she “started the process of healing myself.”

“I began pondering and once out, I visited bunches of sanctuaries and all that assisted me with acquiring my internal strength. I was dependably a devotee, and presently my confidence in God expanded.”

Scoop has remained one of India’s most popular shows ever since it was released on Netflix at the beginning of June. Even now, just a few weeks after its release, it still ranks second out of the top 10 shows. It has likewise wowed pundits who have depicted it as “a holding story of the media” and “a should look for all columnists”.

Movie producer Hansal Mehta who coordinated Scoop says he had followed Ms Vora’s case in 2011.

“Yet, similar to all titles, her story was supplanted by another title. She and her family endured the trauma of being labeled without judicial process, even though it was contained within the pages,” he told The Times of India.

“The potential to engage with the audiences on a story that is both a cautionary tale and an important chronicle of our times,” he says when he read Ms. Vora’s book in 2020.

“I knew that he would be able to do justice to my story,” Ms. Vora says when she learned that Mr. Mehta would be the director. However, she claims that she was not prepared for this response.

“On social media, people are sending me love and respect, telling me that this series has helped them see the truth, and many are saying that I’m very strong – but what choice did I have?” She demands.

Ms. Vora, a tenacious reporter, had made a name for herself in the field of crime reporting in just a few years, but she never went back to the profession after serving time in jail. She now works as a life coach and astrologer, earning her living as a healer.

She is uneasy about the media trials she endured more than a decade ago, as well as the ones that take place every night in television studios and result in the destruction of reputations through speculative and unsubstantiated allegations.

According to her story, she, ought to act as an illustration for the press to be cautious on the grounds that their revealing can obliterate lives.

“The press is referred to as the “fourth estate” because of their immense power and the power to transform lives. I hope they will change their ways now that they know how serious their work is.

Oscar Awards Invites NTR Jr, Kjo, Ram Charan, Mani Ratnam To Be Members Of Academy Awards Panel

‘RRR’ star NTR Jr, who is currently busy with the shooting of his film ‘Devara’, has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organisation behind the Oscars, as a new member along with Ram Charan, Karan Johar2, Siddharth Roy Kapur, Mani Ratnam and Chaitanya Tamhane, M.M. Keeravani, Chandrabose, K.K. Senthil Kumar and documentary filmmaker Shaunak Sen.

As members, they all will have several roles including but not limited to voting for the nominees for the annual Oscars ceremony. The Academy has also added international stars like Taylor Swift and Ke Huy Qwan.

Meanwhile, NTR Jr is reuniting with ace filmmaker Koratala Siva for ‘Devara’ which is currently being shot in Hyderabad. The film, which also stars actors Saif Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor, is slated to hit the screens on  April 5, 2024.

He will also be working with KGF director Prashant Neel for ‘NTR 31’ which goes on floors in March 2024.

Padma Lakshmi Bags 2023 Critics Choice Real TV Prize

Bravo’s ‘Top Chef’ and Hulu’s ‘Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi’ tied for first place at the fifth annual Critics’ Choice Real TV prizes on June 16, with two awards each. The yearly awards celebrate excellence in reality, unscripted, and reality programming.

‘Top Chef’ won the best culinary show, while ‘Taste the Nation’ won the best-structured series. In the category for best show host, Lakshmi and RuPaul, host of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars,’ took home the awards.

Reacting to the news, on Twitter, the Indian American said, “I love anytime I’m in a headline with @RuPaul!! Thanks for the wins Critics Choice! What a way to go out for #TopChef, and to keep the ball rolling with #TasteTheNation. So grateful to both amazing production teams!”

Lakshmi is the executive producer and host of the television programme ‘Taste the Nation,’ which examines the cuisines of many ethnic groups and civilizations across the country. The show’s second season premiered on Hulu in May. Meanwhile, she announced her exit as a host from Top Chef, which ended on June 8. The Emmy Award-winning series which is currently in its 20th season, was hosted and executive produced by her.

“Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show and of the impact it has had in the worlds of television and food,” Lakshmi said announcing her decision on Instagram.

Shaakuntalam Wins 4 Prestigious Awards At Cannes World Film Festival

The Indian mythological film, Shaakuntalam, recently garnered four esteemed awards at the 2023 Cannes World Film Festival. Although it experienced both commercial and critical disappointment in India, despite being released across the nation, Shaakuntalam received international recognition and won ‘Best Foreign Film,’ ‘Best Costume Design,’ ‘Best Fantasy Film,’ and ‘Best Indian Film.’

It’s crucial to clarify from the beginning that the Cannes World Film Festival should not be mistaken for the Festival de Cannes, which has been making headlines since its commencement two weeks ago. Numerous Indian celebrities have graced the red carpet and attended film screenings at the latter event.

Directed by Gunasekhar and featuring Samantha Ruth Prabhu in the lead role, Shaakuntalam was produced by Neelima Guna and Hanshita Reddy. The film is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. In line with recent trends, the movie was released in five languages—Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi—and portrays the legendary romantic tale famously brought to life in literature and theater by the esteemed poet Kalidas.

Shaakuntalam also claimed the titles of ‘Best Fantasy Film’ and ‘Best Musical Film’ at the New York International Film Festival just last week (May 25). Overjoyed by the film’s success, Samantha expressed her gratitude for the accolades and awards on her Instagram account. In contrast, earlier this month, producer Dil Raju referred to the film as “my biggest failure” in an interview with “On Manorama,” revealing a loss of Rs. 22 crore.

The movie’s cast also included Dev Mohan, Ananya Nagalla, Mohan Babu, and Allu Arha, with music composed by Mani Sharma.

Padma Lakshmi Bids Farewell to “Top Chef”

Padma Lakshmi has revealed her departure from the popular culinary competition series, “Top Chef,” after serving as its host and judge for 17 years and 20 seasons. In a heartfelt Instagram post on Friday, Lakshmi announced, “After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef.”

She expressed immense pride in being a part of the show’s success throughout its 20 seasons and stated her desire to focus on other projects, such as her Hulu series “Taste the Nation” and her New York Times bestselling books. “I feel it’s time to move on and make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits,” she wrote.

Over the years, Lakshmi earned 13 Emmy nominations for her work on “Top Chef.” She has been an integral part of the series since joining during its second season. An NBC Universal spokesperson expressed gratitude for her contributions, stating, “We are grateful to Padma for being a consummate host, judge and executive producer, and for bringing her ingenuity and exceptional palate to each episode where she ate every bite of food on the series for over 17 years and 19 seasons.”

While no successor has been announced yet, the spokesperson assured that Lakshmi will always be a part of the Top Chef and NBCUniversal family, adding, “She has a seat at the judges’ table anytime.”

In her farewell post, Lakshmi referred to the “Top Chef” cast and crew as family, admitting she would “miss working alongside them dearly.” She also took the opportunity to thank the show’s audience, saying, “I am deeply thankful to all of you for so many years of love and support.”

Padma Lakshmi Wants End To Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Indian American model, TV host, author and activist Padma Lakshmi hopes to become the oldest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model in history.

The 52-year-old model has said that she’d love to replace Martha Stewart in the record books, after the 81-year-old TV star appeared on the cover of the 2023 Swimsuit Issue, reports

Asked if she’d like to surpass Martha’s record, Padma told the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six Style column, “I hope. I mean, listen, if I’m still doing covers like she is at 80 plus. I mean, God, more power to her. And she’s always been someone I’ve admired, so why should this be any different?”

Padma appeared in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. However, she never expected for it to happen so late in her career. Padma shared, “I thought it would happen one day for me when I was in my 20s and 30s and a model, but it never did, so I really thought that ship had sailed. So it’s almost sweeter happening at this age.”

Earlier this month, Martha said to being “kind of surprised” to land the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover. The businesswoman feels proud of her Swimsuit cover – but it wasn’t something she ever imagined doing. (IANS)

Kamal Haasan, Madhavan Shine At IIFA 2023

One of Bollywood’s biggest award nights, the IIFA Awards 2023 was held in Abu Dhabi in the presence of leading names from the industry. Legendary actor Kamal Haasan was felicitated for his outstanding achievement in Indian cinema. The actor who has worked in both regional and Hindi films was felicitated by his friend and singer AR Rahman during the event.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan hit the stage with a fusion of Bollywood and urban dance styles at the award ceremony. Several other stars including Varun Dhawan, and Jacqueline Fernandez performed at the event. Salman Khan hit the floor with a fusion of Bollywood and urban dance while actress Kriti Sanon also performed dance moves with the Norwegian dance group Quick Style on her super hit song Param Sundari from the film Mimi.

R Madhavan received the IIFA trophy under the ‘direction’ category for his stellar work in Rocketry: The Nambi Effect. Abhishek Pathak’s Drishyam 2 was selected as the best picture. Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Kumar Mangat Pathak and the director were presented the IIFA trophy for the film. Actors Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza, were recognized for their outstanding achievements in regional cinema.

Actor Hrithik Roshan received the trophy for his lead role in the action-packed film Vikram Vedha, a remake of the Tamil film. Producer Jayantilal Gada was on stage to receive the trophy on behalf of actress Alia Bhatt for her  best actress in a lead role recognition in the film Gangubai Kathiawadi.

Veteran actor Anil Kapoor bagged an award for his supporting role in JugJugg Jeeyo; Mouni Roy for hers in Brahmastra Part One: Shiva. Actors, Shantanu Maheshwari and Babil Khan were recognized for their debut performances in Gangubai Kathiawadi and Qala respectively.

Khushalii Kumar was recognized for her debut in Dhokha: Round D Corner. Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal won the playback singer awards for Kesariya and Rasiya from Brahmastra Part One: Shiva. Pritam Chakraborty and Amitabh Bhattacharya were also awarded for their music and lyrics. Meanwhile, Jasmeet K Reen and Parveez Sheikh won the best story original award for Darlings.

Anushka Sharma Dazzles at Cannes Film Festival 2023, Celebrating Women in Cinema

Anushka Sharma graces the Cannes Film Festival 2023 with her first appearance. The event celebrates women in the film industry.

Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma made her long-awaited debut at the prestigious 76th Cannes Film Festival. Photos and videos capturing her stunning entrance surfaced on social media Friday evening. For the occasion, she chose a beautiful gown by designer Richard Quinn.

Anushka Sharma’s inaugural Cannes Film Festival look

A video showcases Anushka elegantly descending the stairs at the Cannes Film Festival venue. She dazzled in an off-shoulder dress adorned with striking floral embellishments. Complementing her ensemble, she wore her hair in a sleek bun and opted for a refined makeup look. Minimal jewelry completed her appearance.

The reason behind Anushka Sharma’s presence at Cannes Film Festival

Picture : TheUNN

Anushka is attending the Cannes Film Festival 2023 to pay tribute to women in cinema. She will be joined by renowned actress Kate Winslet at the event. This opportunity arose shortly after Anushka and her husband, cricket star Virat Kohli, met France’s ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenin, at the French Embassy in New Delhi.

It remains unclear when Anushka arrived in Cannes. On May 22, she was spotted at Mumbai airport with Virat Kohli as they returned from Bengaluru. While in Bengaluru, Anushka supported Virat during his Indian Premier League (IPL) match as part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team. After arriving in Bengaluru, she shared a glimpse of the city’s rainfall. On May 24, the couple was once again seen at Mumbai airport.

Anushka Sharma’s upcoming film project

Anushka’s most recent appearance was in the film Qala, where she had a special cameo. She will star in the forthcoming sports biopic Chakda Xpress, directed by Prosit Roy. The film, which will exclusively stream on Netflix, is based on the life of former Indian cricketer Jhulan Goswami.

Anushka completed filming for Chakda Xpress in December last year. She shared several photos from the last day of shooting, which took place inside a cricket stadium, and expressed her gratitude in an Instagram post captioned, “It’s a wrap on Chakda ‘Xpress and thank you @JhulanGoswami for the final clap to bring an end to the shoot!.”

Shah Rukh Khan Hosts Ambassador Garcetti In ‘Mannat’

The newly-appointed US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti was hosted by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan at his home ‘Mannat’ in Mumbai.

Garcetti took to Twitter, where he shared a string of pictures from his visit, which also features SRK, his wife Gauri and his manager Pooja Dadlani.

He captioned the image: “Is it time for my Bollywood debut? Had a wonderful chat with superstar @iamsrk at his residence Mannat, learning more about the film industry in Mumbai and discussing the huge cultural impact of Hollywood and Bollywood across the globe. #AmbExploresIndia.”

Shah Rukh was seen in a black sweatshirt, matching denims and a cap. Gauri was seen in a black outfit too. Pooja opted for a white shirt and denims. The room, in which they gathered, had a red brick wall on one side in which a huge painting was hung. A chandelier also hung from the ceiling. Couches along with a coffee table were also seen in the picture.

On the acting front, Shah Rukh Khan was recently seen in the blockbuster ‘Pathaan’ alongside John Abraham and Deepika Padukone. He is now gearing up for his next titled ‘Jawan’,by Atlee. The film also features Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi and Sanya Malhotra in the lead roles. He also has Rajkumar Hirani’s upcoming film ‘Dunki’ opposite Taapsee Pannu.

The film is all set to hit the theatres on September 7. Earlier the film was scheduled to hit the theatres on June 2. It is billed as an event film with high-octane action sequences. Shah Rukh’s production company Red Chillies Entertainment has produced it. Apart from Jawan, Shah Rukh will also be seen in director Rajkumar Hirani’s upcoming film Dunki opposite Taapsee Pannu.

‘Indiana Jones’ At Cannes Film Festival; Harrison Ford Honored

(AP) — Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford swung into Cannes on Thursday for the world premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” in one of the most anticipated events of the French Riviera festival. Fedoras abounded in the throngs of onlookers who watched Ford and company hit the red carpet.

Ford walked hand in hand with his wife, Calista Flockhart, and later joined his cast mates as John Williams’ score played across the red carpet. Among those in attendance were Disney chief Bob Iger, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and filmmaker Steve McQueen.

Ford, 80, who has said “Dial of Destiny” will be his last performance as the character, also received an honorary Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival. Last year, Cannes feted “Top Gun Maverick” and Tom Cruise in a similar manner.

Inside the theater, Ford was greeted with thunderous applause. He beamed and looked around the theater before receiving the honorary Palme.

“I’m very touched. I’m very moved by this. They say when you’re about to die, you, you see your life flash before your eyes. I just saw my life flash before my eyes,” Ford said after a clip reel of his career was played.

“A great part of my life, not all of my life,” Ford continued, thanking Flockhart as well as “Dial of Destiny” director James Mangold and co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

It’s not the first “Indiana Jones” film to premiere in Cannes. The fourth installment, “Indiana and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” launched at the 2008 edition of the festival. Critics and fans alike dismissed “Crystal Skull” as a misjudged sequel, though it still made $790 million worldwide.

This time, “Dial of Destiny” is hoping to make a similar if not larger global impact without its famous filmmakers. The new film, which the Walt Disney Co. will release June 30 in the U.S., is the first “Indiana” film not directed by Steven Spielberg or with a story credit to George Lucas. Instead, Mangold (“Ford vs. Ferrari,” “Logan”) takes the reins for a film co-starring Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas and Mads Mikkelsen.

Indians Bag Top Honors At NYIFF

Shefali Shah, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Avinash Arun Dhaware emerged as winners at the 2023 New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), which celebrated and showcased new Indian cinema to the diaspora and global audience. The festival, which took place from May 11 to 14, featured an impressive lineup of 35 films, including dramas, documentaries, and short films, highlighting the depth and range of contemporary Indian cinema.

The highly acclaimed film “Saudi Vellakka” was honored with the Best Film award, while Avinash Arun Dhaware received the Best Director award for his critically acclaimed film “Three of Us,” featuring Shefali Shah, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Swanand Kirkire.

Picture : The New India Abroad

Shah and Ahlawat were recognized with the Best Actress and Best Actor awards, respectively, for their exceptional performances in “Three of Us,” which also served as the opening film of the festival. The closing film of the extravaganza was “Goldfish,” starring Deepti Naval and Kalki Koechlin.

Other notable winners included “Follower” for Best Screenplay, “To Kill a Tiger” for Best Documentary (Short & Feature), “Birah” for Best Short (Narrative), and Leslie Shampaine, who received the prestigious Best Documentary by a Woman award for “Call Me Dancer.” “Footprints On Water,” featuring Adil Hussain, was declared the Best Debut Film at NYIFF.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival, known as North America’s longest-running and most prestigious Indian film festival, was a special screening of Rahul Chittella’s critically praised film “Gulmohar.” The screening was attended by cinema veterans Sharmila Tagore and Amol Palekar, along with renowned actors Manoj Bajpayee and Simran. Following the screening, a Q&A session was moderated by NYIFF festival director Aseem Chhabra, featuring the film’s team.

CALL ME DANCER Awarded ‘Best Documentary by a Woman Filmmaker’

Leslie Shampaine’s 84-minute feature documentary, CALL ME DANCER, attracted a full house at the 23rd edition of the New York Indian Film Festival on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at the Village East Cinema by Angelika in Manhattan. The special screening was followed by a Q&A with director Shampaine, lead protagonist Manish Chauhan, and executive producer Jay Sean. At the closing night awards ceremony, the New York Women in Film & Television awarded director Leslie Shampaine “Best Documentary by a Woman Filmmaker.”

“This is the story of how boundless determination and unremitting effort can lead to success in any endeavor – a story that I hope inspires young people across the globe to push beyond their limits to follow their dreams,” said Shampaine, a first-time director and former professional ballet dancer. “Dance films are typically created by looking into our world from the outside. They convey the difficulty of the profession, but what is often lost is the passion and inner joy that pushes dancers past the pain. I knew that as a dancer, I could offer an insider’s sensitivity and perspective.”

International pop icon, singer, and songwriter Jay Sean executive produced the film because the story resonated with his own; as a British-Indian, Sean’s parents wanted him to pursue medicine rather than his dream of becoming a singer. CALL ME DANCER, in English and Hindi (with English subtitles), is a live-your-dream film that charts the journey of Manish, a talented street dancer from Mumbai, who dreams of becoming professional against the wishes of his struggling parents. He meets a master Israeli ballet teacher who gives him the determination to keep going. But when he is pitted against another boy who’s got the attention of the top school in the world, Manish realizes he must push himself to his physical limits if he has any chance to succeed. Filmed in India, Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the dance documentary features two original songs by Jay Sean, music by Bangladeshi American hip-hop artist Anik Khan, and a score by award-winning, British-Indian composer Nainita Desai. Watch teaser HERE.

*Next, the film will have its European premiere at the prestigious London Indian Film Festival on June 27, 2023, at the historic BFI Southbank Cinema.

‘Mughal-E-Azam’ To Tour North America

The musical production will tour 13 cities starting with Atlanta on May 26, 2023

Indian theatrical Mughal-e-Azam will be making its American debut. The cast and crew of the musical play will be touring 13 cities in North America in May 2023.

Picture : TheUNN

An interpretation of K Asif’s hit classic film that was released in 1960, the play is set in the Mughal era when Emperor Akbar was in power. It is centred around the forbidden love story of Akbar’s son Prince Salim and the courtesan Anarkali. Emperor Akbar who disapproves of the relationship is forced to take the difficult choice between responsibility towards his subjects and duty as a father.

Produced by Shapoorji Pallonji Group and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan, the play will be enacted in both Hindi and Urdu with dance sequences, spectacular lighting, extravagant costumes, and live singing. With 70 people on the cast and 150 crew members working behind the scenes, the musical is one of the most expensive theatre productions to have toured in India.

Prominent Indian designer Manish Malhotra has designed over 600 costumes for the play using rich silks, velvets, bandhani, and brocades, and crafted with zardozi embroidery. Its value is worth crores of rupees, making Mughal-e-Azam’s costume design the most expensive in the history of Indian theatre.

The play has received critical acclaim and has scooped up several awards in the year following its premiere. Some of the awards to the play’s credit include Best Costume Design, Best Choreography, Best Original Set Design, Best Original Lighting Design, and Best Ensemble Cast. Director Khan was honoured with the award for Best Director at the BroadwayWorld India Awards. It also won the award for Best Play.‌

Bollywood stars Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, filmmaker Karan Johar, and industrialist Mukesh Ambani have praised the play. The North American tour will kick off on May 26 in Atlanta, followed by New York, Baltimore, Lakeland, Chicago, Newark, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and San Jose among others. Tickets are available on Cinema On Stage’s website.

Diwali Comes To Disney World

The first-of-its-kind Diwali celebrations will take place at Florida’s Disney Springs, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and EPCOT as Jashn Productions will host a Diwali Dance Fest at Walt Disney World® Resort.

According to a statement by the organizers the event will take place from October 26-29th, 2023 and will feature the sights and sounds of the popular Indian festival. A showcase of vibrant colours, stunning costumes, and incredible performances by the dancers of South Asian dance schools from across North America will be the event’s highlight.

“We are thrilled to bring Diwali to Walt Disney World® Resort for the first time ever, ” said Jashn productions director, Jeanie Beri. “We want to share the joy and excitement of this important festival with the South Asian dance community. We hope that the Diwali Dance Fest will become an annual event at Walt Disney World® Resort, bringing people together to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of South Asia.”

The three-day festival will feature an official parade at Disney Springs, a dance showcase at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, and a VIP party at EPCOT, the organizers revealed.

Led by award-winning South Asian American dancer Beri, who is of South-Asian origin, Jashn Productions provides a platform for South Asian artists to display their talents on a world stage. Under Beri’s leadership South Asian talent has gained recognition at the Walt Disney World, NBA, and the Broadway stage!

Dhvani Bhanushali’s ‘Vaaste’ Garners Over 1.5 Billion Views

Singer Dhvani Bhanushali, who is known for her tracks like ‘Vaaste’, ‘Ishare Tere’ and ‘Leja Re’, has clocked 1.5 billion views for her song ‘Vaaste’ on YouTube.
Among the Indian songs that have crossed the 1 billion milestone are the devotional song ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ topping the list followed by regional songs like the Punjabi song ‘Lehanga’ and a Haryanvi song ’52 Gaj Ka Daman’ making Dhvani’s song the fourth most viewed song nationwide.
This has made Dhvani the youngest Indian musician to achieve the milestone. ‘Vaaste’ has been composed by Tanishk Bagchi and written by Arafat Mehmood, with Nikhil D’Souza featuring as the co-singer, the music video is directed by Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru.
Expressing her gratitude, Dhvani said: “‘Vaaste’ is like that magical thing that happened in my life. I’ll always be grateful to all the people who have watched it more than a billion times on YouTube. It was the team of Tanishk, Arafat, Nikhil, Radhika Ma’am, Vinay Sir and Siddharth that we could break so many records back then and even today. Most importantly it’s all the love and support by the audiences; it only inspires me to work harder and create more magic. I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this beautiful song with me, our mark will live on forever.”
Dhvani made her debut in the pop world with ‘Ishare Tere’ and followed it up with another hit, ‘Leja Re’. However, it was ‘Vaaste’ that catapulted her to the A-list of Indian musicians.
The song became a massive hit and was also listed among the top 10 most-liked music videos globally, with Dhvani featuring as the only Indian music artist in YouTube Rewind 2019. The song was released under the label of T-Series. (IANS)

Priyanka Chopra To Star Opposite John Cena, Idris Elba In Heads Of State

Ahead of the global debut of the streaming spy series ‘Citadel’, Priyanka Chopra Jonas is getting into business with Amazon Studios again, this time with John Cena and Idris Elba in ‘Heads of State’. The movie’s cameras roll in May.

‘Nobody’ filmmaker Ilya Naishuller is directing off a script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, with an initial draft by Harrison Query based on Query’s original idea, reports Deadline.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the film, which we first told you about, is being described as Air Force One meets Midnight Run. Producers are the Safran Company’s Peter Safran and John Rickard. EPs are Cena, Elba and Marcus Viscidi.

As per ‘Deadline’, in February 2021, Priyanka became a New York Times bestselling author with her memoir ‘Unfinished’. She’ll be starring with Richard Madden in Prime Video’s ‘Citadel’, set to begin streaming on April 28.

On the film side, she will next star in Sony’s ‘Love Again’ and most recently starred in Netflix’s Oscar-nominated feature ‘The White Tiger’, which she also executive produced.

Chopra Jonas’ production banner Purple Pebble Pictures is currently under a first-look film and TV deal with Amazon Studios and has also partnered with Paramount Global to create original content focused on diversity and inclusion for its entertainment and youth channels.

Indie Meme Film Festival Showcases Social & Political Issues From South Asia And Iran

Indie Meme, a non-profit organization, is holding its 8th Film Festival (IMFF2023) from April 12-16 in Austin, TX at the AFS Cinema. The festival provides a platform for filmmakers from South Asia and Iran to showcase their unique stories, with award-winning actors and filmmakers attending every year. This year, Kalki Koechlin and Pushan Kripalani, lead actor and director of the festival’s opening night film “Goldfish”, and Leena Yadav, director of “Tell it like a Woman”, will be in attendance.

Picture : TheUNN

The festival features over 30 films in 17 languages, representing 13 countries, touching on global issues such as mental health, women empowerment, poverty, freedom of speech, and more. Audience members have the opportunity to engage with the filmmakers after each screening, exchange perspectives and explore the premise further. Additionally, a virtual festival program is scheduled from April 28 to May 1, offering a hybrid experience for those outside Austin.

Indie Meme 2023 Film Lineup


The film “All That Breathes” is in the running for the Best International Documentary award at the 95th Academy Awards. The movie centers around two brothers who are trying to rescue black kite birds, which are crucial to New Delhi’s ecosystem but are dying due to environmental pollution. This documentary is unique in that it is the first film to have won the Best Documentary Prize at both the Sundance and Cannes film festivals.


“Goldfish,” directed by Pushan Kriplani and starring Kalki Koechlin, will premiere at the South Asian Film Festival in the US. The film follows Janaki, a young woman with bipolar disorder and addiction, as she searches for a missing father with a young boy. “Goldfish” explores mental health, trauma, and human connection and has received critical acclaim. Its premiere at the festival is significant for Indian cinema and a testament to the power of storytelling.


“Tell It Like A Woman,” a new Indian documentary film directed by Leena Yadav, will premiere at the South Asian Film Festival in the US. The film features interviews with influential and inspiring women from a range of backgrounds, exploring gender, identity, and the role of women in society in India. Through their stories, the film offers a window into the experiences and struggles of women in India.


The Iranian film “Leila’s Brothers” will have its Texas premiere at IMFF2023. The film was awarded the International Critics’ Prize in 2022 for best film in Cannes main competition. Boasting a tour de force ensemble, Leila’s Brothers is a masterful family drama that echoes Greek tragedies.

This year, the festival scored two international premieres – “Dhabari Quruvi” and “Eikhoigi Yum.”


The movie “Dhabari Quruvi” is the first of its kind in the world to have tribals both as actors and singers. It is a beautiful film directed by Priyanandanan with a cast entirely made up of indigenous people from Attappadi, Kerala. The plot revolves around a young girl who challenges the traditional customs of her tribe and takes control of her own body and life choices. The dialogue in the movie is exclusively in the “Irula” language, but according to the director, the emotions conveyed in the story will overcome any language barrier for the viewers.


The IMFF2023 will feature “Eikhoigi Yum” (Our Home), a Manipuri film directed by Romi Meitei. The film tells the story of an 11-year-old boy from an isolated fishing community who is determined to succeed in school despite personal and financial difficulties. The film takes place around the Loktak Pat Lake, and its stunning cinematography portrays the lives of those living in homes built on a floating biomass.


Don’t miss the Texas premiere of “In Search of Bengali Harlem,” a documentary created by historian and author Vivek Bald and stand-up comedian and actor Alaudin Ullah. The film follows Alaudin as he investigates the history of his immigrant parents from Bangladesh and uncovers a forgotten past where South Asian Muslims, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans created a unique and diverse community in the mid-20th century tenements of Harlem. Both creators of the documentary will be present at the event, which was supported by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


The second documentary of filmmaker Vinay Shukla, who is an Indie Meme alumnus, is called “While We Watched.” The film centers on the experiences of Ravish Kumar, a reporter for NDTV in India, as he confronts limitations on journalism, navigates his career, and faces personal threats.


The final movie for IMFF 2023 will be “Polite Society,” a comedy about a young woman training in martial arts who thinks she needs to rescue her sister from an arranged marriage. Together with her friends, they attempt to execute a daring wedding heist to promote sisterhood and independence.

Indie Meme’s Focus

Indie Meme has been featuring a diverse range of films, shorts, and documentaries from talented filmmakers in South Asia and Iran since 2013. The films address important global issues that are often neglected, including climate change, poverty, access to education and healthcare, and discrimination based on caste, gender, and sexual orientation.

Indie Meme is particularly honored to continue to bring these meaningful productions in its 10th year making Austin THE destination for debate, discussions, dialogue, and change!

Badges for the Indie Meme Film Festival, IMFF2023, are available at The festival was dubbed “the best international passport” by The Austin Chronicle in 2016, solidifying Austin’s spot on the world map of film. IMFF 2023 is also supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin, Economic Development Department, and its Sponsors.

Indie Meme is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting independent cinema and filmmakers from South Asia & Iran. Our focus is on promoting diversity and cultural exchange. Over the past 10 years, and 8 years of the film festival, Indie Meme is thrilled to provide a platform for the best in independent South Asian cinema, and brings the work of these talented filmmakers to audiences in Austin, and across the United States.

Hedge Events To Organize Vandemataram 2023 Across Several Cities In USA

“As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hedge Events New York, we are excited to have you join in and collaborate with us at the Multi-City Vandemataram 2023: Music & Dance Nite, a very popular Entertainment Show across several states in the United States in August-September 2023,” Jacob Araham, CEO of Hedge Funds announced here today. “Vandemataram is a way of expressing our commitment to India while commemorating and paying tributes to our Mother India on the milestone celebration, the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.”

Picture : TheUNN

Mr. Abraham introducing the Hedge Brokerage, the main organizing group of the Show said, “We take pride in our mission to be a link between India and the highly successful Indian American Diaspora in the United States. And, rightly so, Vandemataram 2023 is an effective way of being rooted in and appreciating the best of India’s culture and traditions, showcased by versatile internationally famed artists.

Hedge Events is well known in the community for organizing several Shows in the past decade. The Mollywood Kollywood Sooraj Venjaramoodu and Indrajith Mamatha Mohandas Show was organized in 2016. For the first time ever, The United States North American Film Award (NAFA) with participation from Dhulkar Salman, Parwathy, Bhavana. Vijay Yesudas, Gopisunder, which was live telecasted by Flowers Channel was a huge success. In  2017, NAFA event was proud to have Nivin Pauly, Kunjako Boban, Tovino, Manju Warrior, Asha Sarath, Vani Jayaram, Biji Pal, Rima Kallunkal, and Asiq Abu. The 2018 awards ceremony by the Hedge Fund and NAFA had Dulkar Salman, Manju Warrior,  Andria, Vijay Yesudas, Steven Devasia, Joju and many more.

The following stars have already confirmed their participation at the Live Show organized by Hedge in collaboration with several community organizations at the much anticipated Vandemataram 2013: Popular playback singers: Harish Anker and Nithya Mammen; Popular actor Anna Prasad;  Aishwarya renowned actress; Ramadan D4 Dance Winner ; P S Abhijith on Violin; Stephen Devasia on Keyboard; Rajesh Vaidyan on Veena; Mohini Dae on Base Guitar; Mahesh on Thabala; Choreographer Sunitha.

Each Show is expected to have more than 15.000 live audiences. The colorful souvenir we plan to release at the events will be an additional opportunity for you in promoting your business.

Vandemataram 2023 is a great way to connect with and inspire the hearts of souls of the fast-growing and highly successful Indian American community in the United States.  For more details, please contact by Email: [email protected] or visit:

Devdas – The Musical Set For World Premiere In Singapore

There will be two shows in Hindi with English subtitles on April 21 and 22, and two shows in English with Mandarin subtitles on April 22 and 23.

India’s leading live theatre producer AGP World, along with Arte Compass and Zee TV APAC, inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s classic novel, brings Ashvin Gidwani’s ‘Devdas – The Musical for the world’ premiere in Singapore on April 21, 2023, at the Esplanade Theatre. The news release said that the 100-minute multi-starrer explores the saga of star-crossed lovers Devdas and Paro, torn apart by unfortunate circumstances.

Picture : TheUNN

This multifaceted production features performances from popular Bollywood actors such as Sunil Kumar Palwal, Aanchal Chauhan, Bhavna Pani, Jayesh Thakkar and Smita Jaykar, who play key roles in the musical. Actor Arif Zakaria w plays Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, the writer of the classic tale. The musical also features songs from the Bollywood movie Devdas such as Woh Zindagi Hi Kya, Shyam Tore Rang Me, and Toota Re Manwa, sung by prominent singers, including Shaan, Kailash Kher, Alka Yagnik, Suresh Wadkar, Shail Hada, Bhoomi Trivedi and Antara Mitra.

Ashvin Gidwani, Producer & MD, AGP World, expressed delight to bring this classic on stage and showcase the first World Premiere in Singapore. The press statement said that there will be two shows in Hindi with English subtitles on April 21 and 22, and two shows in English with Mandarin subtitles on April 22 and 23. British theatre director, writer, actor, and teacher Toby Gough is the creative director for the grand musical which is co-directed by Indian director Ranga Godbole. The team also includes technical director and production designer Tom Kitney.

“Devdas has witnessed several renditions in the Indian cinema, yet there is something about the epic that connects with the audience. A saga of love presented by multiple onstage and offstage talents; Devdas promises to be a production never seen before on the Indian Stage,” Gidwani said.

Sanmesh Thakur, EVP – APAC, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, said, “Zee in Singapore has been known to support and co-produce high-quality productions. We are extremely proud and excited to be associated with Devdas, one of the most highly awaited shows of 2023!”

South Asian House At SXSW Showcased

Picture : TheUNN

Created through sponsorships from The Auntie Network, Tasveer, One Minute Saree, URL Media, The Partnership Inc., Sway with Pray, Indie Meme, and Lailit Vadlamani & Shubha Iyengar, the first-ever South Asian House (SAH) kicked off at Fourth & Co in downtown Austin during the first weekend of the 37th annual SXSW®.

Featured speakers at the two-day, cultural pop-up included industry professionals from business, tech, film, TV, theater, music, and fashion. SAH also hosted a networking event with  happy hour each day, as well as live music and a DJ set each night. Local Bollywood dance company Sway With Pray organized flash mobs around the city, and to conclude the weekend, Tasveer presented a Red Carpet Awards Ceremony and a live Oscar Viewing Party on Sunday, March 12. Several South Asian nominees and celebrities were cheered on by the House during the Academy Awards.

The inaugural event opened with welcome remarks from the co-founders of the South Asian House and from SXSW’s Director of Sales, Neil Minocha, followed by a fireside chai & chat moderated by Ms. Media CEO and SAH co-founder Monika Samtani and featured movie producer Rishi Rajani (CEO, Hillman Grad Productions), actor Reema Sampat (Orange is the New Black), and journalist/entrepreneur Snigdha Sur (Founder & CEO, The Juggernaut). The fireside was sponsored by Catalyst Media and Lalit Vadlamani & Shubha Iyengar. SAH’s programming also included two noteworthy panels on film and television Saturday. Warm SriLankan Chai was provided by Kola Goodies.

The first, “Creating South Asian Content for a Global Audience,” was an hour-long discussion with actor Rizwan Manji (“Schitt’s Creek,” “Peacemaker”), Executive Producer of VICE TV, Falguni Adams, and Apoorva Bakshi, Emmy award-winning producer of the hit TV series “Delhi Crime,” moderated by CEO of Jingo Media and co-founder of SAH, Jitin Hingorani.

The second panel, “Investing in the Future of Our South Asian Stories,” was an important conversation that included CEO and Co-founder of URL Media S. Mitra Kalita, actor Kausar Mohammed (“4400,” “The Flash”), and Atit Shah, CEO of Create Entertainment, moderated by co-founder of Box Office Guru Media Gitesh Pandya.

Women in Film and Television, Austin presented the Pilot reading hour of Rehana Lew Mirza’s script ‘Don’t Hate’ with a full slate of talent cast by Ashley Guaragna Casting with this pilot to be produced by SAH co-founder Rohi Mirza Pandya under the sisters joint production company banner. EarlierThe Leadership Program took a deep dive into the successful leadership mindset followed by one-on-one mentorship sessions with industry leaders Pooja Kumar (Actress/Producer & former Miss India USA), Milan Chakraborty (Head of Film at Marginal MediaWorks), Sid Shah (Founder of Trackmind), and James A. Mathew (CEO of The Outer Voice Company). The Leadership Program was facilitated by SAH co-founders, Rohi Mirza Pandya and Monika Samtani, as well as their production company Catalyst Media+ sponsors Lalit Vadlamani & Shubha Iyengar.

South Asian House attendees enjoyed Happy Hours hosted by our partners Brown Girl Magazine and Austin’s very own Indie Meme Film Festival.

The Auntie Network, a Texas dating and marriage website for South Asian singles, presented The StoryLounge Variety Show, hosted by Vick Krishna and Samrat Chakrabarti, and included comics Proma Khosla, Tanveer Arora, and Aizzah Fatima, with musical guest on the table, Mayookh Bhaumik. The evening’s entertainment concluded with live music by Chloe Choudhury with SUNNN, Meetu Chilana, Aditya Rao, and DJ Anupi. The world renowned percussionist Drums Sivamani surprised all guests with an impromptu performance.

Fashion brand One Minute Saree presented Sunday’s Desi Drag Brunch, featuring New York drag queen Tara Ryst and local drag queens Darshan and Jayan, who draped the sarees on stage during their live Bollywood performances. The event was supported by Austin’s South Asian LBGTQ+ organization, Khush Texas.

The afternoon included a series of shorts content, curated by Jitin Hingorani, Founder and Festival Director of DFW South Asian Film Festival, which culminated with the launch of the title track music video from an upcoming Austin based AAPI project WHERE THE STARS ARE, a Banskota Productions feature film co-directed by Kirtana Banskota and Andy Yang. Oscar Sunday evening kicked off with a red carpet and the Uniquely South Asian awards ceremony presented by Tasveer’s Founder Rita Meher. Awardees included all the afore-mentioned panelists and other thought leaders who are uplifting the Diaspora through their unique contributions to the community at large. The Oscar Watch Party was followed by live sets from  Kiss Nuka Live (Mumbai & Goa) and Austin’s DJ Anup USA.

“And that’s a wrap!” exclaimed producers Mirza Pandya, Hingorani, Samtani, and Banskota. “We are just thrilled at the reception we’ve received from the South Asian community at SXSW, and we can’t wait to come back bigger and stronger next year. A huge shoutout to all our volunteers without whom this event would not be possible.”

About South Asian House: An initiative that aims to connect a thriving community of thought leaders from various sectors in the business, tech, film, television, fashion, music, ad theater idustries from seven different South Asian countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The initiative was created by veteran producers, curators, and programmers Rohi Mirza Pandya (Box Office Guru Media), Jitin Hingorani (Jingo Media), Monika Samtani (Ms. Media), and Kirtana Banskota (Banskota Productions). For more information on SXSW’s first ever South Asian House please visit HERE.

Everything Everywhere All At Once Triumphs At Oscars

In addition to India making a remarkable mark on world stage, the 95th Academy awards were significant for another reason. It was not just India’s night, but all of Asia, with ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ making a clean sweep of almost every award it was nominated for. Michelle Yeoh as the first Asian Best Actress winner, and only the second person of colour to win that trophy after Halle Berry in 2002 for ‘Monster’s Ball’, spoke of her Oscar as ‘a beacon of hope and possibilities’.

Everything Everywhere All at Once has dominated this year’s Oscars, winning seven awards including best picture on a big night for Asian and Asian American representation.

The manic multiverse fantasy, about a fractured family swept up in an interdimensional adventure, also delivered wins for best actress, best director, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best editing and best original screenplay at the 95th Academy Awards ceremony held on Sunday, March 12th, 2023. It was the most nominated film of the night.

Michelle Yeoh became only the second woman of color to win the best actress Oscar, following in the footsteps of Halle Berry in 2002. “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight this is a beacon of hope and possibility,” she said, before adding: “Ladies don’t ever let anyone tell you you are past your prime.”

Ke Huy Quan was named best supporting actor for his role in the film, beating Barry Keoghan and Judd Hirsch. He is the first Vietnam-born actor to win an Oscar. “Mom, I just won an Oscar!” he said tearfully. “They say stories like this only happen in the movies, I cannot believe this is happening to me.”

Picture : Rolling Stone

The win built on the tremendous 2020 ‘Parasite’ sweep when Bong Joon Ho won the best director, and the film won both the best picture AND the best international feature film. EEAAO won seven, yes count them, Oscars. Vietnam-born Ke Huy Kwan won Best Supporting Actor, Jamie Lee Curtis, who really should have won for her breakout perf in A Fish Called Wanda ( yes, way back in 1988), finally got hers with a Best Supporting Actress, the Daniels won the Best Director: the film also picked up awards for Best Original Screenplay and Editing.

In an industry where race and representation have mostly stayed buzz words, the ‘Everything Everywhere..’ triumph feels like a shift, where people of colour are being seen and celebrated for who they are, and what they bring to the table, even if the film often feels laden with too many nods to Asians-in-America stereotypes. But what a performance from Yeoh, and a well-deserved win: there was no better film to have got this award in this year.

I’m sad that the fabulous ‘Banshees of Insherin’, a tale of two most unusual best friends buoyed by a terrific performance from Colin Farrell (an infinitely harder one to pull off as compared to Brendan Fraser’s prosthetic-laden turn in ‘The Whale’, which won the latter the Best Actor) and the gentle donkey Jenny, lost out the Best Picture to EEAAO, but I’m very happy that the latter won, won big, and won so emphatically. Thus proving that it is quite possible to be happy and sad at the same time. Now excuse me while I play ‘Naatu Naatu’ at full volume, all over again.

Naatu Naatu, The Elephant Whisperers & Padukone Make India Shine At Academy Awards

India shone bright at the 95th Academy awards. As an ecstatic MM Keeravani sang out his thanks in tune with that Carpenter’s immortal sappy ditty, the auditorium exploded in hoots, whistles and loud cheers. His ‘namaste’, a delightful little tailpiece to his acceptance speech, echoed the sentiments of a billion Indians on the top of the world after ‘Naatu Naatu’ won the Best Original Song at the Academy awards.

With “Naatu Naatu”, the hit dance track from “RRR”, documentary feature “All That Breathes” and short documentary “The Elephant Whisperers” up for an Oscar, the 95th Academy Awards could well be India’s moment to shine at perhaps the most glittering of all showbiz stages today. It is the first time that India-made productions have earned so many Oscar nominations.

India’s win at Oscars 2023 brings up one of our major strengths, which is being unafraid of sentiment, of bringing something real and emotional to a world that has been taken over by pallid superheroes and their even more pallid tales.

Picture : India Glitz

It’s not just the song which had had the globe dancing to its tune from S S Rajamouli’s blockbuster ‘RRR’ that made history at this edition of the Oscars. It was also the Best Documentary Short award for the ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, a heartwarming film on the deep bond between a pair of elephants and their humans, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, and produced by Guneet Monga. If you haven’t seen the 40 minute film on Netflix, featuring the charming Raghu and Ammu, and Bomman and Bellie, get right to it: it truly is a testament to, as Gonsalves said, the ‘sacred bond between us and the natural world and respect for indigenous

Naatu Naatu was the first Indian win in the Best original song category, and Gonsalves the first Indian to win in the short docu category. India’s cup would have brimmeth over if Shaunak Sen had won the Best Documentary Feature for ‘All That Breathes’, a haunting film about a pair of Delhi-based brothers who care for injured kites falling from the skies. That loss will be a lasting regret.

Shaunak Sen didn’t win the Best Documentary Feature for ‘All That Breathes’. But even as Sen’s film kept winning hearts on the festival circuit, from Sundance to Cannes, and we kept our fingers and toes tightly crossed, it was ‘Navalny’, about the imprisoned Russian dissident and hardcore Putin critic Alexei Navalny which had been gathering momentum in the build-up to the Oscars. This was always going to be the year that anti-war sentiment was everywhere, with ‘All Quiet On The Western Front’ the front-runner in the race, which lost out, quite rightly, to Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The German war epic, directed by Edward Berger, had to be content with the Best International Feature, original score, production design and cinematography, and it lost out, quite rightly to the totally bonkers genre-bending multiverse sci-fi-action-adventure ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’, directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

Still, two out of three is not a bad strike. History doesn’t always have to be grand sweeps. It can be made out of these small incremental steps, because of what they mean once the hurly burly of the awards night and the zillion pre-Oscars and post-Oscars after parties are done and dusted.

An award on a stage where the world is watching opens up doors not just for the film and its makers, but also the country they represent. Those who’ve been dismissing the ‘song-and-dance’ spectacles of Indian mainstream movies, are now dancing to the infectious rhythms of ‘Naatu Naatu’, even as SS Rajamouli’s RRR will always come with a caveat of whether or not it was truthful to the lives of the revolutionaries it was based on.

Picture : NDTV

But this is a time to celebrate, not nit-pick. As first-time Oscar presenter Deepika Padukone, the lights on stage making her even more luminous, asked the audience quite rhetorically: do you know ‘Naatu Naatu’, and it played out on stage, it was a moment.

That live performance may not have matched the mad energy of the song that you see in the film, but the win, which had looked like a shoo-in from the time it was nominated, brings to the fore the joyousness of music, and the stories that can be told via song when words fail. It brings up one of the major strengths of Indian cinema, which is being unafraid of sentiment, of bringing something real and emotional to a world which has been taken over by pallid superheroes and their even more pallid tales which all look and feel similar.

Night Shyamalan Signs Multi-Year First-Look Deal At Warner Bros

Indian American filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has inked a new multi-year, first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures, with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker switching his allegiance from Universal.

The announcement was made on Thursday by Warner Bros. Pictures Group co-chairs and CEOs Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy.

News of the pact comes as the director celebrates his latest release ‘Knock at the Cabin’, which marks his seventh No. 1 opening at the box office – he has a No. 1 film in each of the last four decades – and further contributes to his more than $3 billion haul at the global box office, beginning with his breakout hit, ‘The Sixth Sense’, reports Variety.

“Where I write and direct is my home,” Shyamalan said in a statement announcing the new deal. Disney and Universal, where I’ve made most of my films, will always be home and family to me. Warner Bros. has a storied history of cinema. Through its recent experiences, the company has rediscovered its love and appreciation for filmmakers, and the impact of the theatrical experience.”

“We all win when movies succeed in theatres. I believe David Zaslav, Michael De Luca, and Pam Abdy have dedicated themselves to unique filmmakers, and to filling theatres all around the world for years to come.”

Under the new agreement, Shyamalan and his Philly-based production company Blinding Edge Pictures, run by president of production Ashwin Rajan, will develop original projects for the filmmaker to produce and/or direct for WBPG production divisions Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema.

Among those projects is Shyamalan’s much-anticipated next directorial effort, ‘Trap’, which is dated for a theatrical release on August 2, 2024.

Also, in the works is ‘The Watchers’, the forthcoming directorial debut of his daughter Ishana Night Shyamalan, which will commence production this year and is slated for a June 7, 2024 release.

“Night is one of the most iconic and influential directors of his generation and an auteur in every sense of the word,” stated De Luca and Abdy.

“From ‘The Sixth Sense’ through ‘Split’ to his latest chiller ‘Knock at the Cabin,’ he’s one of the few directors in contemporary cinema whose name alone promises a bold, singular vision, compelling original storytelling and a provocative, surprising and entirely unique experience at the theatre.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him to the Warner Bros. family, and look forward to an exciting collaboration with Night and the entire Blinding Edge team.”

A lifelong film lover, Shyamalan began directing his own projects while a student at NYU, kicking off his career with 1992’s ‘Praying with Anger’ and 1998’s ‘Wide Awake’. In 1999, the writer, director and producer’s third film, “The Sixth Sense,” made him a mega-star, earning nearly $700 million worldwide and netting six Oscar nominations, including directing and original screenplay nods.

His body of work that followed includes blockbusters like ‘Signs’, ‘The Village’, ‘The Visit’ and the comic-book trilogy ‘Unbreakable’, ‘Split’ and ‘Glass’.

On the TV side, Shyamalan has directed five episodes of Apple+ TV’s thriller series ‘Servant’, for which he also serves as showrunner and executive producer. (IANS)

Stella Jean Quits Milan Fashion Week Over Lack Of Inclusion

(AP) — The only Black designer belonging to Italy’s fashion chamber withdrew Wednesday from this month’s Milan Fashion Week, alleging a lack of support for diversity and inclusion after the chamber “abandoned” a project to promote young designers of color working in Italy.

Stella Jean interrupted a press conference by the Italian National Fashion Chamber to announce that neither she nor five members of the We Are Made in Italy collective of designers of color would participate in fashion week.

She also said she had started a hunger strike Wednesday out of concern members of WAMI, an initiative launched in 2020 on the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement, could suffer a professional backlash for her activism.

The moves signaled a dramatic denouement of a nearly three-year-collaboration with the chamber to promote designers of color.

“The chamber told us, ‘We didn’t know there were Italian designers who weren’t white.’ We brought them to the runway. They supported us for two years. Then we were abandoned,” Jean told the press conference.

Picture : WWD

Italian Fashion Chamber President Carlo Capasa assured her from the dais that the chamber had no intention of retaliating in any way. He expressed regret that neither she nor the WAMI members would participate in Fashion Week.

“Stella’s contribution has always been appreciated. We Italians need to have our conscience stimulated,” he said. “As for WAMI, we are not people who retaliate. For us it is important to promote new brands.”

He noted that two WAMI designers from previous seasons were presenting collections during Milan Fashion Week, which runs from Feb. 21-27.

In addition, the chamber has included on the fashion week calendar the inaugural edition of the Black Carpet Awards recognizing the achievements of minorities in Italian society, and was hosting another diversity initiative by the owner and editor of U.S.-based Blanc Magazine, Teneshia Carr.

Jean charged that the chamber had significantly cut back support for WAMI after she made an impassioned speech about the personal price she had paid for highlighting racial injustice in Italy during a runway show last September.

She also said it backtracked on a promise to create a Black board within the chamber to promote diversity and inclusion. Capasa told AP that he decided against the board after WAMI made social media posts that cast a negative light on some Italian fashion brands.

“We wrote a nice letter, saying we want to give them the liberty to express themselves,” Capasa said, adding that the chamber could not host any board that appeared to take public swipes at other members.

Italian-Haitian Jean, who made her Milan runway premiere in 2013 on the Armani runway, said she and her family have been subjected to retaliation for her activism for racial justice in Italy. She said that included death threats against her daughter by other minors, and the termination of professional relationships for her.

“When you speak of retaliations, of death threats, people, I work in fashion. I don’t traffic arms, I don’t traffic drugs or make money from trafficking women,” Jean said. “It is absurd, vile, shameful and inhuman that I must speak for people who feel their lives are in danger, who feel they will suffer the same retaliation.”

WAMI was launched by Jean, African-American designer Edward Buchanan and the head of Afro Fashion Week Milano, Michelle Ngonmo, to draw attention to the lack of minority representation in the Italian fashion world. It followed some racial gaffes by major fashion houses that made global headlines.

Ngonmo told the AP that financial support for the project from the chamber had dwindled over the three years it has run so far, and that Afro Fashion Week Milano wasn’t able to come up with 20,000 euros ($21,000) to support the five young designers in making solid looks to present, plus a video.

The Italian fashion chamber fully supported the collections for the two WAMI classes, each with five designers, but hasn’t funded the third generation, Ngonmo and Jean said.

A September show featuring Jean, Buchanan and WAMI was financed through other allies and their own contributions. The latest WAMI collections were to be presented by video on Feb. 22.

“Maybe the message is the whole industry needs to open their eyes and say, ‘What can we do to make that happen?’” Ngonmo told the AP.

Capasa emphasized that the project by Blanc Magazine’s Carr is receiving the same support he offered WAMI: a slot on the calendar and a physical space in the Fashion Hub where journalists and buyers can view the collections.

But Jean insists that Italy’s designers of color deserve special promotion by the chamber, whose role is the promotion of Italian fashion.

Jean said progress in recent seasons — including opening fashion week with WAMI designer Joy Meribe’s runway show, and Jean’s own return to the runway in September — had turned out to be “performative.”

“They used WAMI as a free pass of safe conduct for diversity,” Jean told the AP. She said she was withdrawing out of fatigue with the “continual fight” for recognition for designers of color in Italy. “I am a fighter by nature, but I cannot be this way all the time,” she said.

Award-Winning Life Of Pi Stars To Make Their Broadway Debuts Reprising The Roles Of “Pi” And “Richard Parker”

Lolita Chakrabarti’s dazzling stage adaption of Yann Martel’s best-selling novel LIFE OF PI will premiere at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street) with three Olivier Award-winning performers making their Broadway debuts. Recreating their critically acclaimed performances for Broadway will be “Best Actor” winner Hiran Abeysekera in the role of “Pi” and “Best Supporting Actor” winners Fred Davis and Scarlet Wilderink join the “Richard Parker” puppeteering team.

The Broadway production of the five-time Olivier Award-winning London production of LIFE OF PI will feature Brian Thomas Abraham as Cook/Voice of “Richard Parker,” Rajesh Bose as Father, Avery Glymph as Father Martin/Russian Sailor/Rear Admiral Jackson, Mahira Kakkar as Nurse/Amma/Orange Juice, Kirstin Louie as Lulu Chen, Salma Qarnain as Mrs. Biology Kumar/Zaida Khan, Sathya Sridharan as Mamaji/Pandit-Ji, Daisuke Tsuji as Mr. Okamoto/Captain, Sonya Venugopal as Rani, with Nikki Calonge, Fred Davis, Rowan Ian Seamus Magee, Jonathan David Martin, Betsy Rosen, Celia Mei Rubin, Scarlet Wilderink and Andrew Wilson as Royal Bengal tiger “Richard Parker.”  Mahnaz Damania, Jon Hoche, Usman Ali Mughal, Uma Paranjpe and David Shih round out the 24-member cast with Adi Dixit as the “Pi” alternate.

Picture : TheUNN

LIFE OF PI begins performances Thursday, March 9, 2023, and opens Thursday, March 30, 2023.  Prior to the Broadway engagement, LIFE OF PI made its North American Premiere at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.

LIFE OF PI is directed by Max Webster, with Set and Costume design by Olivier Award winner Tim Hatley, Puppetry and Movement Direction by Olivier Award winner Finn Caldwell, Puppet Design by Olivier Award winners Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, Video Design by Olivier Award winner Andrzej Goulding, Lighting Design by Olivier Award winner Tim Lutkin, Sound Design by Carolyn Downing, Original Music by Andrew T Mackay, Dramaturgy by Jack Bradley, Wig Design by David Brian Brown, and Casting by Stewart/Whitley.

Based on one of the best-loved works of fiction – winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide – LIFE OF PI is a breath-taking new theatrical adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope.

After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, a sixteen-year-old boy name Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Tickets for LIFE OF PI on Broadway are available at (212.239.6200) and at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre box office and range from $49 – $199 (including $2 facility fee).  The playing schedule for LIFE OF PI is as follows: Tuesday through Saturday at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 3pm.  Please note there will be no 2pm performance on Wednesday, March 15, and March 22.  Beginning Tuesday, April 4, 2023, the LIFE OF PI performance schedule is as follows: Tuesday and Thursday at 7pm, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30pm, and Saturday at 8pm, with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm, and Sunday at 3pm.

LIFE OF PI on Broadway is produced by Simon Friend, Daryl Roth, Hal Luftig, Mark Gordon Pictures, Playing Field, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Gavin Kalin, Hunter Arnold, Hall Smalberg Winkler,, Elizabeth Armstrong, Eilene Davidson, deRoy Shea Waxman, Federman Jenen Productions, Susan Gallin, Independent Presenters Network, John Gore Organization, Kuhn Dodani, Harriet Newman Leve, Anastasia Muravyeva, Mary Lu Roffe, Catherine Schreiber, American Repertory Theatre and Sheffield Theatres, with Aaron Lustbader and Hanna Osmolska serving as Executive Producers.

LIFE OF PI played Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End where it won five Olivier Awards including Best New Play, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design.  In an historic first for the Olivier Awards, the seven performers who play Royal Bengal tiger “Richard Parker” were collectively awarded “Best Actor in a Supporting Role.” The London production with its cutting-edge visual effects has garnered great critical acclaim and will launch a UK & Ireland tour in the summer of 2023.

Show info:; Social: @lifeofpibway on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

India Wins 3 Oscar Nominations

India received three nominations for Best Original Song (‘Naatu Naatu’ from ‘RRR’), Best Documentary Feature Film (‘All That Breathes’), and Best Documentary Short Film (‘The Elephant Whisperers’).

The Oscars are going to be held on March 13 this year and while the wait is going to be quite a long one from now, the nominations have sure lifted the spirits of not just the crew and cast of the films mentioned above, but also of everyone who hopes to see an Indian movie bagging the prestigious award.

Actor Jacqueline Fernandez penned down a heartfelt note last week as her film ‘Tell It Like A Woman’s song ‘Applause’ recently bagged an Oscar nomination in the ‘Best Original Song’ category.

The song is competing against ‘RRR’s ‘Naatu Naatu’, ‘Hold My Hand’ from the movie ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Lift me Up’ from ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ and ‘This Is Life,’ from ‘Everything, Everywhere All At Once’. The actor also congratulated the team ‘RRR’ for their Oscar nomination.

“Also big congratulations to Team RRR for Naatu Naatu nomination!!! My best wishes and love to the entire team and all the nominees,” the caption further reads.

Taking to Instagram, the ‘Kick’ actor shared a post which she captioned, “Beyond words right now Congratulations to @dianewarren @sofiacarson for the Oscar nomination for ‘Applause’ and making us all proud! It was an honor to be associated with this beautiful film ‘Tell it like a woman’ alongside such esteemed artists! Thank you @leenaclicks @chiaratilesi @lucasakoskin @andreaiervolinoproducer @wditogether @aseematographer @arrahman.”

The nominations for the upcoming 95th edition of Academy Awards were announced on last week by hosts Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams, with ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ leading the pack with as many as nine nominations.

The Colin Farrell-starrer film got nominated in the following categories — Best Supporting Actor (two nominations), Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Picture, Best Editing and Best Original Screenplay.

‘The Fabelmans’ received seven nominations followed by ‘Tar’ and ‘TopGun: Maverick’ (six each), ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ (five), ‘Avatar’ (four), and ‘The Whale’ (three).

Competing for the best picture are ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, ‘Elvis’, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, ‘The Fabelmans’, ‘Tar’, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, ‘Triangle of Sadness’ and ‘Women Talking’.

The 95th Academy Awards is set to be presented at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 12. Jimmy Kimmel will be seen back as the host, after previously leading the awards show in 2017 and 2018. Last year, the Oscars returned to a host format with Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, after going host-less the previous two years due to the Covid-19 pamdemic.

Here is the complete list of nominations:

* Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’)

Brian Tyree Henry (‘Causeway’)

Judd Hirsch (‘”The Fabelmans’)

Barry Keoghan (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’)

Ke Huy Quan (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’)

* Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett (‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’)

Hong Chau (‘The Whale’)

Kerry Condon (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’)

Jamie Lee Curtis (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’)

Stephanie Hsu (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’)

* Best Animated Feature Film

‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley

‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes On’, Dean Fleischer Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan and Paul Mezey

‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’, Joel Crawford and Mark Swift

‘The Sea Beast’, Chris Williams and Jed Schlanger

‘Turning Red’, Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins

* Best Animated Short Film

‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’, Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud

‘The Flying Sailor’, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

‘Ice Merchants’, Joao Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano

‘My Year of Dicks’, Sara Gunnarsdottir and Pamela Ribon

‘An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It’, Lachlan Pendragon

* Best Costume Design

‘Babylon’, Mary Zophres

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, Ruth Carter

‘Elvis’, Catherine Martin

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Shirley Kurata

‘Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris’, Jenny Beavan

* Best Live Action Short

‘An Irish Goodbye’, Tom Berkeley and Ross White

‘Ivalu’, Anders Walter and Rebecca Pruzan

‘Le Pupille’, Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuaron

‘Night Ride’, Eirik Tveiten and Gaute Lid Larssen

‘The Red Suitcase’, Cyrus Neshvad

* Best Makeup and Hairstyling

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerova

‘The Batman’, Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, Camille Friend and Joel Harlow

‘Elvis’, Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti

‘The Whale’, Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley

* Best Original Score

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Volker Bertelmann

‘Babylon’, Justin Hurwitz

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, Carter Burwell

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Son Lux

‘The Fabelmans’, John Williams

* Best Sound

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Viktor Prasil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel and Stefan Korte

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers and Michael Hedges

‘The Batman’, Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray and Andy Nelson

‘Elvis’, David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller

‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor

* Best Adapted Screenplay

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson & Ian Stokell

‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’, Written by Rian Johnson

‘Living’, Written by Kazuo Ishiguro

‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks

‘Women Talking’, Screenplay by Sarah Polley

* Best Original Screenplay

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, Written by Martin McDonagh

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

‘The Fabelmans’, Written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner

‘Tar’, Written by Todd Field

‘Triangle of Sadness’, Written by Ruben Ostlund

* Best Cinematography

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, James Friend

‘Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths’, Darius Khondji

‘Elvis’, Mandy Walker

‘Empire of Light’, Roger Deakins

‘Tar’, Florian Hoffmeister

* Best Documentary Feature Film

‘All That Breathes’, Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer

‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’, Laura Poitras, Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin and Yoni Golijov

‘Fire of Love’, Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman

‘A House Made of Splinters’, Simon Lereng Wilmont and Monica Hellstrom

‘Navalny’, Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller and Shane Boris

* Best Documentary Short Film

‘The Elephant Whisperers’, Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga

‘Haulout’, Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev

‘How Do You Measure a Year?’ Jay Rosenblatt

‘The Martha Mitchell Effect’, Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison

‘Stranger at the Gate’, Joshua Seftel and Conall Jones

* Best Editing

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen

‘Elvis’, Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Paul Rogers

‘Tar’, Monika Willi

‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Eddie Hamilton

* Best International Feature Film

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ (Germany)

‘Argentina, 1985’ (Argentina)

‘Close’ (Belgium)

‘EO’ (Poland)

‘The Quiet Girl’ (Ireland)

* Best Original Song

‘Applause’ from ‘Tell It Like a Woman’, Music and Lyric by Diane Warren

‘Hold My Hand’ from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop

‘Lift Me Up’ from ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler

‘Naatu Naatu’ from ‘RRR’, Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose

‘This Is a Life’ from ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne

* Best Production Design

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole

‘Babylon’, Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino

‘Elvis’, Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn

‘The Fabelmans’, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

* Best Visual Effects

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Frank Petzold, Viktor Muller, Markus Frank and Kamil Jafar

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett

‘The Batman’, Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’, Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White and Dan Sudick

‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson and Scott R. Fisher

* Best Lead Actor

Austin Butler (‘Elvis’)

Colin Farrell (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’)

Brendan Fraser (‘The Whale’)

Paul Mescal (‘Aftersun’)

Bill Nighy (‘Living’)

* Best Lead Actress

Cate Blanchett (‘Tar’)

Ana de Armas (‘Blonde’)

Andrea Riseborough (‘To Leslie’)

Michelle Williams (‘The Fabelmans’)

Michelle Yeoh (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’)

* Best Director

Martin McDonagh (‘The Banshees of Inisherin’)

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’)

Steven Spielberg (‘The Fabelmans’)

Todd Field (‘Tar’)

Ruben Ostlund (‘Triangle of Sadness’)

* Best Picture

‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, Malte Grunert, Producer

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin and Martin McDonagh, Producers

‘Elvis’, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, Producers

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert and Jonathan Wang, Producers

‘The Fabelmans’, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers

‘Tar’, Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, Producers

‘Top Gun: Maverick’, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers

‘Triangle of Sadness’, Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers

‘Women Talking’, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, Producers

Anoushka Shankar Will Perform At 65th Grammy Awards

Kicking off the proceedings for the 65th annual Grammy Awards, Awards Premiere Ceremony, Anoushka Shankar will be seen making her third performance at the event.

The ceremony will return to the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on 5 February.

The masterful sitar player, producer, film composer, activist and nine-time Grammy Award nominee will perform alongside vocalist Arooj Aftab on their nominated track ‘Udhero Na’ from Arooj’s new album, ‘Vulture Prince’.

Anoushka shared: “I’m genuinely over the moon to be performing at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony for the third time. This time I’m excited to share the stage with the wonderful Arooj Aftab, playing her beautiful song Udhero Na.”

“I’m grateful my music on this song and on my album Between Usa has been recognised with a nomination again and am proud to represent India and my instrument, the sitar, on this world stage.”

Anoushka enjoys an extensive Grammy history; she was the first Indian woman ever nominated and youngest-ever nominee in the World Music Category for her album Live At Carnegie Hall in 2002, and then went on to become the first Indian musician to perform at the ceremony in 2005, serve as presenter in 2016 and perform for the second time in 2021.

In addition to her fresh eighth and ninth nominations, Anoushka’s previous works Live At Carnegie Hall, Rise, Traveller, Traces Of You, Home, Land Of Goldand Love Letters have all been Grammy nominated.

This announcement coincides with Anoushka’s fresh inaugural empanellment as a Visiting Professor in Music at Oxford University.

Anoushka further added: “What a true honour to be invited as the Inaugural Visiting Professor in Music Business at Oxford University! I’m deeply grateful to embark upon this new journey.”

R’ Bonney Gabriel, Miss USA Is Crowned Miss Universe

R’Bonney Gabriel, a fashion designer, model and sewing instructor from Texas, a Filipino American, was crowned the 71st Miss Universe on Saturday, January 14th, 2023.  Gabriel, who last year became the first Filipino-American to win Miss USA, took the crown ahead of Amanda Dudamel from Venezuela and Andreína Martínez from the Dominican Republic.

The pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, with 84 women from around the world competing for the crown. Gabriel closed her eyes and clasped hands with runner-up Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel, at the moment of the dramatic reveal of the winner, then beamed after her name was announced.

In the Q&A at the last stage of the competition for the three finalists, Gabriel was asked how she would work to demonstrate Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organization” if she were to win.

“I would use it to be a transformational leader,” she responded, citing her work using recycled materials in her fashion design and teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. “It is so important to invest in others, invest in our community and use your unique talent to make a difference.”

When Gabriel entered the Top 5, she was asked, “Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete this year. What’s another change you’d like to see and why?” Gabriel responded that she hoped the contest organizers would increase the candidate age limit.

“For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old. And that is the oldest age to compete. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is ‘if not now, then when?’ Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday — but it’s now. The time is now,” she said.

Earlier in the pageant, Gabriel donned a red-orange cape inspired by a rising phoenix with the maxim “if not now, then when,” which she had dyed herself. The words take inspiration from her father’s advice to act on goals, dreams and desires.

In the final question and answer segment of the competition, the Top 3 contenders were asked how they would work to demonstrate Miss Universe as an empowering and progressive organization if they won the title.

Gabriel said she would use the platform to be a “transformational leader” and emphasized her passion as a force for good in the fashion industry by cutting down on pollution and using recycled materials in making clothing pieces.

“I teach sewing classes to women that have survived from human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say that because it is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference,” Gabriel said. “We all have something special and when we plant those seeds for other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”

This year’s pageant was organized for the first time by JKN Global Group PCL, a Thailand-based media distribution company, after tycoon and transgender rights advocate Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million in October.

Jakkaphong has been outspoken about her experiences as a transgender woman, and is also the first woman owner of the pageant.

She made an appearance onstage to award the ImpactWayv Challenge winner to Thailand’s Anna Sueangam-iam, honoring her commitments for social good.

Miss Thailand had in the preliminary rounds of the pageant made waves in a dress made of soda tabs — a tribute to her humble beginnings and her parents’ work as garbage collectors.

3iii, A Platform for Indian Talent across the Globe

International Indian Icon (3iii) (Three Eye) by Gee Vision Inc. (Gee), Chicago USA is taking over the world as a global talent platform by giving young children and adults the opportunity to showcase their talent without any restrictions of location, culture, color, gender or age at a national and international level. Since its inception in 2017, Dec 30th 2022 Gee Vision Inc. completed 3iii 2022 Season-6 with the huge success 3iii S-6 episode production (Semi-finals, Finale and Grand finale) in n Plainfield, IL Suburb of Chicago) from Dec 29th to Dec 30th 2022. 3iii has reached a platform of 25,562 participants and a world-wide talent from the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Middle East, Asia and India with registrations from 46 countries of 7 continents. 1st 3iii S-6 Semi-final i.e., 3iii India 2022 with 102 on-site semi-finalists and 18 on-line semi-finalists (joined through Zoom) from all over Asia was shot in Delhi, India on Dec 26th & 27th 2022.

Picture : Asian Media USA

2nd 3iii S-6 semi-final and finale with 82 on-site semi-finalists; 23 on-line semifinalists from all over the world and 12 finalists i.e., 3iii India 2022 winners from India (joined through Zoom) was shot in Community Event Center, 24035 W. Riverwalk Ct., Plainfield, IL 60544 with multiple cameras and beautiful stage and 3iii Band by Suneer Mehmood on Dec 29th 2022.

3iii S-6 was judged by Bollywood Music composer, lyricist and singer ARKO, Hollywood actor and music manager BOBBY LEIGH, Ms India 2013 and International celebrity anchor SIMRAN AHUJA which was supported by 3iii International Jury consisting of Bollywood playback singer POONAL BHATIA, Bollywood entertainer from Dubai ABBAS ALI MITZA for singing; Gauri Jog, Pooja Joshi, Bharathi Devarakonda for Dance; Juhi Jigiasi and Pooja Nanjia for Fashion.

3iii Anchor/MC team included Simran Ahuja, Ajai Kumar and RJ Anya Ahuja.  Grand-finale of 3iii 2022 Season-6 was successfully concluded as per plan by declaring following Winners of International Indian Icon (3iii – 2022), Season-6 of different categories and age group.


On-site in Chicago;

  • Payal Roy Gaguli (Senior)
  • Tulip Ghosh (Junior)

* On-line through Zoom

  • Sanika Pandey (Junior)


* On-site in Chicago

  • Gazal Sethi (Senior)
  • Nayan Nampally (Junior)


* On-site in Chicago

  • Nayan Nampally (Junior)
  • Riya (Senior)

I Got Talent:

* On-site in Chicago

  • Tabla Jugalbandi (Junior):
  • Akshay Talreja Ashwin Nair Viral Patel Tejas Patnaik

* On-line through Zoom

  • Surjeet Singh (Senior)
  • Nihal Banda (Junior)


3iii previous 5 seasons have been judged by numerous

  • Bollywood legendary music directors, singers and choreographers like legendary music director Jatin Pandit;
  • Bollywood composer, lyricist and singer Arko Mukherjee,
  • Bollywood Slumdog millionaires choreographer Longinus Fernandez;
  • Bollywood actress Meenakshi Seshadri;
  • Ms India 2013 Simian Ahuja

Show their talent in numerous categories such as Singing, Dancing, Instruments, acting, Fashion, Comedy and I Got Talent (Any Talent) across all 3 age groups Junior (16 Yr.), Senior (55 Years) and Super Senior (More than 55 Years).

The first two seasons of 3iii were aired on Zee TV USA while 3rd and 4th seasons were televised by Sahara One, Samay and Filmy TV channels. Discussion about airing / streaming Season-5 and 6 episodes on some global TV channels/OTT platform is in progress, soon TV channel / OTT platform will be announced.

Talents are recognized in all talent categories across all 3 age groups as State Indian Icon at state level across the country, who are invited to compete at country level to be recognized as Indian Country Icon at country level across the globe and winners of all countries of all categories across all 3 age groups are invited to Chicago, USA to join 3iii Episode Production (Semi-final, Finale & Grand-finale) on-line or onsite during last week of December.

3iii (Three Eye) founded by Mr Sharan Walia, the vision behind the platform for both on-line and on-site competition to not only show the beauty of Indian culture through song, dance, fashion and talent but also allow nonnatives to show their love for Indian culture by performing to Indian songs and dance.

Picture : Asian Media USA

Gee would also like to thank Mr. Naresh Shastri (3iii Execution Director) from Chicago for successfully executing 3iii globally since 3iii 2017 Season-1. Gee thanks 3iii India Partner Mr Ajit Bains and huge support of Mr. Sanjay Yadav in making 3iii India 2022 a huge success. Gee appreciates support of Dr Chidatmika Khatua, founder of Adi Tribal Foundation for collaborating with Gee Vision for Tribal Queen Global (TQG) to empower Tribal women and recognize Tribal talent globally.

Raaj Rahhi as 3iii Director has taken the responsibility of entire 3iii episode production globally to make 3iii episodes to air/stream it globally on multiple TV channels and/or OTT Platform. TV and OTT platforms may contact Gee / 3iii for collaboration opportunities.

Gee would like to thank 3iii Advisory Board, 3iii International Jury and appreciates the volunteer support of Archana Mitta for supporting 3iii 2022 S-6 with her team.

Gee is on the move to create an International on-line and on-site platform 3iii for anyone who likes any type of Indian art and culture, living in any part of the world, without any restrictions of geographical boundaries, culture, color, gender and age to give them opportunity to showcase their talent at National and International Level.

Gee welcomes any talent of any category of any age group, gender, region, religion, and color without any discrimination to participate in 3iii Global talent competition to showcase their talent to the world. Gee has a unique vision and mission of bringing a global talent community at one platform 3iii to share the knowledge, talent, experience and art with each other globally.

3iii 2023 Season-7 plan is being built and registration for the same will open on Apr1st 2023 on both 3iii websites and as well as on 3iii Apps (iOS & Android).

Disney To Receive Its First Indian Princess, A Musical Helmed By Gurinder Chadha

The “Disney Princess” franchise is set to go Desi with its newest addition. According to a report by entertainment outlet Deadline, the House of Mouse has commissioned an original musical film from ‘Bride and Prejudice’ director Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges.

Chadha will serve as the film’s producer and director. Written by both Chadha and Berges, the team will be joined by Lindy Goldstein, the producer of ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ the news report said.

Picture : TheUNN

No details have yet been shared on the film’s plot. However, the project would be headed by the President of the Walt Disney Motion Picture Production, Sean Bailey, Deadline said.

Chadha is the owner of the company ‘Bend It Films’, which has grossed in excess of $300 million at the worldwide box office.

She was nominated twice for the BAFTA Award, once for her debut film ‘Bhaji on the Beach’ and then for the film ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, as per Deadline.

Bend It Like Bekham was an international success, raking up $76 million worldwide and also ending up as the most successful British-financed and distributed feature film on the U.K. box office at the time.

‘Besharam Rang Is My First Song With Deepika So I Knew I Had To Do Something Really Special!’ : Vaibhavi Merchant

Producer Aditya Chopra and director Siddharth Anand unveiled the first song of Pathaan, Besharam Rang, on Monday which broke the internet! The song has been trending worldwide ever since it’s release and fans and audiences have gone berserk complimenting how SRK and Deepika Padukone are looking in the song and how hot the choreography is because the verdict is unanimous – Deepika has looked her hottest best in Besharam Rang!

Ace choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant, who is known to present the hottest versions of leading ladies on screen – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli, Katrina Kaif in Kamli from Dhoom: 3 to the scintillating Deepika Padukone in Besharam Rang, etc is over the moon with the response to the song.

She says, “In my body of work, I have probably consciously made an effort to ensure that the female leads are always presented very aesthetically. For instance, with Ash (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) in Kajra Re, I made it a point to kind of enhance the expressions in the way she did her adaakari. In Kamli with Katrina again, I kept in my what Katrina would look great doing.”

Picture : Indian Express

She adds, “One must always study the actor you’re choreographing for because it doesn’t matter if the movement looks great on me or my assistants, but it must look fantastic on the actor, it should bespoke to the actor. So even with Katrina, it was very clear that I want to give her something that I’ve never done before and never seen before because she had her own style. In Katrina, I saw a very, very excruciatingly hard working talent and she would exhaust me with all the rehearsal time but what she did in the song, was simply incredible.”

Vaibhavi further says, “Strangely, I’ve never been able to choreograph something for Deepika until Besharam Rang. So, this is my first song with Deepika and I knew I had to do something really special for this one. It was very endearing for me to see her approach me and say finally we get to work with each other and I said Deepika I truly want to make this very special for you because this is our first and I don’t want to shoot a better song than this for you in future.”

Vaibhavi says she went all out in making Deepika look the hottest heroine that India has ever seen on screen. She says, ”I wanted to go all out to present her in a way that she has never been presented before. I must give it to Shaleena Nathani for the costumes. Deepika has a great rapport with her and I was pleasantly surprised to see her being so comfortable in her own skin. She owns the song and she is looking gorgeous in every frame.”

Vaibhavi adds, “Deepika put in a lot of hard work to look the way she is looking in Besharam Rang. She had an entire crew – dietitian, her physical trainer and the stunning costumes by Shaleena. I was mighty impressed with the way she just approached all the costumes she’s like, yeah, she’s cool to wear this, she’s cool to wear that. So, I think that really triggered a certain style in which this song should be shot. Because I was like, I can’t make her wear those costumes and make her do steps in a way that we usually shoot songs.”

The song features a sizzling Deepika with Shah Rukh Khan, who plays a gun-totting spy with a license of kill in Pathaan. Both are looking their hottest and fittest best as Deepika flaunts her hot bod in bikinis and SRK – a perfectly chiselled eight pack! Besharam Rang was shot in Spain’s most gorgeous coastal towns Mallorca, Cadiz and Jerez.

SRK and Deepika are one of the biggest on-screen pairings in the history of Indian cinema given their epic blockbusters Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express and Happy New Year.

Pathaan is India’s biggest ever action spectacle for audiences. The visually spectacular Yash Raj Films’ action extravaganza, Pathaan, is part of Aditya Chopra’s ambitious spy universe and has the biggest superstars of the country Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham in it. The adrenaline pumping, visually extravagant film is set to release on Jan 25, 2023 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Indian Origin Simone Ashwini Pillai Among AP’s 9 Nine Breakthrough Entertainers Of 2022

Simone Ashwini Pillai, known professionally as Simone Ashley, a British actress is among this year’s nine Associated Press’ Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year, a class of talent that flowered in 2022.

“They worked hard, with the rewards coming slowly but surely. Then something came along — often a key role or sometimes a cluster, maybe an album — and it all became next-level, a shift triggering where-did-you-come-from vibes,” a press release issued by AP stated,  “That describes most of They are Sadie Sink, Stephanie Hsu, Tenoch Huerta, Joaquina Kalukango, Iman Vellani, Daryl McCormack, Tobe Nwigwe, Simone Ashley and Danielle Deadwyler.”

She was born to Indian Tamil parents, Latha and Gunasekharan, and has an older brother.Simone Ashley is best known for her roles in the Netflix series Sex Education and Bridgerton. Ashley made her feature film debut in 2018 with a small role in Boogie Man as Aarti and a prominent role in Kill Ben Lyk as one of the characters named Ben Lyk.

Ashley found herself leading season two of the Regency-era period drama “Bridgerton.” She had a role in the series “Sex Education,” but playing the fiercely independent Kate Sharma for Shonda Rhimes was her first lead character in a major production.

Ashley grew up singing classical music and opera and playing the piano. She also later attended Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead for the sixth form and continued to train in acting at the Arts Educational School in London.

Simone Ashley began her acting career in 2006 as Inspector Coliandro on the comedy crime TV show Inspector Coliandro, where she received her first on-screen credit. Carlo Lucarelli produced the episode, which featured Ashley in the role of Veena. Later that year, she starred as Dana in the third season of the BBC American TV series Broadchurch. In the same year, Simone had the chance to play Aarti in Andrew Morahan’s show ” Boogie Man.” Ella-Rae Smith as Kristen, Ramon Tikaram as Deepak, Amy Jackson, Nick Moran as Gerry, Karan Gill as Rama, among others are among the series’ core cast members.

Sink had been on Broadway and worked alongside stars such as Naomi Watts and Helen Mirren. But playing Max Mayfield in the fourth season of “Stranger Things,” she broke through as a brave skater girl who never lets go of her Walkman, who hates pink, plays video games and is a “Dragon’s Lair” champion.

Hsu also was a Broadway veteran with a few TV credits when she was asked to play both a sullen teen and an intergalactic supervillain in the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” That led to an unforgettable performance that included dressing as Elvis and walking a pig on a leash.

Like many of the others on the list, Kalukango had racked up plenty of Broadway credits when she took a risk and played the lead in a Broadway musical, “Paradise Square.” It led to a best actress in a leading role Tony Award and a stunning moment in the telecast when she sang “Let It Burn.”

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” isn’t one of Huerta’s biggest roles but the Mexican actor suddenly launched a hundred memes as the mutant leader of a kingdom based on Mayan and Aztec influences beneath the ocean for centuries. Huerta, known for roles in the Netflix series “Narcos: Mexico” and the movie “The Forever Purge,” has taken a big step for movie diversity.

Nwigwe, just nominated for a Grammy as best new artist, has been bubbling up with noted appearances on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series and earning a spot on Michelle Obama’s 2020 workout playlist with “I’m Dope.” This year, the Houston-based artist was featured on the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack and dropped the EP “moMINTs” to acclaim.

McCormack has worked consistently since 2018 but 2022 seems to have turned into something special with a constellation of roles — “Peaky Blinders,” the buzzy, dark comedy thriller “Bad Sisters,” plus a star-making performance as the title character in the film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” opposite Emma Thompson.

Deadwyler burst into the awards race this year with her performance in “Till” as Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of teenager Emmett Till, who was lynched in 1955. She has also appeared in “The Harder They Come,” “Watchmen” and the Netflix series “From Scratch” and “Station Eleven.”

Vellani, another member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on this list, is the exception, having had no such slow burn. The 19-year-old actor in “Ms. Marvel” plays a high school student enamored with all things superheroes only to find herself suddenly wielding powers of her own. And Vellani, in real life, is just starting to find her powers, like all the entertainers nominated here.