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Academy invites Big B, Aamir, Priyanka in bid for diversity

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Big B, Aamir, Priyanka

Los Angeles, June 29: Bollywood popular actor like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, are among a record 774 people from 57 countries invited to be a part of the Oscar Academy’s ‘Class of 2017’.

According to theguardian.com, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Wednesday that it had invited a record 744 new members to its governing body, surpassing the 683 invitations issued in 2016.

The Academy has been under pressure to diversify its membership for several years, the critcism reaching a crescendo in 2015, when all 20 acting nominees were white, starting the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. The Academy is doing damage control since then.

This year’s class, 39 per cent of which comprises women, reflects a 359 per cent jump, from 2015 to 2017, in the number of women invited to join the Academy.

People of colour make up 30 per cent of the 744 added members, a group that includes Barry Jenkins, whose film “Moonlight” won Best Picture this year, Janelle Monáe, who appeared in “Moonlight” and the Oscar-nominated “Hidden Figures”, and Jordan Peele, whose film “Get Out” got engulfed in a controversy over British actors in African-American roles, reports theguardian.com.

From India, there are directors like Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Goutam Ghose, actors Irrfan Khan and Salman Khan, Indian costume designer Arjun Bhasin, directors and writers like Anand Patwardhan, Sooni Taraporevala and noted sound designer Amrit Pritam Dutta.

Even India-born Mohit Kallianpur and Mahesh Ramasubramanian, who have worked in animation and visual effects of Hollywood films like “Frozen” and “Shrek” respectively, are part of the exhaustive list.

“It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, was quoted as saying on the official Oscar website.

According to theguardian.com, Isaacs will be stepping down as President of the Academy next month.

Under her leadership, the Academy pledged to open up its membership, which in 2016 was 92 per cent white and 75 per cent male, to more women and people of colour.

Among other international high-profile actors newly invited to the Academy are “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot, “Moonlight” Oscar nominee Naomie Harris, Donald Glover, Chris Hemsworth, Riz Ahmed, Adam Driver, Dwayne Johnson, Leslie Jones, Betty White, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Margot Robbie, Channing Tatum, Kristen Stewart, Shailene Woodley, Ruth Negga, and Rupert Grint.

The new members invited are part of seven branches — actors, casting directors, costume designers, designers, documentary, executives and film editors.

IANS

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Neil Nitin Mukesh, wife to welcome first child

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Neil Nitin Mukesh, Rukmini Sahay (Photo Source: Instagram)

Mumbai, April 24: Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh and his wife Rukmini Sahay are all set to welcome their first child. They are both excited about the new phase in their life.

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PC- The Wedding Story

Neil took to Instagram to announce that they were going to become parents soon.

“Now we will be three,” Neil captioned a colourful photograph in which a stork is seen carrying a baby.

Now we will be THREE 👶🏼

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Neil’s father Nitin Mukesh too shared the same photographs with the caption, “… AND NOW THEY WILL BE “THREE” …

… AND NOW THEY WILL BE “THREE” …

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“The arrival of our first born hasn’t seeped in yet but I’m definitely very excited for the next phase in my life. I am lucky to have great support system at home who are constantly guiding Rukmini on the dos and don’ts. We are okay with a baby girl or a baby boy as long as the baby is healthy,” Neil said in a statement.

Rukmini is confident Neil will be a doting father.

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“He loves children. The family has been taking great care of me. We have been doing a lot of baby shopping over the past few months apart from doing a lot of activities like meditation, yoga and music,” she added.

Neil married Mumbai-based Rukmini in February 2017.

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The couple got engaged on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra.

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Neil had left the decision of finding his soulmate to his parents. It was an arranged match and they had a courtship of one month.

The actor, who is the grandson of legendary singer Mukesh and son of veteran singer Nitin Mukesh, is known for films like “Johnny Gaddaar”, “New York”, “David” and “7 Khoon Maaf”.

Describing it as the happiest moment, Nitin said: “This is the fourth generation of the Mukesh legacy. This means the world to us and we are very elated. The one thing Nishi and I were looking forward to after Neil got married was a grandchild. In fact, Nishi has started redesigning the family cot that has been passed on from generation to generation for the new arrival.”

The couple will be having a ‘godh bharai’ function here for family and friends once Neil wraps up his 45-day schedule opposite “Saaho” in Abu Dhabi. In Saaho, he will be seen playing the role of an antagonist, which also stars Shraddha Kapoor and Prabhas.

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Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik set to become parents

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New Delhi, April 24: Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik are set to become parents, the couple announced on Monday.

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“We are soon to become parents. Having thought about it for a while, we both felt right now is the correct time to start a family,” the 31-year-old Sania announced on her Twitter and Instagram accounts with a picture.

Sania wrote “#BabyMirzaMalik ” on her account while husband Shoaib wrote “#MirzaMalik”. After their posts went viral, friends and fans alike began congratulating the couple.

#BabyMirzaMalik 👶🏽❤️ @daaemi

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#MirzaMalik ❤️ 👶🏼

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“When we found out, we were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to give out this news to our fans and well-wishers. We are very excited to enter this new phase of our lives and look forward to our journey as parents,” she added.

Earlier last month, Sania and Shoaib said they wanted a daughter but whenever they decide to start a family, Sania would want her child’s surname to be ‘Mirza Malik’. The posts they shared on Monday add credence to this fact as both of them wrote ‘MirzaMalik’ on their accounts.

Sania won six Grand Slam in her 15-years of the professional career. The pair got married on April 12, 2010.

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More rape cases being reported is a good thing: Naseeruddin Shah

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Naseeruddin Shah

Mumbai, April 24: Iconic actor Naseeruddin Shah who feels disturbed about the recent barbaric rape and murder cases of young girls, says that more rape cases are reported to police and media these days, as compared to earlier, which is “a positive sign”.

Asked at the trailer launch of his upcoming film “Hope Aur Hum” on Monday for his opinion about the rape and murder of an eight-year-old child in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua, he said: “Well, rape is not a new phenomenon, such horrors have always happened; but the positive thing is, these days such cases are reported more.

“In fact, there is a very wonderful thing that read yesterday in a newspaper where a rape survivor was saying that why should the victim has to hide her face? It, in fact, the accused, who committed the crime should be ashamed, they should hide their faces. It’s a threatful situation… I guessait’s a good thing that media is so alert about all these things nowadays.”

“It surely makes our morning horrifying, as the moment you open the newspaper, such news appears. But it is good that such incidents are talked about.”

Naseeruddin admitted that he doesn’t know if this is the solution.

“We are talking about a generational change of mindset, that cannot happen overnight. What we can do, is to trend set the example in our personal lives. We cannot keep on policing or not every girl possibly keeps a pistol or learns martial arts. It has to begin with us, with each one of us,” said the veteran actor.

The trailer launch was attended by the cast and crew of the film including actress Sonali Kulkarni, Naveen Kasturia, along with child actors of the film and director Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

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“Hope Aur Hum” is releasing on May 11.

IANS

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