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Adil Hussain wants government to back ‘Village Rockstars’ in Oscar race

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Village Rockstar

New Delhi, Sep 24 : Noted Assamese actor Adil Hussain has urged the government to release Rs 5 crore for the promotion of Rima Das’ Assamese film “Village Rockstars” ahead of the Oscars, where it will represent India in the Best Foreign Language film category.

On Saturday, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced the independent film as the chosen one to vie with movies from several other countries to make the cut as a nominee in the highly competitive Academy Awards category.

FFI’s selection committee chairman S.V. Rajendra Singh Babu, a veteran film producer, said there is an acute lack of funds to carry out the required promotional processes effectively, which is why many Indian movies haven’t made it to the final round, barring three — “Mother India” (1957), “Salaam Bombay!” (1988) and “Lagaan” (2001).

Adil was “flummoxed” with the statement.

“The governments have so much money to promote themselves putting posters all across! After selecting ‘Village Rockstars’, jury says there’s acute lack of funds to promote film at Oscars,” tweeted the actor, whose Norwegian film “What Will People Say” is Norway’s official entry to the Oscars this year.

Adil drew the attention of the Assam government, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, his office and of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to the matter, hoping they “will immediately release Rs 5 crore for the promotion of ‘Village Rockstars’, since all other countries have already started their campaigns in the US”.

As Rajendra Singh Babu rightly pointed out, “It is impossible for independent and small producers to promote their film all by themselves. It is important that they receive funds to do so. It is important we follow these processes to reach all the Academy members and critics.”

Adil’s tweets got reaction.

Actor Annup Sonii expressed disappointment, and wrote: “For the smallest achievement they have big funds but for this… ‘Acute lack of funds’. Eventually it will come down to the filmmaker asking for favours or donations… Sad… Very sad.”

Actress Renuka Shahane questioned: “Why don’t we from the film fraternity join hands and create a fundraiser for our Oscar entry? Let’s not depend on the government. It is important that we support this gem of a film onwards to the Oscars.”

When a Twitter user pointed out that “filthy rich, big stars and producers” from the industry “can afford your Oscar thingy”, Renuka retorted: “What do you mean ‘Our Oscar thingy’?

“It should be a matter of pride for the entire country that a young girl with no background or training in filmmaking makes an incredible film like ‘Village Rockstars’ that compels the jury to select it for the Oscars. Let’s not be myopic.”

On Adil’s plea to the government, another user commented that the taxpayers’ money should not be used for Oscars.

“Is it some kind of national service? Why should we care about an American award? Why can’t film industry fund these expenses?” the user questioned.

To that, Adil wrote: “Government can use taxpayers’ money to promote India’s image as a supporter of high quality art. That’s what all civilised governments do! ‘Village Rockstars’ is an independent film. It’s not a mainstream run-of-the-mill film.

“Government’s responsibility is to support fine art of any discipline.”

Set in Das’ own village of Chhaygaon in Assam, “Village Rockstars” is the story of “poor but amazing children” who live a fun-filled life.

The film also won the Best Feature film Award at the 65th National Film Awards.

As for Das, she is hoping for the best as far as funds are concerned to put her film on the Oscars map.

“‘Village Rockstars’ is a film about dreams and hope. It has transcended so many barriers right from the time of its inception and I am hopeful this time too it will.”

IANS

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Priyanka Chopra reacts to Meghan Markle’s pregnancy

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Las Vegas, Oct 20: Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra is excited about her friend Meghan Markle‘s pregnancy, and hopes the Duchess of Sussex’s new phase is “amazing”.

prince harry meghan markle baby

“I would, as a friend, just say that I’m really excited for her,” Chopra told People magazine on Friday at the JBL Fest here.

“I think this is a new phase in every woman’s life, and I hope hers is as amazing as she wants it to be,” added the “Quantico” actress who had also attended Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding in May.

Priyanka, who attended the royal wedding back in May, has been a close friend of the Duchess for years now and has been supportive of her new role in the royal family since the pair first met at the 2016 Women in Television dinner.

Earlier this week, Priyanka tiptoed around the topic of Markle’s pregnancy, telling E! New”: “I just have a few of my friends who are having babies right now. So I’m like, ‘God, I need to catch up!'”

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MeToo: Lara Dutta refuses work offer from Mukesh Chhabra’s company

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Mumbai, Oct 20: Actress Lara Dutta Bhupathi has turned down a work offer routed through the casting company of Mukesh Chhabra, one of those accused of sexual harassment amid the #MeToo wave in India.

Lara’s tennis star husband Mahesh Bhupathi made the revelation in an open letter posted to Twitter on Friday, urging people to “stop engaging” with those who have been sexual offenders, and raised a concern on why those in positions of power in the film fraternity have chosen to remain silent.

Mahesh wrote: “Two days ago my wife, who’s shooting out of town, got an offer from a leading international digital platform through Mukesh Chabbra’s company. She forwarded it to me for my feedback. I asked if she really wanted to empower his company even after what’s been in the news.

“Her reaction was that the digital platform hadn’t really pulled back business from him either. Later, Lara got in touch with the digital platform and told them she wouldn’t accept work through this company specifically. I think she did the right thing. I’m not sure it’s enough, though.”

As women around the country continue to share their horrific stories, most people in a position of power — influencers, as they’re popularly called, have chosen to stay silent on the matter, pointed out the father of a six-year-old daughter.

He added: “While these Me Too revelations are upsetting my wife as much as they are me, maybe even more since she has seen a lot of this at close quarters and some of her friends are involved at both ends, the fact remains that the cream of the industry has refused to support the movement. Sajid Khan is not directing Housefull 4 anymore, but is that enough?

“A peek at Suhel Seth’s lnstagram account will reveal photos of him with every famous and powerful person in the country, yet not one has felt the need to say anything about his behaviour. People in the know tell me the reason for this is, ‘Everyone has skeletons in their closet’ I don’t buy that.

“Women who have been in toxic work spaces,and yet are staying quiet need to understand how hard it is for these stories to be shared. Similarly, the men must understand that even if you played your part by being a silent spectator to injustice, now is your chance to set things right.”

Mahesh said he has himself heard stories — directly and indirectly — but he chose to ignore them since “business is business”. But not anymore.

“Personally or professionally, I have known and engaged with Suhel Seth, Vikas Bahl, Anirban Blah, Chetan Bhagat, Sajid Khan and Anu Malik. That ends today on all accounts.”

He also urged those who are in a position of influence through their massive social platforms, to stop engaging and start alienating “serial predators”.

“Show them that while the law and investigative agencies willtake their course, society should – and will – reject them. The stance needs to be crystal clear — guilty unless proven innocent.”

IANS

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Sushant Singh Rajput denies harassment claims, shares chat screenshots

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SUSHANT SINGH Sanjana Sanghi

Mumbai, Oct 19: Sushant Singh Rajput has been accused of sexual misconduct by his “Kizie Aur Manny” co-star Sanjana Sanghi. In his defence, the actor shared screenshots of their SMS conversation and called it a “smear campaign”.

Sushant on Friday tweeted snapshots of his conversation with Sanjana from the first day to the last day of the film’s shoot, and captioned it: “I feel sad to reveal personal information but it seems that there is no other way to state what was, in the midst of this curated and well-timed smear campaign.

“From the first till the last day of the shoot, this is what happened on the set with Sanjana.”

Sanjana has accused the 32-year-old actor of behaving inappropriately on the sets of the movie, saying he made her feel “uncomfortable” with his “overly friendly behaviour” during the shoot in Jodhpur.

On Thursday, Twitteratis pointed at Sushant’s missing blue verification tick on the micro-blogging platform following the claims.

However, Sushant on Friday clarified: “For all those deliberately using the missing of Twitter ‘blue tick’ to substantiate their false claims, allow me to tell you that it is not there since September 5. Get your facts checked before jumping to conclusions that you so eagerly want to.

The film’s director and popular casting director Mukesh Chhabra has spoken out in support of Sushant.

“I totally stand by Sushant. No such incident happened on the sets and let’s not have a Twitter trial and make an innocent person suffer for somebody else’s ulterior motives. I had clarified this on twitter long back and I still maintain it,” Chhabra, who too has been accused by a women of sexual harassment, tweeted.

The #MeToo movement in India started after actress and former beauty queen Tanushree Dutta in September recalled an unsavoury episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar from the sets of “Horn OK Pleassss” in 2008.

IANS

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