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Age no bar: Showbiz brings senior actors back into spotlight – 2018 in Retrospect

The web space further opened up doors for older actors as Farida Jalal, Ashish Vidyarthi and Raza Murad.

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Neena Gupta

New Delhi, Dec 24 : Age and medium is no bar for talent — and in 2018, Indian showbiz paved the way for senior actors to return to the limelight. Neena Gupta, 59, turned out to be the perfect example.

Neena, who became a household name after portraying an iconic role in the 1990s TV show “Saans”, was away from the screen for a long time. Last year, she took to social media to ask for work.

“I live in Mumbai and am working. I’m a good actor looking for good parts to play,” she wrote on Instagram, raising a pertinent question about the lack of screen space for older actors.

But who would have known that the actress, who was asking for work till last year, would shine bright with films like “Mulk” and “Badhaai Ho”. And that’s how the fortunes turned.

While Neena played a mother of two grown-up sons who accidentally gets pregnant, Surekha Sikri essayed a nagging but affable grandmother and Gajraj Rao was seen in the role of a caring husband and father.

In an interview to IANS, Neena urged people from society and industry not to give heed to an actress’ age. She hopes for more roles for women of age on-screen.

“There are not many roles. I always say that, ‘After a certain age, what is a woman’s role? Taking care of the family and home. After that there is no role’. When the society will change, I think we would have more roles on-screen,” she said.

As for Surekha and Gajraj, they won the audience’s heart with their funny and quirky performances in the film, which showed that for viewers what matters the most is good acting irrespective of an actor’s age.

Surekha made her debut in 1978 with political drama “Kissa Kursi Ka”, and made a name for herself by working in films, theatre and television. After featuring in the “Balika Vadhu” TV show, she gained huge popularity as the stern Dadisa. Now, once again she has wooed her fans with her character of the nagging grandma in “Badhaai Ho”.

At 73, she does not want to settle down. She says she has no plan to slow down or retire.

“Retirement? Hello, I don’t even know that word. What does it mean? That’s a very old-fashioned English concept… That you do something and then you retire – and mostly it applies to government servants. Fortunately, I am a freelancer and I don’t have any wish or desire to retire. I can just go on and on,” Surekha contended.

Gajraj, who managed to make the audience fall in love with him, has earlier featured in movies like “Bandit Queen”, “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” and “Talvar”. But it was “Badhaai Ho” which brought him more visibility than ever. He is glad character actors are finally getting their due.

“I think such change is coming in cinema because of the lead actors like Ayushmann, Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Rajkummar Rao… They are secure enough to be part of films where they allow writers and directors to give space to the character actors.

“There is no insecurity on things like the lead actor should have the best dialogues and all the footage in the film. Therefore, though these actors are crowd-pullers in the theatre, actors like us also finding our space,” he said.

The web space further opened up doors for older actors as Farida Jalal, Ashish Vidyarthi and Raza Murad.

The year 2018 also saw another film titled “102 Not Out”, which proved that “old is gold”. It starred legendary actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor in pivotal roles.

In the film Big B plays a 102-year-old man, father to a 75-year-old character played by Rishi. The film revolves around the father’s aim of breaking the record for being the world’s oldest person, a title held by a Chinese man. The duo’s performance won praise from the audience.

Not only in “102 Not out”, both Rishi and Amitabh garnered love from their fans for their performances in movies like “Mulk” and “Thugs of Hindostan” respectively.

“Thugs…” turned out to be a box office dud, but the stunts pulled off by Amitabh at the age of 76, projected how many senior actors can tell the youngsters, “Bbuddah… hoga terra baap”.

(Simran Sethi can be contacted at [email protected])

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Madhya Pradesh farmers hopeful of being ‘debt-free’ as loan waiver scheme kicks-off

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Earth Climate

Bhopal, Jan 22 : A week after the launch of the loan waiver scheme in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress government claims 19.54 lakh farmers have filed their applications in the six days till Sunday.

While the opposition BJP has been calling the “Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana” a trick to cheat the farmers, the question is how the farmers of the state perceive the entire exercise.

Kailash Chaudhary, a farmer from Mandsaur district’s Babulda village, said: “About two years ago, six farmers sacrificed their lives for their rights in Pipliya Mandi. This is the beginning of the victory of their fight.”

“Forms are being filled for waiver of loans up to Rs 2 lakh. We feel that the government is taking our demands seriously,” Chaudhary told IANS.

Mandsaur was the centre of farmers’ agitation in 2017 when six farmers were killed in police firing in June, 2017. After the incident, the farmers’ movement had taken over the whole state, which then spread to the whole nation.

Farmer’s leader Kedar Sirohi said: “Farmers in different parts of the state are excited about the loan waiver. They are filing applications in large numbers.”

“To ensure they don’t face any difficulty in filing applications, leaders and workers of farmer organisations are helping them. Government officials is also alert to help out the farmers. Colour coding of application forms has made it easier for farmers to fill out the applications,” he said.

According to official figures, out of the 19.54 lakh forms filed till Sunday, around 60 per cent were green forms, 35 per cent were white forms and 5 percent were pink forms. The farmers are hopeful of becoming debt-free through this exercise.

As per the scheme, the farmers of the Aadhaar seeded list will have to submit green applications and the farmers of non-Aadhar seeded list will have to submit white coloured applications. Farmers have to submit a pink application to file an objection or claim against information provided in the green or white list.

However, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been accusing the Congress of misleading the farmers and terming the scheme a trick to cheat them.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan said the Congress promise of a loan waiver won’t be fulfilled by a mere announcement.

“The Chief Minister (Kamal Nath) and Congress leaders are saying they have fulfilled their promise of loan waiver to the farmers. But the promise has not yet been fulfilled. An announcement does not mean fulfillment of the promise,” he said, adding the Congress was misleading the farmers.

Congress spokesperson Syed Jaffer responded that 55 lakh farmers will get their loans waived of under the scheme, for which the due process needs to be followed.

“No matter what charges the BJP makes, the truth is that farmers are happy and they trust that the Congress is fulfilling the promise that they made to them,” he said.

“Those farmers who are in debt, neither are they now receiving notices from the banks nor is their property being seized. Under BJP rule, farmers had to go to jail and lose their property just for not paying their power bills,” Jaffer told IANS.

Calling the scheme pro-farmer, farmer leader Shiv Kumar Sharma told IANS that political parties were creating doubts about the scheme.

“Farmers were reeling under debt which had increased manifold over the last one-and-a-half decade. Now they are getting waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh. The government is new and one should wait before making adverse comments,” he said.

Kamal Nath had signed the farm loan waiver file soon after taking oath as the Chief Minister. The filing of forms for the waiver started from January 15 and will continue till February 5.

According to the government, farmers will start getting the money in their loan accounts from February 22.

The Chief Minister had said that the scheme would benefit around 55 lakh farmers by waiving their loans worth Rs 50,000 crore.

(Sundeep Pouranik can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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BenQ launches 4K home cinema projectors in India

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w2700 cinematic color with true 4k kv

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Taiwanese electronics company BenQ on Tuesday launched two new 4K home cinema projectors — “W2700” and “W5700” — with CinematicColor technology, projector-optimised HDR-PRO support and individual factory colour calibration in India.

The new projectors, “W2700” and “W5700”, priced at Rs 2.49 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh respectively, are the world’s first 4K home cinema projectors, the company said.

“With this new range of 4K projectors, we are extremely optimistic that these will turn any room into a world-class home theatre with video enhancing technologies,” said Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India.

Fuelled by DCI-P3 colour space, “W2700” delivers the highest level of image accuracy while the “W5700” projector provides a 1.6X big zoom along with 2D H/V lens shift that is ideal for audio visual (AV) rooms.

The HDR-PRO supported projectors also incorporate auto colour and tone mapping techniques to offer improved brightness and contrast range along with ideal image optimization for vivid video quality.

Designed with a compact profile, the light weight projectors facilitate tailored AV personalization with versatile short throw, big zoom and lens shift for a wide range of home cinema possibilities, the company said.

The projectors would begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.

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