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As human beings we should help others in need: Rani Mukerji

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Rani Mukerji

Melbourne, Aug 18 (IANS) Bringing about social change is the onus of every citizen of the world and not just of a handful of those who are in powerful positions, says actress Rani Mukerji, whose films “Black” and “Hichki” have been instrumental in transforming people’s outlook towards those with special needs.

As a celebrity with over two decades of experience in the world of Indian showbiz, Rani has also immersed herself in philanthropic works. While she finds it gratifying, she feels this is not something for actors or businessmen to do alone.

“I think we all being citizens of the world, have a responsibility and it’s not just for the sake of doing certain things because I am an actor, socialite or a business person.

“I think what’s important is that apart from the careers we choose, it is our basic duty as human beings to able to help other human beings… Or help in a cause because that’s what makes us truly citizens of the world,” Rani told IANS in a tete-a-tete here.

Her film “Hichki”, in which she plays a woman with Tourette Sydrome has been widely lauded for spreading awareness on a little known nervous system disorder involving repetitive movements or unwanted sounds, with an entertaining and emotional story at its core.

At the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) here, Rani was awarded the Best Actress for her role in the film. She feels when a film like this wins an award, it helps in pushing the awareness it sets out to spread.

When “Hichki” had released, Rani had said she won’t take long gaps if the movie works. So when do we see her on-screen again?

“I will be doing projects, and you will be getting to hear about them soon,” she said.

Will she pick another issue-based movie?

“Let’s see… I don’t want to say much. So wait for the announcement,” the actress, looking resplendent in a black ensemble by her forever favourite designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee, said with a smile.

Her Melbourne trip was special. More so because her daughter Adira, who was born in December 2015, was travelling with her. She took the little one to the aquarium, zoo, a ‘bouncing garden’ and amusement park to entertain her.

“I got her all the way to Melbourne and it was my duty as a mother to entertain her as much as I could. I took her to an amusement park and it was the first time she sat in a roller coaster. And she is really brave. ‘Mumma, I want to go again’. So, she’s quite a daredevil like that,” Rani said.

Is that like you?

“Yes,” said the proud mother, who is married to filmmaker Aditya Chopra.

As a mother, patience is one virtue that Rani has realised about herself.

“When you are a working professional and when you’re working round the clock, I think you forget the word patience. Also, I think we as actors are used to the phenomenon because a lot of times we are waiting for shots in the vanity vans and waiting, waiting, waiting till the next shot comes.

“Being a mother I realised there’s no time to sit ideal. For me, it’s 24*7 work and attention. The only time when Adira will not need attention is when she is in deep sleep. The rest of the time I have to be all attentive for her.”

Rani is glad she was able to break the cliche around actresses who become mothers. It was her husband who pushed her to work.

But what about being directed by him?

“I think there are some things that we should just leave for later… Probably Adira will make that phenomenon happen… I guess, all in time.”

(Radhika Bhirani was in Melbourne on an invitation by IFFM organisers. She can be contacted at [email protected] )

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Judge me, but don’t judge my kids: Ajay Devgn

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Ajay Devgn Kajol with Nysa and Yug
Ajay Devgn and Kajol with their children Nysa and Yug

New Delhi, Feb 20: Much like the children of other Bollywood celebrities, actor Ajay Devgn and Kajols 15-year-old daughter Nysa and 8-year-old son Yug, get a lot of media attention and are often targeted by social media trolls.

In an interview to IANS, Devgn, a protective father, said social media users should not judge his children.

He said: “Judge me, but don’t judge my kids. Kajol and I are the actors, judge us…it’s because of us, our children are under the spotlight everytime.”

“Being judgmental about someone is not a good thing. If I start passing a judgement on someone, that person would obviously feel bad…so do my children,” he added.

The “Singham” star, who was in Delhi to promote his fortcoming film “Total Dhamaal”, said, “Honestly speaking, those people don’t really matter. But I feel bad sometimes when my kids go through such harsh trolling.”

The star couple’s first child Nysa recently got trolled and body-shamed for her airport look – and this was not the first time she was being targetted.

Asked about how Nysa deals with “such harsh comments”, Devgn said: “She used to get upset over trolling earlier, but now she doesn’t care about it anymore. She knows how to deal with it. She has accepted that there will be some people who will keep judging no matter what.”

On how to tackle trolls, he said, “Avoid it… If you will react, they will react more and this will continue. So better to stop fighting against trollers.”

Commenting on how people have reacted angrily to remarks by some actors on the Pulwama terror attack, Devgn said: “In such a crucial situation, it is better if we become conscious while choosing our words because people are angry and you never know how someone at the opposite end interprets your message or post.

“One can be misinterpretted anytime and then you can’t sit down and explain to people that what were your real intentions. It’s better if we all become little conscious and don’t react to things immediately. Think twice before writing anything on social media to avoid hurting someone’s sentiments.”

IANS

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Sting operation: Bollywood celebs, TV actors caught agreeing to promote political parties for money

Actors Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhary and Sonu Sood, and singers Kailash Kher, Abhijeet and Mika were some of those caught on camera accepting the deal for toeing the agenda of a political party or endorsing it for money.

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Sting operation: Bollywood celebs

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) More than 30 Indian film and TV industry actors/artistes agreed to spread the propaganda of political parties through their social media accounts for money, which they asked to be paid in cash, in other words in untaxed black money, it has been revealed in a sting operation.

Actors Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhary and Sonu Sood, and singers Kailash Kher, Abhijeet and Mika were some of those caught on camera accepting the deal for toeing the agenda of a political party or endorsing it for money.

The celebrities were caught on camera accepting the cash-for-tweet offer during a sting operation conducted by media portal Cobra Post over a period of 3-4 months last year.

Cobra Post on Tuesday released the sting operation in a video documentary titled ‘Operation Karaoke’, in which actors, dancers, singers and models were caught accepting the offer for promoting political parties through hidden cameras.

The reporters, acting as agents working on behalf of the Congress, the BJP or the Aam Aadmi Party, made an offer to pay 10-20 per cent of the decided sum in cheque or bank transfer, and the rest through cash, which the celebrities accepted.

Vidya Balan, Raza Murad, Arshad Warsi and TV actor Saumya Tandon were the only ones who refused the offer.

Celebrities were offered Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per message according to their brand value. Some celebrities even asked the reporters-cum-agents for up to Rs 20 crore citing the sway they hold on the Twitter sphere.

These celebs agreed to promote the party — any which was proposed to them — to create a favourable environment before the 2019 general elections.

They swore to keep the entire exercise a secret and the agenda hidden.

“This way, you (celebrities) are manufacturing an opinion through social media. If you reveal that you have taken money for the promotion that you are doing, it would be fine… If we go by the trend, these people may not shy away from propagating a communal agenda either,” said journalist and former Aam Aadmi Party member Ashutosh during the press conference.

He compared the celebrities who accepted the deal to “trolls” and called trolling a “paid syndicate mafia”.

Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of Caravan magazine, also addressed the reporters and termed the incident a telling foreboding of the “dangerous times” ahead.

“We are going to see the consequences of this in the coming elections,” he said.

The impact most of these celebrities can have through their handles in denting or boosting a party’s image can be gauged from the number of followers almost each of them has on Twitter.

Amisha Patel has 3.95 million, Vivek Oberoi above 2 million and Sonu Sood 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Jackie Shroff has 2.27 lakh, Kailash Kher has over 5 lakh and Tisca Chopra of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ fame has 3.20 lakh followers on Twitter.

Model and actress Sunny Leone, though one of those agreeing to promote the BJP on camera, issued a disclaimer on Twitter hours after the press conference, rubbishing the news of promoting a political party.

“Hi, this is to inform you that I am not campaigning for any political parties, unlike the news that’s circulated talking about me doing so… If I choose to promote anything in political life I would choose things I only believe in,” she tweeted. Leone alone has 3.95 million followers on Twitter.

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Nothing personal against Atif Aslam, but towards Pakistan government: Arko

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Atif Aslam
File Photo of Atif Aslam

Mumbai, Feb 19: Composer Arko, whose song “Baarishein”, featuring Atif Aslam, has been pulled down by T-Series in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack, says he has no personal hatred against any Pakistani singer, but he has a strong stand against the neighbouring country’s government for repeatedly failing to control terrorism.

“I have nothing personal against Atif or any Pakistani talent for that matter because they are artistes like us. I have a problem and I have everything against the Pakistan government and its approach toward handling terrorism that is taking the lives of our people and army personnel,” Arko told IANS in an interview.

The song “Baarishein”, featuring Atif and Nushrat Bharucha, released on February 13. The very next day a deadly terrorist attack took place in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, orchestrated by the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed. It left at least 40 CRPF troopers dead.

While several Bollywood celebrities have shown solidarity towards the families of the martyrs, social media is filled with people demanding strong action against such terrorist attacks.

“Baarishein” was pulled down from the YouTube channel of T-Series on Monday.

Arko feels showing solidarity will not offer any solution to the situation, but he said: “Not taking a strong stand considering the gravity of the situation, would be worse.

“I do not want any violence that cost human lives of common people, but no retaliation on such an inhuman attack is worse than continuing collaboration, a dialogue. There is no doubt that we all want peace, but not by staying silent when the bloodbath is happening.”

In the past, Arko has collaborated with many Pakistani singers like Ali Azmat and Shafqat Amanat Ali apart from Atif, and delivered songs like “Yeh jism hai toh kya”, “Allah waariyan”, “Tere sang yaara” and “O saathi”.

“I know any artiste or common individual is not responsible for what has happened, but the government is. That is why setting out a stand clearly is important. The solution, of course, would be a much complicated political conversation. I am certainly not the right person to comment on that matter, but the act of terrorism can never be supported,” said the composer,” Arko said.

What is the future of the song?

“Hopefully we will bring the song back with another singer because the copyright of the content is with me and T-Series. Since the video features Atif, we have to look into that matter too, which is a little complicated but we will resolve the issue,” replied Arko.

IANS

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