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Being carefree is most beautiful about childhood, says Dia Mirza

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Mumbai, Dec 6: Bollywood actress- producer Dia Mirza hopes children are able to retain the “carefree” aspect of their childhood intact.

Dia is happy to see events like the forthcoming Mumbai Juniorthon and an initiative called Scrappy News Station which helps children spread awareness about issues affecting lives everywhere.

“The most beautiful thing about childhood is that you are carefree. They are free of fear and free of troubles. Unfortunately, kids today are fighting to be carefree and nothing breaks my heart more,” the actress-producer said in a statement.

Impressed by the Scrappy News Team, she added: “As an environmentalist and conservationist, I am really proud that the Scrappy News is educating grown-ups about social issues. Their station is made from waste itself… They are basically focusing on the health of their childhood and the true idea of progress by addressing the things that matter the most to children.”

The Scrappy news is mainly focusing on raising their voice for first and foremost open spaces for children to play and second, making open spaces conducive to the girl child to play and an unpolluted environment to support free playing.

While talking about children’s health priorities, Dia said she is happy to hear about the Juniorthon initiative but would be happier if it took place in a cleaner environment.

“I would want Junirothon to happen on the day when the air quality is good and I think that is a very important thing that we don’t focus on enough.”

The Juniorthon is a children’s marathon for junior athletes in Mumbai. It is an annual event to motivate them to participate in physical activities leading to a healthier lifestyle.

The event will be held at Bandra Kurla complex on December 10. It was initiated by Bhavna Mehta and Amit Mehta in 2015, and is organised by by Party Sharty Entertainment Pvt Ltd.

IANS

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Furious with division being created on the basis of religion, says Naseeruddin Shah

Shah said even though his mother was uneducated and was brought up in an orthodox household, she was completely against the idea of changing one’s religion.

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Naseeruddin Shah

Mumbai, Jan 17 : Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has expressed concerns over the divide being created in the country between Hindus and Muslims in the name of love jihad.

The 70-year-old actor made the comments in a video interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, shared on its YouTube channel on Sunday.

“I am really furious with the way divisions are being created, like the love jihad tamasha in UP. Firstly, the people who coined this phrase don’t know the meaning of the word jihad.

“I don’t think that anyone would be so stupid to actually believe that Muslims will overtake the Hindu population, it is unimaginable. For that, Muslims will have to have so many babies. So, this whole notion is unreal, Shah said in the interview.

Last year in November, Uttar Pradesh became the first state in India to pass an ordinance against forcible or “dishonest” religious conversions.

In the last few months, states like Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have also revealed plans to enact laws to counter alleged attempts to convert Hindu women to Islam in the guise of marriage, which political leaders often refer to as love jihad .

The “Bandish Bandits” actor believes the term “love jihad” stems from the idea of stigmatising inter-faith marriages and stop social interactions between Hindus and Muslims.

They not only want to discourage inter-faith marriages but also curtail social interactions between Hindus and Muslims, he added.

Shah, who is married to theatre-film actor Ratna Pathak Shah, said he always believed that his marriage to a Hindu woman would set a “healthy precedent”.

We have taught our children about every religion. But we have never told them that they belong to any particular religion. I always believed that these differences would slowly fade away. I believed that my marriage to a Hindu woman would set a healthy precedent. I don’t think this is wrong, he said.

The actor said when he was about to tie the knot with the Ratna Pathak Shah, his mother had asked if he would want his would-be wife to convert to his religion and his answer was no.

Shah said even though his mother was uneducated and was brought up in an orthodox household, she was completely against the idea of changing one’s religion.

“My mother who was uneducated, brought up in an orthodox household, prayed five times a day, observed Roza all her life, went for the Haj pilgrimage, she said, ‘The things that have been taught to you in your childhood how can that change? It is not right to change one’s religion’,” he said.

The critically-acclaimed performer said he feels saddened to see the harassment young couples are facing these days in the name of “love jihad”.

“This is not the world I had dreamt of, he added.

In a 2018 interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Shah had said that at many places the death of a cow is being given more importance than the killing of a policeman.

The veteran actor had also expressed anxiety over the well-being of his children, who he said have not been brought up as followers of any particular religion.

Soon after the interview was released online, the actor’s remark evoked outrage among some social media users.

In the new interview, Shah said he failed to understand the reason behind such an adverse reaction to his statement.

All I had said was that the death of a cow had taken precedence over the death of a person and it makes me very angry. This was misinterpreted that I was expressing fear, when in fact I never used the word fear.

“I have repeatedly said that I am not afraid. I am angry. Why should I be afraid? I am in my own country; I am at my own home. Five generations of my family are buried in this land. My ancestors have been living here for the last three hundred years. If this doesn’t make me a Hindustani, then what does? he asked.

The actor said it has become difficult for a person to share their views publicly due to fear of instant backlash.

“The difficult part is there is no possibility of (freely) exchanging ideas anymore. If you say anything, even in support of the nation, you are accused instantly, Shah added.

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Legendary musician Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away

Legendary Indian classical musician, Padma Shri awardee Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away in Delhi. His mortal remains will leave at 7 pm today on Sunday, January 17th 2021 and his last rites would be performed at Santacruz West Kabrastan at 7:30-8:00 pm.

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Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan

Legendary Indian classical musician, Padma Shri awardee Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan passes away in Delhi. His mortal remains will leave at 7 pm today on Sunday, January 17th 2021 and his last rites would be performed at Santacruz West Kabrastan at 7:30-8:00 pm.

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An actor has to be an activist: Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub

All major political parties have their student wings in DU colleges and take part in the elections for a reason, he said. They all want to find strong young leaders.

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Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Being aware is his biggest asset, says actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub who views his role as an idealistic student leader in “Tandav” as perhaps the closest a character has come to resemble the person he really is an artiste-activist looking to change society not just his life.

The role of Shiva in Ali Abbas Zafar’s political show has many parallels with his life as a student in Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, said the actor, believing it is important for artistes to engage with their surroundings. Zafar was also his senior in college.

“It’s quite close to what I am,” Ayyub told PTI when asked whether the role was tailor-made for him.

Be it through his plays, his recital of late research scholar Rohith Vemula’s letter or his participation in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, the farmers’ protests or any other issue of the day, the 37-year-old speaks out. Making his presence felt on social media and other platforms at a time when so many are scared of airing their views.

“Being aware is my biggest asset,” Ayyub said.

“I get affected and strongly believe if I stop getting affected by things around me, I won’t be an actor. If I can’t be sensitive towards my surroundings in real life, how can I justify my character and be aware of my surroundings as an actor and character?” said Ayyub, who has a dedicated fan following with his impressive turn in films such as “Raanjhanaa”,”Shahid”, “Tanu Weds Manu Returns”, “Raees” and “Article 15”.

Being vocal on issues has affected him professionally, but that doesn’t really matter, he said, dismissing the notion that artistes should stay away from politics.

“Actors don’t come from another planet, they come from our society… It’s a wrong perception that artistes should not talk about politics. According to me, an actor has to be an activist. If you are not doing that, then what are you doing?

“Of course, it affects your career in a certain sense. But as I say, I don’t care. If I get seven scripts instead of 15, I am absolutely fine. The seven that I’m getting are automatically filtered, it makes my work easy.”

Ayyub was closely involved in his college’s dramatic society as was Zafar, his senior by a year. Zafar’s brief was simple — Shiva should have the anger and the passion that they used to have for politics, theatre, everything.

A dialogue from the series that has gone viral quotes freedom fighter Bhagat Singh — when Shiva says the revolutionary taught youth to study but also to fight when the time came.

“Bhagat Singh is someone that everyone now wants to claim as their own. I don’t think they have read him properly, especially the right wing people,” Ayyub said.

The dialogue, he added, was put in very deliberately as the show tries to break the notion that students should concern themselves only with studies and not take part in politics.

“Politics affects everything in your life, especially when you are in university. The kind of education and the kind of future you will be getting, everything is decided by the policy makers. If I’m a student and I’m going to be the future of this country, I should be aware of what’s happening around me.”

Before entering DU, Ayyub said he was just a Delhi boy from Okhla with “typical engineering ambitions”. Joining the college and its drama society helped him understand the world around him better.

“I started understanding that I also need to start participating in politics to know what is happening around it. I felt that I needed to go out and claim it back if something was being taken from me. The three years were like a transition period, making my beliefs stronger, in myself, in my society, my ideological beliefs.”

All major political parties have their student wings in DU colleges and take part in the elections for a reason, he said. They all want to find strong young leaders.

There may be similarities between Shiva and student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Omar Khalid, but the role is not inspired by them, Ayyub said. Instead, Shiva is an amalgamation of all influential youth icons.

“There is no direct connection but obviously people will try and find parallels with Kanhaiya or Omar. If the show would have happened in the ’90s, then we would have talked about Chandrashekhar (Prasad, former president of the JNU’s Students Union who was shot dead in Siwan while addressing a street rally).”

Ayyub said he does not like the term ‘hero’ and did not become an actor to only play positive characters. However, he is happy he is now getting roles where he is the central part of the story.

“It’s more about the dignity of the character for me. Finally, I’m getting the work that I want to do. I want to play author-backed characters”.

As an actor, Ayyub said he wants to have a positive influence on people and inspire them with the right kind of characters.

“I want to be that kind of person who wants to bring a change to society rather than just my life. If you belong to a certain class or community, you often hear the line that ‘I have to get out of this place somehow in search of a better life or society’. I hate this philosophy.

“I believe I’m what I’m because of the people around me. If I have to grow, I will grow with everyone. Otherwise, I’m fine where I am. I want to move ahead with everyone, not alone.”

“Tandav”, starring Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Gauhar Khan and Kritika Kamra, started streaming on Amazon Prime Video from Friday.

While Zafar has created, directed and produced the political drama with Himanshu Kishan Mehra, it is written by Gaurav Solanki, best known for “Article 15”.

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