Connect with us

Analysis

Celebrities who bid us goodbye in 2018 – 2018 in Retrospect

Published

on

Notable deaths of 2018

New Delhi, Dec 30 : From superstar Sridevis untimely death to demise of Marvel creator Stan Lee , the year of 2018 was a tough year for Bollywood and Hollywood as the industries have lost some of the best known and well-loved figures.

So before welcoming the new year, let’s remember some of those “unforgettable” names we have lost and celebrate their contribution to cinema, music and art.

·Sridevi

Sridevi
Sridevi

February 24, 2018 would always be considered a dark day for the Indian film fraternity as on this date, the world woke up to the sad news that Sridevi, Bollywood’s first female superstar is no more.

The “Chandni” star, who was in Dubai for a family wedding, died aged 54 accidentally drowning in a bath tub in a hotel, leaving the film industry, her family and legions of fans in a state of shock.

Though she is no more, she will always be remembered for her remarkable work in Indian cinema.

Born in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu on August 13, 1963, Sridevi began her career at the age of four in the devotional film “Thunaivan”. That marked the beginning of a journey in filmdom that saw her work across Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi productions, leading her to become one of the most formidable actresses of the 1980s and 1990s in Bollywood — in fact, the only female “superstar” the industry has seen.

And for her great contribution to the country’s art and cinema, she was honoured with the National Award and Padma Shri.

The year, no doubt left her fans in grief and tears with her sudden death, but also surprised them with the launch of the icon’s elder daughter Janhvi Kapoor in Hindi cinema, bringing shades of Sridevi back onscreen.

Array

·Stan Lee

Stan Lee, a man who revolutionised comic books and created superheroes characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died on November 12.

Born as Stanley Lieber on December 28, 1922, Lee began his career at what was then Timely Comics in 1939. Over the years he was a writer,editor and occasional illustrator. He joined the Marvel Comics in 1961.

He often made appearances at comic book conventions and lectured at colleges. Lee continued to play an important role as Marvel transitioned into television during the 1980s, serving as narrator on animated series like “Incredible Hulk”.

Lee also made cameos in a total of 26 movies, beginning with “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” in 1989 and ending with 2018’s “Venom”.

Before his death, Lee completed cameos in several upcoming films, including one for Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet”.

He is survived by his daughter Joan Celia “J.C.” Lee.

Array

·Rita Bhaduri

Veteran actress Rita Bhaduri took her last breath on July 17 this year. She was 62 when she died of kidney ailment.

With a career spanning over five decades, Rita played important supporting parts in movies like “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”, “Kya Kehna”, “Dil Vil Pyar Vyar” and “Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon”. She also featured in Gujarati movies.

On the TV front, her credits include popular shows like “Hasratein”, “Sarabhai vs Sarabhai”, “Khichdi”, “Ek Nayi Pehchaan”.

She was last seen in the serial “Nimki Mukhiya” in which she played the role of a grandmother.

Array

·Aretha Franklin

Legendary singer Aretha Franklin, who got the epithet ‘Queen of Soul’, died in August after battling serious health conditions. She was 76.

Franklin rose to fame with the release of her first album, “Songs of Faith”, in 1956, which scored regional hits with two gospel songs and occasionally touring with The Soul Stirrers, whose star was Sam Cooke.

In a professional career that spanned more than half a century, Franklin’s songs were not just chart-toppers, but also gave out a message.

Her song “Respect” was a call to arms, while “(You make me feel like) A natural woman” was an earthy expression of sexuality and “Think” was a rallying cry for women fed up with loutish men. She even won a Golden Globe award for “Never gonna break my faith”.

The singer’s final public performance was last November, when she sang at an Elton John AIDS Foundation gala in New York.


·Mohammed Aziz

“My name is Lakhan” fame singer Mohammed Aziz died on November 27 following a cardiac arrest. He was 64.

Born in West Bengal as Syed Mohammed Aziz-un-Nabi in July 1954, he started his career as a restaurant singer in Kolkata till he got a singing break in a Bengali film, “Jyoti”, before he shifted to Mumbai and sang for the Hindi film “Ambar” (1984).

Later, he was spotted by music director Anu Malik and got his first major breakthrough in Bollywood with the song “Mard Taangewala” (“Mard”, 1984).

Subsequently, he sang for top music directors like Naushad, O.P. Nayyar, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Bappi Lahiri, R.D. Burman, Rajesh Roshan, Ravindra Jain, Raam-Laxman, Usha Khanna, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Aadesh Shrivastava and others.

Array

·Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, storyteller and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture and cuisine, shocked everyone with his sudden death.

He died on June 8 and suicide came out as the cause of his death.

Bourdain was a master of his crafts — first in the kitchen and then in the media. Through his TV shows and books, he explored the human condition and helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves.

He advocated for marginalised populations and campaigned for safer working conditions for restaurant staffs.

Before his death, Bourdain was shooting for his TV show “Parts Unknown”.

Array

·Nargis Rabadi (Shammi Aunty)

Nargis Rabadi, popularly known as ‘Shammi Aunty’ in the industry, passed away on March 6. She was a veteran actor who appeared in more than 200 films.

Having started her journey in 1940s with her first film “Ustad Pedro”, Nargis later starred in films like “Coolie No. 1”, “Mardon Wali Baat” and “Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi”.

She became a popular character artiste portraying supporting roles of aunt, granny, elder spinster in the family.

The late actor also appeared in many popular television serials such as “Dekh Bhai Dekh”, “Zabaan Sambhal Ke”, “Shriman Shrimati”, “Kabhi Yeh Kabhi Woh” and “Filmi Chakkar”.

Array

· Mrinal Sen

Veteran filmmaker Mrinal Sen, known for his contribution to Bengali parallel cinema, died on Sunday at his residence. He was 95 and he died of old age complications, said his family member.

Born in 1923, in the town of Faridpur, now in Bangladesh, Sen made his first feature film, “Raat Bhore”, in 1955

He was the National Award-winning director and recipient of Padma Bhusan award. He had also been conferred with Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2003. He made his final feature film “Aamaar Bhuvan” in 2002.

Analysis

YouTube testing new video recommendation format: Report

Published

on

San Francisco, Jan 16 : Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube is testing a new video recommendation format that displays blue bubbles on the screen with relevant keywords and related topic suggestions, facilitating easier browsing, media reported.

“The screenshots obtained show these blue bubbles just underneath the video player showing more specific video recommendations,” The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The video-sharing platform is currently testing the feature with some users on its main desktop page as well as on the mobile app.

For sometime now users have been complaining that the videos recommended on the side on YouTube’s interface often have little to do with the current video, making recommendations a point of contention for the platform.

“It’s unclear if the videos that populate from the new recommendation bubbles will face similar algorithmic issues that YouTube’s recommendation feed currently suffers,” the report added.

There has not been any word from YouTube as of now on the working of these blue bubbles and whether or not they will roll out the test feature to a bigger group in the coming months.

Continue Reading

Analysis

2002 Gujarat riots: Judge P.B. Desai ignored evidence, says activist Harsh Mander

Published

on

Harsh Mander

New Delhi, Jan 9 : Special SIT court judge P.B. Desai “ignored evidence” that former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in a mob attack in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Housing Society during the 2002 riots, did all that was possible within his power to protect Muslims from the “rage of the mob” and instead echoed the position of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi that his killing was only a “reaction” to his “action” of shooting at the mob, says human rights activist Harsh Mander.

He says that “the learned judge”, who retired in December 2017, overlooked statements by surviving witnesses that Jafri made repeated desperate calls to senior police officers and other persons in authority, “including allegedly Chief Minister Modi”, pleading that security forces be sent to “disperse the crowd” and rescue those “against whom the mob had laid a powerful siege”.

Mander, who quit the IAS in Gujarat in the wake of the riots, makes these observations in his just released book, “Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India”, published by Penguin.

The 66-year-old activist, who works with survivors of mass violence and hunger as well as homeless persons and street children, goes on to quote the late journalist Kuldip Nayar to establish that Jafri had desperately telephoned him, “begging him to contact someone in authority to send in the police or the Army to rescue them”.

Mander says Nayar rang up the Union Home Ministry to convey to it the seriousness of the situation. The Home Ministry said it was in touch with the state government and was “watching” the situation. Jafri called again, pleading with Nayar to do something as the mob was threatening to lynch him.

In the chapter titled “Whatever happened in Gulberg Society?”, Mander contends that Jafri did everything within his power to protect “those who believed that his influence would shield them from the rage of the mob”. Mander says Jafri begged the mob to “take his life instead” and in a show of valour went out “to plead and negotiate” with the angry crowd.

“When he realised that no one in authority would come in for their protection, he also did pick up his licensed firearm and shoot at the crowd…,” Mander notes, describing it as the “final vain bid” on behalf of Jafri to protect the Muslims in the line of fire.

The author notes that in describing Jafri’s final resort to firing as an illegitimate action, the judge only echoed the position taken repeatedly by Modi, who had given an interview to a newspaper in which he had said that it was Jafri who had first fired at the mob.

“He forgot to say what a citizen is expected to do when a menacing mob, which has already slaughtered many, approaches him and the police has deliberately not responded to his pleas,” says Mander.

He says that it was as if even when under attack and surrounded by an armed mob warning to slaughter them, “and with acid bombs and burning rags flung at them”, a good Muslim victim should do nothing except plead, and this would ensure their safety.

Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia Jafri, according to Mander, was firmly convinced that her husband was killed because of a conspiracy that went right to the top of the state administration, beginning with Modi. The author notes that the court, in its judgement running into more than 1,300 pages, disagreed.

“It did indict 11 people for the murder but they were just foot soldiers,” observed Mander.

He further says that the story the survivors told the judge over prolonged hearings was consistent but Judge Desai was convinced that there was “no conspiracy behind the slaughter” and that the administration did all it could to control it.

“Jafri, by the judge’s reckoning, and that of Modi, was responsible for his own slaughter,” he laments.

Mander also argues in the book that recurring episodes of communal violence in Ahmedabad had altered the city’s demography, dividing it into Hindu and Muslim areas and Gulberg was among the last remaining “Muslim” settlements in the “Hindu” section of the city.

He says that Desai also disregarded the evidence in the conversations secretly taped by Tehelka reporters, mentioning that superior courts, according to Desai himself, have ruled that while a person cannot be convicted exclusively based on the evidence collected in such “sting operations”, such evidence is certainly “admissible as corroborative proof”.

“But he chose to disregard this evidence, not because there was proof that these video recordings were in any way doctored or false but simply because the Special Investigative Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India chose to ignore this evidence,” says Mander.

According to Mander, the Tehelka recordings “certainly supported the theory that there was indeed a plan to collect, incite and arm the mob to undertake the gruesome slaughter”.

The SIT was headed by R.K. Raghavan, today Ambassador to Cyprus. Mander contends in the book that just because the investigators did not pursue Tehelka recordings in greater depth, Desai concluded that the “recordings cannot be relied upon as trustworthy of substantial evidence and establish any conspiracy herein”.

In the book, Mander takes stock of whether India has upheld the values it had set out to achieve and offers painful, unsparing insight into the contours of violence. The book is now available both online and in bookstores.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading

Analysis

Number of suicides highest in Army amongst three services

In the Air Force, the number of suspected suicides was 21 in 2017 and 19 in 2016. For the Navy, these numbers were 5 and 6 for 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Published

on

Ajit Doval

New Delhi, Jan 7 : The number of defence personnel committing suicide was highest in the Army amongst the three services in the last three years, data shows.

In 2018 alone, as many as 80 Army personnel are believed to have committed suicide. This number is 16 for Air Force and 08 for the Navy, Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Subhash Bhamre told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Monday.

In 2017, the number of Army men who are suspected to have committed suicide was 75, while in 2016 this number was 104.

In the Air Force, the number of suspected suicides was 21 in 2017 and 19 in 2016. For the Navy, these numbers were 5 and 6 for 2017 and 2016, respectively.

In his reply, the Minister said that various steps have been taken by the armed forces to create healthy environment for their officers and other ranks.

“Some of the steps include provision of better facilities such as clothing, food, married accommodation, travel facilities, schooling, recreation etc and periodic welfare meetings, promoting yoga and meditation as a tool for stress management, and training and deployment of psychological counsellors,” the reply read.

It said mental health awareness is provided during pre-induction training.

Besides, institutionalisation of projects “MILAP” and “SAHYOG” by the Army in Northern and Eastern Commands to reduce stress among troops has been done.

A helpline has also been established by the Army and the Air Force to provide professional counselling.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular