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Flora Saini: There has been a definite change post MeToo movement

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Flora Saini Gaurang Doshi

New Delhi, Nov 7 : It’s now over a year since the #MeToo movement gave voice to numerous women who have experienced sexual harassment and assault in their lives. “Stree” fame actress Flora Saini was one of them, who had shared her #MeToo story on public domain. She had accused Bollywood producer Gaurang Doshi of physically abusing her.

In an interview to IANS, Flora opened up about the changes she has witnessed in the industry post #MeToo movement, revealing how director-actor Farhan Akhtar ensured proper women safety on the sets of his show “Inside Edge”.

“There has been a definite change in the industry post #MeToo movement. Even before the movement, I’ve been a part of Farhan Akhtar’s team, and, trust me, we had pamphlets all around the set saying, ‘this is a women work safe area, if there’s anything you would like to tell us, please feel free to come to us and we are standing by you’,” recalled Flora.

“I think it’s a kind of change which is beautiful because we all have women in our lives — mother, sisters, friends — and the least we can do is make the work environment safe for them,” she said.

Flora added: “We’ve just woken up to an entire breed of gentlemen who were always there but somehow we couldn’t recognise. Now, these gentlemen are coming to the forefront, and that’s the best part. The people who needed to be scared are scared. They’ll think twice, maybe because reputation and image are involved. I think that’s a beautiful change. Yes, change is definitely happening.”

Talking about Flora’s work projects, she recently featured in the Bengali web show “Dupur Thakurpo”, in which she essays the role of Phulwa Boudi. She says the language was not a barrier at all.

“A lot of people don’t know that my father was in the army and he was posted in Calcutta and Calcutta is where I started my modelling, was my home ground, my school from where everything started, was right there in Calcutta, where I won few pageants, I also starred in Penalty, there was a TV show, that was my first stint in front of the moving camera. So, Bangla for me was not tough. Bengali is like Hindi just spoken little differently, more sweetly. Language was not that bigger bar for me, also because I stayed there so I understood,” she said.

Flora has worked in several shows and films but she was most noticeable as the ghost in Amar Kaushik’s “Stree”.

According to her, it was a milestone project in her career.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far. I’m so glad and so blessed to see days like today. Like what they say about the industry, any Friday can change your life around, for me that did happen with ‘Stree’ and ‘Gandii Baat’, these two have been really iconic in my life and they did turn my life totally around. Because of those projects, I got the recognition which I was craving for so long,” Flora added.

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

Business

Punit Goenka to ZEEL staff: Stake sale as per debt repayment plan

Shares of ZEEL on the BSE, closed at Rs 345.25 on Thursday, higher by Rs 38.10 or 12.40 per cent from the previous close.

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Punit Goenka Zee

New Delhi, Nov 21 : Punit Goenka, the MD and CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEE) has written to the employees of the company saying the proposed sale of 16.5 per cent stake by the Essel Group is in line with the overall debt repayment plan.

Describing the decision as a strong step forward, Goenka, who was reappointed as the MD and CEO earlier in November, said he looks forward to work with the employees and elevate the company to a global media and entertainment powerhouse, said the communication seen by IANS.

He said the promoters would continue to hold 5 per cent stake in the company and thanked the employees for their trust and support.

The Subhash Chandra-led Essel group on Wednesday announced that it is planning to sell 16.5 per cent stake in ZEEL to financial investors in order to repay loan obligations to certain lenders of the group.

After this transaction, the promoter stake in Zee Entertainment will be reduced to 5 per cent, which means that media baron Subhash Chandra will lose control of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.

Zee, considered a pioneer of television entertainment industry in India, was launched by Subhash Chandra in 1992. Ever since the launch year, the company expanded operations to enter packaging, infrastructure, education, precious metals, finance and technology sectors.

Earlier this year, Essel Group sold up to 11 per cent in Zee Entertainment to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund for Rs 4,224 crore.

Prior to the Wednesday announcement, Subhash Chandra’s Essel Group companies held 22.37 per cent promoter stake in Zee. Of this, 21.48 per cent was pledged as collateral against finances availed by Essel Group firms.

Post completion of the transaction announced on Wednesday by the company, Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund and OFI Global China will together hold 18.74 per cent.

Shares of ZEEL on the BSE, closed at Rs 345.25 on Thursday, higher by Rs 38.10 or 12.40 per cent from the previous close.

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Sona Mohapatra on Anu Malik’s stepping down: It’s a symbolic victory

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sona mahapatra

Mumbai, Nov 21 : Singer Sona Mohapatara on Thursday said that she considers music composer Anu Malik’s stepping down as “Indian Idol” judge a “symbolic victory” for all women who have faced sexual harassment.

An “elated” Sona told IANS: “It’s great news. Sony TV took a long time do this but I am happy that he has finally stepped down from the show. It’s a battle of the whole country. There are so many people who did not want to see this person (Malik) flaunting himself on national television because it gives a lot of wrong messages to predators that they can also get away with such a thing.”

She added: “I was fighting for fairness and justice. Now, after hearing this news, I think it is a victory for eveyrbody — not just me but also for all other women who were badly treated by him. It is a symbolic victory. Our fight is not over yet, it’s just a start. We are not going to sit here and let people to take us for granted.”

The issue erupted in 2018 when Mohapatra for the first time accused Malik of sexual misconduct, which forced the composer to step down from season 10 of the show last year. Singers Neha Bhasin and Shweta Pandit had also joined Mohapatra in alleging sexual harassment against Malik.

However, when Sony TV reinstated Malik on season 11 this year, Mohapatra restarted her campaign against the composer and the channel.

Over the past days, she has mustered huge support on social media, and people have increasingly been demanding Malik’s removal from the show.

A few days ago, Malik took to social media and claimed “false and unverified allegations” were being levelled against him. He said that he was “in pain” and “in a dark space”, demanding justice.

And now on Thursday, the composer decided to quit the show. A source close to Sony TV confirmed to IANS that Malik “is stepping down as a judge from Indian Idol”.

Malik’s decision has come after Sona wrote an open letter to the Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani, urging her to look into the ongoing debate Malik.

“My open letter to the honourable minister for women & child development. @smritiirani, I hugely admire you, your tenacity and commitment to work for the welfare of people in India and I request you to please read this.Many more women are writing in to me privately about this man,” she tweeted.

After Sona’s letter, National Commission for Women had send notice to Sony TV.

The commission also shared the notice on their official Twitter handle. They captioned it: “@NCWIndia has taken Suo-motu cognizance of this matter and send a notice to Sony Entertainment Television @sharmarekha @MinistryWCD @PMOIndia.”

In the notice, the commission mentioned Mohapatra’s tweet, and asked the channel to clarify what action was taken on the matter.

Asked if her letter to Smriti Irani has created an affect on Malik’s decision, Sona said: “I really would not know. I am sitting here in my own little world. If my letter or her name has created any affect then I would like to thank her. She is an amazing woman.”

Talking of Malik’s decision, in an interview to Times Of India, he shared that “he wants to go on a three-week break from the show, and will come back after his name is cleared”.

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Ranu Mondal’s viral makeup pic ‘fake’, claims salon

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Ranu Mondal Viral Makeup Pic

Mumbai, Nov 21 : The recent viral photograph of internet singing sensation Ranu Mondal, which showed her wearing ghastly white makeup, is fake, claims the salon that styled the singer.

Sandhya’s Makeover, the ladies’ beauty parlour in Kanpur that recently made headlines for doing Ranu’s makeup on the particular occasion, has also released a picture of Ranu’s real look on that day.

Taking to their official page on Instagram, team Sandhya’s Makeover posted: “As you can see, this is the difference between the work that we have done and the ‘Fake’ picture that has been edited to an extent. All the jokes and trolls are fine and they make us laugh too but to hurt someone sentiments, that’s not a very good thing to do. We truly hope that you all will understand the truth and realise the difference between the fake one and the one that is genuine. That’s all we ask for.”

Soon after Ranu Mondal’s makeup photo went viral, social media went abuzz with trolls and memes attacking the singer. A meme even photoshopped her face on a fairness cream advertisement because in the ‘fake’ photo the singer looks several shades fairer.

Ever since she rose to fame, Ranu Mondal has always managed to be in the headlines for many controversial others. Recently, she was in the news for behaving rather aggressively with a pushy fan who insisted for her selfie.

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