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Great to be an Indian in the US right now: YouTube star Vidya Vox

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New Delhi, Nov 22: US-based YouTube star Vidya Vox says that, while growing up, she tried to shun her Indian heritage as she was often bullied in school. But she is now “100 per cent” proud of her roots and feels it is great to be an Indian in the US right now.

Vidya Iyer, better known by her stage name Vidya Vox, was born in the Indian city Madras (now Chennai), grew up in Virginia, and is based in Los Angeles.

Asked how she feels being an Indian in the US under Donald Trump’s administration, Vidya told IANS here: “It’s great. There are many people like Priyanka Chopra of South Asian descent in the media who are in the forefront right now. That’s really great. While growing up, I didn’t see examples like that.”

“I was bullied when I was in middle school in DC, especially for being an Indian, because there weren’t many Indian kids in school. And because of that, I tended to hide my Indian culture, but that changed by the end of high school. Now, I am 100 per cent proud of it. I am not going to hide it any more,” she said.

“Growing up, I had a bit of an identity crisis. I spoke in Tamil at home and ate dosa and idli. At school, I would listen to Beyonce (Knowles) and eat pizza and fries,” she added.

The singer, who has learnt Carnatic music, felt like she was living in two separate worlds.

“I always thought how could I marry these two worlds… even if it’s for a few minutes. That’s how we came up with the idea of mashups,” said Vidya.

In 2015 she launched her YouTube channel with mashups of western pop hits and music from India. She has amassed over 350 million views and over three million subscribers.

Being a YouTube star, cyber bullying must be common. How does she deal with it?

“I don’t look at comments. I try really hard not to. It’s very difficult… people get bullied all the time. It’s important to remember not to listen to them. Your music is personal. Some people connect with it and some don’t. That’s okay,” said Vidya, popular for mashups like “Closer-Kabira” and “Love me like you do-Hosanna”.

She has also come out with an album, “Kuthu Fire”, consisting of original songs. To promote it, she is currently in India for a multi-city tour.

As part of ‘Vidya Vox Kuthu Fire Tour’, the singer, who is in her 20s, will be performing here on November 25.

Fashion brand Forever 21 is the title sponsor of the tour. Asked about her personal style, she said: “A little bit of Indo-western. I love sort of mixing Indian jewellery with Western silhouettes.”

Her mother and grandmother’s wardrobes also play major roles in her fashion sense.

“They (mother and grandmother) say ‘I don’t want the sari. I am going to throw it away or donate it.’ I say, No! I will take it and recycle it and make clothes for myself,” she said at the Forever 21 store at DLF Mall here.

Is she thinking of starting her own fashion line soon?

“Oh my God! That’s the dream. Hopefully soon,” said Vidya.

By Natalia Ningthoujam

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])

IANS

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Alia Bhatt’s ‘Raazi’ mints over Rs 200 cr worldwide

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Mumbai, June 20: Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal starrer ‘Raazi’ has entered the Rs. 200 crore-club at the global box office.

Karan Johar, who has co-produced the film, took to Twitter to share the news, writing “A proud film! Rs 207 crore gross worldwide,”.

The Meghna Gulzar directorial, which minted Rs 32.94 crore in India on its opening weekend, was distributed internationally by Zee Studios International, releasing in 450 screens across 42 countries, read a statement to news agency IANS.

Meanwhile, the political thriller is Alia’s third film to enter the 100 cr-club, after ‘2 States’ and ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya’.

Based on Harinder Sikka’s book “Calling Sehmat”, the story of “Raazi” revolves around a young Kashmiri girl who gets married to a Pakistani Army officer and becomes a spy to give inside information about the neighbouring country to protect her own.

Co-produced by Junglee Pictures, the film also stars Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Soni Razdan and Jaideep Ahlawat in pivotal roles.

The film was released in India on May 11.

WeForNews

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A.R. Rahman appointed Sikkim government’s brand ambassador

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Gangtok, June 20: Famed Indian composer and singer-songwriter A.R. Rahman has been appointed the brand ambassador of the Sikkim government, news agency IANS quoted a senior minister as saying on Wednesday.

“We have appointed Rahman as the state government’s brand ambassador for a year,” Sikkim Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Commerce and Industries Ugen T Gyatso, told IANS over phone.

As the government’s brand ambassador, Rahman would keep coming to the Himalayan state from time to time and promote it, said the Minister.

The 51-year-old music producer, who has in his kitty two Academy and two Grammy Awards, is now in Sikkim. “He will leave on Thursday,” the Minister said.

In an official notification, Chief Secretary A.K. Srivastava said Rahman will promote and project the state’s achievements nationally and globally.

Sikkim, with its natural and pristine beauty, has over the last two decades emerged as a world famous eco-tourism destination, besides attaining a distinct identity as the first fully organic farming state of the country, it said on Monday.

The state government had earlier this year made Mr. Rahman its Brand Ambassador of tourism and business.

Rahman is a widely awarded music personality and has worked in an array of international projects.

In 2010, Rahman was conferred the country’s third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan.

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B-Town celebrities wish Irrfan Khan speedy recovery

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Mumbai, June 20: Celebrities like Paresh Rawal, Ayushmann Khurrana and Rajkummar Rao among many others have wished a speedy recovery to Internationally acclaimed Indian actor Irrfan Khan, who is currently in treatment for a “rare disease”.

Irrfan in March announced he has been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour and that he was going out of the country for treatment.

Here’s what the celebrities have tweeted:

Paresh Rawal: Khan Saab, you will sail through all the way. Prayers and more prayers.

Ayushmann Khurrana: Sir! You are beyond cinema. Prayers are always with you. Legend.

Rajkummar Rao: You are an inspiration to all of us sir. We love you.

Rahul Dev: The very best to u Irrfan ..very sure prayers & wishes can create magic.

Riteish Deshmukh: Good wishes and prayers for your speedy recovery Irrfan.

Rahul Dholakia: Get well soon bhai. praying.

IANS

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