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India has to make room for ‘lady oriented’ works: ‘Lipstick…’ director

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

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lady oriented works

Mumbai, March 8 : Theres rallying for womens empowerment on the one hand — and a curb on freedom of expression on the other. The paradox is perplexing to writer-filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava, whose “honest” telling of a story of womens secret desires and hidden fantasies has been deemed too “lady oriented” and unfit for release by Indias censor board.

“It is quite a paradox. Considering the situation of women in India, with dowry, violence against women, female foeticide, sexual harassment on the streets, it is crucial for women’s voices and stories, their experiences and perspectives to be given space in popular culture,” said the maker of “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, the film that invited the censor board’s ire.

“A situation where the female point of view is throttled really means that we are saying it is best if women shut up. Women cannot forever be represented through prisms created by the dominant narrative of the male gaze,” Shrivastava told IANS in an email interview.

She questioned how long women would just be “vamps, goddesses and item-girls”.

“Why can’t there be space for all kinds of representations of women in popular culture? We have a right to create and engage with stories told from the alternative, female point of view. We have a right to represent ourselves through all forms of culture. No democracy that promises equal rights to men and women can throttle that right.

“And maybe the time has come for us to make our equal freedom real. The cultural space in India has to make room for lady-oriented works — be it films, paintings, books, songs. No one has the power to legitimately silence half the population of the country because our stories make a few people uncomfortable,” said the filmmaker, who has just won an Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017 for her movie.

“Lipstick Under My Burkha” — as the title suggests — is about the veil under which women constantly live. Its narrative delves into the lives of four women, aged between 18 and 55, who assert their personal and sexual rights.

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

An angry Shrivastava said: “If women having agency over their own bodies and desires and (their) dreams make people uncomfortable, too bad! We are living, breathing, real people… Not just created to fit into the stereotypes created by the male-dominant paradigm of popular culture.”

The film’s trailer may look a tad risque to an audience not used to cinema that tells things as they are.

The Central Board of Film Certification refused a certificate to the movie, saying that it explores women’s “fantasy about life” and that “there are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society”.

Shrivastava finds censorship stifling.

“In cinema and on television, we continue to self-censor, even before the film actually goes up for certification. If you have sat around writers and directors, you will know that common refrain, ‘Arre, the censors won’t pass it. Forget about that idea. This is India’.”

“So often, even before we can think of a story, we kill it.”

She finds it scary that censorship works to create a culture that keeps pushing the dominant male-gaze popular culture narrative.

“Because that means there is a systematic perpetuation of patriarchy through culture and a simultaneous systematic silencing of alternative voices. So an entire society is being forced to engage with only one kind of narrative. That is a serious assault on women’s right to express themselves. It is like saying we don’t have a right to tell our stories.”

And this, particularly for stories told from a female perspective.

“Those (stories) that involve women striving for agency over their own desires, bodies, dreams are then seen as not important… But I think it is this pulse — of women having agency over their lives, women owning their bodies for themselves — that the ‘moral guardians’ find problematic.

“Because the woman is seeking empowerment from the very core of her life. And that threatens the status quo of patriarchy. We need an end to censorship in cinema. This is 2017.”

India

Guru Nanak Jayanti: history, significance and all you need to know

Guru Nanak Jayanti: Guru Nanak Jayanti also known as Gurpurab is an auspicious occasion for the followers of the religion of Sikhism.

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Guru Nanak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti also known as Gurpurab is an auspicious occasion for the followers of the religion of Sikhism. This day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

This day is observed on the day of Kartik Poornima, which is the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartika according to the Hindu calendar. According to Gregorian calendar, this day falls in the month of November. This year it will be the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak and will be celebrated on Monday, November 30.

History of Guru Nanak Jayanti:

Guru Nanak Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate and honor the life of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib, Punjab. It is said that his birth was a mark of divinity.

He was a firm believer in One God and he also had faith that an individual can connect to God through his prayers. He never followed the religion that made people do sacrifices. All the teaching of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is in the sacred book Guru Granth Sahib.

This day is celebrated for three days and two days prior to Guru Nanak Jayanti, prayer and Akhand Paths are conducted at the Gurudwaras.

A procession known as Nagarkirtan is organized. The procession is led by five men, referred to as the Panj Pyare, holding the Sikh triangular flag, Nishan Sahib.

The main day of Gurpurab begins with the morning hymns, that is followed by the prayers and kathas that are performed in the praise of the guru. Later, langar is followed by a night prayer session that is conducted at Gurudwaras.

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Cities

Rajasthan govt hikes penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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Ashok Gehlot

Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday announced to increase the penalty on gathering of more than 100 people at marriages from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000.

Chairing a meeting to review the steps taken to contain COVID spread in the state, he said administration and police personnel should take rounds in the market to ensure all due protocols are being followed with due care in reference to night curfew announced on Saturday as well as to ensure that set number of people’s limit is not crossed.

The wedding organisers should also be updated in this context that more than 100 people are not permitted in the wedding function, he added.

District collectors, superintendents of police and other senior officials have been given responsibility to ensure night curfew norms are maintained in eight districts as announced and not more than 100 people are gathered in the crowd. Every person should wear masks and social distancing norms should also be followed, the Chief Minister said.

Notably, the state government announced night curfew in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Alwar, Udaipur, Alwar and Ajmer.

Also the penalty for those not wearing masks was increased to Rs 500 from Rs 200 on Saturday.

The Chief Minister on Sunday said that the state government’s major objective is to save lives of people.

On Sunday, a total of 3,260 new COVID cases and 17 deaths were reported.

A total of 603 cases were reported in Jaipur while 414 in Jodhpur, 210 in Ajmer, 271 in Alwar, 131 in Bhilwara, 240 in Kota, 100 in Pali and 184 in Udaipur.

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Entertainment

Justin Bieber curious about Covid scenario in India

While the video is not clear and is not audible properly due to connection issues, Riyaz replied: “Covid is still going on. Like, a crazy thing is going on.”

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Justin bieber

Mumbai: Pop star Justin Bieber is curious about the Covid situation in India, and whether people are wearing masks.

Recently, Bieber held a live session on Instagram, and was joined by Indian Tik Tok star Riyaz Aly. Among other things, they discussed India’s situation during the pandemic.

Bieber, who joined in from home in the US, asked Riyaz: “What’s Covid looking like over there?”

While the video is not clear and is not audible properly due to connection issues, Riyaz replied: “Covid is still going on. Like, a crazy thing is going on.”

To this, Bieber admitted: “Yes, it is pretty crazy.”

He asked if people are wearing masks, to which Riyaz said: “yes”.

“Damn!” Bieber exclaimed.

Bieber recently released his song “Monster” with Shawn Mendes.

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