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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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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.”

Health

Can mangoes make you fat?

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New Delhi, April 25: Summers are the bearer of the sweet aroma of memories of vacations, lazy afternoons and mangoes. This fruit is loved by all young or old but lately it has been infamous for its sugar content and is considered as a cause of weight gain so can mangoes really make us fat?

Saumya Shatakshi, Senior Nutritionist, Healthians, suggests the pros of eating mangoes and what to keep in mind:

* Mango is not just pure indulgence but a powerhouse to various nutrients like it has vitamin A, iron, copper and potassium.

* Mango is an energy food and provides sugar rush to the body which helps boost the energy levels of the body and keeps you active throughout the day.

* It is a storehouse to Vitamin C that increases the immunity and it is also rich in dietary fibre content

* Eating too much of mangoes can be harmful for health so maintaining the portion control is the key

* A medium-sized mango has nearly 150 calories, eating anything beyond the permissible calorie limits results in weight gain. Hence, it is advised not to overeat.

* Eating mangoes after meals increases the overall calories intake.

* We should replace our mid-morning or evening snacks with mangoes. It helps one enjoy the king of fruits without worrying about piling calories.

* Avoid having mangoes at night. It is preferable to have it during the first half of the day.

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Celebrity nutritionist and dietician Nmami Agarwal suggests:

* The number of calories that food carries tells you how much energy it provides. Excess calories are stored as fat, which is why over eating leads to weight gain.

* Mangoes are inversely high on sugar, which generally is an enemy. This is because it causes insulin spikes and falls, which can leave you hungry and cause you to overeat.

IANS

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Health

6 herbs to include in your daily diet for a healthier, happier you

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New Delhi, April 23: Focusing on health in the hectic and stressful lives that we lead today is becoming difficult. Incorporating relevant herbs in your daily diet is the first step towards a healthier you.

Ayurveda texts and modern research say that herbs contain compounds that have beneficial health properties that can help prevent many lifestyle disorders and rejuvenate our bodies.

Dr Shruthi M. Hegde, Ayurveda Expert, The Himalaya Drug Company, suggests incorporating the following herbs in your daily diet to practice preventive wellness and take a concrete step towards maintaining good health.

Tulsi: Popularly known as “The Queen of Herbs”, it yields beneficial results for respiratory wellness. It has compounds which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and expectorant properties. Tulsi helps modulate healthy immune response and supports early recovery from respiratory conditions. Use it to get relief from a cough and cold, especially during seasonal changes, when your body is particularly prone to such respiratory ailments.

Ashvagandha: This herb contains rejuvenating properties, and being an adaptogen, helps cope with stress, reduces harmful effects of long-term stress on the body, and promotes healthy sleep. This makes it particularly useful in our stressful lives, where good work-life balance is often difficult to maintain.

Triphala: It’s difficult to always consume healthy and hygienically prepared food in our hectic lifestyle, making digestive issues a common problem. Triphala helps promote overall digestive wellness in a number of ways. It acts as an effective colon cleanser, regularises normal bowel movements, and aids healthy digestion.

Neem: This helps fight acne by inhibiting the bacteria that causes acne growth. The herb helps promote skin wellness, which becomes even more important during summer, when the skin is more prone to acne breakouts and inflammation. It helps rejuvenate your skin, and prevents the recurrence of acne and blemishes.

Haridra: This herb contains beneficial inflammation-relieving properties. It boosts cell health through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping improve overall health. This makes it a potent tool in your preventive wellness toolkit, helping you overcome a number of health problems before they even have a chance to make an appearance

Guduchi: This herb supports the immune system and helps fight against infections by increasing the effectiveness of disease-fighting white blood cells. Including this herb in your daily diet will help increase your body’s resistance to stress and illness.

Make a commitment to getting healthier and staying fit by including these health-boosting herbs in your daily diet. Regular usage of these herbs in addition to other activities such as exercising and consuming a balanced diet will lead to a healthier, happier you.

IANS

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Health

Treat sunburn, improve gastro immune system with yogurt

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yogurt dahi

New Delhi, April 21: Yogurt, the versatile dairy product, is filled with nutrition and is equally useful for skin and hair. Treat sunburns, acne and improve your immunity with yogurt, say experts.

Himanshu Chadha, Founder, APS Cosmetoofood, and Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist and Dietician, have listed the goodness of yogurt:

* Treat sunburn: Spread yogurt on the affected area, leave it for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Yogurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Image result for eating yogurt and applying on face

* Treat acne with yogurt as it contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Rub a dab of the creamy yogurt onto acne-prone areas. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

* Yogurt is a great ingredient for a hair conditioner. It has moisturising properties which helps repair dry and damaged hair.

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Take a cup of yogurt and whip it. Apply it on your scalp, hair and hair ends by massaging it well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it rest for 20 minutes, then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

* Using yogurt, which is full of nutrients that are good for your hair, can help stop hair fall. Due to the presence of vitamin B5 and D, yogurt helps nourish the hair follicles.

A mixture of pepper and curd used daily for washing the hair helps in reducing hair fall. Curd and Amla powder can be mixed together to make a paste that can be applied on the scalp and hair to reduce hair loss.

* Since it is a well-known probiotic food, it helps to flourish the healthy bacteria in your gut which can improve the gastro immune system. Along with this, it aids in digestion by reducing the side effects of the irritant stomach such as diarrhoea, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.

* Strengthen your bones by adding yogurt to your everyday diet. It will add that daily dose of calcium which your body requires for stronger bones as well as for regulating the bone mineral density.

By having a diet in a combination with calcium and vitamin D, it can work as a treatment for osteoporosis.

* Yogurt works perfectly for women. It is often advised for women to consume freshly prepared yogurt in their diet considering they are powerful for fighting against the yeast infections such as Candida which can be a causing trouble to a lot of women.

Image result for eating dahi

The bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt, kills the yeast infections and improves health in the longer run.

* Consuming probiotic yogurt helps reduce inflammation and improve the overall body immune response to counter with several viral or gut related infections and illness.

Along with this, yogurt also helps in increasing the absorption of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

IANS

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