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More noise than change: Malaika Arora on India’s MeToo wave

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New Delhi, Oct 29: The #MeToo movement has entered India, starting a conversation around making the workplace safe for all. But actress Malaika Arora feels there is more noise than actual change at the moment.

“I don’t see too much of a change. I hear people. I think there is more noise than change,” Malaika told IANS over the phone from Mumbai when asked about the change coming with the discussions around the #MeToo movement in India.

After making quite an impact in the West, the #MeToo wave has swept into Bollywood and beyond, following Tanushree Dutta recounting an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the sets of “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss” in 2008.

It has brought out many dark truths from the world of Bollywood, with women coming out to name and shame the offenders. Big names like Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath, Anu Malik and Sajid Khan have have been named for using their position to exploit the vulnerable.

But Malaika says there is still a long way to go.

“If we are talking about this industry, one is seeing a lot (of things) happening. People are talking about it. But for actual change to happen or for people to actually sit up and do something about it and actually make movement out of it, mindset has to change and people’s mindset cannot change overnight,” added the mother of one.

At the moment, Malaika is seen judging and mentoring in “India’s Next Top Model 4”. The show is back with a new transformative and progressive theme of “More than a Face”. It is aired on MTV.

“This year we are very clear that it will not only be about the face. We want a girl who is not just beautiful. She has to be more than just a beautiful face.”

What are the parameters for it?

“You have to keep a lot of things in mind because at the end of the day it is ‘India’s Next Top’. We are looking for a top model qualities which means ideally and hopefully a tall girl. She needs to look a certain way, be a certain way, she has to walk in a right way.

“We don’t expect them to come fully prepared on day one. And that’s the whole idea of getting them and making sure you transform them into being a top model and we have been successful in that. We have really managed to transform some of the girls and change them. The transformation of a girl is the most important.”

Malaika, who is making headlines for her rumoured relationship with actor Arjun Kapoor, also stressed on how the modelling industry is shunning many “stereotypes”.

“When you think of a model, she’s got to be tall, have certain measurements. But in today’s day and age, those stereotypes are no more. People are more accepting about women in general. All those typical stereotypes are finally changing which is good.”

IANS

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Rekha Bhardwaj, Harshdeep Kaur pull out of event in Lahore

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Singers Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur have withdrawn their names from Shaan-e-Pakistan 2019 gala in Lahore next month in the wake of the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 49 troopers.

Rekha, well known for her versatile tracks like “Genda phool”, “Kabira” and “Ghagra”, was a star attraction at the gala, where Indian and Pakistani talent would have shared the stage for a musical summit and awards night on March 21 and March 22.

“I cancelled our show to Pakistan immediately after the Pulwama attack,” Rekha, who was due to travel with her team, told IANS.

Harshdeep, who has sung melodious numbers like “Heer” and “Dilbaro”, confirmed to IANS that she will also not be a part of the event in Lahore.

Nevertheless, the show, where Pakistan’s Javed Bashir will be producer and director of music, will go on.

“We have no news on Rekhaji and Harshdeep Kaur,” Rehan Babar of Aden Rehan PR and Management Soultions, official PR Partners of the event, told IANS from Lahore when asked if they will be going ahead with the event.

“‘Shaan-e-Pakistan’ is about promoting fashion, music, art and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with promoting peace and love through art and culture. Regardless of the current political tensions, Shaan-e-Pakistan is still very much going ahead and on course to take place in March 21 and 22,” Babar added.

The February 14 terror attack has had a direct impact on cultural ties between India and Pakistan.

While the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has announced a diktat saying Indian filmmakers must not release their films in Pakistan and that no collaboration with Pakistani talent must be pursued, veteran actress Shabana Azmi and her lyricist-writer husband Javed Akhtar axed their visit to Karachi to take part in centenary celebrations of Shabana’s poet-father Kaifi Azmi.

Bollywood film “Total Dhamaal” will also not release in Pakistan.

In fact, Rekha’s multi-faceted husband and filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj was also planning travel to Pakistan for research on the Netflix series “Midnight’s Children”, based on Salman Rushdie’s novel. However, as of now the plan of the web series’ showrunner stands cancelled, said a source in the know.

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All India Cine Workers Association ban Pakistani actors, artistes

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Mumbai, Feb 18: In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack, All India Cine Workers Association on Monday decided to impose a total ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in the film industry.

“All Indian Cine Workers Association strongly condemns brutal terrorist attack on our soldiers at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. AICWA stands with nation in confronting such terror and inhumanity”, the film association said in a letter.

The notification made it clear that despite the official ban if any organisation insists on working with Pakistani artistes, the AICWA will ban them and strict action will be taken against them.

“We’re officially announcing a total ban on Pakistani Actors and Artists working in Film Industry. Nation comes first, we stand with our nation”, it added.

WeForNews

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Emphasis on opening weekend biz damaging art of cinema: Swara Bhasker

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Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Actress Swara Bhasker says the constant emphasis on a films box office collection is damaging the art of cinema.

“The whole system of emphasising the opening weekend business of a film is damaging the art of cinema. I believe there is no connection between the box office collection and the value of a film or to the artistic part of it,” Swara said during a session at ActFest here on Saturday.

“I understand that cinema is an art that involves a huge amount of finance and it demands a steady economy… But the business part of a film should not overpower the core of a cinema — storytelling,” the actress said.

The “Veere Di Wedding” star continued: “Some of the cult films were flops at the box office when they were released. Now, when we revisit those films, we call them classics. I think this system needs to be changed.”

Swara expressed her views during a session with filmmaker Raj Kumar Gupta along with film critics like Rajeev Masand.

ActFest is being organised by the CINTAA (Cine and TV Artistes’ Association). The two-day festival features popular artists participating in discussions, conducting workshops or giving lectures on various aspects of the art. The event, which started on Friday, is conceived and designed by The 48 Hour Film Project, India.

Talking about how film critics’ opinions played a part in her journey, Swara said: “I am grateful to critics because I started my career with small independent films. And when I played some of the pivotal roles like the one in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ even though that wasn’t a lead role, critics repeatedly mentioned my performance and according to them I was good.”

The actress feels “somewhere positive reviews helped me to gain visibility”.

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