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Take over RK Studios and turn it into film school, well-wishers urge government

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RK Studio

Mumbai, Sep 25: What will happen to the RK Studios, which has just wrapped up what may be its last Ganpati celebrations? Nobody knows, but it’s worth debating whether suggestions that the government must buy it and turn it into a film school for posterity, are viable.

In August, when Rishi Kapoor revealed the family’s collective decision to sell the 70-year-old studio, which was gutted in a fire last year, the news sent several Indian cinephiles on a nostalgia trip. But then came another question — is heritage all about a building?

“For movie lovers, RK Studios was a temple of cinema and one never imagines that the temple will go away from the map. But it is happening… It is saddening. It’s a place that captured an important time of Indian cinema, documented the changing times through storytelling on celluloid… It’s a place that came from the vision of a man like Raj Kapoor, and it will not be there for the future cinema lovers. This is a big loss of heritage,” Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Director, Film Heritage Foundation, told IANS.

On the contrary, film industry veteran Amit Khanna says, “Raj Kapoor’s heritage is his cinema, his talented family, his music and creativity, and not merely a building.”

The studio, with its red logo flanking the white gates, sprawls across two acres. The headquarters of the film production company R.K. Films, was founded and named after the “Great Showman”, Raj Kapoor, in 1948.

Its inaugural banner film “Aag” that year crashed at the box office. But its production “Barsaat” (1949) was a super hit, following which the studio rolled out a string of successful black-and-white releases like “Awaara” (1951), “Boot Polish” (1954), “Shri 420” (1955) and “Jaagte Raho” (1956).

Later, several other big ticket films like “Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hain”, “Mera Naam Joker”, “Bobby”, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram”, “Prem Rog” and “Ram Teri Ganga Maili”, which was the founder-actor’s last film before his death in June 1988, were shot at RK Studios.

Popular filmmaker Anees Bazmee, who assisted Raj Kapoor on “Prem Rog”, has fond memories of spending four years of his life in and out of RK Studios.

“I am sure the sale of the property is a well-thought and painful decision for the family. But it will be great if what is known by the name of RK, continues to have the RK stamp in some way or another,” Bazmee told IANS.

For film historian S.M.M. Ausaja, however, the decision was “heartbreaking”.

“The studio has been an iconic landmark of the film industry. So many classics were shot there besides R.K. Films’ own ventures and it represented the labour of love associated with Raj Saab, inherited from his talented father Prithviraj Kapoor,” he told IANS.

The family’s legacy in the Hindi film industry can’t be ignored. Prithviraj’s sons Raj, Shammi and Shashi had flourishing careers in showbiz. Raj’s sons Randhir and Rishi became well-known actors, while his third son Rajiv couldn’t make it as big. Shashi’s daughter Sanjana contributed to the theatre scene.

Randhir’s daughters with actress Babita — Karisma and Kareena — both achieved success as actresses, and Rishi and actress Neetu Singh’s son Ranbir Kapoor is one of Bollywood’s most popular stars today.

Rishi, on behalf of the family, had in August said they initially wanted to renovate the studio with state-of-the-art technology, but the investment in rebuilding the studio would just not have yielded sufficient revenue to keep it going. Its condition worsened after the fire incident, which caused a huge loss in terms of costumes and memorabilia.

Dungarpur, who recently visited the studio, said “almost nothing was left”.

“Economically, it is really tough to rebuild it… It was not in the right condition and many historical documents of the films that the studio has given to Indian cinema, are gone,” he said, adding that it is wrong to expect the government to protect the studio as cinema heritage because it it was private property and a commercial institution.

Ausaja has a different view.

“Such monuments are vanishing because there’s no respect for cinema heritage in the eyes of the ruling regime and the corporates. They won’t bat an eyelid in erecting giant multi-million dollar statues complementing their political ideology, but even if you propose something on the dwindling cinema heritage, the file would gather dust in the corridor cupboards,” he said.

“Upkeep of such cinema heritage structures is the responsibility of the government and corporates as well to some extent. The R.K. family would be positive if any such proposal reaches them,” he said.

Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia said: “Wouldn’t it be a great idea for the government to buy R.K. Studio and convert it into a film school? After all, it was home to one of India’s best storytellers — and then imagine the young talents exploring cinema on Raj Kapoor’s playground… better than a high rise.”

In a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam too urged the government to acquire the studio at the prevailing market rates and convert it into a full-fledged museum.

IANS

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Miss Universe 2018: Philippines bags crown, India fails to make it to Top 20

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Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Elisa Gray

Bangkok, Dec 17: India’s Nehal Chudasama failed to make it to the Top 20 of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, where Catriona Elisa Gray from Philippines pipped 93 contestants from around the world to emerge the winner — as chosen by an all-women jury.

India had pinned high hopes on Nehal, 22, to end a long drought for the country at the pageant as Lara Dutta had last brought back the crown in 2000.

But South Africa’s Tamaryn Green, a medical student, and Venezuela’s Sthefany Guterrez, studying to be a lawyer, secured the first runner-up and second runner-up spots at the gala ceremony, where Spain’s Angela Ponce made history as the first transgender woman to contend for the title of Miss Universe.

Hosted by Emmy Award-winning Steve Harvey, the show here on Sunday saw Gray taking an ecstatic first walk as Miss Universe in a dazzling red gown with a thigh-high slit. She was crowned by Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, who comes from South Africa.

Gray holds a Master Certificate in Music Theory. An adventure junkie, she is an HIV/AIDS advocate and volunteers as a Teacher’s Assistant to the students at an NGO according to the official Miss Universe website.

In the final question round, Gray was asked about the most important lesson she has learnt in life and how would she apply it in her time as Miss Universe.

She said: “I work a lot in the slums of Manila and life there is very poor and sad. I have always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to asses where I could give something and provide something.

“And if I could also teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity would not brew and foster, and children would have a smile on their face.”

Earlier in the competition, Gray was asked about her views on legalisation of marijuana. She said: “I am all for it being used in medical use but not so much for recreational use, because I think if people were to argue what about cigarettes and alcohol… Well, everything is good, but in moderation.”

The competition began with the Top 20, with five semi-finalists being chosen from each region — The Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific, as well as a Wild Card category.

In a newly formed segment, the contestants were made to make an ‘Opening Statement’, giving out a message for the world.

Then, the contestants were narrowed down to the Top 10, leading to the swimsuit and evening gown rounds. They were further streamlined to the Top 5 and were asked interesting questions ranging from issues like MeToo to immigration.

Singer Ne-Yo lent a musical touch and Ponce took a proud walk down the ramp, winning a standing ovation for representing diversity and inclusion in its true sense.

IANS

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All inside pics, videos from Isha Ambani, Anand Piramal Wedding Reception

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ISHA AMBANI RECEPTION

Mumbai, Dec 15: The grand wedding of “Isha Ambani” – daughter of India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani was followed by a reception party that was held on December 14. The grand celebrations took place at Jio Gardens in Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai. 

While the entire Ambani family was looking drop-dead gorgeous, beautiful Isha Ambani and handsome Anand Piramal also looked too cute for words with each other.

Isha was dressed in a gold lehenga and hubby Anand was wearing a black bandhgala and these two certainly make the perfect couple.

Just like the other festivities, this one too had Bollywood celebs, cricketers and politicians in attendance.

Check out all the inside pics and videos from the grand Wedding Reception:

Hema Malini, Kartik Aaryan, Sunny Deol, Esha Deol, Riteish Deshmukh, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Dia Mirza, Ekta Kapoor, Zaheer Khan, among others came to congratulate the newlyweds.

Many other celebs like Jeetendra, Tusshar Kapoor, Boman Irani,  Prasoon Joshi, Adnan Sami, Falguni Pathak, also attended the grand Reception.

Politicians from all the national as well as regional parties were in attendance for the wedding reception Jio Gardens.

Kiran Bedi, Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, senior NC leader Farooq Abdullah, Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, veteran Congress leader and former CM of Madhya Pradesh Digvijaya Singh, junior HRD minister Satya Pal Singh, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam and Tamil Nadu Deputy CM O. Panneerselvam were present at the reception ceremony.

 

Kapil Sibal

Kapil Sibal

 

Just like the pre-wedding festivities which witnessed a musical performance by Beyonce, the wedding reception also had a music concert organised for Isha and Anand along with the other guests.

Singer Javed Ali was heard crooning his song “Maula” from the movie Delhi 6 and Rekha Bhardwaj gave a mesmerising performance too.

Singer Neeti Mohan was heard singing the songs “Awaara Bhawrein” and “Barso Re”. The one who stole the show was music maestro AR Rahman as he sang his beautiful renditions. Sukhwinder Singh and Udit Narayan also performed at the function.

After the extravagant pre-wedding bash in Udaipur, Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal tied knot at the Ambani residence Antilia in Mumbai on December 12.

Top Indian and international personalities, film and sports icons, business tycoons, political heavyweights, celebrities and a host of others attended the “royal wedding”.

Former President Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, P Chidambaram, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu came to wish the newlyweds.

Isha Ambani wedding

Other prominent invitees included Bollywood actors like Rajinikanth, Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Kiran, Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas, Shahid Kapoor with wife Mira Rajput, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty , Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sonam Kapoor with father Anil Kapoor and many more.

Read More: Politicians and Bollywood Celebs attend Isha Ambani, Anand Piramal’s Wedding

Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh were some other celebs at the venue.

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Disney fires ‘Andi Mack’ actor after his arrest on charge of sexual misconduct

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walt disney

Los Angeles, Dec 15: Actor Stoney Westmoreland, a 48-year-old actor who plays the grandfather on Disney Channel sitcom “Andi Mack”, has been fired by the channel following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual liaison with a 13-year-old he met online.

“Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a representative for Disney Channel said in a statement Friday night, reports deadline.com.

“Given the nature of the charges and our responsibility for the welfare of employed minors, we have released him from his recurring role and he will not be returning to work on the series which wraps production on its third season next week,” the statement said.

The age of the alleged victim is the same as the central characters on “Andi Mack” and young actors who play them.

The comedy, created by Terri Minsky, follows 13-year-old Andi Mack and her best friends, Cyrus Goodman and Buffy Driscoll, as they attend middle school.

Westmoreland was arrested on Friday in Utah, where “Andi Mack” films.

According to TV station KSL, court documents state he was arrested for investigation of enticing a minor by Internet or text, a second-degree felony, and four counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony.

An affidavit filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City indicated Westmoreland began communicating online with a user he believed was underage “on an Internet app used for dating and meeting people for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity”.

Police allege Westmoreland asked that person to engage in acts with him and to send nude photographs. Westmoreland also sent pornographic photographs, according to the affidavit.

The Salt Lake City Police Department and FBI Child Exploitation Task Force arrested Westmoreland when he took a ride-sharing service to pick up the person he believed was a teen, the affidavit states.

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