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Veteran Manipuri filmmaker to return Padma Shri over Citizenship Bill

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Aribam Syam Sharma
Aribam Syam Sharma (Photo Credit- IANS)

Imphal, Feb 4: Fifteen-times National Award winner Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma on Sunday said he will return the Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian award in India – to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

“The Bill is against the interest of the people of North-East and the indigenous people of Manipur. Several people here (Manipur) have opposed the Bill, but it seems they (Central government) are determined to pass it,” Sharma told IANS.

“Padma Shri is an honour. It is one of the highest forms of recognition in India. So, I thought the best way to protest was by returning it,” he said.

The filmmaker, known for films like “Ishanou”, “Imagi Ningthem” and “Leipaklei”, was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2006.

He was the director and actor in the first Manipuri film, “Matamgi Manipur”, released in 1972. He has also won many pretigious medals in national and international film events.

The Bill that has led to widespread protests in north-eastern states was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8.

The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

If this happens, people in the region say they will be overwhelmed by “outsiders”.

Last month, S. Prakash, Secretary of the North East Students Organisation (NESO), who led a NESO team to meet Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, had said the Chief Minister assured them that the Manipur government would oppose the Bill unless there was a clause to protect the indigenous people in the region.

“The Chief Minister is asking just for a clause. They should oppose the Bill and not ask for an addition or a comma. We are not happy with the approach of Biren and his party,” said the octogenarian filmmaker.

“There is no protection for people of the valley (in Manipur). If more people will come, then they (indigenous people) will vanish in the valley or hills. What’s the point of having culture if there are no indigenous people? Manipuris’ future will be all diluted. Northeast is becoming a dumping ground,” he added.

In 2001, prominent Manipuri theatre personality Ratan Thiyam returned his Padma Shri blaming the Centre for playing a “dubious role” regarding the extension of the ceasefire with the Naga rebels.

IANS

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Zarina Wahab to play Modi’s mother in biopic

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Zarina Wahab

Mumbai, Feb 16: Veteran actress Zarina Wahab will be seen playing the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi in the upcoming biopic “PM Narendra Modi”. She says it’s special.

“It’s an honour to play the role of the mother of Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is going to be one of the most special roles I have ever played. I hope the audience like it,” Zarina said in a statement.

Television actress Barkha Bisht Sengupta will be playing Modi’s wife Jashodaben in the film. She had a great experience shooting for the film, Bisht said.

“I am grateful to Sandip Ssingh (producer) for giving me an opportunity to be a part of such an amazing film. I had a great experience working with him earlier in ‘Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela’ and I know playing Jashodaben is going to be interesting too,” Barkha said.

The film also stars Manoj Joshi (as BJP chief Amit Shah), Prashant Narayanan, Boman Irani, Darshan Kumar, Akshat R. Saluja, Anjan Shrivastav, Rajendra Gupta and Yatin Karyekar. Actor Vivek Anand Oberoi will be playing the title role of Modi.

“These two characters were one of the most crucial ones in the film. I am glad that Zarinaji agreed on doing it as no one other than her could have done a better job. Barkha is playing his wife and she is doing a great job,” Producer Sandip Ssingh said.

“PM Narendra Modi”, the biopic will discover the journey of Narendra Damodardas Modi from his humble beginning to his years as Gujarat Chief Minister onto his landmark win at the 2014 general election, finally becoming the 14th Prime Minister of India.

It is being directed by National Award-winner Omung Kumar. The biopic will be shot extensively in Gujarat and across locations within the country.

IANS

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How come Jhansi Ki Rani can dance but not Rani Padmavati?

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Manikarnika Padmaavat

New Delhi, Feb 16: Director Krish Jagarlamudi is done with the bickering with Kangana Ranaut.

“I’ve had my say. No more. If she wants to believe she directed all of ‘Manikarnika’, so be it. Everyone knows the truth,” asserts Krish and vows to not get into any more war of words with the film’s aggressive leading lady and co-director.

However, one major issue that needs to be addressed is the singing and dancing that the Queen of Jhansi is seen indulging in with her subjects. In an elaborate song and dance sequence, Rani Laxmibai embarrasses the hell out of her husband, the King of Jhansi (played by Jisshu Sengupta) by dancing with the people of their state in a pregnant condition.

A source very close to the film says that the song and dance during times of raging battles was Kangana’s idea.

“Ek toh Rani, opoopar se garbhbati (firstly a queen and above it, pregnant). How can she be shown dancing in that unbecoming fashion? Krish was totally against the idea. The song-and-dance was added on by Kangana after Krish left,” the source says.

Significantly, when another Queen, Padmavati in an epic film in January 2018, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Padmaavat”, got up from her throne to take to the dance floor with her ladies-in-waiting, all hell had broken loose.

Deepika’s Rani Padmaavati was shown dancing to the Ghoomar song in the most graceful and queenly manner in a closed environment with the women from her durbar.

Bhansali said: “We wanted the Ghoomar song and dance to retain its purity since this was being performed by Rani Padmavati. Every step and every move in the dance form celebrates the grace of royalty.

“This is our dance tribute to the brave Rajput women of Rajasthan. I heard how little children performing the Ghoomar dance at a school in India were stopped.

“I’d like to tell those disruptive elements that you can’t stop something as beautiful and innocent as this from reaching out to the hearts of people across the world.”

Bhansali’s heart swells with pride to see Ghoomar reaching into the hearts and feet of American kids.

Says the director: “What better illustration of Prime Minster Narendra Modiji’s Make In India policy? I feel our culture is so rich and varied. We’ve so much to give the West. Why not take our culture and art forms to the West rather than continuously borrow their lifestyle and culture?”

All hell had broken lose with fringe groups demanding that the song-and-dance be removed or else they would cut off Deepika’s nose.

Says a source very close to the “Padmaavat” team: “When we showed Deepika dancing in the Queen’s inner chambers, we had to digitally cover Deepika’s midriff before the censor board allowed the Ghoomar song.

“Now in ‘Manikarnika’, again about a Queen, Kangana’s Rani Laxmibai jumps off her seat and breaks into a street-side jig with the commoners. That was okay? What is good enough for Rani Laxmbai is not befitting for Rani Padmavati? Please figure out that one.”

When pressed for a response, Krish said: “I don’t know where the singing and dancing came from. It wasn’t there when I was directing ‘Manikarnika’.”

The question remains: Why was it not right for Rani Padmavati to dance when everyone seems okay with the Rani Of Jhansi shaking a leg, midriff forgotten?

IANS

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Michael Jackson cheated death on 9/11 attack

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Michael Jackson 9/11 attack

London, Feb 15: Late pop legend Michael Jackson escaped death during the terrorist attack in the US in 2001.

Jackson could have been one of the victims of the 9/11 attack in which almost 3,000 people were killed when terrorists crashed planes into the Twin Towers. The singer overslept that day and missed his appointment which was scheduled to take place in the Towers, reports mirror.co.uk.

“Thankfully, none of us had had a clue that Michael was due at a meeting that morning at the top of one of the Twin Towers,” the “Billie Jean” singer’s brother Jermaine Jackson wrote in his biography titled “You Are Not Alone: Michael: Through a Brother’s Eyes”.

It is also written in the biography that on the night of the attack, the King of Pop overslept after staying up late to talk to his mother Katherine.

“‘Mother, I’m okay, thanks to you,’ he told her. ‘You kept me up talking so late that I overslept and missed my appointment.'”

Despite surviving one of the world’s biggest terrorist attacks, Jackson died eight years later after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 50.

IANS

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