Sunday December 17, 2017

Chicago South Asian Film Festival 2015, celebrating South Asian cinema

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photo credit: archana jain

By Atul Mishra

photo credit: www.csaff.org
photo credit: www.csaff.org

Legacies are not created if they are not carried forward. A film festival is perhaps the best artistic endeavor to carry on the legacy of silver celluloid. Decades after decades, bewildering, subtle and robust masterpieces are made by visionary film makers. Few come out of the shadows, while the rest remain in obscurity. But that would be relating them to the ‘out there’ world of box office, audience and critics.

However, a film festival is beyond all these. It’s an exclusive amalgamation of reels and reals to give good films their due, it’s appreciating and celebrating them with a vision not just to watch the films one after the other but more importantly to showcase it as a learning experience while carrying forward the cinematic legacy, so that more artistic films come out of the shadows. The Chicago South Asian Film Festival which is scheduled this year for September 30 to October 5, is one such brilliant endeavor among many others that celebrate the films from South Asia.

Chicago South Asian Film Festival: An overview

The CSAFF, held in late September in downtown Chicago, screens artistic films and harbors film appreciation through panel discussions in an interactive approach; not to mention the awards in various categories and other extravaganzas like musicals.

This festival invites films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet. Recently films from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have also been invited and showcased at the CSAFF.

CSAFF was founded in 2010 by the Chicago South Asian Arts Council, Inc. It’s an exclusive annual event supported by the Mayor of Chicago, Chicago Film Office, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Consulate General of India, the Consulate General of Pakistan, Chicago Sister Cities: Delhi Committee, Evanston Public Library, the City of Evanston, Tribeca Flashpoint Film School, DePaul University, educational institutions and industry ambassadors. (Source: csaff.org)

The Aim

“The Festival creates an innovative cultural and cinematic experience for Chicagoans and visitors alike. Through the gift of film, the Chicago South Asian Film Festival invites all to share and enjoy the magic of cinema and true cultural exchange. The City is proud to host this extraordinary partnership between the South Asian community and the arts and entertainment industry.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

So the CSAFF is a unique and stark step to create a cultural niche and diversity in Chicago through tie-ups with the South Asian communities and inviting films of that diaspora. It’s a celebration for the greater cultural advancement in Chicago by making film makers, movie buffs and movie goers come together on the same board.

This year’s highlights and few films in nutshell

On the first day i.e. September 30, ‘Kite (Patang)’ directed by Prashant Bhargav will be screened at the Intuit Art Center. This film which is yet to release in India stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui whose performance was highly praised by none other than Roger Ebert, the late great film critic.

kite

The festival catapults with excitement and aroma on October 1. This day is the official opening day of the festival, with the red carpet at Showplace ICON Theater. The Tribeca Flashpoint College on this day will host the screening of nine short films of diverse lingual background, from Malayalam to Punjabi. Winner of the Crystal Bear at 64th Berlin International Film Festival, highly praised ‘Killa’ shall be screened and then a Q/A session will follow with the director of the film Avinash Arun.

DDLJThe festival unfolds over four more days. The major highlights of these four days are- the screening of ‘Margarita With a Straw’ followed by a Q&A session on Skype with Kalki Koelchin on October 2, screening of ‘Haraamkhor (The Wretched)’ along with Q&A with Shweta Tripathi, celebration of the 20th anniversary of ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ at Icon Theater, screening of the recently awarded at Melbourne Film Festival ‘Kaaka Muttai’ on October 4. The final day shall host the screening of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Devi’ — the closing film for the festival which would be later ornamented with a Q/A session with Sharmila Tagore.

(Credit: Archana Jain, Festival Director)

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Exclusive Interview: You’re never out of work, you’re constantly working ‘, says Actress Ragini Khanna

Ragini Khanna's Exclusive interview. The actress will be seen in upcoming movie Ghoomketu with Nawazuddin Siddique.

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Actress Ragini Khanna
Actress Ragini Khanna. Bubble Communications
  • Actress Ragini Khanna who got fame from TV Show ‘Sasural Genda Phool’, speaks about her experience working with Actor Nazwazzudin Siddiqui
  • Being from the family of superstar Govinda, Ragini Khanna shares her thoughts on nepotism in the industry.

‘Yes, it exists for some for many. Eventually your talent and your hard work matters’, Ragini Khanna opines about nepotism.

Q1. Why have you been away from the industry for such a long time?
I’ve honestly not been away for a very long time, I’ve been around. I was just searching for the right script and the right project to come back with. I lost health post doing a lot of television. My priority was to keep my health in checkup work which was allowed by myself. Now I’m absolutely willing to take up work because now I’m in my perfect shape and body.
Q2. Do you think going out of work is common in the industry nowadays?
You’re never out of work, you’re constantly working. It’s just about the how much visible you’re in front of the audience. In fact, I feel being too much into the audiences life is also a bit of an overdose, nowadays, everything needs to be your space. Actors are in everybody’s space. I generally believe in having a certain amount of exclusivity. As a person, I want to breathe an actor in my constant life. I don’t want an actor to be on my social media, my Facebook etc. Agreed an actor needs to be everywhere but when he has the right film or the right TV show. I could be incorrect for many people who think actors should be constantly seen, but for me, it’s more important to be rightly seen. It’s always quality over quantity.
Q3. Being from the family of Superstar Govinda, what are your views n Nepotism in the industry?
Yes, it exists for some for many. Eventually your talent and your hard work matters. Skills, crafts and your passion. For me it’s not about getting launched or making a first impression, it’s about longevity and sustaining and if ur not here for long enough then ur not good enough.
Q4. Being an actor which medium is more effort consuming, TV or Cinema?
TV is extremely physically consuming. you’re bound to lose your physical strength especially if you’re doing your daily soap. Because times constraints are too hectic. It’s extremely painful and exhausting.
Q5. Any plans to come back in the television industry? Of yes, What kind of role you would like to play?
If I get the right show, director and script, why not? I never differentiate between the mediums. For me, it was always content over the medium.
Q6.How was your experience working with one of the finest actors in Bollywood Nawazuddin Siddiqui?
My experience of working with Nawazuddin was phenomenal. He’s a very good actor and a better person to work with. He’s humble, sincere and genuine which is ideal to have all these qualities in your co-actor.
Asking about her upcoming projects, Ragini Khanna told NewsGram,’Really can’t speak much about it right now. I haven’t signed up anything. Nothing is official to speak about the project I’m considering or being considered for.’

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Nawazuddin Disrespecting a Woman to Sell his Book, says Niharika Singh

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Niharika
Nawazuddin disrespecting a woman to sell his book:Niharika Singh

Mumbai, Oct 24: Former beauty queen Niharika Singh is upset that her “Miss Lovely” co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui did not take her consent before sharing their personal equation with the world in his memoir. She says the way he has “painted” her image, it appears he doesn’t mind disrespecting a woman to boost the sales of his book.

In a statement, Niharika said: “Nawaz and I had a brief relationship in 2009 during the making of ‘Miss Lovely’ that lasted less than a few months. So today, when he paints me as a woman in fur enticing him into her bedroom with candles, or desperately calling him and mailing other women on his behalf, I can only laugh.

“He obviously wants to sell his book and it would appear that he is willing to exploit and disrespect a woman just to do so.”

Excerpts from “An Ordinary Life” (Penguin Random House, 240-page), a memoir that Nawazuddin has come out with Rituparna Chatterjee, have revealed that the National Award winning actor has spoken extensively on his personal life and relationships.

One of these is focussed on his bond with Niharika.

He writes: “For the very first time, I went to Niharika’s house… When she opened the door, revealing a glimpse of the house, I was speechless with amazement. A hundred, or so it seemed, little candles flickered beautifully. She wore soft faux fur, looking devastatingly gorgeous, her beauty illuminated even more in the candlelight.

“And I, being the lusty village bumpkin that I am, scooped her up in my arms and headed straight for the bedroom. We made passionate love. And just like that, out of the blue, I began a relationship with Niharika Singh, a relationship which I did not know then would last for almost one and a half years.”

He has also claimed that she sent emails on his behalf to one of his former lovers.

Niharika is livid.

“He has chosen to fabricate stories and manipulate a fleeting relationship. None of what he has written has been with my knowledge, let alone my consent. It is this very aspect of Nawaz that caused me to end my relationship with him in the first place. I have always maintained that he’s a brilliant actor.

“However, I had hoped these acting skills would have remained confined only to the screen. Still, I wish him well.”(IANS)

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Diwali Puja 2017: Everything You Need To Know About Timings, Muhurat

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Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped
Ganesh-Lakshmi are worshipped by devotees on the day of Diwali. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 18, 2017: Diwali is around the corner and everyone is busy with the preparations. On the eve of Diwali, the most important ritual is to perform Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja during the right muhurat (time) and with the right rituals(vidhi).

Here are some of the things you must take care of:

Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja Rituals

It is important that on the day of Diwali, you wake up early in the morning and pay homage to your ancestors and worship gods of your family. It is advised to observe a day-long-fast until the Ganesh-Lakshmi puja is performed in the evening.

Kalash pujan
Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja kalash. Wikimedia

Preparations For Ganesh-Lakshmi Puja

Families can embellish their home and office with Asoka and Marigold flowers, banana and mango leave on the day of the puja. Mangal Kalash covered with unpeeled coconut should be placed at both side of the main entrance of your house.

For puja preparation, place at the right hand side a red cloth on a hoisted platform and put in idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh on it after gracing them with jewellery and clothes. Once this is done, Navgraha gods must be placed on the left hand side on a hoisted platform under white cloth. Prepare carefully nine slots of Akshata (unbroken rice) for placing Navgraha on white cloth and sixteen slots of wheat must prepared for the red cloth. You should perform puja with all the important rituals.

Idols of Ganesh-lakshmi are being worshipped on the eve of Diwali. Wikimedia

Timings (Muhurat) for Lakshmi Puja

Pradosh Kaal muhurat is the time during which puja needs to be performed. It starts after sunset and lasts for about 2 hours and 24 minutes. Goddess Lakshmi will stay in your home if you perform Lakshmi puja in the Pradosh Kaal when it is Sthir Lagna time. Sthir refers to ‘immovable.’  Before you do the puja, make sure you find out Pradosh Kaal (time) for your city or area. It is important that you know the right time to perform the puja.

– prepared by Siddheshwar Sharma. Twitter: @MancSiddheshwar