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“Cinema for All, All for Cinema” : City of Joy Celebrates 22nd ‘Kolkata International Film Festival’

This year the Film Festival has scheduled to screen 156 masterpieces in 20 categories and the festival is covering 65 countries

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22nd Kolkata International Film Festival at Nandan in Kolkata, NewsGram

Kolkata, November 14, 2016: As the month of November brings the first chill in the air of the “city of joy”- Kolkata, the city kicks off its winter-long festivities with the grand celebration of cinema. 2016 November sees the 22nd installment of the Kolkata International Film Festival- one of the grandest celebrations of Kolkata, with its very own glamour.

The unmistakable fervor in the crowds thronging in ‘Nandan’- the West Bengal Film Centre, the zeal of the cinephiles, the cheerfulness in the cultural haven of Kolkata (Nandan), the chaos of the movie-buffs jostling through the queue, the paparazzi rushing to catch a glimpse of the celebrities; are the flavors of the festival!

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 Schedules of the Screenings and the Events:-

As the celebration gets bigger every year, the 22nd edition promises a lot more fun and amazement than the last time. This year the Film Festival has scheduled to screen 156 masterpieces by 156 maestros. The festival is covering 65 countries and has 20 categories. There are 6 awards and the films are scheduled to be screened throughout Kolkata in 13 venues.

Apart from the country in focus- China and the regional focus for Indian cinema- Marathi cinema, the festival includes other categories like-

  • International Competition: Women directors’ films
  • International Competition: Innovations in moving images,
  • Centenary Tribute,
  • Asian select for NETPAC Award,
  • Special Tribute,
  • Literature and Cinema,
  • National Competition for Short Films and Documentaries,
  • Special Screening of Catherine Corsini,
  • Great Master in focus- Kenji Mizoguchi,
  • Cinema International,
  • Children’s Screening etcetera.

The Chairperson of the juries in the International Competition for Women Directors’ Films and the competition for ‘Innovation in Moving Images’ are- Marion Hansel, and Dan Wolman respectively.

Film Festival
A still from the movie ‘Upstream’ by Marion Hansel. Twitter

Among all the venues, viewing the fascinating selections of the Film Festival, Nandan holds the foremost prominence and importance.

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Programs-

12th November was the official beginning of the screenings and some of the best ones that were viewed include- To Kill a Mockingbird by Robert Muligan in Centenary Tribute, Upstream by Marion Hansel in Special Tribute, Zoology by Ivan Tverdovsky in International Competition for Innovations in Moving Images and Yesterday Once More by Yao Tingting in the International Competition for Women Directors’ Films.

China, being the country in focus was scheduled to hold a press-conference with the panel including the director and actor of the movie Yesterday Once More. The press meet held a heated panel discussion on topics regarding Indo-china projects, China’s views on the Indian Cinema, and the experiences of the artists in the cultural meet of the Film Festival.

Film Festival
Press Conference with the Chinese Panel. (Antara Kumar/ NewsGram)

Apart from the panel discussion with China, the festival organized a “Cinema Adda” (chat session on cinema) and an exhibition on the film Nayak that starred the legendary Uttam Kumar.

On 13th, the audience viewed documentaries by the regional artists, amazing films like- It’s only the end of the world by Xavier Dolan and An Israeli Love Story by Dan Wolman. Both the films were from the category of International Cinema. A Special Tribute screening on 13th was- The Unknown Girl by Luc Dardenne.

Film Festival
Director Dan Wolman. Wikimedia

A major attraction of 13th screenings included the director’s message. Israeli director Dan Wolman, Chairperson of the International Competition for Innovations in Moving Images, was present in the Film Festival and talked about the Israeli Films and enthralled the audience with the history of his film An Israeli Love Story which is based on a true story.

The evening saw another chat session regarding the discussion- Multiplex and the Present Condition of the Regional Films. Celebrities that were present included famous Bengali director Goutam Ghosh, actor Parambrata Chatterjee, and Rahul Banerjee and so on.

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With all its pomp and glory the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival is all set to make the cinephiles laugh, cry, scream, gasp, wonder and sing together through the screenings of the exquisite creations by the excellent artists. It truly depicts the mood and purpose of the festival that is of the people, by the people and for the people!

The slogan rhythms perfectly-

                                         “Cinema for all, all for cinema”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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