Mumbai, May 18, 2017: Irrfan Khan starrer “Hindi Medium” has been declared tax-free by the government of Maharastra, the film’s producer said on Thursday.
“I would like to thank Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for announcing our film ‘Hindi Medium’ as tax-free in the state. The film has already got a tax exemption in Gujarat. We are very glad to share the news,” producer Bhushan Bhushan told media here during a special screening of the film.
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Actor Irrfan Khan, who was also present at the screening, said: “This is a great step, more people will watch the movie as it is tax-free now. The film addresses a social issue and it is a family entertainer. So it needs to reach a wider audience. I hope the film gets tax exemption in other states as well.”
The screening was attended by celebrities like Imtiaz Ali, Sushant Singh Rajput, Swara Bhaskar, Sonal Chawla, Deepak Dobriyal, among others.
At a time of tepid job growth and continuing income disparities, the major challenge is to make the youth of the country entrepreneurial and not job seekers, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.
“Disparities continue to remain in India and so there is a need for inclusive growth… there is the need to take care of the suppressed, oppressed and depressed,” Venkaiah Naidu said at the Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust’s (BYST) silver jubilee celebrations here with Britain’s Prince Charles as the chief guest.
“The challenge for us is to make the youth entrepreneurial, and not become job seekers,” Venkaiah Naidu said pointing to the NDA government’s various initiatives to encourage youth enterprises like Startup India, Standup India and the Mudra financing scheme for underprivileged sections.
Modelled on Prince Charles’ Trust for business startups, BYST, founded by Lakshmi Venkatesan, daughter of former President R. Venkatraman, is engaged in building rural entrepreneurship — “grampreneurs” — as also enterprise among under-privileged sections, which includes business mentoring. The current BYST chairman is Bajaj Group chief, Rahul Bajaj.
“Without mentoring, it would be very difficult to set up startups, with all the business, marketing and other vital issues involved in the first two-three years,” Prince Charles said in his address at the International Mentoring Summit organized by BYST to mark its 25 years.
“What amazes me are the sheer number of jobs these young entrepreneurs had created. The aim of such a project should be to create a virtual cycle of creating entrepreneurs who can then invest in the future of business,” Charles said referring to his trust.
BYST was officially launched in 1992 by Prince Charles and expanded its operations to six major regions of India.
Out of these six regions, four — Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad — run the urban programme while two regions — Haryana and Maharashtra — run the rural programme.(IANS)
8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.
Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.
This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.
Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.
Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.
“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.
In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.
Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.
But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.
‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.
Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.
“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.
Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.
“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.
Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.
With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.
There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.
“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.
The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.
“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.
“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.
For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.
“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.
Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.
Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.
“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”
The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.
In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.
Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.
She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”
But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.
(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at email@example.com)
We should name and shame those who sexually harass others, actress Vidya Balan said on Friday.
After Big B, actress Vidya Balan speaks against women harassment
“I think people who have suffered this only know what exactly does it feel like when you’re really in an uncomfortable situation. When someone just rubs or touches you with his hand, sometimes I get really angry. So I think in that sense, there are a lot of degrees in sexual harassment.
“I am very glad that people are talking about it now. Women are talking about it and they should talk about it because it is not their fault. We should name and shame those who are sexually harassing others, undoubtedly,” she told media persons here during a promotional programme for her upcoming “Tumhari Sulu”.
After the Harvey Weinstein controversy led to the disclosure of sexual harassment cases in Hollywood, prominent actors such as Irrfan Khan and Richa Chadha have opened up about the casting couch in the Hindi film industry.
Vidya, along with entire “Tumhari Sulu” team including Neha Dhupia and RJ Malishka, was attending the launch of PVR Big Screen PXL here.
The upcoming slice of life drama recently released a rehashed version of “Mr.India” song “Hawa Hawai”, which originally featured Sridevi.
Vidya said that Sridevi liked the song. “After watching the song, Sridevi told me, she found me very cute in the song and she found the song lovely, especially the way we did it… (was) very happy with it. I don’t want to say much, but it would be better if you ask her because I can only tell you this much.”
She also said that the response to the movie has been great but she finds it difficult to talk about compliments which she got from the fraternity.
“I always had a problem with this thing.. I am little hesitant to express someone’s words. Someone sent me a message or told me personally… hopefully quite a few people will turn up at the screening, it would be better if you asked them but so far the response has been good,” she said.
The “Tumhari Sulu” teaser and the trailer has set the tone right for the film and with back to back song releases, the movie is getting much talked about.
“‘Hawa Hawai’ has got a fantastic response and so has the ‘Ban Ja Tu Meri Rani’ song. And today we have released one more song, ‘Manva Likes To Fly’. I love that song because all of us want to fly on wings of our hearts. So far the response has been fabulous.
“There is a lot of excitement for the film because we got a fabulous response for the teaser and then we got an even better response for the trailer. And now you watch the film which is even better. We’re excited and promoting the film like anything and still, we are not tired at all.”
Vidya also said that she relates a lot to her “Tumhari Sulu” character, since, as an actress, she can’t participate in radio contests.
“I can’t call to participate in radio contests because people know me and they would never give me a gift. Sometimes I do feel like calling as I’d have really interesting and mad answers, so yeah, at times I do feel like calling and participating in the contests.”
About the event, Vidya Balan said: “I am a PVR Loyalist; I watch most of my films at PVR. There sound and picture quality is fabulous, it is even better now than what it is normally. I am sure it will be an extremely pleasurable experience for anyone watching films here.”
“Tumhari Sulu” starring Vidya Balan is directed by Suresh Triveni and produced under the banners of T-Series and Ellipsis Entertainment releases worldwide on November 17.(IANS)