Monday October 23, 2017

10 Heads Festival, one of India’s Family-Friendly Events in Delhi likely to be rescheduled for February

The three-day festival will now be held at the same venue from February 3, 2017

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Representational picture.Flickr

New Delhi, October 21, 2016: 10 Heads Festival, one of India’s few family-friendly events, was scheduled to be held at PSOI, Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri here on October 21-23.

The fest brings together interactive and curated experiences across ten key interest areas ranging from music and entertainment, food and drinks, fashion and beauty, art and culture, magic and a kids zone.

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The three-day festival will now be held at the same venue from February 3.

The organisers Trifecta Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. made the announcement on Friday.

“Keeping in mind the current security situation, also because 10 Heads Festival has its venue in the high-profile diplomatic area of the capital, we took the decision to move the dates forward,” Anshuman Ghulati, Founder-Director, Trifecta Entertainment Pvt Ltd, said in a statement.

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He added: “Our chief concern here is the safety of our patrons and participants.”

The first edition of the fest was held in Gurgaon. It saw 40,000+ attendees from all age groups, making for a wholesome family experience. (IANS)

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Indian Film Festival to be hosted by Poland in October 2017

This festival will be organized from 7th - 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow

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Poland, Indian Film Festival
Poland to Host Indian Film Festival. Pixabay
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films which have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali
  • The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium
  • Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts 

Warsaw (Poland), August 23, 2017: Lately Film festivals have turned into a huge phenomenon across the world in over the last 50 years; they are big celebrated events now that increase the reputation of the cities as well in which they are being organized. Poland will host the Indian Film Festival, the Indian film festival will commence in October 2017. The best part is that India has completed 71 years of Independence in the same year this festival will be organized. A Curtain Raiser Press Conference occurred in order to make the official announcement of the 1st ever Indian Film Festival to happen in Poland. It will be organized from 7th – 10th October 2017 in Warsaw & Krakow.

The Indian Film Festival Poland will show path breaking Indian films, the films have been jointly curated by Mr. R C Dalal and Captain Rahul Bali.  The Indian Film Festival Poland will endorse the art and culture between the two countries- India & Poland using cinema as a medium. It will showcase some fine Indian movies. Indian cinema is known for its vibrant, rich culture and the emotions expressed in Indian movies like love, friendship, brotherhood, family values etc. Indian movies are incomplete without music, songs and some dancing. The movies which spread joy amongst all will be on display. The audience in Poland will have a brilliant opportunity to witness some of the greatest works of art by acclaimed Indian directors. Festivals like these can pave a way for strengthening the bond of friendship between the two countries.

ALSO READ: Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF) Kicks off in Srinagar, Aims to Promote Film Culture

Ajay Bisaria, H.E. the Ambassador of India to Poland said,” The Indian Film Festival in Poland will be devoted to the appreciation of cinema, art, and culture by showcasing Indian films for Polish audiences and opening new avenues of bilateral cooperation between our countries. This celebration of cinema will be part of a wider Festival of India that we hope will bring a gourmet selection of India’s cultural offerings to our Polish friends, for a whole year.”

Captain Rahul Bali, Co-Founder & Curator of Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) also spoke on the occasion, “This festival shall be an annual event which shall feature a rich mix of programmes designed to build and support the growing interest of the Indian film industry in Poland.”  8 path breaking films from India will be shown this year and some award winning directors & actors will grace the event from India and Polish Film Industry.”

On 7th October 2017, the opening ceremony of the Festival will take place in Warsaw at Kino Teka with a lot of joy and zeal. On 10th October 2017, the closing ceremony will take place in Krakow. Some fun and entertaining events are also planned during the Day 4 of the festival like Indo – Bollywood Dance Performances by Polish Dancers, Indian Food Festival, Polish Musical concerts, etc.

“We look forward to introducing this beautiful country which has largely remained unexplored till now to the ever growing Indian Film Industry & seek to develop a lot of synergy in them,” said RC Dalal, Co-Founder & Curator IFFW.

The Indian Film Festival is put together by Indian Film Festivals Worldwide (IFFW) with the sponsors are The Embassy of India in Poland, The Polish Institute New Delhi, Indo Polish Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Indian Association of Poland & India International Foundation.


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 Prumsodun Ok: Cambodian-American Born to Refugee Parents wanted to be “apsara” Dancer from Age 4

Prumsodun Ok, a Cambodian-American born to refugee parents, is the founder of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, the country’s first gay dance company

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Prumsodun Ok stands in the middle of a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Prumsodun Ok stands in the middle of a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 19, 2016. (Courtesy of Lim Sokchanlina). VOA
  • Prumsodun Ok is the founder of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, the country’s first gay dance company
  • The troupe’s passion for classical Khmer dance has not gone unnoticed
  • Ok has learned “that service is not just about being comfortable: those who are comfortable are not always necessarily right”

Washington, July 1, 2017: Prumsodun Ok, a Cambodian-American born to refugee parents, knew he wanted to be an “apsara” dancer from the age of 4, when he was entranced by a performance captured on one of his family’s home movies.

No matter that the dance dated back to the seventh century, or that traditionally apsaras were beautiful, heaven-born females, destined to entertain gods and kings at the Angkor temples in the ancient Khmer Empire, modern-day Cambodia. Ok focused on the stylized grace of the dancing and thought little about the fact that the dancers were women, because he was a kid and he had a dream.

But he put that on hold for 12 years.

Growing up in Long Beach, California, home to 20,000 Khmer immigrants, Ok was bullied because he was “different.” He recalls being branded as gay and “kteu” — Thai or Cambodian slang for someone who is born male but acts or looks female — when he was 5. That name calling led him to self-identify as gay in his teens.

“I don’t know when I knew,” Ok said about realizing that he was gay, “but I can say that I only became comfortable in my latter years of high school. This is me, this is who I am, and no one can change that or take that away from me.”

That was about the time when, after years of watching his younger sister practice traditional Khmer dances, that he found the courage to approach her dance master.

A rising star among dance students

“I really love dance. Can you please teach me?” Ok pleaded, and Sophiline Cheam Shapiro agreed. Teenager Ok quickly became a rising star at her Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach, which is affiliated with an arts ensemble in Cambodia.

The school, founded by Shapiro, teaches traditional arts to Cambodian-Americans. Shapiro was one of the first graduates from Phnom Penh’s School of Fine Arts after the fall of the Pol Pot regime and is revered as one of Cambodia’s leading contemporary dance choreographers.

In 2015, Ok, now 30, moved to Cambodia and established Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, the country’s first gay dance company. Male dancers ages 18 to 24 fill roles traditionally performed by women. The troupe stages Khmer classical dances as well as new works that Ok creates.

“What I’m doing is drawing from our traditions and using these traditions in ways that people could never imagine to create a more inclusive and compassionate and just Cambodia,” he said.

Coming from “a long tradition of people who are in the service of society … of humanity,” Ok said he has learned “that service is not just about being comfortable: those who are comfortable are not always necessarily right.”

ALSO READExpressing Narratives of Panchatantra through Dance in Chennai to teach Lessons of Life

Cambodian society’s tolerance

Srun Srorn, 36, the founder of CamASEAN and a human rights activist, told VOA Khmer that while the majority of LGBTQ Cambodians are marginalized and discriminated against, society is more tolerant of their role in the arts.

Ok’s group “is more professional, so I think it will bring the positive [response] from the community,” Srorn said. “So far, this part of the art — performing — is not getting any negative reaction from the public.

Ok says his role as a teacher of dance goes beyond the classroom.

“Getting them to learn how to see, getting them to have the courage to ask questions, getting them to have the bravery to explore things on their own,” he said. “Those are the most essential things that a teacher of any art form, or discipline or medium, needs to inspire in their students.”

Choung Veasna, 19, of Phnom Penh, says Ok gave him confidence: “I’ve learned from my teacher that no matter what people say about you, it doesn’t matter.”

Tes Sokhon, 24, from Pailin province, the oldest dancer in the group, says his teacher is inspiring.

“He’s more than my idol,” Sokhon said. “He’s the first teacher to train me in classical dance. He provides us with income and makes our lives better.”

‘Combination of beauty and tradition’

The troupe’s passion for classical Khmer dance has not gone unnoticed.

Craig Dodge, director of sales and marketing at Phare, the Cambodian Circus performance troupe in Siem Reap, said: “When I watched the video on their homepage and heard the young men talk about what performing has meant to them, their identity and their self-esteem, it made me cry.”

Dodge worked with Ok to make the troupe’s Siem Reap debut in Cambodia’s artistic center a reality, by tapping into the city’s strong sense of community, which he describes as “the perfect place for nurturing and presenting traditional and new Cambodian creative expression.”

Resident Darryl Collins, an art historian, is providing the venue without charge because “the combination of beautiful and traditional 100-year-old Khmer houses with an elegant contemporary form of classical dance seemed an exciting collaboration.”

Other Siem Reap businesses are pitching in with free accommodations, transportation, security and are helping stage the performances July 14 and 15.

Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA is scheduled to perform three dances: PRUM x POP, ranging from Khmer classical dance to pop music; Beloved, which explores a 13th century Khmer king’s love for his land; and Robam Santhyea Vehea, a tale of love and marriage of two men.

Ok hopes an open-minded audience will see the performance as a measure of how LGBTQ people can create art in their communities.

“I want the company to be a model for compassion, for bravery, for beauty,” he said. (VOA)

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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