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How well known is Bollywood in the land of Hollywood?

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Photo: http://blogtobollywood.com

By Sugandha Rawal

Be it using phrases in conversations, having songs for almost any situation or using the book of Hindi cinema to find solutions to real life problems — as a Bollywood junkie I decided to go on a quest to find trail of Indian showbiz in this land of Hollywood.

My findings? Some blank stares, questions like “Is it big like Hollywood?” and a Raj Kapoor fan humming a song from one of his classic movies.

At a time when American showbiz has opened its doors to Indian actors like never before — whether it is Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Anupam Kher or divas like Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone, who have landed plum projects like “Baywatch” and “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”, respectively — the only query that popped into my mind as I set my foot here was to know how well foreign audience know Bollywood.

With a nip in the air, the walk towards Universal CityWalk from my hotel here seemed to be a scene direct out of a romantic Hindi movie with lush surroundings, flowers blooming around each corner and music playing in the background.

Snapping out of my filmy mode, I met a young 20-something Sheri Tittrich. She was clueless about Hindi cinema, King of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan or even Salman Khan.

“I don’t know but would be interested to know more about it,” she said, asking this IANS correspondent “Is it big like Hollywood?”

Mary from Alabama also asked, “Do they have stars like here?”

My next target was a group of four women, followed by another one, who requested anonymity. None of them was acquainted with Hindi cinema. Another blow to my Bollywood obsession.

But there was hope in Kesia Williams, who said: “I have never heard about it and the reason I think is the language barrier. It is not like I don’t want to see it. When I think of Hindi films, beautiful outfits, traditional ladies, Indian dresses, dancing shows come in my mind. I have seen some TV shows here talk about it”.

To add to it, Alison Silcoff from Vancouver, Canada, jumped with the mention of Bollywood, and said: “Ya, I know about Hollywood of India.”

Partially satisfied with the findings, I decided to return to my hotel. But as Shah Rukh famously said in “Om Shanti Om” — ‘Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost’.

My cab driver from Ukraine not only turned out to be a Bollywood buff but a fan of late Indian cinematic icon Raj Kapoor. He dropped me at the hotel porch humming a song from one of the icon’s films, reminding me of the reach of Hindi cinema in a foreign land.

And he gave me a $2 discount. A perfect end to my search for Bolly in Holly. (IANS)

 

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Judge Order Government Find Separated Children at US-Mexico Border

U.S. government had started implementing its policy of separating families months before it was announced “a very significant event.

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FILE - Christian, from Honduras, recounts his separation from his child at the border during a news conference at the Annunciation House,in El Paso, Texas, June 25, 2018. VOA

A U.S. judge Thursday appeared open to ordering the government to find potentially thousands of additional children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border by the Trump administration, which could greatly expand the scope of a lawsuit challenging the separations.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego called a January report by an internal government watchdog that found the U.S. government had started implementing its policy of separating families months before it was announced “a very significant event.”

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a report published earlier this year that the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of the class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year.

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Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, July 17, 2018. Sabraw, who ordered children be reunited with their families after being separated at the US-Mexico border, may order the government to expand the scope of the reunifications. VOA

ACLU wants all families reunited

In response to the lawsuit, Sabraw ordered the families identified through a court process to be reunited with their children.

The ACLU has petitioned the judge to expand the class to force the government to do a full accounting of any additional separated children.

The premise of the class action lawsuit, Sabraw said, was the “overarching allegation of the unlawful separation” of families by the Trump administration.

“When there’s an allegation of wrong on this scale, one of the most fundamental obligations of law is to determine the scope of the wrong,” he said. “It is important to recognize we are talking about human beings.”

The administration of President Donald Trump implemented a “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers, even those traveling with their children, leading to a wave of separations last year. The policy sparked outrage when it became public, and the backlash led Trump to sign an executive order reversing course June 20, 2018.

In light of the Inspector General’s findings, as well as investigative reporting, Sabraw said, the current June 26, 2018, cut-off date for cases to be part of the lawsuit becomes “very arbitrary.”

‘Other galaxy of a task’

Department of Justice attorney Scott Stewart argued that the ACLU’s request to expand the class would blow the case into an “other galaxy of a task.” The government has argued in court papers that it is too labor intensive to find children who were separated and subsequently released to sponsors before the court order last year.

While most of the outrage last year focused on the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy, the government has continued to separate families on a smaller scale.

ALSO READ: Trump’s Idea to Siphon Money for Border Wall Meets Resistance

In a filing Wednesday, the government said it had separated 245 children at the border between June 26, 2018, and Feb. 5, 2019. The government said 92 percent of these children were separated because of “parent criminality, prosecution, gang affiliation, or other law enforcement purpose.”

Advocates say there is little transparency about the criteria and evidence used to justify ongoing separations. (VOA)