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Indian Cinema Spreads Its Roots To Australia Through IIFM

Composers Sachin-Jigar will perform the opening act at the awards night of the fest -- where "Padmaavat" and "Sanju" are leading the nomination pack -- on August 12. They are excited as it's the first time they will perform in Australia.

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Indian Film Festival Melbourne
IFFM brings diverse, inclusive Indian cinema to Australia.
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Diversity and inclusion, which have taken centrestage in talks surrounding the global entertainment industry, are being represented prominently in the line-up of the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) 2018, which gets underway here on Friday.

With Tabrez Noorani’s “Love Sonia” — on the issue of sex trafficking — as the opening film, the ninth edition of the gala will also screen the box office hit “Sanju”, the issue-based and sensitive “Hichki”, as well as widely acclaimed films like “Village Rockstars”, “Nude”, “Balekempa” and “Gali Guleiyan”.

Australia is a key foreign market for Indian cinema, given that Indiansmake one of the largest migrant community in the country.

Even the non-diaspora population is taking a growing interest in what Indian movies have to offer, says IFFM Director Mitu Bhowmick Lange.

Hichki
One of the movies that will be featured is, Rani Mukherjee’s ‘Hichki’. Flickr

Inclusion is the theme of the film festival, where a cohesive mix of commercial Hindi films, regional movies and indie dramas will be screened till August 22 here.

Lange told IANS: “Inclusion is an all-encompassing, wonderful theme which touches upon all — disabled, gender, sexuality or race. There has been a lot of positive awareness.

“I feel that probably our Indian entertainment industry is the most inclusive industry where your educational background, your caste, creed, race doesn’t really matter as long as you get the work done.”

Still, she feels the global showbiz world has a long way to go as far as being inclusive of the differently abled is concerned. As part of the fest, Rani Mukerji-starrer “Hichki” — a film about a woman with Tourette’s Syndrome — will be shown.

The actress will be feted by the Victorian Government, which has been supporting the festival since its third edition.

“The government has embraced the festival. It’s a very tight partnership and that’s the Victorian government’s way of engaging with India — of showing how important India is to Australia and to the Victorian government,” Lange said.

Sanju
Directed by Raj Kumar Hirani, will be present during the screening. Flickr

Government officials will also be present at the Federation Square here on August 11, when Rani will hoist the Indian flag ahead of the Independence Day.

Some of the other celebrities who will be a part of the fest include Rajkumar Hirani, Vicky Kaushal, Simi Garewal, Nikhhil Advani, Richa Chadha, Ali Fazal, Dhanush, Manoj Bajpayee, Malaika Arora, Freida Pinto and Sachin-Jigar.

Advani is a jury member, and is visiting the fest for the third time.

“To see Indian films being celebrated and being recognised majorly in the land Down Under for me as a filmmaker is very rewarding,” Advani said.

For Vicky, it’s his maiden time in Melbourne and he is looking forward to interacting with cinema lovers here.

Composers Sachin-Jigar will perform the opening act at the awards night of the fest — where “Padmaavat” and “Sanju” are leading the nomination pack — on August 12. They are excited as it’s the first time they will perform in Australia.

Also Read: Kuala Lumpur To Host The Premiere of ‘Mughal-e-Azam: The Musical’

“We will be performing in two sets. The first will comprise our hit songs, and the second will be about patriotic numbers,” the composers behind the tunes of “Gold”, told IANS.

One day will be dedicated to panel discussions, while Simi will do a special tribute to late actor Shashi Kapoor, with whom she featured in the 1972 film “Siddhartha”. The film will be shown too. (IANS)

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)