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Maz Jobrani likes to make people laugh.
The Iranian-American knew early in life that he wanted to become an actor or comedian. His path to stardom was a long journey. His immigrant story is not unusual: He was born in Iran’s capital, Tehran but grew up in America.
Jobrani came to the U.S when he was 6 years old, just before the Iranian revolution in 1979. He and his parents moved to California where he attended school. Jobrani says he grew up around a lot of people that made him laugh. His introduction to acting was an audition for a school play.
“And when I was 12, I ended up trying out for the school play and I fell in love with being on stage.” Jobrani says he had many friends who were funnier than he, adding to his interest in being a comedian.
“A lot of my friends were the funny people in school. I have friends from when I grew up that were funnier than I was!”
Jobrani tried a conventional career path, studying political science in college and even starting a Ph.D. program at UCLA. But, the comedy of Eddie Murphy was a more powerful influence.
“The reason I’m a comedian, is because I’m a fan of comedy. I think what inspired that was Eddie Murphy because back then I use to love watching comedy and I believe I discovered Eddie Murphy probably by watching Saturday night live and from there I just wanted to be like Eddie Murphy.’
Now as a full-time comedian, Maz Jobrani uses comedy to bridge the cultural divide caused by Islamic extremism. His performances both ridicule that extremism and challenge American stereotypes of Muslims.
In the movie “Jimmy Vestvood: Amerikan Hero,” Jobrani starred as the title character. Jobrani co-wrote and co-produced the indie comedy. He says the film playfully makes fun of American preconceptions of the Middle East.
“You know most people when they see people of Middle Eastern on film and television in America they tend to see people in the news burning flags and protesting and being anti-American. We wanted to make a movie about a guy who loves America. Who wins the green card lottery to come to America from Iran. Who wants to be a cop like his hero Steven McQueen was back in the day when he use to watch Steven McQueen movies, but once he comes to America, he realizes that America of the 21st century doesn’t embrace immigrants the way he thought they would and the only job he can find is working as a security guard in a Persian grocery store and from there he has to go on to save the world.”
Jobrani can turn that which frightens him into something funny. For example, the comedian was alarmed when he first heard the phrase “axis of evil.” President George Bush used the term to describe Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
But he soon realized it could also make a great name for a series of shows. So, in 2005, the ‘Axis of Evil Comedy’ Tour came to be. The shows featured Jobrani and three other comedians of Middle Eastern descent. The group first appeared on the American television channel, Comedy Central. Jobrani says it is always a good feeling when people laugh at your jokes.
“It’s a good feeling when people laugh at your jokes and your stories is a good feeling because then you realize that it’s working, it’s relating. The worst feeling is when you’re doing standup and for whatever reason there is a crowd that doesn’t relate to you. Those are the nights when you think to yourself, “Wow, I can’t wait to get off the stage.” But when they get you it’s a great feeling and it’s probably one of the reasons you stay up there. It’s this drug that keeps feeding you. It’s kind of like what I would assume surfing would be because every laugh is like a wave. You want to catch that wave and ride it out until the next life comes. So whether it’s doing stand-up comedy or putting on a movie, you’re goal as a comedian is to make people laugh.”
Life as a comedian has been good for Maz Jobrani. He has appeared in numerous films and television shows. He has toured much of the world and performed for the King of Jordan.
Maz Jobrani also has a bestselling book, ‘I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV.” It tells the story about his life in a very funny way. (VOA)
The Centre will launch a pilot project on the use of indigenously manufactured drones for delivering medicines in the undulating landscape of Jammu and surrounding areas from Saturday with a focus on vaccines delivery initially. "This is going to be a pilot project for the area. The drone is developed and manufactured entirely by our scientists," Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh told mediapersons. Singh said he himself will be launching the project at Jammu.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a constituent of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an autonomous Society that is headed by the Prime Minister. For now, the delivery would be limited to Covid vaccines and once successful, it would be expanded to be used for regular delivery of medicines in the remote, hilly areas.
The drone is developed by the scientists at Bengaluru's National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). | Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash
Jammu and surrounding areas are sensitive in terms of the strategic importance. Some months ago, there was an attack on an Army installation using drones. Will the 'drones for vaccines' be permitted in such a case? Allaying fears, a top official from the Ministry of S&T said, "The drones would be deployed by authorised agencies such as hospitals, not anybody can use it, nor would any random person be permitted to use it."
NAL has called the drone as 'Octacopter' and it can fly at an operational altitude of 500 m AGL and at maximum flying speed of 36 kmph. It can be used for a variety of BVLOS applications for last mile delivery like medicines, vaccines, food, postal packets, Human organs (such as heart for heart transplantation) etc. NAL Octacopter is integrated with a powerful on-board embedded computer and latest generation sensors for versatile applications like agricultural pesticide spraying, crop monitoring, mining survey, magnetic geo survey mapping etc., S&T officials had said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Jammu, Vaccines, Medicines, Deliver, Drones, Centre
Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan shares how he feels when people compare him with his father Amitabh Bachchan on the singing reality show 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa'. He also requests contestant Rajshree Bag to sing a track 'Bahon Mein Chale Aao' featuring his mother Jaya Bachchan.
Abhishek said after looking at the performance of Rajshree, who is often compared with Lata Mangeshkar on the show, that she reminds him of being compared with his father. "Rajshree, whenever I have got the chance to watch the show, I've seen people compare you to Lata didi. It actually reminded me about how people compare me with my father and ask me how I feel about it."
According to him Amitabh Bachchan is a great actor in the industry and this is what he says to everyone making these comparisons. "My answer to them is that there's no greater actor in this film industry than Amitabh Bachchan and if I'm being compared to him, I am sure I must have done something good."
"Similarly, your voice has a different kind of magic like Lata ji and that's why people are comparing your voice with her. I feel you should always take this as a compliment," he concluded. 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa' airs on Saturday and Sunday on Zee TV. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, reality show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Rajshree Bag
Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country. Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality -- we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point -- the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing. When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
* Purple Mogri -- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country, but you can spot them during the winters | Pixabay
* Sweet Potato -- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. | Wikimedia Commons
* Avarekalu -- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. | Wikimedia Commons
* Amla -- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla -- it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called as Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. | Pixabay
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: winter, Sanjeev Kapoor, chef, Indian gooseberry, Sweet Potato, Radish pods