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Pakistan Bans Broadcast of Indian Programs on Local Radio and Television Stations amid ongoing Political Tension

Indian songs, movies and drama serials have been a regular entertainment element and a source of revenue for scores of private radio and television channels operating in Pakistan

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FILE - People look at the burned remains of a passenger vehicle on the outskirts of Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 17, 2016. Kashmir is witnessing the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian soldiers. VOA

Pakistan has banned Indian programs on local radio and television stations, the latest casualty of continuing military and political tension between the two countries.

The state-run Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority announced the decision Wednesday, saying the decade-long unilateral concession is being cancelled starting October 21.

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The authority warned that violators of the ban would have their broadcasting licenses suspended without issuance of “show cause notices.”

Indian songs, movies and drama serials have been a regular entertainment element and a source of revenue for scores of private radio and television channels operating in Pakistan.

The ban came after the Indian film industry barred Pakistani actors from its movies, and cinema associations refused to play movies featuring artists, singers and music directors from the neighbouring country.

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Wednesday’s announcement comes as Pakistani and Indian troops engage in intermittent exchanges of fire across the disputed Kashmir border referred to as the line of control.

The tensions increased after last month’s militant attack on a military base in Indian Kashmir that New Delhi alleges was planned on Pakistani soil.

Islamabad rejected the charges as an attempt to divert attention from what it alleges is Indian forces’ brutal suppression of a week of anti-India protests in Kashmir.

India’s claim of conducting a so-called surgical strike on the Pakistani side of the divide of the Kashmir region to eliminate terrorists trying to cross into India has further fueled tensions. But the Pakistan military has rejected as baseless New Delhi’s claim of conducting the cross-line-of-control raid, such an action would have been an act of war.

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India’s refusal to attend a summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation scheduled for next month in Pakistan prompted Islamabad to postpone it. New Delhi has also vowed not to play cricket matches with Pakistan in upcoming international events.

The actions, Indian officials say, are part of their diplomatic efforts to seek Pakistan’s international isolation for allegedly supporting groups involved in cross-border terrorism in India and Afghanistan. Islamabad rejects the allegations saying its anti-terrorism efforts are being internationally acknowledged.

It dismisses the Indian efforts to isolate Pakistan as nothing but “a ploy to divert international attention from ongoing Indian oppression” in the divided Kashmir region. (VOA)

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New Bloodshed in Troubled Kashmir: Two soldiers, Two Rebels Killed in Separate Armed Clashes

A tear gas shell fired by an Indian policeman explodes behind Kashmiri protesters during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir

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Peace in Kashmir takes a backseat
FILE - A tear gas shell fired by an Indian policeman explodes behind Kashmiri protesters during a protest in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, June 16, 2017. VOA

Kashmir, August 5, 2017: Two Indian soldiers and two rebels were killed in separate armed clashes Thursday in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, reports VOA.

The two soldiers were killed during a shootout in the southern district of Shopian, where they were taking part in a raid to capture suspected rebels. Another soldier was critically wounded in the incident.

The rebels were killed in the southern town of Kulgam when they walked into an ambush laid by government forces.

The bloodshed comes just days after the death of Abu Dujana, the commander of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant group, was killed by Indian security forces.

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VOA further states that parts of Kashmir have been administered by nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947, but both nations claim the region to themselves in full.

Rebel groups in the ‘Indian-administered’ region have waged a nearly three-decade insurgency seeking either independence or a merger with Pakistan that has killed tens of thousands of people, reports VOA.


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Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to Screen Films Made by its Alumni from August 5

Authorities believe that renowned artists like Naseeruddin Shah, Rajkumar Hirani, and Subhash Ghai were FTII students once and it will be interesting to watch what they did when they were stepping in the world of cinema

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FTII
FTII is the latest entrant to adopt the practice of outdoor screening. Wikimedia
  • Films previously made by students of FTII to be screened for the larger public in  a short-film festival
  • FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration
  • Padaarpan is scheduled to begin from August 5

Pune, July 29, 2017: In the year 1976, a direction student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Saeed Mirza made a documentary titled ‘An Actor Prepares’, in which he interviewed acting students at FTII on what they felt about their prospects in Bollywood as part of his final year project. One of the persons interviewed in the film was his batch-mate Om Puri, who was pessimistic in his outlook. During his student life at FTII, Om Puri acted in five diploma films namely Amrita, An Elusive Dream,  Khukari, Navjatak, and Duniya Chalti Hai. However, none of us heard or watched those films, only until now.

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune has now decided to conduct public viewing of a series of diploma films by its alumni over the years. The public screening of these films, which will be free of any cost is to commence on August 5.

Since its inception in 1960, students have made diploma films as part of the academic curriculum at FTII. However, these films were never accessible to the larger public. “The diploma films made by the students as part of their final year project work generally do not see the light of the day. So, we have decided to screen them for the public at our premises once in a week”, said FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola, calling these diploma films “goldmines”, as reported by PTI.

Bhupendra Kinthola is the current director of FTII.
FTII Pune director Bhupendra Kainthola in conversation with students. Wikimedia

FTII is one of the finest institutes for films in the country. Over the years, it has produced a fine list of noted actors, filmmakers, cinematographers, editors and technical staff for the Hindi, Tamil and Kannada film industry alike, that include names like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Girish Kasaravalli, Rajkumar Hirani and Resul Pookutty. Actors like Raj Kumar Yadav, Naseeruddin Shah, and Shabana Azmi also make the list of prominent FTII alumni.

The scheduled film screenings, which will be no less than a short film festival, will be called ‘Padaarpan’ meaning baby steps, and will be held starting Aug 5 at the institute’s main theatre which has a capacity of 200 seats. Advertisements will be given out in newspapers about the screenings of these movies, entry to which will be free of any cost and on first come-first serve basis.

According to the PTI report, the inaugural event will be attended by veteran actor and FTII alumnus Shatrughan Sinha, who as a student had acted in a diploma film titled “Angry Young Man”. Sinha’s diploma film would also be screened on the occasion, said Kainthola.

Sinha was a student at FTII
Veteran actor and FTII alumni Shatrughan Sinha. Wikimedia

FTII continues to be a landmark institution with its students winning most national awards and short film competition in the student film category. More recently, a short film Afternoon Clouds, made by Payal Kapadia, a student at FTII was also screened under the Cinefondation category at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May this year. The film was among the 14 works of fiction and two animation films nominated in the short film competition category, which was open to film schools across the world and received over 2,600 submissions.

However, such masterpieces by FTII students have remained unknown to the wider audiences.

In the past, FTII new and old film projects have been aired on DD Bharati in 2007, before the practice was discontinued for reasons unknown. In 2008, Lok Sabha TV had screened 15 students’ film under a section titled ‘First Cut’.  The practice was restarted in 2013 with DD Bharati showcasing some of the films but the period was short lived.

Today, FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration.

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The decision of conducting public viewing of past diploma films again will not only help students’ work get greater exposure but also create an opportunity for the larger population to witness quality work of film students and be a part of a short-film festival.

Officials at FTII are already in the process of finalizing the films to be screened. “They have been selected either based on their selection for national and international awards or if any famous personality was part of it”, Kainthola told PTI.

Gajendra Chauhan, former FTII chairman also believes that this will be a good initiative as people will get to view the works of their favorite artists when they were students.

ALSO READ:10 Small Budget Indian Films that prove you Don’t need Superstars or High Budgets to sell it!

In 2016, the possibility of Prasar Bharti to start a new channel to screen diploma and documentary films produced at various national film institutes was considered. A proposal to screen the films at Doordarshan was also submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which is still pending.

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


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Saudi Arabia’s highest ranking Cleric warns of depravity of Cinemas and Musical concerts in the Country

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Crowd enjoying a concert, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Jan 15, 2017: Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-sheikh, in an interview warned of the depravity of cinemas and musical concerts. Saudi Arabia’s highest ranking cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-sheikh while responding to a question about the plans of the kingdom’s General Authority for Entertainment to license concerts and study opening cinemas, gave a statement saying, “Cinemas and music concerts would corrupt morals if allowed in the ultra-conservative kingdom.”

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The head of the Saudi supreme council of clerics said, “Cinemas might show movies that are libertine, lewd, immoral and atheist, because they rely on films imported to change our culture.”

Al-sheikh gave many statements opposing music concerts saying the concerts don’t really promote good music and are not at all a medium to connect with music. He insisted that music entertainment and opening cinemas represent a call for mixing between sexes. Al-sheikh said, “At the beginning they would assign areas for women, but then both men and women will end up in one area. This corrupts morals and destroys values.”

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Recently a show by American stand-up comedian and actor Mike Epps at a university campus in western Saudi Arabia was cancelled last month. However, he also said that entertainment through cultural and scientific media is okay. He urged the authorities, “not to open the doors for the evil.”

– prepared by Shambhavi Sinha of NewsGram. Twitter:  @shambhavispeaks