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Raja Harishchandra: The one of a Kind Films to be Remembered

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A scene from Film Raja Harishchandra, Wikimedia

May 14, 2017: May 3, 1917, was a marking event not only in the acting sector at the inception of Bollywood but also the entire country as a whole. The first full-length Indian feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was released today. It was produced by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, who we now affectionately call Dada Saheb Palkhe.

It was a silent film, implying it had no audio and the actors expressed through their gestures. With a running time of 40 minutes, it was just made with a diminutive budget of 20,000 rupees.

The story as the name suggests was an adaptation of the Hindu mythological story of Raja Harishchandra. It is said that he sacrificed his kingdom, wife and child only to keep his promise to a saint and preserve his self-righteous attitude.

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Later, the saint called Rishi Vishwamitra who had actually done all this to check the honesty of Harishchandra and gave him his kingdom, wife and son back. He was also blessed with divinity.

The film made us watch Dattatraya Damodar Dabke in the role of Harischandra and Anna Saluke, a male actor playing the role of his wife, Taramati. It was tough for the Phalke to convince any decent female actress because acting as a profession at that time was not considered a dignified job.

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The movie was screened in a single theatre, Coronation Cinematograph. He promoted the movie with a catchy phrase – “Raja Harishchandra: A performance with 57,000 photographs. A picture two miles long. All for only three annas. This film encouraged the creation of more and longer films and help increase female participation.

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Raja Harishchandra is still remembered with great love and respect among the Indian film fraternity. There have been multiple attempts at restoring the original reels, but only the first and last remain. The story of the making of the film was told in another feature – Harishchandrachi Factory, in 2009.

By Staff writer at Newsgram

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‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ Director Kundan Shah Passes Away at 69

The filmmaker, hailed by the Indian film fraternity as a "master storyteller", would have turned 70 on October 19.

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Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro
The celebrated filmmaker died in his sleep, after suffering a heart attack. (IANS)

Mumbai, October 9, 2017 : Filmmaker Kundan Shah, who gave Indian cinema a different brand of humor with the cult black comedy “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and subsequently television shows like “Nukkad” and “Wagle Ki Duniya” with the ‘aam aadmi’ at the centrestage, died early on Saturday, a family member said. He was 69.

“He died in his sleep early in the morning,” his relative told IANS.

Satish Kaushik, who wrote dialogues for “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” and acted in it, said Shah suffered a cardiac arrest.

His last rites were performed at Shivaji Park crematorium by daughter Shilpa with close family members and friends from the film fraternity in attendance, including “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” actors Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Shah, as well as Sudhir Mishra, Anil Kapoor, Deepak Dobriyal, Ratna Pathak, Raveena Tandon and Ashoke Pandit.

The filmmaker, hailed by the Indian film fraternity as a “master storyteller”, would have turned 70 on October 19.

His tryst with learning about film direction began at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. Just last week, he was at the institute for an event. He had even paid a tribute to actor Tom Alter, who died on September 29, and had spoken about a tentative script that he wrote for a part two of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, his debut directorial which came out in 1983.

In an interview to IANS, Shah had said he had applied for a loan of Rs 400,000 to make the movie, but then the production cost went up and finally it was made at a budget of Rs 725,000 as the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) came on board as producer.

“Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” narrated a tale of two simple and honest photographers, who witness a murder and get dragged into the corrupt real estate circle where politicians and bureaucrats are involved. The film, laced with slapstick comedy, didn’t fetch good box office, but achieved cult status with time.

“When I was making the film, I never thought it would be such an acclaimed movie. Every filmmaker has some dreams and this film has given me more than I dreamt of. It surpassed my expectations,” Shah had told IANS.

He had received his first and only National Film Award – Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director – for it. This was the same award that Shah had returned to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting during the student protests in FTII in 2015 over Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment as its chairman.

The movie featured actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Ravi Baswani, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Satish Shah, Satish Kaushik, Bhakti Barve and Neena Gupta. And Shah believed it gave “a lot to the entire cast and crew and its success is beyond their imagination too”.

After making “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, Shah moved to television and worked there for seven years — giving such gems as “Nukkad”, “Wagle Ki Duniya” and “Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi”, all of which gave the Indian telly audience a reason to laugh away their worries with stories of everyday struggles.

With its simple yet compelling narrative, the Doordarshan show “Nukkad”, told stories of lower income people battling issues while trying to survive in a tough social and economic climate.

“Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi” saw Satish Shah infuse laughter by essaying different characters from many professions and regions of India, in different episodes.

“Wagle Ki Duniya”, based on cartoonist R.K. Laxman’s character of the common man, dealt with the woes of the middle-class Indian. With impeccable performances by Anjan Srivastav and Bharati Achrekar, it’s still etched in the minds of Hindi TV buffs of the late 1980s.

It is for Shah’s sensitivity towards the common man that filmmaker Prakash Jha dubbed him as the “Common Man of Cinema”.

Shah returned to films with the 1993 coming-of-age romantic drama “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”, which saw Shah Rukh Khan romance Suchitra Krishnamoorthi.

“He was a good man and a genius filmmaker,” Suchitra, who wishes a “glorious afterlife” for Shah, told IANS.

In a long career, Shah came up with few but impactful works.

Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt described Shah as a brave man “who added vigour to the alternate cinema stream with movies like ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro'”.

Actor Satish Kaushik said Shah gave “comedy a new face”, while Sudhir Mishra, who was his friend, said Shah was “wise, crazy, academic, imaginative and mourned the impossibility of true love”.

Seven years after “Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa”, Shah came up with “Kya Kehna”. With teenage pregnancy at its core, the Preity Zinta-starrer was ahead of its time and did well. His subsequent projects “Hum To Mohabbat Karega”, “Dil Hai Tumhaara” and his last movie as a director “P Se PM Tak” failed to get commercial success. (IANS)

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Cows up for Online Sale after Government’s Ban on Trading of Cattle

A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world

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Cows, Pixabay
  • Government imposes ban of the sale of cattle
  • Sale of cows is surging in virtual market
  • The law is expected to leave many low-class group jobless, critics says

June 02, 2017: As the government’s restrictions on the sale of cattle advances, farmers and livestock traders have become more equipped digitization buttressing the long term of Modi’s Digital India. A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world.

Last week, The environment ministry announced animal markets could only trade cattle for agricultural purposes, such as ploughing and dairy production. The law is introduced against animal cruelty, but critics say they are aimed at pacifying hard-line Hindu supporters of the Modi government. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

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The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

Ravi Sharma, the resident of Varanasi was suspicious when asked about his online post, selling a desi brown cow for Rs 75,000. He then stated he has no interest in selling to a certain minority group.

In Ghazipur, close to Varanasi, Bheem Singh wants to get rid of three cows at the earliest, thus selling at 50 percent less than the market price. “It’s too dangerous keeping cows anymore. Anyone can come and beat us,” he said.

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The past two years witnessed a rise in attacks on Muslims and lower caste Hindus involved in the cattle trade, leading to several deaths.

On May 26, a group of “cow protectors” thrashed two meat traders on the suspicion that they were carrying beef. Police in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara arrested five people, including an alleged member of the RSS who torched a truck last week, which they thought was carrying cows for slaughter.

Several state governments have appealed to the PM to revoke the order, which they say was issued without discussing them. While some have decided to drag the matter to the court.

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Environment Minister, Harsh Vardhan,  said cattle bought and sold directly from farms would not be affected by the government’s order. “The aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure (the) welfare of cattle” in the markets,” he said.

However, many critics see the move as a blow to beef and leather exports that will leave thousands of people jobless and deprive millions of Christians, Muslims and poor Hindus of a cheap source of protein.

Cows have been sold on e-commerce websites earlier also but were only available occasionally under the pets section. However, ever since the BJP swept to power in Uttar Pradesh in March with priest-turned-politician Yogi Adityanath becoming the chief minister, there has been a swift surge and the rise of the gau rakshaks, or cow vigilantes.

Critics say a sense of fear has been instilled in farmers and cattle owners who feel safer trading within the restraints of the internet rather than an open market.

– by Staff writer at Newsgram

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5 Benefits of Therapeutic Landscapes : Forest Therapy

Forest are therapeutic landscapes which are endowed with multiple health-related benefits.

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Pixabay

June 01, 2017: Forest therapy is a unique blend of nature and spirituality, which drives you towards the state of nirvana, and away from the hustle bustle of city life. The idea originated in Japan, where it is called ‘Shinrin-yoku’ (forest bathing). The therapy entails you to absorb yourself in the woodland and imbibe the aroma, sounds and sights in your senses.

Forest are therapeutic landscapes which are endowed with multiple health-related benefits.

A Forest.Pixabay

Let us now understand the benefits that will take you closer to forest therapy:
Stress reduction

Forest settings lower the levels of cortisol and blood pressure, slows down heart rates, mobilises the activity of parasympathetic nerves that promote relaxation, and reduces the activity of sympathetic nerves associated with “fight or flight” reactions to stress.

Improves concentration

A walk in the grasslands of the forest shows better results as compared to strolling in residential settings. Secluded from the chaotic scenes of city, pasture lands boosts the spirits and minds of the person.

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Controls Diabetes  

Wood Walkers have low blood glucose, improved insulin sensitivity, and decreased levels of haemoglobin A1c, an indicator of a person’s average levels of blood sugar over the past 3 months.

Alleviates Pain

Sighting a nature scene and listening to nature sounds is a safe and sound approach to reducing pain during bone marrow biopsy.

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Fights Cancer

Nature walks is an important lifestyle factor in the prevention of cancer as well as helpful adjunctive therapy for people diagnosed with cancer.

-By staff writer at Newsgram