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“Theaters bring people together and facilitate community experience. Isn’t that public service? It is hard to decipher why we have Entertainment Tax in India. I mean, why would you tax people for being happy, moved, touched, elevated, inspired, and educated? It’s high time that the world sees public performances — dance, theatre, a film in a different light,” says filmmaker Sudhir Mishra.
Recipient of three National awards, as well as Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, Sudhir Mishra, whose latest film ‘Serious Men’, based on Manu Joseph’s novel by the same name was recently premiered on Netflix says that multiple narratives within the central character made the novel enchanting enough for a film adaptation.
“He is Dalit but does not play the victim. I loved the craziness of the whole idea. The film and novel are two different ‘things’, and the film is very grateful to the novel. Though Joseph keeps saying that the novel thanks to the film.”
Even as multiple films, including those by major production houses, are witnessing premieres on OTT platforms, the filmmaker who debuted with ‘Yeh Woh Manzil To Nahin’ in 1987 feels that the trend will continue even after theaters open with full-capacity. “The digital medium will replace one kind of film — the ones that can be seen more intimately on a laptop — a drama and more performance-based ones.
They may replace the television but not the theatrical experience. These platforms are a wonderfully democratic space. It’s for you to watch as you want and there is definitely a much longer shelf life. A movie can be discovered many years later too, and at your own time. It’s like a book on a shelf,” he says.
Condemning the move by the I&B ministry’s move to regulate digital platforms, Mishra, known for films like ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, ‘Dharavi’, ‘Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin and ‘Chameli’ says that his views on censorship remain unchanged. “You can certify, not delete. Give audiences the ability to choose, respect their views, but tell them what to expect. Make child-locks on gadgets stronger.
Also, parents need to get into the act a little more. But in this day and age, the genie is out of the bottle. By censoring, you will create more mystery for bad content. The idea of language has changed, some people might be going over the top on digital platforms, but it’s just the first flash of freedom and will fade. People will eventually respect craft, storytelling, performances rather than titillation.
What is really required are strong laws against child pornography. People are ready for mature content for adult audiences. The idea of banning anything is a bad idea.”
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Talk to him about his best-known movie ‘Hazarron Khwaishein Aisi’, set in the ’70s released in the 2000s, which has a cult following even now, and he laughs that he is known as the person who made that film. “I bet my other films must be really angry. ‘Hazarron… may be set in the ’70s but it’s about rebellion, being young, the vestiges of beauty that are left in the end when youth fades, and about friendship. Perhaps that is the reason that people spot themselves easily in it.
No critic has talked about the title — Ghalib is in my head and it is that viewpoint. It’s got many universal things — life escaping ideology, life’s habit of slipping away… It’s also about the idea of the world which the children have inherited from their parents and are in disagreement with them. I remember, during the first screening of the film, Shekhar Kapur, with tears in his eyes said, ‘Thank you for making a film about my time’.”
Sudhir Mishra, who was recently in conversation with French-Rwandan author and rapper, Gael Faye on the occasion of the premiere of the French film ‘Small Country’, directed by Eric Barbier (based on Faye’s novel) organized by Alliance Franaise network in India, says, “‘Small Country’ is a rare film where the filmmaker has the vision of a lived experience. Many times, European films do not understand the character of ‘native’. It is a moving, lyrical, and savage narrative of people living in paradise which is suddenly turning into a nightmare.”
Talk to him about the strong women characters his films boast of, and Sudhir Mishra attributes the same to growing up with his grandmother and great-grandmother. “Both of them were very strong characters.– also affectionate and vulnerable. Then the ladies that I met in my life… When someone asks me which character you identify with most in HKA, I always say ‘Geeta’. I am not a fixer, nor a Naxalite.
I am somewhere in between, trying to make sense of the world. Women are capable of anything. Marquez once said that the trick to writing about women is to realize that they are as capable of betrayal as you are. If you can uncover and look at your own female side, many answers will emerge. It’s also the effect of how you have grown up, the books you have read, the films you have seen, and the people you have met.”
The filmmaker Sudhir Mishra who lost his father during the pandemic says that it has changed him as a person and filmmaker, though it would be difficult to pinpoint how. “Would Hazarron…’ be the same film if my partner Renu had not died of cancer? I don’t know I was coping with that loss when I made that film. My father was also a friend who really inspired me in terms of cinema, gave me a methodology to look at life. The frailty of human existence has stuck with me. I will make films that I really want to quickly now. There is a sense of urgency. The young, who will escape the pandemic will understand life in a deeper way. The world will be different because this happened. I hope it will be better.”
Currently working on multiple projects including a feature film for Anubhav Sinha, besides projects for OTT platforms with a company called ‘Applause’, Mishra says, “There is a film I want to make about the experience I went through when Renu had cancer. Now it’s been some time, so I can reflect. It won’t be about me or her, but that ‘experience’. I can’t pretend to make a film about her. I don’t think I have the right to talk about her in a film.” (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)