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“The Jungle Book” breathes new life through technology

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The Classic piece, ”The Jungle Book” of Rudyard Kipling has been built on with a new vision and cutting edge technology by the director Jon Favreau in his new animation movie.

The director says he has blended technology with the old story to honour the original and at the same time appeal to new audiences with his animation offering.

The director also asserted that with the film, which will come out in Indian theatres on April 8, a week before it releases in the US, he has tried to push the envelope by embracing new technology to create a virtual world.

Favreau, who began his career in the industry as an actor in “Rudy”, sat down to explain his vision at Hollywood’s The El Capitan Theatre here with selected media persons from all across the world.

Why remake a classic? Why give it a technological twist? These are the questions that Favreau set out to answer around Disney’s film, which brings a story straight from the enchanting forests of India and presents a modern take on Kipling’s classic, originally published in 1894.

Favreau said that he was motivated by Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn to take the technological route for the film.

“The idea of going out to the jungle and shooting this, it just felt like it wouldn’t have the magic that the 1967 film had had. There was a dreamlike quality to it. There was a surreal quality to it. It was a high-water mark for character animation and to me, that’s what I remember about it. And so I wanted to make sure we preserved that.

“But what Horn said was: look at the technology. Look at ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Avatar’. Why not use the technology to create a whole world that transports you? Let’s really embrace this new technology and see what we can do if we push its limit.”

The live-action epic adventure showcases Mowgli’s journey of self-discovery when he’s forced to abandon his home in the forest. And Neel Sethi, who traces his roots to India and plays Mowgli, is only just being in an otherwise animation film.

The film is supported by a stellar voice-over cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken.

Favreau also presented a glimpse of his vision by screening portions of the film.

The director explained that by re-imagining the film “you are serving many masters…you are trying to honour the memory, preconceived memory of people who grew up with it, but you are also trying to make a movie that appeals to the full audience — that is ethically what we set out to do”.

“We are trying to pay tribute, and we can also see that with the visual effects, we are pushing the technology. We are mixing the old story with cutting-edge technology,” he added.

So, how was the film made?

“We went back to the structure of it and saw what Kipling did because he offered a lot. We kind of picked between the two. The story structure of the 1967 film was good and offered a lot; so I stuck to it as much as I could. What I have tried to do is to focus on the images that I remember from it before going back to look at it again,” he said.

He is brimming with joy after using “level of artistry and technology” to narrate a story with “humour and emotion, and showing nature, animals, and getting into that real deep mythic imagery that I think always marries well with technology, and always has.”(IANS)

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of Disney. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)(Image-aretheyoldenough.com)

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Recovery Rate Rises and Case Fatality Goes Down in India

Recovery rate is rising, case fatality is going down, says Health Ministry of India

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The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent which has decreased from 3.30 per cent as on April 15. Pixabay

The Union Health Ministry on Monday said that two specific trends were noticed in the Covid-19 situation – while the recovery rate is increasing on one hand, case fatality is going down on the other.

The ministry said at least 4,835 Covid-19 patients had been cured in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured patients to 91,818.

“The recovery rate in the country is progressively increasing and has reached 48.19 per cent amongst Covid-19 patients. On May 18, it was 38.29 per cent, on May 3, it was 26.59 per cent and on April 15, it was 11.42 per cent,” it said.

The Health Ministry also said that presently there are 93,322 active cases in the country, which are under active medical supervision.

The case fatality rate is 2.83 per cent. On May 18, it was 3.15 per cent, on May 3, it was 3.25 per cent and on April 15, it was 3.30 per cent.

“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country. The relatively low death rate is attributed to the continued focus on surveillance, timely case identification and clinical management of the cases,” the ministry said.

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“A steady decline can be seen in the case fatality rate in the country.”, the Ministry was qouted saying. Pixabay

Also Read: COVID-19: MakeMyTrip Lays Off Nearly 350 Employees

It also said that the testing capacity increased in the country through a total of 676 laboratories including 472 government and 204 private laboratories.

“Cumulatively, 38,37,207 samples have been tested so far for Covid-19, whereas, 1,00,180 samples were tested on Sunday,” the Health Ministry stated.

According to the data the ministry cited in its press statement, the case fatality rate in the world is 6.19 per cent. It is highest in France, at 19.35 per cent, followed Belgium with 16.25 per cent, Italy with 14.33 per cent and the UK with 14.07 per cent. (IANS)

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Xiaomi to Unveil Mi Notebook on June 11 in India

The launch event is all set to kick off at 12 noon IST

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Xiaomi is all set to launch exclusive Mi Notebook in India on June 11 via an online event. Wikimedia Commons

Xiaomi on Monday said it is going to unveil an India exclusive Mi Notebook on June 11 via an online event.

The launch event will kick off at 12 noon IST and will be streamed across Xiaomi’s social media platforms and Mi.com as well.

In a tweet, Manu Jain, Vice President, Xiaomi and Managing Director, Xiaomi India, confirmed that upcoming Mi Notebook model is exclusively made for the Indian consumers.

Xiaomi’s Mi last week announced that it will enter the Indian laptop market in June.

“We are ready to introduce the next big category in India with the Mi Notebook series. We will broadly have two series under Mi Notebook that we are going to launch. It will be a minimalistic design, a power-packed device with latest technology to fulfill the requirements of our Indian users,” Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India, told IANS in an interaction.

He also said the company also intends to introduce more products under the Mi brand, like Internet of Things (IoT) products and Smart TVs.

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Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display. (Representational Image). Pixabay

According to a recent report, Mi’s first Notebook will be a rebranded version of RedmiBook 13 which launched in China in December last year.

Xiaomi RedmiBook 13 features a 13.3-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution anti-glare display with narrow 4.65mm bezels on three sides.

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The display offers 178-degree wide-viewing angle with 250 nits maximum brightness. It is 16.3 mm thin and weighs around 1.23 kilogrammes.

The laptop comes in two sets of configuration options– with 10th gen Intel Core i5-10510U processor and 10th gen Intel Core i7-10510U chipset

The RedmiBook 13 comes fitted with a chiclet keyboard with a 1.3 mm keystroke travel along with Microsoft PTP supported trackpad. (IANS)

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Here’s Why China is Predictable and Not Inscrutable

India could’ve easily predicted the Chinese coming on 5 August 2019

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The Chinese actions are far away from being Inscrutable. Pixabay

As the tensions rise between India and China along the borders in Ladakh, Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print invokes an American political satirist P.J. O’Rourke.

Talking about his works Shekhar points out that in his ‘A Brief History of Man’, P.J. O’Rourke writes a small sentence “Meanwhile, in China, there were the Chinese.”. This sentence is relevant to us today.

Shekhar Gupta believes that the sentence conveys us a sense of resignation about the “inscrutable” Chinese. This thought happens to be familiar thought in the West.

“But we don’t live in the West. We’ve lived next door to China for as long as first civilisations grew.”, writes Shekhar Gupta

Let’s look at the history of Indian interactions with China since independance. What is inscrutable about it? Talking about the military assault across two fronts in 1962, it may have been a surprise to our leaders back then, but that is only because they were delusional.

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Chinese actions in respect to India are predictable now. Pixabay

From Chinese ultimatum to India to “return their stolen yaks and sheep” in 1965, to their appearance along the Ladakh frontier this year, China happens to be completely predictable and far from inscrutable. Especially keeping in mind Chinese actions in respect to India.

The push at Nathu La (Sikkim) in 1967 was probably to check out the resolve from India. Which they saw at its weakest — having fought two recent wars (1962 and 1965), famines, ship-to-mouth existence, political instability and a diminished Indira Gandhi. . The Indian response was a lesson they quickly learnt. What did the Chinese do after that? They have kept the peace for 53 years. Will you call that response evidence of Chinese inscrutability? They probed us, got a rude push-back, and decided to wait and stir the pot in different ways, at different times, says Shekhar Gupta in his artcile for The Print.

The Chinese kept the hold of what they wanted in 1962. According to Shekhar the truth is, they had it in their possession almost fully, barring small, tactically important slivers in Ladakh. They asserted their ownership and let their larger claim, Arunachal Pradesh, fully in Indian control, go militarily uncontested.

The Chinese never gave up claim on it. In 1986-87, they again checked us out at Wangdung-Sumdorong Chu (Arunachal), when they saw Rajiv Gandhi take India’s defence budget to a 4 per cent-plus of GDP. And once more, the response was firm and the Chinese backed off. The lesson we learnt according to Shekhar Gupta is that the Chinese won’t open fire randomly for the sake of it, Or when they are absolutely sure of an easy victory so they could be seen like ‘teaching an upstart a lesson’ as they did in 1962. Predictable.

Each and every action and response of China fits a pattern- Deliver a message, add leverage, and return, according to Shekhar Gupta.

India, China and Pakistan shared this unusual ‘triangulation’ in which China was using Pakistan to keep India preoccupied, said Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his tenure.

His idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. He thought, that a country as big and powerful as China, would see less of an incentive for peace with India than Pakistan.

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Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s idea was to break this ‘triangulation’ by seeking peace with Pakistan. Wikimedia Commons

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Shekhar Gupta believes that today, that option is not so available, as hostility with Pakistan is central to the Modi-BJP politics. They’d rather make peace with China than Pakistan. That is why the lavish welcomes and frequent meetings with the Chinese leaders. The objective, still, is escaping that triangle.

Another instance of Vajpayee explaining the Chinese negotiating style. “Dekhiye, aap aur hum baithe hain aur vaarta kar rahe hain (see, you and I are sitting and negotiating),” he said. If two people require something and the first person asks to let go of something, the other will say no. Then the first person again asks for something little less, then again the other person might say no. But ultimately the second person will relent and let go of some. The Chinese would never do that.

Both these leaders underlined that the Chinese are consistent, and predictable. And that is why we should not be shoched or surprised by what they have unveiled across Ladakh. We should have anticipated it on 5 August last year when we made the big changes in Jammu & Kashmir. This Chinese move, like all others in 60 years, was fully predictable. Even the timing, says Shekhar Gupta in his article for The Print.