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- Twinkle Khanna produces a biopic film named “Padman”
- This is Twinkle Khanna’s debut film production
- Her aim to break stereotype
New Delhi, Dec 15, 2017: Her debut film production “Padman” is a biopic on Arunachalam Muruganantham, the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad making machine in India. Actress-turned-author Twinkle Khanna says she is hopeful that the film will bring a spotlight on something that has been “hidden in the darkness” for so long.
“If nothing else, I am hoping that it will start a conversation within homes,” Twinkle told IANS in an email interview when asked about the message “Padman” will give amongst masses.
“Something that has been hidden in the darkness, furtively wrapped in newspaper, will finally be in the spotlight so that a young girl can go up to her parents and say that she needs sanitary pads over the ubiquitous fairness creams,” she added.
The film is based on a short story from Twinkle’s book “The Legend Of Lakshmi Prasad”. The story is inspired from the life of Muruganantham, a Tamil Nadu-based social activist who revolutionized the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India by creating a low-cost sanitary napkins machine.
The book has already sold 100,000 copies.
“Padman” stars her husband Akshay Kumar as Murugunathan, while Radhika Apte plays his wife. Actor Sonam Kapoor will also be seen in a special role in the movie, which is being directed by R Balki.
“The only reason that I decided to produce this movie after writing a fictionalized story about Arunachalam Muruganantham was because I felt it was an important story that needed to penetrate households across India. Cinema is the only medium that has such a wide reach,” she said.
As a producer, Twinkle is keen to take up stories that are “compelling regardless of genre”.
“Everything else is secondary,” she said.
The trailer of “Padman” was launched on Friday and quickly grabbed attention for bringing up such a strong message in a subtle yet entertaining way.
Twinkle, who also featured on BBC World to talk about menstrual hygiene and sanitation, says “awareness, education and access to sanitary pads are the three things that would help in putting an end to period taboos”.
“… To what I see as nothing less than a tragedy that 20 per cent of our school girls drop out of school when they start menstruating because they are unable to get access to sanitary pads or menstrual cups and have to rely on leaking pieces of cloth,” she said.
On the occasion of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Twinkle was also selected as an honorary speaker at the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Summit at the United Nations where she was a part of the panel on ‘Sparking Confidence in Girls with Stars of Today’.
How would she like to encourage women in India to get a voice on issues concerning them?
“‘Be fearless’ is the sort of banal advice that is being bandied about glibly these days. I think unfortunately in the prevailing circumstances, you do have to have firm ground beneath your feet before you become ‘fearless’ and a large part of that security comes from being financially independent.
“Because when you are dependent on someone, then you have to largely align yourself to his or her sensibilities. I, like most sensible, sane people, believe in the fundamental fact that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. I can’t see how that is even debatable.” (IANS)
As kids growing up in different states, Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel shared a love of one favorite film — "Aladdin." Both are of Indian descent, and in the animated movie, they saw people who looked like them.
That shared love has gone full-circle this month as Narayan and Maliakel lead the Broadway company of the musical "Aladdin" out of the pandemic, playing Princess Jasmine and the hero from the title, respectively.
"Growing up, there was such little South Asian and Middle Eastern representation in the American media, and Princess Jasmine was really all I had. She was a huge role model to me as someone who was intelligent and strong and independent and beautifully curious, and that's who I wanted to be," says Narayan, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
The pair arrived at "Aladdin" in very different ways. Maliakel is making his Broadway debut, but Narayan is a musical theater veteran, having made her Broadway debut in "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" and touring with "Hamilton" as Eliza Hamilton.
She was in "Wicked" as Nessarose when the pandemic shut down Broadway in March 2020. Her agent called in April with the prospect of auditioning for Jasmine. She sang "A Whole New World" over Zoom on gallery mode, pretending to be on a magic carpet. "It was a very unique experience," she says, laughing.
Disney producers flew her to New York to meet face-to-face and go through the material again. Narayan was asked to read with different Aladdin potential actors. She got the gig: "I went from a wicked witch to a Disney princess. Can't complain."
Maliakel, a native of New Jersey, came from the world of opera, a baritone who studied at Johns Hopkins University and the 2014 winner at the National Musical Theatre Competition. He trained his voice to be flexible, waiting for the right window to open.
"I didn't really see a lot of people doing what I wanted to do in the world," he says. "There just wasn't a whole lot of representation. So it's really hard to imagine yourself in those scenarios when you have no one to look up to as a role model or an example of how it could be done."
He played Porter and understudied Raoul in a national tour of "The Phantom of the Opera," which ended its run in Toronto just before the pandemic hit.
"I always dreamed that Broadway might happen someday," he says, laughing. "I'm just kind of dipping my toes into the waters in one of the biggest male roles in the business right now, and it's kind of surreal."
'Aladdin' featured as a Broadway Musical with a cast of Indian origin playing the main roles Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Broadway's "Aladdin" is a musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Robin Williams. The musical's story by Chad Beguelin hews close to the film: A street urchin finds a genie in a lamp and hopes to woo a princess while staying true to his values and away from palace intrigue.
Key Alan Menken songs from the film — including "Friend Like Me," ″Prince Ali" and "A Whole New World" — are used. The lyricists are the late Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin.
The show — and it's two new leads — had a few performances to celebrate Broadway's return from the pandemic this fall before it was forced to close for several days when breakthrough COVID-19 cases were detected. The actors say the safety of the cast, crew and audience are paramount and closing was the smart move.
"This is how we keep theater going in the pandemic," Maliakel says. "The other option is to just not do it at all. And that's not an option. A week's worth of lost performances, when we look back on things in a year or so, I think will just be a little blip on the radar."
They both look back with heart-thumping appreciation at the early performances when they welcomed back theater-starved audiences, who gave the company 3-minute standing ovations just for singing "A Whole New World."
"It is every brown girl's dream to be singing that song on an actual flying carpet," says Narayan. "And the fact that I got to do it on Broadway in the full costume with the lights and the 32-piece orchestra beneath me — oh, my gosh, I really had to hold it together. It was emotional overload for me."
Maliakel recalls that he and his brothers wore out their VHS cassette version of "Aladdin." He remembers having lunchboxes, pajamas and bed sheets with the film's theme. Aladdin was "every little brown kid's prince." Now he is that prince.
"Now, finally, to get to get paid to do it on the world's largest stage — it's not lost on me how crazy that is," he says. "The responsibility of my position right now feels really great. This moment sort of feels bigger than me in some ways, and I don't take that lightly. I think it's a really exciting time." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Aladdin, Broadway, Musical, Indian Descendant cast,
America's first-known Black master distiller
Search for the truth
The company's master distiller is Victoria Eady Butler, Green's great‐great‐granddaughter.
Staples says her family is thrilled their great-great-grandfather is finally being recognized.
(This article is originally written by Dora Mekouar)
Keywords: Jack Daniel's, Whiskey, Nathan Green, Slavery, Black achievement
The suite offers guests an all-inclusive once-in-a-lifetime experience during the India vs Pakistan ICC Men's T20 World Cup match on October 24, 2021, packed with quirks and luxuries that is sure to satisfy even the biggest cricket enthusiast. Additionally, as a part of the experience, guests will also have the exclusive opportunity to meet Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor at The T20 Pavilion.
For one night only, guests can soak in the energy of a roaring stadium to enjoy the epic match on a life-sized screen while seated on comfortable sofas -- just like the luxury box seats at the stadium. They can also head to the locker room (dining room) next to the field (living room) to have some energy drinks, just like a cricketer would do or head to the bedroom, transformed into a net practice area. It's got the field, the pitch, the locker room, pitching nets and cricket memorabilia infused in every element of the room.
The booking window opens at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be booked on a 'first come, first serve' basis with check-in date on October 24, 2021, and check-out on October 25, 2021. The T20 Pavilion is priced at Rs 6666 only in honour of all the great sixes smashed at the T20 World Cup. The T20 Pavilion can accommodate up to four guests. Cricket fans can visit the website or mobile app to book this cricket-inspired stay. (IANS/ MBI)