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‘Visaranai’ brings curtains down for Fifth Edition of Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF)

The festival also included few panel discussions and special chat sessions with veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah and veteran screenwriter and filmmaker Saeed Mirza

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– by Sandeep Sharma

Dharamsala, November 7, 2016: The fifth edition of the Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) came to an end on Sunday with the screening of National Award-winning filmmaker Vetrimaaran’s Tamil drama “Visaranai”, which has been named as India’s official entry for Oscars 2017 in the Foreign Language Film category.

Produced by popular actor Dhanush under his banner Wunderbar Films, “Visaranai” features Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Ajay Ghosh and Kishore in the lead.

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Based on the novel “Lock Up” by auto-rickshaw driver-turned-writer M. Chandrakumar, the film is about organised crime within the police force. It also throws the spotlight on police brutality.

The film witnessed a packed house in the Tibetan Children’s Village here. It struck the right chords with the audience, which included independent filmmakers, critics, local audience, tourists and movie aficionados.

The end of the film was marked by a loud applause and a standing ovation by the audience.

The four-day festival began with the screening of filmmaker Raam Reddy’s award-winning Kannada film “Thithi” on November 3 and screened 43 films in total from 21 countries including the US, Britain, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Germany and Bhutan among others.

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Taking place in the scenic locales of McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh, DIFF 2016 — organised by filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam — showcased a collection of films that were diverse in theme, style and genre.

These included “Didi Contractor: Marrying the Earth to the Building” — a documentary by Swiss director Steffi Giaracuni, and Vietnamese director Nguyen Trinh Thi’s “Vietnam The Movie”, which had their world premieres at the festival.

Few of the other films that were screened included Singaporean director Boo Junfeng’s “Apprentice”, Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s “Sonita” British documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister’s “A Syrian Love Story” and US filmmaker Mickey Lemle’s “The Last Dalai Lama?”.

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From the Indian turf, DIFF 2016 featured National Award-winning actor Girish Kulkarni’s Marathi road drama “Highway”, director Bauddhayan Mukherji’s “The Violin Player”, Rajeev Ravi’s Malayalam action thriller “Kammatipaadam”, former CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur’s short film “The Guide”, Gurvinder Singh’s short film “Infiltrator”, Chaitanya Tamhane’s “Six Strands” and ace filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s short film “That Day After Every Day” among others.

“We’ve had amazing audiences who are really interested in independent cinema. It’s really heart-warming to see that,” Sarin said.

Apart from these highly appreciated films, the festival also included few panel discussions and special chat sessions with veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah and veteran screenwriter and filmmaker Saeed Mirza.

Filmmakers and movie buffs are now in anticipation of an assemblage of diverse independent cinema in the next edition of the movie gala. (IANS)

 

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393