Alia Bhatt, Hrithik Roshan among 819 invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

News Network
July 1,2020

Los Angeles, Jul 1: Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt, Hrithik Roshan and costume designer Neeta Lulla are among the 819 artistes and executives who have received invitations to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Bhatt's last movie, the Zoya Akhtar-directed Gully Boy was India's official entry for best international feature category at the 2019 Oscars. However, the film had failed to make it to the final five.

Other prominent Indian names to receive invitations are casting director Nandini Shrikent, documentary filmmakers Nishtha Jain, Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya, visual effects supervisors Vishal Anand and Sandeep Kamal.

In a statement, the Academy said the new invitees include 36 per cent of people of colour and 45 per cent women. Artistes from 68 countries have been invited as members.

Those who accept the invitation will have voting rights at the 93rd Academy Awards, scheduled to be held on April 25, 2021.

"The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travellers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now," Academy President David Rubin said.

The Academy has been actively working to introduce more diversity in its voting to avoid a controversy like 2016 when the Oscars were dubbed "white" for failing to recognise talents of colour.

The 2020 batch boasts of major Hollywood names like Cynthia Erivo, John David Washington, Constance Wu, Zazie Beetz, Florence Pugh, Zendaya, Awkwafina, Yalitza Aparicio, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Adele Haenel, Thomasin McKenzie, Olivia Wilde and others.

The stars of multiple Oscar-winning South Korean movie Parasite -- Jang Hye-Jin, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Park So-Dam and Lee Jung-Eun -- are among the invitees.

Directors Lulu Wang, Ari Aster, Terence Davies, Matthew Vaughn, Robert Eggers, Matt Reeves, Alma Har’el are on the list as well.

The Academy has announced a new five-year plan that includes implementing inclusion standards for nominees.

"We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one.  We are committed to staying the course.

"We look forward to continuing to foster an Academy that reflects the world around us in our membership, our programs, our new Museum, and in our awards," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said.

In 2019, the organisation had invited 842 new members which included Indian names such as filmmakers Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and veteran actor Anupam Kher.

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Unless Maharashtra govt consents, CBI investigation in SSR case illegal, says Rhea's lawyer

Agencies
August 7,2020

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Mumbai,  Aug 7: Unless Maharashtra Government consents to CBI investigation in the Sushant Singh Rajput's death case, it would be illegal, affecting the federal structure of the country, said actor Rhea Chakraborty's lawyer.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered and continued the illegality which was perpetrated at the hands of Bihar Police in connection with the case, he added.

"The Bihar Government transferred a case with which it had no jurisdiction to investigate, to CBI instead of the Mumbai Police which is the legal position. The Supreme Court is seized of the issue pursuant to the transfer petition filed by Rhea Chakraborty," said Satish Maneshinde Chakraborty's lawyer.

The Supreme Court has directed all parties to file their replies and Mumbai Police is directed to place the report of investigations, he added.

"Pending the said proceedings the CBI has registered and continued the illegality which was perpetrated at the hands of Bihar Police.

CBI being a premier investigative agency in the country should desist from taking any further steps pending the SC proceedings. Apart from the same unless the Maharashtra Government consents to CBI investigating the case ... it would be totally illegal and beyond any known legal principles, affecting the Federal Structure of the Nation," said Maneshinde.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CBI that is probing high profile cases of Vijay Mallya and AgustaWestland cases will now investigate the Sushant Singh Rajput's death case.

The investigating agency has registered a case against six accused including Bollywood actor Rhea Chakraborty and others in connection with the Rajput's death.

The sources in CBI said that six accused in the case will be summoned soon for questioning and other persons will also be called for examining which was earlier examined by Mumbai police.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had earlier sent a recommendation to the Central Government for CBI investigation in the case filed in Patna based on the complaint of Sushant's father KK Singh against Rhea Chakraborty under sections including abetment of suicide on July 25.

Sushant was found dead at his Mumbai residence on June 14.

Days after Rajput's death, Rhea Chakraborty said she was the "girlfriend" of the 'Dil Bechara' actor while requesting a CBI inquiry in the case.

Chakraborty has also approached the Supreme Court for transfer of investigation to Mumbai in the FIR registered against her in Patna.

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A R Rahman says false rumours being spread about him by Bollywood 'gang'

News Network
July 26,2020

A gang has been spreading rumours about me in the Hindi film industry that is preventing him from getting work, says Academy award-winning music director A R Rahman.

Collaborations between him and the Hindi film industry have reduced as a result, he adds

The maestro had composed music for Sushant Singh Rajput's Dil Bechara said that the reason he is not doing a lot of work is that a gang has been spreading rumours about him which resulted in him getting fewer projects.

Rahman's comments come amidst a raging insider versus outsider debate in Bollywood following actor Sushant Singh Rajput's untimely demise last month.

During an interview with Radio Mirchi, the Oscar-winning music director was asked the reason for doing less Hindi films.

Rahman said there has been "misunderstanding" between him and filmmakers as some people have been spreading "false rumours" about him in the industry.

"See, I don’t say no to good movies, but I think there is a gang, which, due to misunderstandings, is spreading some false rumours. So when Mukesh Chhabra came to me, I gave him four songs in two days. He said, 'Sir, how many people said don’t go, don’t go (to him). They told me stories after stories'," he said.

"I heard that, and I said, 'yeah okay, now I understand why I am doing less (work) and why the good movies are not coming to me.' I am doing dark movies, because there is a whole gang working against me, without them knowing that they are doing harm," the composer added.

Rahman has composed the music for Rajput's last movie "Dil Bechara", which premiered on Disney+ Hotstar on Friday. The film, directed by Mukesh Chhabra, also features Sanjana Sanghi and Saif Ali Khan.

The composer further said that he is aware of people's expectations from him but the "gang" is getting in his way.

"People are expecting me to do stuff, but there is another gang of people preventing that from happening. It is fine because I believe in destiny. I believe that everything comes from God.

"So, I am taking my own movies and doing my other stuff. But all of you are welcome to come to me. You make beautiful movies, and you are welcome to come to me," Rahman added.

Dubbed ‘Mozart of Madras’, A R Rahman has composed soundtracks for movies like Swades, Dil Se, Guru, Rockstar and more recently Sushant Singh Rajput’s Dil Bechara. 

The composer won two Academy Awards in 2009 for his songs in the popular Hollywood movie, Slumdog Millionaire. The composer also received a Golden Globes Award for his work in this movie.

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Sonu Sood donates 25,000 face shields to Maharashtra Police

News Network
July 17,2020

Mumbai, Jul 17: After helping scores of stranded migrant labourers return to their native places amidst the coronavirus pandemic, actor Sonu Sood has now extended a helping hand towards the coronavirus warriors as he donated 25,000 face shields to Maharashtra Police personnel.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday took to Twitter to thank the Bollywood actor for his "generous contribution" to help the Police personnel who have been working tirelessly amid the testing times.

"I thank Sonu Sood Ji for your generous contribution of giving 25,000 #FaceShields for our police personnel," tweeted Deshmukh.
Responding to the Home Minister, Sood said, "Truly honoured by your kind words Sir! My police brothers and sisters are our real heroes and this is the least that I can do for the commendable work which they have been doing. Jai Hind."

The 46-year-old actor who is known for his roles in films like 'Singh is Kinng,' 'Simmba', and 'Happy New Year' has been hailed all over the media for arranging hassle-free passage of migrant labourers to their respective homes.

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