'Don't stress to be socially, politically relevant'

News Network
November 22, 2019

Panaji, Nov 22: As a storyteller, Nitesh Tiwari says his aim is to entertain the audiences and in that process he never succumbs to the pressure of being socially or politically correct.

The filmmaker, who has blockbusters like "Dangal" and "Chhichore" to his credit, believes the purpose of cinema is to give people an immersive experience and he never tries too hard to include a social message in the story.

"My primary approach is that people come to watch films for purely entertainment. Nobody comes to the cinema to get preached. Every time I make a film, it is not so much about that it should have a message. That comes subconsciously. It is in me."

"I write a film purely for entertaining people. Within that if I can put in something which is meaningful then why not," Nitesh told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

The director said he always likes to go against the tide and in times when cinema is expected to talk about the current situation in the country, he would prefer to focus on genres which come as a relief for the people from their real-life conflicts.

"Pressure is on each one to take the way they want. It is an individual challenge. I don't take any pressure of being socially or politically relevant or correct. I prefer to go the other way round.

"I will like to make a comedy, a horror or a thriller which is very different in terms of the kind of films that are made today or the kind of films we are expected to make. I don't put something intentionally in my story to make it socially relevant. As a filmmaker, that is what I find exciting," he added.

Nitesh is currently working on a three-part live-action "Ramayana", and the filmmaker said his film won't get affected by the current political scenario in the country as he would stay true the real essence of the epic.

"Making 'Ramayana', I don't think has anything to do with the kind of times which we are so-called 'portraying' in our country today. 'Ramayana' has been part of our culture and lives for so long. And one just needs to be sensitive towards the way it is perceived and revered.

"Of course it is important to make sure that from every possible angle none of those feelings attached with it get hurt. One should not come with an idea to revolutionise it, but stay true to the real essence."

The director-writer has almost finished the final draft of the script, but has still not given a thought to the casting of the film.

"In a movie, what happens is once you are done with your screenplay, the characters start popping in front of your eyes.

"'Ramayana' has been there with us for a long, and till I don't see that world or the treatment, costumes or palaces, no actor would come to my mind. We have seen so many interpretations of Lord Ram in different forms. The challenge is how you make them disappear into oblivion and think of somebody afresh," he said.

"Ramayana" is produced by Madhu Mantena and Ravi Udyawar is creating the visual of the film, that will be made in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, and shot in 3D.

Nitesh, however, is also open to other projects while working on the trilogy.

"I'm open to other films in between 'Ramayana' because I don’t know how much time this project will take. I will take it as it comes, but for now, I'm only focused on 'Ramayana'."

The 50th edition of IFFI concludes on November 28.

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Agencies
September 14,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 14: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided not to go ahead with any regulatory intervention on Over-the-Top (OTT) communication.

In its recommendations for the OTT services released on Monday, TRAI noted that it is "not an opportune moment to recommend a comprehensive regulatory framework for various aspects of services referred to as OTT services, beyond the extant laws and regulations prescribed presently."

It added that the matter may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions, particularly the study undertaken by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The authority recommended that market forces may be allowed to respond to the situation without prescribing any regulatory intervention.

The regulator, however, said that the developments shall be monitored and intervention as felt necessary shall be made at appropriate time.

It also said that no regulatory interventions are required with respect to issues related to privacy and security of OTT services at the moment.

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News Network
September 14,2020

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New Delhi, Sept 14: Actor Anupam Kher on Monday remembered Kashmiri social worker Tika Lal Taplu on "Kashmiri Pandits' Martyrs' Day".

In a tweet today, the 65-year-old actor said that "39 years ago" on this day, a "long series" of "atrocities began" on "Kashmiri Pandits".

"39 years ago today, a 59-year-old social worker Shri Tika Lal Taplu ji was murdered by terrorists in Srinagar on 14 September. And from here began a long series of atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits. #KPMartyrsDay," he tweeted (roughly translated from Hindi).

"Even if these wounds are healed. But it is not forgotten, and should not be forgotten," he added.

The 'Saaransh' actor often uses his social media handles to voice his opinions on several issues.

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News Network
September 20,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 20: Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who has been accused by actor Payal Ghosh of sexual harassment, on Sunday said the claim is "baseless" and found support in his industry friends, with Hansal Mehta, Taapse Pannu, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub as well as former wife, film editor Aarti Bajaj crediting him for creating safe work space for women.

On Saturday, Ghosh took to Twitter and wrote that the "Gangs of Wasseypur" director was sexually inappropriate towards her, a claim he has dismissed.

The 30-year-old actor tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her tweet, requesting him to take action against Kashyap.

"@anuragkashyap72 has forced himself on me and extremely badly. @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji, kindly take action and let the country see the demon behind this creative guy. I am aware that it can harm me and my security is at risk. Please help!" Ghosh wrote.

In a video released to ABN Telugu, Ghosh claimed that the incident happened in 2014-2015.

The actor, who made her Hindi debut with Rishi Kapoor-Paresh Rawal starrer "Patel Ki Punjabi Shaadi", also claimed that Kashyap boasted about his connection with megastar Amitabh Bachchan and claimed that there were other female artistes who he got intimate with.

Dismissing the allegations, Kashyap called Ghosh's claim an attempt to "silence" him.

An outspoken critic of administration and a member of the Indian film industry who is vocal about the vilification of Bollywood by celebrities and trolls online, the director said it had taken some people "such a long time" to "shut me up".

"(But) while shutting me up, you lied so much that you dragged other women also in it. Please maintain some dignity madam. All I will say is that all your allegations are baseless," Kashyap, 48, tweeted.

"Any lover or all those female actors with whom I've worked or the team of all those girls and women that have been working with me or all those women I've met in private or in public. I neither behaved like this nor do I tolerate such a behaviour at any cost. Rest we will see what happens," he added.

While Ghosh found support in National Commission for Women, with its chairperson Rekha Sharma assuring the actor that the NCW will take cognisance of the case, several film personalities including Sayani Gupta, Tisca Chopra, Surveen Chawla and Anubhav Sinha urged that the #MeToo movement must not be abused for vendetta.

Calling Ghosh's allegation the "cheapest" stunt, Kashyap's first wife, Bajaj said the filmmaker was somebody who makes sure to create a safe work environment for his female co-workers.

"There is no integrity left and the world is full of losers and no brains baying for blood of anyone who has a voice. If everybody spend that energy which they use in hating others constructively this world will be a better place," she added.

"Worst of human kind seen in the last few months: 1. Appropriating someone's death for personal vendetta. 2. Appropriating one of the most important movements for political vendetta MeToo #StandwithAnuragKashyap," wrote Gupta.

At least "spare an important movement like #MeToo", appealed Ayyub.

In a carefully worded, lengthy thread, Mehta questioned whether the allegation against Kashyap was just another "witch hunt", adding he was "troubled and full of questions".

"This happening at a time when Anurag often against advice has been outspoken and provided a contrarian view on things happening around us. is he making some people uncomfortable? there are so many questions and they are not necessarily about the allegations levelled against AK.

"Is this a witch-hunt yet again? are they trying to shut up an artist with a dissenting opinion? where are we headed? and then after hearing the accusation - can this even be anurag? it is definitely not the anurag I know," the director wrote.

Mehta said lies will do a "huge disservice" to women who are regularly subjected to sexual harassment and abuse, adding #MeToo movement must "not become a target of abuse for somebody's selfish gains".

"The #metoo movement is way too important. Let every victim out there always be heard and justice be done," he said.

Pannu, who collaborated with Kashyap on the 2018 romantic-drama "Manmarziyaan", took to Instagram and wrote that the filmmaker was "the biggest feminist" she knew.

"See you on the sets soon of yet another piece of art that shows how powerful and significant women are in the world you create," she wrote.

Sinha said the existence of the #MeToo movement is to amplify voices of harassed women and should not be misused.

"It is the joint responsibility of women and men both to carefully protect the sanctity of #Metooindia. It is a very very very important movement that should not be misused for any other reason but the dignity of women," he tweeted.

Chawla, who worked with the filmmaker on his two-part Netflix series "Sacred Games", said the allegation against the director reeked of "opportunism".

Chopra, who featured alongside Kashyap and Chawla in the short film "Chhuri", said the director was one of the biggest supporters of talent, be it men or women.

"To know my friend @anuragkashyap72 is to know generosity, honesty and decency at its core .. even a cursory look at his work reveals his worldview on women .. don't know a bigger supporter of talent, men or women," she tweeted.

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