'Son Rise', 'Moothon' win awards at virtual 20th New York Indian Film Festival

August 4, 2020


New York, Aug 4: National Award-winning documentary "Son Rise" and Geetu Mohandas-directed "Moothon" were among the films that took home the big honours at the 20th New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), which switched to a virtual edition this year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 45 feature-length narratives, shorts and documentaries from the Indian subcontinent were showcased at the festival’s virtual edition that ran for 10 days beginning July 24.

The films programmed were in various languages including Assamese, Bengali, Haryanvi, Hindi, English, Ladakhi, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali and Tamil.

The award ceremony for the festival was held virtually Sunday, with the filmmakers, cast, award winners and festival officials joining from across India and the US.

The award for the Best Documentary (Short) went to Saurav Vishnu-directed "Tailing Pond", which highlights the "horrifying effects of uranium extraction on the health of the indigenous population" of Jadugoda, Jharkhand.

"Son Rise" by Vibha Bakshi won the award for Best Documentary (Feature).

The documentary had won the National Award for the Best non-feature film in 2019 and was among the two centrepieces hosted by the festival this year. NYIFF called "Son Rise" “a powerful documentary about patriarchy in Haryana and efforts by a few good men to bring meaningful change in the society.”

The award for Best Short (Narrative) went to Sanat Ganu's "Arabian Nights". The narrative focuses on a child, his imaginary friend and a family that attends a conference where the attendees believe the earth is flat.

Director and scriptwriter Sudhanshu Saria accepted the award for Best Screenplay for "Knock Knock Knock". Saria’s screenplay “explores the lonely life of a man, an unlikely friendship that may or may not be real.”

Sanjana Dipu won the award for Best Child Actor for "Moothon" for her performance of a teenager in search of a brother.

Garggi Ananthan won the Best Actress award for her role as Kalyani in the film "Run Kalyani" and the Best Actor award went to Malayalam star Nivin Pauly for "Moothon". The award for the Best Director went to 23-year old Achal Mishra for "Gamak Ghar".

"Moothon" won the award for Best Film and its director Mohandas accepted the award for the film, which is "about love and loss that travels from the quiet, lush beaches of Lakshadweep to the mad hustle-bustle of the streets of Mumbai."

Produced by award-winning Indian film director and writer Anurag Kashyap, "Moothon" had premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

NYIFF festival director Aseem Chhabra said that the process of searching for films for the festival began last fall and they were ready to showcase them to audiences in New York in April but had to change plans for the festival due to the pandemic.

"I know the best way to enjoy films is in a theatre with the audience and have live interactions, conversations. But the virtual festival is the next best option and in the process, we have been able to reach out to a much larger audience in the US, North America as well in several other countries.”

NYIFF said that a virtual edition expanded the reach of the festival and audiences from 95 countries were able to access and view the films.

Dr Nirmal Mattoo, Chairman of the Indo-American Arts Council, co-founder and owner of Atlantic Dialysis Management services, the largest private dialysis provider in New York State, said NYIFF works with an independent jury - filmmakers, film professors, writers and critics.

Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), the leading cultural organisation, presents the festival.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the closure of theatres but we believe that in such trying times arts, including films are even more important for the community’s well-being. So, this year we have decided to bring the films directly into your living rooms.” IAAC Vice-Chairman Rakesh Kaul had said.

The New York Indian Film Festival is the oldest Indian film event in North America. Over the years, the festival has held New York premieres of a wide range of films, many of them critically acclaimed, including "Monsoon Wedding", "The Namesake", "Slumdog Millionaire", "Shahid", "Dum Laga Ke Haisha" and "Gangs of Wasseypur". 


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News Network
September 25,2020


Mumbai, Sept 25: Actor Anushka Sharma on Friday slammed former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar for his "distasteful" remark about her while commenting on husband Virat Kohli's performance in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

Gavaskar found himself in the midst of a controversy for making an unsavoury comment against Kohli and Sharma after the Indian captain’s forgettable outing in the IPL match, held in Dubai.

Anushka, who has faced negativity and trolling in the past as well for Kohli's performance, said she was tired of being dragged into cricket.

"It's 2020 and things still don't change for me. When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop being used to pass sweeping statements?" the actor said in a long statement posted on her Instagram Stories.

Gavaskar was a part of the commentary team as Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to Kings XI Punjab on Thursday night and the Indian captain did not do well in the match.

He made the controversial comment about the cricketer's practice by referencing a video of Kohli and Sharma playing cricket during the lockdown.

In her statement, 32-year-old actor, who has accompanied Kohli in Dubai, asked for an explanation from Gavaskar for his remark.

"That, Mr Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband's game?

"I'm sure over the years you have respected the private lives of every cricketer while commenting on the game. Don't you think you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?," Sharma said.

The actor said Gavaskar could have used other words to speak about Kohli's performance, instead of bringing her name in his commentary.

In her concluding note, Sharma said, "Respected Mr Gavaskar, you are a legend whose name stands tall in this gentleman's game. Just I want to tell you what I felt when I heard you say this."

In the past as well, Sharma has reacted sharply to her name being used in cricket controversies.

In October last year, she had shut down reports that claimed that selectors were asked to serve her tea during ICC World Cup 2019.

“I have stayed quiet through all the times I was blamed for the performance of my then boyfriend, now husband Virat and continue to take the blame for the most baseless things involving Indian cricket. I kept quiet then,” she had written.

“Today. I have decided to speak up because someone’s silence cannot be taken as their weakness," she had said at the time.


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September 20,2020


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.


Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

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September 12,2020


Mumbai, Sept 12: Veteran singer Anuradha Paudwal's son Aditya Paudwal has passed away at the age of 35 due to kidney failure.

The news of his demise was confirmed by Singer and music director Shankar Mahadevan in an Instagram post on September 12. Mahadevan said: “Devastated hearing this news !! Our dearest Aditya Paudwal is no more! What an amazing musician, what a lovely human being with a beautiful sense of humour! We have collaborated on so many projects! Just can’t come to terms with this !prayers for his family! Love you Aditya .. will miss you."

As per a News18 report, Aditya was suffering from kidney ailments for the past few months and had been hospitalised for the same.

Aditya Paudwal was also a music arranger and producer.

Singer Aditi Singh also wrote on her Instagram post: "Devastating news !! I literally cannot believe it !! What an incredibly talented musician and such a fun & humble guy. I recorded ‘Pyar Karnewale’ with him a few years ago .. what a delight to work with & to be around. We have lost an amazing musician and an awesome human being today. I pray for your soul to rest in peace, dear Aditya. My heartfelt condolences to Anuradha ji, their family & loved ones and strength to cope with this irreparable loss. #ripadityapaudwal #restinpeace #adityapaudwal"

Veteran Singer Pankaj Udhas also offered condolences to the family via a Tweet: "Shocked to learn about sudden passing of dear Aditya Paudwal We will never forget the image of his energetic and bright face. May God grant him eternal rest and the family the strength to bear his untimely passing. our deepest condolences to the family"

Aditya Paudwal was associated with the Nawazuddin Siddiqui's film Thackeray which was based on the life of Shive Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray. He was the arranger and producer of the song 'Saheb tu' in that film.

He had also collaborated with his mother on a few bhajans and was also registered in the Limca Book of Records as the youngest music producer of the country.


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