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Konkona Sen Sharma wins best director, best actress awards at New York Indian Film Festival



Konkona Sen Sharma
Konkona Sen Sharma

Konkona Sen Sharma bagged two awards at the 2017 New York Indian Film Festival, winning in the Best Actress and Best Director categories.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Konkona Sen Sharma has been selected as the winner in the categories of “Best Director” and “Best Actress” at the New York Indian Film Festival.

The 37-year-old Sharma won the best actress award for her performance in Alankrita Srivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, while she was awarded the best director for her directorial debut, A Death in the Gunj.

The NYIFF announced the list of this year’s winners on its official Twitter page:

“#NYIFF2017 Awards winners Best Director is @konkonas @chhabs @aroonshiv,” another tweet read.

Lipstick Under My Burkha, which served as the festival’s opening-night film, has  been denied a certificate for theatrical release from India’s Central Board of Film Certification for being “female oriented.” The film revolves around four Indian women, from ages 18 to 55 – a burqa-clad college girl, a young beautician, a mother of three and an aging widow – living in a small town who assert their personal and sexual rights.

Sharma’s directorial venture, A Death in the Gunj, is a drama thriller starring Kalki Koechlin, Vikrant Massey, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja and Om Puri in key roles.

The 17th NYIFF, presented by the Indo-American Arts Council, took place from April 30 to May 7 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian

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India mourns the loss of a revered Bollywood Superstar, Sridevi



Revered Bollywood star, Sridevi dead at 54

MUMBAI (Diya TV) — Veteran Bollywood star, Sridevi passed away at the age of 54. Survived by her husband, Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor, the actress died late in the night reportedly due to cardiac arrest in Dubai where she and her family were attending her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding.

From hits such as Nagina (1986), Mr. India (1987), Chandni (1989) to Judaai (1996) and English Vinglish in 2012, Sridevi dominated as the leading lady in 1980s and 1990s.

“I think she really was one of India’s first female superstars,” Bollywood critic Rajeev Masand told CNN. “It didn’t matter who the male actors where, the movies were shouldered by Sridevi.”
Masand recalled watching Sridevi as she filmed “Judaai” in Hyderbad in 1996. “It was incredible,” he told CNN. “She was very, very conscious and very, very shy, and this is at the peak of her career.”

Judaai” was a box office hit, but it was Sridevi’s performance in Gauri Shinde’s 2012 hit, “English Vinglish,” that really solidified her comeback and confirmed her as one of Bollywood’s most treasured and enduring talents.
Sridevi took the starring role of Shashi, an Indian housewife who only speaks Hindi but is thrust onto the streets of New York to help arrange her niece’s wedding. After a series of humiliations, Shashi decides she needs to learn English and enrolls in a four-week crash course

Fans, including co-stars, celebrities and politicians alike are expressing their shock at her untimely passing:

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Acclaimed filmmaker’s Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati release postponed till 2018



Mired in protests, the epic Bollywood film Padmavati awaits release

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed an opera of a Sufi poem Padmavat at the Châtelet theatre in Paris in 2008, becoming the first Indian to direct an opera in Paris and Rome. The opera made its debut at the 51st Spoleto festival, and will now be retold in the form of a visual cinematic extravaganza, starring one of the biggest names in Indian cinema, Deepika Padukone. The film has been mired in controversy in India long before its release. Originally set to release world-wide on Friday, December 1st, the film release was voluntarily deferred by Viacom 18. Earlier in November they released a statement,

“The studio has voluntarily deferred the release date of Padmavati from 1 December, 2017. Along with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, amongst the most gifted film makers of his generation, Viacom18 Motion Pictures has created a beautiful cinematic masterpiece in Padmavati that captures Rajput valor, dignity and tradition in all its glory. The film is an eloquent portrayal of a tale that will fill every Indian with pride and showcase our country’s story-telling prowess across the globe. We are a responsible, law-abiding corporate citizen and have the highest respect and regard for the law of the land and all our institutions and statutory bodies including the Central Board of Film Certification. We always have and are committed to continue following the established procedure and convention. We have faith that we will soon obtain the requisite clearances to release the film. We will announce the revised release date of the film in due course. We stand firm in our commitment to tell endearing tales that resonate with our audiences the world over as we have in the past with our other projects such as Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Queen, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and many more.”

It all started in January when Bhansali was assaulted during the filming by a mob consisting of Karni Sena members, a Rajput group. In Padmavati, the Rajput queen Padmini chose to kill herself by self-immolation rather than be captured by the Muslim sultan, Alauddin Khilji.

Paramount Pictures which is set to distribute its first Bollywood release has the exclusive rights in international markets outside of India. Directed by Bhansali, ‘Padmavati’ stars Deepika Padukone in the lead role of Rani Padmavati, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji. ‘Padmavati’ recounts the tale of Rani Padmavati – the legendary Mewar queen known as much for her beauty and intelligence as she was for her courage, her husband Maharawal Ratan Singh – a glorious Rajput ruler and a warrior king who fought till his dying breath to defend his kingdom and his wife’s honor and Sultan Alauddin Khilji – an ambitious and obsessive invader, who left no stone unturned in his pursuit of Padmavati.

Protestors of the film, claim that Alauddin Khilji was a brutal ruler and Bhansali’s film glamorizes him.
In addition, Rajput community has been up in arms about the portrayal of their Queen Padmini of Chittorgarh.
With state elections looming in Gujarat, community leaders from the ruling BJP have written to the Chief Election Commissioner demanding the stalling of the release of the film ahead of Gujarat elections.
According to reports, BJP vice-president I.K. Jadeja has received representations from Kshatriya community in
17-18 districts of Gujarat expressing concern about distortion of history in the movie.

Steeped in quintessential Bhansali-esq extravaganza of India’s rich and vibrant culture, adorned with classical folk music and paying tribute to a glorious era, the trailer of ‘Padmavati’ gives the audiences a glimpse of the magnanimity of the film, complete with ornate sets, perfectly co-ordinated elaborate dance sequences and exquisite costumes.

Meanwhile, the Central Board of Film Certification has yet to clear the film and with the local elections looming in Rajasthan. Director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali had to leave his residence in Mumbai with Police protection.

Padmavati Director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali leaves Mumbai at a day before the film release, with police protection

Padmavati Director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali leaves Mumbai at a day before the film release, with police protection

The filmmakers, including Bollywood’s top-paid actress and the protagonist, Deepika Padukone tweeted in disbelief calling for action

With unconfirmed reports of the film being deferred into 2018, the activists continue to find newer ways to rage and stop the film from hitting the screens. Indian states like Rajasthan, UP, Jaipur have already announced that they won’t allow the screening of the film even if the Certification Board passes it. And while the Indian Censor Board has yet to give the green light, the British Censor Board has cleared Padmavati for a December 1st release.

With all the talk about the progress and innovation in India, one has to question the motivation of the

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Arts & Culture

Bollywood Star Vinod Khanna dead at 70



Vinod Khanna
Vinod Khanna

Vinod Khanna makes a victory sign during an election campaign rally on the outskirts of Gurdaspur, India.

MUMBAI (Diya TV) — Veteran Bollywood sensation Vinod Khanna passed on Thursday at the age of 70, according to a hospital statement.

Khanna died of advanced bladder cancer on Thursday morning, said Tushar Pania, from the HN Reliance Foundation and Research Centre in Mumbai.

Khanna, who was dubbed Bollywood’s “original heartthrob,” had reportedly been battling the cancer for several years. He was hospitalized last month in Mumbai due to severe dehydration and bladder cancer, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. Tributes to the actor poured in on social media, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paying his respects.

In a career that spanned more than four decades, Khanna has been credited with appearances in more than 100 films.

He’s best remembered for his performances in movies such as “Mera Gaon, Mera Desh,” (“My Village, My Country”), “Gaddaar,” (“Traitor”), “Kuchhe Dhaage,” (“Fragile Threads”), “Amar, Akbar, Anthony,” which he co-starred in with fellow superstar Amitabh Bachchan, and “Qurbani,” (“Sacrifice”) — one of several films for which he received a Filmfare Award nomination, India’s equivalent to an Oscar.

Khanna was born in 1946 in Peshawar, British India, now Pakistan. He moved with his family to Mumbai the same year, soon after the partition of India and Pakistan. Khanna debuted on the silver screen for the first time in 1968 in “Man Ka Meet,” (“A Pairing of Hearts”), where he played the villain, a trend that continued for much of the start of his career.

Three years later, he made the successful transition to the “hero” and played the lead role in “Hum, Tum or Woh,” (“Me, You and Them”).

Khanna returned to acting in 1987 after a five-year sabbatical, appearing in a slew of romantic films. In 1999, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and less than a decade later, in 2007, he won the ZEE Cine Lifetime Achievement Award.

Away from the screen, Khanna was also a well-known politician. In 1997 he joined the current ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The following year, he was elected to India’s lower house of parliament. He was elected four times from his constituency in the northern state of Punjab.

He is survived by his second wife Kavita, his children Rahul, Akshaye, Sakshi and Shraddha. Rahul and Akshaye are both also actors; his son Rahul Khanna is best known to international audiences for playing Yousaf Rana in the spy thriller television series, “The Americans.”

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