Cast: Novera Rahman, Champa, Allen Shubhro, Siam Ahmed
Critics Rating: 3.5 stars
Director: Amitabh Reza Chowdhury
Writer: Shabari Z. Ahmed
Duration: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Genre: Drama, girl-empowerment
Release details: Currently on all major VOD platforms. 2022 Festival run:
Vancouver Asian Film Festival
Prescott Film Festival
Mill Valley Film Festival
The Buddha International Film Festival
Durban International Film Festival
Based on the young adult novel of the same name by Mitali Perkins, ‘Rickshaw Girl’ follows the story of Naima – a teenage girl, who runs away to Dhaka to save her ailing father.
Naima (Novera Rahman) is poor but brave. This strong character trait is the highpoint of director Amitabh Reza Chowdhury’s moving tale of a young girl, who is all by herself, in the big city of Dhaka, pulling a rickshaw, her passion to paint and her mission to save her dying father. Navigating through the bustling bylanes of Dhaka and the rural shanties where poverty and despair live, the story is seeped in realism.
Naima’s struggle when combined with the life she comes from and the life she gets thrown into, make for a collective visual experience that brings alive Perkins’ novel. Some might find it a slow-moving portrait of the central character, but that is a good choice to execute this drama. This is because it details the trials and tribulations of a young girl, whose struggle is symbolic of just how cruel the world can be for those who are already downtrodden. Even people from their own socio-economic strata, torture them while the rich remain indifferent towards then. This puts them in a never-ending loop of existential crises that are so hard to break.
The narrative here goes through several ups & downs, making it interesting and engaging in parts, but somewhat predictable too. The production values are top-notch and the performance by Novera Rahman, who largely pulls this all by herself, is exceptional. Other characters don’t get enough screen time to prove their mettle, however they are perfectly cast and they look and act the part.
The setting of a poor village and the struggling girl aspiring to be a painter, starts on a great note and you are immediately sucked into the narrative, but soon, it takes a while to build up. After Naima arrives in Dhaka, the plot moves at a good pace, but here some repetitive conflicts and scenes blunt the impact a bit. However, the slow-moving narrative has its perks. By now, you’re totally invested into Naima’s life and her daily struggles. It’s so easy to root for this teenage struggling girl, whose character shows restraint, grit and depth despite her dire circumstances.
Amitabh Reza Chowdhury’s attempt seems modeled after films based on similar subjects like ‘Lion’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. The script by Shabari Z. Ahmed doesn’t reach those highs but surely shows a lot of promise and keeps you invested. Strong performance from the lead actor and the deft capturing of life in rural and urban Bangladesh are the soul of this realistic drama that takes you along.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Lochlyn Munro, Jack Kilmer, Willow Shields, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Jimmy Jean-Louis
Director: Edward Drake
Critic’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Genre: Crime, thriller
Duration: 1 hr, 31 mins
Release Details: Select theaters and major VOD platforms on January 20, 2023.
DVD and Blu-ray on February 28, 2023.
Story A legendary detective must hunt down a disturbed young man who is dressing up as a cop and robbing banks in the name of funding his dream of creating his own police force
Review Nothing succeeds like success, they say – a phrase that Hollywood lives by and often churns out movies after movies, sometimes as sequels and prequels while at times as part of a full blown universe spawned from characters made popular through intense marketing and PR gimmicks. In this race to cash in on a popular character or a story, makers often lose sight of what the audience really want. However, the same cannot be said for this one.
Writer-director Edward Drake gives us a satisfying finale to the Knight trilogy but this time with a highly motivated antagonist. He is Dezi (Jack Kilmer), who devises his own brand of vigilante justice to bring about a change in the society. It’s a complex character that is not easy to root for neither it is easy to be hated, because it is not all dark or gray. Kilmer does justice to this young man’s dilemma and actions driven by what he sees around himself.
Ed takes a slow approach to his thriller which is always a tricky decision. It robs the film of its pace that is so important to bring in the element adventure and urgency. This makes the film’s screenplay feel verbose and lethargic in places. The best moments are clearly when the thrill reaches its peak during the bank robbery scenes. It’s twisted and bloody. As the film progresses, there are dull moments too when nothing much happens until it all ends in a high tension yet predictable climax.
Bruce Willis again has less screentime, which isn’t cool although he makes his limited time and scope count. The makers says they have shot the film in 7 or 8 days but the final product is good enough and does make it look like any decent size, nominal budgeted actioner. The action is served in measured doses.
Clearly, ‘Detective Knight’ doesn’t make it to the top of the list of larger-than-life action adventure thrillers. Rather, Ed takes it slow and manages to give his veteran star Bruce Willis and his famed trilogy a befitting farewell.
Cast: Benedikt Sebastian, Olivia Buckle, Helene Udy, Jay Habre.
Critics Rating: 3,5 stars out of 5
Director: Kyle Schadt
Duration: 89 mins
Release details: Should be available on Amazon TVOD by December 31 – if not earlier
When a former cop gets involved with his mysterious neighbour, he has no clue what he is signing up for. His decision to help her leads him back into the dangerous world of crime, lies, deceit and murder. Only this time he isn’t exactly on the right side of the law.
When Kyle Schadt opens ‘Toxic Impulses’with a sweeping drone shot of the city after a black and white opening credit roll, he makes it amply clear that you’re in for a promising neo-noir crime thriller. And it is one. While the story and the writing itself are engaging and have some believable twists and turns, the treatment is what makes it special. For starters, Schadt gets down to business bang on from the very first scene and doesn’t waste time in verbose scenes that only add to the runtime. All the same, it would have helped if he could somehow given his two central characters Mosley (Benedikt Sebastian) and Zamira (Olivia Buckle) a little more backgrounder and context. It would help the audience relate with them better.
The element of mystery, however, is consistent and the plot revolves around only a few characters without unnecessary detours into other unproductive subplots. That’s a very good choice for a taut thriller. The background score and the cinematography effectively add to the element of urgency in the narrative and kind of make up for the film’s self-admitted budgetary constraints. That is not to say that this one looks like a grand scale crime thriller but when the writing is on point that little else matters. Often, when filmmakers get carried away with the fancier aspects of filmmaking giving lesser significance to the soul of their film (read story, screenplay and the way their characters are written), it’s bound to be doomed.
Performances range from serviceable to satisfactory. Benedikt Sebastian is believable as the man who follows his heart and gets into trouble, but that part is pretty predictable. Thankfully, his chemistry with Olivia Buckle is slightly unconventional. Some of the characters are gross caricatures like bad man Boyd played by Robert Ackerman Moss. Helene Udy doesn’t have much to go on with.
All in all, ‘Toxic Impulses’ gives you a good time within it limited means. It navigates unpredictable twists and turns with ease leading into an intensely gripping climax without going over the top with forced action sequences and long, laborious exchanges between the characters. It’s to the point and I am lovin’ it!
Release Details: Elevation Pictures is thrilled that the documentary, TIGER 24, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Warren Pereira, will release on all major Canadian/US digital platforms on December 6th following a successful US theatrical run. TIGER 24 won the Panda award at the 2022 Wildscreen Festival In the UK and is a finalist at the Jackson Wild Media Awards, where previous winners include Academy Award® Winner, MY OCTOPUS TEACHER. The film has also claimed several accolades and awards across the festival
Man v/s animal perhaps is the oldest conflict. It raises an important question- are we encroaching the animal’s personal space? Is an animal wrong in behaving by its instinct? A documentary filmmaker Warren Pereira comes close to answering these questions when he accidentally finds himself in midst of one of the biggest man-animal conflict of India while filming Tigers in Ranthambore when Ustad a.k.a Tiger-24 is captured, plucked from his natural habitat, and sent to a zoo enclosure. Something doesn’t sit right, and Warren decides to explore the facts further diverting from what he originally had set out to do.
The documentary mainly focuses on this one handsome Tiger Ustad, a beautiful, magnificent creature in itself, who is happily living in the jungle with his mate Noor and few cubs – a happy tiger family if you will. But all is not well, as humans often venture into Ustad’s territory and in few incidents are mauled by the Tiger, believed to be the ‘Tiger-24’. Warren further explores each death in detail speaking to eyewitnesses and experts to understand what happened and what could have been done to prevent these tragedies.
The documentary stays true to its nature and provides a lot of in-depth account with original footage of the Tiger and the victims too (not for the faint hearted). It explores all four deaths giving first-hand accounts. It’s shot beautifully and at no point you find anything unnecessary or awkwardly inserted just for sensationalism. So, full marks to Warren for that. It’s amazing to see how many villagers (not all of course) that live close to the jungle are aware that they are encroaching the animal’s space and perhaps the animal is not wrong and acts in self defence. Warren is equally sympathetic towards the victim’s family as well.
It’s definitely worth a watch and one of the better documentaries you might have watched in a while now. There is quite a bit of raw footage and makes you feel like a witness to this. Your heart sure goes out to the victims as well as towards Ustad and his family.
The part where Ustad’s family is lost after he is taken to an enclosure, leaving his partner Noor and cubs searching for him, is heart breaking. It shows neither man nor animal is immune to certain basic emotions. Tiger-24 is a sad but beautiful representation of the true facts of man-animal conflict. It is unbiased, well-rounded and factual that naturally underscores just how we humans wreck the lives of the animals, the first occupants of this planet, now left at our mercy to survive.
It’s been over 5 years since I have been in the UAE and tomorrow as the country celebrates its 51st National Day, I thought it would be nice to revisit the reasons why I stuck around here for so long despite having no plans to do so, when I first came here in 2017.
Well, for starters, UAE is truly a land of opportunities, which I experienced first hand after coming here. The day I was leaving for Dubai, a friend of mine had told me that this is the country that will become your calling and before I knew it, it had already become one.
Movies released here before anywhere else, and that helped me review them before anyone else for the Times of India. A huge Indian diaspora gave me an opportunity to tell stories of Indians for the various language services of the BBC. I worked with the most listened to radio station in the UAE 89.1 Radio 4, becoming the voice that delivered fresh news, every day, every hour and last but not the least, I could finally make my own brand Reviewron – a budding platform that brews news, views, reviews and experiences from the UAE and beyond.
Then well, life here is easy. No potholes, no back breaking roads, and no punishing jams at ungodly hours and surely no roadside corruption in the form of chai pani. Paying for tolls like Salik means you get the worth of your money and a hefty traffic fine ensures almost everyone toes the line.
No dealing with various problems in your building society, maintenance issues and issues like builders not doing what they are supposed to, society members doing as they please and daily ruckus for parking – something I have always faced in Mumbai. Here the contract is given to a private maintenance company that takes care of everything you need.
Then, you just have to worry about your own job and your work. Living life is easy if that is sorted because your work ensures you have a valid visa and a steady source of income to live here. And if you’re eligible, you get a Golden Visa, which is valid for 10 years straight – something that reaffirmed my resolve to spend the most productive years of my life in the UAE when I got a golden visa last year.
Of course, no tax on income and income in dirhams is a definite plus and above all, it’s much closer to my home in India and will always be a home away from home.
Haters can say what they want to but I believe in giving credit where it’s due and so I am grateful to have experienced life in the UAE because this is the sun kissed land of sand that has turned its barren desert into an oasis of life and opportunities.
Cast: Kristos Andrews, Galadriel Stineman, Maurice LaMarche, Charles M. Howell IV. Carla Collins, Spencer Breslin
Critics Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Director: James Cullen Bressack
Writer: Gordon Bressack
Duration: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Genre: Dark Comedy
Release details: Oh, Scares Film Festival &
Filmquest, Oct 31, 2022.
In this quirky play-within-a-play-within-a-movie, director James Cullen Bressack attempts to bring together the nuances and dynamics of real and reel life of the creators with comedy and neo-noire thrill. Do they succeed?
A critic once said, “The new needs friends.” And director James Cullen Bressack’s attempt to bring to life his late father and writer Gordon Bressack’s screenplay is definitely something new and something that isn’t attempted often. In that spirit, ‘Murder Anyone?’ is a fun and thrilling ride of dark comedy that navigates through some seriously funny and bloody situations, along with chaotic plot twists that make you stay invested in whatever is happening on the screen.
From the very start, we know nothing here can be taken too seriously but as the film progresses, it keeps amusing its audience with the raw brashness of its characters and the constant tussle between the writers that is clearly the biggest highpoint of the film. Sure, it’s all very loud and over-the-top but that we believe is by design.
That said, we have to admit it’s not for everyone and many would find it downright silly and outrageously pointless too. But the fun is to actually just go with the flow and let the madness of the characters and the situations take over. It could have been funnier but the amount of blood and gore is satisfactory. It makes for an easy harmless watch for an evening with friends and popcorn and maybe some beer too.
The actors here are clearly having fun just as they were intended too and in all its silliness, the film breezes through its narrative. It has its flaws and may not amuse those looking for a perfectly timed comedy or a blood-curdling thriller, but it’s just perfect for those who don’t mind sitting through a mindless whodunit that has its share of scary and LOL moments.
Release details: 9/13/22 – Digital and VOD, North America
Two young boys are instructed to ask the same girl out, but it’s a bizarre competition they do not see coming. Who will win?
It’s a contest of the equals but the tasks are so weird and absurd that from the word go, this one promises to be a fun ride. And it is. Writer-director Andrew Simonian’s brief to his team and himself is clear – have fun. Irrespective of logic or conviction – just have fun so that his audience does too. And while that’s a great thought, he succeeds in creating moments of pure unadulterated, sometimes even slapstick comedy. There is repetition but consistency too.
The narrative is full of random situations that the characters have to tackle. It’s a fresh and different storyline that is also unpredictable. Dialogues are light and breezy and the actors seem to be clearly having a ball acting it out. The three main leads, especially the two boys Jeremy Sless and Nick Grace, who play Whalen and Davis respectively effortlessly play their roles, creating some LOL moments.
The film moves at a consistent pace and its short runtime is a huge plus. There aren’t too many dull moments here and it’s a roller-coaster ride you can take without reading too much into it. Not every film is meant to be a cinematic masterpiece. Some films are made purely for the reason of entertainment and if it manages to do that then it is mission accomplished, even with obvious flaws.
Cast: Megha Sandhu, Kavi Raz, Jordan Willaims, Saydee Dickinson, John F. Thomas
Critics Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Director: Anoop Rangi
Duration: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Genre: Dark Comedy
Release details: ‘Arranged Marriage’ will be launching worldwide on VOD across all major streaming platforms from October 14th, 2022
A young Indian woman living in Canada discovers the ugly face of her deeply conservative and regressive family as they force her into an arranged marriage. Will she rebel or play ball?
Kamali Matthu’s life takes a turn for the worse when she suddenly realises that her family wants her to be married off to a boy she has never even met. Here, the groom’s face is covered with a paper bag and his father actually pulls out a magnifying glass to check the diamonds he is shamelessly accepting as dowry. But Kamali has bigger problems. She is already dating one of her fellow students, who is white. As Kamali walks into her own surprise engagement one day, her boyfriend Clive decides to meet her parents and formally ask her hand for marriage. But little do they know that the Matthus are far from the harmless Punjabi family as they look. They can really go to the extremes if their so-called family honour is at risk.
It’s a conflict that escalates quickly as the true face of Kamali’s family is revealed. Some gruesome acts of crime take place as the story progresses further but director Anoop Rangi has firm grip on the darkness of this awkward comedy which is wildly unpredictable. While toxic patriarchy and honour killings may be a reality in smaller towns of India, the film really makes us wonder if such a family would exist in a western country like Canada. Performances are loud and too gregarious but maybe that’s by design. And Canada’s law order is made to look deeply racist and ridiculous.
Megha Sandhu looks super glam and acts with oodles of confidence. She is able to bring about Kamali’s inner conflict, vulnerability and rebellious streak pretty well, as she tries to live her life like a regular young girl, who has every right to choose her partner. Rest of the cast is more caricaturish and stereotyped. The screenplay moves at a solid pace and as audience you’re hooked to know what lies next in this deeply disturbing comedy where nothing is really funny.
Overall, ‘Arranged Marriage’ is a fun dark comedy that tackles a serious issue of societal norms and familial pressures, especially for a young Indian girl. It shows the hidden evil face of a seemingly happy family whose beliefs and way of life are far too problematic and dangerous.
On a starry night, Jack and Jill separately meet a fortune teller who predicts they will meet the love of their life before the end of the year, which happens to be only five days away. The countdown begins, and both Jack and Jill go on a series of horrible and hilarious dates, each worse than the next. With a string of missed encounters and New Year’s Eve approaching, will the prophecy come true? Are these swing dance-obsessed singles destined to meet and fall in love?
Naming your characters Jack and Jill is tricky. No one is going to take them seriously. And here it’s clear that director Tom Malloy doesn’t even want us to. The two live in the same vicinity but they keep running into the wrong people rather than into each other and that’s what the whole plot is about. So, they have to go on a series of bad dates to find each other. Something like an episode of FRIENDS where Phoebe and Joey set Ross and Rachel on lousy dates so they could appreciate each other more and eventually start dating again.
It seemed like the gypsy-hippie woman who predicts their future was selling the same story to everyone so it’s hard to digest how our lead pair so easily buy into it but then again the whole idea is to have fun, however senseless it may be. It’s fun to watch Jack and Jill meet caricatures and stereotypes in the name of dates.
Some of the scenes and characters are more hilarious like Jill’s model date, who assumes she has called him fat and Jack’s friend who tries to set him up. And slowly it gets progressively bizarre and might we say somewhat repetitive too.
At this point you start to think how dumb are these two to keep missing each other until ofcourse the New Year’s Eve when they are supposed to find each other. Again, hard to digest but fun to watch.
To give due credit, the concept is great, with a lot of potential for comedy, and it works very well in parts. Once it gets into the loop, it becomes predictable. Performances wise the actors simply do as told and that is satisfactory for an easy breezy watch like this. The setup is cool and the pace isn’t overbearing.
Ask me to Dance surely can’t be taken too seriously, so if you just want to have a hearty laugh and a healthy dose of clichés then hit the dance floor, we say!
Cast: Adelaide Clemens, Leo Suter, Connie Nielsen, Karolina Porcari, Sam Gillett, Sebastian Croft, Stephen Dorff, Toby Sebastian
Critics Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Director: Martha Coolidge
Duration: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Release details: I’ll Find You had at first festival run at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020: Taormina Film Fest 2019, Camerimage 2019, NNW Festival 2019, Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival 2020, San Francisco Jewish film Festival 2020.
Story A young couple – Robert, a catholic opera singer and Rachel, a Jewish violinist, dream of one day performing together at Carnegie Hall. When they’re torn apart by the German invasion of Poland, Robert vows to find Rachel, no matter what. His search takes him on a journey through the heart of Nazi Germany, to a reckoning – that Rachel may be lost to him forever.
With recent Ukraine & Russia war, one cannot put the thought of countries being ravaged by war savagely and lives being destroyed. ‘I’ll Find You’ is one such story.
This period love story is about Robert, a catholic opera singer and Rachel, a Jewish violinist. Although, Rachel is engaged to be married with David, it doesn’t stop her from falling in love with her long-lost friend, who reunites with her as her boyfriend. Just when you think it’s a rosy love story, World War-II strikes and with Germans invading Poland, Robert and Rachel’s love story takes a nasty turn. How & when Robert finds her, what does he do next? That forms the rest of the story.
With a limited budget the set-up is awesome, and we’re transported into the era which is established with impressive detail. Performances are good. The lead pair’s chemistry is superb. Leo Suter is particularly sincere. Adelaide Clemens too does a fine job. But the film is somewhat slow and a bit of a drag. You can tell the twists, even though the story does its best to surprise you and it somewhat does, it’s still a lukewarm affair. The tension builds up when the war is interjected in the love story but it’s kept to a minimum, and hence you don’t feel the imminent dangers of a war. The film also jumps ahead in time, abruptly several times and that doesn’t help the pace.
It’s quite ambitious and the story has the potential, where the director sincerely his tell us about a love story in times of war. The film’s uneven pace and some predictable twists are a dampener. Still, it has what it takes to tug at your heartstrings with its compelling narrative that could have soared with just a little more emphasis on the pulls and pressures of one of the most defining moments of a historic war.
Release details: VOD Release includes Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, Spectrum, Comcast, Cox, Dish, DirecTV, and many more.
This documentary explores how ballet has changed the lives of kids with differing abilities and their daily challenges as their incredible dance teacher helps them prepare for an emotional end-of-year dance recital.
All of us people who are born with the gift of a fully functional life often forget to count our blessings and take it for granted. And it’s only when we see those who are less fortunate than us and yet making every effort to follow their dreams that we reflect back on how lucky we are. And the world needs more people who can partner with them to help them realise their true potential at a very early age.
‘Everybody Dance’ is a heart-touching yet very practical journey of five special-needs kids and their ballet instructor Bonnie as they count down to their all-important year-end recital. It quite nicely shows the challenges that these kids face every single day, as they are told that they are not normal and how something as simple as a ballet class can change their lives. However, it is never done in a way that we as audience feel sorry for them. In fact, it only makes us root for them more passionately. Of course, it’s a niche film because of its subject and that means it’s not populist. It’s not something that an average movie-goer would watch for entertainment. It’s meant to educate, enlighten and inspire. To that end, it achieves its purpose.
Writer-director Dan Watt does well in bringing out each of his subject’s story and journey to the recital that is symbolic of their grit and spirit. Being a dancer himself, Dan utilizes his expertise and experience in telling the story of these real people. But he doesn’t plot his narrative and lets it flow with the way these kids behave and react to situations. This gives it a more authentic feel and you wait for the moment when these children perform on their big day.
‘Everybody Dance’ isn’t a preachy documentary. It’s just a thoughtful piece of cinema that helps us understand the life of the differently abled to live it to the fullest and those who help them achieve that.
Cast: Harry Aspinwall, Anita Abdinezhad, Christian Masters,
Ross Cowan, Claudia Troyer
Critics Rating: 3 out of 5
Director: Daniel Byers
Writer(s): Harry Aspinwall, Daniel Byers
Duration: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Release details: Released on TUBI TV as a TUBI Original
A man with a rare blood type is isolated during a pandemic for a study. But when he breaks a religiously followed punishing and lonely routine, he discovers a deadly world overrun by monstrous creatures.
Having experienced a deadly pandemic ourselves, none of us are alien to isolation, fatal illnesses mass deaths. ‘Eradication’ takes it from there to a world of extremes, which now seems like a very real and chilling possibility. What with new variants of the coronavirus continuing to plague our lives along with a few other viruses making their presence felt.
Director and co-writer Daniel Byers successfully recreates this scary world that is isolated, dark and discomfortingly uncertain. It’s the world of David Baldwin (Harry Aspinwall) who has been living alone for two years, away from the rest of the civilisation, eating canned foods and speaking to his epidemiologist wife Sam (Anita Abdinezhad) through video calls. She is studying his blood to find a cure but as the movie progresses, the desperation and hopelessness keeps getting more severe. One can feel the frustration in David’s action as Harry brilliantly conveys it on screen. For a film made bang in the middle of the pandemic with a skeletal crew, ‘Eradication’ is surprisingly high on details and production values. There are sweeping drone shots of amply green landscapes of pine and spruce, juxtaposed with the creepy darkness that has engulfed the homes and hearts of its characters. It holds a mirror to what the governments can do in the name of finding a cure and how helpless we are in the face of an unknown virus that can kill you mentally and physically.
The narrative maintains a sense of creepy unpredictability but is way too slow in its execution. Something that tests your patience just like the pandemic did. Daniel keeps an element of mystery and drama in his storytelling technique. The thrilling bits are few and far between and just like most zombie films, this one goes too far in creating a make-believe world of monsters, who were once humans. But a part of it stays relatable because the story draws its inspiration from the real-world events that we all experienced in the recent times.
It’s not an easy film to watch considering just how dark and despondent its tale is but all the same this could have easily been true. And that is what makes it relevant and important because we have still not managed to eradicate the virus that killed so many of us.
Cast: Daniel Keith, Kathy Searle, Tony Triano, James Patrick Nelson, Sybil Lines, Sheila Stasack, Roger Hendricks Simon, Debargo Sanyal
Critics Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Director/Writer: Daniel Keith
Duration: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Details: Released in US market via Tricoast Entertainment. TVOD – 10/6/2020
AVOD – Freevee, Redbox, Tubi, Vudu
SVOD – 2021 Prime
OTT – 2022 – Xumo, Local Now
A sleepy town comes alive with heightened sexual activity, especially among the seniors after a bi-product in their water shoots up their libido. Now, it’s up to the Sheriff to ensure everyone keeps it in their pants but can they?
The sweeping shots of the picturesque Portsmouth in the opening scene are so visually stunning that it immediately arrests your attention. Actor-writer and director Daniel Keith doesn’t waste time in getting to the point in introducing us to the motley bunch of residents of Kilnerry where an unusual problem is about to add some much needed spice in their routine lives. It’s a relatable setup of a close-knit community. One that feels homely and warm where the characters are quirky with everyday problems. The kind of harmony that is depicted here is much needed in today’s times of uncertainty and bad breaking news of human tragedies. In that sense, ‘Love in Kilnerry’ is the escapism of harmless coexistence among the people of a sleepy town that is crime free and welcoming.
That Keith adapts this funny film from a play with the same name is evident from the loud and over the top performances from the actors, who seem like they are on a stage and not on camera. This can be endearing or annoying, but it’s a matter of perspective. For a bizarre and unique story like this, it’s the kind of boisterousness that works. There are slapstick and laugh out loud moments at regular intervals but there was definitely scope for better comedy.
Daniel leads the show with his good cop act and looks handsome enough to have the ladies swooning over him. And clearly, he is also one of the sane ones in this mad town. The film’s screenplay gets progressively funnier and risqué but the nudity never gets gross. It remains a wholesome entertainer even when the folks of Kilnerry start dropping their pants, getting down and dirty in public and some just abandoning clothes for good.
Overall, there is a lot of fun to be had in this brash and chaotic comedy that never takes itself too seriously. If you’re looking to let yourself loose in a funnily unassuming film that challenges your inhibitions then this is it.
Now, clearly, these films especially Laal Singh Chaddha that had been in the making since 2017 and was earlier supposed to release way back in Dec 2019, had finally targetted the big Independence Day weekend to get maximum footfalls in the theatre. Ditto for Raksha Bandhan. But the #boycottbollywood campaign had started playing spoilt sport for both the films and this time, it really hit where it hits the most.
Even if you take modest estimates, Laal Singh Chaddha was made at a budget that went upwards of 200 crores. And this has been confirmed by a very reliable source from the studio that made Laal Singh Chaddha who told us that the film that started before COVID and was shot at across multiple locations had to incur losses due to covid lockdowns. Add to that the cost of heavy VFX work in de-ageing of Aamir and Kareena and then of course the interest charges at the rate of 14% that adds each year. All of this multiplied the cost of its making taking it beyond a massive 200 crores.
Now, trade experts that we spoke to from a leading trade magazine said that Laal Singh Chadda earned a total of 35 crore and Rakshabandhan earned just 30 crores….through the weekend and as things stand, Laal Singh Chaddha could shut shop by next week. Going by the latest box office figures, it appears likely that Laal Singh Chaddha will not be able to cross the 100 crore mark at the box office, which would be a massive disappointment for Aamir Khan as this is his first film in four years. Even Aamir’s last dud Thugs of Hindostan made more money than this.
The source at the studio tells us that Laal Singh Chaddha will recover most of its cost through satellite, streaming and overseas syndication deals and there maybe some respite from China that has traditionally liked Aamir’s films like Dangal and Secret Superstar. Ajit Andhare, CEO of Viacom 18 Studios that made Laal Singh Chaddha, denied all rumours about compensation for losses and told the Times of India that there are no external distributers, its being distributed by Viacom 18 Studios, and no money is lost in the first place. This is baseless speculation,” he said. Most of the big studios have their own distribution networks in most of the big cities and in smaller centres films are released to sub-distributors on commission basis.
But the fact remains that the film has surely not performed the way Aamir would have hoped. A Bollywood Hungama report said that Aamir seems to be in a state of shock. because he had worked really hard to make the best version of Forrest Gump possible. The rejection has hit him very hard,” the report quoted a friend of Aamir and his former wife Kiran Rao.
Meanwhile, Aamir Khan’s niece, Zayn Marie Khan, has extended her support to the actor over boycott calls against Laal Singh Chaddha. Zayn shared a video appeal on Instagram, requesting everyone to watch the movie and “not let a hate campaign destroy” it. Aamir’s daughter, Ira Khan, also showed her solidarity with him by reposting Zayn’s video on her Instagram account.
Aamir Khan had earlier confessed that he was hurt when he saw the ‘boycott Laal Singh Chaddha’ trend on Twitter. He urged everyone to watch the film. He even admitted at being heartbroken. He has gone on record and said, “I feel sad that some of the people who are saying this, in their hearts, believe that I am someone who doesn’t like India. But it is untrue. It is rather unfortunate that some people feel that way. That’s not the case. Please don’t boycott my film. Please watch my film,” pleaded Aamir.
But, the boycott trend seems coupled with mixed reviews of the film have done the damage to its theatrical run where reports of cancellation of the shows are pouring in each day.
The film had been facing boycott calls even before its release. Aamir Khan’s visit to Turkey in 2020 and a meeting with Turkey’s First Lady triggered off a massive backlash against him, again. Aamir has also been facing uproar on social media for his remarks regarding intolerance in the country and saying that his now ex-wife Kiran felt that so unsafe that she suggested if they should quit India for good. The actor had said he also felt that the sense of insecurity and fear. He had also supported the Award Wapsee gang, saying one of the ways for creative people to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment was to return their awards.
These comments he made way back in 2015 have come back like a bolt from the blue and is said to have affected the business of Laal Singh Chaddha, which is fast becoming one of the biggest disasters of Aamir’s career.
Here in the UAE, Laal Singh Chaddha is doing very average business with even prime time shows recording few footfalls.
Raksha Bandhan is doing even worse. The prime time shows of this film are running empty in most theatres.
Have you caught both either or neither of these two films and what are your thoughts on the trend of boycott Bollywood.
Cast: Seth McTigue, Roy Huang, Brennan Keel Cook Critics Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 Writer-Director: Seth McTigue Duration: 1 hour, 22 minutes Genre: Thriller, Drama Release details: Theatrical Release July 8, 2022 (2 Weeks, 6 cities: NYC, LA, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit) VOD Release July 12, 2022
An elaborate surprise stunt for a birthday, leads to a disaster when career criminals hired to stage a fake kidnapping goes awry.
When has kidnapping ever gone right? – a staged kidnapping for a surprise birthday party goes horribly wrong, when a man secures a crew to stage a fake kidnapping of his baby brother, a thriving millionaire, apparently loved by all. But little does he know that the fake kidnapping crew has a plan of their own. The thing about thrillers is that you literally can’t give a lot away, hence we’re keeping it short. Let’s just say ‘Take the Night’ is padded with a lot of back-stories of all central characters and director Seth McTigue’s debut film is full of twist and turns. It also throws light on each character and their mind-sets and backgrounds, giving us a peek into why they are doing what they are doing.
Even though it may be a tad predictable ‘TTN’ has a way of staying ahead of the curve. Also, crisp editing and going easy on the melodrama ensures that the pace of this thriller remains constant. The narrative beautifully blends one scene into the next, and keeps you hooked.
As a first time writer-director-producer-star Seth McTigue does a solid job in balancing the character drama and suspense. The camera work by Rainer Lipski is good as he uses New York City serves as a backdrop to enrich the screenplay. The performances are good too, and most are aptly cast. Seth himself has done a fine job as an actor.
There are times you feel the film could have been crisper and less predictable. Overall, ‘Take the Night’ has what it takes to be the thrilling one night saga of a chaotic kidnapping.
This is as ironic as it gets. Just last night, I watched the latest Netflix film called Darlings and look how reel imitates real life.
This film about domestic violence & abuse against married women, shows how the mother-daughter duo of Badru and her mom, played by Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah, respectively, take matters in their own hands, against Badru’s alcoholic and tempramental husband Hamza, played by Vijay Varma.
This film dropped yesterday and around the same time, in a parallel universe, a social media campaign was gaining momentum. But this was for real. Hashtag Justice for Mandeep is trending because this Indian woman in the US has just lost her life, to the exact same issue – abject domestic voilence, abuse and bloody beatings, by her own husband. An inhumane torture that she endured for 8 long years
Yes, a 30-year-old Sikh woman allegedly committed suicide at her Richmond-based residence in New York, on Wednesday 3rd August, accusing her husband of domestic violence and also calling out his parents for being responsible for her plight.
While most reports say that the New York police are treating this as a suicide, an Instagram page dedicated to the case called @TheKaurMovement says that the NYPD is investigating the case as a homicide and not as suicide.
But whether it is a suicide or homicide, the reason for Mandeep’s death is clear. Just 2 das back, she had shared a video, where she is cryig and saying that she cannot tolerate any more violence at the hands of her husband Ran-jodh-beer Singh Sandhu and has decided to commit suicide.
In the nearly-five-minute video, Mandeep is heard saying, I have decided to end my life today. She says she tried her best, but cannot tolerate the daily beatings now. She is heard saying, “For eight years, I have been undergoing daily beatings and accepting his bad behaviour in a hope that he will mend his ways one day”.
She further says, “I didn’t want to leave my two daughters behind but now I cannot tolerate this torture anymore and am taking this extreme step”. IN more shocking revelations she even says that her husband had once held her hostage for five days and kept beating her up throughout.
Mandeep also alleged that her husband had several extramarital affairs over the years. She even accused her mother-in-law of verbally abusing her family and prompting her son to torture her.
You would be wondering why did no one do anything about Mandeep’s dire situation.
Well, her father had gotten Ranjodh-beer booked in a case once. But much like the film Darlings, he pleaded and emotionally manipulated his wife and eventually got off.
Several videos of Sandhu hitting and torturing her — mostly CCTV footage from their home — were shared on social media. In one such video, the man is seen assaulting and trying to strangle her as their daughters are heard crying and asking him not to hit their mother. In another such video, her husband is heard verbally abusing her and saying he wanted a son, and not daughters.
Both Mandeep and her husband are from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. They got married 8 years back and their 2 daughters are now four and six years old. Mandeep’s family is seeking their custody. Ranjhodbeer lives in the US now but he had earlier been deported from New Zealand. He worked in Miami for some time before starting his transport business in New York.
The Sikh community and locals are now trying all they can to help bring Mandeep’s body back to India and pushing for justice for her. A strong campaign on twitter and other social media platforms is currently on to bring Mandeep’s husband and his family to justice.
Wish similar efforts were made earlier and if Mandeep and her family would have done whatever it takes to put an end to the torture that was being inflicted upon her for years.
This begs not one but many questions – why do women put up with such sustained voilence and abuse by their husbands and his family? Is it because of the love for the man they married and/or the children? Is it because of social stigma or is it because of the fear of being left alone? Or is it the hope that some day, things will get better. Or sadly, is it the hopelessness that makes them resign to fate and feel that this is their life now.
But as these questions linger on their mind, it only bolsters their tormentor to inflict more pain on them.
This story is about a woman, who hailed from a small village in Uttar Pradesh but was settled in the US. Clearly, her progress from a small town to a bustling international metropolis hadn’t helped. She continued to suffer and her pleas for help on social media proved futile too. Who all are then responsible for her death?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Friends, a troubled mindset is a disaster waiting to happen and extreme thoughts are a reality. And we all experience them. While some overcome them and move on, some end up acting upon them. If you or anyone you think needs help then it’s just a phone call away. We are leaving some helpline numbers in the descripton.
Connect with us.
Thank you so much for watching this video. Please take of yourself and those around you. Jai Hind.
It’s a mother straight from hell, who threw her four year old child from the fourth floor balcony of her apartment. Yes, believe it or not this just happened yesterday, in Bengaluru, where this 29 year old woman Sushma Bharadwaj, tossed her child over in a flash and the entire incident was captured on CCTV camera.
Now, this visual is very disturbing and can unsettle many viewers, so we advise strong discretion on your part but if you have the heart to see it then here it is – the chilling crime, committed in broad daylight by a mother, against her own child.
Now what makes this story even more gut wrenching, is the reason behind why the mother took this extreme step, of killing her own child. This four year old had a speech impairment and since the last 2 years, the child was under medication. But her mother Sushma was not happy about this at all. So fed up was she with her daughter’s condition, that she had tried to get rid of her, before as well.
A police officer revealed that Sushma had attempted to get rid of her daughter by leaving her in a moving train, a few months ago. But the father came to know about this and with the help of some child helpline members, he traced the baby near Hassan in Bengaluru, and brought her back home. However, he did not file a police complaint against his wife back then. And now, his daughter is no more.
What also makes this story more shocking is that Sushma is a dentist by qualification and she even tried to fake a suicide attempt after throwing her daughter off the balcony. After flinging her child down like she’s some lifeless object, she climbed on the railing and started shouting for help, at the CKC Garden Aditya apartment. The neighbours rushed to her help and pulled her down to safety.
But the child wasn’t that lucky. She didn’t even get a chance to be saved. The poor girl had crashed on the ground and lay in a pool of blood. She was picked up by a resident and given first aid, before rushing her to a private hospital and then to NIMHANS, where she died of her injuries, after painfully battling for life, for hours.
Based on the information from the hospital, the police rushed to the spot and questioned the couple. But it was only after her husband Kiran complained to the police about his wife Sushma, that they arrested her and charged her with murder. It became an open and shut case for the police because the CCTV camera captured this terrifying incident in its totality.
This is an extremely deplorable story – one that screams of mental health problems and a criminally inclined mindset, of a seemingly regular person. I for one am at my wits end, trying to wonder how a crime like this could have been avoided. Could it have been pre-empted and prevented after the mother not just showed signs of getting rid of her daughter but also acted it out by leaving her in a train. Should she have been separated from the child back then and punished or like her husband Kiran did, give her another chance? These are just the questions now but the reality is that she has done the unthinkable. Something no one would expect a mother to do to her own child. Something that has shocked the collective consciousness of the society.
Leave your thoughts about this sadly shocking story coming in from Bengaluru.
Many of you might remember the tragic story of a young Nagaland Air Hostess Rosy Sangma and her nephew Samuel Sangma, both of whom had died one after the other in Gurgram. While there wasn’t much on the mainstream media, we were one of the few youtube channels that had carried and extensively followed up on this story.
Now, there is a big and shocking development in this case that will leave you fuming with anger and contempt for those, who are responsible for these tragic deaths. The preliminary inquiry by the CBI showed that Rosy was admitted to the hospital after severe bleeding and pain on 24th June last year. But hold your breath before you hear what’s coming next.
The CBI has found gross negligence on the part of the hospital and its doctors, because in the findings it became clear that Rosy – a critical patient of vaginal bleeding was being treated by a dentist, who is not at all qualified for the job. Yes, Anuj Bishnoi, who is also the managing director of the private hospital, and the main doctor, assigned a dentist named Anjali Ashk to Rosy’s case and arrived four and a half hours later, by when it was clearly too late.
The investigation revealed that despite knowing about Rosy’s serious condition, Anuj Bishnoi instructed Anjali, an inexperienced dentist, to treat severe gynaecological problems and to manage the situation.
So what exactly had happened on the fateful Thursday of June 24th?
At 10.45 AM, Dr Bishnoi had asked Rosy’s relatives to bring blood from blood bank, as it was an emergency. Less than 2 hours later, at 12.30 PM, he sent a letter to the police SHO informing them that the patient, who was in a critical condition, had died.
Later, he told the police about suspected poisoning and foul play, as the cause for her death and also claimed that she was not responding to the treatment. He said she was being referred to the civil hospital for further treatment.
The CBI has said that Dr. Bishnoi prepared a discharge card of Rosy mentioning the time of admission at 6 AM and also mentioned about blood transfusion, a serious medical condition, gasping of breath. In the card he also wrote about referring her to a higher centre at 12 PM but actually “did not refer” her to any other centre for further treatment.
Rosy’s relative Samuel and his uncle were present at the hospital by her side but it was initially reported that Rosy died after some staff allegedly fed her with “ice cream”.
A video on social media showing Samuel being assaulted, went viral. He is seen shooting the video while questioning the hospital authorities about Rosy’s sudden death. But in a tragic turn of events, the very next day 23 year old Samuel was also found dead in his room.
Talking to one of the regional channels, Samuel’s father said that on 23rd June, Samuel’s aunt Rosy was rushed to Alfa Hospital in Gurugram, after she felt uneasy and a lot of body pain, in the night. The initial diagnoses showed that she was low on heamoglobin and was admitted to the ICU and given oxygen, but by morning she had started to feel better. The hospital staff assured that she was normal and would be get much better by evening. On learning about her improved condition, Samuel’s uncle went out for a meal while his nephew Samuel was asked to get medicines.
But when they returned, Samuel found out that the hospital staff had feeding ice cream to Rosy. On seeing that, he threw away the ice cream and demanded to know why was she fed that? Samuel’s father said that after eating the icecream Rosy’s condition had deteriorated a lot but the hospital authorities were very evasive about what exactly happened to Rosy, all of a sudden. Especially, because they told the family that Rosy was feeling much better some time back. The video shot by Samuel also clearly shows how the hospital authorities are not showing him one of the papers and an elderly male doctor is seen assaulting Samuel.
Rosy died in the hospital even as the authorrities dodged Samuel’s questions and what is even more shocking is that instead of doing post mortem on Rosy’s body, the hospital arranged for a mortuary van to carry the body, without informing her relatives present there.
But even as the fight for justice for Rosy had just begun, the Sangmas were in for another shocker. Imagine the state for this family when they learnt that Samuel was also found dead in his rented room in Gurugram where he worked. Samuel was found dead in his room the very next day after he shot the video in the hospital and it was alleged that he died due to foul play by the hospital personnel.
I remember speaking to a lady doctor from the hospital on phone, on the day Rosy died. She did not wish to be named but she was presumably the same woman doctor, who is seen in the video.
While she seemed reluctant to divulge more information fearing more backlash, she sounded upset at the fact that the hospital was being trolled and even vowed to never help the people from the North East.
She told us that the hospital took Rosy in an emergency and despite asking many times, they were not told about Rosy’s allurgies…maybe she had a cold allurgy, she said. However, she confirmed that her death did not occur due to having an icecream. She said the family was happy when her treatment was going well and the patient felt better but when she stopped responding to further treatment, the family started accusing the hospital of negligence.
When asked why Rosy’s post mortem was not conducted, she did not reply, but only said that they had told everything to the police.
The lady seemed extremely unwilling to talk, blaming the media for running a one sided campaign against them, but at the same time, refused to give a more detailed account of what exactly happened with Rosy Sangma. She also did not comment on Samuel’s assault instead saying that she was infact trying to help him.
Finally, after a lot of protests and a letter to Amit Shah by Meghalaya MP Agatha Sangma, a CBI inquiry was launched and now, over a year later, these shocking investiagtions have come to light.
The FIR squarely blames the hospital of criminal negligence. It reads, “Enquiry revealed that Rosy Sangma had suffered pain in both hands and right leg with 8-10 episodes of loose motions and heavy menstrual bleeding on 23rd June 2021. She was brought by her two brothers and nephew Samuel Sangma to the Alfaa Health Care Hospital, Sector-10, Basai Road, Gurgaon around 6 am on 24th June. The FIR stated that a gynecologist was not called for six hours and Dr Anuj Bishnoi entered the hospital for the first time at 10.26 am on June 24 as per CCTV footage, even though he was informed of admitting a serious patient in his hospital at 6 am.
23 year old Samuel and Rosy were like the thousands of young North Easterners who had left their families behind, in search of a livelihood. They were living and working in north India. Their story resonates with many youngsters like them and their case is being watched closely by their people.
Rosy was working as an air hostess with Go Air in Delhi while Samuel was working at a hotel in Gurugram. Their life was normal, just like any other two youngsters, but it all changed in a flash when on June 24th last year.
We don’t know if you have followed this case or not, but let us know your thoughts on these shocking developments coming out of the CBI investigation.
This man you see on your screens is a 51 year old businessman named Saravanan Arul and he was here in Dubai last week to promote his debut film named ‘The Legend,’ where he plays the title role of a billionaire scientist, who is on a mission to cure diabetes. Of course, in the middle of this crucial mission, he finds time to do all the naach gana with his khoobsurat heroines, beat up the bad guys and do every cliche heroic stuff because this is his debut film.
When I first saw Saravanan at the press conference, I wondered to myself how old is he and what is this film all about? With a petite frame and a Michael Jacksonish sort of face, most people in the room would have wondered, how on earth did he manage to star in the film until it was revealed that this is a film fully funded and produced by Saravanan. Of course, he is the Mr money bags, who owns a chain of stores in South India, including Super Saravana Stores and a Mall. And now, you can stop wondering how people around him would have massaged his ego for price and acted all delusional about a disaster in the making.
And now it has released across 2,500 screens worldwide in 5 languages and not doing well in any of them. The reviews are unanimously bad and twitter is having a field day ripping apart this spoof-fest that is tailor made for memes.
As for the reviews, they certainly seem more entertaining than the film. The Times of India said, ‘Legend Saravanan’s vanity project is commercial cinema at its dullest,’ giving it a total of 1.5 stars. It’s one of the lowest rated films in TOI, where a 1.5 rating means its somewhere between trash and below average. The Indian Express gave it just 1 star, calling it an elaborate advertisement of a bloated ego. The review synopsis read, “The only thing The Legend has going for it is Harris Jayaraj’s music and background score, but they aren’t enough to save this cringe-fest.”
The Hindu called it an absurd, campy Saravana Stores advertisement. The News Minute said, “an expressionless Saravanan leads a cringe-fest. It further read, “At a run-time of 2 hours 40 minutes, The Legend starts off laughable and quickly becomes un-bearably grating. It has its utterly charmless hero to thank for that.”
Even a local news website like 123telugu.com that would usually patronise its heroes called it an absolutely boring drama, giving it just 1.5 stars.
So, who exactly is this self proclaimed Legend?
Saravanan Arul, was born in Chennai on 10th July, 1970. He is the grandson of Saravanan Nadar. His father, Saravana Selua-rathinam, is a well-known businessman, and his two uncles, also support the family business. Saravanan Arul was married to Suryashree with whom he has three children – two daughters and a son. Later, they got divorced. Saravanan first became popular in 2019 when he starred himself in an ad for his company, alongside actresses Tamannaah Bhatia and Hansika Motwani.
But that clearly was just the beginning of the acting bug biting him. He debuted with this film the cost of which apparently runs into very many crores and some reports claim that Urvashi Rautela alone was paid 20 crores to do the film.
But you have to pay only 60% of the total value of the ‘It Really Works Vitamins’ 3 months supply, because this is the only place where you will get a full 40% off. It has worked for me and many others suffering from hair loss or hair thinning problems. So give it a shot if you need it or else ignore it like how everyone in team Legend, ignored all the signs of a really bad film in the making.
Well, don’t forget to leave your thoughts on the Legend. Connect with us.
Cast: Cedric Nicolas, Ornella Samarco, Vincent Samarco, George Samarcos
Critics Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 Director: Marcus Mizelle Duration: 1 hour, 16 minutes Language: English Genre: Documentary Release details: March 15th, 2022 – TV (PBS SoCal) TVOD (US/Canada) : April 5th iTunes (pre-order link here), Amazon, etc.
A much-loved Parisian-style bistro is located on Wilshire Boulevard on the West side of Los Angeles between a McDonalds and KFC. Belle Vie, once booming, struggles for survival through the pandemic. It is owned and operated by the charming and optimistic Vincent Samarco, who will do anything to keep his restaurant alive while 90,000 restaurants close down around the country. A place of community and hope, Belle Vie faces an uncertain future as Vincent gets creative and tries to adapt.
There isn’t a country, city, village or a soul on this planet that wasn’t affected by Corona Virus or COVID-19 that spread across the globe, forcing people indoors and a total shutdown everywhere on the planet. If corona didn’t affect your health, it affected livelihoods, in one way or the other, it got to us. Los Angeles was no different from the rest of world. This documentary is about Vincent Samarco, an immigrant who came to the city in 2016, from Paris and opened a restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard on the West side of Los Angeles.
He explains how this location, was not ideal has his little bistro ‘Belle Vie’ stood between McDonalds and KFC that offered food at a fraction of cost, as compared to him. However, he builds it from scratch and it actually becomes a hit with the patrons.
But then the pandemic hits and takes away almost everything that he lived for. This is when the real struggle begins, and we see Vincent trying to stay positive and afloat. It is heart-breaking heart to see him work so hard, doing the heavy lifting, literally, only to be shut down again due to another outbreak of the virus. Not only him, but several restaurants around him also begin shutting down and pushing people, including Vincent over the brink of bankruptcy.
It’s a simple plot simple that is familiar and relatable. It grabs your attention and keeps holding it. Vincent comes across as the charming-positive-Frenchman, and his struggle comes across as all too real. There is a certain vibe about Vincent and his spirit, his fight for survival against all odds which is kind of endearing and hits home. Director Marcus Mizelle’s cleverly takes us through the ups and downs with his minimalistic storytelling skill. All the same, he also highlights the contrast between the scenic LA, and the life of the characters onscreen.
All in all, it’s a heartwarming tale of real people in real situations that all of us have lived through in the past two years. It’s a mirror of our own struggles and achievements seen through the eyes of Vincent.
Naam Gum Jayega…Chehra yeh badal jayega…Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hai…The iconic song that was immortalised by Lata Mangeshkar, as if it was written only from her and it echoed from every corner of the world when she passed away in February this year. But there was one more voice that made this song as legendary as it is, and that voice is also no more.
Bhupinder Singh’s velvety voice fell silent forever, today, when he breathed his last at 7.45 pm at Criticare hospital in Andheri West in Mumbai. He was 82 years old.
His wife Mitali Singh confirmed the news of his death to the press trust of India. She said he had a colon ailment for which he had been hospitalised about 10 days back. The investigations and treatment was on for his health issues but he got COVID 19 at the same time which further compromised his immunity and his condition worsened.
Complications got out of hand and he had to put on a ventilator this morning and he got a massive cardiac arrest in the evening, which finally took his life away.
Bhupinder Singh is nothing short of a legend and is known for evergreen songs like Dil Dhoondta Hai, Naam Gum Jaayega, Ek Akela Is Shaher Mein, Beeti Na Beetai Raina, Huzoor Is Kadar bhi na Itra ke Chaliye, Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezar Aaj Bhi Hai, Baadalon Se Kaat Kaat Ke among many others.
Born in Amritsar, Punjab in pre-independence India in 1940, Bhupinder Singh started his career with All India Radio and was also associated with the Delhi Doordarshan Center.
In 1962, music composer Madan Mohan heard him play the guitar at a party and called him to Mumbai. Madan Mohan offered him the song “Hoke Majboor” in the film Haqeeqat, which he sang with Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Manna Dey. Khayyam then gave him his first solo song “Rut Jawan Jawan” in the film Aakhri Khat. His heavy bass voice gave him an edge over the others and he slowly started tasting success. Soon, he was considered as one of the top Ghazal singers in India. He performed in numerous shows in India and abroad. Bhupinder Singh has also released several independent music albums.
He was fondly known as Bhupi and he dabbled in acting as well.
Bhupinder Singh is survived by Bangladeshi singer wife Mitali and son Nihal Singh. Together, the couple performed at ghazal and live performances.
His funeral will be held tomorrow in Andheri west.
We wish him a peaceful onward journey and his friends, family and fans strength to overcome his loss. Leave your thoughts and prayers in the comments below.
Thank you for watching. Please take care of yourself and those around you.
Guess who’s laughing days are behind him. It’s Sidhu Paaji. Ever since the man has been jailed, he is coming up with one complaint after another. And call it a politician’s privilege or plain luck, he has been getting a lot more than a regular quaidi, slugging it out in the dingy dark corridors of Patiala Jail.
58 year old Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is currently serving his 1-year rigurous imprisonment in the Patiala central prison, has a new complaint every week. Now, he says he is suffering from knee pain. Sidhu, who is serving just a one-year term in a road rage case that dates back to 1998 in which he killed a man, was examined by an orthopedic surgeon, who gave him a very simple advise that could end most of his health problems. He said, “lose some weight” huh…instead of throwing it around. Btw, just so you don’t forget, Sidhu, was let off in 2018 in the same case with a fine of just 1,000 rupees. And it’s not like killing a man stopped him from flourishing as a politician in multiple parties or getting paid crores for laughing like a maniac and doling out self made shayaris on popular laughter shows or just generally making explosive and often Anti-India statements on his verified twitter handle.
Now, according to a PTI report, Sidhu sleeps on the floor in his barrack, just like all other quaidis, but our man finds it difficult to get up, once he spreads himself on the floor. So now, upon the doctor’s advice, Sidhu has also been provided with a hard board bed by the jail authorities.
Just days after he was sent to jail in May, Sidhu tried to do what any self-respecting smart Indian politician would do – Get admitted in a hospital and then try to serve the rest of the term from a 5-star hospital suite, which we all know are nothing short of a hotel room.
Yes, in June, one afternoon Sidhu was taken to a Chandigarh hospital for his liver problems and he was in a stable condition even when he was brought in, and clearly it wasn’t serious enough for him to get a hospital stay. So, after being kept under observation for few hours, he was duly sent back to where he belonged – the Patiala Jail.
But then again, it’s Sidhu Paaji we’re talking about. How can he quietly serve a ‘mammoth’ 1 year jail term for something as small as taking another person’s life? So, the day before yesterday, he complained that his canteen card was misused by another quaidi. Awww!
But before you start empathising, let us tell you that Sidhu himself used to handover his card to two of his fellow inmates so they could buy fruits for him, and his wife Dr Navjot Kaur told this to The Indian Express. So, what was the problem? Were the two inmates not serving his majesty on time?
Well, Sidhu’s wife said they noticed that the monthly limit of 15,000 rupees was exhausted within just a few days after the canteen card was recharged and so Sidhu paaji ko shaq hua ki unka card kissine “misuse” kiya hai.The jail authorities promptly shifted the quaidi in question to another ward and called it a “routine procedure” – yeah as routine as quaidis affording 15000 of fruits!
Btw, due to Sidhu’s health condition, he gets a super special diet in the jail, unlike any other quaidi, who we are sure are not among India’s fittest either.
A medical board constituted on the direction of a local court in Patiala had recommended rosemary tea, juices, fruits and one roti, among other foods in the seven-meal diet chart for him. This was done after Sidhu moved an application asking for a special diet because of his “health complications”.
And what complications you ask?
Well, as per his doctors, Sidhu has a “history of Pulmonary Embolism in 2009 requiring hospitalisation, for which no record is available btw, and he also has a history of lower limb DVT meaning deep vein thrombosis in 2016 while he is on blood thinners. His report also noted that he is currently asymptomatic. Just like he is asymptomatic of a lot of other things, like guilt, empathy and remorse for killing a man.
But anyway, the Patiala Jail in Punjab is currently busy housing a few other VIP quaidis too, and very soon, Sidhu Paaji may have some competition in seeking attention of the media.
As per most reports, Daler Mehndi, who is now in Jail, in a 2003 human trafficking case, has been alloted the same barrack as Sidhu Paaji. They are both in Ward no.10. Another high profile quaidi there is SAD leader, I mean, Shiromani Akali Dal’s Bikram Singh Majithia. He is their padosi, but bechara, his demand for home-cooked meals was rejected. Meanwhile, Daler mehndi has made no such requests for home-cooked food or special meals and is eating what other quaidis are being served.
Interestingly, even as Sidhu is being served a special dietary chart of seven meals a day, here’s what the Punjab jail manual says about meals and its strict timings for the quaidis.
As per the manual, the daily routine of the jail is governed by sunrise and sunset. The jail authorities cannot serve food to inmates after the sunset, except in cases where the prisoner may have got special exemption due to health issues. The inmates are allowed to keep their food in their utensils. They can consume the food at a time of their choice, even after the sunset. They are given three meals–an early morning meal, a midday meal and an evening meal.
The early morning meal comprises “half a loaf of bread, half a slice of butter and a bowl of daal”. The midday meal is made of “parched and boiled grain’’ and the evening meal consists of the “remainder of the bread and oil, with a bowl of vegetables”. The early morning and midday meals may be interchanged at the discretion of the medical officer.
A Punjab jail officer said there are no terms such as breakfast, lunch or dinner in the manual. And though the timings for serving the meals depend on sunrise and sunset, the nature of food has changed over the years. Vegetarian prisoners are given tea, channa or bread and butter in the early morning meal. Non-vegetarians are given eggs instead of bread and channa. Inmates get rice, chappati and daal in the midday meal, around 10am. Rice, chappati and a vegetable dish is given in the evening meal. There is no difference between the midday and evening meals for vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
As per the manual, in special cases, the medical officer can allow a special diet for a quaidi for his or her health condition, but clearly not everyone is mentally and financially equipped to be so aware of their rights and then also have expensive legal teams, who can put up special applications in court and make things happen. Such privileges are clearly the luxury of the jail’s VIP inmates, especially the politicians, who never seem to pay even close to what is equal to the crimes they commit.
What are your thoughts on Sidhu’s Khana Khazana in Jail and the overall mockery of justice, where he got 1 year and 1000 rupees, in total, after some 24 years of killing a 65 year old man, just because he asked him to give him way on the road.
The day was December 27, 1988, when Navjot Sidhu and co-accused Rupinder Singh Sandhu also known as Bunny, were in a Gypsy when they had an argument with Gurnam Singh, a Patiala resident, after he asked them to give way. The incident took place near Sheran-wala Gate in Patiala, Sidhu’s hometown. Police said that Gurnam Singh was beaten up by Sidhu, who later fled the crime scene. Gurnam was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead.
Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Pop Singer Daler Mehndi was lucky that he wasn’t already in jail. Did you know that he had been out on bail on a human trafficking case that has been going on since past many years. Today, Daler Mehndi’s appeal against a two-year jail term in a 2003 case of human trafficking — for taking people abroad by showing them as his own troupe members — was dismissed by a district court in Patiala and he was immediately taken into custody and arrested.
In the FIR that dates back 19 years, Daler Mehndi and his brother Shamsher Singh, were accused of taking money to illegally send people abroad via the “troupe” route. They were charged under IPC sections for human trafficking and conspiracy, besides the Indian Passport Act. Both got two-year jail terms from a judicial magistrate’s court in 2018 itself, but were released on bail and since then thay have been filing appeals.
Sources say this morning when Daler Mehndi left home for the court hearing, he had no idea that he will be arrested. He thought, like always we will coolly walk back home and continue with his life, but the judge had other plans.
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge HS Grewal threw out Daler Mehndi’s appeal. Along with this, his petition for bail plea and a request to be released on probation, were also dismissed and so he was immediately taken to the Patiala jail. The only option he now has, is to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, but this could take a while and the weekend is up next, so there is every possibility that Daler Paaji will spend at least a night or two in jail before the formalities to approach higher court are completed unless they somehow do it tomorrow and the court takes up the hearing on proiority basis which is unlikely and then what are the chances that the higher court indeed lets him off the case or on bail.
Now, this case is really old. It was registered at the Patiala Sadar police station in the early 2000s. It was alleged that the Mehndi brothers took two troupes to the US in 1998 and 1999, during which 10 people were shown as group members but the real reason was to help them illegaly migrate to the United States. This FIR was filed by a man named Bakshish Singh, and then 35 more complaints came up against the brothers, as per reports.
Three years later, the local police filed discharge petitions in the local court, saying that Daler Mehndi was innocent. But the court refused to discharge him, saying there was “sufficient evidence” for further investigation. It took another 12 years for the sentencing, and then about four more years for a decision on the appeal that happened today, the result of which was clearly not in the favour of the Mehndi brothers. The court has upheld his conviction in this illegal immigration racket case and pronounced the order.
In breaking news just coming in, Rhea Chakraborty has been charged with receiving multiple deliveries of ganja from the other co-accused including her own brother Showik and handing them over to Sushant Singh Rajput.
This is mentioned in the chargesheet, filed by the Narcotics Control Bureau, which names her and 34 others as accused in the case.
The exact charges against Rhea Chakraborty are purchasing and financing a small quantity of marijuana. Her brother, Showik Chakraborty, has also been named as an accused.
The NCB has said, she received and delivered marijuana to Sushant Singh. She also made payments for it, they said.
If held guilty, Rhea Chakraborty could face over 10 years in jail.
The NCB had filed the draft charges last month in the Special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act court against 35 accused, and these details were made available yesterday.
As per the draft charges, all the accused, entered into criminal conspiracy between March and December 2020, with each other or in groups to procure, purchase, sell and distribute drugs in “high society and Bollywood”. It also said the accused had financed drug trafficking and consumed ganja, charas, cocaine and other narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances without valid licence, permit or authorisation within the Mumbai Metropolitan region.
The draft charges maintained that “Rhea Chakroborty received many deliveries of ganja from accused Samuel Miranda, Showik, Dipesh Sawant and others and handed over those deliveries to Sushant Singh Rajput”.
She made payments for those deliveries at the instance of Showik and Sushant between March 2020 and September that year.
As per the draft charges, Rhea’s brother Showik was in regular touch with drug peddlers and had received many deliveries from co-accused. These deliveries were handed over to Sushant Singh Rajput.
So now what happens next?
The filing of these draft charges sets the tone for the framing of these charges, following which the trial will begin. But the court will have to first decide on the discharge pleas of the accused that are pending infront of it.
Rhea and other accused have been charged under stringent provisions of the NDPS Act, including sections 27 and 27A, which is for financing illicit traffic and harbouring offenders, 28 which is punishment for attempts to commit offences, 29 – for whoever abets, or is a party to a criminal conspiracy.
In one of our earlier videos, we had told you how Bollywood is the landlord for most of Mumbai, because these stars, own the maximum properties in the maximum city. Well, when you’re getting paid in crores for every little thing you do, then real estate is the only traditionally safe place where you can park your funds and a city like Mumbai where the property rates never depreciate, is clearly, one of the top choices.
Now, the news of Ranveer Singh’s new apartment deal has sent the city’s flourishing real estate market in a tizzy because of its sheer scale. It’s truly mind-boggling and one of the most high value deals to have been struck in the city in the recent times.
Yes, in one of the biggest residential apartment deals in the country, Ranveer Singh has purchased a sea-facing quadruplex, meaning 4 floors, in suburban Bandra, for a jaw dropping 119 crore rupees. Actually, 118.94 crore rupees to be most precise. We are not sure if the star couple is opting for any loan to buy this hugely expensive piece of property or paying it all from their own earnings and savings. Sources say there is an elaborate instalment plan in place though.
Ranveer and Deepika bought the apartments spread across 16th, 17, 18 and 19 floor of Sagar Resham with multiple parkings – a new building at Bandra Bandstand, which is close to Shah Rukh Khan’s bungalow ‘Mannat’ and Salman Khan’s house in Galaxy Apartments. Actually, they bought a 16th floor apartment and a triplex from the 17th to 19th floor. The family has bought it from the builder called Enorm Nagpal Realty LLP. Property analysts said that all these residential apartments would probably be amalgamated to form one massive quadruplex, combining all the four private units.
Now, these apartments have been purchased under ‘Oh Five Oh Media Works LLP’ – a company which has Ranveer Singh and his father Jugjeet Bhavnani as directors. They bought the apartment in the building which is under construction after the builder took over an existing old property to redevelop it. The deal has a customisation component wherein the builder will make the four floors as per the preferences of the actor. At present, Sagar Resham doesn’t boast of names from Bollywood who will be the new neighbours of the star couple, sources added. This building mostly has four- and five-bed apartments.
A stamp duty of over ₹ 7 crore has been paid for the transaction, which includes the purchase of 11,266 sq ft space, an exclusive 1,300 sq ft terrace and as many as 19 parking lots. Imagine, this stamp duty of 7 crore 13 lakhs alone is enough for you to get a swanky 3 BHK in south Mumbai and way more than the cost of all my properties put together in Mumbai. Ranveer’s new apartments per square feet price works out to around 1 lakh rupees, which according to most real estate experts in pretty much the going rate in that area. Most apartments at Bandra sea face are upwards of 90,000 per sq feet and can go up to 1 lakh 10, 000 per square feet.
Ranveer-Deepika’s massive new apartment spread across 4 floors, is likely to serve as the primary home for Ranveer Singh and Deepika. Sources said they were in the market for nearly three years now looking for an independent bungalow in Juhu and Bandra, where a lot of celebrities stay.
Last year, the couple had bought a second home at Alibag for 22 crores.
But where do Ranveer and Deepika currently live in Mumbai?
Well, after Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh tied the knot in Italy in November 2018, and soon after, Ranveer Singh actually moved in with Deepika in her Prabhadevi home, which itself is nothing less than marvellous. Deepika Padukone’s current home in Mumbai is a 4BHK flat in Beaumonde Towers at Prabhadevi and sources say she is not selling this apartment either.
Deepika’s a 4BHK flat is on the 26th floor of Tower B of Beaumonde Towers, which is co-owned by her father and badminton champion, Prakash Padukone. She bought this property in 2010 for Rs 16 crores and has completely redone the interiors to suit her own taste and style. Deepika’s house Mumbai is spread over an area of 2,776 sq ft and has three parking lots. Back then, she paid a stamp duty of Rs 79 lakhs, to register the property.
Beaumonde Towers where Deepika currently lives with Ranveer, is one of the poshest properties, bang on the main road leading to Siddhivinayak and I remember this because a very dear friend and ex-colleague from Times Now, used to live there, who like Deepika belongs to Bangalore and has shifted to that city since the last many years.
But anyway, such high profile deals are nothing new in Bollywood. In January this year, Raj Kundra transferred five flats worth 38.5 crores to his wife Shilpa Shetty. In the same month, Kajol bought two flats in Juhu for 11.95 crores. Earlier this year, Akshay Kumar paid 7.84 crores for an apartment in Khar. This year, Chopra’s iconic B R House in Juhu was sold for ₹182 Crore. Last year, Jahnvi Kapoor got her own pad for an eye-popping 39 crores in Andheri.
The luxury homes market in Mumbai is the country’s most valuable property market, and has continued to see relentless demand, especially, given limited supply in premium neighbourhoods. While south Mumbai locations such as Worli continue to be see high-profile sales, upscale properties in suburban areas such as Bandra and Juhu have also seen high demand. Many developers have been buying old bungalows in the sea-facing areas of Bandra and Juhu, hoping for a relaxation in the coastal regulation zone or CRZ norms, which will lead to supply of more apartments in the area in the times ahead.
Let us know what kind of thoughts come to your mind when you hear about such insanely expensive property deals and the kind of luxurious lives that these celebrites live.
And while you’re scratching your head about these mind-boggling figures try feeling the hair on your head and see if they are thinning or falling. If yes, then stop scratching your head and use those fingers to order the It Really Works Vitamins for Hair – now in a new and improved packaging – that you can still get for a full 40% off with the promo code RONAK40
Cast: Michelle Rose, Kurt Yue, Michael Aaron Milligan, Carlos Aviles
Critics Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Director/Writer: Walker Whited
Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes
Release Details: Released in US market via Tricoast Entertainment. TVOD – 10/6/2020
AVOD – Freevee, Redbox, Tubi, Vudu
SVOD – 2021 Prime
OTT – 2022 – Xumo, Local Now
A couple wakes up in the night to a man searching for something in their home. After they are forced to kill him in self-defense, they decide to take one hour before calling the police to search for what they hope is a hidden fortune.
Right from the start, director and co-writer Walker Whited makes sure you’re in the house on a night when whatever can go wrong, will. And that’s the crux of this one night saga when a couple struggling with a personal loss and professional issues, face an intruder situation. But unlike a regular American couple, these two decide to tackle it by taking the matters in their own hands. So, one wrong decision leads to another and soon the body count starts mounting in the house where a hidden booty is at the centre of all the mess.
Now, thrillers really have to loop logic in their story, but this one has a major flaw in the logic department. While it’s an exciting premise of an intruder versus two seemingly regular Americans trying to defend themselves, we cannot help but wonder as to why would they wait with a dead body in the house to look for the ‘stash of cash’? They could simply get the police in and then peacefully rummage through their own house till they find what they are looking for. But we would like to give Whited the benefit of the doubt and assume that he has left this part open to interpretation because other than that this one’s quite a thrilling experience.
The makers unravel the layers of its central characters and their story quite nicely, keeping us mostly on the edge of our seat. Michelle Rose and Kurt Yue play the oddball couple as Heather and Mark, respectively. As audience, you’d constantly be expected to take sides and choose whose decision you want to go with. Ultimately, both are in a doomed situation but it’s fun to watch the night fall apart with a series of thrilling and chaotic events. Rest of the cast is adequately good.
If you’re looking for an unusual crime thriller then this one checks most of the boxes. Watch it the genre fans on a cold night and thank us later!
Sidharth Pithani – a man who shot to instant shame just days after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death because by all accounts he was the one who last saw him alive and he was the first one to see him dead. In fact, he was the one who had lowered his body even before the famly members arrived at the actor’s residence.
Before we move forward, just to let you all know, I had been traveling to the UK and then India for personal and family work and emergencies but am now back to the base so expect more stories and keep showering your support by subscribing and connecting on Instagram Facebook and Twitter.
Now, Sid Pit, as we fondly call him, has become the man to do the maximum jail time from Sushant’s close circle in the drugs case, but today, he was finally granted bail by the Bombay High court,.
Siddharth Pithani, who lived in Sushant’s flat and worked under him on a project, was arrested in a drugs case linked to SSR’s death.
Initially, Pithani was a free bird, hopping news channels on prime time debates and doling out media bytes to all and sundry about the moments leading up to Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. But soon, he started getting caught in his own web of discrpeancies in statements and SSR’s fans and media started pointing out the obvious mismatches and logical loopholes in his statements.
While the Mumbai police or CBI never really pulled him up for the alleged discrepancies in his statements, the Narcotics Control Bureau soon became hot on his trail. After a few dramatic run-ins with the NCB, Sid Pit went in for good in May 2021.
According to the NCB, he had been on the run after appearing before them, a few times in Mumbai, when he was being questioned. Siddharth Pithani was caught by the NCB in May 2021 from Hyderabad after he put up a social media post that was spotted not just by some overzelous youtubers covering the SSR case, but also by the NCB. He was arrested and has been in judicial custody since then.
But amidst all of this, he decided that he wants to get married to his sweetheart and so he was given an interim relief and not bail. The then NCB zonal director Sameer Wankhede gave him 10 days chutti to go get hitched in June and come back to his real sasural on 2nd July.
Siddharth Pithani has been in the jail for over a year under section 27 (A) for financing illicit traffic and harboring offenders of the NDPS Act, among other charges.
All through this while, Siddharth Pithani has been seeking a bail claiming that he had been framed in a false case. He pleaded that he was never found in possession of any drugs and nothing that could suggest he was involved in drug trafficking was recovered from him. Sounds similar to what Aryan Khan was saying right? Finally, today, Justice Bharati Dangre granted bail to Pithani on a bond of 50,000 rupees.
Sidharth Pithani feels he was stabbed by his own. Sushant’s other housemates Keshav and Neeraj, who were also questioned by the NCB, were the ones who hinted at Sidharth Pithani’s role in the drug case. Sushant’s girlfriend Rhea also never liked him, and was questioned many times by NCB where she reportedly spilled many beans about others including many btown stars. She also spent a month in jail. Her brother Showik, and other staff members including Samuel Miranda and Deepesh Sawant were all arrested by the NCB. Showik spent much more time than Rhea but now both are out on bail until the 12th of July at least when their matter will come up for hearing once again as the NCB has filed draft charges against them. This means that if these charges are proved then the two siblings could once again go to jail.
What are your thoughts in this latest important development in the SSR case and what do you think will happen on next Tuesday, 12th of July? Do you think anything significant will happen ya it will be tareekh pe tareekh? Let us know
Did you know that a team of Pydhonie police from Mumbai is in Delhi to physically handover summons to Nupur Sharma to appear before the police for various complaints filed against her following her statements on Times Now.
Today, the Kolkata Police also issued a lookout notice for her after she failed to appear before its officers for the fourth time in a row because of the same statement that triggered widespread violence in parts of West Bengal.
Nupur Sharma had cited apprehensions of a possible assault on her if she visited Kolkata and sought four weeks’ time to appear before the police officers.
Following the debate that erupted nationwide protests, Nupur Sharma continued to meet people like usual. It was only when things started getting out of hand, did she become untraceable. On 27th May, she requested the media not to disclose her address because it could jeopardise the safety of her and her family. “My sister, my mother and my father were all being threatened with murder, rape and beheading,” she tweeted.
Nupur Sharma said she has been receiving one threat call after another. She appealed to the Delhi Police for security. and repeatedly asked the media not to make her home address and phone number public. Delhi Police said an FIR has been included based on Nupur Sharma’s complaint and that she is being provided the highest level of security by the police. The police said she was given a foolproof security cover around her house due to the threats which became more serious after the beheading in Udaipur and Amravati here in Maharashtra, where a 54 year old chemist was hacked to death for forwarding a post supporting Nupur Sharma in some whatsapp groups. The Maharashtra police that earlier did not reveal the cause of Umesh’s death have now admitted that his killing was related to the Nupur Sharma case.
On Thursday, 21st June when Umesh Kolhe was on his way back from his medical shop at around 10pm, he was ambushed by two men on a motorcycle, who killed him by slitting his throat. His 27-year-old son and wife were accompanying him in a different vehicle. His son rushed him to hospital but he was declared dead.
The murder was chillingly similar to the one in Rajasthan’s Udaipur this week when a tailor Kanhaiya Lal was beaheaded by two men because he shared a post online in support of Nupur Sharma. Kanhaiyalal had said his son accidently shared the post while playing games on his phone and even deleted it. He had approached Udaipur police telling them he feared for his life but the police did not take him seriously back then.
While Kanhaiyalal’s case was already with National Investigation Agency, today, Union Home Minister Amit Shah transferred Umesh Kolhe’s case to NIA as well, after the local BJP unit accused the police of trying to conceal the reason behind the killing.
But who exactly is Nupur Sharma, who is at the centre of the upheavel that is currently at a boiling point in India?
A student of law at Delhi University, Nupur Sharma began her political career in 2008 when she was elected as the president of the students’ union as a candidate of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the RSS
The 37-year-old firerbrand lawyer was a much sought-after official spokesperson of the BJP until she was suspended due to this case. If you’re an avid viewer of Indian news channels then you would have surely seen seen her appearing night after night on TV debates to put forth the views of her party and upholding PM Modi’s decisions and policies besides often getting into heated arguments with fellow panelists.
But she was always the hot favourite when it came to being at the forefront and the face of the party. Her political career picked up pace in 2011 when she returned to India after doing her masters in international business law from the London School of Economics.
Brash and articulate, her ability to argue and put forth her point of view in English and Hindi, earned her a place in the BJP’s media committee for the 2013 Delhi assembly elections.
Two years later, she stood against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and lost but her energetic campaign brought her back into the limelight – she was appointed an official spokesperson for the party in Delhi and in 2020, she became a “national spokesperson” for the BJP.
Did you know that Nupur Sharma has acted as Guest Editor for ‘The Times of India’ for its Republic Day Special edition in 2009. In the same year in March, Hindustan Times also featured her as one of the 10 Most Inspirational Women in the country. Nupur was a member of the delegation from India and BJP for the 2012 Indo-Pak American Council of Young Political Leaders summit in the United States in July 2012. She has been a part of welfare projects like the installation of water purifiers, solar lamps, and CCTV for campus security and successfully completed them during her tenure of the president of Delhi University’s Students Union. She is unmarried.
Nobody has heard from Nupur Sharma since 5th June when she last tweeted this unconditional withdrawal of her statement. Because there are many FIRs against Nupur Sharma all over the country following her statements, she pleaded to the Supreme Court to transfer them all to Delhi, so she doesn’t have to run around the country attending court cases amidst serious threat to her life. But the apex court judges instead came down heavily on her blaming her for setting the country on fire and held her responsible for the Udaipur killing as well. The judges said that she should appear on a TV channel and “apologise to the whole nation” for her remarks.
Cast: Melissa Leo, Ciara Bravo, Cristela Alonzo, Mia Rose Frampton, Fatima Ptacek
Critics Rating: 3 out of 5
Director: Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart
Duration: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Release Date: 04/08/2022
Available on: Apple, Amazon, and Vudu (links currently available on RT, film also available on Google, Xbox, and Hoopla) Type of Release: DDT, now on TVOD.
Rooted in a small town of Californian farming community, ‘Coast’ is all about 16-year-old Abby, who finds herself bored to the point of suffocation, thanks to her small-town life. What will she do to help herself out of this?
Life is boring in general for Abby (Fatima Ptacek) but she has some interesting friends around her. Things turn a shade brighter when she meets a handsome about-to-leave-town lead singer of a touring rock band. Now, Abby finds herself at the crossroads and has to make an important decision that can turn her life around or up-side down. ‘Coast’ is actually a coming-of-age drama and those teenage years when your whole life is ahead of you and the decisions you take shape your life. It also has the other teenage problems, a love story, and a story about ethnicity and history, thrown in for good measure.
The film is a slow burn, but it also helps you understand each character, the rudimentary lifestyle in a small farming town is very well captured, and you feel the boredom that the lead character is facing. Abby’s mother Debora (Cristela Alonzo), is supposed to be going through a divorce and that apparently changes the fabric of their life, and Abby starts to rebel more, even though their relationship dynamic is always up for debate. Abby is silently taking the divorce harder than it would have appeared to her mother. The typical teenage girl and fights with her mom is too routine and could have been handled better. Also, what makes me wonder is why is Abby pissing everyone off and why does everyone seem to put up with her selfish attitude.
Well, eventually there comes a night or shall we say an open mic night, when things come to a boil for Abby, and she must decide if she can leave all that she finds toxic behind and embark on a new journey with strangers albeit full of promise of a better life – a life she always craved for, and possibly a shot at love and career too or she can continue living with a caring mother and friends. What will she do and why, remains to be seen.
The film’s vibrant ensemble cast is anchored by Fatima Ptacek, who is brilliant and sincere. Cristela Alonzo, Kane Ritchotte, Ciara Bravo, Mia Rose Frampton, Andres Velez, Shanda Renee, Mia Xitlali, Victoria del Rosal, Paul McCarthy-Boyington, Eduardo Roman, Kaylee Kamiya, and Melissa Leo are aptly cast and perform their parts adequately well, however, none of them get to shine beyond a point as its all about Abby.
Directed by Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart, the film manages to keep you invested, with a script that is detailed and nuanced. What could have been better is the pace of the film, and better shaping of characters, which are good but none of the character makes you fall in love with them. There was ample scope to flesh out a certain characters which would have helped the audience connect better with them. But even with all its flaws, ‘Coast’ manages to sail through with moments that make it a heart-warming story of human relationships and the power of music.
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Rick Pamplin, Scott DuPont, Louise Levison, David Mackey, and Carl Bilancione.
Critics Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Director: Rick Pamplin
Duration: 101 minutes
Release Details: TVOD Release 3/1/22 through KDMG on 15 different streaming platforms all linked at http://www.MovieMoney.com
Shot over 100 hours, with interviews of about 60 producers, directors, writers, actors, authors, attorneys, financial consultants, investors, fundraisers, and movie stars – this documentary unearths the truths and debunks the myths around raising money to make a film.
A veteran Bollywood film producer recently made a statement that grabbed headlines in India. He said, “no one makes a film these days, they make a project.” Well, he could not have been more right, and watching this documentary, it became clear that Hollywood doesn’t function too differently.
Right from the start, it’s amply clear how filmmaker Rick Pamplin is the right man to make a film like this because he knows exactly what to ask and who to ask and as a result, we get the right answers.
What’s particularly interesting is the gamut of people that Pamplin brings onboard to reveal their experiences and break the notions around finding money to make a film and then making money from a film. From veteran actors like the late Burt Reynolds and superstars like Salma Hayek to authors like Louise Levison, who drew up the business plan for ‘The Blair Project’ that went to become a cult classic. It’s also a fantastic case study in funding a dream no matter how impossible it looks and sounds, but if there is conviction, the money follows and at most times success does too.
Some interviewees turn out to be a total surprise package like the film school teacher who gives some amazing insights about giving young minds a medium to express themselves through their craft. However, Pamplin himself sometimes comes across as far too indulgent and uses the film as a means to make a point about his own choices and the way the industry has dealt with him. And it’s interesting because we all know how just how cutthroat, star-driven and competitive Hollywood is – a fact that is explicitly mentioned by almost every behind-the-scenes person. Production-wise it’s a decent product although it would have helped by giving name slugs to each individual.
While it is a niche film and far more suited to your taste if you’re connected to the movie business, it’s equally insightful for a diehard movie buff. As the maker promised, viewers do learn the secrets of Hollywood and independent film financing from industry insiders with case studies like ‘The Blair Witch Project and a few others. It’s a film about films that is unscripted and untold so far.
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller and Ed Harris
Critics Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Duration: 2 hour, 11 mins
Genre: Action, Drama
Release details: Only in theatres worldwide from May 27, 2022
Captain Pete “Maverick” has a new job at hand of training a bunch of young and raring to go Navy pilots for an intricately dangerous mission. But can he rise beyond the haunting nightmares of losing his friend in the past and now training his son for what looks like a suicide mission already and risk losing him too?
First things first. If you decide to go for ‘Top Gun Maverick’ and you should then please revisit the first part. It will elevate the experience of enjoying this Tom Cruise starrer that doesn’t falter in any department.
Director Joseph Kosinski gets down straight to business as he takes us into the present day life of Pete (Tom Cruise), who has dodged promotions and remained a Captain for over three decades. But now it seems like the end of the road for this super pilot, who still has what it takes to wow his teammates with his exceptional skill of flying fighter jets. But like all good things, his career seems to be coming to an end, as he is forced to take up a job against his will or risk losing it all.
‘Top Gun Maverick’ is as much about human relationships and emotions as it is about the thrill of intense fighter jet action. Seeing a dedicated bunch of men and women follow their call of duty with gusto, is always motivating but the writing of this film is so strong that you don’t doubt anything for even a second. There are no cliches or stereotypes or chest-thumping patriotism about how America is great. The characters are etched with conviction and strong ethos that go a long way in helping you root for them and keep you invested in their struggles and achievements.
Tom Cruise is especially in a great form returning as Maverick with massive strides in his overall growth as a character and a performer. The actor doesn’t miss a beat in making you fall in love with him, all over again. Of course, he is still the boy who likes to ride his Kawasaki mean machine with his new girlfriend Penny (Jennifer Connelly) in the backseat and escaping through the window after scoring with her. That is so unlike the rest of the film and looks childish, but can be forgiven, because the larger fabric of this brilliantly made film is far more magnanimous.
Kelenski’s young team is full of bright actors, who light up the screen with their youthful charm and strong performances. Miles Teller shines in his role as the resentful ‘Rooster’, who ultimately does the unthinkable. The rest of the actors are very aptly cast and they do come together as a team.
The jaw-dropping mid-air action looks all too real and the stunts are breathtaking, which is refreshing, as the use of CGI seems to have been minimal, or at least it seems so. All in all, ‘Top Gun Maverick’ is a one hell of a ride that shouldn’t be missed. So hop on and buckle up fast!
Director Jay Meyers captures the unpredictable and daring boat voyage led by Tim Meyers and his four sons. It’s shot in real time for an entire decade.
Many people across the world dream of owning a boat but there are a few who actually put it to such extensive use. Tim Meyers, the patriarch of this Midwestern (US) family is among those rare adventure junkies, who decided to just take off on his 27-foot sailboat along with his four young sons on a journey down river to Mobile Bay, Alabama. It’s a journey fraught with challenges and excitement. But more importantly, it’s also a journey of following your heart, no matter what it takes.
And capturing it all is director Jim Meyers, who gives us a raw peek into the lives of these four men, as they struggle to cope with the vagaries of weather, technical issues with their boat and all other practical hardships that they sail through with a smile on their face and passion in their heart.
It’s raw, unfiltered and unscripted, which is enough to say that it’s not for everybody but rather a niche documentary that can be an eye-opener for those who harbour similar dreams. It’s a reality check for boat owners and novice sailors but it can come across as an unwanted indulgence for those who cannot relate with it, which means it’s not for the mass audience looking for infotainment.
Director Jay Meyers never tries to make it any more than a very realistic travel diary and he doesn’t go for any finesse in documenting the Meyers’ life on the boat. Truth be told, often times, as a viewer you might find yourself waiting for something to happen. In this, the most exciting part is when Tim narrates his stories of adventure and how he battled turbulent waves and stormy nights that he thought he wouldn’t survive.
The soundtrack created by Aurelio Damiani and Christian Carpenter Fields is groovy and apt for the long boat ride but it could have been used more effectively. The edit is choppy and very raw too.
Overall, ‘Just an illusion’ sails through with its honest and no-frills approach in taking us on a family’s long and arduous journey, as they navigate their relationships and many obstacles of a boater’s life. So, if you’re someone who fancies such a ride then bon voyage, we say.
Abhishek Bachchan is one actor who is usually in the news for his movies or getting back at his trolls in his own style on Twitter. Currently, the actor is busy promoting his latest film ‘Dasvi’, where he plays an uneducated politician who is jailed for a scam. The film is getting mixed response from the critics and the audience.
During an exclusive interview with me on my show #Ronversations, Abhishek answered a range of questions not just about his experience of shooting at the Agra Central Jail for ‘Dasvi’ but also reminisced about his own Dasvi class. But towards the end when he was asked about his reaction on ‘The Kashmir Files’, Abhishek passionately made a case for good cinema and questioned why people think that a movie wouldn’t do well just looking at the star cast. “A good movie will always work irrespective of the star cast,” he said adding that every film should do well and he is very happy that ‘The Kashmir Files’ is doing so well.
When asked if he had seen the film, Abhishek admitted that he had not watched it but he will do so once it releases. “Anupam Uncle has asked me many times to watch the film and I shall do it once it releases,” Abhishek told Ronak Kotecha during the conversation. The film has been released in India since a month and has already grossed over 250 crores as per some reports while its budget is said to be around 30 crores.You can catch the entire episode of #Ronversations with Abhishek Bachchan here
Abhishek’s film ‘Dasvi’ is streaming on Netflix and Jio Cinema since 7th April 2022.
Release Details: Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Winner – Best Feature)
Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Filmmaker Ryan Maxey documents the life at a camp in Quartzsite Arizona and chance friendships that get formed in this unlikely community.
Reality is often more fascinating than fiction. It may not be as thrilling and fast-paced but it sure offers a range of stories that need to be told. ‘One Road to Quartzsite’ is but a mix of stories that are written daily as people for various reasons hit the road and choose a life of uncertainty and challenges. This variety is the crux of Ryan Maxey’s cinéma vérité styled film. This means it’s raw, unfiltered and unassuming. There are no pretenses and everything you see is up for either understanding or judgement. As audience, you have to choose like the director himself who spent three winters at Quartzite despite being at odds with the popular political opinion there. And he shows us exactly what he saw.
If you’re a Westerner, especially American, you’ll relate with the people, who park their Recreational Vehicles (RVs) and make a living in the parking lot. Quartzsite Arizona is where many end up for what they call their annual winter ‘pilgrimage’. Their circumstances are different but their reality is now common – the open campsite in the dry and arid land of Arizona.
The fact that this reality formed the basis for one of 2020’s most acclaimed film ‘Nomadland’ shows that it’s full of interesting stories and people. But unlike the film where we had an award winning star performer like Frances McDormand, Maxey’s is a more watered down version where he rolls his camera and lets the action flow. And let us warn you not all of it is interesting.
Some interactions standout for their sheer relatability and some of the stuff feels repetitive. But overall, it gives a wholesome peek into the lives of real people with real issues, hopes, choices and situations.
Release details: Berlin International Film Festival, Generation Section
Premiere Date: Feb. 12th, 2022
Based on his own life, writer-director Jamie Sisley reconstructs his time as a teenager with his brother when the two of them battled their mother’s addiction for prescription drugs.
Only a family that is giving care to a sick person knows what it goes through. This is the basic reality of our lives and writer-director Jamie Sisley makes an honest attempt to show this to his audience through his own life story. ‘Stay Awake’ is a poignant family drama sans over- -the-top melodrama or manipulative emotions we often see in fictional dramas. Here is a tale of a mother and her two teenage sons, both going through the most trying time of their life, which ideally should have been the most exciting. It’s based on Sisley’s own experiences of dealing with his mother’s addiction and he chooses a highly practical and balanced approach to tell his story. Sisley chooses his actors wisely and that elevates his slow-burn narrative to an engaging screenplay.
The three central characters Michelle (Chrissy Metz), Ethan (Wyatt Olef) and Derek (Fin Argus) are very well cast and they deliver for their parts to perfection. The vulnerability in their faces and the way they perform is what really draws you towards them. There are no villains here, not even the mother whose addiction puts her own life and that of her two sons at risk. The film ensures that the patient and her caregivers get the audiences’ empathy without trying too hard. Fin Argus shines like a star with his twinkling eyes and innocent face that is so easy to root for. Wyatt makes Ethan’s inner conflict believable and Chrissy is extremely relatable as the mother, who is helpless and a little stubborn, at the same time.
‘Stay Awake’ has its niche because of its subject, but if we look at the reality that we live in, it makes for a very relevant story. Sisley directs this film with great perspective on addiction and everyone affected by it.
Adding another milestone to the growing bilateral relations between India and the UAE, GJEPC, the apex body of the gem & jewellery trade in India, unveiled the first of its kind The India Jewellery Exposition (IJEX) centre in Dubai. IJEX is a Global Business Touchpoint, especially for GJEPC members to connect with international buyers. The centre was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India Shri Piyush Goyal along with Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Dubai; Dr. Srikar Reddy, Joint Secretary (WANA) DOC; Mr. Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC; Mr. Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director, Ithara; Mr. Vipul Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC; Sabyasachi Ray, ED, GJEPC amongst others.
IJEX is a one-stop destination for the world to source Indian jewellery in Dubai. The platform will enable GJEPC members to display goods and book orders throughout the year. The 365-day exhibition will promote specific categories of ‘Made in India’ gems & jewellery, divided into four seasons, each lasting three months.
On this occasion, GJEPC signed an agreement with ITHRA, Dubai, a body under the Ministry of Economy of UAE who has built the New Gold Souk as the extension of existing Gold Souk in Deira, Dubai. IJEX based in ITHRA, will house IJEX in Dubai which in future will be an anchor to expand the market to GCC countries. Congratulating GJEPC for establishing its first international office in Dubai, Shri Piyush Goyal in his address said, “IJEX 2022 will probably be the first serious engagement between UAE and India after the signing of the CEPA, which will be coming into force on 1st May. I am sure that this Centre will play an important role in helping us meet ambitious targets for the trade relations between UAE and India. The Indian Government is actively promoting Brand India, and the gem and jewellery is one of our main focus sectors in our engagement of expanded global outreach.”
Expressing confidence in the Indian gem & jewellery sector, Piuysh Goyal further added, “India has the potential to become the global gem and jewellery champion. It should tap new markets, develop incisive marketing tools, create irresistible, contemporary designs for the world market that will help in promoting Brand India. The Indian gem and jewellery sector can easily achieve the 100 billion target. You have the “will do” spirit and passion. I wish IJEX a huge success and I am sure this will be window for the finest Indian jewellers to the UAE and the world.”
Colin Shah, Chairman, GJEPC said, “IJEX by GJEPC is a one-stop destination for the world to source Indian jewellery in Dubai. This India jewellery enclave now in Dubai will be the window to the country’s best jewellers and offer a glimpse of India’s varied manufacturing capabilities. The timely conclusion of the UAE-India CEPA in the run-up to the IJEX launch, is expected to push India’s gold jewellery exports to UAE to $10 billion.”
Vipul Shah, Vice Chairman, GJEPC, said “Indian Gem & Jewellery sector will be benefitted the most from the India-UAE CEPA, and this new initiative by GJEPC – IJEX in Dubai will be an ideal launchpad for Indian wholesalers and manufacturers to connect with foreign buyers. The partnership will also enable Indian independent and chain-store retailers to export jewellery directly to UAE-based consumers.”
Dr Aman Puri, Consul General Of India to Dubai said, “Many congratulations to the GJEPC for the launch of their first international centre in Dubai. Extremely happy that UAE and India are at an inflection point with the joint collaboration and we expect the exports to double in the coming months. Going forward, we will be able to capaitalise on the opportunities that have opened up.” Lachlan Gyde, Executive Director, Ithra said, “On behalf of Ithara, we take pleasure in welcoming GJEPC to the City of Gold. It’s the Council’s first international office and we look forward to a successful collaboration. The success of this new extended precinct will help traders and industry and community at large. We are happy to bring international flavour to Ithara and thank GJEPC as one of our new partners. We welcome a whole new generation of gems and jewellery traders from India to Dubai.”
The event marked yet another significant development in the burgeoning gems and jewellery market that has always been the shining sparkle of Dubai.
This is a picture from Sri Lanka – it shows actress Mouni Roy holidaying in Colombo with a caption that reads – “We ate too much. Usual Though.” This is followed by another picture on Instagram, this time it’s with her friend and designer Anu Soru, and under this, Mouni Roy’s comment reads, “we need to stop hogging. like seriously” These pictures were posted by Mouin Roy on Instagram, 2 days back.
The exact time when such disturbing images of the massive financial crisis that has hit Sri Lanka are being published by international media but clearly expecting a little sensitivity from bimbos on the beach is like expecting Congress to rule India once again, we guess. Mouni Roy has 22.5 million followers on Instagram.
Sri Lanka is India’s neighbour and it has been reeling under a full blown economic crisis triggered by a severe shortage of foreign exchange. For this, India has extended a 1 billion dollar credit facility last Thursday, but amidst all the news of the Russia-Ukraine war, there is little focus on what’s happening with our next door neighbour.
Such is the sorry state of affairs back in Colombo in Sri Lanka where Mouni Roy is posting sunkissed beach holiday pics, that people are dying under dire circumstances, waiting to run their livelihoods and feed their families.
The Sri Lankan police said on Sunday that two men collapsed and died while waiting in separate queues to get fuel from the petrol pumps. This is because the prices have sky rocketted leading to record inflation in Sri Lanka.
The men, in their seventies, died while they were waiting for petrol and kerosene oil in two different parts of the country, as per Colombo police.
For weeks people have been queuing up at pumps, often for hours, and the country has been under rolling power cuts.
The police confirmed that from the 2 men who died – one was a 70-year-old three-wheeler driver, who was a diabetic and heart patient while the second was a 72-year-old, both had been waiting in line for about four hours for fuel.
On Sunday, Sri Lanka suspended operations at its only fuel refinery after crude oil stocks ran out, as per Ashoka Ran-wala the president of the Petroleum General Employees’ Union.
Use of kerosene oil has increased after low-income families began shifting away from cooking gas due to price increases. On Sunday, the country’s second largest supplier raised prices by 1,359 rupees for a 12.5 kg cylinder, the company said in a statement.
Sri Lanka has been struggling to find dollars to pay for increasingly expensive fuel shipments since January, with its foreign currency reserves dipping to 2.31 billion dollars in February. Now, the situation has reached its tipping point and people are dying.
In fact, in February itself, Sri Lanka’s inflation hit 15.1 percent, among the highest in Asia, with food inflation soaring to 25.7 percent, as per the latest government data.
Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s central bank floated the rupee causing the currency to plummet by more than 30 percent. Today, for 1 US dollar you get about 279 Sri Lankan rupees…as against about 76 Indian rupees against 1 US Dollar.
Today, Milk powder prices in Sri Lanka have increased by 250 rupees for a 400g pack, prompting restaurant owners to raise the cost of a cup of milk tea to 100 rupees.
Even last year in September, long queues were seen in Colombo where Sri Lankans had lined up to buy essential items amid tight lockdown measures that were in place to control the spread of Covid-19.
Shelves at government-run supermarkets were running low even back then – with very little stock remaining of imported goods like milk powder, cereal and rice.
The Sri Lankan government had denied there are shortages and has blamed the media for stoking fears, as per a BBC report.
But today’s scenario is no different – Long queues have formed across the country for groceries and oil with the government instituting rolling electricity blackouts and rationing of esssentials like milk powder, sugar, lentils and rice.
Earlier this year, Sri Lanka asked China, one of its main creditors, to help put off debt payments but there has been no official response yet from Beijing.
Now, Sri Lanka has sought a new loan and buyer’s credit from China for 2.5 billion dollars, as it struggles to cope with one of its worst economic meltdowns, and this comes just days after Colombo obtained a billion-dollar credit line from New Delhi. China is considering a fresh request from Sri Lanka for a loan of 1 billion dollars and a credit line of 1.5 billion dollars, as per reports. This is in addition to the 2.8–billion dollar assistance that China has extended to Sri Lanka since the outbreak of the pandemic, confirmed Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhen-hong.
Now, Sri Lanka has even cancelled school exams for millions of students after running out of printing paper, as the country contends with its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948, as per the Guardian. The country is battling an unprecedented economic crisis fo rmonths now. A forex crunch has left the country scrambling for dollars to import essential items including fuel, food and medicines that are in short supply.
But Mouni Roy who is in the same city where such humanitarian crisis is playing out, feels she needs to “stop hogging,…likeseriously.” Like seriously? She needs to stop posting such insensitive pictures from the city where people are dying for the lack of basic necessities. Another Bollywood actress, Jacqueline Fernandez who is actually a Sri Lankan and was crowned Miss Universe there has kept a studied silence over what’s happening in her country, busty promoting her films and courting controversies with conmen.
How insenstitve do you find this? Or do you think, it’s alright and doesn’t need to be called out.
Let us know your thoughts in comments. You can connect with us on insta/fb and twitter.
Ajay Devgn has just dropped the trailer of his upcoming directorial ‘Runway 34,’ featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rakul Preet Singh in important roles.
Ajay Devgn ne pehle bhi ek film direct ki hai Shivay, which wasn’t a box office hit and as a producer he has always had a bit of a hit or a miss kind of reputation. From duds like Dil Kya Kare, Raju Chacha, U, me aur Hum, and more recently the Big Bull and Bhuj the pride of India to some hits like Bol Bachchan, Singham Returns and Tanhaaji – Ajay Devgn has given seen some success as a producer but none as a director.
So, now when he is directing and acting in a film, everyone’s more interested in seeing his direction. Somehow, the trailer of this film reminds me of Dhamaka – it’s built similarly with suspense and thrill but this one’s based on a true incident. Woh incident kya tha I will tell you later, but the trailer seems quite average to me, the only good thing is it doesn’t reveal too much like most Bollywood trailers. Amitabh Bachchan plays a character similar to what he has played many times before – maybe not the role per say but the way he has executed it, we don’t see much scope for him to do things differently.
Also, mujhe lagta hai VFX bohot zyada use hua hai yaha and it shows, which is not a very great thing. But do you know which is really a great movie based on a very similar incident – it’s a Hollywood film called Flight, starring Denzel Washington, in which he plays a Commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker, who has a problem with drugs and alcohol, but so far he’s managed to complete his flights safely. But one day, his luck runs out when a mechanical malfunction sends his plane hurtling towards the ground. Whip pulls off a miraculous crash-landing that results in only six lives lost. Shaken to the core, he vows to get sober — but when the crash investigation exposes his addiction, he finds himself in an even worse situation.
Runway 34 seems to be following a very similar trajectory with Ajay Devgn playing the ace pilot and Amitabh Bachchan playing the investigating officer, but it’s clear that it’s nowhere close to the excellence and finesse that we saw in Flight. It has got a lot of poor VFX and ek ke baad ek filmy dialogues that seem to have been put to create faltu ka drama. Why can’t Bollywood filmmakers cut dialoguebaazi and make a realistic subject realistically, is something I will never understand.
Because jiss incident par yeh film based woh actual mein hua tha on 18th August, 2015 and its called the Jet-Airways Doha-Kochi Flight incident. This incident garbbed headlines because it raised a lot of questions, and barely any answers.
It happened when Jet Airways flight 9W triple 5, arrived from Doha at the Cochin International Airport with around 142 passengers and 8 crew members on board. There was not enough visibility for the aircraft to land because of the haze that happened due to heavy rainfall the previous day. The pilot then diverted the plane to Trivandrum (which is now, Thiruvananthapuram), but the visibility was less than what was required. The flight was also running dangerously low on fuel, so the captain decided to land the aircraft, almost blindly. There’s a giveaway line in the trailer to this effect which seems like the major piece of the mystery. Here also, it landed after three failed attempts with only 250 kg of fuel left Though this flight landed safely, the captain was demoted to the rank of a co-pilot for risking the lives of the passengers on board.
The incident got a lot of mixed responses. Some said that it was a wise decision by the captain, and some said it was the most dangerous close shaves in Indian aviation. Till date, the incident remains shrouded in mystery. Surely, this film will try to bring some clarity to the incident but from the trailer it looks like a pretty average thriller based on true events. Comments on Youtube are filled with positive responses but I think, I have seen better.
Runway 34 releases in theatres on 29th April.
So that’s my review of the trailer of Ajay Devgan’s directorial Runway 34 – what’s yours?
Dubai – the kind of international city that truly feels like a home away from home and who better than us Indians can understand it. It’s often the first country that kickstarts our foreign travel. We work there, we live there and almost all of us, have family and friends over there. Have you ever thought why is it so? Why does the UAE feel so accessible, so close to our heart and mind? It’s because this is the country that has slowly but surely, only strengthened the strong bonds of friendship with India, based on age-old religious, cultural and economic ties. And today, those ties have reached the pinnacle of their glory, ensuring a dawn of a new era.
And this is the kind of news that appeals to each one of us, especially, if you’re watching me in India. Because, just a few days back, a landmark agreement has finally been inked between India and the UAE. It’s called the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or the CEPA, which is all set to give a major boost to the bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two nations.
One of the main aims of the CEPA is to increase bilateral non-oil merchandise trade to a whopping 100 billion US dollars, in the next five years. On 18th February, both the countries entered into this agreement to facilitate investments in labor-intensive sectors like textiles, gems and jewellery, leather goods and food processing.
So, what does that really mean for us?
Simply put, it means many, many more opportunities in jobs, in businesses and improving the standard of living, not just for the 3 million Indians that reside in the UAE, but billions more, living in India, who I am sure at some point or the other, have thought of working or living in the UAE. And this will hold especially true for the skilled Indian workers, as the needs of the UAE labour market are fulfilled through training programs for the workforce from India.
Because, in the most tangible terms, the main aim of the CEPA agreement is to create additional job opportunities in the UAE. The ease of doing business in UAE for Indians would also be enhanced. CEPA would enable automatic registration and marketing authorization of Indian generic medicines, within 90 days on approval, in developed nations. And if you are one of those like my mom, who loves to go gold shopping in Dubai, then here’s some good news for that as well. Under the free trade agreement, India will provide duty concessions on the import of gold from the UAE, while Indian jewellery exporters will enjoy zero duty access to the UAE market. This is important as the gold trade is 16 per cent of the global trade in this segment.
And it’s not just this. Under the CEPA, the two nations will collaborate in fields of research, production and development of reliable supply chains for vaccinations. There would also be increased investments by the UAE entities in India’s rapidly growing health infrastructure.
The UAE has been home to millions of Indians like me and I have seen it first hand how our community thrives here with such easy access to all things India – be it food, films or festivals. Reports suggest that the CEPA agreement will also ease similar trade agreements foIndia with other GCC countries thus opening new doors of opportunities for us.
Let me know your thoughts on this important development and what it means to you, personally. Connect with me on instagram, facebook and on twitter. It’s @reviewron and @ronakkotecha on Twitter.
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But as always, even if you don’t do any of these things, thank you so much for watching this one. Please take care of yourself and those around you.
So, the Kashmir Files has been watched and at the onset let me warn you, this is not an easy film to watch. It’s hardhitting, brutal, emotional and sometimes spine-chilling, in the way, it shows the atrocities faced by the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir, especially, in January 1990.
The film has released in theatres and not on Zee 5. I watched the uncut version in a special screener from Zee 5 and I am not sure if, what you saw or will see in the theatres will have all the scenes that will leave you shocked and numb and it’s a film that does not mince words.
Writer-Director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri takes us straight to the day when the massacre in Kashmir began in January 1990 when a young Shiva, a Kashmiri Pandit, is beaten up while playing cricket. What follows is a horrific squence of events as we see families, women, children, and seniors being shot at, butchered, humiliated, for who they are. It is so brutal and so recent that you will wonder why you never really heard about it. It was 1990 guys. It was the time when most of us were old enough to atleast know what’s happening around us. I was less than 10 years old but I remember the serial blasts, the riots in Mumbai, the hijacking of the IC814…but over the years, we have only heard some scattered voices about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits. This film that is based on testimonials from the real people shows the mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits that by all accounts presented in the film, was a genocide, in the most gruesome manner.
Vivek Agnihotri drives his narrative through the eyes of the Pandits – a Kashmiri family, led by retitred teacher Pushkar Nath, played brilliantly by Anupam Kher, who sees his entire family perish, at the hands of the militants, who force themselves into his home and kill defenceless people. Anupam Kher gets into the skin of his character of a true blue Kashmiri, who never loses hope of returning to his motherland. In many ways, he becomes the voice of his people trying to fight the killers, who don’t think twice before pulling the trigger on his people. Mithun Chakraborty gives IAS officer Brahma Dutt, an honest and emotional portrayal. He lives the trauma of a man, who is supposed to be in power and help but instead feels helpless, powerless and severly let down by the administration that becomes a mute spectator to the bloodbath in Kashmir. Darshan Kumaar seems a little older for the role of a student, but as the film reaches its climax, his moving monologue, justifies casting him in the role of the gullible Krishna Pandit, who is only fed lies about the past, present and future of Kashmir including about the fate of his own family. Pallavi Joshi’s character is over the top for sure but somehow mirrors a section of our society that wouldn’t let peace prevail in Kashmir, at any cost. Rest of the artists, including those in smaller, but critical roles like the one, who plays Shardha Pandit, do thier jobs perfectly well.
This one is not an easy watch. This mustn’t have been an easy make either. So, full marks to Vivek Agnihotri for ripping off the bandaid and revisiting the pain of lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits, whose bloody tales of voilent end never really made it to the mainstream narrative. Many have criticised the film for not being balanced, but that was clearly not what the film’s story is. It’s the story of Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus that cannot be explained as rhetoric, fake narrative or agenda. It is the truth and The Kashmir Files are the reasons.
I will abstain from rating this film as it is beyond that but it is a must, must watch.
Let us know your reveiw review of the Kashmir Files in the comments.
Where to watch: VOD release on all streaming platforms in Q2 2022
Spread across three different eras, this dark comedy switches between three eras – the caveman era, the era of the old west, and the modern era depicting the evolution of the mankind or the lack of it in governance and achieving our goals with real estate at the center of it all.
At the onset, let me declare that this movie is a brilliant idea. Three distinct time periods showing men deal with each other and the real estate and how in each era, we have only ended up making things more miserable. It’s a satire and a dark comedy with its heart in the right place, but unfortunately throughout its runtime producer-director and one of the lead actors Jay Meyers doesn’t quite manage to put out a convincing or a consistently entertaining product.
For starters, the film is not just rough around the edges, but very amateur in its execution. It’s honest but very raw too. Like, the background score is too loud for its own good and the makeup is just downright lazy. They rob the film of any seriousness despite a subject that should make us introspect. Instead, it comes off as childish and caricaturish.
That’s not to say, there’s no fun to be had. The film and its makers don’t seem to take themselves seriously and so as audience I cannot watch it being stiff and a buzzkill. It’s got an endearing goofiness that leaves you with a smile nonetheless, as you just go along with the ride and not think about what will happen next. This reviewer’s favourite era would be the caveman era, which is completely mad. The unpredictability still makes you sit through this film knowing well that it’s really not going any place decent.
It’s an attempt by a few people with limited resources and it shows. Some technical finesse would have gone a long way. It’s a disruptive idea after all and so far removed from what we regularly see that it somehow grabs your attention. Yes, it’s a great idea gone awry but you cannot ignore it because it really is so bad that it’s good.
Kashmir Files – a film based on the mass exodus of Kashmiri pandits that has been in the news in the last few days for all the wrong reasons. First, the director of the film Vivek Agnihotri announced on Twitter that his team has not been invited on The Kapil Sharma Show, saying that they refused to call them because, they don’t have a big commercial star. This led to a lot of trolling of Kapil Sharma online.
Today, Kapil has tried to clear the air around this controversy by reacting to one of his followers, who said he was boycotting his show for this reason. Kapil took to Twitter and said that it was not true. Replying to him, Kapil wrote, “Yeh sach nahi hai rathore sahab, aapne pucha isliye bata dia, baki jinhone sach maan hi liya, unko explanation dene ka kya fayda…He then added, in his tweet, “Just a suggestion, as an experienced social media user:- never believe in one sided story in today’s social media world. dhanyawaad.”
However, Kapil did not go into the details of the reasons why the cast of Kashmir files never featured on this show. Meanwhile, the film that starts streaming on Zee 5 from tomorrow had a special media screening here in Mumbai on Monday that I missed because I was travelling from Dubai to Mumbai that day for a medical emergency at home. The first reviews are finally out and it’s getting mostly positive responses from all the major critics with Anupam Kher’s performance being hailed as the highlight of the film.
My colleague Renuka Vyavhare, who is a Times of India film critic just like me, has called the Kashmir Files an unfiltered, disturbing plea to be heard. She writes, Vivek Agnihotri’s film is fairly graphic and explosive and it revisits the exodus and its aftermath. Based on documented reports, it shows the brutalities faced by Kashmiri Pandits because of their religion. The film shows how Kashmir’s wounds run deep and it rips off the band-aid. In a span of little less than 3 hours, we try to get to the truth. The times of india review has called Anupam Kher’s performance heart-aching – one that leaves a lump in your throat. As a man pining for his lost home, he is outstanding. Pallavi Joshi is equally effective and Mithun Chakraborty is competent in his role, she writes.
According to Hindustan Times, Anupam Kher is the soul of this gut-wrenching film that’s brazen and brutal. Vivek Agnihotri paints a horrifying picture in his film about the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits. As per the Quint, “the kashmir files makes a compelling case for Kashmiri Pandits. Quint also featured a review from Rakesh Kaul, the author of bestselling books like, ‘the last queen of Kashmir.’ He is a Kashmiri Pandit himself and he called this film commendable because it brings to the fore, one of the greatest shames of modern India. In the telling, it strengthens India, he says. For Bollywood, the movie rightly demonstrates that the Indian audience has matured, that they want authenticity and un-embellished truth, as opposed to sugar coated stories.
Even the otherwise critical India Today gave it a glowing review calling it the stories that need to be told. The India Today reviewer writes, “Any journalist’s core job is to speak truth to power and I wonder what a large part of journalists then were up to when these Kashmiri Pandits were brutally killed and the women raped and murdered in broad daylight with kids not spared either. It’s not political but it is. It is more humanitarian though. These are not made-up stories or made-up atrocities; they are based on real testimonials of the minorities who were forced into a”: mass exodus due to the genocide.”
Pinkvilla, meanwhile, has made a critical remark calling it a film that lacks balance. Its review says that Vivek Agnihotri’s film largely lacks another point of view, but it does manage to convey the plight of the Kashmiri Hindus and the sorrow that they still experience.
Let me know your review of the Kashmir Files once you catch it on Zee 5 and I shall do the same.
Being an Indian in Dubai and also a vegetarian, one is always looking for lip-smacking desi delights that not only take you back to India but also offer a healthy option. As team Reviewron discovered it much earlier ‘Saporito’ in Oud Metha is just the kind of place that is fast becoming the go-to plce for food lovers all over the UAE, as it serves up an eclectic mix of varied Italian and Mexican cuisines -all of it in healthy pure veg form!
No wonder then, Saporito was recently honored as the ‘Best International Cuisine’ in the F&B night award function organized by Filmfare Middle East. Over the past few years, Filmfare F&B Night has become one of the most important events that recognise the best of the best in the culinary scene within the UAE. The event honors the most impressive restaurants and individuals that have made the biggest impact in the sector. With multiple categories, the award night is one of the most-happening and glamorous culinary events in the region.
Collecting the award from Mr. Pawan Kachroo, Managing Director, Khamas Hospitality, Mr. Asgarali Ravjani, General Manager, Saporito said “I am thrilled and humbled to win this prestigious award in Dubai which is known for its wide choice when it comes to dining option and is known as a foodie’s paradise offering a variety of International cuisines that are diverse. To be recognized as the best among the best and that too in our 1st year of inception, is a great honour and we are extremely happy to note that what our customers have been stating all along has now been recognized through this industry related award.”
According to Mr. Suhas Vaidya, Manager, Saporito “understanding the discerning taste of food lovers and serving their needs is a challenge of the highest order. The food lovers of Dubai have a wide range of options to choose from. We have been extremely careful in providing nothing but the best for our discerning diners. We are known for our range of Italian and Mexican offerings. Appreciate the faith installed in us and we stay committed to serve all of you whilst maintaining the highest standards.”
This award adds another feather in the cap for Saporito, which is situated right next to the famous Shree Gangour – Desilicious, which is yet another all vegetarian restaurant serving super tasty Indian fare. It’s run by the same management and we can vouch for their amazing chat, sweets, south and north Indian dishes.
It was a daylight murder than shocked the nation, but as hours turned into days, and days into weeks, the sensational case of Surat’s Grishma Vekariya and Fenil Goyani, has gone into the back pages of the newspapers. But while the mainstream media has moved on, the local newspapers of Gujarat are following up on the case and the latest update is that Fenil’s defence team is trying hard to get him out of trouble by telling the court that he is mentally unstable. However, the court has squarely rejected this contention.
The trial of the chilling murder began some 5 days ago and it has one hundred and twenty eye witnesses and the hearing is happening on a day to day basis in a fast track court in Surat. And more chilling details are stumbling out in this case that has left everyone shell shocked and deeply disturbed.
Fenil’s lawyer Zameer Shaikh told the court that he is seeking psyhchatric treatment but the public prosecutor Nayan Sukhadwala immediately protested to this, by revealing that Fenil is of absolutely sound mind. In fact, he had pre-planned Grishma’s murder with meticulous details and did you know that he searching for an AK47 to kill her. But obviously since he could not lay his hands on an assault rifle, he settled for a chappu or a sharp knife that he found on flipkart. He had bought the knife almost a month before he committed the murder on 12th February, which means he had been planning it for a while – a fact that was also quite clear from the now viral call recording with his friend, just minutes before, he actually committed the act. And moreover, the lawyer said he was totally calm and composed after slicing Grishma’s throat in front of her mother, younger brother and countless other eyewitnesses, around 120 to be precise.
You will be shocked to know that Fenil is so mentally stable and aware of what he has done and what is happening now, that he has asked for a change of lawyer and so now, they have filed an application for that in the court. The public prosecutor confirmed that Fenil has not submitted any evidence of mental treatment and yet, on behalf of the government, his mental assessment was done in which the report clearly stated that Fenil is of sound mind.
So shocking is Fenil’s crime that the chief district sessions judge summoned him in presence of the defence and prosecution lawyers but then took him to his chamber, instead of questioning him inside the court. There he asked him some preliminary questions like his name, address, occupation, village etc and he answered them all correctly. Through the last 5 days, as many 58 witnesses have been already been questioned and even the testimony of the doctors, who conducted a post mortem on Grishma was taken on record.
You will also be surprised to know that Fenil hasn’t yet admitted to his crime and he is currently lodged at Surat’s Lajpore jail. Surat police has filed a mammoth chargesheet of 2500 pages with as many as 80 documentary evidences. To say that Fenil’s case is weak would be an understatement but as the trial continues it remains to be seen if it will be completed in record time and the guilty will be punished for his gruesome crime. A crime that forever destroyed so many lives. Lives of the family of a 21 year old promising young girl who had a bright future ahead of her. Fenil’s own family, his old parents must be now cursing their fate that has left them to face what no parent should have to. Fenil’s attempt to blame this pre-meditated murder on his ‘unsound’ mind has met with even more rage among the public. He is brought to the court amidst very heavy security because there is always a threat of someone attacking him for what he has done.
The road ahead for everyone associated with this case will never be easy. And the life ahead of those Grishma left behind will never be the same again after the fateful day of 12th february when they watched their daughter being slaughtered like an animal by someone who does not deserve to be called a human. Whatever the case maybe. Maybe Grishma had led him on and then dumped him. Maybe he really loved her too much and it was a one-sided affair. Maybe, it was Grishma who was pursuing him as Fenil has claimed but none of it, absolutely nothing, can justify what Fenil has done. The justice here must be served and it must be served fast to make sure we never ever have to see such a disturbing visual of a girl’s throat being sliced as she cries for help and everyone around is either begging the killer to stop, making a video or the worst just watching it with sadistic pleasure as it unfolds. It’s a crime that leaves me at a loss of words and has shook me to the very core of my being.
What has it done to you and what are your thoughts, Let us know in the comments.
In what can spell more bad news for Ukrainians and everyone who wants the Russian aggression to end, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he believes “the worst is to come” in Ukraine. This after he was on a mammoth 90-minute phone call with Vladimir Putin who appears hell bent on seizing “the whole” of the country, as per an aide to the French President
An AFP report says that a senior aide to the French leader told reporters on condition of anonymity French President expects that the worst is to come, given what President Putin told him.”
French Presidents aide also said “There was nothing in what President Putin told us that should reassure us. He showed great determination to continue the operation.”
He added that Putin “wanted to seize control of the whole of Ukraine. He will, in his own words, carry out his operation to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine to the end.”
“You can understand the extent to which these words are shocking and unacceptable and the president told him that it was lies,”
Emmanuel Macron also urged Putin to avoid civilian casualties and allow for humanitarian access.
“President Putin replied that he was in favour but without making any commitments,” the aide said, adding that Putin had denied that the Russian military was targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
Macron will again push for extra sanctions on Russia to increase the cost of the invasion, the aide said while denying any open tensions between the two men.
“President Putin has a way of talking that is very neutral and very clinical. He sometimes shows signs of impatience, but fundamentally there were no open signs of tensions during the exchanges,” the aide said.
This even as Ukraine’s President Volo-dymyr Zelensky called for direct talks with Vladimir Putin, saying it was “the only way to stop this war.”
“We are not attacking Russia and we do not plan to attack it. What do you want from us? Leave our land,” he said, addressing Putin.
Ukraine says more than 350 civilians have been killed since Putin launched the invasion.
What are your thoughts? Do you think its only going to get worse from here and there’s no stopping the Russian Aggression?
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing big losses. Not just to Ukraine but also to Russia. While Ukraine’s loss of life and property is obvious, there are growing murmurs about how Russia has Already Lost This “War”. For starters, many reports claim that by going to war, Vladamir Putin has tacitly acknowledged that his multiyear policy of coercion and bullying of Kyiv has failed. Russia’s hopes of keeping Ukraine in its sphere of influence without the use of military force have been dashed.
And this invasion of Ukraine, may be, it has the backing of historic geo-political reasons to justify it but it is dividing the world down the middle on who is right and who is wrong and the fact is, that there is suffering all around. Indians stranded in Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion are being beaten up, while trying to cross the border and get a safe passage into Romania or Hungary. Some are complaining of lack of support from the Indian authorities even as Vladimir Putin is putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert.
On the other hand, Talks between Ukraine and Russia have started at the Belarussian border, offering a ray of hope for all this to end soon. But before that happens, Russia is already at the centre of international criticism. In a tersely worded opinion peice, a professor of political science at Rutgers University in Newark, Alexander Motyl, has enlisted how Russia is losing.
He says, Until Vladimir Putin lunched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, Feb 24, he was winning his standoff with the West. He had compelled the United States and Europe to take his demands seriously; he experienced the pleasure of being treated as the leader of a great power; and he had succeeded in intimidating the Ukrainians as well as Russia’s other neighboring states and the wider world.
Now, to solidify his victory, all he had to do, was to recognize the independence of the so-called separatist republics in the Donbas region of Ukraiune, acknowledge that Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO were nil, and continue his creeping subversion of Ukraine in the expectation that, sooner or later, it would drift back into Russia’s orbit.
And then he blew it all by invading Ukraine, he says.
Overnight, Russia became a pariah state. The West has already imposed a wide range of sanctions with more expected to come. And it’s effects on Russia have already started to show. Even as we speak, the Wall Street Journal reports that Russia’s central bank has raised its key interest rate to as much as 20% directly from 9.5%, as Western sanctions sent the Russian ruble into a nose-dive and threatened to batter the nation’s economy.
The European Union, for the first time, will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons, in a show of support for Ukraine. The EU is also banning Russian planes from its airspace.
Western governments said they would cut off a number of Russian banks from the Swift network, an international payment system. The U.S., the EU, the U.K. and Canada also said they would take measures to prevent Russia’s central bank from deploying its foreign reserves to support its currency and economy.
Overall, it’s not looking too good for Russia as its Ruble and Financial Markets Are Hammered by Sanctions. And Who will suffer from this? The Russians.
Meanwhile, he says, Ukraine continues to hold its capital Kyiv, as its citizens are rallying to defend their Homeland. Meanwhile, Germany is re-Arming to Counter Threat From Russia
Alexander Motyl further writes in his piece that international opinion has almost unanimously condemned Putin’s war of aggression, and thousands of his own citizens have expressed their opposition to the war in demonstrations and petitions.
Most importantly, Ukrainians have fought back, fiercely. This was something Putin probably did not expect. In his initial announcement of a “special military operation,” Putin called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms, not out of concern for their lives, but because, he truly believed they would be happy to do so. But they weren’t and they didn’t. Instead, they have inflicted punishing losses on his invasion force and have inspired the world with their courage, he says.
Now, Putin, he says, is in an un-winn-able position. Ukrainians throughout the country, regardless of their language religion or ethnic background, have rallied around the Ukrainian flag. Tens of thousands, have volunteered to go into the defense units. Many more have donated blood. Others have volunatrily handed over their savings to finance the country’s defense. A historic wave of patriotic fervor has gripped Ukraine.
The Ukrainian nation has been joined by diaspora Ukrainians, who are now busy staging rallies and fundraising for their homeland. All these Ukrainians now consider themselves part of a modern nation that is as diverse as it is united against Putin and everything he stands for: which they say is blatant dictatorship…Ukrainians have demonstrated that they love their country, despite all its faults, and that they are willing to sacrifice greatly for it. It’s the rise of the underdogs.
Ukraine’s dramatic show of wartime unity and national strength is exceptionally inconvenient for Putin. Professor Motyl says, in his increasingly unhinged attempts to justify his war, the Russian ruler has claimed to be fighting against a ragtag band of “fascists,” “Nazis,” and “drug addicts,” who represent no one, but their own interests and their “paymasters” in the West. As it turns out, Putin has declared war on a patriotic nation of more than 40 million people in a country the size of France.
Then weighing the options for Russia, he writes – his options are now all bad. He says, Putin could still physically destroy Ukraine and commit a massive genocide against its inhabitants, and, I am saying, this includes Indians there, as collateral damage. But professor Motyl writes that even the craziest of Russian imperialists would agree that this would be a colossal atrocity in human history.
Putin may still try to establish a puppet Ukrainian regime in Kyiv to toe the line, as intelligence reports have long predicted. However, that would mean occupying a huge country indefinitely. This would probably require around a million soldiers, all of whom would become targets of a Ukrainian resistance movement that would be sure to emerge.
Alternatively, Putin could try to work out some kind of deal with the current Ukrainian administration, but that would mean effectively admitting to his inner circle that his bloody enterprise had actually achieved nothing that negotiations could not have produced, at a far smaller cost.
He then asks the most fundamental question – So why did Putin act so stupidly? One answer, he says, is that he may have lost touch with reality after hiding from COVID-19 in a bunker for two years. Another is that, as the unchallenged boss of the Kremlin for more than two decades, his advisors are reluctant to tell him, what they fear may upset him.
He says, Putin’s recent meeting of the Russian Security Council was particularly revealing of the dangerously dysfunctional power dynamics in Kremlin, with Putin alone on a throne-like seat while his minions sat across the vast hall on wooden chairs, facing him like schoolchildren.
Another possibility, according to the professor, is that he has completely bought into the Russian imperial and Soviet historical propaganda narratives that have always looked at Ukrainians as either non-existent or Russia’s subservient younger brother. It’s quite possible that this ideology has blinded Putin and his supporters to the reality of a Ukrainian nation with its own interests and culture.
Putin has therefore lost, he declares. He closes his op-ed by writing, Ukrainians will suffer terribly from his criminal invasion, but they will survive and emerge as a strong, modern nation. Putin, in contrast, faces a far more uncertain future following this senseless war.
Meanwhile, Ukraine says that Russian forces have lost about 2800 servicemen and 80 tanks during their assault on them. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said on her Facebook page that the Russian troops also lost about 516 armoured combat vehicles, 10 aircraft and seven helicopters.
What do YOU make of this war, this conflict situation, this invasion and this man-made disaster that is making our worst fears come true. Let us know in the comments.
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Amidst so much news that is coming in from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there is one name that has taken the centrestage. And that name is of Ukranian President Volo-dymyr Zelensky – a 44 year old Russian-speaking former stand up comedian of Jewish background, Zelensky was elected as Ukraine’s president just under three years ago, on a promise to bring peace. But unlike any other politician, this young Prez is on ground zero, calling the shots and firing them as well.
But less than four years ago, Zelensky was one of Ukraine’s most popular TV comedians, starring in a satirical TV show and performing in a troupe, where he played the piano with his penis, for five minutes. Yes there is actually a video on youtube where he along with his partner is seen playing the piano with his pants down.
But that was before Zelensky, won the Ukrainian presidential election in a landslide back in 2019, after much of his campaign was allegedly bankrolled by one of Ukraine’s richest — and most corrupt men, as per a New York Times report.
In a scenario that even the writers of his old show, “Servant of the People,” couldn’t have dreamed up, Zelensky is now the leader at the center of a new war in Europe and at risk of assassination, as Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country on Thursday night.
In a short video address released right after midnight on Friday in Ukraine, Zelensky said the Russians “want to destroy Ukraine politically by taking down the head of state.”
“I am staying in the government quarters together with others,” Zelensky said. “The enemy has designated me as target number one, and my family as target number two.”
Zelensky, who was so far unknown to the rest of the world is now a household name. Even his critics, who often discounted his showbiz past as “frivolous”, now say that Zelensky has more than risen to the occasion, calling out their powerful and rogue neighbour, whose invasion has so far left at least 64 civilians killed and more than 160,000 displaced in Ukraine as per a United Nations relief agency. This is besides all the men on frontline, the two countries will lose, as no one really wins in the end.
On Thursday, three hours before the Russian troops hit Ukraine, Zelensky took his message to the Russian people in a powerful plea to stop and question what their country was doing.
“What are you fighting for?” “And with whom?” he asked in the address, posted at 2 a.m., not long after Putin outlined his reasons for attacking Ukraine.
When addressing Ukrainians, both on TV and online, Zelensky exhorted citizens to hold the line against the Russians and fight for their country.
Taking to the same social media, which led to his victory as the accidental president in 2010, Zelensky tweeted from Kyiv, early on Thursday – the day when this war began, “We have severed diplomatic relations with Russia,” “For all those who have not yet lost their conscience in Russia, it is time to go out and protest against the war with Ukraine.”
Zelensky called for martial law and remained defiant as Russian and Belarussian forces hit Ukraine in the kind of land, air and sea invasion, that has not been seen since World War II. They even blocked the Ukranian capital of Kyiv as residents tried to flee.
“Russia treacherously attacked our state in the morning, as Nazi Germany did in world war 2,” Zelensky’s tweet read. “As of today, our countries are on different sides of the world history. Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself & won’t give up its freedom, no matter what Moscow thinks.”
But the daredevil frontliner avatar of Zelensky that you’re seeing today wasn’t something that many believed in earlier. In fact, international reports claimt that he was originally thought to be a puppet of the very powerful Ukranian mafia called Kolomoisky…but quite swiftly, Zelensky rebranded himself as a crusader against oligarchs. This even as he had evolved from being a native Russian-speaker, brought up in pro-Russian Eastern Ukraine into more of a nationalist that we see today.
A Ukrainian expert wrote in 2019, “Though many commentators label Zelensky, a Ukrainian Donald Trump, because of his lack of political experience and background in entertainment, Zelensky is, in fact, an adept political actor.”
Another longtime Ukraine reserarcher said, “He’s kept a unified government and has not gone along with either what Russia or the US wanted…he knows he’s in the middle of a bigger power game, between superpowers and he seems to know what he’s doing. He’s handling himself pretty well. He’s his own man. He knows what’s really at stake but he knows what happened to Viktor Yanu-kov-ych.”
Now who is Victor? He was the 71 year old, fourth president of Ukraine, who was overthrown during the 2014 Maidan revolution.
And this was the turning point in Russia-Ukraine relations…more like a Flashpoint.
This is were Putin’s reasons to attack Ukraine stem from? After Victor was defeated in 2014, President Putin started accusing Ukraine of being taken over by extremists. Russia has also long resisted Ukraine’s move towards the European Union and Nato. While announcing Russia’s invasion, he accused Nato of threatening “our historic future as a nation”. He has claimed modern Ukraine was entirely created by communist Russia and is now a puppet state, controlled by the West. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister says, “For us it’s absolutely mandatory to ensure Ukraine never, ever becomes a member of Nato.” What Russia’s plans are for Ukraine are unknown, but it faces stiff resistance from a deeply hostile population.
But coming back to Ukrainian President Zelensky , did you know that he played a fictional character on his show “Servant of the People” – a 30-something high school teacher, who wakes up one morning to learn that he has been elected the country’s president with over 60 percent of the popular vote. In reality he won over 73% votes. In the show, one of his students put a video of him ranting against corruption in the country, online and it went viral.
Zelensky, and his shows were often satires on the corruption in Ukraine and also showed what the country could look like, if given a shot at democracy. And he did.
Zelensky, who grew up in Russian-speaking southeast Ukraine, has been not been a bad leader — even before Thursday’s invasion.
On Friday, he was at war in Kyiv. On Saturday, Unshaven and dressed in khaki, Zelensky addressed the nation in a video, warning that “saboteurs” tasked with his assassination were closing in. He said, “I will stay in the capital.”
Zelensky, who has been married to Olena Zelenska since 2003, has a son, Kiril, and a daughter, Aleksandra.
He’s shown that he has a knack for being at the front and center of an international scandal. Donald Trump’s first impeachment stemmed from a now-notorious phone call with Zelensky in July 2019, in which Trump leaned on him to investigate Joe Biden’s family corruption in Ukraine. The call also put the suspect and the lucrative business dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine, into the spotlight.
But today, all that is squarely behind him. None of that matters. What matters is that he is the last man standing. Standing for his country, when Russia’s brazen invasion of Ukraine has left with so much death and destruction at a time when we are not even out of a dreaded pandemic, that is killing us anyway.
At such a time, this young Ukranian President is calling on his citizens to take up arms and defend the nation. It is by all means, an unequal war. And the whole world is only talking about sanctions. No one is really rushing to help Ukraine. It is unnerving to consider that in this day and age, any country with military power and a well supplied arsenal can invade another sovereign nation with such brute force. And the world just mouths platitudes, but dosen’t do anything.
The Ukranian Ministry said “thousands” of volunteers were signing up to fight, with 18,000 rifles handed out in Kyiv alone.
Today, as we watch in horror, Ukraine is slowly but surely scripting a new chapter in history – The citizens of this country have put up fierce resistance against Russia and President Zelensky seems to be reflecting that spirit. Twice, amid Russian attempts to punch their way into Kyiv overnight, he posted selfie videos outdoors to dispel disinformation that he had fled or ordered a surrender. Something, we have seen happening in the recent past when leaders have fled at the first given opportunity, when enemy strikes.
But Zelensky declared, ‘I’m here. We won’t lay down our arms. We will defend our state,’ he said on Saturday morning. The clip had 4 million views within two hours of posting.
On Thursday, he even summoned the spirit of Winston Churchill, echoing his 1946 Iron Curtain speech, seen by some historians, as marking the start of the Cold War with the former Soviet Union, when Russia and Ukraine were a part of the same socialist state.
“What do we hear today?” Zelensky asked. “It’s not just rocket explosions, fighting and the roar of aircraft. This is the sound of a new iron curtain lowering and closing Russia off from the civilized world.”
Zelensky came to power with a promise of peace, for which many Ukrainians were desperate after five years of conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas region. He quickly met with Vladamir Putin and the leaders of France and Germany, in the hope of finding a way to implement the Minsk agreement – under which a package of measures was agreed upon – including a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line, release of prisoners of war, constitutional reform in Ukraine and restoring control of the state border to the Ukrainian government. But Putin declared that the Minsk agreements “no longer existed”, and that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that was to be blamed for their collapse. Russia then invaded Ukraine last Thursday, on 24th February.
I have been to Kyiv in August 2019 – just two months after Zelensky’s dramatic landslide victory as the President. Despite its living standards, which are said to be among the lowest in Europe, I found Ukraine to be a happy country with beautiful, talented people, who believed in living thier life, despite all their problems. It’s historic turmoil like any other former Soviet Union country was writ large in its city centre, museums and statues but the country sure knew how to party. On weekends, the arterial main road of Kyiv would shut down and it would turn into one big carnival with song and dance echoing throughout the city. Spirits would flow freely in its clubs and bars and everyone would be outside their home, till wee hours in the morning. Much like today, but the reasons are different.
The lively streets of Kyiv have turned into warzones and the metro stations used for daily commute have turned into bunkers for survival.
NATO has called this attack brutal, wholly unprovoked and unjustified. In a statement, NATO said, “We deplore the tragic loss of life, enormous human suffering and destruction caused by Russia’s actions. Peace on the European continent has been fundamentally shattered. The world will hold Russia, as well as Belarus, accountable for their actions. We call on all states to condemn this attack. No one should be fooled by the Russian government’s barrage of lies.”
Ukraine has also asked India for Political support at the UN after New Delhi abstained from voting at the Security Counil. As per an AFP report, despite being a democracy and a member of the “Quad” grouping with Australia, Japan and the United States, India has neither explicitly condemned Moscow’s actions, nor called them an invasion.
Instead it has repeatedly referred to it as “developments” in Ukraine.
India’s foreign ministry released a statement on Saturday, calling it a “conflict situation” and saying that PM Narendra Modi had “reiterated his call for an immediate cessation of violence and a return to dialogue.”
Everytime, a news report with the word “Ukraine or Russia” flashes on my screen, my heart skips a beat….for all the beautiful people, I met in Ukraine. My team and I can only pray and hope that peace is restored in Ukraine and no more lives are lost, but this is a very dark reminder of the times that we live in. As news of Russia making deeper advances into Ukraine makes headlines, it is also a chilling reality of just how fragile, helpless and unfair is the world that most of us live in.
And I would like to close this video with this placard that saw online, which in 2 lines, sums up what President Zelensky and his people are going through. It reads, “If Russia stops fighting, there will be no war, If Ukraine stops fighting, there will be no more Ukraine.”
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A bunch of creepy crawlies run over a sleepy coastal town in California on prom night. Will a bunch of young folks be able to save themselves and others from a horde of these murderous horseshoe crabs, some of whom also turn into giant ZOMBEAVERS-meet-GODZILLA kinda hybrid avatars?
Horror comedies are an extremely tricky business. How do you make someone’s agony fun? It takes a special kind of talent to make this genre work at such a level that your audience enjoys all the blood and gore yet never gets really scared or feel extremely sad for the characters. Writer-director Pierce McDermott Berolzheimer manages to somewhat get that right in CRABS! because literally there is not a moment in this film where we feel scared or genuinely care for the characters. And it’s not because it’s organically funny, it’s because it’s unintentionally funny, which this reviewer feels, is the biggest problem with this this “love letter to drive-in creature features.”
Berolzheimer follows the regular scary movie tropes with his clichéd characters like a nerdy wheel-chair bound teenager Philip McCalister (Dylan Riley Snyder), who is a computer genius with enough knowledge to stop the freaky looking monsters. His helpful friend Maddy Menrath (Allie Jennings) stands by him secretly harbouring feelings for him. His elder brother is the local cop, who is perhaps the only cool dude in this town and as expected, has the hots for his sexy school teacher Annalise (Jessica Morris), who is also the mother of Maddy. They are joined by Radu (Chase Padgett), who will go down in the history of Hollywood cinema as one of the most annoying characters. He is NOT cute. Together, this ragtag group fights the crabs that have overrun the town causing bloodbath, death and destruction.
There isn’t much unpredictability here but thankfully, Berolzheimer gets down to business of bloody killings right from the start and the runtime is quite short. The screenplay doesn’t drag, but all the same, it isn’t packed with believable action or genuine entertainment either. Simply, because it all comes across as too pointless. It’s one thing to not be taking anyone or anything seriously, which is perhaps the idea. But here, it feels like it’s a juvenile set-up of cardboard structures and creatures fighting with each other and you end up rooting for none. Of course, you can’t call it harmless but it is fun in its own way for those who don’t mind just leaving their brains aside, not questioning logic or anything else, really to just enjoy the mindless massscare. Mind you, there’s no method to this madness.
What’s more annoying that Radu addressing himself as Radu in every dialogue is the loud background score that is literally screechy and distracting. The actors put in bare minimum efforts to perform but it works because with this kind of lame writing, anything goes. Overall, it’s hard to take this monster saga seriously because it’s neither serious nor funny.