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A Drama - Mangal se Mahatma - by Agraj Natya Dal at Bilaspur (Entertainment)
20-02-11  The play on India’s freedom movement written by Dr. R. K. Tandon and directed by Sunil Chipde was staged in Bilaspur on Sunday, 20 Feb 2011 at Devkinandan Hall in the premises of Lal Bahadur Shastri School.

The team of Agraj Natya Dal (AND) delivered an excellent performance to a packed hall. There were about 32 actors on the stage delivering the well-researched, well-scripted and fast-paced story of India’s freedom movement, which covered the salient events of the entire freedom struggle starting from Mangal Pandey’s revolt to Mahatma Gandhi’s non-cooperation movement. Rani Laxmibai, Chaurichaura movement, Jaliyanwala Baugh, Dandi March and the Salt Movement it was all there.

The highlight of the story line was a special reference to the freedom fighters from Chhattisgarh, about whom we generally do not find much mention in the history books. Leaders like Veer Narayan Singh, Makhanlan Chatturvedi and others.

In slightly over an hour, the team was able to effectively deliver the entire message. The fast-moving script and a performance to match was enough to tie the audience to their seats. Not a single member of the audience, barring a politician, a bureaucrat and some press reporters, left during the show. Surely they must have had more pressing commitments on hand.

Another highlight of the presentation was a unique combination of pre-recorded video and audio along with stage artists. Sunil Chipde refers to this combination as the Light and Sound Show. He says that this play was the team’s first experiment and that the reaction received from the audiences to this has been beyond expectations. He says that his team is going to build more on this light and sound technique.

Agraj Natya Dal is a group of young drama enthusiasts in Bilaspur who have been active for more than a decade now and have several successful performances to their credit.
AR Rahaman nominated at Golden Globe Awards for 127 Hours (Entertainment)
16-12-10  A. R. Rahaman - the musical genious from India - has been nominated in the Best Original Score for Motion Picture category for the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. The nomination of Rahaman is for his work in Danny Boyle's 127 hours.

The composer himself reacted to the nomination by saying "This is a blessing beyond words."

The Chennai based composer is a double Oscar winner. The two Oscars had been awarded to him in 2009 for the music in Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog Millionaire too had been Danny Boyle's film. AR Rahaman had also won a Golden Globe in the same year for the same film.

The Golden Globe Awards is being hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the 68th time in January 2011.

Today, the Golden Globes recognize achievements in 25 categories; 14 in motion pictures and 11 in television.

Danny Boyle's 127 Hours is nominated in two other categories - Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Screenplay (Motion Picture).
TV shows - Bigg Boss and Rakhi Ka Insaaf - timings restricted by Ministry (Entertainment)
18-11-10  The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has imposed time sanctions on the telecast of Bigg Boss (बिग बॉस) and Rakhi ka Insaaf (राखी का इंसाफ). These shows can now be aired only between 11pm and 5am.

The I&B Ministry has remarked in its order that the content of these shows were not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, especially at prime-time when a large number of children are watching television.

According to the order, all telecasts and repeat-telecasts of these programmes must be telecast late in the night between 11pm and 5am, and that no clippings of these can be shown on the news channels.

Bigg Boss is aired on Colors channel and Rakhi ka Insaaf is telecast on Imagine channel.

The action has been taken by the ministry under section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995.

The Ministry has also banned SS Music, a South Indian channel, for 7 days for telecasting obscene and vulgar content.
57th National Film Awards to Kutty Srank, 3 Idiots, Amitabh Bachchan (Entertainment)
15-09-10  Malayalam film Kutty Srank produced by Reliance Big Pictures and directed by Shaji N. Karun, has been declared the Best Feature Film of 2009, in the National Film Awards announced by the Indian Government.

The Directorate of Film Festivals announced today (15-Sept-2010) the 57th National Film Awards for the year 2009. The awards were announced in 3 categories...
  • Best Feature Film Category
  • Best Non Feature Film Category, and
  • Best Writing on Cinema
The other winners in the Feature Film category are...
  • Lahore (Hindi) - Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director
  • 3 idiots (Hindi) - Best Popular Film providing Wholesome Entertainment
  • Delhi 6 (Hindi) - bagged the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Amitabh Bachchan won the title for the Best Actor in his role as Auro in Paa.
Salman Khan's Dabangg to open to audiences on 10-Sep-2010 (Entertainment)
10-09-10  Today's big release is Salman Khan starrer Dabangg.

Dabangg meaning bold and fearless, is the story of a fearless but corrupt police officer Chulbul Pandey who has unorthodox ways of working.

Chulbul Pandey is the son of Naini (Dimple Kapadia) who marries Prajapati Pandey (Vinod Khanna) after her husband passes away.

Chulbul's relation with his step-father and half-brother, Makhanchand (Arbaaz Khan) is not very cordial. After his mother's demise and an unsuccessful attempt to mend wounds, Chulbul snaps all ties with his stepfather and half-brother.

Sonakshi Sinha, the daughter of veteran Bollywood star Shatrughan Sinha makes her acting debut in Dabangg playing the role of Rajjo, a young girl with her unique perspective of life. Rajjo turns Chulbuls life upside down.

Dabangg has been directed by Abhinav Singh Kashyap. The music of the film has been done by the composers Sajid-Wajid. Its songs Tere Mast Mast Do Nain and Munni Badnaam have already become very popular.
Jimena Navarrete of Mexico becomes Miss Unverse 2010 (Entertainment)
24-08-10  Jimena Navarrete, the 22 year old Miss Mexico, was crowned Miss Universe 2010 at the beauty pageant on Monday evening.

Miss Jamaica - Yendi Philipps was declared the first runner-up while Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell emerged as the second runner-up.

Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, crowned her successor Jimena Navarrete at the glittering function in Las Vegas.

The 59th Miss Universe pageant concluded on Monday 23 August 2010 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Jimena is the second Mexican to win the Miss Universe title, her country-mate Lupita Jones won the pageant in 1991.

The Miss Universe Organization produces the international beauty event every year. The Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants are a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal joint venture.
Peepli Live gets good reviews - Amitabh Bachchan also likes it (Entertainment)
14-08-10  Peepli Live, the latest movie under the Aamir Khan banner has opened to audiences in India over the weekend. The movie has been released across the 600 screens by UTV Motion Pictures its distributor.

And, the film has done wonders on the box-office in its opening day. It has reportedly already collected more than 7 crores and is expected rake in even more over the Independence Day weekend.

Directed by debutant Anusha Rizvi, the film has Naseeruddin Shan and Raghuvir Yadav alongwith a host of other relatively unknown faces mostly from Habib Tanveer's Naya Theatre.

The film has received rave reviews. Folks have described the film with adjectives like... delicious irony, well researched, far far more authentic, very straightforward storytelling. One of the reviews has even labeled Peepli Live as the Best film of the year.

Amitabh Bachchan has written in his blog..."The film took me back to my place of birth and deposited me within the distinct atmosphere of my roots, and I loved that. But apart from that it was a superb film ; even the wife loved it."
Agraj to present Mangal Se Mahatma at Bilaspur today (Entertainment)
14-08-10  Mangal Se Mahatma (मंगल से महात्मा) a play written by the Dr. Rajesh Tandon and directed by Sunil Chipde will be staged by the artists of Agraj Natya Dal (AND) at Devkinandan Dixit Sabha Grah, Lal Bahadur Shastri School, Gole Bazar today 14-Aug-2010 on the occasion of Independence eve.

Mangal Se Mahatma is a full-length 2 hour drama that depicts India's freedom struggle right from the revolt by Mangal Pandey in 1857 to the Independence Day of 1947 and covers all major events of the period. Over 35 artists, all from Bilaspur, present the play.

The multi-media mode of execution on stage has been done using the light and sound technique by theater artists in the state for the first time.

According to Ritesh Dubey, the secretary of Agraj Natya Dal, "Mangal Se Mahatma debuted in 2007 under the banner of Agraj Natya Dal at Raipur to mark the 150th anniversary of first freedom fight", and has since been staged several times. The latest performance of this play was in naxal prone, backward region of Dantewada in May 2010.

The presentation in Bilaspur is being done under the ageis of Agrawal Mahila Samiti, Bilaspur.
Aamir Khan's Peepli Live to open on 13 August 2010 (Entertainment)
12-07-10  Peepli Live - the latest film to be produced by Amir Khan is scheduled to open to audiences in India on 13 August 2010. The movie is already causing furores in the political cirlces with one of its song "Mahangaai Daayan (महंगाई डायन)" on price rise and inflation.

This film is directed and written by Anusha Rizvi who says that she never intended to make files, before the story of Peepli Live came to her in a flash.

Peepli Live is a story of a poor farmer from Peepli village in rural India who is about to lose his land due to an unpaid government loan. A quick fix to the problem is the very same government’s program that aids the families of indebted farmers who have committed suicide.

Talking about his interest in the script, Aamir Khan says "From the time that the narration began I was drawn into it. I found it to be very funny and at the same time very heartbreaking. Very engaging, entertaining and enlightening, but a very unusual script for Indian cinema. In other words, it was right up my street." Aamir Khan adds "This is the first of the films that I have produced with the hope of entertaining a world audience. It’s a world that I am unfamiliar with... and scary. Let’s see how it goes."

Out of the cast of the film probably the only noted name is Raghubir Yadav. Most of the cast of Peepli Live was selected after an extensive and exhaustive casting process that lasted over 4 months. About 900 actors were auditioned in several cities in India. In the event, legendary Indian theatre director Habib Tanvir’s Naya Theatre repertory which comprises mainly rural folk actors provided the mainstay.
Mani Ratnam's film - Raavan opens on 18-Jun-2010 (Entertainment)
16-06-10  Raavan - A Mani Ratnam Film - is scheduled to open to audiences on 18 June 2010.

Raavan is being released in Hindi and Tamil and has a powerful star cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Vikram and Govinda. It is the story of a struggle between Beera Munda and Dev Pratap Sharma.

Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) is an anti-establishment, non-conformist voice of the underdog and fiercely protective of his people. He is the beacon of hop for the oppressed lot and the pride and shame of Lal Maati.

Dev Pratap Sharma (Vikram) is an aggressive encounter specialist. His is willing to go all the way to achieve what he believes is right. Unrelenting in his perception of right and wrong, he firmly believes the end justifies the means, no matter how unorthodox are then means that are employed.

Mani Ratnam has proven his calibre as a film maker and has several block-buster hits to his credit including - Roza (1992), Bombay (1995) and Guru (2007). The file has music by A. R. Rehman and lyrics by Gulzar.
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