As India grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s top comedians have joined hands to entertain the audience with Amazon Prime’s latest show ‘LOL- Hasee Toh Phasse’. Sunil Grover, Gaurav Gera, Aditi Mittal spoke about the show. The trio not only spilled the beans on the show’s format and its USP but also shared their opinion on the ever-increasing craze around comedy in India.
On bringing smiles amid tough times, Sunil said, “I feel lucky to be a part of this show as there are a lot of tensions and worries around us. So, it is a good thing that people will be at their home laughing. When we were shooting the show, it was difficult. Everyone got tested and we maintained all precautions. We were almost in a bio-bubble. For us, safety was the priority. Fortunately, we could shoot the show at that time. We need a show like during these difficult times. I am glad to be a part of it. We weren’t allowed to laugh but we hope people will.”
Gaurav said, “I don’t know many shows, which are reality comedy shows. You always have an audience around you, who acknowledge and say that you are funny. They laugh back at you. This show is different. It’s a fiction reality show, where the people around you are telling you that you are not funny. It is exciting and has never been done before in India.”
When asked about its USP and what made her say yes to the show, Aditi expressed, “I would never get on a conference call with Gaurav and Sunil if it wasn’t for this show. I have already got my work’s worth in this entire process. Having said that, it is a beautiful study. It is an interesting psychological experiment to put 10 people, who are so needy for validation that we decided to make a profession out of it. We are then put in a room where nobody is giving us validation. It was truly like it could either go well, which will be hilarious or badly, which would also be hilarious.”
Over the years, the standard and craze of comedy has been rising. When asked about it, Sunil responded, “There are a lot of reasons behind this. The mediums have increased. People have a lot of platforms to express themselves. People are also doing comedy on social media. There are various tools and apps where people can showcase their talent. So, these people showcase their talent and become famous on social media. Now, we have a lot of material and choice. Things get viral and people get to know about more comic artists. With OTT, comedy has got a push as people have improved access. They can watch content within the comfort of their house. Experiments are happening which I like a lot. For example, this show is an experiment with human emotions on a psychological level. This cannot be done in a film or television. We can explore new content on OTT. I also feel happy that I got a chance to work on a new subject and a new universe.”
On a parting note, the trio shared their ‘one message of hope and caution’ to people amid challenging times. Sunil said, “Everyone should wear masks and maintain hygiene. If it is not important, don’t go out of your home. This is my request to everyone.”
Gaurav added, “Only go out if necessary. Otherwise, it is not worth it. We are all in this situation together. We are living in tough times. You should give hope to isolated people. When you are unwell, your mind keeps running so you have to learn how to distract as well. Rest, something that is supposed to happen, will happen. So, just stay hopeful and stay cautious.”
Urging people to extend help to the needy, Aditi added, “Mask up, stay home, and don’t step outside unless it is urgent. My request would also be that we are privileged enough to extend a helping hand to someone. If we can do that in these difficult times, whether it is financial or emotional help to anyone, then we should do it.”
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ON REPUBLIC DAY, DALER MEHNDI WILL STAGE INDIA’S FIRST VIRTUAL LIVE CONCERT IN THE METAVERSE
Daler Mehndi, the star of the original Green Screen technology revolution in Indian music back in 1998, is all set to present the nation with its first Metaverse concert on Republic Day. His fans can expect to have an unforgettable experience at PartyNite.io, where they will be able to view his avatar in a larger than life virtual concert.
While it might not seem like a big deal at first glance, it is fairly important anyone who takes part in this online concert will have the chance to be more immersed than watching a live-streamed video. Instead you will be able to attend the concert as yourself in an exotic metaverse landscape as your customized avatar so you can groove with Daler Mehndi. From your mobile or PC, you can take part in this experience at home or wherever you are, on your own terms and invite friends along too. Daler Mehndi will be performing his evergreen hit albums, like Namoh Namoh, India India & Jago India! Dedicating an exclusive and first special performance to Shri Narendra Modi on this special occasion, Mr. Mehndi is all ready for what promises to be an unforgettable experience geared up to entertain thousands of fans all eager to let loose at ‘PartyNite!’
Selected NFTs will also be dropped during this event. Daler Mehndi’s deep ties to Indian soil made it the perfect choice for PartyNite to showcase its Indian Metaverse. Gamitronics, a Hyderabad-based game studio, has created this blockchain powered Metaverse which offers playable NFTs. The Pre-Alpha version of Party Night is a 2GB game install available for download on the internet.
The core of the Metaverse is based on parties and celebrations where brands and celebrities will reach the direct audience. Life is a party, get a life here! PartyNite offers various settings like island, campfire, amphitheater, lounge, cruise ship, Dragonpur from Chhota Bheem etc where each individual can have their own avatar as per their preference. People can buy & sell exotic locations, claim and mint NFTs, play to earn while having all the fun. One of the best features of this is that it is based on a blockchain and NFT game, which means you can earn NFT while playing it, which will be credited to your ApnaDao wallet. NFTs are digital goods that can be purchased, sold or exchanged for the same value on a blockchain. In this game, the blockchain is ApnaDAo Wallet, where your NFTs are stored. “Daler Mehndi is the voice of the nation. His voice reaches the god and common man with the same intensity. We wanted to launch our Metaverse with the very same sentiment, voice of India and global icon so when the world sees him in India ka Apna Metaverse, they feel the big huge roar of Digital India that YES, WE HAVE ARRIVED,” said Rajat Ojha, CEO, Gamitronics.
Gamitronics has used state of the art AI technology to use various behaviors and patterns of Daler Mehndi using various video sources and created his virtual avatar with lifelike animations.
Daler Mehndi becomes the first Indian performer to join the list of artists who have already performed in Metaverse virtual concerts, which have only occurred 4-5 times in terms of size and scale at this point in time. Other performers include Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, Marshmallow and Ariana Grande. India certainly needs more production like this. Much like augmented reality and virtual reality mediate between digital and physical realities, they are opening up new possibilities for pop music online by bridging connections between foreign artists who want to collaborate across borders or even trade show recordings of concerts with their fans all around the world. Metaverse concerts are also great because artists can perform live from anywhere in the world while audiences watch them from the comfort of their own homes. The Metaverse gives musicians a sense of creative freedom. As the creators and owners of the worlds they build, Metaverse offers users an immersive 3D experience that is shaped and transformed by their own content. The Metaverse is not owned by any one company but rather established as a peer-to-peer network where anyone can connect with one another.
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES ON CANVAS
‘I would like viewers to forget the hustle bustle of their metropolitan life and get back into flashbacks of their own childhood memories and start smiling and laughing, enjoying when they stand in front of my paintings.’
Artist Shiv Kumar Soni’s exhibition, Treasure Trove of Childhood Memories, is going on at The Project Café in Goa. The exhibition is a cohesive presentation of art, food, music and design woven around the curated polychromatic artworks of the young artist. The exhibition is being curated by Kirti Parihar. It is co-hosted by Samira Sheth, an independent Art curator from Goa. The exhibition is on until 31 January. Soni spoke to The Daily Guardian.
Window of my dream homeArtist Shiv Kumar Soni
Puppy on the Drive
Flying with kites
Butterflies over the face of puppy
Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: I was born in 1992 in a goldsmith family in Churu district of Rajasthan. During my school days I used to draw on walls of my house using a chalk or pieces of bricks. Day by day that interest increased and I enjoyed the process. After my schooling I joined Rajasthan School of Arts, Jaipur and completed my Bachelors in Visual Arts in 2013. Along with my Bachelors I participated in group exhibitions in Jaipur in 2011 and 2012 organised by Jawahar Kala Kendra and Lalit Kala Academy. Since then I have done many solo and group exhibitions, some of my key shows are
Q: What made you become an artist?
A: My first choice was to draw and paint when I started to understand things around me. During my school days I would do more artwork than homework of other subjects. Doing art was like a routine for me since my early adolescent days. Eventually I bunked classes and came back home to do something creative and that would give me immense joy. So my art practice started quite early; I don’t remember how and when I chose to become an artist, I think it was my everyday ritual which is followed till now. I love working full time as an artist and would want to enjoy my time in this field.
Q: Tell us a little bit about “Treasure Trove of Childhood Memories”. What inspired you to create this work?
A: During my childhood I would stay on the terrace most of the time and while sitting there for hours I would draw/paint the birds, clouds, rainy sky, kites etc. I was mesmerised by them in my childhood so I decided to paint those things in my compositions. For my current series I worked on these compositions as I think childhood memories and dreams are no less than a treasure of life for human beings. Curator Kirti Parihar and I discussed to exhibit them and I started working on it for the exhibition.
Q: How much time did it take you to complete the art pieces for the collection?
A: It depends upon the design of the creation. Sometimes a painting finishes within one week or so and sometimes it takes two-three weeks to a month, so it totally depends on the concepts and objects in the painting.
Q: Each painting from the collection has a different story, tell us which one is closest to your heart and reminds you of your childhood.
A: Butterflies on the face of the puppy is my favourite amongst this collection. One fancies a particular thing in their childhood and wants infinites of those, for example, toys. A child would not be satisfied with one or two but would want to have a number of them. Likewise, I was enchanted by butterflies in my childhood and wanted to have a number of them around me, hence this is my favourite of all works. It truly shows the objective of my collection.
Q: Your views on the art world and the art market in India. Do you accept that art is instinctively an elitist activity or are things changing in India?
A: Yes, as we know that art market in India is very small in comparison to other developed countries. Main reason of this is that art education is not a part or a priority in the syllabus. So it should be improved, and to an extent now art is being accepted by parents as a career. However, in today’s times, through print and social media interactions people are engaging with art and artists a lot and I can see the contemporary art market gaining momentum in a few years. Also, the notion of art being an elitist object has got cracks in it and more and more millennials are buying art and showing interest in making art a part of their portfolio.
Q: Tell us about your latest exhibition at The Project Cafe? What is the one thing you want each visitor at TPC to take back with them after going through the art pieces?
A: I would like viewers to forget the hustle bustle of their metropolitan life and get back into flashbacks of their own childhood memories and start smiling and laughing, enjoying when they stand in front of my paintings. I am sure everyone who visits my show will relate to at least one of the artworks, and this has happened. During the show I got feedback from the curator that some people related to the curly hair and some to the innocent flamboyance of the protagonist “puppy”. It gives me immense joy to see that all age groups connect to my work some or the other way.
Q: Why did you choose The Project Café Goa to showcase your work? How did it help you as an artist?
A: The location of the project cafe is good and Goa is a very good place for holidays, tours and people are in a relaxed mood. Also, many people have moved to Goa post the first wave and are doing their up homes. Moreover, the curated audience in The Project Cafe is always remarkable. I have seen their past exhibitions and what I like about their presentation is that it’s an experiential space and not a regular gallery. They create multidisciplinary events around art which makes it even more interesting and engaging with the viewers, so we planned to do a show here.
Q: Is there a subtle message for our society that you are trying to convey through your work, “Treasure Trove of Childhood Memories”? What are your future plans?
A: I just wish that during tough times people remember some good memories from their childhood days, something that can bring a smile to their face and can make them time travel to those days for a few seconds. That’s what I try to do with my work and that’s what I wish for all.
So far I haven’t planned anything in specific for myself but wish to work till the last breath of my life.
‘I had tears in my eyes’: Saqib Saleem reveals Mohinder Amarnath’s reaction to his performance in 83
In an exclusive conversation with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Saqib Saleem revealed Mohinder Amarnath’s reaction to his performance in 83 and much more.
Garnering praises for his stellar performance in 83, Actor Saqib Saleem joined NewsX for a candid chat as part of NewsX India A-List. As part of the exclusive conversation, the actor opened up about the response to his latest film 83, Mohinder Amarnath’s reaction to his performance and much more.
Speaking about the release of 83 and the response coming his way, Saqib said, “I have been working for the last 10-12 years but it feels like it is my first film because the love I have gotten for this, I have never gotten in my life for anything. It is just so overwhelming that the kind of messages I have been getting whether it is from the fraternity, whether it is from people on social media, my friends, my relatives and I don’t know how to react. Like I said, I have never gotten a response like this, so I don’t know what to say or what to do. I didn’t know that I was so bad at taking compliments. It is the first time I have realised that I am bad at taking compliments.”
When asked about the best compliment that he has received so far for his performance in the film, Saqib revealed, “If I had to tell you the best compliment I have gotten is from the man himself- Mohinder Amarnath. It was at the premiere of the film and I was very nervous about how he would see it. I had already the seen the film so I knew the film was good but I really wanted his review because I was playing him. When the premiere was on, I was slyly next to his seat, trying to gauge his reaction as to what he is thinking but I was getting very anxious. I was like I can’t do this to myself. I have to let him enjoy the film. I have to just disconnect from the film right now. I went out of the theatre. I had a couple of more black coffees and I got more anxious. When the film got over, I came back in. I went to him and I don’t know why but I had tears in my eyes. I looked at him and all I said was that ‘Sir, I am really sorry if I did something that was wrong’. He looked at me with his trademark smile and said, “Are you mad?”
“He had a red handkerchief that he would always carry himself in the 1983 world cup. He was wearing a red pocket square. He took out that pocket square and put on my jacket and said, “This is yours from now. You have made me 10 years younger.” I couldn’t stop crying. I had never in my life, my acting career had a more honest moment. I felt so connected to my own self at that time. Now, no review matters, no box office matters, nothing matters. The man himself appreciated it and that is the biggest validation I could have asked for, “ he added.
Check out the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:
ITA Awards 2021 will be held in March this year: Anu Ranjan
In the exclusive conversation with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into ITA, her association with ITA and the preparations for this year’s ceremony.
As the countdown for ITA Awards 2021 begins, Producer Anu Ranjan joined NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Anu Ranjan gave us an insight into ITA, her association with ITA and the preparations for this year’s ceremony, especially amid a Covid scare.
Speaking about her association with ITA 2021 and what has the journey been like, Anu Ranjan said, “This is our 21st year. I started it and I have been there since its inception. It is just that because of what has happened the previous year, we have been running a few months late. Ideally it should have been last year but we had 20th awards last year so 21st would be held in March this year. I just love it. No other words for it.”
Talking about the inception of ITA awards, she shared, “It was an idea told to me by my friends while we were walking on the beach. They were saying that there are no TV awards and that was in 2000. That time, it was just a thought. I used to live in America and I moved to India after I got married. The Emmy’s was something that we had always seen so I said ‘Okay, let me try doing it’. It just so happened that TV started at the same time. All of a sudden, things started happening on television. All the KBCs and K Series etc, all started and ITA was launched the same year. TV from no where; people not recognizing who the TV stars were, became household names exactly that year onwards.”
When asked what has changed in the past 2 years considering the Covid-19 outbreak and the protocols that have been put in place, Anu Ranjan responded, “Last to last year, it was fab. There were 10-15 thousand people. We had it in Indore. It was perfect. Last year, we had to have it a studio. What we did was instead of having a 3 hour live show, we kind of extended it over 2 days. We did one act and let them all go. We had 10 awards with just 30 people and then continued. We did managed to do it. In the edit, we had put everything together. What we did in 3 hours, was spread into 20 hours. It worked pretty well that way too. This year, god willing, we have it in March. If things work out well, which I’m sure they will, then it is going to be another super year. “
On recognising actors who have amazed the audiences in the OTT space in ITA Awards 2021 nominations, she said, “This year, we have got OTT at par with TV. So far, TV was 80% chunk and OTT was 20%. Now, what has happened is that it has become 60-40. TV is still a little heavier. There is a lot happening here and the good thing is that all the artists, more or less, the same. Whether you are doing television, films or web, it is the same people and they are very widely recognised and accepted by all. That has made a very big difference. We started OTT 3 years ago and that time we had 14 show entries. This year, it goes into 100+. Every single network, all 8-10 of the platforms, all actively participating in the ITA awards.”
Check out the entire interview on NewsX YouTube:
Films that have a huge spectacle are driving people to the cinema: Vivek Krishnani
In an exclusive interview with NewsX as part of NewsX India A-List, Vivek Krishnani, Krishnani talks to us about the roaring success of Spiderman: No way home.
Recognised for excellence in leading production houses on NewsX India A-List, Vivek Krishnani, Managing Director, Sony Pictures India recently joined us for an insightful chat. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Vivek Krishnani spoke to us about the success of Spiderman: No way home, films that are driving people to the cinema post pandemic and much more.
Speaking about starting the year 2022 with the roaring success of Spiderman: No Way Home amid uncertainty over its release due to Covid-19 pandemic, Vivek Krishnani said, “We at Sony are really happy with way the year is headed. When we started planning for this back in September last year, the theatres were closed. We were very anxious about what is going to happen with our biggest release of the year. In October, if you see, when Hollywood films paved the way, the exhibition started and then we had Venom, which released in October and it did really well. That gave us the confidence in the fact that people are coming back to cinemas and they are really embracing a film that basically provides good content and good entertainment. We saw that happen when a few local films released as well.”
“I think, at the end of the day, when we went in with Spiderman, what we realised is that the film already had a huge nostalgia value attached to it. It had a huge amount of newness in it, in terms of what the film had to offer and that we saw when the trailer released. It actually broke the Internet. It gave us huge number of views in a span of 24 hours. That really caught the fancy of people globally. Slowly and steadily, we saw the hype building, Finally, the dams broke when we opened the advances on 12th of December. It was something that was never-seen-before experience; for a film to get advance bookings, this kind of love and support from the audiences. We have really been happy with the way that the film has turned out and the love that people have given it at the box office”, he added.
When asked if he has seen a trend of good Hollywood films doing well at the box office, Vivek Krishnani responded, “What is happening is that by all imagination, good content is working. Whether it is Hollywood content or local film content, that is immaterial. We have seen that happen even in the past when regional films have released and they have done extremely well. Sooryavanshi released and it did really well as well. Now that Spiderman has released, it has done exceedingly well too. At the end of the day, it is the victory of content and it is basically where people are understanding now what kind of content will get them to the theatres. That is very important. We have to very careful as filmmakers and content creators to understand what will motivate audiences to come back into theatres. That’s what we are saying. Films that have huge spectacle, large VFX, in terms of good visual range, those are the films that are driving people to the cinema. Plus, Films that have a connect with audiences, something that they haven’t seen before is getting people into cinema.”
vEMPIRE REPORTS STELLAR 2021 PROFIT LED BY GAINS IN METAVERSE PROPERTY, NFTS SALES
Decentralised metaverse vEmpire on Monday reported a stellar performance in 2021 with an annualized profit of over $18.5 million, led by gains in metaverse property, sale of NFTs and staking investments.
The year-end report, compiled by vEmpire, discloses its staking strategies carried out across Ethereum, Decentraland, Sandbox, Axie Infinity, and Starlink, leading to unrealized profit surpassing $ 4 million in the final quarter of 2021 alone. As early adopters of the Metaverse the entity’s NFT sales amounted to an additional $500 thousand and supplemented with newly acquired valuable investments, at roughly ninety percent below current market value, concluding its 2021 annualized profit at $18.708 million and a price-earnings ratio of 1.44, 20 times lower than the average company in the S&P 500 today.
For 2022, vEmpire’s objective will remain to spur growth and decentralization of Metaverses. “Our users have contributed to staking tens of millions of dollars worth of Metaverse tokens on our platform, which has enabled us to build a decentralized Metaverse investment portfolio that represents the largest in the industry,” said Dom Ryder, founder of vEmpire. “Overall we are extremely pleased with the performance and the quality assets we have acquired over the past quarter. I am pleased to say we are very much on track for the remainder of our roadmap. We are still incredibly early to the Metaverse,” he added.
vEmpire’s ETH pool allows access for more individuals to the expensive, but profitable, blue-chip NFT protocols like Bored Ape Yacht Club. vEmpire’s ETH staking pool was incepted with 518.7 ETH and its value, as measured by the lowest equivalent asset floor, is now 1,021.5 ETH, almost doubling in value.
Meanwhile, vEmpire’s Metaverse staking options in Metaverses like Decentraland, Sandbox, Starl, and others allow investors to partake in early allocation and investment of valuable plots within Metaverses.
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