The Managing Trustee of Priyadarshani Group of Schools, SSarita Siingh recently got into an exclusive chat with NewsX for its special segment NewsX A-list. Ssarita Siingh is an entrepreneur, educationist and a media expert. A role model for many women, Ssarita Singh has paved her way into world of films and education.
Ssarita was appointed at her father’s school at the tender age of 16 years and started as an assistant teacher with a meager salary of 150 rupees. With an inherent passion for teaching, she worked hard and never complained despite the challenges that came her way. She particularly remembered her father’s teachings of working hard rather than receiving everything on a silver platter. She took the lesson and within a matter of five years, she started teaching all classes and taking command of the administrative work.
However, Ssarita soon realised that her family had different expectations from her. Facing the brunt of gender discrimination at home, Ssarita decided to move out of her parent’s residence at the age of 21 years. With just 2000 rupees in her pocket, she reached Mumbai. After living on the street for a day, she settled in a chawl. However, she did not let the bad times dampen her spirits. Sarita soon got her first official job with Macmillan Publishing House. With perseverance and hard work, she later got promoted as the Corporate Head.
She subsequently started making independent films. Once she began her journey in the film industry of India, she hit another roadblock after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banned one of her films. However, she was later offered a position as an Advisor Panel Member at the Censor Board of Film Certification, Mumbai. After three years, she realised monopoly that was underplay at CBFC, i.e the fate of the filmmaker, cast and crew lies in the hands of just four people.
During her stint in board panel, she got in touch with Boney Kapoor. Post that, she served as an adviser and consultant to him for a few years. She even worked as a creative consultant with Sahara One Media and Entertainment Ltd and pursued many independent endeavours with Bollywood insiders and industry personnel. Having gained considerable insight into Bollywood and the CBFC, she started working as a Box Office Analyst and started writing articles on latest releases and box office collections.
Her journey in the entertainment industry came to an end after being the Head of Carnival cinemas. She realised that her calling was always being an educator and returned to teaching. Ssarita describes her journey quite literally as a ‘roller coaster ride’ and she did indeed do a full circle in her career.
Coming from a traditional Rajput family, she faced gender discrimination. She was often denied permission to do a lot of things just because she is a woman. She faced many difficulties due to India’s inherent patriarchal set up and experienced several double standards, especially at work. She took those experiences in her stride and came out stronger to be the person she is now.
On being asked about nepotism and its existence in the industry, she responded that it is something that has been in existence since ages. She added that such sort of a hierarchical set up is prevalent in all sectors, especially the corporate world. She does not take sides but she believes that it goes hand-in-hand.
When asked about how she has been coping with the difficulties that have come with a pandemic, especially with the changes in education sector, she expressed that apart from online teaching, her schools have been conducting regular counseling sessions with the parents as they play a major part in a child’s teaching life. These online sessions also focus on soft skills and etiquettes as she believes that mathematics and science often take a back seat but life skills don’t and students must learn them.
Her group of schools primarily focuses on providing the mental, emotional and moral support to students, which they particularly need during a pandemic. She believes the current education system of India is not purposeful enough. She has contributed to the education system by bringing MCF, Martial Cadet Training, Skills and etiquette programs. Her group of schools has also collaborated with the Human Rights Office in San Francisco, USA.
Speaking about the same, she emphasised that despite the fact that human rights are an important part of curriculum; schools rarely conduct classes on this subject. Therefore, her group of schools focuses on training the students and equipping them with mediums to comfortably adapt to the future and have the confidence to face any difficulty in the world.
When asked about her mantra to being such a strong and inspiring woman, she replied that one should never be used to a routine. She feels being in a comfort zone means not being able to achieve anything further. Hence, she urges young women to never lose their integrity and keep working hard towards achieving their goals.
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When Anil Kapoor gave ‘jhakkas’ twist to dandiya
Actor Anil Kapoor extended heartfelt Navratri greetings to everyone in a filmy way. Taking to Instagram, Anil posted a particular sequence from his 1988 film Tezaab in which he is seen performing dandiya.
Recalling how the particular sequence was filmed “smoothly and effortlessly” in just one night, he wrote, “Happy Navratri to one and all! This time of year always takes me back to this scene from Tezaab, conceptualised so beautifully by N. Chandra. I’ll never forget how smoothly and effortlessly we shot this entire dandiya scene in one night. One of my favourite memories of this happy festival. “
Tezaab featured Anil Kapoor in the lead role alongside Madhuri Dixit.
Reacting to Anil’s video of performing dandiya, filmmaker and choreographer Farah Khan commented, “Papaji tussi great ho.”
“Ekdum jhakkas,” a social media user wrote.
Meanwhile, on the work front, Anil recently wrapped up his shoot for the much-awaited Indian remake of ‘The Night Manager’, which is an espionage thriller that has a tense cat-and-mouse chase between a covert agent and a secret arms dealer.
The 2016 series features Tom Hiddleston in the lead role. In the remake, Anil will essay the role that was originally played by Hugh Laurie. It will also feature Aditya Roy Kapur and Sobhita Dhulipala in lead roles. The original British series became a massive hit across the globe and earned several awards at the 74th Golden Globe Awards.
Anil will also be seen sharing screen space with Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone in the action-packed ‘Fighter’.
Research says Family ties give animals reasons to ‘help or harm’ as they age
New research shows that the structure of family groups gives animals an incentive to help or harm their social group as they age.
A team of scientists from 17 institutions in six countries, led by the University of Exeter, examined how “relatedness” (strength of genetic links to members of a social group) changes over a lifetime in seven mammal species. This varies from species to species, depending on whether male or female offspring (or both) leave the group into which they are born.
For example, male and female killer whales both stay in the same group as their mother, so females have a growing number of close relatives (their children and grandchildren) around them as they age.
Other animals, such as female spotted hyenas, usually live among fewer close relatives as time passes.
Given that all animals have evolved to ensure their genes-and those of close relatives-survive, these long-term changes in relatedness to the family group give animals different incentives to engage in “helping and harming behaviour across the lifespan”.
“We wanted to know how an individual’s relatedness to their group changes as they age, and what consequences this might have for behaviour,” said lead author Dr Sam Ellis, from Exeter’s Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour.
“We made a model to predict these changes and then tested it using data on banded mongooses, chimpanzees, badgers, killer whales, spotted hyenas, rhesus macaques, and yellow baboons. Our model fitted the real data. This is exciting because it allows us to predict how and why social behaviours can change with age.”
The “ultimate payoff” of behaviour for animals depends on how each behaviour affects an individual and her relatives. When living in a group of close genetic relatives, it might be in an animal’s interest to behave in a way that helps the whole group.
However, when living among less related or unrelated individuals, the best strategy could be selfish or even harmful behaviour.
“Our findings suggest that incentives to help or harm the group change with age, depending on the social structure of each species,” Dr Ellis said.
Professor Darren Croft said: “Across a wide range of species, we see age-related changes in helping and harming behaviour, which can also differ between males and females. Our new work shows that understanding how relatedness to the family group changes with age is key in understanding how the incentives to help or harm the group change across the lifespan, which can potentially explain these differences across species and between the sexes. This research opens the door for future studies by providing testable predictions for how patterns of helping and harming will change across the lifespan, and we eagerly anticipate new work testing these predictions.”
Among the species included in the study, male spotted hyenas, rhesus macaques, and yellow baboons usually leave their birth group once they reach maturity.
In chimpanzees, female offspring leave the group, while in killer whales and mongooses, both sexes usually stay in the group into which they were born.
Silicon Durga idol depicting lives of sex workers created
Furthering a tradition of presenting new themes during the Durga Puja in Kolkata, pandals and idols depicting the lives of sex workers under the ‘Parichai’ (identity) theme have been created for the celebrations during this year’s festival. The pandal has been brought up by the Nawpara Dadabhai Sangh Puja Committee in the city, which was inaugurated by Lok Sabha MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha on Monday.
The preparations for the puja in West Bengal are in full swing, with new and innovative themes on display. The sculptors in Kolkata present various themes while preparing the Durga idols.
One such pandal showing the lives of the sex workers has been brought up, which also shows the society they live in and the way people see them, and the manner in which they remain anonymous in a different world without an identity.
In a first for the city, a silicon idol of Maa Durga has been installed in the pandal, which has never been seen before. The idol has been given the form of a mother, through which an attempt has been made to show that even a sex worker has the form of a mother.
Sinha said, “It is a boon by Maa Durga. The entire state of West Bengal is drenched in the colours of the festival. I have been coming to Durga Puja for years, but it is a matter of fortune for me that I am inaugurating this pandal. I am grateful to Saugata ji and Mamata Banerjee.”
The concept and theme designer, Sandip Mukherjee, expressed his perspective on the work of the sex workers and said that there is a need to bring about a change in the perspective of people.
“Prostitution is a profession, but for the common people, is it a profession? We can say which profession we are in, but can they say so? Because we see them from a different perspective. We should change this perspective. Our project is to bring about change in society. We corner them because of what they do. We do not let them enter society. Why can’t they come when they are also doing their job?” he said.
“We have attached the ambience of a mother in the idol which depicts the sex workers. We gave them the silicon form to make it attractive and touching to the people. This is for the first time that an idol of Maa Durga has been made of silicon,” Mukherjee added.
Describing the essence behind the pandal, he said that the sex workers’ lives have been displayed, which seems like a film when a visitor visits the place.
“If we see the pandal from the front, it will seem like a movie. The lives of sex workers have been displayed in the theme. I had this concept for many years, and presented it before other organisers, but they could not show the courage to give it a nod until this time,” he said.
Madan Mitra, TMC MLA, said, “The celebration is showing not only the pride of Bengal but also the magic of Mamata Banerjee.”
Anjan Paul, Organiser and Councillor Baranagar, said, “It was challenging for me to represent the theme. A lot of people are coming to see the pandal. I hope people in lakhs will throng the place in the coming days. I have made this pandal to give a message that they should be included in society. I do not collect money. Our target is to invest Rs 30 lakh in the making of the pandal. However, the exact number will be known only after the completion of the puja.”
Asha Parekh to become 52nd recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award
The 68th national film awards will be presented on September 30 in accordance with the more than 60-year-old tradition by President Droupadi Murmu and Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, two years after the Covid-19 outbreak put the coveted event on hold.
As the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2020, veteran actress Asha Parekh becomes the 52nd recipient of the honour. The previous Dadasaheb Phalke award was given to the star of southern cinema Rajinikanth.
“Honoured to announce that the Dadasaheb Phalke selection jury has decided to recognise and award Asha Parekh ji for her exemplary lifetime contribution to Indian cinema,” Thakur said.
Industry icons Asha Bhosle, Hema Malini, Udit Narayan, Poonam Dhillon, and TS Nagabharana are members of the Dadasaheb Phalke committee.
She worked in more than 95 films and was the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification from 1998-2001,” Thakur added. Parekh was also conferred with Padma Shri in 1992.
The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), which was founded in 1954, is now in charge of organising the awards, which fall under the purview of the I&B ministry, for the first time.
The government consolidated four film organisations in March of this year, giving the NFDC full authority over all matters relating to the production of documentaries and short films, the management of film festivals, and the preservation of films.
In keeping with tradition, Hon’ble President Draupadi Murmu will be conferring the National Film awards this year,” NFDC MD Ravinder Bhakar said. “It is an honour for the winners and I congratulate them.”
Eminent leaders and figures from the film industry make up the national awards jury, which is chaired by Vipul Shah and includes Dharam Gulati, Sreelekha Mukherjee, GS Bhaskar, S Thangadurai, Sanjeev Rattan, Karthik Raja, VN Aditya, Viji Thampi, Thangadura, and Nishigandha as members.
The ceremony is taking place four years after President Ram Nath Kovind only delivered 11 of the 137 awards, breaking with convention, which saw more than 50 award recipients skip the 65th National Film Awards ceremony in protest.
The remaining prizes were given out by former information and communication minister Smriti Irani and minister of state Rajyavardhan Rathore.
In 2018, 70 award recipients had expressed their intention to boycott the event in an open letter to protest the cancellation of the award presentation. However, a number of the letter’s signatories, including the singer KJ Yesudas and the filmmaker Prasad Oak, later turned up. The honorees clarified in their letter that their action was not a “boycott,” but rather a demonstration of their displeasure with the President’s choice.
Supreme Court live-streaming hearings for first time today
The Supreme Court went live for the first time on Tuesday when the cases’ hearings, which were planned to be livestreamed during the day, could be viewed online. One of the three cases slated for live streaming was from Maharashtra and pitted Team Uddhav Thackeray against Team Eknath Shinde over a dispute over the Shiv Sena’s symbol, with the Election Commission already involved. This was the second live hearing where the attorney, Kapil Sibal, could be seen arguing.
Live broadcasting was recommended by the Supreme Court around four years ago.
The former chief justice of India, Dipak Misra, had passed the landmark ruling on September 27 on the live telecast of important proceedings, saying “sunlight is the best disinfectant”.
Following discussion on the issue by the whole top court on September 20, it was decided to begin live-streaming constitutional bench hearings this week. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit presided over the whole court meeting, and all the judges agreed that constitutional matters should be the first to be streamed live on a regular basis.
A bold plan to integrate the use of information and technology with India’s judiciary, the e-courts project’s third phase included the proposal to have an exclusive platform for live-streaming Supreme Court sessions.
The high courts in Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Patna, and Madhya Pradesh are some of the high courts that broadcast hearings live as well.
Some Royal staff used to call Meghan Markle ‘narcissistic sociopath’
Author Valentine Low has written a book about the staff who work for the royal families called ‘Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown’. In the book, she quoted many staff who worked for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during their term as senior royals in the UK.
According to the New York Post, the book details the alleged bad behaviour by Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, towards their staff. In the book, the author even quoted a royal staffer calling Meghan, a “narcissistic sociopath”
Staff members coined the epithet for the Duchess of Sussex, according to a report in The Sun citing excerpts from the explosive tome, according to the New York Post.
According to Page Six, “There were a lot of broken people,” an insider claimed to author Valentine Low.
“Young women were broken by their behaviour,” the palace source added.
Valentine Low cites one alleged occasion in her book in which Markle scolded a young female coworker in front of other co-workers.
“Don’t worry. If there was literally anyone else I could ask to do this, I would be asking them instead of you,” Markle allegedly told the staffer, with whom she had been working to execute a plan of sorts.
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