OF PICNICS AND PATRIOTISM: REFLECTIONS ON REPUBLIC DAY - The Daily Guardian
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OF PICNICS AND PATRIOTISM: REFLECTIONS ON REPUBLIC DAY

Noor Anand Chawla

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As January 2021 finally dawned in the wake of a tiresome year, we breathed a sigh of relief and prayed for good things to come. However, a month into 2021, it seems the new year is following close on the heels of its predecessor. The appearance of vaccines and a steady decline in the number of Covid cases have raised spirits, but political disruptions continue unabated. A case in point is the recently concluded Republic Day in India, the events of which are currently uppermost in everyone’s mind. I am not particularly politically-driven, yet it is difficult to ignore the happenings playing out in our country’s capital.

After a particularly tumultuous year, my family and I were eagerly looking forward to our first family picnic outdoors this Republic Day. Though schools are still shut, my toddler and I welcomed the respite from virtual lessons. We woke at leisure, relived childhood memories by watching the Republic Day parade on TV, and excitedly packed a pot-luck lunch. Everything from cooked food, healthy and unhealthy snacks, and a load of picnic-appropriate games were lugged across town to our family farmhouse—a destination we felt was safest for being Covid-free and far from the Republic Day parade and its potential drama.

We were elated to see the sunny blue skies, the vast and empty open space, and the day of leisure stretching before us. A few picnic games with the children were enough to raise our appetites and we wolfed down home-made parathas, as if they were going out of style. Just when the post-lunch stupor was kicking in, the first messages of the farmer rallies breaking barriers and marching into Delhi, began trickling in. I received a message from the Bar Association of the Delhi High Court, of which I am a member, asking everyone to stay home. This was followed by various messages from my son’s school and other organisations we are part of. A college WhatsApp group came alive as everyone was concerned about the status of a journalist friend, reporting from the scene of the farmer protests. Before we knew it, we were compulsively consulting our phones for snippets of information and news.

A strange mood had taken over, where on the one hand, we were enjoying the downtime with family, thoroughly appreciative of the holiday that enabled it; and on the other, we were worried about reaching home safely. On a less individualistic plane, we were also concerned about the people of our country and everything that could go wrong if things went awry. Despite the WhatsApp warnings, my husband decided to stay at the farm instead of rushing home preemptively. When we eventually packed up and left for home in the late afternoon, it became clear his instincts had been right. The police had blockaded many parts of Delhi, perhaps in anticipation, which meant taking longer routes home, but otherwise, there were no disruptions en route. In fact, the roads were almost empty.

Back home we retreated into our privileged bubble, the farmers and political drama relegated to the back of our minds. A look at my Instagram feed, full of posts by influencers wearing their Indian best in shades of the tricolor further pushed all concern away.

The celebration of Republic Day, when the largest democracy in the world gave effect to its detailed constitution, is memorable for many reasons. The story of India as a Republic is lauded for its noble beginnings. By granting universal adult franchise, at a time when superpowers balked at the idea of voting rights shared with women and people belonging to lower classes; our country paved the way for people from all walks of life to raise their voices for what they believe is right. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum, this ideal is something all of us can appreciate, and it is this ideal that makes me patriotic.

After an interesting day of nostalgic comfort, family fun, and trepidation, I can easily say that India’s 72nd Republic Day will go down as one of my most memorable ones.

The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles for various publications and on her successful blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be found on Instagram @nooranandchawla.

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APPLAUSE ENTERTAINMENT BEGINS 2022 WITH A HAT-TRICK OF SHOW RELEASES IN JANUARY

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Applause Entertainment has kick-started 2022 on a high note, with two back-to-back show releases. The Sameer Nair-headed content studio of the Aditya Birla Group started the year with a bang with ‘Kaun Banegi Shikharwati’ streaming on Zee5 and ‘Humble Politiciann Nograj’ streaming on Voot Select.

Now, Applause Entertainment is all set to score a hat-trick with Mohit Raina-fronted ‘Bhaukaal Season 2’, streaming on MX Player.

Interestingly, Bhaukaal Season 2 is Applause Entertainment’s 30th release since its inception, it is 10th offering on MX Player and also its seventh show to boast of a second season. The first season of ‘Bhaukaal’, which was released in early 2020, became a huge hit for its hard-hitting storyline based on a real-life super cop, Navniet Sekera. The second season of the show revolves around how this police officer in Muzaffarnagar, UP, busts the Dedha gang and brings law, order and peace to the region.

What makes this feat even more commendable is that Team Applause is constantly exploring different genres with every show. ‘Kaun Banegi Shikharwati’ produced in association with Emmay Entertainment, streaming on Zee5, is a story of a royal dysfunctional family featuring an ensemble of fantastic actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Karma, Anya Singh and Raghubir Yadav. The political satire, ‘Humble Politiciann Nograj’ produced in association with Firstaction Studios and Danish Sait, streaming on Voot Select, takes ahead the 2018 film with a new story running into 10 episodes. ‘Bhaukaal Season 2’ produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Baweja Studios Production has been eagerly awaited by the audience ever since it was announced post the release of its first outing.

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DEEPIKA, ANANYA & SIDDHANT STARRER ‘GEHRAIYAAN’ TRAILER OUT NOW

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MUMBAI: Directed by Shakun Batra, Amazon Original Movie ‘Gehraiyaan’ stars Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday, Dhairya Karwa as leads along with Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapur in pivotal roles.

Gehraiyaan will have its World Premiere on Amazon Prime Video across more than 240 countries and territories on 11 February 2022. Directed by the very talented Shakun Batra, Gehraiyaan is a relationship drama that looks beneath the surface of complex modern relationships, adulting, letting go and taking control of ones’ life path.

Speaking about the film, Deepika Padukone said, “Alisha, my character in Gehraiyaan is extremely close to my heart and certainly one of the most challenging characters I have portrayed on screen. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play a role that was fun and challenging at the same time.”

Ananya Panday said, “Shooting with the wonderful cast and crew of Gehraiyaan has been an absolute high point for me and I never wanted the shoot to end! There’s a certain realness to the story of Gehraiyaan; while the film dives into the complexity of relationships it also talks about the thrill of being in love, of discovering oneself and charting ones’ path.”

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ALIA BHATT CLOTHES THE NEEDY

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NEW DELHI: Pretty Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt, who will soon be seen in S Rajamouli’s magnum opus ‘RRR’, is now giving back to the community through a new initiative. She launched Ed-a-Mamma, a conscious clothing brand for kids, a while back and has now kicked off a ‘Buy1Give1’ initiative, which will provide basic clothing for underprivileged children. For this initiative, every purchase made on their website will be matched with a garment donated by Ed-a-Mamma for a child in need. Ed-a-Mamma has partnered with Goonj – a renowned NGO working across India that focuses on clothing as a basic, yet unaddressed need. Alia Bhatt said, “With Ed-a-Mamma, I set out to create a world that nurtures in children, a love of nature. Knowing full well that they will look after what they love. The Buy1Get1 initiative will be used to gift garments to children in need and we hope to make kids understand the joy of sharing with people who are less fortunate.”So while the actress’ career is flying high and she is busy with numerous films, Alia has not forgotten those in need.

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SIDDHANT BRINGS A LUXURIOUS HARLEY DAVIDSON HOME

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MUMBAI: Actor Siddhant Chaturvedi recently brought home a luxurious Harley Davidson Sportster S, making him the first person in India to have the bike.

The ‘Gehraiyaan’ actor took to his social media to share the news of the same with his fans and followers. The actor, who rose to fame with MC Sher from Gully Boy, has certainly come a long way in the matter of just 3 years, which is a rather remarkable feat.

On the work front, Siddhant is currently gearing up for Shakun Batra’s next ‘Gehraiyaan’. He also has ‘Phone Booth’, ‘Yudhra’ and ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’ in the pipeline. 

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SONAL CHAUHAN TO PLAY LEAD IN AKKINENI NAGARJUNA’S THE GHOST

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MUMBAI: Akkineni Nagarjuna’s ‘The Ghost’ is a much-anticipated film ever since its announcement. Earlier it was said that the Bollywood star, Jacqueline Fernandez was cast for the film however, the word on the block is that the talented Sonal Chauhan will be playing the lead opposite Nagarjuna instead of Jacqueline.

That’s right, Sonal Chauhan fans are in for a treat as they get to see their favourite actress on the silver screen. A source close to the film said “Makers felt Sonal Chauhan was the best fit for the lead role opposite Nagarjuna in ‘The Ghost’. They felt both the actors Sonal and Nagarjuna would make for a fine on-screen pair and that’s when they approached her. The two are definitely going to portray some great chemistry in the film.” 

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SALMAN TO FEATURE IN GURU RANDHAWA’S NEW SONG

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MUMBAI: Superstar Salman Khan will be seen flaunting his acting skills in singer Guru Randhawa’s new song ‘Main Chala’.

Female vocals of the track have been lent by Lulia Vantur, and the female artist who will be featuring alongside Salman is Pragya Jaiswal. On Tuesday, Guru Randhawa took to Instagram and shared the update with his fans.

“Love will be in air with #MainChala! Song releasing on 22nd January. Stay Tuned,” he wrote.

He tagged Salman Khan and Pragya in the comments. Produced by Salma Khan, the romantic track will be out on January 22.

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