The celebrated Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai extensively wrote about freedom of speech, femininity, class conflict, homosexuality, and expression of female sexuality: The subjects continue to be as relevant today as they were when she first started out in the 1930s. The early phase of her writing career was marred by an obscenity trial where Chughtai had to defend herself in the Lahore Court in the year 1944—an incident which led to much controversy and uproar. The obscenity charges were leveled against Chughtai for a 1942 Urdu short story published in the Urdu literary journal “Adab-i-Latif”. Titled “Lihaaf” (aka “The Quilt”), the short story explores the theme of homoeroticism. Interestingly, Chughtai wasn’t put on trial alone. Another legendary Urdu writer was put on trial for obscenity alongside her. If you haven’t guessed it already, the writer was none other than Saadat Hasan Manto. Chughtai has given a detailed account of the trail in memoir “Kaghazi Hai Pairahan” (“A Life in Words: Memoir”).
Rahat Kazmi’s period drama film “Lihaaf: The Quilt” which is being streamed by Voot Select as part of Voot Select Film Festival, a direct to OTT Film Festival, is not just a retelling of the story of “Lihaaf” as one would expect, but it also focuses on the aforementioned obscenity trial. The story begins when Chughtai, living in Mumbai, is summoned by the Lahore Court. Considering the charges of obscenity to be totally preposterous, Chughtai refuses to sign on the orders at first. She just cannot believe that the Lahore Court has actually put her on a trial for obscenity for a story like “Lihaaf” that makes no direct suggestion to any sexual act. Everything in the story is so subtle that it’s all up to the reader’s interpretation. That’s the exact argument that her lawyer makes in the court. Chughtai is essayed by Tannistha Chatterjee who never misses a note during her brilliant performance. The part of Manto is played with a refreshing playfulness by Shoib Shah who ensures that the controversial writer isn’t presented as totally humorless like was the case with Nawawuddin Siddiqui’s Manto (as good as the portrayal was) in the Nandita Das film.
The fact that Chughtai’s works continue to be as relevant today as they were several decades ago proves that our society hasn’t evolved much. Burdened by the weight of centuries old patriarchy, the women are still fighting the same fights, over and over again. Now, “Lihaaf” remains the most popular of all of Ismat Chughtai’s stories. While at the time it’s mostly received attention for its suggestion of lesbianism, it also deals with the solitary life of a neglected wife in the feudal society. Chughtai’s thought-provoking short story is considered to be a landmark not just in Urdu literature but also in modern Indian literature which continues to see sex and homosexuality as a taboo.
The story of “Lihaaf” is told through the point of view of a small girl who is temporarily left by her mother to live with Begum Jan. The screenplay of Rahat Rahat’s film, co-written by Sonal Sehgal and Rahat himself, assumes the young girl to be none other than Ismat Chughtai herself. Begum’s depressing life after marriage to a Nawab in the 1920s Agra is intercut with Chughtai’s obscenity trail in the Lahore Court. Begum’s husband is much older than her. He is highly respected by those around her for never having any affairs with prostitutes—a trait that most Nawabs are notorious for. But it is soon revealed that it is because of his attraction to younger men. Meanwhile, the lonely Begum gets ill but is saved by Rabbo, her masseuse, who is very skilled with her hands. When the young Ismat Chughtai is left at Begum Jan’s place by her mother, she begins to make some interesting observations about Begum Jan and Rabbo. At night, she gets petrified by the great shadows formed by the exaggerated movements of Begum Jan’s quilt. Also, she is perplexed by Begum Jan’s mood swings and odd behavior when Rabbo goes away to stay with her family for a few days.
The film’s co-writer Sonal Sehgal, who previously worked with Rahat Kazmi on ‘Mantostaan’, also essays the complex part of Begum Jaan. As part of her preparation, Sehgal cut herself off from the world as she wanted to feel the Begum’s pain and loneliness. Begum Jaan is a victim of her circumstances as well as a perpetrator of crime against the helpless young girl. During the shoot, Sehgal requested the entire cast and crew to leave her alone as she restricted herself to her hotel room at all times except during her takes. And it shows on the screen. Mir Sarwar is also superb in the role of the Nawab. To his credit, Kazmi succeeds in bringing the story of the same sex relationship between a noblewoman and her masseuse back to life in all its glory almost eight decades after it was first published. Here is a film that needs to be watched.
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Comedian Raju Srivastava suffers heart attack, admitted to AIIMS
Comedian Raju Srivastava has suffered a heart attack and has been admitted to AIIMS, Delhi. Comedian Srivastava’s health deteriorated last night after which he suffered from a heart attack.
Srivastava fell unconscious when he was working out on a treadmill at the gym. Later he felt severe chest pain and then collapsed after which his trainer brought him to the hospital.
According to comedian Sunil Pal Srivastava’s health is good now. He is recovering rapidly and will be home soon.
Meanwhile, just hours before Srivastava suffered a heart attack he shared a stand-up comedy piece on his Instagram. He mimicked a few veteran actors on information being spread on Covid-19 via caller tune on the phones.
However, Srivastava got recognition by participating in The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He has done roles in films like Bombay to Goa, and Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya. Moreover, Srivastava is also the chairman of the Uttar Pardesh Film Division Board.
Taapsee Pannu’s ‘Shabaash Mithu’ to stream on Voot Select; streaming date awaited
Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu’s film ‘Shabaash Mithu’ is all set to stream on OTT platform Voot. Recently the movie released in theaters but failed to impress the audience.
The movie is based on the life of Indian cricketer Mithali Raj. Pannu’s movie is slated to stream on Voot select in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. Meanwhile, the final streaming date of the film is still awaited.
Earlier on Tuesday, Voot Select dropped a teaser of the film on Instagram. “The untold story of a fighter, an achiever, and a game changer who deserves a ‘Shabaash’ over and over again. Watch Taapsee Pannu as ace cricketer Mithali Raj, in the World Digital Premiere of Shabaash Mithu, Coming soon on #VootSelect,” Voot captioned.
Taapsee portrayed the role of a sportsperson for the third time in her career.
Meanwhile, Pannu shared her excitement about the movie’s OTT release and said, ” This film is very close to me. As someone who prides in championing roles and characters that celebrate women, playing the character of an iconic and truly inspiring cricketer has been a matter of immense pride and satisfaction. It was a challenging character to portray, especially as every chapter in Mithali’s life revealed the many layers of this national inspiration. I am very excited about its release on Voot Select.”
However, the movie was released on 15 July 2022 and is helmed by Sriji Mukherji.
Scared to work on a film on Mahabharat, explains Aamir
Aamir Khan has discussed his long-term goal of developing a movie based on the Hindu epic poem Mahabharata and stated that he is frightened to begin work on it. An ambitious plan to produce a high-budget movie based on the Mahabharata has been under development by Aamir. In fact, writer Anjum Rajabali revealed to the media in 2018 that he left the Rakesh Sharma biopic in order to concentrate on the movie, which is rumoured to have a budget of Rs 1000 crore.
“When you make a film about the Mahabharata, you’re not just making a film,” Aamir explained. “You are performing a yagya. It is not just a film, it is much more. That is why I am not ready for it yet. I am scared of bringing it out. Mahabharata will never let you down, but you may let down Mahabharata. “
Aamir previously discussed how long a movie on the epic would take, saying in an interview, “It is a longing. The task is enormous. For me, it is a dream come true. However, if I make the decision to succeed now, I will have to dedicate 20 years to it. The content is incredibly intriguing to me, but I’m afraid that if I say yes and decide to do it, five years will solely be spent on research before it can be put into practise.”
Aamir’s forthcoming movie, Laal Singh Chadha, is now being promoted, a legitimate reimagining of the 1994 Forrest Gump, a Hollywood production. Laal Singh Chaddha is the movie that Aamir spent more than ten years working on.
The Advait Chauhan-directed movie also prominently features Kareena Kapoor Khan and Mona Singh. The movie is scheduled to hit the theatres on August 11. Rakshabandhan, starring Akshay Kumar, is expected to compete with the movie at the box office.
‘If you don’t feel like watching the movie, then don’t’, Akshay Kumar reacts to boycott Raksha Bandhan trend
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar is in the news these days for his film ‘Raksha Bandhan’. A campaign of boycott is being run against Kumar’s film.
Meanwhile, Akshay Kumar himself has broken the silence on this whole controversy. He said in a special conversation that if someone does not want to see this film, then do not watch it, because we live in independent India. He recently said this at a promotional event for the film in Kolkata.
“If you don’t feel like watching the movie, then don’t. It’s a free country and the film is out there, so if someone wants to watch it or not, it’s up to them. I would like to tell you, no matter which industry it is, be it the clothing industry, film industry, or anything else, all of these help the economy. But doing things like boycotting movies, it doesn’t make sense,” Kumar said.
A few days ago, Aamir Khan also expressed his views about the ongoing campaign to Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha in India.
“That Boycott Bollywood…Boycott Aamir Khan…Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha… I feel sad also because a lot of people who are saying this in their hearts believe I am someone who doesn’t like India… In their hearts, they believe that… And that’s quite untrue,” Aamir Khan said.
Earlier in 2015, Aamir Khan made a controversial statement and said, “Our country is very tolerant, but there are people who spread ill-will.” Where his wife Kiran Rao also considered leaving the country for the safety of their children.
Moreover, on 11 August Laal Singh Chadda and Raksha Bandhan will clash at the box office. Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is directed by Aanand L Rai and Aamir Khan starrer ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’ is directed by Advait Chandan.
Abhishek Bachchan to be honored with the Leadership in Cinema Award at 13th IFFM
Actor Abhishek Bachchan will be bestowed with the leadership in Cinema Award at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2022.
“I’m excited and looking forward to being part of celebrating all things movies and cinema in Melbourne. I’m elated to have been invited by IFFM and to be part of a festival that truly celebrates Indian cinema in all its glory. For them to confer me with the Leadership in Cinema award is truly an honor for me and I’m thankful to the jury and the team of IFFM. To be in another country celebrating Indian pride and Indian content alongside my peers in something I’m truly looking forward to,” Bachchan said.
The ‘Guru’ star will also deliver a special speech about his journey in cinema at IFFM 2022.
This year the film festival will be in its physical version after being solely virtual for the last two years.
Moreover, the festival will run from 12 August to 20 August. The festival will also hold virtual programming between 13 August to 30 August for Australian audiences. At the festival over 100 films across 23 languages are being screened.
Meanwhile, the award night will take place on the 14 August in Melbourne. The festival will be opened with the film Dobaaraa directed by Anurag Kashyap.
However, Karan Johar, Kapil Dev, Anurag Kashyap, and Vaani Kapoor are likely to attend the Film festival.
Bieber said sorry to an unidentified user, fans go crazy over his benevolence
The generosity of Justin Beiber has won the hearts of many on numerous occasions. Justin Beiber is well known for being extremely generous to his friends and fans.
The pop star apologised on his Instagram on Sunday for making “inappropriate comments” on a user’s post.
Contrary to his persona, Justin revealed that he had rudely commented on a user’s Instagram post and had eventually realised that he should not have done so.
On his story, Justin published an apology to the unidentified user.
He said,”For some reason, I commented on some guys’ page ‘sad existence’ because he was doing something I thought was dumb. I’m not quite sure why I felt the need to write that. If what he was doing made him happy, who am I to say anything? I hope it didn’t hurt his feelings. It’s been eating me up all day. To the dude I wrote it to, man I’m sorry”.
This kind gesture by Bieber has won the hearts of millions, pouring him love from his fans all across the globe.
Justin has begun his “Justice World Tour” after experiencing recent health complications, and he is currently in Norway, where he performed.
Justin will travel to India soon. On October 18, he will perform in New Delhi as part of his “Justice World Tour.” On the aforementioned date, he will perform at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Prices for the concert tickets start at Rs 4,000 and go up from there.
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