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Tiger back in action, pulls off stunt despite injury

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 Tiger Shroff stunned fans by doing continuous backflips despite a back injury. The actor posted a Monday motivation video on Instagram. In the clip, a shirtless Tiger is seen doing continuous backflips in green yoga pants. Alongside the image, he wrote: “Not full speed yet…but not bad for an injured body.” Last week, Tiger announced he is gearing up to star in an action film set in a post-pandemic, dystopian era. He had shared a teaser motion poster that goes with the theme of the film, titled Ganapath and wrote on Instagram: “This one is special for me, and especially for you guys! Presenting #Ganapath—get ready for more action, thrill and entertainment!” The teaser has a dialogue by Tiger that goes: “Jab aapan darta hai nah tab apan bohot marta hai (when I get scared, I bash up a lot).” The action-packed thriller is helmed by director Vikas Bahl, who directed Queen and Super 30 in the past.  

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Nicolas Cage marries Riko Shibata in an intimate ceremony

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Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): American actor Nicolas Cage has tied the knot for the fifth time. The ‘Ghost Rider’ actor married his girlfriend Riko Shibata in an intimate ceremony in Las Vegas.
As per People magazine, the much-in-couple got hitched on February 16 this year in Sin City’s Wynn hotel on a date chosen to honour his late father’s birthday. While the groom wore a Tom Ford tux, his bride wore a handmade Japanese bridal kimono from Kyoto.
Cage speaking about the marriage, told the outlet, “It’s true, and we are very happy.”
The wedding was a “very small and intimate wedding at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas,” according to a rep for Cage.
Shibata walked down the aisle to ‘Winter Song’ by Kiroro, her favourite track. Cage and Shibata exchanged traditional Catholic and Shinto vows with poetry from Walt Whitman and Haiku also included in the ceremony.
After the wedding, the happy couple attended a small celebration with Cage’s ex-wife, Alice Kim, with whom he remains very good friends, and their 15-year-old son Kal-El.
The couple met in Shiga, Japan, more than a year ago. Shibata’s name on the marriage certificate posted on the Clark County Clerk’s Office was listed as Riko Cage.
Prior to their wedding, the newlyweds were photographed for the first time together in February 2020 while making a visit to Cage’s nine-foot pyramid-shaped tomb at a New Orleans cemetery. Cage bought back his tomb in 2010 for his future burial.
A week after the visit, the couple were photographed holding hands while visiting the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Cage and Riko also enjoyed dinner and a movie while in the city, visiting the legendary hangout spot the Rainbow Room before heading to the Marriott Marquis.
This is Cage’s fifth marriage following his public split from Erika Kookie after a four-day marriage in March 2019, which took place in Las Vegas. He was granted a divorce two months later.
The actor was previously married to Patricia Arquette from 1995 to 2001, to Lisa Marie Presley from 2002 to 2004, and to Kim from 2004 to 2016. In addition to Kal-El, Cage has a son, Weston from his relationship with actor Christina Fulton.
Meanwhile, on the work front, Cage recently appeared in action horror comedy ‘Willy’s Wonderland’, from first-time feature screenwriter G.O. Parsons. In the movie, Cage appears as The Janitor and has no dialogue.
He is set to play Tiger King subject Joe Exotic in an eight-episode scripted series from CBS Television Studios and Imagine Television. (ANI)

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Cardi B deactivates Twitter after backlash over doll release

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Washington [US], March 6 (ANI): Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B has deactivated her Twitter account after facing intense backlash following the launch of her new doll.
On Friday, the rapper took to Instagram to announce the release of her new venture: an original doll modelled after the artist herself. Cardi revealed that she had designed her own doll with the brand Real Women Are.
However, it didn’t sit too well with fans who have been impatiently waiting for a new album instead. Fans replied to her post complaining that she was releasing a doll instead of working on fresh music. In the last seven months, Cardi has released hits like ‘WAP’ and ‘Up’.
After receiving flak, Cardi took to Instagram Live to set the record straight on all of her current ventures. She said that while she is working on new music, fans need to be patient as she puts her focus toward other projects, reported People magazine.

“I have so much pressure. I’m working on a lot of s— to please people. I wanna please my fans, because y’all been asking for something from me for a very long time that I can’t say, and I’m doing it for ya,” she said.

She posed a question for those who were frustrated that she was working on other businesses in the meantime. “How am I supposed to be rich? How am I supposed to build my net worth?” she said.
The backlash ultimately led the rapper to deactivate her Twitter account. Cardi has also deleted her Twitter in past for similar harassment claims of fans questioning her life choices.
Cardi had announced the release of the doll, writing, “BARDI GANG!! I’m dropping my own doll TODAY. Inspired by me. Created by me. Designed by me. Thank you @officialrealwomenare This means sooo much.”

In two follow-up videos, Cardi explained her decision to design a doll, adding that she plans to expand her doll line to include other artists and women in roles traditionally dominated by men.
“When this doll business got presented to me, one of the reasons I decided to do it is because I’m a girl’s mom,” she said.
The rapper added, “Nowadays, these dolls are not like Barbies. They are way more expensive. They come with way more fashion and are way more diverse. They come so chic and I constantly gotta spend money on these dolls. My daughter constantly want me to buy these dolls, she actually has a preference.”
Meanwhile, on the personal front, previously in September, Cardi filed for divorce from her husband and rapper Offset after three years of marriage.
Their split came after accusations of Offset’s infidelity resurfaced, but Cardi called off the divorce in October. The duo is proud parents to daughter Kulture. (ANI)

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Taapsee Pannu breaks silence on IT Raids conducted at her property

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Bollywood actor Taapsee Pannu, who never shies away from speaking her mind, recently reacted to the Income Tax raids that took place at her property a few days back.
Taking a dig at the IT raids, Taapsee took to Twitter and addressed the allegations made against her. In a series of tweets, the actor said that there is no bungalow in her name in Paris or receipts of Rs. 5 crore payment to her. She even said that no raid had taken place in 2013 on her property either.
She tweeted, “3 days of intense search of 3 things primarily. 1. The keys of the “alleged” bungalow that I apparently own in Paris. Because summer holidays are around the corner.”
The ‘Pink’ actor added in a second tweet, “2. The “alleged” receipt worth 5 crores to frame n keep for future pitching coz I’ve been refused that money before.”
“3. My memory of 2013 raid that happened with me according to our honourable finance minister. P.S- “not so sasti” anymore,” she wrote in the last tweet.

The actor’s tweets come nearly three days after the Income Tax Department on March 3 began raiding entities connected to her and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap as well as his partners in the production house Phantom Films including film producer Vikas Bahl.
Raids were carried out across 30 locations in Mumbai and Pune. Reliance Entertainment group CEO Shibhasish Sarkar and some executives of celebrity and talent management companies KWAN and Exceed were also covered.
Phantom Films was established by Anurag Kashyap, director Vikramaditya Motwane, producer Madhu Mantena and the former head of UTV Spotboy, Vikas Bahl, in 2011 before being dissolved in 2018.
Several political leaders and celebrities have reacted to the IT raids, including Rahul Gandhi and the Shiv Sena.
Anurag and Taapsee are outspoken critics of the government and have lent their support to various causes, including the ongoing farmer protests against the three farm laws. (ANI)

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Kangana Ranaut wraps up Mumbai schedule of ‘Tejas’

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New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut, who was busy shooting for her upcoming outing ‘Tejas’, recently revealed that she has completed the Mumbai schedule of the film. Kangana also shared that she will be moving on to shoot other portions of the movie in Delhi and Rajasthan.
The actor took to Twitter on Friday to share some behind-the-scenes pictures from the shoot of the forthcoming film. An elated Kangana tweeted, “Successfully completed #Tejas mumbai schedule now heading to Delhi and Rajasthan soon for upcoming schedules… Thank you everyone for your love and blessings.”

Kangana will be seen playing an air force pilot in the movie, which has been written and directed by Sarvesh Mewara. The film is being bankrolled by RSVP Movies, the production house that had also produced the blockbuster military drama ‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’.
The Indian Air Force was the first of the country’s defence forces to induct women into combat roles in 2016. The film takes inspiration from this landmark event.
The ‘Panga’ actor who feels honoured to play the character of a fighter pilot had earlier stated, “Very often the sacrifices made by our brave women in uniform go unnoticed by the nation. ‘Tejas’ is a film where I have the honour of playing the role of one such Air Force pilot who puts country before self. I hope we instill a sense of patriotism and pride in the youth of today with this film. I am looking forward to the journey with Sarvesh and Ronnie on this one.”
Apart from ‘Tejas’, Kangana will also be seen in ‘Thalaivi’, a biopic on actor-turned-politician Jayalalithaa. Apart from this she also has ‘Dhaakad’ and ‘Manikarnika Returns: The Legend Of Didda’ in the pipeline.
Kangana has also signed up to play the role of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in an upcoming political drama. (ANI)

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BABA AZMI’S UPLIFTING FILM ‘MEE RAQSAM’ ENCOURAGES US TO PURSUE OUR DREAMS

Murtaza Ali Khan

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Baba Azmi’s ‘Mee Raqsam’ was recently screened at the 3rd Azamgarh International Film Festival. The film, which was released last year on ZEE5, shares a special relationship with Azamgarh. Baba Azmi’s legendary poet father Kaifi Azmi had a deep desire to make a film in his native village, Mijwaan, situated in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. But he couldn’t realise it during his lifetime. So Baba Azmi took it upon himself to fulfil his father’s dream. And he finally realised it by making ‘Mee Raqsam’. Now, the film is not just made in Mijwaan but it also has the bragging rights of discovering its lead actor from there. Young Aditi Subedi who plays the central role of Maryam in the film was handpicked by Baba Azmi for his film during a visit to Mizwaan. For four months, Aditi was trained in Mumbai while staying with Baba and family. The training also included learning Bharatanatyam.

Aditi Subedi responds to a question from … s her father (extreme right) looks on (Photo Credit: Twenty4 Frames)

‘Mee Raqsam’, which also stars Danish Husain, Shraddha Kaul, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om, and Naseeruddin Shah in pivotal roles, revolves around a young Muslim girl who aspires to become a dancer. But hailing from a small village like Mijwaan, Maryam faces great resistance as everyone questions her dreams and choices including her aunt and grandmother. After her mother passes away, she finds great support in her father (played by Danish Husain) who backs her in this journey, only to face a great backlash from the community. A poor tailor dependent on the community for work is suddenly ostracised on the commands of a powerful religious leader named Hashim Seth (essayed by Naseeruddin Shah) who strongly disapproves of a Muslim girl’s affinity towards Bharatanatyam—a dance form he considers alien to Islam and hence unworthy to practice.

But it’s not just Maryam’s community that’s against her learning Bharatanatyam. For, there are also people on the other side of the fence who find it difficult to digest the idea of a Muslim girl getting so involved with a dance form that’s so deeply rooted in spiritual practices closely associated with Hinduism. A rich and powerful patron named Jai Prakash (portrayed by Rakesh Chaturvedi Om) is hell-bent on derailing Maryam’s journey. So on one side, there are bigots like Hashim Seth and on the other side, there are hypocrites like Jai Prakash desperately trying to snuff out her penchant for Bharatanatyam. Will Maryam succeed in overcoming these insurmountable odds? Or will she too lose this battle against bigots like all those other girls whose dreams are ruthlessly crushed by patriarchy?

Written by Safdar Mir and Husain Mir, ‘Mee Raqsam’ may not be a film that can boast a big budget but it is definitely a film with a big heart. The various performances on offer are really the film’s USP. Naseeruddin Shah as Hashim Seth is in many ways the antithesis of his progressive ‘Maulana’ character from Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liye’. Seth is a relic of a bygone era desperate to perpetually keep his community caged in the dingy recesses of bigotry for his petty political benefits. Interestingly, Rakesh Chaturvedi Om as Jai Prakash is not unlike Mullah Saidullah, the character he essayed in Anurag Singh’s ‘Kesari’. Although the two characters are separated by their religions, their minds are united by bigotry and hate. Kudos to Rakesh Chaturvedi Om for yet again succeeding in making a highly unlikeable character look so believable. Danish Husain is also superb as Maryam’s hapless but determined father. Those who saw him play the part of Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Khalid in the Netflix series ‘Bard of Blood’ may find it a little difficult to recognise him here. Shraddha Kaul is menacing as Maryam’s regressive aunt who believes that women are incapable of stepping out of their households. When she forces Maryam to take up stitching classes to stop her from learning Bharatanatyam, she actually feels as if she is doing a huge favour to her dead sister by preventing her daughter from going astray.

‘Mee Raqsam’ is a powerful reminder of the patriarchy-driven prejudice propagated in the name of religion which tries to prevent women from pursuing their dreams. It is also a testament to a son’s commitment to the fulfilment of his great poet father’s dream. But there is another dream that the film fulfils. That of Aditi Subedi’s father to watch his daughter on the big screen in his hometown of Azamgarh and in front of his own people. When Aditi was invited by Shobha Akshar, Assistant Editor, Pakhi on the stage as part of the film festival’s post-screening discussion, everyone present there was on their feet. Aditi couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. Her father was equally emotional seeing her daughter cast a spell on all those present with her spellbinding performance. Who says dreams can’t be fulfilled? All that’s required is a desire, and a will to fulfil that desire.

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ICHAK DAANA BICHAK DAANA

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MUSIC MUSINGS

‘DAANEDAAR!’ boomed a voice from inside me during one of my Riyaaz sessions while I was practising ‘Taans’ (a form of improvisation in Indian classical music where many notes are arranged in fast patterns). Was this a voice possibly of one of my gurus from the past, or of my perfectionist alter ego, or of the Divine Spirit itself? There was no way for me to say. But it was a powerful voice with the conviction and knowledge of someone who knew something profound.

In Indian classical music, maintaining the perfect key in each note while singing a complex fast pattern of notes, is something all of us musicians aspire for. Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was known for his ‘Daanedar’ or granular Taans, and so were other greats like Pandit Jasraj and Vidhushi Kishori Amonkar. Bharat Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi, and Vidushi M.L.Vasanthakumari exemplified this through their flawless ‘Kalpana Swaras’ in Carnatic music. This heady mix of complex notes which still maintained perfect key and were clear and granular is a big part of what makes these musicians great.

I can’t help but see the analogy with so many other things. I had read an article about the celebrated work of the famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa that talked about how each layer of the painting was made with total commitment to perfection. The same is true of filigree work and delicate embroidery. It is in the perfection of each carve or each stitch that the greatness and beauty of the artist comes forth.

They say that art reflects the life and vice versa. Many spiritual leaders stress upon the importance of the present or the ‘now’ in our lives. They speak of how, if each moment is lived to the fullest, you would have a life lived to the fullest. I read a quote by Sophie Bush, ‘You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously’. And then there is the famous saying ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.

These sayings start to make so much sense when we see a sapling or a child, for example. There is beauty and a sense of fullness in an infant or a toddler. A child or a sapling has their own unique place of completion, and are no less relevant than a fully grown adult or tree.

When we commit to a moment or a task with an attitude of fullness and wholeness no matter how small the task may be, we are, in fact creating a microcosm of perfection, ‘Daana’, or a grain in what will become a grand larger whole. This attitude brings with it a lot of benefits. Firstly, one feels a sense of complete presence and a meditative awareness of the ‘now’ that has the ability to blur out all sorrow of the past and all worry about the future. Secondly, perfection and therefore ‘success’ are easy when they are broken into small goals or tasks. Thirdly, we feel a sense of gratitude for what we already have, irrespective of what we may or may not get in the future. Because the grain, or the ‘Daana’, is complete in itself, a microcosm of the experience of the whole. A small reflection of the ‘whole’ can be as profoundly satisfying as any other ‘grand’ big thing.

This is something I will continue to remember when I go back to my Riyaaz. I will choose to be present fully in the grain of notes that come together to create the beautiful ocean of music. It is in the perfection of each snowflake that the magic of winter is hidden. And it is from the beauty of each moment that the grand stories of our lives are weaved.

‘Daanedar!’ The voice was right!

The writer is a vocalist of both Hindustani and Carnatic Classical music, with over three decades’ experience. She is also the founder of Music Vruksh, a venture to make classical accessible for its aesthetic and wellness benefits.

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