Indo-American News: January 13, 2023

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • Indo American News 2470 Dairy Ashford, Houston, TX 77077 • 713.789.NEWS (6397) • Special Reports Community Briefs Local Politics South Asians in the News Published weekly from Houston, TX W E D D I N G S , S P E C I A L E V E N T S , T E N T E D E V E N T S , O U T D O O R C O U R T Y A R D 3 3 3 0 F M 1 4 6 3 | K a t y , T X 7 7 4 9 4 | 8 3 2 . 8 5 5 . 5 5 2 0 | p a l m r o y a l v i l l a c o m Friday, January 13, 2022 | Vol. 42, No. 2 $1 P3
Elected Officials Sworn In International Impact of Pramukh Swami Centennial Dhairyawan at Toll Authority P4
Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, at the celebration ground in front of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s grand murti.
P5 P6
Swapan Dhairyawan joins Fort Bend Toll Authority. Monica Singh was among elected officials sworn-in this week.
Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • January 13, 2023 2

Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s International Impact Highlighted during Centennial Celebrations

AhmedAbAd: Week four of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s centennial celebrations brought Diksha Din (monastic order initiation), programs on Women’s Empowerment, and international days for tens of thousands of devotees and well-wishers traveling from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, and North America. Attendees enjoyed grand programs from each region and a magnificent musical tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj by 170 children and youths from 10 countries.

Daily professional conferences, including medical, business, and other sectors, continued to bring luminaries from various sectors together for collective dialogue with learned Swamis and fellow associates. Talks focused on responsible and ethical practices and working together to serve communities and the nation while progressing in their respective fields.

On January 5, hundreds of women from BAPS centers around the world presented an inspirational program titled “Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Empowerment” before an audience of tens of thousands at Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar. Through devotional songs, dramas, dances, videos, and speeches by women dignitaries of various fields, they paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s immense efforts to foster the holistic empowerment and development of millions of girls and women worldwide.

On January 6, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj continued the ancient Hindu tradition sustained by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and lineage of BAPS gurus of initiating seekers into the monastic order. During the ‘Diksha Ceremonies’, 46 highly educated and devoted youths were initiated into the monastic order on their lifelong path of worldly renunciation, self-realization and service. The youths join over 1,100 BAPS Swamis from around the world, comprising of doctors, engineers, teachers, MBAs, pharmacists, etc., from prestigious universities like IIT, IIM, Oxford,

and Harvard. These youths left the comforts of home and promising careers to undergo rigorous learning and eagerly serve God, guru and society.

In the evening, Dr. S. Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, shared the following message during the assembly: “The world called Pramukh Swami Maharaj ‘the People’s guru’ and ‘the global guru’ because he had traveled to over 50 countries, visited more than 17,000 cities and villages, established more than 1,200 mandirs, and wrote more than 750,000 letters. He met global leaders and kings, but also ordinary and poor people whom he embraced. As a result of his efforts, BAPS is taking India and the world forward.

“Last year, when the war erupted in Ukraine, around 20,000 Indian students were stranded in the cold. They needed to be brought home. While the Indian government was trying to decide what to do, BAPS brought volunteers from 11 countries to the Polish border and served hot meals three times a day. I was meeting other ministers of bordering countries who still remember the selfless spirit of BAPS volunteers who helped not only other Indians but people of other countries and ethnicities.

“When I think of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and Pramukh Swami Maharaj, I see four big concepts: 1) Compassion, 2) Service, 3) Community and 4) Humanity. Firstly, BAPS is both local and global because it is connected to the land wherever it serves the people. They create their own identity without discriminating against anyone. Secondly, BAPS also employs technology and modern methods while remaining faithful to its traditions, culture, heritage, and values. The balance and symbiosis of technology with tradition can be seen in the temples BAPS builds around the world. Thirdly, BAPS also acts and leads by example. And fourthly, BAPS operates on a grand scale, but at the end of the day, every aspect of the community and guru is personal.

The personal touch is everywhere. One needs a different mindset to never forget each individual. This is what is unique about BAPS.”

On January 7, over 500 children and youth from more than 75 centers across North America performed a touching cultural program titled ‘Beyond Boundaries: North America Day’ paying tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s tireless spiritual travels around North America that led to unimaginable transformations in hundreds of thousands who were inspired to preserve their timeless cultural and spiritual heritage. Following the program, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and dignitaries from around the world paid tribute to Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s inspiration of personal spirituality, Hindu mandirs, humanitarian service and interfaith harmony in North America. In 1974, Pramukh Swami Maharaj consecrated the first BAPS Swaminarayan mandir in North America in New York City. Videos and testimonials recounted his tireless travels and personal outreach during 14 visits throughout North America at the expense of his health to nurture cultural and spiritual values over generations. His tremendous efforts led to the creation of 114 mandirs across North America, including majestic traditional stone mandirs in Toronto, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Robbinsville, New Jersey, which includes the Akshardham Mahamandir which is under construction. The program captured the role of mandirs and Swamis in upholding cultural and spiritual teachings and helping Indian communities across North America lead values-based lives.

The program also captured key milestones in the history of Hinduism in North America. Pramukh Swami Maharaj has been at the forefront of nurturing intercultural and interfaith dialogue in North America. In 1991, he inspired a month-long Cultural Festival of India in New Jersey visited by 1.1 million Americans who came to experience the richness of Indian

culture and Hindu spirituality. In August 2000, Pramukh Swami Maharaj called for harmony through dialogue as he represented Hinduism at the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious Leaders at the United Nations in New York. In 2022, on the occasion of Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s Centenary Celebrations, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institutes were established in Robbinsville, New Jersey (USA) and in Toronto, Canada dedicated to advancing quality research, learning; and expression of Hinduism, its cultures, philosophies, affiliated languages, and rich collection of literature.

In his blessings, HH Mahant Swami Maharaj highlighted Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s selfless intent in building and sustaining mandirs. In responding to praise on the beauty of BAPS mandirs, Pramukh Swami often said that Mandirs are built not to draw compliments; they are created and sustained through unity, sacrifice, hard work; and inspire positive personal transformation; all of which bring peace within people, communities, and nations.

The month-long celebration is His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj’s vision to provide inspiration from the life, efforts, teachings, actions, and contributions of Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The festivities will conclude on January 15 with a grand finale program in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, dignitaries, community leaders and devotees from around the world.

For more information visit www.

Live broadcast of daily evening programs on

Inspiring videos and photographs related to Pramukh Swami Maharaj Centenary Celebrations are available at @PSM100yrs on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About BAPS

The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) is a spiritual, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to improving society through individual growth by fostering the

Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and selfless service. Its worldwide network of 3,800 centers supports these character-building activities. Under the guidance and leadership of His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, BAPS aspires to build a community that is free of addictions as well as morally, ethically, and spiritually pure. For more details, please visit

About Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Pramukh Swami Maharaj was the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Under his leadership, BAPS grew into an international spiritual and humanitarian organization with over 3,300 centers worldwide. He dedicated his life to the well-being of others, traveling throughout the world to foster love, peace, harmony, righteousness, faith in God, and service to humanity. With genuine care and compassion, he reached out to all members of society irrespective of class, color, or age. Recognized and respected as one of India’s greatest spiritual teachers, he lived by and promoted the principle: “In the joy of others, lies our own.”

About Mahant Swami Maharaj

His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj is the sixth and current spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. He was ordained a swami by Yogiji Maharaj in 1961 and named Sadhu Keshavjivandas. As he was appointed the head (Mahant) of the Mandir in Mumbai, he became known as Mahant Swami. His devout, humble, and service-focused life earned him the innermost blessings of Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Mahant Swami Maharaj travels throughout the world inspiring people through his insightful spiritual discourses and disciplined conduct. His virtuous lifestyle and profound devotion to Bhagwan Swaminarayan and gurus are ideals toward which devotees strive. Mahant Swami Maharaj became the guru and President of BAPS upon Pramukh Swami Maharaj’s passing in 2016.

January 13, 2023 3 INDIA
Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 •
Stage Guests from USA and Canada on the ‘BAPS North America Day’ Celebration on January 7th. Hundreds of women from BAPS centers presented an inspirational program titled “Women’s Day: Celebrating Women’s Empowerment”.

Dhairyawan Joins Toll Road Authority Dr. Poddar Endows AIChE Rising Chemical Engineers Award

houston: Dr. Syamal Poddar and his wife Susmita have endowed an award to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) for recognizing rising chemical engineers.

Fort bend County - Commissioners Court has approved Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers’ appointment of Swapan Dhairyawan to the Board of Directors of the Fort Bend Toll Road Authority and the Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority.

Dhairyawan succeeds Dean Hrbacek on the Grand Parkway Toll Road Authority Board of Directors. Hrbacek was recently elected Judge of County Court at Law 6.

Dhairyawan is a Certified Public Account (CPA) with more than 26 years of private and public experience. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in advanced accounting from Bombay University. He also holds a professional cost and management accountants’ degree.

The India Culture Center of Houston honored Dhairyawan with a Lifetime Achievement award in August 2022. He is also a member of the Indo American

Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, and the recipient of several community service awards for his service to non-profit associations, including the Foundation for India Studies, the Hindus of Greater Houston, the International Hindi Association, the Indian Muslims Association for Greater Houston, Indo-American Conservatives of Texas, and Society of Indo-American Arts.

“I am proud to appoint Swapan Dhairyawan to the Grand Parkway Tollway Board of Directors,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers. “He is a Certified Public Accountant and understands the importance of being a good steward of the people’s money. In addition, I want to thank Dean Hrbacek for his invaluable service on the board and congratulate him for being elected Judge of County Court at Law 6 by the citizens of Fort Bend County. I am sure we will all benefit from his service.”

Now in its fourth year, the award seeks to honor one recent graduate for their contributions to AIChE, chemical engineering and society, one who shows potential for future growth and leadership. Demonstrable AIChE leadership, community activities and active participation in their AIChE student chapter is highly valued during the application review process.

The 2022 Poddar award winner was Sydney Floryanzia, who was presented with the award at the 2022 AIChE annual meeting.

Floryanzia received a $500 prize, membership to AIChE at no charge in 2023, registration to the 2022 AIChE Annual Meeting, a $1,500 travel stipend to attend the AIChE Annual Meeting, and an opportunity to be mentored during their time at 2022 the annual meeting.

Dr. Poddar is a Fellow of the AIChE and has been elected a member of the Fellows Council.

Poddar is the Founder President of the consulting company, Poddar & Associates. His 40+ year industrial career includes working for two major global companies, Exxon Research & Engineering and Bechtel Corporation, with diversified professional, management

and leadership responsibilities. In addition to his industrial career, he has maintained his teaching interest as an adjunct faculty, for several years, at University of Houston (Clear Lake & Downtown campuses). As a part of his consulting activities, Dr. Poddar has given, and is continuing to offer, several technical, project & business development and leadership courses nationally and internationally. He

received Bachelors and Masters degrees in Chemical Engineering with Honors from Jadavpur University, India, Dr. Poddar earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. In addition to authoring 46 technical papers and 2 US patents, he has made numerous technical and business presentations at national and international conferences

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Swapan Dhairyawan (right) with Fort Bend County Commissioner Andy Meyers. Sydney Floryanzia (left) displays the AIChe Poddar Award for Rising Chemical Engineers with award sponsors Dr. Syamal and Susmita Poddar (center). The three previous recipients of the award are also shown.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds Launches 300th Global Showroom in Dallas


This is the 3rd showroom of • Malabar Gold & Diamonds in the USA

Luxurious shopping area • spread across 5,000 sq. ft

Extensive jewellery collec- • tion with over 30,000 designs from 20 countries Malabar Gold & Diamonds, the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally, with a strong retail network across 10 countries, is all geared up to launch the 300th global showroom in Dallas, USA. The new showroom is located at 5811 Preston Road, Frisco with a luxurious shopping area spread across 5,000 sq. ft. This is the 3rd showroom of Malabar Gold & Diamonds in the USA, with the other 2 located in New Jersey and Chicago.

The new showroom in Dallas will further strengthen the brand’s retail presence in the US market and has been designed in a way that will present its customers with a world-class jewellery shopping experience. The showroom has a stunning display of more than 30,000 jewellery designs from 20 countries across gold, diamonds, precious gems and platinum, catering to the design preferences of those residing in and around Dallas.

“We are eagerly awaiting the grand launch of our 300th showroom in Dallas, which brings us much excitement. It is a beautiful reminder of the journey we’ve made so far, growing from a single

showroom in Calicut, Kerala, India, to the 6th largest global jewellery retailer. It is the acceptance and patronage received from our customers that has made this possible and which will continue to fuel our expansion process to become the No. 1 jewellery retailer globally. We have an ambitious expansion plan in the US with more openings scheduled across multiple states in the USA, including Georgia, California and Washington,” said Mr. Shamlal Ahamed, Managing Director – International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds

In addition to the extensive jewellery display ranging from lightweight jewellery designs to intricately handcrafted collections, customers also have the option to customize their own jewellery with the help of skilled artisans through

Malabar Gold & Diamonds is renowned globally for offering an unparalleled jewellery buying experience with convenience, and customer-friendly policies along with the ‘Malabar Promise’ of incomparable quality and service assurance. Malabar Promise includes assured lifetime maintenance from any of the showrooms across 10 countries, guaranteed buyback, IGI and GIA-certified diamonds ensuring 28-point quality check of global standards, 916 hallmarking certifying the purity of gold, zero deduction on gold exchange, jewellery exchange within 15 days, complete transparency, fair price policy, responsible sourcing, and fair labour practices.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds currently operates in 10 countries with immediate expansion plans into

the UK, South Africa, Egypt, Bangladesh, Canada and Australia.

Malabar Group commits 5% of its profit to support socially responsible purposes both in India and abroad, since its inception in 1993. Hunger, Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Housing and Environment are the key focus areas for the Group.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds was established in 1993 and is the flagship company of Malabar Group, a leading diversified Indian business conglomerate.

With an annual turnover of $4.1 billion, the company currently ranks as the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally and today has a strong retail network spread across 10 countries in addition to multiple offices, design centers, wholesale units and factories spread across India, Middle East, Far East &

USA. The group, owned by more than 4,000 shareholders, has more than 16,500 professionals from over 26 countries working towards its continued success. Malabar Gold & Diamonds also features an online store providing customers the opportunity to purchase their favorite jewelry at any time and on any day from the comfort of their homes.

The group also operates MGD – Lifestyle Jewellery, a retail concept offering trendy and light weight jewellery that represents the independent and the modern woman through its designs and collections.

CSR has been the primary commitment of the group since its inception; integrating ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) principles into the core business. The key CSR focus areas of Malabar Group are Hunger, Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Housing, and the Environment. The ESG goals of the organization are periodically strengthened by integrating responsibility and sustainability to remain a socially conscious and responsible organization. The group contributes 5% of its profit to such initiatives in the same country of operation.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • January 13, 2023 5 For Advertising in Indo-American News call: 713-789-6397 IN FASHIONMEMORIUM
Bespoke Jewellery Solutions.

South Asian-Origin Elected Officials Sworn in Austin, Houston and Richmond

U.S. from Pakistan, each with a different dream. Bhojani started businesses as an entrepreneur before becoming an attorney. Lalani focused on helping others through medicine.

Now, both hope to build a legacy through their service in Texas government.

“It is a moment of responsibility. Being first of anything is not easy,” Lalani said.

omy, while Lalani will work to improve access to healthcare for all Texans.

To be elected as one of the 150 representatives in the Texas House, a person must have lived in the state for at least two years and in the district they will represent for at least one year, according to Texas law. They have to be at least

21 years old, a U.S. citizen and a “qualified elector,” meaning they aren’t restricted from voting for any reason.

Bhojani will represent District 92, which covers parts of Arlington, Bedford and Euless in North Texas, and Lalani will represent District 76 in Fort Bend County near Houston.

houston: Two Texans made history this week as the first Muslims and first South Asians ever to be sworn into the state legislature.

Salman Bhojani and Dr. Suleman Lalani took their oaths of office as Democrat state representatives on Tuesday when both the Senate and House met for the 88th legislative session.

On Jan. 1, 2023, Fort Bend County officials who won or kept their positions in the November elections—including County Judge KP George—were sworn in at a ceremony held at 10 a.m. at the Fort Bend County Justice Center.

The other elected officials sworn in included 240th District Court Judge, Surendran K. Pattel and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace, Sonia Rash. Juli A. Mathew was reelected as a judge of the Fort Bend County Court at Law No

3. She was sworn in as the judge through videoconference from her in-law’s house at Bheemanady in Kasaragod, Kerala.

Manpreet Monica Singh has been sworn in as a Harris county judge, becoming the first female Sikh judge in the US. Ms Singh was born and raised in Houston and now lives in Bellaire with her husband and two children. She was sworn in as a judge of the Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4 in Texas on Friday. Ms Singh’s father immigrated to the US in the early 1970s.

While most representatives held one hand up and placed their other over the Bible, Reps. Bhojani and Lalani each placed one of their hands on the Quran, the central religious text of Islam. Bhojani said the Quran he used was the first English version of the text ever printed in the Americas.

Both men immigrated to the

“I think about all the youth that are out there, that are thinking about running for office or getting politically active,”

Bhojani added.

“I just want to let them know, you can do it. If I can do it, you know, being born in Pakistan, coming here as an immigrant at 19 years old, mopping floors for six bucks-an-hour at gas stations.

Now that I’m here, I feel really blessed. It’s a really big honor.”

Bhojani hopes to focus on education, healthcare and econ-

Manpreet Monica Singh was sworn in as judge in Harris County

RRR Wins Golden Globe Best Song Four Indian Films Make Oscars ‘Reminder’ List

los Angeles: Before creating history by winning a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, the RRR Team Ram Charan, Jr NTR and director SS Rajamouli arrived in style on the Golden Globe Awards red carpet. Ram Charan treated his Insta family to a happy picture from Los Angeles in which we can see Jr NTR looking dapper in a black tux, while SS Rajamouli and Ram Charan can be seen in black traditional ensembles. The image also features their better halves Lakshmi Pranathi (Jr NTR wife), Upasana Kamineni (Ram’s wife) and Rama Rajamouli (SS Rajamouli’s wife). Sharing the photo, the actor captioned it as “THE #RRR FAMILY! On the way to the GOLDEN GLOBES.”

los Angeles: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a list of 301 feature films eligible for Oscars and Indian films that have made the cut include SS Rajamouli’s RRR, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files and Rishab Shetty’s Kantara. The list also includes Pan Nalin’sChhello Show (Last Film Show), which is India’s official Oscar entry, Marathi films Me Vasantrao, Tujhya Sathi Kahi Hi, R Madhavan’s Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, Iravin Nizhal and Kannada movie Vikrant Rona. Documentaries All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen and Kartiki Gonsalves’ The Elephant Whisperers are also part of the list.

The list includes movies that can officially compete in various categories but merely featuring in the list does not guarantee that the film will advance in the final nominations of the Academy Awards, which will be announced on January 24.

Meanwhile, the RRR track Naatu Naatu is the first Indian song to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards. While the Oscar nominations are awaited. The film is also competing for two awards at the Golden Globes - Best Non-English Film and Best Original Song for

Naatu Naatu.

The 95th Academy Awards will be held on March 12, 2023 at Los Angeles’ Dolly Theatre. TV presenter Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting the Oscars this year.

India’s history with the Oscar entries for the last few years were - Koozhangal, Jallikattu, Gully Boy, Village Rockstars, Newton, Visaranani, all of which have failed to make the Oscar shortlist. The only Indian films to have been nominated for an Oscar so far have been Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.

Gujarati film “Chhello Show”, a coming-of-age drama about a young boy’s love affair with cinema in a village in Saurashtra, is India’s official entry for the 95th Academy Awards, the Film Federation of India (FFI).

Titled “Last Film Show” in English, the Pan Nalin-directorial will release in theatres countrywide on October 14.

According to FFI president TP Aggarwal, “Chhello Show” was unanimously chosen over films such as SS Rajamouli’s “RRR”, Ranbir Kapoor-led “Brahmastra: Part One Shiva”, Vivek Agnihotri’s “The Kashmir Files” and R Madhavan’s directorial debut “Rocketry”.

The story is inspired by Nalin’s

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own memories of falling in love with movies as a child in rural Gujarat. Set in a remote rural village of Saurashtra, the film follows the story of a nine-year-old boy who begins a lifelong love affair with cinema when he bribes his way into a rundown movie palace and spends a summer watching movies from the projection booth.

Nalin expressed his gratitude to the FFI and the selection jury. “I could have never imagined such a day would come and bring light and celebration of light. ‘Chhello Show’ has been enjoying love from around the world but there was an ache in my heart that how do I make India discover it? Now I can breathe again and believe in cinema that entertains, inspires and enlightens! Thank you FFI, Thank you Jury,” the director said in a statement.

“Chhello Show”, which features Bhavin Rabari, Vikas Bata, Richa Meena, Bhavesh Shrimali, Dipen Raval and Rahul Koli, had its world premiere as the opening film at the Tribeca Film Festival in June last year. It won multiple awards during its festival run., including the Golden Spike at the 66th Valladolid Film Festival in Spain where it also enjoyed commercial success during its theatrical run.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • January 13, 2023 7

2nd ODI: KL Rahul Seals Chase after Kuldeep Spins through Sri Lanka

KolKotA: (ESPN Cricinfo) India 219 for 6 (Rahul 64*, Hardik 36, Karunaratne 2-51, Kumara 2-64) beat Sri Lanka 215 (Nuwanidu 50, Mendis 34, Wellalage 32, Siraj 3-30, Kuldeep 3-51) by four wickets

Sri Lanka got to 102 for 1 in the 17th over, then threw their innings away in a collapse that cost them six wickets for 50 runs. The lower order pushed them up to 215 all out - the last wicket falling in the 40th over. But it was never going to be enough.

And though Sri Lanka’s bowlers made India’s batters work, reducing them to 86 for 4 at one stage, India’s run rate was too healthy, and their batting resources too rich. Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul put on a 75-run stand for the fifth wicket, breaking the back of the chase. Then Rahul pushed on to 64 not out off 103 balls.

It had been India’s bowlers, though, who defined this match. Kuldeep Yadav triggered Sri Lanka’s collapse by taking Kusal Mendis’ wicket, before picking up Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka to finish with 3 for 51 from his 10 overs. Mohammed Siraj, who had been excellent with the new ball, took 3 for 30, picking up a couple of late wickets. Umran Malik snuffed out two promising lower-order innings as well.

The only Sri Lanka batter who

made a half-century was debutant Nuwanidu Fernando, who was batting out of position as an opener (he usually bats in the middle order in domestic cricket). The great indictment on Sri Lanka’s batters in this game, perhaps, is that all but three of the XI got to double figures, suggesting the Eden Gardens pitch was decent enough. But a major collapse occurred nonetheless.

The innings’ nosedive was forged more of Sri Lanka’s incompetence in this format than India’s particular excellence. Mendis had batted nicely for his run-a-ball 34, but got hit on the back leg by a Kuldeep

googly at the end of the 17th over, having misread the modest turn. Dhananjaya de Silva let an Axar Patel arm ball slide between bat and pad; Asalanka sent a leading edge back to Kuldeep, the bowler; Shanaka got too far inside the line and let Kuldeep spin one into his pads and then leg stump; later, the bowling allrounders (Wanindu Hasaranga, Dunith Wellalage and Chamika Karunaratne) were all caught by Axar at backward point, two of them off Malik.

The lowest third of the innings had at least added some value before departing, however. Hasaranga made 21 off 17, Karunaratne

17 off 25, and Wellalage played perhaps the most responsible innings of the three, despite being the most junior, producing 32 off 34. It was thanks to them that Sri Lanka breached 200.

Through Nuwanidu’s fifty, though, Sri Lanka had at least one positive. He was cautious against the new ball, leaving often, and defending plenty, though he rarely seemed anxious even when he faced 10 scoreless deliveries to start, then had got to only 6 off the first 20. He was strong behind square, finding most of his runs, and four of his six boundaries, there

India’s chase was not particularly clinical, and there were times at which Sri Lanka had a chance to pull off an unlikely defence of a modest score. Shubman Gill raced to 21 off 11 balls, hitting five fours, four of those through cover or extra cover. But then he pulled Kumara straight to short midwicket and was out. Rohit Sharma had been dismissed before that, nicking off to Chamika Karunaratne.

And when Virat Kohli was bowled off an inside edge (Kumara the bowler), and Shreyas Iyer was trapped in front by Kasun Rajitha, it seemed like Sri Lanka had a shot.

But Hardik and Rahul doused what small fires had been lit. Theirs was a leisurely, risk-free stand, playing out Sri Lanka’s spinners, picking the singles and twos into space. The required rate was hardly relevant.

Hardik was dismissed with 55 still required, but Rahul ensured he remained at the crease to guide the chase home. Three of his six boundaries came behind square, and the other three in the arc between mid-off and cover, but it was the defensive strokes and the singles square of the wicket that defined his innings. He forged a partnership with Axar, then took the chase home in Kuldeep’s company.

Now, 2-0 up, India have sealed the series.

Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • January 13, 2023 8 COMMUNITY SPORTS
Kuldeep Yadav celebrates after bowling Dasun Shanaka out•BCCI
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‘Govinda Naam Mera’: Stretched, Forgettable

A massive bungalow worth hundreds of crores in the heart of Mumbai. Several hopeful claimants. And a whole lot of fun. Wait, scratch the last bit. ‘Govinda Naam Mera’ is intended to be an easy-breezy caper, but the laughter stays strictly sporadic.

This crowded ensemble looks as if it was primed for fun and games, but is left to meander in a ramshackle plot. Govind A Waghmare aka Govinda (Vicky Kaushal) is a wannabe choreographer, shuttling between film sets where he dances behind the hero, and keeping up the spirits of his wheelchair-using ‘aai’ (Renuka Shahane). That is, when he is not yo-yo-ing between his domineering ‘biwi’ Gauri (Bhumi Pednekar), demanding girl-friend Suku (Kiara Advani), and his lawyer pal (Amey Wagh). Govinda’s flat broke, and in debt,

and the only thing that’s keeping him going is the potential sale of the golden goose. Keeping a suspicious eye on the proceedings is Crime Patrol fan Manju bai (Tripti Khamkar). Did I miss anyone? Phew.

A dogged mother-and-son, the latter a dead ringer for Dhanush, are circling closer to the big prize. If it’s a matter of property, can a canny builder be far behind? And can a crooked cop (Dayanand Shetty) be kept at bay? If that’s not enough, a businessman (Sayyaji Shinde, to be seen mostly wearing a dressing-gown, reminding you of old-style baddies) and his sonny boy with a habit (Jeeva) , bring some low-rent villainy to the table. There’s a dodgy insurance guy (Viraj Ghelani) in the know of a lucrative policy. And then, dhantan-a-aan, there’s a dead body. Who is the killer? And who pips everyone else to the post?

This should have been a riot. It feels like each of these characters should have had a moment or two that they could own. What’s the point of scam artists, trying to pull a fast one on each other, otherwise? But you are hard put to recall one stand-out sequence in the two-hour and some film, which starts feeling longer than it should almost as soon as it starts. A character, ostensibly living with the debilitating impact of a stroke, is set up for laughs. No kidding. Even the songs-anddances, pictured on the agile pair of Kaushal and Advani, are forgettable. So is the film.

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Kiara Advani, Sayyaji Shinde, Renuka Shahane, Amey Wagh, Akshay Gunawat, Jeeva, Viraj Ghelani, Dayanand Shetty, Tripti Khamkar Director: Shashank Khaitan Rating: 1.5 stars -- Indian Express

‘Blurr’ starts promisingly. Gautami (Taapsee Pannu) is roused from a nightmare, convinced that her twin sister Gayatri is in mortal danger. A mad dash towards a house in the hills ends in horror. The sister, who suffered from a degenerative eye disease, is dead. And now the devastated Gautami is convinced that there’s someone after her life too.

The official remake of the Spanish language ‘Julia’s Eyes’, directed by Guillem Morales and produced by Guillermo del Toro, has Taapsee Pannu in a double role. All the elements of a successful horror thriller are piled up swiftly enough: the wooded slopes are deep and dark, the house of the dead sister has a sinister staircase, a male neighbour who lives with a silent younger sister is appropriately shifty, an older woman who lives nearby harbours a secret, and the cop who shows up to check in on Gautami and her husband (Gulshan Devaiah) seems far too sure that nothing is wrong.

So far, all good. The idea of losing your eyesight, the thing that afflicted Gayatri, and which appears

to be Gautami’s lot now, is scary enough. And then to have someone flitting around at the edge of your increasingly blurry vision, is doubly scary. The atmospherics are fine, but the characters, including the leading lady’s who has maximum screen time, come off sketchy. What was Gayatri, whose life and death has such an impact on her twin, like? Same same or different? What does Gautami’s husband do, apart from ferrying her from Point A to Point B? And

once an ostensibly helpful character (Thapliyal, effective) starts telegraphing his punches, even the jump scares become predictable.

Much too soon, and this is the trouble with most Bollywood thrillers, the plot gets far too stretched, the run time becomes too long, and the film flattens.

Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Gulshan Devaiah, Abhilash Thapliyal, Kruttika Desai

Director: Ajay Bahl

Rating: 2 stars -- Indian Express

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Indo-AmerIcAn news • FrIdAy, jAnuAry 13, 2023 • January 13, 2023 11 ENTERTAINMENT
by shubhrA guPtA ‘Blurr’: Taapsee Pannu Thriller Too Stretched, Too Flat
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