74th Republic Day: India Exhibits Military Might, Cultural Diversity
New Delhi: India marked its 74th Republic Day on Thursday with a colourful parade while displaying a perfect blend of its military prowess and vibrant cultural heritage at the newly christened Kartavya Path (previously known as Rajpath) in New Delhi.
The public holiday commemorates the adoption of the Constitution of India on January 26, 1950.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with President Droupadi Murmu, and her Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was the chief guest for the Republic Day, joined people and members of the armed forces in marking the occasion which had Nari Shakti (Women Empowerment) and Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) as its central themes.
Hundreds of people braved the January chill to watch the parade, which passed through the Kartavya Path towards Red Fort.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi paid tributes to fallen heroes at the National War Memorial in New Delhi. Extending his greetings to the nation on the 74th Republic Day, PM Modi said, “We wish to move ahead unitedly to make the dreams of the great freedom fighters of the country come true.” Modi also thanked El-Sisi for being part of the celebrations.
In a first, a women’s contingent of the CRPF was one of the main highlights of the parade. Several other marching contingents, including the Delhi Police’s pipe band comprised 35 women constables. In the BSF camel contingent, for the first time, women
camel riders participated on top of decorated camels.
The Naval contingent, led by a woman officer, featured three women, and six Agniveers, who are soldiers in the first batch of the new armed forces recruitment scheme. The colourful tableaux, which are an integral part of the parade, also witnessed a life statue of a decorated woman soldier in ceremonial uniform in a saluting position. The tableaux paid tribute to all the gallant women soldiers working for the nation.
Around 45,000 people attended the parade at Kartavya Path and
amongst the invites were milk and vegetable vendors, street vendors, small grocery shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers, shramyogis of Central Vista with their families and maintenance workers on Kartavya Path. The celebration reflected the Jan Bhagidari (people’s participation) vision of PM Modi.
The parade began with a combined band and marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The Egyptian contingent included 144 soldiers representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces and it was led by Col Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel-
Breaking from tradition, in order to get rid of colonial vestiges, an indigenous 105-mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) offered the 21-gun salute to President Droupadi Murmu. Earlier, vintage 25-pounder guns were used before it was changed to reflect upon the “aatmanirbharta” in defence. According to officials, the military assets which were displayed during the parade included made-in-India equipment. The main battle tank Arjun, the Nag Missile System (NAMIS) and the K-9 Vajra were also showcased. A total of 23 tableaux, 17 from
states and Union territories, and six from various ministries depicted India’s cultural heritage, economic progress, and national security.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased one tableau and an equipment. DRDO’s theme was “Securing Nation with Effective Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising Threats”. Indigenously-developed Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform, carried on a 70-ton trailer was displayed by the DRDO, news agency PTI reported.
The parade also saw cultural performances presented by 479 artistes chosen through the nationwide “Vande Bharatam” dance competition. This is the second time that the dancers have been selected through a competition.
Three Param Vir Chakra awardees and three Ashok Chakara awardees took part in the parade, and a “veterans’ tableau” was put forth with its theme as “Towards India’s Amrit Kaal with a Resolve of Veterans’ Commitment”.
The parade also witnessed the Indian Air Force showcasing its vintage and modern aircraft comprising the Rafale jets, Sukhois, Apaches and Jaguars in the muchanticipated fly-past. Though the cloudy skies played spoilsport for spectators on the ground at the Kartavya Path, videos supplied by the IAF of the jets in action show how the aircraft created these formations mid-flight.
Padma Awards 2023: Vibhushans for Mulayam Yadav, Ustad Zakir Hussain
New Delhi: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, former Karnataka Chief Minister S M Krishna, Gujarat architect and educationist Balkrishna Doshi, tabla player Zakir Hussain, mathematician S R Srinivasa Vardhan, and ORS treatment pioneer Dilip Mahalanabis have been conferred the Padma Vibhushan this year.
A total of 106 Padma awards have been announced — six Padma Vibhushan, nine Padma Bhushan and 91 Padma Shri.
Among the Padma Bhushan awardees are Sudha Murthy, chairperson of Infosys Foundation and wife of Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy; industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla; linguistics scholar Kapil Kapoor; Kannada novelist and screenwriter S L Bhyrappa; yesteryear playback singers Vani Jayaram and Suman Kalyanpur; physicist Deepak Dhar, and Telangana spiritual leaders Swami Chinna Jeeyar and Kamlesh D Patel.
The prominent names among Padma Shri awardees include stockbroker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Rasna founder Areez Khabatta, former union minister and
Manipur BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, former Tripura minister and Indigenous Peoples
Front of Tripura president Narendra Chandra Debbarma, RRR music composer M M Keeravani; ghazal singers Ahmed Hussain and Mohd Hussain, and Bollywood actor Raveena Tandon.
Congratulating the recipients, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “India cherishes their rich and varied contributions to the na-
tion and their efforts to enhance our growth trajectory.”
The posthumous Padma Vibhushan to Mulayam would be seen as reaching across the political aisle, and a move that would please the OBC communities in UP. It is significant as the SP was found to have recovered some of its lost ground among OBC voters during the last Assembly elections.
S M Krishna, who joined the
BJP in 2017, is a leader of the Vokkaliga community in Karnataka, which is going to polls this year. While the BJP is traditionally associated with the Lingayat community in the state, it is wooing the Vokkaligas to increase its support base.
As many as five personalities, including two spiritual leaders, from Telangana figure in the list. After Karnataka, Telangana is considered to be the most significant southern state for the BJP.
The inclusion of IPFT chief Debbarma, who died early this month, is also significant as the state is going to polls this year –the IPFT is in alliance with the BJP in the state. Debbarma was regarded as a significant tribal leader, and the BJP has been try-
ing to woo the tribal community ahead of the elections.
Kapil Kapoor was the pro-vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University between 1999 and 2002. In 2015, he was among a group of writers and academicians who came out in support of Modi and criticised intellectuals attacking the Centre over “the climate of intolerance”.
Under the NDA-II government, Kapoor has been appointed to several government committees tasked with suggesting education reforms, and selection panels for appointing heads of higher education institutions.
The awardees also include over a dozen personalities from varied fields, who have been contributing to society through their social work or by preserving endangered art forms.
The Padma awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, usually around March or April every year. Among the awardees are 19 women, two from the category of foreigners/ NRI/ PIO/ OCI, and seven who are being conferred the awards posthumously. -- IE
President Murmu Praises Constitution, Framers
New Delhi: President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday said the Constitution reflects “the spirit of India” and added that India succeeded as a democratic Republic because the Constitution served as a source of unity.
“The Constitution that started governing the life of the Republic was the outcome of the Freedom Struggle. The national movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, was as much about winning Independence as about rediscovering our own ideals. Those decades of struggle and sacrifice helped us win freedom not only from colonial rule but also from the imposed values and narrow world-views. Revolutionaries and reformers joined hands with visionaries and idealists to help us learn about our age-old values of peace, brotherhood and equality. Those who shaped the modern Indian mind also welcomed progressive ideas from abroad, following the Vedic advice of letting noble thoughts come to us from all directions,” she said.
In her maiden Republic Day-eve
address, Murmu said the nation owes a great deal of gratitude to BR Ambedkar, the head of the Drafting Committee, as well as jurist BN Rau who prepared the Constitution’s initial draft.
Murmu said India’s G20 presidency is an opportunity to promote democracy and multilateralism and added that G20 is an ideal platform to discuss and find solutions to “global challenges”.
“Under India’s leadership, I am sure, G20 will be able to further enhance its efforts to build a more equitable and sustainable world order,” she said.
Referring to Mahatma Gandhi as a “true prophet of our times”
who foresaw the calamities of “indiscriminate industrialisation and cautioned the world to mend its ways”, Murmu said one of the changes Gandhi suggested pertains to food. “I am happy to note that the United Nations accepted a suggestion from India and declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets,” she said. The President also lauded generations of farmers, workers, scientists and engineers whose combined strength helped develop India as a modern Republic, and the brave soldiers securing Indian borders. tnn
Adani Loses $6 B after Short Seller’s Report
houstoN: India and Asia’s richest Gautam Adani’s net worth plunged significantly in just a day after a sharp fall in bonds and stocks of the seven listed Adani group companies that fell between 3% and 7% yesterday as Hindenburg, a well-known US short-seller, said key listed companies in the group controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani had substantial debt, which has put the entire group on a ‘precarious financial footing.’
As per the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Gautam Adani lost about $6 billion (around Rs. 48,600 crore), down nearly 5%, in a day and his net worth currently stands at $113 billion as of January 26, 2023. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index prepares the daily rankings of the 500 wealthiest people. The figures are updated at the close of every trading day in New York.
The Adani Group, however, termed the report on the group “malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale” and is exploring legal action against the US investor on its report alleging “brazen” market manipulation and accounting fraud by Asia’s richest man’s empire.
The report coincided with Adani’s upcoming Rs. 20,000 crore followon public offer (FPO) which opens on Friday and close on January 31. It will sell shares in the price band of Rs. 3,112 to Rs. 3,276 apiece. The
Gautam Adani lost $6 billion after Hindenburg report.
flagship firm Adani Enterprises Ltd on Wednesday said it has raised Rs. 5,985 crore from anchor investors ahead of its FPO.
Gautam Adani, 60, is the founder of conglomerate Adani Group, the largest port operator in India. The Ahmedabad, India-based infrastructure group is also India’s largest closely held thermal coal producer and largest coal trader. His $13 billion (revenue) Adani Group’s interests span infrastructure, commodities, power generation and transmission and real estate.
He owns 75% stakes in Adani Enterprises, Adani Power and Adani Transmissions, according to March 2022 stock exchange filings. He also owns about 37% of Adani Total
India Buying Discounted Russian Oil
Gas, 65% of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone and 61% of Adani Green Energy.
Earlier this week, the Indian industrialist slipped to the fourth spot in the world’s richest list as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos overtook as the third wealthiest person on earth.
Hours after Adani Group hit back on Thursday, saying it is evaluating “remedial and punitive action” under US and Indian laws against Hindenburg Research, the short-seller said it fully stands by the report on the Indian conglomerate and believes any legal action taken against them would be meritless.
“Regarding the company’s threats of legal action, to be clear, we would welcome it. We fully stand by our report and believe any legal action taken against us would be meritless,” the US-based investment research firm said in a statement.
Hindenburg further said it will demand documents in legal discovery process if Adani Group files a lawsuit in the US against the short seller for its report on the Indian conglomerate.
In a report, Hindenburg Research this week alleged that Adani Group had used undisclosed related-party transactions and earnings manipulation to “maintain the appearance of financial health and solvency” of its listed business units.
MuMbai: India’s oil processors are open to buying even more Russian crude if the price is right, said refinery executives, potentially providing a bigger outlet for Moscow almost a year after its invasion of Ukraine.
The South Asian nation increased Russian oil imports in 2022, ending the year with record monthly volumes as discounted barrels enticed buying. Executives said more cheap crude may be available to India from early next month, with a European Union ban on seaborne Russian fuel shipments possibly weighing on refining rates in the key OPEC+ producer.
India and China have become a crucial destination for Russian oil after many others shunned shipments due to the war in Ukraine. Indian refiners are able to turn cheap Russian crude into fuels such as diesel and then sell to regions including Europe, boosting profit margins
for processors. The impending EU sanctions are expected to ratchet up demand for fuels from Asia.
“It’s bit of a circular trade going on as India takes Russian crude that Western buyers don’t want and refining it into products for resale to the West,” said Mukesh Sahdev, the head of downstream oil trading at Rystad Energy.
India’s crude imports rose to a record last year, although increased buying of Russian barrels has crimped flows from OPEC. Cartel members accounted for about 62% of total oil imports from April to December, compared with around 71% in the previous corresponding period, according to government data.
The refinery executives said Indian processors will maintain their long-term supplies from producers such as Saudi Arabia, with any increase in Russian purchases done on a spot and opportunistic basis.
With Siraj, Gill and Shardul, India is Ready for World Cup
iNDore: India have started their home season, ahead of the ODI World Cup in October-November, with clean sweeps of Sri Lanka and New Zealand, despite the absence of some key players. Here are some takeaways from their performances over the past two weeks.
Mohammed Siraj has cemented his position as one of India’s premier fast bowlers - with or without Jasprit Bumrah. When there is juice in the pitch, he gets the new ball to swing and seam, and when there isn’t, he unleashes his wobble-seam variation which has proven even harder to handle. His 14 wickets in five ODIs against Sri Lanka and New Zealand even helped rise to No.1 on the ODI bowlers rankings.
“The more cricket he [Siraj] has played, he has become better in terms of understanding his bowling,” India captain Rohit Sharma said. “In this game it’s about understanding what you can do, what is your ability, the moment you understand that you can be more effective for the team… Siraj has exactly done that in last couple of years that he has played whichever format be it. He has done really well, he understands what the team is expecting from him: to come and take the new ball, swing the ball, get early wickets, in the middle overs.”
Before the start of India’s home season, there were questions around Shubman Gill’s place at the
top because an ODI double-centurion had to make way for him.
Now he himself is an ODI double-centurion, the youngest in the history of the format. His coming of age was always on the cards but nobody expected this.
“Honestly, the way he was batting in this series, [and] even before the series, I don’t think much needs to be told [to him],” Rohit said. “He understands his game very well, he paces his innings very well. That is what you want in one-day cricket, you want big [scores], you want to go deep into the game. He has shown it, he has got big hundreds, no matter how flat the pitch is to get a doublehundred is not easy. It shows he was calculative and he understood
[that] he needs to bat deep. The set batsman needs to bat as long as possible. That is what the reason we got 350-plus total in that game. He has got great maturity in the way he thinks about the game and the way he approaches the game. That is all I can say. I have not had played lot of cricket with him but from the first time I saw him in Australia in Test series, we all know how he batted at that Test match at the Gabba.”
After being left out of the side for the Sri Lanka ODIs, Shardul Thakur proved his all-round value against New Zealand, strengthening his case to be India’s No. 8 at the World Cup. In the first ODI, Michael Bracewell gave India an almighty scare by taking New Zea-
land from 131 for 6 to within two sixes of levelling their score (349). And it was Thakur who closed that game out by trapping Bracewell with a dipping yorker.
Then, in the third ODI, on a ground with 60m boundaries on all sides, Thakur proved the difference between the two sides by breaking the back of New Zealand’s middle order all in the space of 10 balls.
“He has got the knack of taking wickets at crucial times for us,” Rohit said. “We have seen it, not just in ODI cricket but also in Test cricket. There are so many instances that I remember [when] there is a partnership building from the opposition and he came in and got us through. He is very critical to us, we know where we stand as a team, what he brings to us is very critical. I just hope that he keeps putting up performances like this and it will only do good for the team.
“He is very smart, he has played lot of domestic cricket, he has come up through the ranks, and he understands what needs to be done. In this format you need to use your skill and Shardul definitely has some skills. He has a good knuckle ball; he bowled it to Tom Latham today, that was nicely planned in the middle by few players and I was not included in that (laughs). It was Virat, Hadik and Shardul; so it was a good plan. At the end of the day, if a plan works for the team, we all are happy.”
BCCI Scores Big Rs with Women’s Premier League
MuMbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has got richer by Rs 4699.99 crore. Ever since the board rolled out its plan to launch a T20 league for women on the lines of the Indian Premier League, top corporate houses had shown interest in owning the five teams up for grabs. On Wednesday, when the bids in Mumbai, the BCCI was celebrating another big pay day.
The inaugural edition of the Women’s Premier League (WPL) will have five teams based out of Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Lucknow. The tournament is set to take place in March with player auction set for February.
And even before a ball is bowled, the WPL has fetched Rs 5,650.99 crore to the BCCI and its broadcast right (bought by Viacom for Rs 951 crore) already makes it the second highest among T20 leagues, only behind the IPL.
Not even Big Bash League, The Hundred or any other domestic T20 league comes close to these numbers.
The Adani Group went all out for the Ahmedabad franchise, by placing a highest bid Rs 1,289 cr. The next three highest bids came from IPL franchises who were keen to spread their roots into the women’s game. Mumbai Indians (Rs 912 cr), Royal Challengers Bangalore (Rs 901 cr), Delhi Capitals (Rs 810 cr) placed the highest and walk away with a franchise. All three have picked the same home base as their men’s team.
AAPI Healthcare Summit Calls for Giving Back to the Motherland
Vishakhapatnam: The 16th annual Global Healthcare Summit (GHS) organized by the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) concluded with a call and commitment to give back to India, our motherland, making healthcare accessible, efficient, and equitable for all, at Hotel Novotel on Varun Beach in Visakhapatnam on January 8th, 2023.
Attended by nearly 500 delegates from the United States and India, the GHS 2023 was jointly organized by AAPI and the local organizing committee at Visakhapatnam from January 6th to 8th, 2023. This Global Health Care Summit, with participation from leading medical professionals, thought leaders, heads of several health industry sectors, and policy-makers has had several unique events with enthusiastic participation from local healthcare fraternity and dozens of leading physicians from the United States.
Dr Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, while describing the objectives of the Summit, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit has served as a means to raising awareness on key health care issues affecting the Indian subcontinent, such as the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, Women’s and Children’s Health, Blindness Prevention and Hepatitis etc. Highlight of this Summit was to reaffirm NRI Physicians’ commitment towards improving
health care and create model programs for management of various diseases and to improve outcomes universally, he added.
The Summit focused on mental health, including reducing the stigma for seeking mental health services, and on Physicians burnout, Dr. V. Ranga, Chair of AAPI BOT said. “Deliberations included discussions on the Stigma of Mental illness, Suicide prevention, Management of Chronic and Non Communicable Diseases, and other Global Health issues including Climate Change and its impact
on population health,” he added.
In addition, AAPI has plans to collaborate with various state and federal government programs to enhance the quality of healthcare delivery, making it affordable, efficient, and equitable, improving health outcomes universally and training the trainer sessions involving learning modules in different specialties, and tele-consultations.
Shri. YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in a message delivered to the AAPI delegates at the GHS, urged the members
of “the American Association of Physicians of Indian origin to give back something to the society, which has given them an opportunity to pursue medical education and become successful in India and abroad.” He expressed confidence, stating, “I’m sure this platform will bring together best in the healthcare field from professionals, who will provide innovative solutions for the challenges being faced by all.”
Chief Guest at the Summit, Smt. Vidadala Rajini, Honorable Minister for Health, Family Welfare
& Medical Education of state of Andhra Pradesh, said, “The Global Healthcare Summit is an important opportunity for all the healthcare professionals to learn from each other and enhance fellowship. I’m grateful to have this opportunity to attend and learn from all of you,” she said. “I believe that by working with you, we can improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the state. The government has the ability to design the best policies on healthcare, while delivering the best treatments and medical care to the patient is essentially in the hands of the physicians.”
Among others who addressed the AAPI delegates and joined the felicitation of AAPI delegates and the local organizers of the Summit included, Shri. Gudivada Amarnath, Honorable Minister for IT.
“We are sure that the Summit offered a rewarding experience not only on intellectual but on aesthetic front as well, with the scenic beauty of Visakhapatnam and the many surrounding places. The organizing committee has taken every measure possible to make the event a memorable one for everyone at the GHS,” said Dr. Ravi Raju, Chair of GHS (India) 2023.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Ravi Kolli said, “The Global Healthcare Summit held annually in India, has become a major contributing factor, where Indian American Doctors focus on various programs and policies in our efforts to make a huge difference in the delivery of healthcare in India.”
Eternal Gandhi Museum Honors County Judge KP George and the Commissioners
houstoN: Opening in the Fall 2023 Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston, EGMH, will be the first ever full fledged museum in North America, dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. The museum’s goal is to preserve and proliferate the greatest and most incredible legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, “Nonviolent Conflict Resolution.” Please visit www.egmh.org to learn more about this exciting new initiative.
EGMH took another big step in its journey with a dinner reception honoring Fort Bend County Judge KP George and the Commissioners Court for sponsoring a $475,000 grant under the American Rescue Plan. The auspicious event occurred on Sunday, January 15th, at Indian Summer Modern Cuisine Restaurant at 16260 Kensington Dr, Sugar Land, Texas.
The evening began with a warm reception. The attendees had the opportunity to view the 3D model of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston, showcasing the structure and flow of the actual museum.
The program began with a recitation of the Universal Prayer, We pray to the God of Sat (Truth) to give us the boon of Ahimsa (Nonviolence) in mind, word and deed, by Emcee Mr. GV Krishnan, Interim Museum Director of EGMH.
After welcoming all in attendance, GV highlighted that EGMH would specifically focus on the principles of Peace, Truth, and Nonviolence while based on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. He also highlighted that this day was also the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, America’s preeminent advocate for nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history. In honor of MLK, the audience got treated to a short segment of a video presenta-
tion from the amazing documentary “A Force More Powerful”. This is a PBS documentary on one of the 20th century’s most important and least-known stories: how the power of nonviolence overcame oppression and authoritarian rule. The segment viewed was about the civil rights movement lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Manish K. Wani then gave an overall update on EGMH. He explained that the museum’s message is transformative: Through the practice of nonviolent conflict
resolution, visitors (especially youth) can be catalysts for change in their own lives and communities. He defined the museum’s Vision: A world where conflicts are resolved by nonviolent means; and the Mission: To cultivate universal values of truth, nonviolence, love, peace, and service through education and community dialogue and to encourage visitors to embrace these values in their own lives.
The museum project headlined the front page of the River Oaks magazine. The Better Business Bureau
of Greater Houston and South Texas determined that EGMH meets the “Standards for Charitable Accountability.” He explained the construction of the museum is near complete and the installments of all the exhibit has started and would take up to six months.
He explained that the project budget is $13 million, which includes a $3 million endowment fund. To date, EGMH has raised $7.275 million through various grants, fundraisers and personal donations. Dr. Wani encouraged the audience to participate in this worthy and critical effort. The museum will offer volunteer opportunities and will depend on the entire community’s participation.
In conclusion, “No one knows where the next Gandhi will come from because the power for posi-
tive change lives in each of us. We don’t have to adopt his lifestyle to follow in his footsteps. His legacy calls us to do our own part through actions large and small to make a more just, peaceful and harmonious world.
Mr. G.V. Krishnan, who recently retired, has been appointed as the Interim Museum Director. He is very excited and enthusiastic about his new role and feels there would be no better way to give back to the community that has given him so much.
Consul General of India, Mr. Aseem Mahajan then addressed the audience. The Consul General pointed out that the construction of the Eternal Gandhi Museum Houston coincides with “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.”
Oscars 2023: India Scores Three Nominations
Robbery at Brazos Hindu Temple
houstoN A local Hindu temple is upping security after a burglary left the congregants feeling violated.
“The priest and his family who live in an apartment right behind the temple, they are safe,” he said.
los aNgeles: The nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday by actors Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed.
All That Breathes has won top awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.
Indian documentary films
All That Breathes and The Elephant Whisperers have both scored nominations in the Best Documentary Feature Film and the Best Documentary Short Film categories, respectively. SS Rajamouli’s RRR has scored one nomination in the Best Original Song category for “Naatu Naatu.” RRR did not receive any other nominations.
All That Breathes follows siblings Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who have made it their lives’ mission to rescue and treat injured birds, especially the Black Kites.
The docu film was lauded for its delicate and bold storytelling. Los Angeles Times even called it the ‘most beautifully realised documentary in recent memory’. The documentary has already been acquired by HBO Documentary Films, but as of now, it is not available to stream on any Indian OTT platform.
Directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, the 41-minute documentary short film follows a family in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu who adopt two orphan baby elephants. The film has been produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain.
Director Kartiki Gonsalves previously spoke to Deadline about the “overwhelmingly positive” feedback that The Elephant Whisperers has received.
“I’ve got a lot of feedback saying that it portrays the dignity of both the magnificent elephants and the Indigenous people who’ve lived with them and shared with them for centuries. And [viewers] said that they understood elephants on a much deeper level, and some people just said it was so calming to see coexistence in the best way,” she said.
The 95th Academy Awards will be held on March 12, and the ceremony will be hosted for the third time by comedian Jimmy Kimmel.
“There was a sense of invasion, that sense of loss of privacy when something like this happened to us,” Srinivasa Sunkari, a Board member for the Brazos Valley Shri Omkarnath Temple said.
This is the only Hindu temple in the Brazos Valley, a place for local Hindus to worship, and find peace and community. But, since Jan. 11, they’ve been focusing on security.
“There was a break-in. They broke in through the side window and what was immediately apparent was missing is our donation box and a safe in which we keep our valuables,” Sunkari said. The temple sits just outside of College Station, locked behind a gate. When the burglary happened around 4:00 a.m., Sunkari says they’re grateful it wasn’t worse for their community.
A video captured by security cameras inside the temple shows a person ignoring the shrine and going straight to the donation box. The suspect then used the temple’s cart to wheel it out the door.
Sunkari says they notified the community members at a gathering Sunday, sharing the leaders’ sentiment for more security. But, he says the group won’t let this incident keep them from their commitment.
“We will rebound, we will take extra precautions to make sure our priest is safe and this family is safe and our place of worship is safe. And we hope that something like this doesn’t happen to anybody in the future,” Sunkari said.
The Brazos County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating the burglary.
India’s Lonely African
BBC: Govt Response Could’ve Been More Self-Assuringby ViVek katju
Just before the BBC telecast the first part of its documentary “India: The Modi Question” on its channel BBC 2 on January 17, it carried a more than 11-minute report on the documentary in its programme “Impact” on BBC World News. While the BBC 2 channel’s reach is limited to Britain, the latter has a large audience in several parts of the English-speaking world; it also has a presence in many other parts of the world. Clearly, the BBC’s intention was, at a minimum, to arouse an interest in as large a viewership in the documentary across the world as it could and not confine it to Britain alone.
In 1998, a young elephant, at home in the vast Savannah grasslands of Zimbabwe, set off on a journey he hadn’t asked for. By the fiat of humans, he had been turned from elephant to emissary — a gift from the African nation to the Indian president. Here, in these arid climes, he was given a name, Shankar, and a home, an enclosure at the Delhi Zoo. He was not alone at first, but the female elephant who had accompanied him on that long journey died a few years later. It is hard for the African elephant, untamed and solitary by nature, to get along with Asian elephants or respond to human commands. The only other African elephant in India lives far away in Mysuru. And so, in this strange land, all that remained for Shankar was a long, stubborn loneliness. For centuries, emperors and imperialists have turned animals into a currency of power, or tokens of benevolence.
The East India Company’s reign in India saw elephants make arduous voyages to Britain. After Independence, a nation without economic heft turned elephants into symbols of soft power. Under Nehru, baby elephants were dispatched as “messengers of affection from the children of India” to several countries. For designing an ash tray for Air India, the Spanish artist Salvador Dali asked for — and got — an elephant for his garden in Barcelona.
This anthropocentric worldview — where the most magnificent animals are uprooted from their homes and habitats to be turned into playthings of human needs — is fortunately on its way out. In 2005, the Indian government banned the gifting of wild animals for diplomacy. The Delhi Zoo has stopped accepting such “gifts”. Prodded by online petitions against Shankar’s “solitary confinement”, it is now looking to import a mate for Shankar, or for a way to send him back home to Zimbabwe. Whether or not they succeed, the loneliness of Delhi’s only African elephant will continue to ask troubling questions of the cost sentient beings pay for human pride. -- Indian Express
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eDitor: PraMoD kulkarNi
CorresPoNDeNt: saNChali basu
The presenter of the “Impact” report began by saying “nearly 21 years since the Gujarat riots in 2002, a new BBC documentary takes a fresh look at the legacy of the events and how it has affected India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was the chief minister of the state at the time”. It is significant that the BBC did not characterise the documentary as a product of only one of its channels but the network as a whole.
Apparently, the documentary has been at least two years in the making. The BBC has close ties with the establishment and promotes Britain’s foreign policy positions, notwithstanding its claims of being independent. Thus, it is clear that at least an influential section of the British establishment decided to focus on a controversial part of Modi’s record in public life.
The documentary emphasises a British Foreign Office report “marked as restricted” on the Gujarat riots. In the “Impact” programme, the BBC claimed that it had been “in possession” of this report for two decades and had used some parts of it earlier but it is only now that it decided to fully use it. Generally “restricted” is a low-level security classification of official documents. All that it means is that it should not be publicly available because the disclosure of its contents may cause embarrassment to the government of the concerned country. Documents with restricted classification
generally do not contain material which would damage the security of a state or imperil its interests in a major way. In view of the connections which the BBC has always had with the British establishment, it is not surprising that it had the Foreign Office report. Therefore, the questions which Indian policymakers have to address are: Why did the British establishment decide to make a documentary which would target the Modi government? Why did the BBC decide to release it at a time when the Modi government wishes to make a special mark through its G20 presidency? Why has the BBC wanted to draw international attention to it?
The government has used its powers to ensure that the documentary is not available in India on social media platforms. This is a normal bureaucratic and even political response in case it is feared that a document or documentary’s contents could disturb public order. But such responses should be arrived at after a full and careful consideration of the real threats to peace and public order. They should not be routine responses to controversial documents or documentaries even if their contents are offensive — as indeed this documentary is in some respects. While the social media organisations have complied with the order, it is possible that the courts may have to get involved if the government’s orders are challenged.
The ruling dispensation and its supporters are angry at the continuing colonial attitudes of those in Britain who have produced such a documentary which has not
taken into account that the Indian judicial process has fully exonerated Modi and has refused to accept the idea of a wider conspiracy behind the Gujarat riots. However, do these expressions of anger and pointing out continuing colonial attitudes in Britain serve any real purpose? Indeed, it can be argued that such responses show a streak of the continuing colonial attitudes of some Indians themselves. Would it not be better to show complete indifference to such BBC reports and documentaries? Should that not be the response of self-confident people who have faith in their own institutions?
This documentary can in no way damage Modi or the BJP electorally. The British establishment and the BBC surely would be aware of this fact. The target, therefore, appears to be to injure Modi and the BJP’s international reputation. It could also be a signal to the aggressive tone that Indian diplomacy acquired in recent years on matters of concern to the Western world. India’s diplomatic tradition was to be firm on matters concerning its interests but only very occasionally resort to acerbic language. The greatest strategic challenge India faced in its seventy-five years of independence was in 1971. Even then its tone and use of words was calm and balanced. Courtesy, humility and firmness are signs of strength. That has also always been our cultural tradition.
It was always on the cards that the G20 presidency would lead to greater comprehensive scrutiny, including on issues of social peace. The way to respond to this scrutiny is by displaying assurance in our institutions and sober responses and not getting agitated by every critical documentary and statement. That could begin with the BBC’s second part of the documentary “India: The Modi Question” which is to be telecast on BBC 2 on January 24.
This, of course, does not mean that gratuitous insults to India or its leaders should be forgotten or forgiven. But paroxysms of pique serve little purpose.
The author is a former diplomat.
“Gatuitous insults to India or its leaders should not be forgotten or forgiven. But paroxysms of pique serve little purpose.”
‘Pathaan’: Shah Rukh Khan is Back with Patriotic Spy Thriller ENTERTAINMENTby shubhra guPta
iNDore: Hindi movies have been constructing the ‘desi’ equivalents of the Bond-Bourne franchise for a while now. Tiger has been ‘zinda’ in a pacy double-bill, Agent Vinod has done his bit, BellBottom has flexed and flared, but it is ‘Pathaan’ which has got the spy movie-laced-with-heavy-dosesof-patriotism bouncing off the screen, with Shah Rukh Khan acing the action avatar, flaunting the floppy-hair-glinting-aviators-eight packs (or is it twelve?) look.
That’s because it has finally got what’s needed in an action movie — non-stop action, leavened by glamorous leads, topped by the guy who can save the world, a high-octane set piece and an emo line at a time.
Bonus: the very svelte Deepika Padukone, matching SRK stride for stride, giving stiff competition to Katrina Kaif, who kicked serious ass in Tiger 2. There’s also Dimple Kapadia, building on her blink-and-miss-role in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’, as the foxy Moneypenny equivalent. And the chief antagonist, played by John Abraham, who manages to make the most of his lines.
The plot involves a slew of spies, sardonic RAW chiefs (Ashutosh Rana), evil ISI generals and guntoting terrorists inhabiting global hotspots. Pakistan is back eyeing Kashmir (it will never learn, will it). One of India’s own, Jim (John Abraham) has gone rogue. Gorgeous ISI agent Rubina (Deepika
Padukone) is as at home in a bikini as she is in skin-tight spandex. A deadly virus, much more dangerous than Covid 19, is being cooked up in top-secret labs. There’s clear and present danger, and desh-kedushman crawling all over the landscape. But breathe easy, because India’s best and bravest, Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan) is at hand.
The problem of carrying off a two-and-half hour film is evident in the places where you stifle a yawn (yes, it can happen even when everything is galloping along at break-neck speed). Just so there’s nothing missed out, we have Pathaan and Jim facing off in the air (many helicopters were hurt in the making of this film), skimming over ice-floes and under icy water, chasing each other down twisty roads. There’s some amount
of roll-your-eyes silliness, par for the course for this kind of flick. Plus, the third person mention of ‘Pathaan’ starts getting tiresome (kitni baar bologe, yaar). Trust us, we got it the first time. But the slack is tightened quickly enough: an entire train is commandeered in the service of a special featuring Pathaan and a keffiyehsporting spy whose trademark moves had the audience roaring. And then there is that song which created such a controversy weeks before it hit the theatres. There really is nothing in it that we haven’t seen before (YRF songs-on-beaches should rightfully be a separate Bollywood sub-genre) but there’s no denying that Pathaan and Rubina swaying and narrowing their eyes at each other on a Spanish beach, is more a hot proposition than a potato. But let me reassure
those worried: nothing besharam happens, sadly, even with nothing between them but a gun.
The film comes at a time when Bollywood, and SRK have been under siege. ‘Pathaan’ is that sateek jawaab of this beleaguered pathaan, who manages multiple feats in his come-back after a clutch of medium-bad to terrible films : gives it those ones to the #BoycottBollywood brigade, pulls off the dishy-and-dishevelled look rippling those abs, give us a laughout-loud moment (I won’t ruin it for you, but it involves a line from an early SRK character, also in a YRF film, which would have become eminently meme-worthy if memes were a thing those days) and saves Bharat Mata. Take that.
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Dimple Kapadia, Ashutosh Rana
Director: Siddharth Anand
Review: 3 stars -- IE
‘Pathaan’ Hits Century: 100+ Countries
Pathaan will release in more than 100 countries, the highest for any Indian film ever! Nelson D’Souza, Vice President, International Distribution, reveals, “Pathaan is the widest release for any YRF film ever in the overseas territories. In fact, it is the widest release for an Indian film globally! Shah Rukh Khan is hands down the biggest superstar internationally and there is unparalleled demand for Pathaan to be released across the world given the hype that the film is carrying.”
He adds, “This is a very heartening sign, especially post pandemic, keeping the theatrical business re-
vival in mind. Pathaan will release in 100 + countries. It is the fourth film of YRF’s spy universe and it is amazing to see how our prized franchise is growing from strength to strength with every film. We are very bullish about Pathaan and what it can collect from the overseas territories.”
The hype around Pathaan is unprecedented. All the assets of the film that YRF has released so far have turned out to be super-hits right from the teaser, the two songs - Besharam Rang & Jhoome Jo Pathaan - and the recently dropped trailer that has caused an internet meltdown!
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‘Chhatriwali’: A Watchable Light-hearted Film
Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine.
31, 2023. Email us at email@example.com. Please send
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Solution Next Weekby
Vijay Deoskar and co-written by Sanchit Gupta and Priyadarshee
Story: Sanya is embarrassed by her unusual job description as the quality control manager for a condom company. Will she ever be comfortable with her work and even educate others on the importance of having safe sex?
Review: After Aparshakti Khurana’s Helmet (2019), Nushrratt Bharuccha’s Janhit Mein Jaari (2022), Chhatriwali is the latest addition to these social dramas that uses humour to deliver a perspective message about the taboo subjects like “contraceptives” and “safe sex”. In this story set in Karnal (Haryana), chemistry teacher Sanya (Rakul Preet Singh) is transformed into a local crusader to destigmatise sex education. To make ends meet, Sanya takes up the job as the quality control head in a condom factory. Initially embarrassed, she becomes comfortable with her unusual choice when Mr Lamba (Satish Kaushik), the company’s owner, makes her understand the importance of this job.
Srivastava, Chhatriwali is more of a mash-up of the movies Helmet and Janhit Mein Jaari. Many scenes and situations are cliched, from Sanya lying about her job to everyone to the awkward situation Rishi encounters while purchasing condoms. Similar to films made on this idea, the first half of the film is nicely nurtured before the social commentary issue arises, making the second half a slow burn.
ably steers this 117-minute-long film. Dolly Ahluwalia has little to do as Sanya’s mother. Sumeet Vyas is excellent as Rishi, a man who loves his wife unconditionally but believes “condoms are for lovers, not for the married couples.”
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Rajesh Tailang, as Bhaiji, a biology teacher who believes sex education is unnecessary for students, and Prachee Shah Paandya, as his wife, play their roles convincingly. Satish Kaushik is funny as Mr Lamba, but his garish wig is not. While Sunidhi Chauhan’s Special Edition Kudi is upbeat, the other songs in the movie do not compel you to hit the reply button. Overall, it’s a light-hearted film that is predictable and could have been packaged and delivered more creatively and uniquely. Despite this, Chhatriwali is watchable with the right intent. -- Times of India
Things take a turn when Sanya falls in love with Rishi (Sumeet Vyas), and they marry without knowing how she earns a living. Instead, she lies to her mother (Dolly Ahluwalia) and in-laws by claiming to work for an umbrella company. The charade is predictable but entertaining right from the beginning.Directed by Tejas Prabha Rakul Preet Singh
The film draws a dubious parallel between using condoms and preventing abortion. Sanya discovers her inner activist and criticises the use of condoms over birth control pills with the catchphrase “mujhse karna hai pyaar, toh condom ko karo sweekar,” sparking a debate among women who find it difficult to speak up.
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Last Week’s Solution
Licensed Sales Agent 832-282-3515, TT Y 711
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Kumud Athavale, Ramana Vadrevu, Krishna R. Vuddagiri, Sanchali Basu, Yudhveer Singh Bagga, Taranjit Singh, Kanubhai Patel, Prabhu Narumanchi
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