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MARCH 2017 ISSUE No.220



MARCH 2017




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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Meet “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”! An EXCLUSIVE interview with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt

Full interview turn to page 34

Viceroy House

Releasing in the UK on 3rd March

Full interview turn to page 35



Mirchi Music Awards This seasons music awards are in full swing with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil grabbing the majority gongs. The film has been a runaway success musically, bagging wins left, right and centre amidst numerous awards shows. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil took home five awards at the Mirchi Music Awards 2017, Album of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Music Composer of the Year and Make It Large Award for director Karan Johar.

Arjit Singh who lended his vocals to the movie and accepted the Male Vocalist of the Year said, “I am very fortunate that I get good songs. Above all, my songs are being well accepted. I would like to give all the credit to the music directors and the producers.” Other winners at the awards included Sarbjit, which won Best Raag Inspired Song, accepted by Meherbaan. Jonita Ghandhi won Female Vocalist of the Year for her song Gilehryiaan in Amir Khan’s knockout



movie Dangal. Upcoming Composer of the Year was awarded to Tanishk Bagchi for Bolna from the film Kapoor and Sons whilst Upcoming Male Vocalist of the Year award went to duo Sarwar Khan and Sartaz Khan Barna for their song Haanikarak Baapu, also from Dangal. Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan added fun to the music festivities by performing tracks Badri Ki Dulhania and Tamma Tamma Again from their upcoming film.

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win an Oscar To read the full story turn to page 33

Rani Mukerji returns to acting with Hichki To read the full story turn to page 33



Celebrating International Women’s Day- to Party or Protest

Women around the world make use of the day by bringing to light ongoing sexism


arch 8th commemorated International Women’s Day, a day in which women everywhere were celebrated for their political, social, economic and cultural achievements, contributions and ongoing progress.

There have been thousands upon thousands of rallies, festivals, exhibitions, conferences and gatherings all over the world in order to celebrate and discuss past, present and future issues where women are concerned. Of course, nowhere boomed louder than

Blind Barrister appointed as District Judge - P14

Interview with Alia Bhatt & Varun Dhawan- PG 34

the online sphere. Google’s March 8th Google Doodle featured a whole host of notable names including the first woman in space, Korea’s first female judge, Turkey’s first female Olympian and more. Sky News even featured an allfemale line-up on the day. Continued on Page 2

Cricket Returns to Pakistan - PG 38

MARCH 2017





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Continued From Front Page International Women’s Day was first created back in the early 1900s in New York and was officially adopted in 1975 by the United Nations. However as much as the champagne splashed and female-orientated discounts shone in some parts of the world, other areas used the day to call to attention the serious sexist issues still plaguing them.

For example, India made use of the day by organising the One Billion Rising march, a campaign supported by thirty women’s groups, which brought back to attention the persistent sexual violence women still face in India. In Lebanon, women’s rights activists planned a march protesting women’s lack of political representation in Parliament, the patrilineal citizenship law which

disallows Lebanese mothers from passing on citizenship to their children if they marry a foreigner and the lack of adequate punishments for rape. Australia staged a strike protesting unequal pay and a lack of funding for early education whilst women in France walked out of work at 3.40pm, the time at which women appear to be working for free in comparison to their male colleagues.

University student’s artwork marks Curzon Street revival Birmingham City University visual communications student, Sarina Kaur, beat off stiff competition to be crowned winner of an art competition marking the arrival of High Speed rail in Birmingham. The winning design is now on display between the Romaninspired columns of the former Curzon Street station entrance, giving the world's oldest surviving piece of monumental railway architecture a modern makeover. The Government announced that Royal Assent had been granted for the new High Speed Two (HS2) railway on Thursday, 23 February, paving the way for construction of the Phase One line of route between Birmingham Curzon Street and London Euston to begin. HS2 Ltd joined forces with the University in a bid to find a talented artist whose winning design would be reproduced as a centrepiece to celebrate Curzon Street’s important railway heritage and exciting future. Sarina’s original artwork was praised by the design panel, headed up by Sarah Weir OBE – former executive director of the Arts Council, for its ‘thoughtful combination of graphic and artistic style which

Grand New Gurdwara Set for Great Barr

• Sarina Kaur crowned winner of a competition marking the arrival of HS2

references both the beginning and end of Curzon Street's previous incarnation as a working railway station’. The winning design has been reproduced on to two 8.3 x 4.3 metre banners and is on display on the exterior of the former Grade 1 listed Curzon Street station building, the oldest railway terminus in the world. Sarina Kaur, visual communications student, Birmingham City University, said: “I never expected to win, but I am delighted to have done so. The inspiration behind my design has taken influence by the illustrator and art director Kate Moross. Using a serif font and reforming the elements of a steam

locomotive to represent the 19th century, I have merged elements of both traditional and modern styles, allowing audiences to understand how art has been influenced over the years.” Birmingham City Council leader Councillor John Clancy John Clancy said: “Sarina’s artwork symbolises the start of an exciting period of change for Birmingham Eastside. HS2 is a huge opportunity for our young and growing population, so we are delighted to have worked in partnership with HS2 Ltd, Birmingham City University and the local student community to celebrate the announcement that High Speed rail is coming to the city.”

Birmingham City Council has unveiled bright new plans to transform an empty Great Barr office block into a new place of Sikh worship. Applicant Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara aims to being a new Sikh temple to Aldridge Road. In total, eleven committee members approved the plans for the grand new temple, with councillor Martin Straker Welds stating that the repurpose would be “filling a need” in the as of yet disused space. Councillor Bob Beauchamp also concurred, adding "it's not the prettiest of buildings and it has been vacant for some time.” Though the temple is still in its initial design stages, concern has been raised over potential parking and traffic issues. Cllr Beauchamp added that Aldridge Road is known for frequent accidents. "There's a slight waviness to the road," he

explained, "and it is used as a run in and out of the city. "There is a need to reduce parking on the street so we need to know about parking enforcements." Although it is possible to park on nearby grass verges, the council are trying to limit this as much as possible. The area support officer stated an “element of thought [had] gone into parking” and estimated that there would be 87 car parking spaces in total. It has been estimated that up to 50, possibly more, people would be attending the Gurdwara on the weekdays between 4am and 9pm, and that they could be travelling to worship from as far as Sutton Coldfield, Great Barr, Perry Barr, Erdington, Tyburn, Stockland Green, Kingstanding, Oscott, Witton, Walmley, Pipe Hayes and Perry Common.









MARCH 2017

Don’t ignore the warning signs. If you’ve been suffering from tummy troubles such as diarrhoea, bloating, discomfort or anything else that just doesn’t feel right for three weeks or more, it could be a sign of cancer. It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable, so tell your doctor.



MARCH 2017


Coca Cola Donates Land for Birmingham Fire Station Project

Coca Cola has donated up to a quarter of an acre of land in Birmingham’s Kingston neighbourhood in aid of a new and expanded fire station. Birmingham City Council accepted the donation via approval of a resolution in early March. The director of community relations for Coca Cola United, Linda Sewell, said the area at 4112 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. is part of 88 acres that Coca Cola owns. "(The city of Birmingham) needed a small parcel of the property that we own to build the fire station and to serve the community," she said. "The fire station is very important for the well-being of the community so we were happy to make that donation." She added, “We thought it was prudent to think long term and plan for the future.” Fire Station No. 8 was shut down back in 2016 over mold and asbestos, an occupational hazard for firefighters, and left Kingston without a fire station in case of emergency. After serious community pressure, the Birmingham City Council agreed to improve the station in a £3million reconstruction project. The completed fire station will take approximately 12-18 months.




Ready for the Revamped Birmingham 10k?

Are you taking part? Tweet us your pictures! #10KBR @theasiantoday

Lacing up for the upcoming Great Birmingham 10k? There’s been a few changes you might want to take note of. For starters, the infamous Lee Bank Middleway at the 8km and 11mile mark have been removed due a redrawing of the race route. It’s a huge changes for regulars of the run, with many considering it one of the most challenging and therefore rewarding aspects of the run. Now, both races will finish at Millenium Point in Eastside as

opposed to Broad Street, which has previously welcomed sprinters home for the psat few years. Organisers of the Great Run said the redrawing was down to pending works to carry out a £10 million revamp of the Centenary Square just outside the Library of Birmingham. It is feared that any such works would interfere with the race or vice versa. As of now, the new course begins on Jennens Road near Birmingham City University, bridges down

Moor Street, through Digbeth, down Pershore Lane, loops around Edgbaston Cricket Ground then heads all the way back up again, turning the corner at Jennens Road and finishing off at Millenium Point, Curzon Street. Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 2017 wil be taking place on April 30th- a bank holiday weekendand will also be featuring a Commonwealth Run in a bid for the city to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 2017 wil be taking place on April 30th A bank holiday weekend



MARCH 2017



MARCH 2017



The Asian Today Nominated for a National Diversity Award



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A humble thanks to all those who have supported The Asian Today for the upcoming National Diversity Awards. The NDA is an esteemed black-tie ceremony that aims to recognise and reward both people and organisations who are actively promoting and contributing to diversity in all areas of life. This includes the inclusion of all peoples, regardless of their race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability or cultural background. The idea for the NDA first came about when The Diversity Group identified a need for positive role models in communities throughout

the UK. The NDA has been moving from city to city each year in a bid to spread its message around England. Last year, Birmingham based Sajid Rashid BEM won the 2016 Positive Role Model Award for Age for his work with the Uxbridge Community Centre. The Asian Today has been put forward for the Community Organisation award in the MultiStrand category. It is especially gratifying that we would even be nominated given that The Asian Today was created specifically to help inform the local community of all the great, positive news stories which are often overlooked.

Second City Suite Loses Licence After Funeral Shooting

One of Birmingham’s most well-known venues, the Second City Suite, has lost its licence after a man was shot to death at a funeral in the presence of children on February 4th. Councillors decided to revoke the Suite’s licence after it heard that there was an “absolute lack of control” at the wake where a thirty year old man was shot in the leg. The incident happened at around 8.45pm and according to witnesses who spoke to the committee, a fight broke out during the funeral wake between multiple guests. A staff member then ushered a horde of screaming, terrified children into the toilets and behind the bar for safety whilst the brawl spilled out onto Sherlock Street, which culminated in four shots being fired. Dolly Sahota, a sales manager, said “Kids were hiding under the tables and I was told there was a fight going on. There were lots of mums with children who were screaming and I took them into the office, behind the bar and into the toilets. “I went towards the doors and heard a gunshot and the people who had rushed outside started to rush back in.” The committee stated that the cause of the "serious crime and disorder" was due to the "wholly deficient security arrangements" and "management failings" of the Second City Suite. At the hearing, it came to light that there had only been one member of security on duty at the time of the shooting. Police had first raised concerns over the Suite back in 2014 after a string of underage drinking, fireworks and parking incidents. In June and July 2016, there were even two weapons smuggling attempts. The Second City Suite’s licence has now been suspended whilst Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) Harri Duggal, the Premises’ Licence Holder, was removed by councillors.



Although not as common in the United Kingdom, Birmingham has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis (TB) in the country and the disease is on the increase in the city, with around 400 cases diagnosed every year. TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the world’s greatest killer. Tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It is a serious condition which mainly affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body, including the bones and nervous system. People who are particularly at risk of catching TB include: Those living in areas where levels of existing TB infection levels are high. People who have been in contact with someone who has been infected. Those who have a weak immune system. People who have lived in or travelled to parts of the world where TB is more common (Africa and South East Asia). Symptoms will vary depending on where the infection occurs. A cough that lasts for more than three weeks or coughing up blood, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite are the most common symptoms to look out for. You could also end up having headaches, abdominal pain and swollen glands. Hanna Kaur, lead nurse for TB at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, is responsible for managing a team of nurses and said: “We oversee patients and run inpatient and outpatient clinics at the Birmingham Chest Clinic, Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital as well as homeless centres. “Family, friends and colleagues of TB patients are assessed by our specialist nurses and screened for TB if they are felt to have had significant contact with an infectious TB case. “TB can affect anyone meaning we see a diverse range of patients. Co-infected patients (patients who have TB and HIV) and vulnerable patients (alcohol dependant or homeless) are some of the people we see, along with children and adults. “Most TB cases can be cured by completing a course of antibiotics for six months. I’d advise you to see a GP if you have been suffering from any of these symptoms as leaving TB untreated or by not completing treatment can be fatal, as it can lead to multi-drug resistant TB, which can take up-to two years to treat. “Taking this treatment can also reduce the risk of TB spreading and there are precautions you can take to help prevent TB spreading to your friends and family. Stay away from work school/college until you are advised it is safe to return. Make sure you cover your mouth when coughing. Also remember to open windows when possible enabling you to take in a good supply of fresh air.” For more information about TB, please visit the NHS Choices website ( World TB Day takes place on 24 March 2017. Are you on Twitter? To find out what is going on around our hospitals, and for latest news and updates follow us @heartofengland. Join our conversation today! Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust staff provides general and specialist hospital care across Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospitals, Good Hope Hospital and Birmingham Chest Clinic. The Trust also provides community health services across the borough of Solihull. The Trust employs more than 10,000 members of staff, making it one of the top five employers in the Midlands.



MARCH 2017




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Floyd Mayweather’s Team Bus Torched on Broad Street


Langar serves up “Birmingham City University’s biggest meal Floyd Mayweather’s luxury team bus was set alight in the early hours of Sunday morning on Broad Street. It is believed that the bus, used by Mayweather and his entourage known as ‘The Money Team,’ was torched by an arsonist. Mayweather, the former boxing champion and now retired, had been at the ICC in Birmingham over the weekend as he continues his Undefeated tour of the UK to meet and greet his fans. Multiple witnesses recorded the fiery carnage, with hundreds on social media denouncing the attack. Broad Street is known for its brawls and disorderly behaviour on the weekends as it home to some of the Midlands most popular clubs. Numerous clubs have been closed down in the past year due to violence, drugs, knives and guns. This most recent act of violence is not expected to mar Mayweather’s tour, though it has left many of his Birmingham fans angry and others calling for better treatment of celebrities visiting the second city.

DO YOU HAVE A NEWS STORY? Students in Birmingham are inviting everyone to join them for a free lunch this week at a huge pop-up community kitchen. Birmingham City University Students’ Union and its Sikh Society will be hosting ‘Langar on Campus’ in the Atrium at Millennium Point on Thursday 23 February between 11am and 4pm. ‘Langar’, meaning kitchen in Punjabi, is an important institution in Sikhism, where free food is offered to anyone who attends. This is the second time a large-scale



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their diet is. The langar started in 15th century India by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus. It was designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status; a revolutionary concept in the caste-ordered society of India at that time.


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langar has been held at Birmingham City University and last year over 800 people from across the City came to enjoy a hot meal and gain a greater insight into the Sikh faith. ‘Langar on Campus’ is an event organised by Sikh students in universities all across the world, where students, staff and community members from all backgrounds come together and eat. Everyone sits on a carpet together at the same level – signifying equality – and only vegetarian food is served in order to cater for everyone, no matter what


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Vice President of Birmingham City University Sikh Society, Jaspreet Singh, hails from Jalandhar district in the state of Punjab, India, and has been studying in the City for three years. He said: “To Sikhs, langar can mean sharing of ideologies, sharing of good practices and sharing of food. The message of our event is clear; no matter how many differences we have got as holy souls, we all can come together as an equal unit and help humanity. This will inspire the community to not only learn, but also experience each other’s cultures and values.

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MARCH 2017


Torrent of Abuse for Young Hijabi Girl Twerking in Public

A young muslim girl has been caught up in a whirlwind of abuse after a video of her twerking in public went viral. The woman, unnamed, was filmed twerking in Birmingham city centre, whilst wearing a hijab, and dancing to music. Since being shared on social media, the video has been viewed over a million times and has resulted in a wave of backlash against the young girl. In the video, the girl can be seen twerking and dancing on another young woman and a male masked street performer as a Rihanna song plays and a huge crowd forms to watch. Many commented murderous threats against the girl, others barraged her with terms of abuse. One viewer commented: 'Truly disgusting. Some people don't

understand the meaning of the veil. You can dress in a nun outfit and dance like a whore in public. Defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?' However some have come to her aid, including Maryam Namazie, a political activist and human rights campaigner. She tweeted: “Why the hell does she need to say sorry,” and despite the backlash she received, affirmed that “Women’s rights is my business.” As the furor grew, Islamic Youtuber Ali Dawah, who has more than 100,000 subscribers, reached out to the young woman to get her side of the story. In his video, he and fellow Youtuber Musa Adnan admitted the video was “inappropriate” and interviewed the young woman. She explained: “I was out with my friends, we


were going shopping and there were these people playing music, there was one song that a girl wanted to dance with me. “To all the girls that wear hijab and wear abayah I’m sorry for disrespecting it. I’ve learnt from my mistake. I’m just hurt, I just want everybody to leave it alone and keep everything away. “I don’t want it to be how it was and I’m not gonna do anything like again and I’m sorry for disrespecting it and thank you to all of you that helped.” The teenager also revealed that she suffers from mental health issues including depression and self-harm and that she only started practising Islam two months ago. After hearing her side of the story, the Youtubers agreed that those sharing the video online were doing nothing to calm the situation.

Photo: Jane Hobson

Many have commented death threats & hurled abuse at the mentally unstable teenager



MARCH 2017



What’s On

HIGHLIGHTS Book now 0121 780 3333


Rizwan and Muazzam are the torchbearers of the Qawwali tradition. In the 20th anniversary year since Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s passing, the brothers are keeping their Uncle’s legacy very much alive – and their imaginative reinterpretation of classic Sufi texts is a rare and transcendent experience that you will not want to miss! Presented in association with Asian Arts Agency Part of a UK tour produced and managed by Asian Arts Agency


Ravi Shankar’s Only Opera: A mythical love story told through music & dance. Taken from the legendary Sanskrit texts of the Mahabharata, the story of Sukanya has been brought to life in this innovative production with music by Indian music legend Ravi Shankar and combines traditional Indian instruments with Western orchestra and singers, conducted by David Murphy. A co-production between The Royal Opera, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Curve. Generous philanthropic support from Arts Council England and the Bagri Foundation


After a spellbinding sold out performance at the world famous Wilton’s Music Hall, Lalon Queen Shapla Salique and her Jazz band perform live for the very first time in Birmingham. Shapla is one of Britain’s most successful British-Bangladeshi artists. Shapla mixes traditional Bengali music with jazz and funk influences to create what she describes as the perfect blend of east and west.

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omic Relief is gearing up for its return later this March. The nationwide much beloved charity campaign will see numerous celebrities, stars, TV shows and organisations working together to promote numerous good causes through the use of comedy and entertainment. One of the many beneficiaries of Comic Relief was Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, which received £119,108 from Comic Relief. The timing couldn’t have been

better as the organisation is facing a severe budget cut courtesy of the council. Joanne Carter, operations manager at Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid, said: "Comic Relief funds a project for young women, of which half is about giving direct support to those aged between 16 and 25 who are experiencing violence in their relationship. "That means offering not just emotional support, but practical support too, such as help with things like finances or moving to

another area if they feel that they need distance from the perpetrator. "The other half of this is educating young people generally about what domestic violence is via schools, youth groups and more. "The money provided by Comic Relief allows us to provide creative and innovative support which may not otherwise be possible. "When backs are against the wall, preventative support just cannot take priority, which is a real concern."

The Symphony Hall opens up its concerts halls exclusively for asian weddings

Symphony Hall - widely considered one of the finest concert halls in the world – is promoting its exclusive event space for Asian Weddings. The prestigious concert hall, which has never hosted a wedding, will now be opening its doors to couples planning their nuptials later this year. Bride and Grooms still looking to find that perfect city centre venue for this summer can now take advantage of a fantastic opportunity at one of Birmingham’s most iconic venues. From 24th August to 2nd September 2017, Symphony Hall is showcasing The Next Stage with a festival of events and activities aimed at highlighting the flexibility and creativity that installing The Next Stage can bring to any event. This will be a unique opportunity to experience Symphony Hall as you've never

seen it before – The Next Stage is a floating flat floor which can be installed over the entire stalls seating area. The innovative solution uses over 300 stage decks to create a floating tiered floor providing a 600sqm floor area with a banqueting capacity of 620. A bespoke balustrade system using the latest LED technology has been developed especially for the project. Because weddings can take place alongside The Next Stage festival events couples can take advantage of a heavily discounted rate which will include professional light and sound and technical support. A standing reception can accommodate 1000 and banquet style for a dinner and dance can comfortably hold 500 or 620 without the main stage.

Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair, Performances Birmingham Limited (the leading music charity which manages Town Hall and Symphony Hall) said "The Next Stage marks a hugely significant step in Symphony Hall's history, opening up the hall in response to demand from the corporate and events industry, and providing a valuable new income stream for the charity in these financially challenging times. For CSRconscious organisations, holding an event at Symphony Hall (or indeed at Town Hall) supports the charity's valuable education and talent development programme which reaches 18,000 people each year and underpins our artistic programme which brings the best in the world to Birmingham." More details of the events taking place during The Next Stage Festival will be announced in April.


MARCH 2017


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41 31

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Meet “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”! An EXCLUSIVE interview with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt

Full interview turn to page 34

Viceroy House

Releasing in the UK on 3rd March

Full interview turn to page 35


Mirchi Music Awards This seasons music awards are in full swing with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil grabbing the majority gongs. The film has been a runaway success musically, bagging wins left, right and centre amidst numerous awards shows. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil took home five awards at the Mirchi Music Awards 2017, Album of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Music Composer of the Year and Make It Large Award for director Karan Johar.

Arjit Singh who lended his vocals to the movie and accepted the Male Vocalist of the Year said, “I am very fortunate that I get good songs. Above all, my songs are being well accepted. I would like to give all the credit to the music directors and the producers.” Other winners at the awards included Sarbjit, which won Best Raag Inspired Song, accepted by Meherbaan. Jonita Ghandhi won Female Vocalist of the Year for her song Gilehryiaan in Amir Khan’s knockout

movie Dangal. Upcoming Composer of the Year was awarded to Tanishk Bagchi for Bolna from the film Kapoor and Sons whilst Upcoming

Male Vocalist of the Year award went to duo Sarwar Khan and Sartaz Khan Barna for their song Haanikarak Baapu, also from Dangal. Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan added fun to the music festivities by performing tracks Badri Ki Dulhania and Tamma Tamma Again from their upcoming film.

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win an Oscar To read the full story turn to page 33

Rani Mukerji returns to acting with Hichki To read the full story turn to page 33


5 Businesses Close in Two Years in Grand Central


Blind No5 Barrister is appointed as District Judge • Dr Fayyaz Afzal OBE


In the two years since Grand Central opened, five businesses have already shut up shop for good, putting a firm dent in the idea of Birmingham’s new cosmopolitan train/shopping centre. Numerous independent retailors based in Grand Central revealed that they were struggling to cope with “very high” rent rates and service charges. Now, Jeff Bains, Steel and Jelly, Newsflow, Francesco Ristorante, Joe Dulucci’s and Cocomacs have all shut down. The term “white label” has already been used to refer to Grand Central by members of the public online. In addition to the closure of five shops in a row, there are six empty shop units still standing in Grand Central, further adding to the image of a neglected, unused and perhaps soon to be forgotten complex.

Hammerson, who purchased Grand Central in January 2016 told the Birmingham Mail: “We don’t disclose individual centre footfall, but footfall at Grand Central is up year on year and continues to outperform the national benchmark. “We are continually working to refresh our mix of shops and restaurants to ensure that shoppers can enjoy the very best retail, dining and leisure offer.” The Strategic Director for Major Projects at Birmingham City Council, Paul Dransfield, said: “The shopping centre was almost fully let when it opened in September 2015 and there has been very little change in tenants since. We are not able to discuss commercial matters but we will ask the new owners to contact the tenant and advise us if there are any issues we need to address.”

blind barrister from No5 Barristers Chambers has been sworn in as a District Judge. The Queen has appointed Dr Fayyaz Afzal OBE to be a District Judge on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable Elizabeth Truss MP and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. The Lord Chief Justice has deployed him to the Midland Circuit, based at Derby Combined Court Centre and Coventry Combined Court Centre with effect from Friday, 17 February 2017. Fayyaz Afzal OBE, aged 39, will be known as District Judge Afzal OBE. When he was called to the Bar in 1999, Dr Afzal was the only Asian blind barrister


“I sincerely hope that my appointment to the District Bench will serve to reassure those with a disability or from nontraditional backgrounds that it is possible to succeed through determination and merit..."

in the country, and in recognition won the BBC’s Asia Award. He went on to successfully practise in areas of crime, civil, family and immigration. In 2010 he was appointed as a Deputy District Judge, and appointed as a Recorder in 2015. He will continue to sit as a recorder on the Northern Circuit but will be principally based in Derby and Coventry. He has also been a Legal Assessor and Legally Qualified Chair for a

number of health and professional regulators. Dr Afzal has been short listed for and won various awards over the years. He has also served on Committees at the Advocacy Training Council, Bar Council and at Lincoln’s Inn where he is currently leading a sub-committee on social mobility. He is a senior advocacy tutor and in 2010 was made Honorary Doctor of Staffordshire University in 2010.

Mark Anderson QC, Head of Chambers at No5 said: “Fayyaz has been an inspirational role model for those with a disability and those who come from non-traditional backgrounds. “He has worked hard to excel in everything he has done to date and benefits from an excellent reputation in so many fields. His appointment to the district is richly deserved.” Dr Afzal said: “I sincerely hope that my appointment to the District Bench will serve to reassure those with a disability or from nontraditional backgrounds that it is possible to succeed through determination and merit. “I am from a nontraditional background for judicial appointment, and was the first in my family to go to university. “I am extremely proud to be one of the only Muslim District Judges in the East Midlands, and I would hope that we will continue to see improvements to the diversity of the judiciary.”

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In order to avoid public backlash, Donald Trump may move his state visit from London to Birmingham, a move that has incited fierce anger across the entire West Midlands region. Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has made his thoughts firmly clear on the matter by launching his Dump the Trump campaign, including an online petition to keep him out of the city. Within hours, the petition received 1000 signatures.

A previous petition calling for a ban on Trump’s State Visit gained over a million signatures. Byrne, a Labour MP, told the BBC: "I think the result of him coming to Birmingham would be very divisive. "We would land up with a whopping great security bill that the West Midlands Police would have to pick up. "I think right now, what we really need is a bit of unity in the community rather than

people coming in and trying to divide us." Trump and Theresa May have both faced severe opposition for the upcoming State visit, and it was fear that should Trump visit London, he would face massive protests. The Stop Trump Coalition is believed to be organising protests across the UK on February 27th, the day of the State Visit. Some have shown support for Trump’s Birmingham visit, including John Lamb,

the spokesman for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. He said, “The business community is quite fascinated by Donald Trump and he is a democratically-elected leader; a world leader - an important world leader- so why not?”

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Student Dies From Suspected Allergic Reaction



Midlands Engine Strategy sees new ideas for the second city

Bright New Plans for Birmingham

• Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf The young boy who died of a suspected allergic reaction at a school has been named as Mohammad Ismaeel Ashraf. The nine year old, who was known as Ismaeel, collapsed at Al Hijrah School in Bordesley Green, Birmingham on the 3rd March, where upon he was taken to Heartlands Hospital but sadly died. Detective Chief Inspector Edward Foster from the West Midlands Police said, “We continue to support the family during this tragic time” and that they were working hard to unravel the cause of the death and piece together exactly what happened". The school said it was “left in great shock" by the schoolboy’s death and that he "was a very popular member of the class and will be missed by everyone who knew him". Classmates have been offered counselling in case they are affected by the death. A post-mortem will be carried out soon.

Extremely Accusative Brummy Councillors? A portion of Channel 4’s Extremely British Muslims aired a segment featuring Labour councillor Muhammad Afzal, the chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque. Cllr Afzal had plans to become Birmingham’s next Lord Mayor in May 2016 but faced severe backlash after seemingly accusing Prime Minister Theresa May of Islamophobia. The Cllr was forced to step down and had to undergo a meeting with Mosque elders to see whether he would be allowed to remain as Councillor. Channel 4’s Muslim centred documentary was filming at the Birmingham Central Mosque at the time of the scandal and were able to film exactly what transpired. In the scene, the Cllr can be seen refusing to admit any wrongdoing and even refusing to apologise.


ohn Clancy, the leader of Birmingham City Council, has welcomed the launch of the Midlands Engine Strategy which will see new investment proposals in Birmingham, something he has termed a “vote of confidence” for the growing second city. Cllr Clancy said he was looking forward to ambitious plans for a £10milllion extension to Symphony Hall in particular and would also be supporting the idea to move the Government Art Collection to Birmingham. He said, “Expanding Symphony Hall and

bringing the Government art collection to Birmingham will further enhance this city’s reputation as a significant tourist destination and one of the country’s leading arts and cultural attractions. “If the Midlands Engine is to succeed in closing the skills gap, generating jobs and inclusive economic growth, and creating the wealth to drive the economy forward, then Birmingham in particular must take a lead in battling for investment in a post-Brexit world. Some of the key proposals in the plan include:

UberEATS Launched in Birmingham


berEats have launched their hotly anticipated delivery service in Birmingham and customers are already lined up (online) to order. Competing against Deliveroo, Uber has already signed up over a hundred restaurants, cafes and bars, including Indian Brewery, Yakinori, Rub Smokehouse, Nozomi, Yorks Bakery Café, Leon, Connollys and even the Lobster Peninsula. If you’re surprised

to not recognise some of the names on that list, that’s because 80% of those signed up are independent businesses. The service was officially live on March 9th, when Uber marked scooters and bike riders be setting off to make their deliveries. In order to order with UberEATS, you must download the app whereupon you can choose your meal and get your driver’s name and information on their movements. The service will be available from 11am to 11pm.

• £54.2 million for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership • £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund. • £10 million to improve University Station in Birmingham • £5 million for the development of a Midlands Rail Hub (providing up to ten additional trains per hour into central Birmingham) • £7 million for the Birmingham Thermal Energy Demonstrator to promote lowcarbon technologies.

24-year-old Prisoner Ran Drugs Gangs from his Prison Cell After a yearlong investigation, it has been revealed that a Midlands drug gang was being run by a kingpin from his jail cell. Tavaseen Iqbal managed to run a fruitful drugs business, dealing cocaine, cannabis and ecstacy, all whilst behind bars at HMP Featherstone in Wolverhampton. Iqbal was first jailed back in 2015 for firearms and drug offences and received 6 years. Whilst in there, the 24 year old used mobiles phones smuggled into the prison to contact his cousin Saif Iqbal and receive news and updates on the gang’s dealings. Saif co-ordinated the supply chain and managed the gang’s multiple ‘safe’ houses where they distributed the drugs. Local residents gave tip offs to the police alerting them to suspicious behaviour. This sparked an investigation which revleaed links to Haroon Tasharat, 33, Rohan Patel, 22 and 23-yearold Mahmud Ali, other gang members. The main preparation centre was found to be an address on

• Tavaseen Iqbal Humber Avenue where a group of three brothers allowed their home to be used to weight and bag orders. Seven men have since been arrested after a number of successful raids on the locations. All of them have received sentences from the Birmingham Crown Court whilst ring leader Iqbal was sentenced to another 40 years in prison.



MARCH 2017




MARCH 2017


Black Country Bakes for Mayweather A local Wolverhampton man had to beat more eggs than Floyd Mayweather did opponents to produce a spectacular seven foot cake to celebrate the boxer’s 40th birthday. Paz Heer, from AB Cakes, was invited to lace up his oven gloves and produce a champion masterpiece for Mayweather’s visit to Birmingham. When the world’s highest paid sportsman, who is often pictured throwing 100 dollar bills around like confetti, is presented with a cake, little surprise it is decorated with edible US dollars. Paz even replaced Benjamin Franklin’s face on the notes with Mayweather’s. Paz is based at 31 Snow Hill in Wolverhampton and is more used to producing cakes for weddings and parties rather than jet setting A-listers. This may be all about to change with the platform this has given the Black Country businessman. Paz told The Asian Today, “Mayweather was the perfect gentleman, this has been the highlight of my career in the cake industry so far.” So what’s next for Paz? Will the Great British Bake Off be his next round? All that is known at this stage is that with 500 people at the Birmingham ICC to see the fighter with his cake, the opportunity for seconds was out.


This month is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Chances are you’ve never heard of it. For those unfamiliar with endometriosis, it is vital, that you are aware of its prevalence. One in ten women has this condition. That means, it is likely someone you know if suffering with this condition. It is as common as asthma or diabetes. The condition is shrouded in mystery and misinformation – a situation that seems to extend to medical practitioners in the United Kingdom, as well as patients themselves. Endometriosis is a known as an incurable disease which can affect women for most if not all of their lives. However, to describe it as incurable would be erroneous. With proper, effective, surgical treatment, it can indeed be resolved, enabling women to go on to lead pain free lives.




The disease involves lesions, made of tissue similar to that lining the uterus, being present elsewhere in the body. These lesions cause bleeding, inflammation and pain, and over time they can become deeper and more invasive. This creates scarring and adhesions which impact upon other organs and

structures, causing them to fuse together causing implications for fertility and for normal organ function. It can cause pelvic pain at any time, and not just during your period. Women can experience bloating, fatigue, bowel & bladder problems, rectal bleeding, aching in legs, back and pain during sex.

HOW IS IT DIAGNOSED Endometriosis doesn’t always show up on ultrasound scans, CT Scans, MRIs or endoscopies. It

is usually diagnosed via a laparoscopy, which spots the adhesions during the keyhole surgery.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW? Some women find that endometriosis affects their fertility and they can’t get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy. If disease is properly removed their chances of conceiving improve.

Hysterectomy is NOT a cure for endometriosis. Even removing the ovaries won’t necessarily help. This is because endometriosis creates its own hormones to survive. Pregnancy is NOT a cure

for endometriosis. Some women will experience relief during pregnancy because of increased progesterone

levels – but many won’t experience any relief at all. Afterwards, the symptoms often return.

TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS If you have or think you have one or more symptoms of endometriosis, talk to your doctor right away. But there are some steps that you should take in addition to this first step to make sure you are an active part of the treatment of your endometriosis. Keeping a Pain Diary

In the Waiting Room

Keeping a diary is an important first step in endometriosis diagnosis and treatment. By keeping a detailed list of your pain and other endometriosis symptoms, you will be able to decide which therapy is best for you. Make sure you keep a detailed account of your



symptoms. Make sure your cover the type of pain (is it a sharp pain or an aching pain, for example?); location (where do you feel the pain?); duration (how long does your pain last?); and intensity (how bad is your pain on a scale of one to ten?).

While waiting to see your doctor, don’t just flip through a copy of the latest fashion magazine. Review your questions for your doctor; read through your pain diary to summarize your symptoms. Plus you won’t leave the office feeling like all your questions have gone unanswered.


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The Thinking Man's Mouthpiece Photographer and LoveBrum trustee, Jas Sansi brings a dose of all things Birmingham. With an unprecedented love of the city and its unique diverseness, he brings his 6-foot passion to The Asian Today.

The Big Sleuth

Signature Awards 2017 T

he Signature awards in their third year celebrated a number of awards included excellence in a number of categories including finance, law, banking, business, owner practice, land and architecture and property development, diversity and finally an award for promoting the role of apprenticeships. Other awards categories also included Young professional of the year.

Awards winners included :

• Excellence in Promoting Apprenticeships E2E Linkers Ltd Mike Bath

• Excellence in Business Tommy Sandhu, Ali Allibhai and Sanjeev Gill

• Excellence in Banking - Tommy Sandhu, Sultan Choudhury, and Alex Turner

• Excellence in land, Architecture & Property Development - Tommy Sandhu, Anthony McKeon and Neil Lloyd

• Excellence in Finance Tommy Sandhu, Arun Luther and Jaspaul Bains

• Excellence in Law - Tommy Sandhu, Zee Hussain and Mumtaza Hussain

Excellence in Finance: Arun Luther ( Genesis ) Excellence in Law Zee Hussain ( Simpson Millar LLP ) Excellence in Banking Sultan Choudhury (Al Rayan Bank) Young professional of the Year Kasim Choudhry ( Big Events ) Excellence In Business Ali Allibhai (Autobase Citroen)

I photographed an event last night at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. It was a sponsorship evening for The Big Sleuth. If you haven’t heard of it, The Big Sleuth is an event happening this summer where hand painted bears placed around Greater Birmingham create a trail, Brummies and visitors can follow. It’s an initiative for the benefit of the Outstanding Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Each bear is kindly sponsored by an organisation or company. Having seen some of the creatures last night, the event, along the lines of last years Big Hoot will take Birmingham by storm. It will be grrrrrrreat. I learned two things last night at the Museum, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but some people go through their entire lives learning nothing, Mr President. First, the collective term for a group of bears is a sleuth, hence The Big Sleuth. The second thing I learned which has nothing to do with bears but will have lots to do with Birmingham Children’s Hospital; Birmingham is about to open it’s first Medical School in over 200 years. The facility is being opened by Aston University. As we depart the European Union, and learn to rely less on EU Citizens who have contributed so much to the success of Birmingham and the Midlands, the opening of a new Medical School is very welcome news. I was asked in a BBC WM interview a few years ago why the UK continues to send foreign aid to India, a country with a space program and the first to launch a satellite around Mars. The question threw me because we were talking about direct flights between Birmingham and India, not foreign aid. I explained a lot of UK doctors in the NHS trained in India, the costs of which were met by the Indian Government. UK foreign aid helps offset costs the Indian Government meet but receive little return on. Anyway, I’m wandering off like a bear. Look out for The Big Sleuth this Summer. It’s all happening in Bear-mingham. More information at

Excellence in Land, Architecture and Property Development Anthony McKeon (Residential Lettings) Excellence in Professions for Owner Practice Ian Henery (Ian Henery Solicitors ) Diversity Award Irwin Mitchell Excellence in Promoting Apprenticeships E2E Linkers Ltd

Mr Ninder Johal of Nachural, the organiser of the event and who is also past president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and a Black Country LEP board member spoke about the positive growth of the UK over the last 12 months but warned about the slowing down of the global economy and in particular the uncertainty around Brexit, the EU and potential world trade which starts to operate on a protectionist level . He also emphasized the need to concentrate on the importance of education and how this will impinge on the ability of the UK to remain competitive in the global marketplace. He warned on the need to have a balanced economy both in terms of sectoral coverage but also from a geographical basis where London was still seen as overheating. He also warned the region to collaborate and work together in order to safeguard funding for crucial issues such as transport infrastructure and local skills development. Sponsors on the night included : FBC Manby Bowdler, Cobra beer, The Royal Navy, Birmingham City University, Cobra Beer, East End Foods, Hollywood Monster, Pathway Group, Rational FX, The BusinessDesk, Vision Design and Print and Wolverhampton University. Lovebrum was the charity on the night and raised £2500 on the night where over 460 people attended. Host for the evening was Tommy Sandhu a BBC presenter

• Excellence in Diversity -Tommy Sandhu, Amandeep Dhillon and Commodore Mike Bath

• Excellence in the professions for Owner Practice Narinder Johal, Ian Henery and Tommy Sandhu


• Young Professional of the Year - Tommy Sandhu, Jason Wouhra, Kasim Choudhry, Monty Wouhra



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The UK’s leading property investment event arrives in the Midlands to offer free advice for the buy-to-let market The LI Media portfolio includes: National Landlord Investment Show: Comprising 11 shows in 2017, it attracted over 21,000 visitors in 2016, a growth of 31% since 2015. Exhibitor numbers have also grown to over 550 annually. Landlord Investor Magazine is a subscription-based product available in both print and digital formats with 11 issues each year. It offers advice, features, and news, and helps property professionals keep up to date with essential industry developments. Subscribe at: For exhibiting enquiries, please call +44 (0)20 8656 5075 or email

To visit the show and be in with a chance to WIN a stadium tour of Villa Park, Please visit


ational Landlord Investment Show is the UK’s leading property investment exhibition - and registrations for its Midlands Show on Wednesday 19 April at Aston Villa Football Club are tracking well above last year. The exhibition not only offers local landlords and property investors a host of leading suppliers of property investment, tax, legal, insurance and mortgage services, it also features 10+ seminars from renowned property experts – all included in the complimentary admission. Proudly supported by Asian Today for the second year running, it is a perfect place to get advice and an in-depth understanding of the investment opportunities available – in both Birmingham and the Midlands. ‘It’s going to be a very stimulating day, with many features, suppliers and seminars for property professionals, explains Tracey Hanbury, Event Director from LI Media, who have successfully developed and run these events throughout the UK. ‘Our shows offer advice to help seasoned landlords and investors, as well as those considering entering the buy-to-let market. We are delighted to have successfully delivered 44 exhibitions so far throughout the UK since our inception in 2013’. ‘We look forward to welcoming visitors to what will be our 45th show to date, and the Midlands, as a property hotspot, is a prime

location to host us again this year. Visitors will be able to source the latest property investment services from renowned brands such as Nethouseprices, Royal Bank of Scotland and Valuation Office Agency, as well companies such as Shawbrook Bank, Pennycuick Collins, Bedford Insurance Group and Fitzwilliam Capital Partners who offer local or niche buy-to-let services in areas from tax, to mortgages to legal.’ Tenancy Deposit Scheme, who are exhibiting for the third year running, confirm the popularity of the show, ‘National Landlord Investment Show is a really well run event and has gained the popularity it deserves within the industry - a must attend event for anyone looking for knowledge and contacts in the property investment arena.’

Complimentary Seminars The two seminar theatres host 10+ speakers throughout the day who have unparalleled experience in the UK and overseas buy-to-let markets. Ever popular, they offer visitors a chance to expand their knowledge, keep up-to-date with developments in the market including Brexit and will feature topics covering the entire spectrum of buy-to-let. This interactive environment is a popular format for visitors, who use it to ask questions, discuss and make new connections.

There is free parking available at Aston Villa Football Club.

About Landlord Investment Show National Landlord Investment Show is the UK’s leading property exhibition and operates at property hotspots throughout the country. Established in 2013, it has now run 44 shows successfully, providing property investment solutions for over 21,000 seasoned and new investors in the buy-to-let market in the last 12 months.

Networking Opportunities Visitors will also be able to expand their networks at the Morning Networking Event, also at Aston Villa Football Club, starting just before the show doors open at 9.00am on the morning on the show. It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand business networks, both locally and further afield and is also free to attend.



MARCH 2017

Register FREE online for your chance to win a tour of Villa Park.


UK’s leading property investment event Aston Villa Football Club | Villa Park | 9.00am - 3.30pm

Join 1000s of the buy-to-let market to network, learn from property experts and source services from leading suppliers.

Build your knowledge through 10+ seminars from property experts

Source leading property solutions covering tax, legal, insurance, mortgages, referencing, deposit schemes & investment

Network with landlords and investors throughout the UK

Expand your business networks via the Morning Networking Event

Register FREE at for fast-track entry Follow us :



Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE | FREE PARKING



MARCH 2017


NA Consulting launch their Business Basics First ® Program

Visit the NA Consulting website for more information:


A Consulting Ltd (NAC), a niche Management Consultancy based in Birmingham announced public launch of their Business Basics First ® program (BBF). The tools were originally developed for specific businesses and industry sectors but have been proven to work in other areas as well. The launch event was held at the iconic Park Regus hotel and was attended by a number of guests, including Natwest Bank, who are featuring it as part of the Business Development program that they run for their customers. Former Hollyoaks star; singer Abi Phillips provided the entertainment for

the evening which wooed the guests. Business Basics First ® brings the lessons and experience from the global brands that Naeem has consulted for in the past (Including but not limited to British Airways, Birmingham City Council and Jaguar Landrover) and delivers a powerful tool that the SME market can use to grow their own businesses. It has 5 key elements, Strategic Planning, Business Diagnostics, Customer First, Growth Accelerators and Personal Development. CEO Naeem Arif said “As more people became aware of the value of BBF, we are receiving requests from a wider group of businesses and entrepreneurs

and so have decided to open it up the wider business community”. “A key driver for us is to help the SME market in the Midlands flourish. It’s a market that is close to our hearts and will be where we focus our attention. The more businesses that grow here, the more opportunities we can create for the region as a whole and each other.” You can find information about NA Consulting and Business Basics First program at their website: www. A Special Thank You to our supporters Wow Zone who did our branding, as well as Azaad Media and Edwin Ladd for the photography.




THE ASIAN TODAY market and ensuring that young and not so young people across the city can access an increased variety of courses at locations to suit them. Many of these courses are new to Birmingham and we hope that there will be a lot of demand for them.’ Mike Hopkins, Principal of South and City College and Interim Principal of Bournville College, said. The two colleges are also investing in upgrading and improving their facilities, allowing courses demanded by industry to be delivered in industry standard facilities. To find out more, come along to Open Days, taking place on Wednesday 22nd March at Bournville College and Thursday 23rd March at South and City College, 4-7pm (For information on all the courses we offer and our campuses, head to our website



Exciting new courses starting in September South and City College Birmingham and Bournville College are delighted to announce a whole host of new courses starting in September this year. Working closely together before the official merger due later in the spring, the two colleges have teamed up to offer new courses across a variety of areas, including Criminology, Counselling, Upholstery, Interpreting and more. The two colleges are launching more than twenty courses ranging from Level 1 to University Level across a broad range of subjects. Some courses, such as Geography A Level, have been introduced in response to customer demand, whilst others such as the Social Media Diploma are meeting the needs of the industry across the West Midlands. ‘We are responding to the

MARCH 2017

Alternatively, get in touch with us at hello@southandcity. com or call us on 0800 111 6311.

Spanner in the Works for Birmingham Schools Merger

The House of Commons has intervened in plans to merge seven Birmingham schools together, which would see Kings Heath Primary, Park Hill Primary, Wheelers Lane Primary, Kings Heath Boys, Queensbridge School, Swanshurst School and Wheelers Lane Technology College grouped into a multi-academy trust. MPs submitted a report questioning whether this multiacademy would improve student’s

grades. The House of Commons Education Select Committee discovered only limited evidence that multi-academy trusts, or MATs, actually improved student’s education. MATs operate free of any local council oversight or control, which is a large part of the reason for their backlash. Without oversight, MATs are harder to be held accountable for student failings. Committee chairman

Neil Carmichael said, "We have significant concerns about the performance, accountability and expansion of multi-academy trusts. "While some MATs are producing excellent results and making a valuable contribution to our education system, a considerable number are failing to improve and are consistently at the bottom of league tables." A spokeswoman for The Love Brum Schools group said: "The group is campaigning for schools to engage with stakeholders in a transparent, meaningful and balanced manner. "This should include consideration of the pros and cons of multi-academy trusts and clear presentation of what the schools hope to achieve under an MAT that could not be achieved in other ways, such as co-operative trusts and federations."

NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN Join us on Friday 7th July 2017 @ 6pm - Edgbaston Stadium For tickets, sponsorship or for more information visit our website: PROUD MEDIA PARTNERS


MARCH 2017




Kapture 8

Al-Burhan Grammar: An Outstanding School

Ensuring students are using technology to develop

Manjinder Sangha, the founder and CEO of Kapture 8 has recently launched her new ed tech product at the BETT show at the Excel Arena in London. Manjinder a former assistant head and award winning teacher was always involved in consultancy during her 15 years’ experience in education and worked with many large companies such as the James Dyson Foundation, The Design and Technology Association and many others to help develop and deliver educational programmes that centred around design technology. As a senior leader in education she knew that she wanted to have a larger scale impact on students and teachers lives. Manjinder saw a gap in the market during her career as a teacher of product design and risked it all to go after her goals. And set up Kapture 8 just over a year

ago! In a year the company has raised six figure investment, the K8 product has received a great response and the company has been shortlisted for a number of awards such as the Education Resource Awards. Kapture 8’s mission is to ensure that students are using technology to develop creative thinking skills, and bring about educational change that will create equal opportunities for all learners. Kapture 8 is an online platform and mobile app that allows students to record their learning journey and build online portfolios. Teachers can collaborate, monitor and assess on the platform encouraging students to show progression in their work! Kapture 8 is new and innovative but at its heart are the core values to make the lives of teacher and students better every day!

The school delivers both the standard National Curriculum as well as aspects of Islamic education to 11 to 16 years old girls. Al-Burhan Grammar School is celebrating a fantastic end to 2016 after securing a positive Ofsted report The ‘short inspection’, which took place on 11 November 2016, deemed that the school meets all of the Independent School standards that were checked during this inspection. The latest report was published on 9 January 2017. Ofsted commented: The headteacher has created a safe and secure environment for learning. Safeguarding procedures are implemented effectively to keep pupils safe from harm. A warm supportive and caring family atmosphere exists within the school, so pupils feel comfortable with each other and around teachers. Pupils who spoke to the inspector said that bullying is rare and racism is not tolerated. They particularly like being in a small school and welcome the individual attention that they

receive, which enables them to achieve well, both academically and in their personal development. All staff have been suitably trained to ensure that they fulfil their ‘prevent’ duties effectively. A good quality risk assessment is in place to prevent pupils being radicalised. The latest full inspection, which assesses teaching and learning, was carried out in November 2014. Al-Burhan Grammar School was judged ‘outstanding’ by OFTSED. The report, which was published on 26 November 2014, also praised Headteacher Dr Mohammad Nasrullah and the staff for their commitment “to students achieving their very best academically and flourishing in their personal development.” The Ofsted report praised the school for its successes in many areas including student’s academic achievement and personal development. Inspectors not only praised the hard-work and dedication from the staff to educating pupils at the school but also said the pupils 'perseverance, resilience

and attitude to learning were exemplary.' The report said, “Teaching is consistently outstanding and girls’ progress is carefully followed by a robust monitoring system which ensures that each girl’s potential is realised; the success of this system was noted by Ofsted who said that students “make rapid progress in relation to their starting points”. The report noted that, “the school has grown rapidly in recent years owing to its popularity with parents. Many students travel from other areas of the West Midlands to attend the school.” “Teachers have high expectations of students’ achievement and typically expect students to make at least one GCSE grade progress across each school year, which is well above the average rate of progress seen nationally,” said the inspector Admission for the 2017/18 academic year is now open Please contact Al-Burhan Grammar School on 0121 440 5454 Or email to admin@alburhan. for further information.

Al-Burhan Grammar School 

An Independent School for 11-16 year old girls

Apply now!

Excellent GCSE results

Entrance test: 18th March 2017 at 11am “Students behave exceptionally, reflecting excellent provision for their personal development, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development” - Ofsted 2014

OUTSTANDING School (Ofsted 2014)

“Achievement is outstanding… students make swift progress in all subjects and achieve exceptionally well” - Ofsted 2014

“Prepares students well for life in modern Britain” - Ofsted For more details:

Subjects taught:

English, Maths, Statistics, Separate Sciences, IT, RS, History, Urdu, Art, Arabic

Spring Road Centre, 258 Spring Road Tyseley, Birmingham, B11 3DW

Tel: 0121 440 5454 |



MARCH 2017



MARCH 2017





0800 111 6311



MARCH 2017




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INSIDE THIS ISSUE Meet “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”! An EXCLUSIVE interview with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt

Full interview turn to page 34

Viceroy House

Releasing in the UK on 3rd March

Full interview turn to page 35

Mirchi Music Awards This seasons music awards are in full swing with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil grabbing the majority gongs. The film has been a runaway success musically, bagging wins left, right and centre amidst numerous awards shows. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil took home five awards at the Mirchi Music Awards 2017, Album of the Year, Lyricist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Music Composer of the Year and Make It Large Award for director Karan Johar.

Arjit Singh who lended his vocals to the movie and accepted the Male Vocalist of the Year said, “I am very fortunate that I get good songs. Above all, my songs are being well accepted. I would like to give all the credit to the music directors and the producers.” Other winners at the awards included Sarbjit, which won Best Raag Inspired Song, accepted by Meherbaan. Jonita Ghandhi won Female Vocalist of the Year for her song Gilehryiaan in Amir Khan’s knockout

movie Dangal. Upcoming Composer of the Year was awarded to Tanishk Bagchi for Bolna from the film Kapoor and Sons whilst Upcoming Male Vocalist of the Year award went to duo Sarwar Khan and Sartaz Khan Barna for their song Haanikarak Baapu, also from Dangal. Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan added fun to the music festivities by performing tracks Badri Ki Dulhania and Tamma Tamma Again from their upcoming film.

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win an Oscar To read the full story turn to page 33

Rani Mukerji returns to acting with Hichki To read the full story turn to page 33



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Karan Johar Fathers Twins Amitabh Bachchan turns down Queen’s Invite

Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar has fathered two twins, which he called the “two most wonderful additions to my life and lifelines.” He added “This was an emotional yet a well thought out decision which I have taken after considering all the responsibilities and duties that come with being a parent.” However, the one question many are asking is where did the twins comes from? The children, called Roohi and Yash (named for Karan’s parents) are believed to have been born from a surrogate mother at Mumbai’s Masrani Hospital. Numerous well-wishers have congratulated Karan,

It’s not often that Her Majesty doles out an invitation to Buckingham Palace, no less to Indian celebrities for that matter, but that’s just what she did for Amitabh Bachchan in aid of her UK-India Year of Culture reception. The aging actor, beloved by all of India and fans of Bollywood around the world, was invited to launch the event taking place later in March. However due to a number of upcoming film events, including Ram

including celebrity pals Priyanka Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Farah Khan, Alia Bhatt and many more. Karan is not the only celebrity who opted for surrogacy in order to have children, other notable names including Shah Rukh Khan, Amir Khan and Tusshar Kapoor. When asked of Karan’s news, SRK, Karan’s long-time friend and colleague, said, “It’s a personal moment. Let’s respect the privacy. Of course we all are very happy. We wish him happiness. It’s still very personal. So, don’t think I am being cagey by not answering about it.”

Gopal Varma's Sarkar 3 trailer, plus on-going work on Dragon, Thugs Of Hindostan and Aankhen 2, the actor was forced the decline the prestigious invitation. His publicist said, "Yes, Mr Bachchan has been given a rare invitation by Queen Elizabeth and Buckingham Palace to grace the UK-India Year Of Culture reception, but unfortunately due to prior commitments, he will be unable to attend."

Tanya G Takes On I Will Survive Last year we introduced the singer Tanya G hailed from Hackney, East London and her debut solo-single since departing from Fe-Nix, Can’t Feel Your Love. Now she’s back with her latest single I Will Survive as the Indian-Irish Garage newcomer has taken on the challenge of turning a legendary single into her own and making it the upbeat revival of Gloria Gaynor's hit single. The music video for the single directed by Naushervan Shad, the storyline portrays a young woman going through a tough situation in her relationship, where she’s having a hard time with a guy and then builds the strength to leave him, move on and survive! This

also represents Tanya’s journey in the music industr y as a new solo-ar tist trying to break into the market and establish a place for herself. The singer has already celebrated the success of her single so far, as she’s received suppor t from Radio Stations across the UK and also is currently #6 on the Commercial Pop Charts! So from taking on the legendary dance floor hit and modernizing it into a world-wide anthem for female empowerment, Tanya G is definitely one to watch in 2017. As well as the fact that she’s now released her collaboration between legendary Hip Hop/Grime and Garage collective So Solid Crew, Gem Faria (mentored by legendary garage veteran DJ Sticky) & the German producer Urban Soul who also produced Can’t Feel Your Love, which is sure to satisfy the needs of Old Skool enthusiasts and also let the World know that Tanya G is here to stay!

Paulo Coehlo: SRK Deserved an Oscar for My Name is Khan Eight years after it’s release, celebrated Brazillian author Paulo Coehlo, who wrote the acclaimed novel The Alchemist has said Shah Rukh should have been awarded an Academy Award for his role in the film. Coehlo tweeted: My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist" Congratulations @iamsrk for the 7th anniversary of this wonderful movie! He included an image that read: ‘His first (and only) movie that I watched (this year, even if it was released in 2008) was “My name is Khan.” And not only the movie was excellent, but SRK

deserved an Oscar if Hollywood was not manipulated. He kindly offered to send the other titles – as you probably guess, it is not easy to find them in Switzerland.’ It has since received over 8000 favourites and 4000 retweets. In My Name is Khan, Bollywood legend Khan plays a mildly autistic man who journeys to meet President-elect Barack Obama. Shah Rukh Khan tweeted back to Coehlo, saying “"Thank you so much. My next journey is to try and meet you in person. Love and health to you." He added, "It's kinda sad too that My Name is Khan is still relevant."




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K Exclusive presents the winner of Voice of Punjab Chota Champ, Season 3 Nand with his debut single Muqaddar out now. As promised on the show by Kamal Khan

and Sachin Ahuja to promote him and help him release his debut track they have fulfilled their promise, with the help of London based PR company Sahdev Media they

Rani Mukerji returns to acting with Hichki RANI took everyone by storm as the power packed policewoman in Mardaani, and then took time off for motherhood. Now, Rani Mukerji will return to do what she loves doing the most. She will star in Yash Raj Films’ Hichki, to be directed by Siddharth P Malhotra and produced by Maneesh Sharma. With Hichki, she will be seen in a positive and inspiring story about a woman who turns her biggest weakness into her biggest strength. Rani elaborates, “I was looking for a script that would challenge and excite me, and

Hichki came my way. Each of us has a weakness that pulls us back. It could be a disability or any condition but if we just look at it as simply a hiccup, we can emerge as a winner. It won’t come in the way of achieving our dreams. Hichki is built on this positive premise and I decided to take it up.” Hichki will be Maneesh Sharma’s third film as a producer with Yash Raj Films after Dum Laga Ke Haisha and the forthcoming Meri Pyaari Bindu. Siddharth P Malhotra, who has directed We Are Family, will be making his first film with Yash Raj Films.

Mahershala Ali Becomes First Muslim to Win an Oscar The 2017 Oscars has been marred by gaffes, accusations of snubs and shock wins, one of which being Moonlight winning the coveted Best Picture award over roaring favourite La La Land. In addition, lead actor Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his role as drug dealer Juan in the picture Moonlight, which centres around a young black American grappling with his sexuality and the violent abuse that comes with it. In addition to Moonlight being the first all-black cast to win an Academy Award, Mahershala is the first muslim to ever win an Academy Award. In his speech, the actor thanked his wife who had given birth to their daughter a few days prior, “I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and really carrying me through it all.” At the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Mahershala said "What I learned from working on Moonlight is that we see what happens when we persecute people, they fold into themselves. "And what I was so grateful

Oscar Boo Boo There was a slight, or perhaps torturously drawn out, embarrassing moment when La La Land was mistakenly announced as Best Picture. With all of the team on stage giving their acceptance speeches, a producer was seen darting in and out of the crowd before it came to light that Moonlight had indeed won instead. #OscarsSoClumsy

have launched an international PR campaign to promote the song and young talent. The lyrics of the song are written by Hassan Ali, Music by Sachin Ahuja and Producer/Financer is Kamal Khan.. Video by Imran Ahmed. This track is released under the label

of Kamal Khan's K Exclusive. The seniors are looking forward for the support of fans and music industry who have supported Nand through his musical journey. The artist that won thousands of hearts across the world is now set to take on his singing career with the help of the best musicians and companies worldwide who have simply supported him because of his talent.


Hadiqa Kiani Accused of Cocaine Smuggling in Fake News

Hadiqa Kiani, one of the most popular singers in Pakistan, has been embroiled in a fake news scandal that attested that the star had been arrested at London Heathrow for attempting to smuggling in 2kg of cocaine. The story goes that the 42-year-old singer, songwriter and philanthropist was stopped by Customs and Border Protection police who searched her suitcases upon suspicion and came across two plastic coffee bags containing cocaine, estimated to be worth £80,000. She was

[for] about Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community, and taking that opportunity to uplift him and tell him he mattered, that he was okay. And accept him. I hope that we do a better job of that."

I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and really carrying me through it all.

Katrina to debut sister Katrina Kaif is set to debut her younger sister Isabel in a move paralleling the producing steps of Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma. A source close to Salman Khan, Katrina’s long time friend, said: “If there’s anyone who’ll launch her sister in a big Bollywood production, it’ll be Katrina herself.”

then apparently taken in for questioning in a private search room and later arrested, to be later prosecuted by the London District Attorney for drug smuggling. The veteran artist told a reporter, “When I fist heard the news, I laughed it off. But after a while I started receiving serious phone calls from senior journalists and I was shocked! Today was my nephew’s birthday, so I was here, spending time with my family. It’s a disgusting news. What I fail to understand is why a news like this not thoroughly verified?”

Asian Favourites Win Coveted BAFTA Awards


01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10.

Channa Mereya Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

The Humma Song OK Jaanu

The Break Up Song Ae Dil Hai Mushkil


Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Zaalima Raees

Kala Chashma

Baar Baar Dekho

Nashe Si Chadh Gayi Befikre

Wonderland Lakeeran

Laila Main Laila Raees

Kaabil Hoon Kaabil


01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10.


Mickey Singh

Love Controller Zack Knight

Laembadgini Diljit Dosanjh

Do You Know Diljit Dosanjh

Angreji Wali Madam

Kulwinder Billa, Dr.Zeus & Shipra


Roach Killa & Garry Sandhu

Paranda Kaur B

Londono Patola Reloaded Jazzy B


Gurdas Maan

Haa Kurvakeh Jassi Sindhu


The 70th British Academy Film Awards took place on the 12th February in London and saw world famous actors, directors and producers attend. It was a night rife with politicisms, with multiple speeches taking aim at the current turmoil surrounding race, immigration and governance. Some of the Asian faces that picked up the coveted gong included Dev Patel, who won Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his outstanding work in Lion. The 26-year-old actor play Saroo Brierley in this biographical piece which tells the story

of a young Indian whisked away to Australia who as a man, journeys back to find his roots. Upon collecting the award, London-born Patel seemed stumped for words, and said, “This is so overwhelming. You know, I sit at home and watch this with my family, who are here with me tonight, and it's just such an overwhelming feeling.” Another asian winner was the animated short film A Love Story, which was produced by Khaled Gad and directed, animated and co-written by the multitalented Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara.

01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10.



Spring Day BTS

Shape of You Ed Sheeran


Rag 'n' Bone Man

Chained to the Rhythm Katy Perry

It aint me

Kygo ft Selena Gomez


Calvin Harris / Ocean / Migos


Little Mix

I feel it coming

Weeknd ft Daft Punk


Clean Bandit ft Sean Paul



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Meet “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”!

This Holi let the colours of love fill your screens with India’s first love franchise ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, releasing on 10th March 2017 through Fox Star Studios.

Please tell us about your film? How is related to Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania?

ALIA The film is not a sequel, it’s not a continuation. It’s a franchise. It’s a different story; it has another person and dulhania with a common thread that’s a love story.

How do you like the role of being a Dulania? You must be quite comfortable now?

Produced by Karan Johar and Fox Star Studios, Badrinath Ki Dulhania is billed as a romantic comedy drama.

ALIA Playing a Dhulania? Yea, this is the second time im a Dhulania, actually third time, even in two states I was a Dhulania, so I think Dhulania is going with my spirit, I think that is me. Alia equals to Dhulania

The most endearing habit and most annoying habit about your co-star Varun Dhawan. ALIA : I think the way Varun is overall as a person and that’s the biggest similarity

between him and his character Badri. Even if Varun is doing the simplest of things, he will do it with all his heart. That’s the most endearing and sweetest quality in Varun, which is why when you watch him on screen, he just lights up. Even when he’s having a conversation with you he’s always fun. I have heard people say that Varun is the most entertaining person they have met and he’s that because whenever he’s talking to you, he’s not distracted, he’s not faking it, he’s there. Varun may say stupid things but he will say it with his heart and you wouldn’t mind. The most annoying thing is that Varun’s excitement levels go through the roof and then I get hyper and I die and we fight… It comes from a pure place, so I wouldn’t ever want him to change that irritating habit of his. Questions Do you believe in love at first sight? ALIA

: Yes, totally!

What do you have to say about working with Alia again?

VARUN Alia has never looked prettier than she has in this film. The one thing that is commendable about her is the fact that she gets into the skin of the character to the core. Vaidehi is the best girl in the world. If Vaidehi would have existed in real, I would have married her and given her my everything!

Varun, would you woo a girl like you are wooing Alia Bhatt? VARUN I would never want to woo a girl like the way Badri woos Vaidehi. When you see the film you will understand why he does it that way. It’s a little oldfashioned. In real life, I would be very normal.

Tell us something about your film and how do you see this journey?

VARUN Badrinath Ki Dulhania is going to be my first release of this year, so this one is really close to my heart. This Journey has been a journey of ups and downs; I will say it in the best possible way because my character goes through a lot of changes as the film progresses. It has been more emotional as compared to other films of mine which are more light- hearted in vain. There is a lot of fun, frolic, everything. There was a certain intensity and change the character goes through. There are times I have been angry on set snapping at Aliaa and Shashank. We got a chance to go to Jhansi, Kota to shoot – No Dharma Production fil has been shot in Jhansi or Kota.

Read the full interviews with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan on our website

SPECTACULAR, AMAZING and UNFORGETTABLE – another Britasia TV World Music Awards Ceremony Saturday 4th March 2017 saw the BritAsia TV World Music Awards take the Barclaycard Arena by storm, truly making this the world’s number 1 Asian music awards event. Ground-breaking performances were witnessed by thousands of music loving fans who had travelled from far corners of the world to attend this exhilarating event. The arena erupted with cheering and applause at the announcement of each category nominee demonstrating huge support for the remarkable Asian music industry. The stage was set, the cameras were rolling and the venue was filled with masses of excited supporters ready to celebrate the success of their favourite artists. Hosted by Sukhi Bart and Actress Mandy Takhar, the BritAsia TV World Music Awards has marked a turning point for British Asian Music by raising the bar of quality and eminence held by this industry. Incredible performances

were laid on by some of the best artists in the world who ensured that they kept their audiences captivated! Curtis Young son of legendary Dr Dre graced the stage alongside award winning Dr Zeus and Rameet for the first time in the UK. The king of Bhangra Channi Singh OBE won the Life Time Achievement Award. Channi Singh OBE topped the show by performing his greatest hits including Babiye ni Babiye – an amazing performance! The most successful artist of the night was top Punjabi singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh who won two gongs – (Best Music Video and Best Male Act)! The BritAsia TV Music Awards opened the doors to widely respected pioneers and celebrities including the famous Nina Wadia, Ricky Norwood and Gurinder Chadha. Jaz Bal comments “Congratulations to all winners and a big thank you to Sponsors, Artists and of course our fans who made this another award ceremony.”

The winners at 2017 awards are as follows: Best Breakthrough Act Akhil Best Bollywood Act of the year Badshah Best Music Producer Tru Skool Best Music Video Do you know – Diljit Dosanjh Best Male Act Diljit Dosanjh Best Female Act Sunanda Sharma Best Band The Legends Live Band Best Urban Asian Act Zack Knight Best Single Gani – Manni Sandhu Best Album One time for ya mind – Tru Skool Best Club DJ Kray Twins Best Dance Group Nachda Sansar Bollywood Record of the year Kala Chashma Best Songwriter Satinder Sartaaj Lifetime Achievement Award Channi Alaap



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The Viceroy House Tell us how you felt about making this movie?

Gurinder: I started making the film 7 years ago now I realise that the film has timed well with the 70 year anniversary. The film will be released in India on the anniversary. I wanted to do a film that was very assumptious, like a Raj movie, very intimate, about the personal story my family was caught up in. As refugees, my ancestral homeland is now actually Pakistan. The film was inspired by the events that your family went through, tell us of their experiences and how this made them feel. I was totally inspired. It was a personal story. I read 20 books on the subject, interviewed a lot of people and experts and was very particular with my research. The film uncovers some sensational new evidence as well. It challenges the history of the British Empire by the British, and highlights our British Asian perspective on the history.

What aspect of the film will inspire the youth that don’t understand the Partition?

Manish: That’s what is unique about the movie. It is an accessible film, it’s a subjected matter and this really helps us connect to the story. Having a director like Gurinder Chadha really helps the viewer relate personally and socially and find their own roots and truth and make a connection to the past. Tell us about the level of inspiration or specific things that our readers should look out for.

3 Things Bollywood Could Consider Canning

The Viceroy House has been receiving rave reviews upon its release, with its political edge and razor sharp race observations set during the time of Partition striking a chord amongst the public. It stars stars Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi in leading roles and is produced by director and screenwriter Gurinder Chadha. The Asian Today’s Raaj Shamji sat down with film producer Gurinder Chadha, the world’s only Asian female producer, and Manish and Huma, to find out how the film came to be and their own thoughts on the partition of India.

Huma: When I read the script, I worried it would not be made as it’s about the Partition. It’s not a film that takes a particular side, it’s not a British Version, it’s not an Indian version or a Pakistani version. The fictional characters have come in too humourise it a bit more and there is a love story too. The history of the sub-continent changed after the Partition. Our relationships all completely changed, all our neighbours changed, and that act of partition was singly responsible for that. It’s an important film. Regarding AR Rahman, any excitement about this? Gurinder: Doing music for film, it’s very important for AR cos he’s Indian, he’s Muslim, he’s very spiritual and has worked in the west too. This film was very personal and epic. He worked really hard on the music.

In light of International Women’s Day this month, we came up with 3 disastrous clichés that have permeated throughout Bollywood since time immemorial. It’s undebatable that the media, movies, TV shows, and even music, are one of the biggest influencers on society, which makes it all that much more important that Bollywood stop giving credence to the following:

Item Numbers If this isn’t the best example of objectification, I don’t know what is. Item songs are upbeat dance tracks that have no relation to the plot or overall story in a film and simply serve as five minutes of sexual and pleasurable viewing, featuring hip thrusting and hair shaking as one of the top actresses sings and belly dances for the amusement of the male protagonist. And after those five minutes are over? She’s never seen again.

Stalking Have you ever been stalked? Have you ever been followed for thirty seconds, forty seconds, five minutes? It’s not a pleasant feeling is it? Yet this is one of Bollywood’s favourite ways of flirting. You get a pretty unassuming girl and lovestruck guy and have him follow and chase her around for days to weeks, all whilst ignoring her pleas to stop and treating her as an object, or item, to be seized instead of a person just trying to do the weekly grocery shopping without a scary stranger latching onto her.

The Super Saree

Releasing in the UK on 3rd March

Nothing quite says sophistication like a red and gold saree draped delicately your waist. However- is it really the be all and end all of personality? All too often, the clumsy and klutzy female protagonist need only don a glittering saree and let loose her curls for her life to come seamlessly together. Yes, once your parents see your saree they’ll stop nagging! You’ll get straight A’s. That boy will suddenly love you and your boss will see you as a mature, confident employee! Don’t mention the 14350 pins keeping it all in place though.



MARCH 2017

THE ASIAN TODAY Mosaic: The mentoring initiative run by The Prince’s Trust Good news is always very welcome to receive, but of late it seems to have been a little thin on the ground. Fortunately, in my position as West Midlands Regional Chairman for Mosaic, the mentoring initiative run by The Prince’s Trust, I’m never very far from a story that can lighten even the darkest of winter days. Many such stories were shared at the Princess Badiya Mentor of the Year Awards, one of the most important events in the Mosaic calendar, which took place in Yorkshire recently. These awards are given in celebration of the hundreds of volunteer mentors who freely donate their time all over the UK to help young people, regardless of their background, culture or gender, to meet their tremendous potential. The awards were presented by Mosaic’s founding chairman, whom the awards are named after, HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan. Regional winners from all of Mosaic’s programmes were enthusiastically received by an audience of friends and supporters. Huge congratulations must of course go to all of the winners, but I will admit to feeling particularly proud that the overall champion, Mosaic’s Mentor of the Year, was announced as Nasrin Akhtar. Nasrin is an Ambitious Futures Graduate Trainee in Leadership and Management at Birmingham City University. Nasrin is an example to us all, having mentored on Mosaic’s Primary School programme in the West Midlands an impressive 12 times. With a humility typical of Mosaic’s mentors, Nasrin said she was sharing the award with all the mentors and pupils that had inspired her. It’s great to know that there are people like Nasrin, making a huge difference to young people across our region. It’s the kind of work that often doesn’t get publically recognised but it’s vitally important and hugely rewarding. If anyone reading this is thinking about becoming a mentor, I urge you to contact Mosaic to find out more. I guarantee you’ll find the experience rewarding, and in this, Mosaic’s 10th anniversary year, it will provide you with enough good news to sustain you well into 2018! If you’re interested in becoming a Mosaic mentor, visit, email uk or call 0203 828 9620





An Asian Female Space Engineer!


ow many of us can say we are part of the space industry? Reharna AbdelKareem can proudly assert this, having studied in a field not many Asian women dabble in; Space Engineering. Reharna is the proud alumni of Kingston University and a recent Master’s graduate who has her sights set on the stars. In honour of International Women’s Day, Husna Anjum interviewed Reharna as the full time mother shed light on the fascinating world of Space Engineering and her academic and professional journey so far.

The world is moving very fast and it seems humans are done with exploring a great deal of earth, we’re moving onto other planets. It’s important to be part of that.

Tell us about your journey towards this profession? I worked very hard for my GCSE exams, it’s probably one of the most academically daunting times of my life. My Nan wanted me to become a doctor so I committed myself to a total of 4 A-Levels; Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology. Unfortunately, I contracted pneumonia and this both physically and emotionally affected my studies. I then came across a course at Kingston University in Aerospace Engineering with Astronautics and Space Technology and instantly knew this was the course for me. It felt right. In 2015 I graduated with a BEng (with honours) in space engineering and this year I graduated with a Masters of Mechanical Engineering.

The Spring Budget is out and with it come a whole host of changes and new regulations to the world of economic, finance and business. So what are some of the key points? Look below for coverage: ARE YOU SELFEMPLOYED? Those classed as selfemployed will face an increase from 9% to 10% on earnings from April 2018 and 11% in 2019. This is estimated to be an average of 60p a week. All Class 4 Earnings over £43,000 will continue to be taxed at 2% while those earning below £8060 will pay nothing. As for Class 2 National Insurance, a separate flat rate contribution paid by the self-employed earning a profit above £5,965 a year will be scrapped from April 2019. The Personal Tax-free allowance will rise to £11,500 in 2017 and £12,500 by 2020. ARE YOU AN SME? Privately owned SMEs will get an extra year to prepare for tax digitisation and quarterly reporting. Saving or Receiving Pension? There will be a reduction in tax-free allowance on share dividends from £5000 to £2000. New measures are to be introduced to tackle overseas pension scheme abuse.

What does a career as a space engineer involve? The field of space engineering is vast, it comprises of propulsion engineers, trajectory engineers and so forth. So generally, passion and discipline are key. Following that, a tolerance for Mathematics is advisable because there’s a great deal of it to come!

A Brief Overview of the Spring Budget

What is it about this profession that you love? It captures my imagination and allows me to see the world differently. We take for granted the sky above us, we see the stars but very few know why they shine so bright, very few appreciate their true beauty. We know of other planets and finding a solution to explore them through the process of space travel and exploration is simply indescribable.


Space engineering, to me, is a way of exploring the contents of a treasure box that very few people know of. It’s very special. It is rare to see Asians pursuing a career in the space industry, do you want to see more Asian women in this field? Yes, it’d be wonderful to see young ladies of all ethnicities pursue this field! It’s not a field that many women engage with so it’d be great to see that change in the near future.

How can we persuade them to consider it? The world is moving very fast and it seems humans are done with exploring a great deal of earth, we’re moving onto other planets. It’s important to be part of that. I recommend the love of space, mathematics and engineering beginning at a young age for every child.


£300m is being invested to support 1000 new PhD spaces and fellowships in STEM subjects. Free school transport is being extended to all pupils on free school meals who attend a selective school. HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE £100m is being used to support GPs in accident and emergency depts for the upcoming winter. £325m will be used to allow the first NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans Many sugar drinks will be taxed at 24p per litre to curb childhood obesity

MARCH 2017





INTERNATIONAL Fake Indian Doctor Who Worked For a Decade On The Run

ISIS militants dress as doctors and storm hospital; 30 Killed O

ver thirty people were killed and fifty injured when four armed militants dressed as doctors stormed a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to officials, the attackers were armed with guns and grenades and detonated an explosive at the hospital gates to gain entry. They opened fire on both staff and patients alike until Commandos landed on the hospital roof and killed the four gunmen after a several hour standoff. None were off limits, including a doctor, Dr Abdul Qadir, who was shot at whilst performing in an operating theatre. One hospital staff member was able to escape and witnessed an attacker "wearing a white coat holding a Kalashnikov and opening fire on everyone, including the guards, patients and doctors". Another member posted a chilling message on Facebook, simply: “Attackers are inside the hospital. Pray for us." ISIS has claimed responsibility for

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the attack whilst Taliban has denied involvement. The hospital is the largest in Kabul, has 400 beds and is attended by hundreds daily. President Ashraf Ghani said the militants had "trampled all human values "In all religions, a hospital is regarded as an immune site and attacking it is attacking the whole of Afghanistan.” ISIS had previously stuck to targeting civilians as a way to instil psychological fear in everyday situations, but this is the first time they have actively engaged with the military. This has given way to fears that ISIS has grown in number and resources, now having the weapons capability to expand their tactics. According to the government, they have managed to flush out a number of ISIS camps in the East of the region but some still remain in the mountainous areas. Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's de-facto deputy leader, has vowed to "avenge the blood of our people.”

One user wrote on Facebook “Attackers are inside the hospital. Pray for us..


An Indian man has fled Australia after it came to light that he was working as a fake doctor for more than 10 years. Shyam Acharya used another person's identity and medical qualifications to become a registered doctor. Assuming the identity of Sarang Chitale, he worked at four different hospitals between 2003 and 2014. According to NSW Health Deputy Secretary Karen Crawshaw, it is believed Shyam stole Sarang's documents whilst living in India

then was able to register with the Medical Board of NSW. Shyam has now been charged by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and could be fined up to $30,000. Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he had “directed the Ministry of Health to look at every aspect of registration to make sure that NSW Health has done whatever it can to look beyond fake passports with particular reference to going back to primary documents from country of origin."

Indian-Canadian Refused US Entry, Told “You've Been Trumped”

An Indian-origin Canadian was denied entry into the US and graced with the words “you've been trumped.” Manpreet Kooner, from Montreal, was turned away at a crossing along the Quebec-Vermont border on March 4th and had to endure a six hour wait where she was fingerprinted, photographed and questioned before ultimately being refused entry into the country. She was also told to get a valid visa if she wished to enter the US. An officer told her she was an

immigrant without a valid US visa whilst a border agent said, "I know you might feel like you're being Trumped.” Kooner wrote on Facebook, "Unbelievable. Refused entry to the States. Because I'm apparently an immigrant who now requires a visa to enter the States. While informing me that I cannot enter the States. The office told me 'I've been trumped. “At the end of it, they told me I was not allowed going in and that I would need a visa if I ever went in the States again.”


MARCH 2017




The Healing Power of Laughter By: Mita Mistry

Fashion & Beauty Correspondent: Sara Khan Twitter: @sarakblog Facebook: /sarakblog website:


“A good laugh heals a lot of hurts”. — Madeleine L’Engle Ancient cultures have been aware of the importance of laughter for centuries. Over 4000 years ago, in China people would gather around temples to laugh their way to balanced health. The legendary Laughing Buddha ((907-923 AD) continued spreading laughter wherever he travelled. The monk was famous for handing out sweets from his cloth bag, after which he would put the bag down, stare up at the sky and laugh out loud madly. His laughter was so contagious that all who had gathered in his presence would be belly laughing. Similarly in ancient India, sacred temples were a place to practice laughter to open the heart chakra bringing warmth and friendliness to communities as well as healing for health. Ancient Greek physicians’ prescribed for their patients a visit to the hall of comedians to be entertained as part of the healing process. Early Native Americans had “scared clowns” who worked alongside Doctors to execute the therapeutic power of laughter to heal sick soldiers. The 3rd most important person in the tribe was the clown. In the 1300's, French surgeon Henri de Mondeville reportedly told jokes to his patients in the recovery room and throughout the centuries Court Jesters have been employed to relieve Royalty of their governing stresses. The healing power of laughter is still considered to be a therapeutic form of medicine. Hospitals in USA, Switzerland, Germany and France have been using this therapy since 1970s. In the last 30 years much has been achieved in the implementation of laughter as therapy with scientific evidence suggesting that laughing reduces stress related conditions, like high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, social phobia, heart disease and headaches. Amidst the modern stresses of overworking, information overload and constant availability through technology, is it possible that we may have forgotton how to laugh? If so, you can now visit laughter clinics, book sessions with a laughter coach or for the more active take up laughter yoga.

Read the full article on our website:

London Fashion

Week #AW17


very season London Fashion Week (LFW) brings designers from all over the world to their runway. This season of LFW didn’t disappoint with designers from India, Middle East and Pakistan. Rocky Star is a designer has renewed the way fashion is operated in India. He was the first designer to design for both the common man and celebrity and has since styled and designed for over 300 films and countless celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Beyoncé, Michelle Keegan and Stephanie Pratt. Felix Bendish is a lifestyle brand, which retails unconventional fashion accessories and clothing in their inhouse studio based in Mumbai, India. The designer of beautiful Bridal and occasion wear Kajal Patel creates pieces that portray a unique style and individuality, giving the bride or groom confidence and sophistication. Fashion DNA: Pakistan is the British Council’s annual programme providing mentorship for emerging Pakistani fashion labels and giving them a platform to showcase in London. This season’s selected designer, Hamza Bokhari of Jeem uses traditional artisan techniques complemented by unique silhouettes, colours and detailing. The collection caters to women who do not follow fashion but embody it; women who appreciate art and have an eye for skillfully crafted pieces and modern tailoring. Last but certainly not least l have to include one of my favourite collection, Malan Breton showcased two collections this season, his collection showed at New York Fashion week at Madison Square Gardens in front of 5000 people - the only other two designers to show here have been Kanye West and Tommy Hilfiger. And his second, Fantome collection was showcased in London. Both collections showcased a political reflection, a performance and a message via the runway. Don’t miss next month’s fashion exclusive, l’ll be sharing some of the best emerging online fashion labels in the UK.

Debenhams Reveals Plans to Sell Hijabs Debenhams has become the first major UK retailer to sell hijabs as part of their clothing line. The giant seller is set to introduce a new line of Muslim clothing in its flagship Oxford Street branch before filling up its Birmingham Bullring store as well as others nationwide. The line includes headscarves, hijab pins, dresses, tops, jumpsuits, kimono wraps and caps. Jeanette Whithear, of Debenhams, said: “Adding the high quality fashion range to our product mix enables us to offer collections that are highly relevant in both international markets and to our domestic customers. “This is a step closer to creating a product offer that caters for broader customer needs.” The clothing line has been made by

Aab, which specialise in ‘contemporary modest wear’ for conservative women. The founder of Aab, Nazmin Alim, said: “We started Aab almost a decade ago as a label that redefined modest fashion and one that caters for everyday modern wardrobe staples. “The partnership with Debenhams opens up some very exciting opportunities for us.” Debenhams isn’t the first retailer to offer Islamic dress however, as John Lewis sold headscarves as part of its school uniform in 2014 and Marks and Spencers sold burkinis in 2016. Many have praised Debenhams for their inclusiveness, although some have reacted with negativity and have called for a boycott of Debenhams in order to protest tyranny.



ION & BEAUTY Beauty in a Pinch It’s late. You have school. Lectures. Work. Maybe even a date! But your make up still isn’t on and you’re not even close to ready. What are you supposed to do? Well, take a quick look over these tips for one! 1. Mix your Foundation and Moisturiser together to create a super silky blend that will moisturise and provide coverage in one go! 2. Conceal ONLY where needed! It might be hard forgoing the current craze

of concealing large portions of the face, but in a pinch, keep it to where it’s needed: under eyes, sides of the nose and stray spots! 3. If you have dark hair, you can line your upper eyelid with Eyeliner then use it to lightly fill in your eyebrows! 4. Apply mascara to the lower lashes only and use a cotton swab to flick off any mistakes Finish it off with a quick slick of lipstick and you’re make up is complete!

Smoking and Skincare Why your bad habit is ruining your appearance Dark Under Eyes Smokers are 4x as likely to suffer from poor sleep, leading to dark undereye circles. Furthermore, the effect of smoke and pollution on the face does nothing to aid dark circles from improving. In addition, smoking and smoke cause red eyes, yet further affecting the appearance of the eyes. Premature Aging Try as we might, everyone gets wrinkles. Later in life. Smoking unfortunately accelerates the aging process, leaving smokers looking up to 1.4 years older than their age. Wrinkles Smoking restricts the blood supply which means less oxygen and nutrients reaching the skin tissue. This has a wide range of adverse knock on effects. The skin is duller, thinner, less elastic, less supple and overall less healthy. This is what’s termed the Smoker’s Face, and includes wrinkles and a gaunt and grey appearance. Vitamin Restriction Vitamin C Part of the dullness and darkness comes from the lack of Vitamin C reaching the skin due to the restricted blood stream. Vitamin C is integral to promoting cell turnover, skin tissue

repair and brightness. Vitamin E Vitamin E is used in keeping the skin elastic, bouncy and youthful. Smoking however contributes to the thinning of the skin and due to the blood restriction, there is less Vitamin E reaching the skin to help plump it back up. This one-two punch is a big part of why smokers suffer early aging. In addition to Vitamin C and E, the restricted blood supply lowers the skins ability to receive and produce other essential elements such as hyaluronic acid. Dry Skin Smoking causes the skin to dry out, stripping the moisture barrier dry and causing fine lines, wrinkles and dullness as well as a whole host of other skin diseases such as acne. Unfortunately, the moisture barrier is extremely difficult to repair but easy to damage, meaning moisturisers and serums will do little to help heal it.

MARCH 2017




D H A L I W A L Dal Dhaliwal is UK’s first Indian Female Health and Fitness Coach to launch a private fitness gym. She is also a Health and Fitness TV Presenter. Dal has been working in the wellness Industry since 1998.

Menopausal Health Menopause brings on many changes for women. There is a change in hormones and the drop in oestrogen levels can often lead to some unpleasant symptoms. Often women notice a change in their weight. The average woman can experience a gain of 5 to 7 pounds during menopause. Often the gain can be around the mid-section. For some women exercise may have never featured as a priority in their life - and for many the very thought of exercise is the last thing on their mind when experiencing menopausal symptoms. Symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats may leave women feeling tired and lacking energy. Although not proven, there is evidence that shows staying active can help many women cope with the symptoms better and that maintaining an exercise regime can help to ease symptoms by relieving stress and enhancing the quality of life - leading to a happier healthier menopause. Studies also state that a woman’s risk for certain medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure , breast cancer rises during (perimenopause) and after menopause (postmenopause). Therefore, exercise is important for women who are facing the transition of menopause. Use it as a reminder to keep yourself active. Eat good wholesome food - take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Exercise during and after menopause offers many benefits: Often most of the weight gain associated with the menopause will be gained around the abdominal region. This belly fat is both detrimental

to the health and frustrating from a body image point of view. Keeping active combined with correct nutrition can help prevent weight gain. During the menopause women are more prone to lose muscle mass. Exercise will strengthen the bones and stimulate the formation of new bone and can slow bone loss after menopause. This lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Aerobic activity combined with regular strength training can help you shed excess pounds, burn calories more efficiently, reduce body fat, strengthen your muscles and maintain a healthy weight. Stretching can help improve flexibility, stability, balance and this in turn can help prevent falls. Menopause can often lead to depression, stress and anxiety. Keeping active is proven to help reduce stress and boost your mood - and decreases the frequency and severity of hot flushes as it raises our levels of beta-endorphins in the brain – this can improve, relieve depression and reduce stress. Women going through the menopause will not need as many calories as before, due to their metabolism charging. Experts recommend eating about 200 fewer calories a day than you did in your 30s and 40s. Ensure the calories you consume are quality ones: Choose leaner sources of protein like fish, chicken, and turkey, and leave room for plenty of healthy produce. Although exercise isn't a proven way to reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances it can help you maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress and improve your quality of life. Keep active and make the changes to your lifestyle. This will help ensure you remain healthy during this stage of your life.


Body Perfect Personal Training ensures you get the optimum workout experience and we are dedicated in helping you achieve your results. Your individualised plan will include strategies to overcome obstacles and develop a positive mental attitude which will gear you towards achieving your health and fitness goals.


Our Personal Training service is available at our prestigious studio situated in the heart of Warwickshire or alternatively try our excellent Online Training service.

“Our mission is to help busy women to feel good, gain confidence, build on their self-esteem and to be the best possible version of themselves.” - Dal Dhaliwal

Body Perfect Personal Training delivers an experience that is unique, personalised and we are 100% committed in helping you reach your goals!



MARCH 2017

THE ASIAN TODAY PR supremo and food blogger Anita Champaneri brings her blog Ms Delicious PR and all things food to The Asian Today, bringing all the news from hot restaurants to cool bars and everything in between.

Spring Delights

Spring is just around the corner and Birmingham has a delightful array of new and exciting offers and independents opening in and around the city.

Damascena Coffee House

Colmore Business District has opened its arms to its first Middle Eastern café and deli, Damascena. This beautifully decorated Moroccan style venue with high ceilings, chic brass chandeliers and cosy cushion seating is definitely one to check out. The name Damascena (Damascus Rose) reflects not only the city that inspires the menu, but also the interior. This up market café in the heart of Birmingham’s financial district boasts an incredibly healthy menu for

both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. The restaurant will cater for the professionals of the CBD with a lunch menu of salads, sandwiches and pastries, but the Middle Eastern inspired food on offer will set it apart from other coffee shops and delis in the area. Owner Anas Zein Al-Abdeen secured a prime spot on Temple Row West overlooking the Cathedral. You can enjoy its charm whilst devouring a fabulous Mixed Meze that includes Falafel, Fattuush salad, Damascena Fuul Medames and a choice of dips and flatbread, not to mention the Middle Eastern inspired tea and milkshakes.



Celebrate Mother’s Day with Lavish Kesar Peda J

ewels, clothes, cars- these gifts might be a bit outside of your price range if you’re looking to gift your Mother something this Mother’s Day. Thankfully there’s one certain gift that can make anyone smile- and that’s food! Opulent, delicious, nibbly and scrumptious food that is! If you’re looking to gift the old gal something, what better than Kesar Peda? These are easy and simple to make (so no excuses from the kids) but pack a punch in flavour and earn major points in style. All you need are some saffron strands, crumbled mava (khoya), milk, sugar and some cardamom to get started!


All curry lovers in the city are certainly spoilt for choice - with an exciting new arrival of 1580 opening soon in Sutton Coldfield. The restaurant is inspired by the year sailor Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the earth in search of something rather precious. His expeditions paid him handsomely. For, he

did not just return with sterling silver and glittering gems, but sacks full of exotic spices to present to the Queen of England. The interior design depicts his sailing vessel on its most famous journey. The restaurants menu takes you on an exotic culinary journey too with dishes such as Drakes mussels. Diners can expect a variety of authentic, flavorsome dishes from Handi Gosht (Pot Pepper Lamb Curry) to Drake’s Royal Meat Feast Platter (includes soft shell crab, tiger prawns, chicken tikka and lamb chops). The menu boasts contemporary interpretation of classic Indian cooking. Definitely worth trying out!

Edgbaston Boutique Is it cocktail o’clock? The Edgbaston is now launching an exciting New Cocktail Menu ‘The Taste of Birmingham’. The menu has been designed around the rich history, culture and heritage that the city is so well renowned for, such as; jewellery, arts, textiles, glass, confectionary to name a few. There are a variety of alcoholic cocktails, light cocktails

with lower booze content, but equally enticing flavours and soft virgin drinks without the devil’s sauce! The menu is filled with passion and creativity at its best! ‘A Trifle Bazaar – Birmingham’s invention of Tennis’ is a popular one to try – Strawberry Wine, Fino Sherry, Finlandia Vodka, Trifle Liqueur and Custard – little known to many is that tennis was first played just five minutes away, where a club was set up on a former treasure trove of wild strawberries.

Get more food news on twitter @deliciouspr and on the web :

Method 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Get a small bowl and add ¼ tsp of saffron strands to 1 tsp milk and mix well. Keep aside. Heat 2 cups of mava on a broad non-stick pan and let it cook on a medium flame for 7-8 minutes. Remember to stir continuously and enjoy the smells while you’re at it! Add ½ cup of sugar, mix well and continue to cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes, all whilst stirring continuously. Move the mixture onto a platter and spread it all evenly across. Cover this with a lid and leave it for one day. Crumble the mava mixture and add ¼ tsp of cardamom powder and the saffron mixture as well. Ensure to mix well. Divide the mixture into 16 portions and shape each one into a ball. After creating a sphere, lightly press down on top, flattening it slightly and creating a small dip. Anything can be added to this little dip for extra flavour or presentation, but we suggest either a cardamom seed or three small strands of intertwined saffron!

Brummy Chef Aktar Islam to Appear on Saturday Kitchen Birmingham chef Aktar Islam, of Lasan, will be appearing on the much loved BBC1 show on Saturday mornings, 10am. The Jewellery Quarter based chef will be appearing alongside host Michel Roux Jr and guests Jennifer Saunders and Paul Ainsworth.

Aktar will be demonstrating one of his specialities, ox cheek with nigella-scented hips cabbage. It’s not the first time Aktar has graced the television however, having featured on the Channel 4 Series The F Word, with Gordon Ramsay, who named Lasan the

Best Local Restaurant back in 2009. In addition to Lasan, Aktar is also the chief director of Birmingham restaurants: Raja Monkey Café, Fiesta de la Asado and Nosh & Quaff. He is set to open another venue at the Selfridges food hall later in March.


MARCH 2017





EXCLUSIVE Sheena Ramchurn Senior Journalist

recently spent two weeks in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. ‘Mauritius? What’s that?’ I don’t blame you for not recognising the name. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world and receives little limelight, whether it be for the sugar cane exports or their booming tourism trade. Mauritius is known its blue seas, blue lagoons and white sandy beaches. It’s the perfect destination for honeymooners looking for an indulgent paradise stay, however it is also an ideal holiday spot for families, friends and adventurers.

Mauritius- More than just an Island Couples Couples can enjoy luxurious resorts such as the Sugar Beach resort that sits on the beautiful Flic en Flac beach. Take a relaxing catermaran boat ride to the remote island of Ils aux Cerf, noted for its unreal blue waters and soft sands.

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Families and Friends There are heaps upon heaps of family adventures available. For example, Casela Zoo is one of the highlights of the island. Walk with lions, interact with cheetahs, feed giraffes, or if animals aren’t your thing, then go quadbiking or ziplining between the gorges with the ocean and mountain as your backdrop! Visit the capital city of Port Louis for a spot of shopping and history. The port is lit up at night and the twinkling waters make it all the more beautiful. Here you can eat, visit arcades and museums or enjoy some serious shopping! If you’re after a spot of culture, why not head up the mountain to Grand Bassin (grand lake) temple, where spiritual awakening and a whole host of friendly monkeys await you! Some of the hottest water activities include swimming with dolphins, snorkelling, scuba diving, whale watching, going for a mini submarine ride and even underwater walking!

Adventurers As a volcanic island, Mauritius has 23 volcanoes, 2 dormant, and mountains visible from every single spot on the island. Enjoy hiking up Pieter Both, the tallest mountain in Mauritius which stands at

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL 820m tall, or explore the hidden valleys and waterfalls. Sept Cascade is one of the many natural wonders, seven side-byside waterfalls, as is the 7 Coloured Earth and newly discovered 23 Coloured Earth! These two Coloured Earths are huge mounds of sediment layers left behind from volcanic eruptions, revealing the very colours of the Earth’s mantle in their correct layers. There are volcanic craters to explore, pristine lakes, rocky beaches and an abundance of unique wild and aquatic life!


Specialists in


• We aim to bring you great flight prices, whatever your destination. • We use a variety of airlines to find you the best deal. • We can provide tailor made packages and visa facilities. • We also specialise in Hajj & Umrah Tour packages. Hotel Bookings & Umrah Visa Services also available LOW COST FARES TO: Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lagos, Dar-Es-Salaam, Dubai and many more destinations.

Easyway Travel: 151 Ladypool Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, B12 8LH Tel: 0121 440 2121 Mobile: 07931 794 645 E-mail: Web:


MARCH 2017






@Wow_Zone /WowZoneLtd


Birmingham entrepreneurs generate over £20 million turnover in 2016 figures

Qasim Majid is a technology entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Wow Zone – a digital marketing agency. He has been in the digital industry for 20 years.

When most of us think of millennials, there are usually negative connotations attached. However, this is slowly becoming a thing of the past as millennials are taking it upon themselves to change society for the better. With international women’s day just gone, the question “are women better than men at social media” is now more relevant than ever. The best social media campaigns are full of emotion, allowing us to connect or relate to something; there is no doubt about this. It’s vastly assumed that women are more emotional than their male counterpart, thus supporting the hypothesis that they’re better at social media and general marketing. However, a study conducted by leading neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis showed that men are actually just as, if not more, emotional; they’re just better at concealing it. This may be due to – ‘gender stereotypes about men being stoic and women being emotional are reinforced by our day to day consumption of media and our social interactions’. So, are women really better than men at social media? Outside of the possible misconception that they’re more emotional, the other argument supporting the hypothesis is...experience. Did you know: 22% of women are active on Twitter compared to 15% of men. Twitter wouldn’t be the only female dominated platform. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest also boast a significantly higher female usage. Perhaps this could be the main argument surrounding the question. Whether or not it comes down to experience, people often forget that behind all these screens and online profiles; there are humans. This is why some businesses try social media and fail. Their marketing is robotic, whilst attempting to sell or engage with humans. Being an entrepreneur means having emotional intelligence, and lots of it! It isn’t just to get you ahead of the competition, it’s a prerequisite! To thrive we have to be able to read emotion well as well as having the ability to evoke emotion when necessary to drive positive emotions towards our brand.


• •

Entrepreneurial Spark launches impressive 2017 Impact Report 3,152 jobs created by its entrepreneurs 85% of businesses still trading compared to 40% nationally New programme underway to reach even more entrepreneurs


ntrepreneurial Spark Powered by NatWest launched its annual report today, with an even bigger impact on the Birmingham hub and wider UK economy than ever before. The figures in this Impact Report demonstrate beyond doubt that the world’s largest free business accelerator is at the forefront of an entrepreneuring revolution in Birmingham. A focus on creating growth mindsets and hands-on enablement by Entrepreneurial Spark with the key support of all its partners in NatWest, KPMG Enterprise, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons means that over 1,700 businesses have aided across the UK. Since opening in 2015, 385 jobs have been created, generating over £20m in turnover, an average of £102,000 per business. Working with the hub are the Entrepreneurial Spark Enablers Joe Trodden and James Powell and NatWest Entrepreneur Development Manager Lee Currier. In 2016, hubs opened in

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, which created 3,152 jobs. The figures for turnover and investment are even more impressive, with the businesses supported by Entrepreneurial Spark having turned over £176m and secured £151m in investment. A people-centric and actionorientated approach means businesses undergoing the Entrepreneurial Spark programme produce focussed and resilient leaders, and a fantastic chance of growing as a business. 85% of the businesses accelerated are still trading (double the national average). Lucy-Rose Walker, Entrepreneurial Spark CEO, said:

“We’ve titled this Impact Report ‘Blow Your Mind.’ The stats are truly mind blowing, we’ve enabled our entrepreneurs to create real jobs, huge turnover and significant investment, via developing entrepreneurial mindsets. Our entrepreneurs have turned over £176m, so it is clear what an impact we are having on the UK economy. “Our vision is to create positive social change by giving people the chance to grow and create jobs, and value in the economy. “Our partnership with NatWest enables us to give hands-on practical help to start-ups, from that first spark of an idea, right up to bigger businesses needing

to scale and grow. We also work with KPMG, Dell Technologies and Pinsent Masons. “We will bring our entrepreneuring revolution to London with our 13th hub and are launching the first free, dedicated fintech accelerator in Scotland." Alison Rose, CEO of Commercial and Private Banking for NatWest, said: “The Impact Report shows that the support our free accelerators are giving to entrepreneurs is working, enabling them to create jobs across the UK, secure millions of pounds of investment and support their local economies. Our hubs are now in every nation of the UK and many major cities." Since joining Entrepreneurial Spark, Lee Nazari has grown his business, Mobile Pay Systems, a one-stop mobile payment system which ties in Epos, CRM, App and cloud management. He said: “I've become much more selfaware and see the impact of the decisions I make. This is particularly valuable now the business has grown in so many areas. I'm breaking new ground in how far I'm taking an idea, and it's been great to have that shoulder to lean on when needing advice.”

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Twitter: @Jassansi




£54 Million Funding for Birmingham Research • MP Sajid Javid revealed details or the growth deal


irmingham and Solihull have received a funding boost worth an impressive £54 million in order to help grow and develop it's high tech industries and ensure that the staff have the necessary skills to work within them. MP Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary and Bromsgrove, revealed the details for the latest Greater Birmingham and Solihull

"This Government is backing Greater Birmingham and Solihull with this new £54.2 million funding pot..." Growth Deal following the highly anticipated Spring Budget. The Growth Deal includes funding for Birmingham and Solihull's research facilities, including research and treatment for disease, thermal energy research, house building and includes additional funding meant for investment in colleges and training courses. Javid said: "This Government

is backing Greater Birmingham and Solihull with this new £54.2 million funding pot. Exciting projects to benefit include new medical research laboratories and a new centre to develop clean energy. This new funding will help create jobs, boost skills and give businesses support." Chairman Steve Hollis said: "In total, the Government's investment now stands at £433 million – a

real statement of confidence in our track record of delivery and ambition. "When combined with the £1 billion of funding we are unlocking through our enterprise zone and the billions of pounds of investment in HS2, we have significant resources to deliver projects that will help support the realisation of our vision to be a global city region by 2030."

MARCH 2017



Cricket Returns to Pakistan - PG 47

Spring BudgetYay or Nay for Our Pubs? More news from the Spring Budget has pubs up and down the country cheering. The Tories new plan has implemented a cap on rate rises for firms losing small business rate relief, with additional measures for the protection of pubs. Chancellor Hammond's plan means that those small businesses affected by the new rules coming into effect in April will not have their rates increase by more than £50 a month. It is feared that the 2017 plan will leads to a sharp increase in rate for numerous firms. Whilst some stand to benefit, there are other who have called the plans into question, including those in South East and London, who will likely face prominent increases in how much they pay on rateable properties. Rob Lankey, the chief exec of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, said: 'While the chancellor's comments have brought a degree of clarity, the prospect of sheer and sudden increases from April for a large number of businesses could dampen growth intentions. As we've seen on the ground, small business appetite for funding has been steadily increasing, even in the light of Brexit-induced uncertainty - it would be severely damaging if business rates were the straw that broke the camel's back.”


MARCH 2017





Spring Budget Fails to Address ‘Broken’ Property Market T

he Tory government has come under fire for the Spring Budget supposedly paying little to not attention to the housing market despite the market being described as ‘broken’ little over a month ago. Since George Osbourne’s last Budget, buy-to-let activity has decreased and first time buyer has increased, something some argue negatively affects the market. After all, landlords are not corporations and are simply renting to earn an income.

This and more was highlighted by Doug Crawford, the CEO of My Home Move, who added: “Come the 6th April, landlords will suffer a further blow as changes to mortgage interest relief come into force; coupled with increases in National Insurance for the self-employed announced today – an estimated one in five landlords will be affected. The fear being that any additional costs will end up being passed on to their tenants; meaning

rents will go up, while their ability to save for a deposit for their first home, will go down. “What we need is a property market that works for every kind of buyer including the Government’s ‘ordinary working families’. By putting the brakes on the buy-to-let sector all the Government has done is caused a problem further along the housing chain. In the future, we urge the Government to look at the issues as a whole, in order to fix its broken housing market.”








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MARCH 2017




Introducing the New Land Rover Velar

Other Motoring Laws Coming into Effect

Land Rover has finally revealed the luxury SUV that comes with a range of smartphone features


and Rover has finally unveiled the fourth member of the Range Rover family, the highly anticipated Velar. The Velar was revealed on March 1st and is based on the same platform as the Jaguar F-Pace. It has a drag coefficient of 0.32 and is the most aerodynamic Land Rover ever made. The Velar is coupe-inspired and is comprised of 81% aluminium, helpful in keeping the weight down. It has a honey-mesh grille, swept back signature Range Rover headlamps and 22-inch alloy wheels.

Aside from the mobile phone and internet device usage at the wheel laws, the government has brought into effect new car seat laws which mandate that cushion booster seats be used by older children only. It should be noted that this only applies to car seats bought after March 1st 2017. This change means that The Velar has six different engine options, both petrol and diesel. All six are couple to ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, giving power to all four wheels via the Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. On to the fun bit, the Velar has all the features you would expect from a luxury SUV. This includes 2 10-inch touchscreens, one of the dashboard for information and entertainment and one in the centre console to control the air-con and terrain response settings. The SUV can be unlocked by the

Law Tightens Around Using the Phone while Driving

The 1st March saw new laws come into place that will see drivers caught using their mobile phones at the wheel slapped with steeper charges than before. From now on, drivers having passed their test in the past two years caught on their phone will have their licence revoked. Other drivers will have six points added to their licence and be hit with a £200 fine. New drivers who reach six points will be made to retake their practical and theory. These new measures

smartphone and smartphones can also be used to check fuel levels, start up the climate control and access the car’s current location. In addition, the Velar has a 23-speaker 1600W Meridian audio system and two 8-inch screens for back passengers. There is also an ‘activity key’ that can be worn as a wristband as well as hands-free boot release. To cap it all off, the Velar has air suspension on offer, its seats adjust in 20 different ways and can be cooled and heated, whilst the rear seats have a 40:20:40 split folding option.

come alongside a powerful advertising campaign that ran in 2015, the year in which 22 were killed and 99 seriously injured due to drivers on their phones. A new campaign will hit TVs, cinemas, billboards and social media in the coming weeks. The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said, “It may seem innocent, but holding and using your phone at the wheel risks serious injury and even death to yourself and other road users. Doubling penalties will

act as a strong deterrent to motorists tempted to pick up their phone while driving and will also mean repeat offenders could find themselves banned from our roads if they are caught twice.” In the first week of March there was a police crackdown which had officers take on extra patrols with an “increased focus” on drivers on their phones. During the last crackdown, which took place 23rd-29th January, around 3600 drivers received penalties.



children under 125cm and below 22kg must use a child seat with a back as opposed to the backless booster cushions. The reasoning behind this is that backless car seats offer less protection for children, particularly regarding side-on collisions. Those caught breaking this new law will be hit with a £100 fine.

Hyundai’s Futuristic Fuel Efficiency Set for 2018

Set for launch in 2018 is Hyundai’s FE Fuel Cell Concept, the latest in their eco-vehicle programme. The concept will see at minimum of 14 new “environmentally focused” hydrogen vehicles, whereby water is the only tailpipe emission. The vehicles also feature integrated vents to improve aerodynamic efficiency. In addition, it boasts internal air humidifiers which work to recycle water emitted from the vehicle and 4th generation fuel cell with 20% lighter cells. Hyundai’s vice chairman, Woong Chul Yang, said:

“Hyundai Motor has a heritage of building innovative, fuelefficient vehicles that advance the automotive industry’s environmental progress. Our FE Fuel Cell Concept is an important evolution of our pioneering hydrogen leadership, and moves us closer to our vision for a ‘Hydrogen Society,’ where transportation is clean, efficient and enhances the lives of our customers.” The car also sports portable battery packs, “Hyundai Smart Sense” driver assistance, and even a storage and charging area in the boot for electric scooters. Vroom vroom indeed!



MARCH 2017

Shakespeare to Take over As Leicester Manager?

According to BBC Radio Leicester, Craig Shakespeare is to be offered the role of Leicester City’s manager’s job until the season is over. Shakespeare, who was previously Claudio Ranieri's assistant, has been the caretaker boss ever since Ranieri was fired in February. Under Shakespeare’s care, the Foxes have won both of their games, with many praising Shakespeare for his direction. In his first match as caretaker


Khan-Pacquiao Fight Was Never Meant to Be

manager, the Foxes won a 3-1 league victory over Liverpool. After the game, defender Danny Simpson said Shakespeare "kept it simple and told us what he wanted to do, which was simple and basic. We've done that so let's hope we can carry it on for him.” Their next bout will be up against Sevilla as part of the second leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on March 14th.

Decline in Percentage of Women in Sporting Leadership Roles


ans are finding it hard to bite back on their disappointment after the much anticipated Amir Khan- Manny Pacquiao fight has been left dead in the water. According to Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, there is no fight in the works for two of the world’s most famous boxers. News of the fictitious fight first came to light when both Khan and Pacquiao announced it on their respective twitter accounts in late February, with the United Arab Emirates expected to be

the venue. Pacquiao’s fans had also voted Khan as who they’d like to see the Filipino go up against next. The prize money meant to be put forward was a whopping £31.1 million, however the unnamed investment group strangely failed to produce it. Arum was quick to put the entire story to bed, telling ESPN: "It's kaddish for the UAE deal. It's dead. "I'm talking about another proposal for another fight, not Khan. Khan won't be Manny's next opponent." He added that no such bout

could happen until the latter half of 2017, under revised terms, and that Pacquiao's advisor Michael Koncz will be negotiating a revised fight against a different opponent that is set for July. He had previously told the Los Angeles times; “When they contacted me, I told them it was pie in the sky, that this is crazy, it’s not going to happen. Manny wanted to roll the dice. He rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. “If something is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.”

Britain to Host IBSA European Judo Championships

The Women in Sport survey found that the number of women getting top jobs in sporting bodies had decreased by 6% since 2014. The study found that less than 50% of Britain’s 68 sporting bodies fail to meet government guidelines, with 9 out of the 68 having not a single woman in a senior leadership role at all, for example the British Taekwondo Council. The study coincided with International Women’s Day, which seeks to bring to light women’s issues in politics, economics, culture, entertainment, sport and more. New codes that come into effect on April 1st will be aiming to get more women into top jobs and leadership roles as organisations will be made to have a minimum of 30% of women on their boards or else lose funding. As for the report, it said: "Women in Sport is also extremely concerned by the

decrease in the number of women in senior leadership roles. While organisations should continue to tackle the diversity of their boards, they also need to broaden their focus, addressing diversity within their organisations more generally." The Women in Sport chief executive commented, "There is positivity in the fact that in the seven years we have been doing this audit, we have seen an increase in the number of women at every level of leadership in sport. "But now we are seeing the figures plateau and for nonexecutive directors on boards, the figure has sat at around 30% for the last couple of years. "That is an average across all of the governing bodies that masks a disparity, some do better than that and some do worse than that. Half of the national bodies are hitting the 30% target, the other half have work to do."



Britain is set to host the upcoming IBSA European Judo Championships this August. The Championships will be taking place at the University of Wolverhampton Sports Complex in Walsall and will see blind and visually

impaired athletes fighting it out for the top spot. In amongst the fighters will be a number of Rio 2016 Paralympic medallists. After the competition, there will be a three day training camp which will give athletes the chance to train with some of the top

sighted judokas in Britain at the esteemed British Judo Centre of Excellence. Hull fighter Chris Skelley, who won 5th place at the -100kg category at the Rio Paralympics, said: "It's brilliant that we'll have the chance to fight in front of a home crowd at a

major international event this year.” “Fighting in Rio last year we all saw how important home support was for the Brazilian players and I think it will make a big difference to us. It's a really important stepping stone on the road to Tokyo."

Will David Hayes’ Achilles Heel be the End of his Career? David Hayes has the boxing world in doubt of his future career after sustaining what appear to be serious injuries during his bout with Tony Bellew. Hayes was set to mark his return to boxing after four years out of the ring, but injured his right Achilles heel in the sixth round. He refused to throw in the towel, with the Londoner instead continuing to fight on just one leg until the 11th round, when the fight was stopped. During the fight, Bellew repeatedly got the upperhand on Hayes, deftly dodging and swiping past Haye’s well known power punches. During the sixth round, Hayes twisted his ankle and repeatedly struggled to get back up after getting knocked down.

In the penultimate round, he was batted through the ropes and although trying to press on, his trainer Shane McGuigan threw in the towel. Hayes underwent surgery on Sunday 5th March, which has left many gutted after rumours surfaced that he may be unable to ever return to the ring. Hayes’ career has been marred by injury after injury, having sustained a serious shoulder injury in 2012 which forced him to retire before his comeback of 2016. However, injuries still persisted, and he withdrew from a number of matches and big dates. Now, in an ironic yet somewhat fateful twist, it is the Achilles Heel which may have finally driven Hayes from boxing altogether.



MARCH 2017

Sport DO YOU HAVE A SPORTS STORY? Call us on 0121 667 8719



ports, nations and politics collided on the 5th of March as the final of the Pakistan Super League went underway, with Peshawar Zalmi facing off against the Quetta Gladiators. However there was more at stake than just the game. This year’s PSL was the first time in 8 years that international cricket has been played in Pakistan since the 2009 incident, when 12 gunmen shot at a bus full of Sri Lankan cricketers, injuring six members of the team and killing six police officers and two civilians. It cost Pakistan it’s hosting rights for the 2011 Cricket World Cup as well as severely isolating Pakistan within the cricket world. No one was willing to visit. No one was willing to play. After a number of bombings in Lahore and increased security

presence, the tensions were higher than ever amid the PSL final. The Gaddafi Stadium, where the PSL was held, was off limits to the public in the days running up to the final due to growing security fears. In addition, up to 10,000 security personnel were deployed during the games, including the Paramilitary force, the Rangers. However, thankfully, this March saw an incident-free event whereby 18,000 tickets were sold, both teams played a stirring match with Peshawar Zalmi winning, and all of Pakistan was able to celebrate not just a win, but a return to international cricket. The president of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Giles Clarke, is head of the ICC’s Pakistan Task Force and has been seeking to end the isolation. He said, “The desire is to give the cricket-starved Pakistani

supporters the chance to see some of the world’s finest players in live action. “The world of cricket needs to help Pakistan, who cannot continue to play their home fixtures overseas. The youth need inspiring, and the national teams need far more cricket played in familiar terrain. Furthermore, the terrorists cannot win and cricket must not give up on Pakistan.” Sportstar pacemen Wasim Akram called it, "a momentous occasion for Pakistan." Given the success, the International Cricket Council will be sending a World XI to Pakistan for a four-match Twenty20 series. Aiding the nations return to international cricket, the fourmatch game will be called The Independence Cup, marking the 70th Anniversary of the partition.

Eight years since the isolation, the PSL proves Pakistan can safely host cricket matches




MARCH 2017


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