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Anoushka Shankar to get honorary degree by Oxford University, calls it ‘pinch-me moment’

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Mumbai, April 26 (IANS) Nine-time Grammy-nominated sitarist, producer, and film composer Anoushka Shankar will receive an honorary degree from the University of Oxford and described it as a “pinch-me moment” in her career.

The prestigious recognition is being conferred “in recognition of her outstanding achievements within the music industry” and underscores her profound influence on the global music landscape and her unwavering commitment to bridging cultural divides through her art.

Anoushka said: “This is truly a pinch-me moment in my career; I never even dreamed I might receive an honour such as this, let alone from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. I am deeply grateful to Oxford University for conferring me with an honorary degree.

“I also feel reflective and grateful for all my past teachers who got me to this point. I was fortunate to have had the most precious education in music under the guidance of my father and unbelievable coaching and support in my career aged thirteen onwards from my mother. This is all thanks to them,” she added.

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Anoushka will be awarded her degree on June 19 at the university’s annual Encaenia academic ceremony.

–IANS

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Daler Mehndi’s son Gurdeep spells out essence of travelling: 'Not necessary to travel rich’

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Singer-songwriter Gurdeep Mehndi, who recently released his track ‘Inipu’, is a travel enthusiast. Gurdeep is the son of the legendary Punjabi singer, the King of Bhangra, Daler Mehndi, and has seen his father travel across the planet for his shows.

Gurdeep spoke with IANS about being bitten by the wanderlust bug, and how he makes it a point to focus on travelling as an artiste.

The singer told IANS: “I have seen my father travelling a lot for shows. The best thing about travelling is that you get to explore different types of cultures, people, food, and traditions. It’s not necessary to travel rich. A solo budget trip can bring the same joy as a luxury trip. The only thing that matters is that you travel extensively to enrich your soul and enhance your craft.”

Gurdeep also spoke about his latest song, sharing that he and his team wanted to create something different.

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The singer told IANS: “The germ of the idea behind this track is the two-state culture. Nobody earlier imagined a Sardar guy in a South Indian outfit while having a conversation with a South Indian girl. ‘Inipu’ is a Tamil word which means ‘very sweet’.”

“The track features a very raw format of instrumentation. We deliberately kept the Punjabi influence at bay. The song features just a touch of south,” he added.

‘Inipu’ has been released under the label of Saregama.

–IANS

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Sanya Malhotra-starrer 'Mrs' to be closing film for New York Indian Film Festival

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) The upcoming film ‘Mrs,’ starring Sanya Malhotra in the lead, has been selected as the closing film for the 24th edition of the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF). The film will be screened on June 2.

‘Mrs’ is a captivating account of a woman’s strength and resilience. It also stars Nishant Dahiya and Kanwaljit Singh in pivotal roles. It is the Hindi remake of the acclaimed Malayalam film ‘The Great Indian Kitchen,’ which starred Nimisha Sajayan.

Reacting to the news, Sanya said: “It is a proud moment for me that ‘Mrs’ has been chosen as the closing film for NYIFF. Playing Richa, a character grappling with the delicate balance between tradition and ambition, was an immense honour and responsibility, given that it embodies the struggles of so many Indian women. Our endeavour to breathe life into this story has been incredibly rewarding, and I am eagerly awaiting to share it with the world.”

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In addition, ‘Sumo Didi’ will also be screened on June 2 at the upcoming edition of the film festival. The film has secured double nominations for Best Debut Film and Nikhil Sachan for Best Screenplay.

Shot in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Japan, ‘Sumo Didi’ follows the story of a middle-class girl from a conservative Marwari family. She defies the odds to turn her perceived weakness into her strength and breaks the glass ceiling.

Sharing his excitement, director Jayant Rohatgi said: “After a heartwarming response in Tokyo and Palm Springs, I am excited to be a part of another prestigious film festival at NYIFF. It’s a privilege to be amid such powerful films and filmmakers celebrating the best of Indian cinema. Hetal’s journey is simply remarkable.”

“Her tenacity in breaking through gender stereotypes, social prejudices, a lack of opportunities, and her own demons to make a seemingly impossible dream come true moved me immensely. I hope our film resonates with and inspires the audience in New York as well,” he added.

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Presented by Jio Studios in association with Fresh Lime Films and MA + TH, ‘Sumo Didi’ is produced by Jyoti Deshpande, Akash Chawla, Amit Chandrra, and Arunava Sengupta.

Meanwhile, ‘Mrs’ has secured nominations for Sanya in the Best Actress category and Arati Kadav in the Best Director category.

‘Mrs’ is produced by Jio Studios and Baweja Studios.

–IANS

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Abhishek Bajaj wanted to play UP character since the time of 'Student of the Year 2'

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Actor Abhishek Bajaj, who plays ‘Chakku Bhaiyya’ in the series ‘Namacool’, revealed his desire to portray a character from Uttar Pradesh, since the time he was working on the movie ‘Student of the Year 2’ (SOTY 2).

The actor, who played the role of Abhishek Sharma in the 2019 romantic comedy ‘Student of the Year 2’, starring Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria, and Ananya Panday, shared: “I knew I wanted to do this role when I first read the script. A UP guy with a Lucknawi accent, this guy poses to be an alpha male but has a prominent vulnerable side to himself.”

“When I was working on ‘Student of the Year 2’, characters hailing from UP were becoming increasingly popular. I wanted to play one, but I just wasn’t getting any of those roles. And the moment this opportunity came to me, I had to grab it, and the fact that it was so well written made it a rewarding experience,” said Abhishek.

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“He is a bad guy with a good heart, and I was very happy to bring this interesting character to life on screen. Chakku is a very sweet guy with alpha traits, which made it easy for me to relate to him. Although he talks differently and I don’t fight as much as him, I take a stand for my people, hype them, and be there for them, just like him. And that’s the trait I could relate to the most,” he added.

The bromance dramedy set in the bustling city of Lucknow, ‘Namacool’, also features Hina Khan, Abhinav Sharma, Aaron Kaul, and Anushka Kaushik in pivotal roles.

‘Namacool’ is streaming on Amazon miniTV.

Meanwhile, Abhishek has also been featured in movies like ‘Babli Bouncer’, ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’, and shows like ‘Santoshi Maa’, ‘Parvarrish – Kuchh Khattee Kuchh Meethi’. He next has ‘Jubilee Talkies – Shohrat Shiddat Mohabbat’ in the pipeline.

–IANS

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Vivek Agnihotri visits Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Sevagram for ‘The Delhi Files’

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) Director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, who is currently busy with his film ‘The Delhi Files’, recently visited Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram in Sevagram, Maharashtra.

The director said that he visited the place for research of his upcoming film.

On Thursday, Vivek took to social media and shared pictures from his visit to Gandhi’s ashram.

He shared the pictures with the caption: “For the research of #TheDelhiFiles, I spent days at Gandhi’s Ashram in Sewagram. This cottage has been visited by whos who of the world. Some of the best journalists used to station themselves here to interview Gandhi. Every parent must take their children there. Truly inspiring.”

The director travelled from Kerala to Kolkata to Delhi, covering vast distances to gather accurate and comprehensive information for his film. Vivek has read over 100 books and more than 200 articles related to the historical event that forms the crux of his film.

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Vivek is known for films like ‘The Kashmir Files’ and ‘The Tashkent Files’. Earlier, he directed ‘The Vaccine War’ featuring Anupam Kher, Nana Patekar, Sapthami Gowda, and Pallavi Joshi.

It was based on the efforts of Indian scientists in creating the indigenous Covid-19 vaccine during the global health crisis triggered by the pandemic.

–IANS

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Home cooks to recreate Chef Koushik’s 'Mad Chef on a Plate' on 'MasterChef India Tamil'

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) The semi-finale week of ‘MasterChef India Tamil’ will witness a ‘pressure test’ set by the judge of the cooking reality show, Chef Koushik Shankar.

In this intense ‘pressure test’, the home cooks faced the daunting task of replicating Chef Koushik’s signature dish, ‘Mad Chef on a Plate’. The challenge, however, came with a twist — unlike usual pressure tests where contestants are provided with a recipe, this time they had to rely solely on their senses of taste and sight.

No recipes were given, pushing the contestants to recreate the dish’s flavours and presentation purely from memory and intuition.

This challenge put the skills of the semi-finalists — Sangeetha Swaminathan, Praveen Kumar, Vani Sundar, Pavithra Nalin, Akash Muralidharan, Sudheer Padinchara, and Arthi — to the ultimate test.

It emphasised the importance of sensory expertise in cooking, celebrating intuition and experience in the kitchen.

It will be interesting to see who will rise to the occasion and who will crack under pressure.

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In earlier episodes, the winner of ‘MasterChef Australia season 10’, Chef Sashi Cheliah, introduced the ‘1 Inch Cube Blind Taste Test’. The alumnus of Le Cordon Bleu, London, Chef Anahita Dhondy, also brought along the ‘Challenge Marathon’.

The show also introduced the ASMR challenge, where home cooks had to prepare dishes that not only suited the taste, presentation, and innovation of the judges but also incorporated sound elements into the experience.

The judges of the show are Koushik Shankar, Rakesh Raghunathan, and Shreeya Adka.

‘MasterChef India Tamil’ airs Monday to Friday at 1 p.m. on Sony LIV.

–IANS

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