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'Trial By Fire' and 'Kohrra' made everyone notice my range: Filmmaker Randeep Jha

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New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) In ‘Trial By Fire’, he stunned his audiences with a spectacle of honesty and purity that can inspire an inner silence.

In ‘Kohrra’, the pace, the silences and the unsaid conveyed more than words and movements. In both, thoughts were conveyed through a delicate vengeance.

Even as filmmaker Randeep Jha, who directed the web series ‘Kohrra’ and co-directed ‘Trial By Fire’, is all set to work on a big-budget film being made by a major studio, which he insists is an interesting space that he has not touched in terms of craft, he admits that while ‘Trial By Fire’ was critically acclaimed, but it was ‘Kohrra’ that stunned everyone and precipitated several major names in the film industry to call him and show interest in working with him.

For someone originally from Bihar, who spent several years in Delhi training under theatre teacher Barry John, it was not a big deal to work on a web series in Punjabi.

“Punjab and Punjabis are an intrinsic part of Delhi. Almost every day, you encounter someone from there. You are bound to get very familiar with their sensibilities if you live in the national capital. I have always been interested in reading about current affairs, and the many contrasts of Punjab have forever fascinated me,” he tells IANS.

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Even as he gives credit to the writers of ‘Kohrra’ — Gunjit Chopra and Sudip Sharma, Diggi Sisodia, Jha maintains that he wanted to experiment with craft and sensibilities… not following a linear pattern, not getting into the trap of cliches Punjabis are portrayed as in Bollywood.

“I will be honest — for me, it was a theatre set. I brought in my training as a theatre person and executed the project. It went seamlessly as most of the actors were from a theatre background. For every scene, there was a certain ‘setting’ I had in mind — how the actors will react, how they will move.”

While ‘Trial By Fire’ was verbose, he wanted silence in ‘Kohrra’ to talk.

Admitting that it was a risk he took, Jha says he has always believed in the intelligence of the audiences.

“There are times when pauses and quiet convey way more than what is spoken, especially in wounded societies that have witnessed dark times,” says the director of the critically acclaimed films ‘Halahal’ (2020) and ‘Kartaa’ (2018). But did he imagine that ‘Kohrra’ would invite much critical acclaim and a huge audience?

Jha smiles, “Not at all, we just went with the flow. The writers had been working on it for two years, but the moment I read the script, I knew the potential was huge. I was working on ‘Trial By Fire’ when I read the story. At the first given window, I just went ahead, and everything started falling into place. For me, it was important to pay attention to the pace of the show. The ‘fog’ deserved a semicolon, and I was willing to take that risk. I could do it because it was a web series and not a film. In many ways, this show has proven that being slick is no guarantee for success. Slow burn brings out more meanings and metaphors. Not just in urban areas, those in rural Punjab, who are fed on commercial Punjabi films also enjoyed the show, thanks to the honesty of the language and the various facets of the Punjabi society we managed to convey.”

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Crediting the show’s success to the offers he has been getting from major studios, Jha feels that most producers are impressed by the range he demonstrated in ‘Trial by Fire’ and ‘Kohrra’.

“Many producers confessed that it was hard for them to believe that the same person had directed those two shows. Yes, they both have been instrumental in catalysing my career.”

The director, who has worked extensively with Anurag Kashyap (‘Ugly’, ‘Mukkabaaz’, ‘Raman Raghav’) and Dibakar Banerjee (‘Shanghai’), stresses that he learnt a lot from both of them.

“Anurag has this unique ability to solve problems immediately. He will improvise, and not make a fuss. His quick decision-making ability would surprise everyone on the set. Dibakar is brilliant when it comes to planning. Everything is crystal clear in his mind,” he recalls.

Crediting OTT platforms for giving a chance to directors like him to tell stories the way they want to, Jha says not just him but many other young directors have benefitted immensely from digital platforms.

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“OTTs have allowed writers and directors to be honest to the craft and themselves, without the stress of box office.”

“And I have always believed that whenever you tell stories from the soil, they resonate with people. In the past few years, so many young directors have made a name for themselves by telling different stories differently, all thanks to digital platforms,” he stresses.

And now that he is a name to reckon with, Jha just hopes for one thing, “I pray that I keep encountering new stories and do not hold back from telling them the way I want to,” he concludes.

(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at sukant.d@ians.in )

–IANS

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Man arrested over hoax bomb threats in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad, May 30 (IANS) Hyderabad Police on Wednesday arrested a man who allegedly made a call about a bomb being planted in Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Praja Bhavan and Nampally Court.

Shiva Kumar, a resident of Chikkadpally area in the city, was taken into custody after police traced the caller.

The accused had called the police control room that a bomb would go off soon at Praja Bhavan.

Police teams including dog squads and bomb disposal squads thoroughly checked the building, which is the official residence of Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka. It turned out to be a hoax call.

The police control room had received another call from the same mobile number about a bomb being planted in Nampally Court. Police had conducted checks at the court building.

The accused had switched off the phone after making the two calls. Police launched an investigation and on Wednesday identified the caller.

The accused reportedly told police that he made the calls in an inebriated condition after a fight with his wife. He was previously involved in a bike theft case.

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The police were conducting further investigation.

–IANS

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Progressive bodies to stage protest against Prajwal Revanna at his native district

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Bengaluru, May 29 (IANS) Progressive organisations in Karnataka have given a ‘Hassan Chalo’ call on Thursday to protest against absconding JD-S MP Prajwal Revanna, the prime accused in the alleged sex video scandal in Karnataka.

Hasaan is the native district of Prajwal Revanna, who is also the sitting JD-S Lok Sabha MP from there.

Activists attached to more than 113 organisations headed towards Hassan from across the state, demanding stern action against Prajwal Revanna, who’s is the grandson of former Prime Minister H.D. Revanna.

The organisers have erected a huge platform in Hassan where more than 10,000 people are expected to gather by Thursday.

Prajwal Revanna’s uncle and JD-S state President H.D. Kumaraswamy has claimed that the agitation is politically motivated.

Meenakshi Baali, the President of State Janawadi Mahila Organisation, said on Wednesday that H.D. Deve Gowda’s family is known for issuing false statements and lies.

Thousands of people are going to participate in the agitation demanding justice for the victims of the alleged sex video scandal, she said.

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She also said that forces in the state are making an attempt to prevent people from attending the agitation, but they are not going to succeed.

Author and senior counsel Bhanu Mustaq said that Prajwal Revanna took oath under the Constitution, yet he committed atrocities on women who had come to him seeking his assistance.

“This is an unforgivable act. This development needs to be condemned by the civil society. This agitation is being organised to demand the arrest of Prajwal Revanna,” she said.

Meanwhile, Prajwal Revanna has said that he will return to India on May 31 and present himself before the authorities.

Karnataka Home Minister G. Parameshwara has said that Prajwal Revanna will be arrested once he lands in the Bengaluru airport.

–mka

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Fire breaks out in a multi-story building in Patna, residents rescued

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Patna, May 29 (IANS) A massive fire broke out in a multi-story building on Patna’s Fraser Road area on Wednesday evening and more than 20 fire engines were working to douse the blaze, officials said, adding all the residents had been rescued safely.

The incident occurred on the ninth floor of the Surya Apartments located just behind Hotel Maurya and adjoining the residence of former Union Minister C.P. Thakur.

Apart from the Fire Department, the police of Gandhi Maidan and Kotwali police stations rushed to the spot to take control of the situation.

The reason for the fire has not been ascertained yet.

“We have received information about the fire which broke out in the multi-story building. We immediately went there and rescued the family members living in the building. One person was trapped inside the building. We broke the window and rescued him. He had sustained injuries. We are currently focusing on dousing the flame as soon as possible. The reason for the fire could be a short circuit,” DIG, Fire Services, Mritunjay Kumar said.

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–IANS

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Elephant cub rescued from deep well in TN's Nilgiris, reunited with herd

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Chennai, May 29 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Forest Department on Wednesday safely rescued an elephant cub from a 30-feet deep well in Kolapellur in the Nilgiris district, and reunited it with its waiting mother, officials said.

The elephant cub, according to local people, fell into the well late on Tuesday night.

Forest Department officials were informed and by 3 a.m., a group of 40 officials led by Gudalur DFO, Vengatesh Prabhu, reached the spot and rescued the elephant cub by the evening after herculean efforts.

Officials told IANS that immediately after the elephant cub fell into the well, a herd of elephants camped near it, and first, the Forest Department team had to drive these elephants away so that they could commence the rescue operation.

Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Climate Change and Forests, Supriya Sahu in a post on X said: “A very heartening news is coming in just now about the successful rescue and reunion of a juvenile elephant in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu Foresters in Gudalur Forest Division in Nilgiris have successfully rescued a juvenile elephant from a 30 feet deep sand well in a farmland where the young elephant had accidentally fallen.”

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“After 8 hours of challenging battle the team succeeded in making a ramp for the elephant to safely walk out of the well. After the rescue the team united the baby elephant with her mother who patiently waited nearby with the herd. Big appreciation to DFO Gudalur, Vengatesh Prabhu who led the operation with a team of 40 people from 3 am onwards.”

–IANS

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Delhi HC launches free Wi-Fi facility, new website for lawyers, public

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New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has introduced a free Wi-Fi facility on its premises for lawyers, litigants, and the public.

Phase I of the Wi-Fi service was launched on Wednesday by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, Justice Rajiv Shakdher, and other judges.

During the launch event, Justice Manmohan cited the significant role of judges in managing the administration of the high court, which places it at the forefront of judicial reforms.

He stressed the ongoing commitment of the court to introduce further improvements, noting that additional facilities would be inaugurated after the summer recess.

The initial phase of the Wi-Fi facility covers A Block, B Block, C Block, the Extension Block, the mediation centre, and the lawyers’ cafeteria.

The service is designed to handle a large number of users, providing reliable and fast internet access with robust security measures to protect user data.

In addition to the Wi-Fi facility, the high court also unveiled its newly designed website which features a responsive design that adjusts to different screen sizes, ensuring seamless functionality across desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

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The new site includes integrated applications such as e-filing, e-RTI, e-Sewa Kendra, accessibility helpline, and more, eliminating the need for users to navigate to separate URLs.

The other new features of the website include True Copy Application, an online mechanism for obtaining true copies of court documents; a virtual tour of Delhi High Court; landmark judgements, a section that will soon feature significant judgements from the high court.

–IANS

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