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NEERJA: An Intriguing Film on Bravery and Sacrifice

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(DIYA TV) — Fashion diva Sonam Kapoor, known for playing “girl next door” roles, takes on a new challenge as a brave air-hostess in the upcoming film “Neerja.”

Directed by Ram Madhvani, the film is based on the real-life story of Neerja Bhanot, a 23 year old PAN AM senior flight attendant that risked her life to save the passengers on the ill-fated flight 73 that was hijacked while on the tarmac in Pakistan.

Neerja is an ordinary girl turned extraordinary, who showed immense bravery and courageousness in saving 380 lives that day. Although, she survived this bout with terrorists, she later passed away while saving three little children.

Sonam Kapoor truly brings Neerja to life.

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“LOVED IT! Sonam, what an incredible performance. Can’t remember the last time I cried this much. Congrats! STAND PROUD!”, said Hrithik Roshan in a tweet.

Reports also mention Sonam took very stringent measures of learning the real life character, interacting closely with Rama Bhanot (Neerja’s Mother) who was able to assist Sonam to live up to the real life Neerja’s character.  

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Harish Bhanot and Rama Bhanot characters were brilliantly played by Yogender Tikku and Shabana Azmi. Azmi shines throughout and mentions “Rama Bhanot is not just an other person to me but there was this instant connect to her. There is a wonderful arc in this characterization because starting from being a regular mother, she rises above to become that person who has faced an immense tragedy and her own personal loss is able to overcome it and embrace this incident of her daughter sacrificed her life to the nation,” she added.

Arts & Culture

Tulsi, Kamala tussle on night 2 of Detroit Democratic debate

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Tulsi Kamala Dem Debate

DETROIT (Diya TV) — In another otherwise straightforward affair, night two of the Democratic debate in Detroit, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Kamala Harris took jabs at one another, as they both aim to capture attention and move up in the polls.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to tout the U.S.-India relationship, saying on a tour to the Indo-Pacific region that America is “working hard with the Indian government to provide them with opportunities to grow their economy.”

A 60-year-old Sikh priest was attacked at his home near a Sikh gurdwara in Hughson, California. Amarjit Singh says the suspect broke several windows, punched him in the back of his neck, and then yelled ‘go back to your country,’ before fleeing.

Indian rapper Badshah broke the record for most views of a YouTube video within 24 hours of its premiere. His new video “Paagal” received a staggering 75 million views, topping a mark set by Korean boy band BTS.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Arts

Bollywood actress Tabu honored at 2019 IFFLA Opening Night

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Actress Tabassum 'Tabu' being honored before the screening of her film Andhadhun at 2019 IFFLA Opening Night

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is officially underway, kicking off the festivities last night at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills with a tribute to the renowned Bollywood actress Tabu.

Actress Tabassum 'Tabu' in conversation before the opening night film Andhadhun at IFFLA
Actress Tabassum ‘Tabu’ in conversation before the opening night film Andhadhun at IFFLA

Christina Marouda, Founder and Executive Director of IFFLA, introduced Tabu’s notable accomplishments. “Her work and personality embody everything that IFFLA is about” Marouda said “being fearless, versatile, independent in spirit, unwilling to compromise, brilliant in the range of her performances, and simply beautiful. With half of the festival’s 2019 line-up directed by female filmmakers, this [year’s IFFLA] couldn’t be a stronger celebration of women in Indian cinema.”

The audience was treated to a moderated interview with Tabu in which she discussed her interest in flawed and immoral characters, as well as how she has enjoyed combining a career of commercial success with one of artistic reinvention.

The interview was followed by a screening of Tabu’s most recent film Andhadhun, directed by Sriram Raghavan and co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana. The black comedy is a triumph of chaos in all the right ways; weaving humor with horrible acts of violence, shifting storylines and ratcheting up the tension. Tabu brings her legendary intensity to every scene, flowing effortlessly from casual and comical to duplicitous and menacing. She is a villain in a story with no true hero, allowing her to flex her most manipulative muscles.

IFFLA is unabashedly confronting diversity in Hollywood, not as a trend, but as a mission. Not only featuring a curated set of film programs designed to support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry, but – just as importantly – supporting filmmakers of Indian and South Asian descent in career development and expanding opportunity as they establish themselves in various mainstream Hollywood systems.

This years programming includes Ronny Sen’s directorial debut Cat Sticks, which screened at Slamdance, Ashish Pandey’s Kashmir-set drama Nooreh, which won at Busan, family drama Love Goes Through Your Mind, directed by UCLA alum Ronak Shah and Safdar Rahman’s Chippa. Additional programming also features a TV-centric panel titled ‘Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age’ featuring the work of South Asian talent in broadcast and streaming.

The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is taking place April 11-14, 2019 at Regal L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The Opening and Closing Night Galas will be at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets and information on programming visit https://www.indianfilmfestival.org

Diya TV is a proud sponsor of the festival

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Basketball

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen resigns

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Secretary Nielsen resigns

WASHINGTON, DC (Diya TV) —   Kirstjen Nielsen, the US Homeland Security Secretary, is stepping down over major differences with the administration on how to implement President Trump’s immigration policies.

Meanwhile, President Trump continues to campaign around the nation to make the case for his re-election in 2020. Over the weekend, he told a Las Vegas crowd India is charging 100% tariffs to the U.S. on many things and he wants to reciprocate. He added the Senate is not doing enough to change what he calls “stupid trade.”

The South Asian Bar Association’s Northern California chapter held their annual fundraising gala, a chance for judges, attorneys and the next generation to network and honor their peers.

The NBA Champion Golden State Warriors are moving to San Francisco in the fall, so they held their final Bollywood Night in Oakland. We’ll take you behind the scenes and introduce you to a member of the Warriors Dance Team that choreographed an epic Bollywood dance.

And Ravi Ahuja, the former CFO of Fox Networks, is now Walt Disney Television’s CFO and president of business operations.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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