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Bold, stunning and eloquent, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ sets the tone for IFFLA 2016

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The ‘Kali Pose’ , Diya TV’s Kari Lane poses with the ‘Goddesses’ from ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’

 

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicked off the fest with a bold and beautifully shot film, by IFFLA alum and award-winning director Pan Nalin, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’. Before the screening the Hollywood Arclight seemed to get an injection of Bollywood. Filmmakers walked down the red carpet, showcasing the best of Indian and contemporary fashion, abuzz with talk of the theme that has emerged at IFFLA this year, ‘Female Focussed Films’.

Nalin’s opening night creation is a largely improvised film with women who act as real people rather than characters. The film starts off with a group of women descending upon Goa to gather at the request of their friend ‘Frieda‘. All of the women are college friends with the exception of Frieda’s ex-boss and her housekeeper. It turns out Frieda has a secret; she is getting married. However, there is some mystery around whom her betrothed is. There is dancing, talking, teasing, confrontations and bonding. The characters swear, smoke, talk about sex and just be real women, revealing the most natural yet subdued parts of an Indian woman’s mind, that are either relegated to character roles or just simply not portrayed in mainstream cinema.

The film is set in Goa and the cinematography is just right, as if it were a canvas for film, drawing attention to the story and the message. The seven women are in a house together being and doing what girlfriends do. The friendship and the chemistry between the characters is certainly relatable for many women. The tight shots on faces, details, reactions, expose the raw emotions the characters feel drawing you in as if you are with them. The seven women and their personal stories come together effortlessly through less dialogue and more emotion, a sense of being understood for who they are, who and what they want to be, and not being defined by the cultural constructs of what the society or the State wants them to be. They question these norms, these standards and laws and the story picks up steam as one of the characters ‘Frieda‘ finally reveals to her friends who she is getting married to.

Just when you start to laugh and be silly and enjoy the escape to Goa, Nalin confronts you with a bold truth, one that is feared, yet unexpected. What’s even more unexpected is the ending, it leaves you hopeful, yet glaringly aware of the brutal reality that must be confronted.

The Indian Film Festival has started off with a big and bold film and is expected to keep the trend going with a strong repertoire of films this year with female filmmakers and films that address issues women face not just in India but around the world.

One such film is Parched, a film about female subjugation in rural India, the thriving misogyny & the stark contrast in gender inequality.

The festival is being held all week long at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood and will host the Closing Night Red Carpet before the showing of ‘Waiting‘, starring Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin, directed by Anu Menon.

 

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Celebrity Chef, Vikas Khanna’s ‘The Last Color’ to open 10th annual CSAFF

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Celebrity Chef, Vikas Khanna's 'The Last Color' to open 10th annual CSAFF

CHICAGO (Diya TV) – Celebrity Chef, Vikas Khanna’s lastest film venture, ‘The Last Color’ will open the 10th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival (CSAFF). And if that didn’t get your attention, the Michelin-starred chef will also cater the opening night reception. With a densely-packed and competitive lineup of over 50 films ranging in scope from documentary, features and shorts the fest promises a weekend full of entertainment for Chicagoland.

The Festival will showcase films from and about South Asia, spanning countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan. Through this extensive array of cinema, audiences will be able to take a deep dive into these rich cultures and experience the intimate complexities and stories within them. 

Vikas Khanna’s ‘The Last Color’ to open the 10th annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival

The Opening Night Film: The Last Color is produced, written, and directed by Michelin-starred chef, Vikas Khanna, and stars veteran actor Neena Gupta. The film tells the story of 9-year old Chhoti, a tightrope walker, struggling to survive and make ends meet while she dreams of attending school. In the midst of her toils Chhoti meets Noor, a widow who struggles a life of abstinence and isolation, together their friendship must stand the test of taboos and age-old beliefs that perforate Varanasi, India. Festival manager, Jigar Shah said, “This Opening Night film will shed light on both the complexities and the beauty of certain areas of South Asian Culture.”

The centerpiece for this year, award winning director Hardik Mehta’s Kaamyaab – a story about a washed up side actor from the hey days of Bollywood, who realises that he ‘retired’ on the verge of a rare milestone – he had featured in 499 Hindi films!

Hardik Mehta’s Kaamyaab will be the centerpiece film at the 10th annual festival with Rohena Gera’s Sir as the closing night film.
A Destruction follows the life of 11-year old Humera as she grows up in a village in Pakistan

In this broad palette of emotions and themes are films that are fearless on speaking about social issues within the community, stories about women’s empowerment, social justice and more. Nagarkirtan, tells the story of a boy growing up in rural Bengal who soon realizes he is a woman with the physique of a man forcing him to flee to a world that will accept him for his inner truths. The documentary A Destruction focuses on 11-year old Humera growing up in a coastal village near Karachi, Pakistan, as she dreams of one day becoming a doctor. However, when tensions spill into the village and threaten the only school to shut down, she must face the intense pressure of foregoing her dreams for an arranged marriage.

Another influential gem, at this fest this year, is the film Kaifinama, which details the life and art of Kaifi Azmi, an Urdu progressive poet who became one of the foremost lyricists in the Hindi Film industry out of meager beginnings. His daughter, veteran actress, Shabana Azmi is slated to be in attendance for the fest.

Providing bursts of levity and grace between the full length features are the stellar and bite-sized shorts such as Rahul Chaturvedi’s hilariously quirky Forbidden Tikka Masala, Nirav Bhakta’s HBO APA winner Halwa. Another must-see screening would be Nikhil Singh Rajputt’s Blood Buddhas – a documentary about India’s quest to repatriate cultural, historical artifacts, that “purloined during colonial times,”.

From traditional wide-screen theaters to Virtual Reality booths, Documentary features to short features; Afghanistan to Bangladesh, Nepal to Sri lanka, CSAFF aims to be a conflux of cultures, and ideas, as well as an examination of challenges and change.

Alongside post-film Q&A discussions, award ceremonies, the 10th annual CSAFF promies to be the best ever yet! If a glamorous Red Carpet, a chance to rub shoulders with film makers, actors and cinephiles wasn’t enough, CSAFF knows how to throw down, Chi-town style! The Festival after party will be headlined by celebrity musician DJ Karsh Kale.

It all takes place from September 19th through the 22nd at the VENUE SIX10 in the Spertus Institute. With more than 50 other films that will be screened throughout the weekend at the Showplace ICON Theater and DePaul University.

Diya TV is a proud media partner for the event, and will be onsite covering the fest. For tickets and information: https://www.csaff.org/tickets/

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FBI: Amity CEO Ridhima Singh, others accused of major healthcare fraud

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Amity

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The FBI says, CEO Ridhima Singh of Amity Home Health Care is among the 28 people, that include doctors and nurses, accused in the scheme. Federal prosecutors charged the Bay Area’s largest home health care provider, Amity Home Health Care, with involvement in a kickback scheme that led to $115 million in tainted claims. The complaint said medical professionals received $8 million worth of bribes disguised as payroll, phony medical directorships, reimbursements, entertainment or gifts, in what the Department of Justice said was simply “a cash for patients scheme.”

The man accused of stabbing and killing 62 year old Parmjit Singh in Tracy made his first court appearance. 21 year old Anthony Kreiter-Rhoads of Tracy pleaded not guilty of homicide during his arraignment. Police are still investigating the motive behind the crime.

And Priyanka Chopra & her husband Nick Jonas were named by People Magazine as their pick for ‘Best Dressed of the Year.’

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Tracy Sikh community mourns killing of 64 year old Parmjit Singh

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Tracy Sikh Community mourns killing of 64 year old Parmjit Singh

TRACY, Calif. (Diya TV) — The Sikh community in Tracy, California is mourning the loss of 64-year-old Parmjit Singh, who was on his routine walk through a park when he was stabbed and left for dead. The FBI is investigating, but so far there is no concrete suspect information, just a person of interest. It has not been determined either whether Singh’s death will be classified as a hate crime.

The mayor of Manhattan, Kansas, Usha Reddi announced she is running for the U.S. Senate in 2020 as a Democrat. There is no incumbent challenger for Reddi, but no Democrat has won a Senate seat in Kansas since 1932.

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and professor Jhumpa Lahiri is taking the helm as director of Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing.

And actor Kumail Nanjiani announced he is joining the cast of the Marvel Studios’ “The Eternals.” Featuring a diverse cast, Nanjiani tweeted “I’m gonna be a super hero in a purple costume!!!!”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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