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Indian American voters forum host a welcome reception for Counsel General in New York, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das

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Seated left to right: Dr. Sudha Parikh, NY Supreme Court Justice Ruth Balkins, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Justice Denise Sher and Mary Cozzens. Standing L to R: Dr. Yashpal Arya, Dr. Vaijinath Chakote, Justice Bruce Cozzens, Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Deputy Consul General of India in New York Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Justice Steven Bucaria, former County Executive Tom Suozzi, District Court Judge Anthony Paradiso, Varinder Bhalla, Dr. Sunil Mehra, Dr. Ajay Lodha, Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Animesh Goenka.

Seated left to right: Dr. Sudha Parikh, NY Supreme Court Justice Ruth Balkins, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Justice Denise Sher and Mary Cozzens. Standing L to R: Dr. Yashpal Arya, Dr. Vaijinath Chakote, Justice Bruce Cozzens, Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, Deputy Consul General of India in New York Dr. Manoj Kumar Mohapatra, Justice Steven Bucaria, former County Executive Tom Suozzi, District Court Judge Anthony Paradiso, Varinder Bhalla, Dr. Sunil Mehra, Dr. Ajay Lodha, Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Animesh Goenka.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Judges from the New York State Supreme Court and Long Island public officials, in coordination with the Indian American Voters Forum convened to host a welcoming reception this week for Consul General of India, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das.

Supreme Court Justices Steven Bucaria, Bruce Cozzens, Ruth Balkins, Denise Sher and district court judge Anthony Paradiso attended the event. They were joined by New York assemblyman Thomas McKevitt and former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. In total, nearly 85 prominent members of the community were in attendance, including Dr. Sudhir Parikh and Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori.

Das met in private with the assembled judges and organizing members of the Indian forum to discuss the possibilities of inviting a delegation of American judges to visit India.

“I am very welcoming of the idea of an exchange program of the judiciary and I hope that soon one day it will come true,” said Justice Bucaria.

Indian Forum chairman Varinder Bhalla informed the Consul General of the group’s recent initiative of recruiting members of Congress into the Congressional Caucus on India. Recently, Congresswoman Kathleen Rice joined the caucus. The aforementioned Parikh was a key player in the formation of the caucus in 1993, and spoke about its role in “furthering the relationship between our two democracies, our nations’ shared interests from global security to trade and international prosperity.”

Suozzi is currently in the heat of a congressional race, and stressed his longstanding relationship with the Indian-American community in New York, pledging his support of the caucus and saying he would certainly become a member.

“I will certainly join the India Caucus if I am elected in November,” he said, adding, “and work to strengthen the bond between the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy.”

The event also found time to pay tribute to the late Dr. Banad Viswanath, who was a relentless community advocate in the area. The Consul General and assemblyman McKevitt presented his son, Dev Viswanath, with a citation on behalf of the New York State Assembly. Viswanath founded Vision of Asia, the first Indian-American TV show, in 1976. It expanded in 1986 to ITV Gold, the first 24/7 cable TV station in the U.S., delivering countless hours of news and culture from India to American television screens.

Arts & Culture

U.S. and India conduct joint military drill on Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean

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Indian Ocean drill

DIEGO GARCIA, India Ocean (Diya TV) — The U.S. and Indian Navies went submarine hunting in the Indian Ocean, their first bilateral anti-submarine warfare exercise since a signing pact to work more closely together last fall.

India’s exports to China are up in 2019, while imports declined, leading to a $10 billion reduction in India’s trade deficit with China. Analysts say the current Washington-Beijing trade war has also opened things up for India.

The Jallianwala Massacre 100 years ago that left hundreds dead and 1200 injured at the hands of British troops is considered a key turning point towards a free India. British prime minister Theresa May marked the occasion by expressing “deep regret”, but there are still no apologies.

An effort by an American and British companies to help Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal save the airline from collaspe dissolved after Etihad Airways and TPG Capital threatened to walk away themselves if Goyal was part of the deal.

And comedian Hasan Minhaj, who won a 2017 Peabody Award, received another Peabody nomination in the entertainment category for his Netflix show, “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.”

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Women film makers shine at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

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IFFLA staff with the 2019 festival winners

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Way into its 2nd decade, the 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded Sunday night with the zany slice-of-life film, The Odds, directed by Megha Ramaswamy. Complete with a glamorous closing night red carpet, and an awards ceremony the festival ended with an after party at the Spice Affair in Beverly Hills.

(From Left to Right) Praveen Morchale, Christina Marouda, Shazia Iqbal, Anand Patwardhan, Nitin Sonawane , Divya Kohli Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

IFFLA was only four days this year (compared to five days in previous years) but there was still so much to see during that time. In addition to the curated set of films, there was an incredible panel discussion, Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age, that featured panelists working in various fields in the television industry and their struggles to rise up through the ranks in the Hollywood while being brown.

Panel Discussion Breaking in Brown. Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

This year’s film lineup boasted five world premieres, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and eleven Los Angeles Premieres, with films presented in nine different languages. The overall atmosphere was very relaxed even with films that tackled difficult subject matters. About fifty percent of the films were directed by women so when asked about that theme, filmmakers and staff alike hoped for a future where it will be normal to have women and men equally making films.

Kicking off the awards ceremony, Director of Programming, Mike Dougherty, announced the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Widow of Silence.

“We present the Grand Jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn’t get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday…This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their film-making was beautifully wise and refined.”

Director Praveen Morchhale was visibly surprised as he walked up to receive his award. The film he said, was about those, “that nobody talks about and nobody treats them as a human”. Even though it was Morchhale’s first time at IFFLA, he said he felt as if he had been coming here for many years, and that it is not him winning the award but the “women in Kashmir” on whom the film is based.

The Audience Award for Best Feature went to Reason, Director Anand Patwardhan received a standing ovation when he went to collect his award. On accepting his award , Patwardhan said, “Most of the time our film is getting thrown out of festivals, I wasn’t expecting this.” He went on to say this was his first time here in Los Angeles and he enjoyed every film he watched and enjoyed all the interactions he had at the festival. He added that it meant a lot for the film to be well received here and how that will hopefully impact its reception in India.

When Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak was announced for the Audience Award For Best Short Film, the jury mentioned how she almost gave up on filming because she was getting thrown out of mosques. Iqbal spoke about how when people think of Muslims, they only think of Muslim men and not women, who experience so much misogyny. She hopes people will be able to “see beyond what misogyny and religion does to people.” Iqbal added, “A director is nothing without their team.”

Shorts Program jury member, Megha Kadakia, said how all of the short films have a strong cinematic vision, “they told stories about identity and life in the modern world, personal and subverted expectations…they were all very powerful.”

“A layered portrait of a woman determined to pursue her needs and impulses,” the Grand Jury awarded their prize for Best Short to The Field from director Sandhya Suri. “The film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life,” the jury added.

After the awards, Dougherty introduced the closing night film, The Odds by saying the film was the “Perfect way to close IFFLA on a celebratory note.” Before the film started, IFFLA alum director Megha Ramaswamy, called her cast and crew on stage to greet the audience and made a reference from her film saying, “To cut a story short, what are the odds that a crew like us gets to hang out with an audience like you?”


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One-on-One with Prime Minister Modi

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One-on-One with Modi

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — In a rare sit-down interview in the middle of an election, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discusses his first term and what he plans to accomplish if he is elected to a second term. Watch the full interview tonight on a special Diya TV Dialogue at 7 pm.

Two U.S. Senators are urging more negotiations with India over a Trump administration plan to end preferential imports because it could raise costs for American consumers.

Meanwhile, India purchased a missile system from Russia. Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is hopeful the deal will avoid sanctions and scrutiny from the U.S.

Thiru Vignarajah a former federal prosecutor, who also once served as deputy Attorney General in the state of Maryland, announced he is running for mayor of Baltimore as a Democrat.

And our entertainment reporter, Kari Lane will take you behind the scenes at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, an event proudly sponsored by Diya TV, full of some of the brightest stars you will soon see on the silver screen.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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