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15th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicks off tonight

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LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Now in it’s 15th year, the Indian Films Festival of Los Angeles is scheduled to kick off tonight with the premiere of “Lipstick Under My Burkha.” Widely recognized as the premiere showcase of groundbreaking Indian cinema globally, this year’s rendition of the festival will take place from April 5-9, and will be held at Regal L.A. LIVE: A Barco Innovation Center.

“As India’s diverse array of talented filmmakers continues to be recognized around the world for their compelling and daring work, IFFLA is extremely proud to collect the best films from emerging voices and experienced masters and present them to Los Angeles,” said Mike Dougherty, Director of Programming, in a press release.

Lipstick Under My Burkha, directed by Alankrita Srivastava

Lipstick Under My Burkha, directed by Alankrita Srivastava will open the 15th edition of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles

The festival will open with “Lipstick Under My Burkha,” which features an ensemble cast of Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak, Aahana Kumraand Plabita Borthakur in a dramatic, but irreverent and vibrant film about women and faith. The film was first screened in Tokyo in 2016 and has since been lighting up the festival circuit. including just winning the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival. The film’s director, Alankrita Shrivastava, will be in attendance at the screening.

Some of highlights include:

‘An Insignificant Man’ The political climate in India has seen the rise of a leader with rags to riches story. Narendra Modi the current Prime Minister of India gained in popularity rose to the top, while another man Arvind Kejriwal, challeged the status quo and the establishment forming a new party called the ‘Aam Admi Party’ or AAP translated mean Common Man’s Party.

‘An Insignificant Man’ takes you through an astounding journey with the behind-the-scenes access attained by first-time documentarians Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla. Embedded in Kejriwal’s campaign for a year, these new filmmakers use their exclusive footage and media coverage to piece together a gripping, eye-opening account of the AAP’s herculean effort to wrestle power away from an establishment long divorced from the needs of its people.

Sexy Durga IFFLA alum Rajshir Deshpande stars in the controversial and provocative “Sexy Durga”, directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan. It is a road trip movie that exposes the vulnerability of women in Indian society to exploitation that masquerades as chivalry. 

Shorts Program, Spice Sisters

Shorts Program, Spice Sisters

A personal favorite of mine is the shorts programs. It is a wonderful way to sample many different types of films and stories. Many filmmakers have showcased their short film at IFFLA and have returned with a feature film. It is something special to witness the filmmakers’ journey and be able to interact with them at this intimate film festival.

This year’s shorts programs are full of vibrant and boundary-pushing films. I spoke with Managing Director Nitin Sonawane about the upcoming festival and what guests can look forward to this year. One main point is how the festival strives to be on the pulse of what is happening in India. Also, Nitin Sonawane added that you can look at one film and think, “Wow, this is going on in India and then look at something completely different and that is also going on India.”

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This year’s festival will close with a screening of “Hotel Salvation,” the debut feature of Shubhashish Bhutiani, whose 2013 short film “Kush” was shortlisted for the Live Action Short Film Oscar and won IFFLA’s 2014 Audience Award. “Hotel Salvation” premiered in the College Cinema section of the 2016 Venice Film Festival. The film’s star Adil Hussain (Life of Pi, Umrika, Parched) will attend IFFLA’s Closing Night gala representing the film.

This year’s festival will also mark the world premieres of two films, the North American premieres of five additional, as well as five U.S. premieres. This festival premieres work representing nine languages, and highlights a combination of exciting first and second-time filmmakers and experienced cinema masters returning with new work.

Gala tickets, passes and more information about the festival can be found at www.indianfilmfestival.org .

Diya TV is a media sponsor of the festival.

Business

PM Modi’s Houston reception sold out, 50,000 to attend

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Modi Kashmir SanjayPanda FireEye

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — “Howdy, #Modi!”, the community event in Houston next month featuring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is sold out, with more than 50,000 people registering for the program. This community summit will be at NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans football team. The expected crowd will be the largest for a foreign leader in the United States other than for Pope Francis.

The Indian government has begun to ease restrictions in most areas of Kashmir, with barricades being lifted to allow more freedom of movement of people and traffic. Markets remained shut and phone and internet services are still suspended. Large security measures are also still in place. Students are being asked to return to school, but most classrooms are still mostly empty.

With a lot of narratives online about what’s going on in Kashmir, we asked Indian Counsel General in San Francisco, Sanjay Panda, to give context and sort out fact from fiction.

Fire Eye, an American-based cyber security firm says hackers broke into a leading India-based healthcare website, stealing nearly seven million records containing patient and doctor information. Fire Eye did not publicly name the website, but says the cyber criminals are mostly China-based and are selling the stolen data underground.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Business

Feinstein urges Trump to resolve India trade tensions

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Feinstein Trump India Tension,

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In a letter to the Trump administration, California Senator Dianne Feinstein, asked to resolve trade tensions with India as quickly as possible. Feinstein explained trade with India had grown dramatically since 2000, with India importing goods worth more $6 billion from California in 2018 alone.

Changes in America’s new H1B visa process could have an impact on the business of IT services, as Indian IT services companies are concerned the process of issuing visas will not be as transparent moving forward.

Tesla and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) are interested in the Indian government’s plan to build large factories to make lithium-ion batteries. The global interest comes amid a push by the government to make India a global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles and their components.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a proposal to make ‘988’ a designated three-digit number for suicide prevention, much like 911 is for emergencies. The new ‘988’ hotline will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

And we’ll take you to New York City, site of the largest Indian Independence Day in the U.S. and Silicon Valley, where the Indian flag was raised at San Jose City Hall.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Featured

Trump Speaks to Modi, Aims to Reduce Kashmir Tensions

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Modi Kashmir Tensions Trump

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — President Trump spoke to Indian Prime Minister Modi by phone to get India’s perspective on Kashmir. Modi told Trump the anti-India rhetoric from Pakistani leaders was not conducive to peace. Later, President Trump in a tweet called Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan “good friends,” of his and that he’s working “towards reducing tensions in Kashmir.”

Kabul, Afghanistan was the site of a horrific suicide bombing that took place at a wedding, killing 63 people. The bride and groom survived. Afghan officials blame the attack on the United States and their prolonged presence in the region.

A 35-year-old man from India on a hunger strike at a Texas ICE facility was force fed, according to his attorney, becoming the latest detainee seeking asylum in the U.S. fed in such a manner. The man stopped eating tko protest his confinement. ICE says they will do what it takes to “preserving the lives of those in its custody.”

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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