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DC South Asian Film Festival brings star power to independent cinema

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The South Asian Film festival featured a stellar list of stars, including yesteryear Bollywood star Zeenat Aman.
The South Asian Film festival featured a stellar list of stars, including yesteryear Bollywood star Zeenat Aman.

The South Asian Film festival featured a stellar list of stars, including yesteryear Bollywood star Zeenat Aman.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Award-winning Indian actress Zeenat Aman was the headliner at the sixth annual South Asian Film Festival. Aman, who was a prolific film star in the 70s and 80s, was one of many stars featured in the three-day festival held in Washington, D.C.

The 66-year-old starred in a plethora of films, including Hare Rama Hare Krishna in 1971, Yaadon Ki Baaraat in 1973, Warrant in 1975, Satyam Shivam Sundaram and Don in 1978, Insaaf Ka Tarazu, Qurbani and Dostana in 1980 and Lawaaris in 1981.

“I have worked in about 80 films as a main female protagonist and in about 8-10 others where I have played important character parts,” she said at an opening kickoff event for the Festival.

Attracting some of the best and brightest from the world of art cinema, the three-day event is organized by Manoj and Geeta Singh.  Acclaimed guests included: Aman, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Delegate Aruna Miller (now running for Congress in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District), directors Anant Mahadevan, Vinay Pujara, Indira Somani, Azaan Khan, Mehreen Jabbar, Harjant Gill, and local artists Meera Narasimhan and Rajiv Paul, who served as emcees.

Oscar Winning Director and Producer Jeffrey D. Brown (Sold, 2016; Molly’s Pilgrim, 1985 – Oscar, Best Short Film, Live Action; Dream with the Fishes, 1997 plus TV shows such as L.A. Law and The Wonder Years) praised the event in a statement on the event website: “DCSAFF was amazing!  The films, the community and the love we felt was profound and nourishing for the soul.”

Geeta Singh remarked how the event gives considerable prominence to women-centric films, those which highlight issues affecting women and girls such as Deepa Mehta’s documentary, Anatomy of Violence.

There is also a charitable component, with appearing directors supporting a non-profit organization which helps victims of domestic violence in the South Asian community.

Held on Montgomery College’s Rockville campus, the event boasted a wide variety of independent films.

Well respected director, Anant Mahadevan talked with attendees at the opening gala. His film, Doctor Rakhmabai (120 minutes, Marathi with English subtitles), about India’s first practicing woman doctor was screened at the event. Other films included a trilogy of films starring Adil Hussain — Hotel Salvation, The Violin Player and Mantra; Punjabi films — The Black Prince by Kavi Raz, starring renowned actress Shabana Azmi and singer Satinder Sartaaj, Moh Dia Tandhaa directed by Priyanka Gill, Sent Away Boys by Harjant Gill; works of Pakistani independent cinema – Lala Begum by Mehreen Jabbar, Saawan by Farhan Alam, and the 100 Steps documentary by Shahnawaz Zalli.

The festival also included several selections by U.S.-based filmmakers: Clash of Morality directed by Vinay Pujara; Five O’Clock Shadow; Birds in Flight; Surrogate; Stalking Shadows; The Valley and Bretton Place.

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Indian Independence day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

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Indian Independence Day celebrated amidst Kashmir controversy

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) — Indians around the world are marking the 72nd anniversary of India’s freedom from British rule with a series of ceremonies, the largest of which took place in New Delhi at a celebration featuring Indian Prime Minister Modi. Over the course of 90 minutes, Mr. Modi spoke about his government’s accomplishments during his term and the pressing matter that is of interest globally, Kashmir. Watch his full remarks in primetime tonight on Diya TV. Coverage begins at 6 pm.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services made their controversial public charge rule official. It will deny green cards to immigrants who have received federal aid and benefits, impacting one million immigrants annually who have received public aid. Aging parents are also likely to be disqualified.

And the Philadelphia community is in mourning over the loss of three members of the Khurana family, who died when their small aircraft crashed shortly after take-off on a flight heading for Columbus, Ohio. The victims, 60 year old Jasvir Khurana and his wife, 54 year old Divya, were respected physician-researchers teaching at Temple and Drexel respectively. Their 19 year old daughter, Kiran, graduated from high school last year. The Khuranas were on their way to visit their other daughter in California. The FAA and NTSB ruled the crash was an accident.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Fremont PD and FOG confirm Independence Day Parade cancelled over security, permitting

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FREMONT, Calif. (Diya TV) — Fremont Police Department and FOG organizers confirm the annual Indian Independence Day parade, scheduled for this Sunday, is cancelled due to permitting and security concerns. FOG will still take place this weekend, minus the parade. Here’s our initial report on FOG security from earlier this week.

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Trump takes aim at India and China over tariffs

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Trump takes aim at India and China over Tariffs

MONACA, Penn. (Diya TV) — President Trump levied more criticism at India and China at a Pennsylvania rally, saying the two were no longer developing nations and were taking advantage of that status given by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trump added India and China had grown and the US will not let that continue. Trump’s latest comments come as Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal is set to visit Washington next month.

Meanwhile, controlling the narrative on Kashmir has become job one for both India and Pakistan. Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla said to FOX News that President Trump’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan is not on the table, as the U.S. State Department and bilateral agreements between the rivals made clear. Shringla added integrating Indian-administered Kashmir with the rest of the nation was necessary to ensure the region will prosper and stay secure.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had a more stark assessment to his Parliament, saying he wants to internationalize the dispute and aim to be the regions voice, adding Pakistan will ‘teach India a lesson’ should they attack Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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