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Happy Independence Day

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Independence Day

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Communities around the nation are gathering to take in firework spectacles to commemorate America’s independence this fourth of July. The biggest celebration of them all will take in Washington DC, where with much controversy, U.S. Army tanks and other military hardware will be incorporated at the behest of President Trump.

Protests were held in various parts of India following the lynching of a Muslim man suspected of stealing a motorcycle by a Hindu mob in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. The beating went on for more than 12 hours, with the crowd forcing him to chant praises to Hindu gods.

Every year, a mysterious disease lingers around the eastern Indian city of Muzaffarpur, killing poor children under the age of 10 seemingly at random. Researchers continue to be baffled by it.

Cable channel Bravo has greenlighted ‘Indian-ish’, which they say will be a comedic docuseries, following families from India who have relocated to America.

And there’s a new wax statue of actress Priyanka Chopra getting attention, styled to match her appearance at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Basketball

Celtics win Game 3 in Boston , lead series 2-1

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BOSTON (Diya TV) — Even with a furious comeback from the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics handled business in front of their home crowd to win 116-100 and take a 2-1 series lead.

The first half saw the Celtics race to a strong start behind Jaylen Brown’s scoring (22 points in the first half on 57.4% from the field). Most of those points came via the opening quarter with all but 5 points coming in the first. The Warriors saw a resurgence from Klay Thompson in the first half with 15 first half points to his name after he struggled shooting in the previous two games. Not far behind him was his longtime teammate Stephen Curry with 14 points and 31 for the game. Andrew Wiggins was aggressive in attacking the basket, scoring 13 points while not letting up on defense.

Although there were bright spots from the aforementioned Warriors players, Boston took advantage of the Warriors defense (or lack thereof) in the first half. Any time a Boston player drove towards the cup, it felt as if it was all but guaranteed to go in due to the Warriors being lackadaisical and not closing in to force stops. However, the third quarter marked a turning point in the game.

Behind Curry’s 15 third quarter points (and a miraculous 4 point play which turned into a 7 point possession), the Warriors clawed their way back from an 18 point deficit. The “third quarter Warriors” were known for showing up and having big runs out of the half. The Dubs exposed some lapses on defense from Boston to get back in the game, especially on pick-and-rolls.

Boston ultimately settled down and won the 4th quarter to erase the Warriors’ hopes for good. The Warriors will look to regroup and even the series while the Celtics will try to ride the momentum of this Game 3 win and take a commanding 3-1 lead before going back to San Francisco.

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Arts & Culture

IFFLA celebrates 20 years with a focus to mentor the next generation

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IFFLA celebrates 20 years with a trip down memory lane

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — IFFLA celebrated their 20th anniversary with familiar faces, overwhelming excitement and new additions to Southern California’s largest Indian and South Asian focused film festival.

Pan Nalin opened the festival with his film Last Film Show, a love letter to cinema and loosely based on his childhood.

“I think IFFLA over the years, it has been like a home in Hollywood. So I was always able to come here and invite people from the industry to see these movies,” said Nalin. “There are producers who usually don’t go to see Indian cinema. So I feel that it’s really important.”

Director Anurag Kashyap returned to host a MasterClass — a way to give back to the festival and fellow filmmakers.

“It is always good to be back here because for me this is where it all started from. And it’s amazing to see that this festival has grown so much and has been sustaining for so long,” said Kashyap.

New filmmakers were honored to be part of the lineup this year, especially after no in-person IFFLA for the last two years.

Hena Asraf, Director of The Return, shares “it feels a little unreal. It feels great! I think especially to be at a festival in person, after over two years.” 

“The community is amazing. The welcome is very warm. It feels just so honoring to be a part of this festival and amongst these filmmakers. I can’t wait to see all the other films,” said The Return Editor Esther Shubinski.

It’s that family feeling that makes IFFLA special and keeps filmmakers, attendees, and staff keep coming back.

Actor and director Ravi Kapoor is “just so grateful for this festival. It has been such a supporter of me. And they’ve helped bring the South Asian diasporic community here in LA together as well. Thank god they’ve lasted 20 years.”

Actor & musician Monica Dogra points out “what’s wonderful about IFFLA [is] it’s super niche, South Asians in LA of all places. [And] it’s small enough so you actually see people anyway.”

Actor Pooja Batra added, “I think they’ve always been eclectic with their mix of selection that they bring around here — smaller budget, smaller sort of productions also need a shout out.”

One of the new additions this year is the Spotlight on South Asia.

Festival founder Christina Marouda added this vertical to present films from different countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. “We’re putting a spotlight on projects we want to support,” said Marouda.

The other major new change this year was a live table read of IFFLA alum Kahlil Maskati’s feature script, Alim Uncle, rather than a closing night film. Fawzia Mirza directed the piece.

These changes reflect IFFLA’s commitment to supporting filmmakers while giving audiences more than a viewing experience. In fact, they are able to be part of the filmmaking process.

Marouda says after 20 years, this is IFFLA’s direction moving forward — a full effort to mentor budding filmmakers, while showcasing new films.

Ravi Kapur and Deepti Dawar contributed to this report.

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Arts & Culture

HC4A Founder, Harish Kotecha receives Lifetime Achievement award from NAEHCY

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AUSTIN (Diya TV) — Harish Kotecha, founder and president of Hindu Charities for America (HC4A) received the Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) at the 32nd Annual Conference.

He is the first Indian American to receive this national recognition.
Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to honor individuals who have tirelessly worked to ensure that all children may have what most take for granted: safety, shelter, and a future; and that young people without shelter may find the promise of tomorrow.

NAEHCY’s Board of Directors were impressed with “your [Kotecha’s] ability to transform a singular movement into a replicable program that now is established in 4 major cities.”

In her award letter to Kotecha, Jimiyu Evans, President, NAEHCY wrote that, “We are glad to have an advocate like you in the field to meet the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness – supporting and encouraging academic success – while implementing program
coordination and community collaboration.”

Kotecha, while beaming at the live video presentation at the virtual conference, mentioned that, “This award recognizes the impact of HC4A, all the volunteers, donors, sponsors and well-wishers of HC4A!”
Kotecha’s family was ousted from Uganda by its brutal dictator in 1971.

When he sought refuge in the US, there was not much by means of finances and housing. However, having a good education and determination to succeed, turned his life around. He turned all setbacks into a successful career in technology. Gratitude came full circle in his life when he resolved to serve the underprivileged through education.

He took an early retirement from IBM in 2001 and ever since has unwaveringly worked towards supporting children and youth of homeless families in their educational journey.

HC4A was founded by him in 2010 with the mission to ‘Bridge Income Disparities through Education.’ Ever since, the nonreligious and nonpolitical nonprofit has raised over $1 million to provide school supplies for elementary school children and vocational scholarships to nontraditional students. In response to the pandemic, HC4A also helped homeless students get internet connectivity for a year.

“He identified a huge social problem to solve that many assumed it to be government agencies’ or administration’s work. He and his volunteers have consistently delivered on the promises made to multiple school district administrations. More importantly, he has developed broader communities in his organization efforts,” says Alok Singh, Director, Global Strategy &; Transformation at Dell Technologies.

In addition to liaising with partner nonprofits to reach out to those in need, HC4A also brings the Indian American community together to volunteer and donate towards their cause with the motto of ‘Serve Where you Live.’ It now has chapters in four major cities: Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

Rosie Coleman, Coordinator &; District Homeless/Foster Care Liaison, Austin ISD said, “This is so great! No one deserves this more than Harish and Hindu Charities. Thank you for everything you do for our Austin ISD students!”

Coming in an especially hard year, this award sends a wave of joy in the HC4A community. Kotecha has woven an intricate fabric of community members—from high net worth donors who have achieved their American Dream to below poverty line students who have often doubled their incomes soon after being able to complete their education. They now prepare for the next big event: a virtual gala in November to raise funds for vocational scholarships for low-income youth and adults. 

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