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SRK and Taapsee likely to be seen together in next film

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Shah Rukh Khan has been on a break ever since the release of Zero in December 2018. His fans have been waiting for him to make an announcement and recent reports have stated that he has three films lined-up. After almost two years of patience and wait, fans could see their Superstar on the celluloid.

The first film that seems to have been green lit by the actor is Pathan, which is touted to star John Abraham and Deepika Padukone and is bankrolled by Yash Raj Films and directed by War fame Siddharth Raj Anand. The next one is Atlee Kumar’s untitled, also reportedly starring Padukone. And the last one is Rajkumar Hirani’s drama.

Hirani and Khan’s a Twain that has been waiting to meet since Munna Bhai MBBS, where Khan was credited for his inputs on the script in the end credits. And a report by Filmfare states that the film may star Taapsee Pannu opposite the actor. Pannu starred in his home production Badla last year with Amitabh Bachchan.

She too seems to be signing one film after another. She has Rashmi Rocket, Loop Lapeta, Haseen Dillruba, and a film on the life of Mithali Raj biopic coming up. She has already acted in some critically acclaimed and successful films like Manmarziyaan, Soorma, Mulk, Mission Mangal, Saand Ki Aankh, and Game Over.

Rajkumar Hirani has one succesful after another to his credit. Starting his career as a director with Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. in 2003, he went on to direct films like Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 idiots, PK, and Sanju.

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Vikram Bhatt says if I work with Kangana Ranaut, I have to work as a clapper boy

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Filmmaker Vikram Bhatt has spoken about the outspoken nature of Kangana Ranaut in a recent interview. He has stated that if the two unite for a film, he would have to work as a clapper boy and has also given reasons for the same.

In an interview with Navbharat Times, when asked about this, Bhatt said, “Kangana now directs films herself. I will not say that I won’t work with her but what I will do? If I work with her, then I have to give the clap during the shoot and work as a clapper boy because Kangana writes the story herself and also directs the films herself.”

When asked about her outspoken nature, the Raaz director had this to say, “There are some people who keep their thoughts to themselves, do not tell anyone. On the other hand, some people are vocal about their opinions and Kangana is among them. This is independent India. How can someone be stopped from saying what they want to?”

He added, “But definitely, if you annoy someone, they will react to it and one should be prepared to face the reactions and the consequences. If you throw a loose ball then someone will definitely hit a six. If you make political statements then people will also play politics with you.”

Bhatt has directed a lot of films under the banner of Vishesh Films and Ranaut has worked with the production house too. When the filmmaker was asked about how she was while working with the company, he stated, “I did not work with Mahesh Bhatt Sahab for a few years because of mutual differences. I returned to the Bhatt camp during the film Raaz 3.”

He added, “It happened that when I left the Bhatt camp, around the same time Kangana acted in several movies of Vishesh films like Gangster, Woh Lamhe among others. So, I have no idea how Kangana was when she worked with Vishesh Films.”

Bhatt is known for films like Ghulam, Kasoor, Raaz, Awara Paagal Deewana, Deewane Hue Paagal, 1920, Haunted 3D, Raaz: The Third Dimension, Creature 3D, and more recently, Ghost and Hacked.

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There’s nothing cute about Netflix’s ‘Cuties’

Monitoring Desk

PARIS: The Netflix film has sparked an uproar across the globe for sexualising underaged girls and led to calls for the boycott of the streaming platform.

Netflix (US) recently released the French film Mignonnes (released in France on April 1), or ‘Cuties’, and to say it drew criticism is an understatement.

The film has been labelled illegal, pornographic, dangerous, and encouraging paedophilia. It drew the ire of politicians as prominent as Republican Ted Cruz, a top trending hashtag, #cancelnetfilx – the heat cranked up so high that Netflix issued a public apology – and justly so after losing $9 billion in value since the release. A petition on Change.org to ‘Cancel Netflix’ amassed over half a million signatories.

Unlike many others commenting, I decided to watch the film, in French, living in France as an Arab-American foreigner, and yes, it is easy to understand how the public could be outraged.

The plot read slightly like Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ when a young Senegalese-French girl moves into state housing in a Parisian suburb with her mother, grandmother and younger siblings.

In the building’s laundromat, the main character sees a neighbour and classmate dancing provocatively to a Latin song. She is fascinated by her ‘liberties,’ ones not offered to her in her religious household. She attempts to fit into her dance crew and influenced by the girls she begins searching online for ‘sexier’ clothes, and later dance moves to fit in.

We see her spiralling, throwing fits of rage, menstruating for the first time, stealing from her mother, and neglecting her younger siblings. All in tandem with being forced to accept her father’s, new, second wife into their home.

Hidden, she hears her mother cry in between phone calls announcing her husband’s wedding and customary well-wishing – this enrages her and is seemingly the trigger for her out-of-character behaviour. She exposes herself to a family member to keep a phone she stole from him, he rejects her.

Her double-life is soon found out at home and a rather dramatic scene takes place where she is placed in the middle of the room and her mother and grandmother throw Zamzam (or Holy) water on her to remove an evil spirit possessing her.

It is extreme, the far end of both ‘cultures’ embodied in a young girl who lashes out with premature sexual behaviour. The culmination of the film can be what can be considered real issues of a teenager’s life, except these girls were only 11-years old and it was all crammed into an hour and thirty-some minutes.

It is an almost impossible topic to approach and any attempt will likely be met with this visceral public reaction. It is human or at the very least a parental, instinct to protect children. I would imagine the content to be heavy on its own without the need to expose a pre-teen’s breast on screen – this actress is underage and with or without parental consent it is dangerous material for predators.

Some are framing the film as being the target of a ‘right-wing campaign’ but being uncomfortable with pre-teen sexuality on screen is a concern that cuts across the political spectrum – it is not a right or left issue.

Additionally, there was some deeply problematic imagery of young actresses and their dance moves. Pouting, twerking, outfits many grown women would never have the courage to wear, and many of them are actively using this to their advantage.

Cut to a new scene: to get out of trouble with two male security guards, they threaten to report him for child molestation. In the same instant, one of the girls receives notice that they are accepted into the competition they have been working towards the entire film.

So Aminata, the main character, breaks out in a seductive dance to convince them they are a real ‘dance crew’ and one of the security officers stare at her in an extremely perverted manner.

As the girls leave the scene, the second officer looks over to him and says, “Really?”

One can only imagine that from the director of photography to art direction and film editing, these images were repeated over and over and still selected then broadcasted across the world without any inkling to the audience’s intent in viewing this.

Yes, there were many important and poignant themes in the film but they were overshadowed by the excessiveness and the rush of the whole film.

It seems the attempt was to portray important issues, immigrant struggles, the cultural differences in female sexuality, the meanness of growing girls towards one another, the naivete of these young girls and the way this is imposed on them today.

This was clearly lost on the public, large-in-part to a tasteless and absolutely inappropriate poster that Netflix created for the film’s launch on its platform, after purchasing worldwide distribution in January 2020.

It seems the centre of the storm is Netflix’s fault. The CEO, Ted Sarandos, called the Senegalese-French director, Maimouna Doucoure, to apologise. She began received death threats and was accused of the very thing she set out to present to the public in order to raise awareness and tackle the issue.

The intent may not have been malicious, but there are malicious and dangerous people and in their eyes, this movie is viewed in an entirely different light – the potentiality of that on its own is the responsibility of everyone involved in the film from creation to distribution.

This film is certainly not one that should be widely distributed, but, one cannot help but stress the need to direct this rage towards perpetrators of crimes against children.

Courtesy: (TRTWorld)

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Netflix argues for free speech in court spat with Indian tycoons

Monitoring Desk

NEW DELHI: An Indian court’s decision to stall the release of a Netflix Inc series on four Indian tycoons facing fraud allegations “freezes free speech” and hurts the company financially, the U.S. streaming giant has argued in a court filing.

“Bad Boy Billionaires” is a documentary series about liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, Sahara group’s Subrata Roy, Indian IT executive Ramalinga Raju and jeweller Nirav Modi. Netflix put the show on hold this month on order of a state court where Sahara alleged violation of Roy’s privacy rights.

Roy is currently on bail in a case where he was ordered by court to repay billions of dollars to investors in a scheme which was found to be illegal. Roy denied wrongdoing in the case and has already repaid investors, his counsel said.

Arguing for free speech in an appeal at the High Court of eastern Bihar state, Netflix said the docuseries was an assimilation of information available in public domain. The filing has not previously been reported.

The pre-publication injunction granted by the court “freezes free speech,” Netflix said in the filing earlier this month, which was reviewed by media. It argued it has a right to free speech “on a matter of public interest.”

Some Netflix shows in India have faced court challenges and police complaints for obscenity or for hurting sentiments. The ongoing legal spat is among the most high-profile ones Netflix has faced in India, one of its key growth markets.

The court in Bihar that gave the injunction earlier had said the series “would certainly damage the reputation” of Roy.

Sahara and Netflix declined to comment. Roy could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. streaming giant has argued it had invested large sums and done worldwide publicity on the series. The injunction, Netflix argued, resulted in irreparable monetary loss, as well as affected its goodwill and reputation.

Netflix describes “Bad Boy Billionaires” as an “investigative docuseries (which) explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons.”

Netflix is locked in a legal spat not just with Sahara, but also another businessman Raju whose story was to appear in the series.

Raju, accused of a $1-billion accounting fraud more than a decade ago, had secured a separate state court order against the show’s release, but Netflix has challenged it in a higher court, said A. Venkatesh, a lawyer representing Raju.

Raju will continue to argue against the show’s release, said Venkatesh.

Both Netflix’s appeals are likely to be heard in coming days. It was not clear if the other two tycoons – Modi and Mallya – have filed petitions against the release of the series.

Modi is facing extradition attempts by India after his arrest in London last year over his alleged involvement in a $2 billion bank fraud. Mallya, too, is in Britain fighting India’s extradition bid for alleged fraud at his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

Modi and Mallya have denied any wrongdoing.

Zulfiquar Memon of Indian law firm MZM Legal, who is part of team representing Modi in his extradition case, said they hadn’t filed any case to halt the release of the series, but were “sitting on the fence” tracking the ongoing proceedings.

A lawyer for Mallya could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Israeli top model Bar Refaeli sentenced in tax evasion case

Monitoring Desk

TEL AVIV: Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli was sentenced to nine months’ community service and her mother was ordered jailed for 16 months for tax evasion on earnings from her international career.

The former Sports Illustrated cover model, now a popular TV personality in Israel, had pleaded guilty to tax offences under a plea bargain that also included her mother and agent, Tzipi Refaeli.

Israel tax authorities accused the two of evading paying taxes on income of about $7.2 million.

Security for their court appearance on Sunday was tight, with barricades in the lobby marking a path to an elevator that took the pair to the courtroom.

“We love you Bar,” one woman shouted as the model and her mother, both wearing coronavirus masks, walked past cameras and reporters, without making any comment.

Defence attorneys had argued that Bar Refaeli, a papparazzi favourite during a romantic relationship with Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, did not have to declare to Israeli tax authorities worldwide income between 2009 and 2012.

Refaeli, now 35 and a mother of three and married to an Israeli businessman, had contended she was living overseas at the time and exempt from any Israeli tax bills.

But prosecutors said she had been living in luxury homes in Israel leased by her mother and other relatives to hide her residency status.

A Courts Administration statement said Bar was assigned provisionally to perform community service, five days a week, at a centre near Tel Aviv for people with physical disabilities. Her 65-year-old mother was due to begin her jail term on Sept. 21.

They were fined 2.5 million shekels ($722,460) each, on top of taxes owed. The Haaretz newspaper said they would likely end up paying authorities about 25 million shekels ($7.2 million), including interest charges.

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New format mini-series ‘The Third Day’ pushes boundaries with daring setup

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: “The Third Day,” a new mini-series starring Jude Law, is pushing the boundaries with a daring setup: a different lead actor for each half, and a live 12-hour episode in the middle.

The series, which also stars Naomie Harris, premieres Monday on US premium cable network HBO.

The psychological thriller is co-produced by Britain’s Sky Studios.

The action takes place on Osea Island, a secluded holiday spot east of London in southeast England.

Sam (Law), a 40-something with a dark family secret, finds himself stuck on the island, not knowing the trip will change his life.

After three “Summer” episodes that see Sam become increasingly unmoored, the second “Winter” part of the series stars Harris as Helen, a single mother who comes to Osea to celebrate the birthday of one of her two daughters.

Helen is seemingly absent from the first half of the series, while Sam disappears from the second half.

But the creators of the series decided to push the envelope with “Fall,” an uninterrupted 12-hour live episode, airing on October 3.

They have revealed little about how it may link the two halves.

The audacious project is being carried out in collaboration with the British theater troupe Punchdrunk, which is known for its interactive works such as “Sleep No More,” which puts audience members at the center of the action.

“In the same way we broke the rules of theater with our shows, I was curious about how we could break the rules of television,” Punchdrunk founder Felix Barrett told a virtual roundtable chat held for the Toronto film festival.

“What happens when the fourth walls, the screen we’re watching, collapses in front of us and actually audiences are able to fall inside the world of that TV. What’s the liminal space between the real and the fictional,” he said.

“This is an amazing sort of space for the audience to be when they’re questioning the validity of everything.”

In the episodes that have been filmed, “The Third Day” relies on the talent of its stars, who infuse the material with gravitas and an eerie mood. Edgy music, halting camera work and lighting tricks add to the drama.

Law called the experience an “emotionally exhausting marathon, really, which nearly killed me.”

The actor said the writing of the main scribe, Dennis Kelly, is “so extraordinary because it delves into dark places, uncomfortable situations and interactions, but it does it with this extraordinary brushstroke of humanity and humor.”

“It takes you to places that cost and I would say that that’s possibly the experience that people will have watching it,” Law added.

Courtesy: (AP)

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ACM Awards brings live country music back to TV amid pandemic

Monitoring Desk

NASHILLE: After a five-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Academy of Country Music Awards show is bringing the live television experience back again.

The 55th annual ACM Awards, normally held in April in Las Vegas, were delayed this year and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, for the first time on Wednesday, on CBS.

Whether they’re a guitar tech, a grip, an artist or a producer, everyone who enters any of their venues has to take a Covid-19 test, wear a mask and get their temperature checked.

But for entertainer of the year nominee Luke Bryan, the new restrictions means he won’t get to share his dressing room and drinks with his fellow artists.

“Half the time we’re sharing dressing rooms with other artists,” said Bryan, during interviews on Monday from Nashville.

“I’m kinda known as the dressing room bartender. I’ve always got my little cooler with my favorite stuff and everybody always drinks my spirits at the show.”

Taylor Swift returns

Even Taylor Swift is making her return to the ACMs after seven years with a performance from her new album “Folklore,” which has spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Nominee Kelsea Ballerini said Swift never lost her country roots.

“I remember when ‘Betty ‘was most added on country radio, I texted her and I was like, ‘Welcome back,'” said Ballerini.

“So I’m really happy to see her do this and be be a part of a community that she’s been a part of building.”

Raising awareness

But the show will also reflect how difficult this year has been for many people during the pandemic.

Mickey Guyton’s performance will raise awareness about food insecurity.

“There are children out there that cannot buy food,” said Guyton. “They don’t know where their meals are coming from. People are getting evicted from their homes because they have to buy food over rent.”

Tenille Townes is already a two-time ACM winner.

She was awarded as the new female vocalist of the year and for participating in the vocal event of the year with Miranda Lambert.

Both awards were announced before the awards show on Wednesday. But she said she’ll never forget how special this year’s show will be.

Courtesy: (AP)

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Ahmed Godil ties knot with Asra

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: TV host and model Ahmed Godil tied the knot with Asra Ahmed and shared their photos on his social media account on Monday. Godil too to Instagram and shared their wedding photos.

The couple looked gorgeous in white dress. Godil shared the photos with a caption: “Of all the bad things happening constantly in 2020, this is the only good thing that I wanted to desperately share it with you all.

YES I GOT MARRIED!! And of course; this ‘SMILE’ I am wearing is sponsored by my dearest wife, the love of my life, Asra Ahmed Godil. Let all the love, prayers and kind wishes pour in! JazakAllah!.” Ahmed Godil became famous after his memes got viral on social media about his PSL 5 hosting.

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Actress Anmol Baloch set internet on fire with her new hot photos

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Young Pakistani model and actress Anmol Baloch’s new hot photos set internet on fire. The gorgeous actress took to Instagram and shared her new photos which won the hearts of fans.

She looked stunning in the new photoshoot.  Baloch started her career in 2018 and got fame in a short time with her outstanding acting and charming looks. She got more popularity from her lead role in the hit drama “Aik Larki Aam Si”.

She played the role of Anmol in the drama series.  She also appeared in the recent drama, Deewar-e-Shab. She is winning the hearts of people and expanding her fan following with her powerful performance and stunning looks. Nowadays, she is appearing in drama series Qurbatain.

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Frail Hollywood star Ryan O’Neal, 79, reunites with Oscar-winning daughter Tatum and grandchildren as they pose together for the first time in 17 YEARS

Monitoring Desk

Ryan O’Neal was reunited with his once-estranged daughter Tatum and her three children on Sunday, as they posed for their first family picture together in 17 years.

The legendary Hollywood actor, 79, looked frail but elated in the snap, as he sat flanked by his grandson Sean, 32, and Oscar winner Tatum, 56.

Also featured in the heartwarming image were Tatum’s other children Kevin, 34, and Emily, 29 – whose father is tennis icon John McEnroe.

Sharing the photo on his Instagram account, Sean celebrated the fact that they were all together with their grandfather after several years of estrangement.

‘This is one of the most memorable photos of my life,’ he wrote. ‘The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003.

‘I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship.

‘The entire West Coast is burning, but if the O’Neals can reconcile, truly anything is possible #Reconciliation #Forgiveness #Wholeness #Love #FAMILY.’

At 10, Tatum became the youngest person to win a competitive Academy Award for her performance, alongside her father, in the 1973 comedy-drama Paper Moon.

Tatum and Ryan, who have both had battles with substance abuse, have had a famously volatile relationship that resulted in a falling out that lasted nearly 25 years.

They began to restore their broken relationship in 2011, which was captured, in part, in the short-lived Oprah Winfrey Network series Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals.

However, the volatility of their relationship appeared to have bubbled to the surface once again, as Tatum revealed in 2018 that she wanted to reconcile with her father.

She said on Megyn Kelly Today, she said: ‘I want to say to my dad, if you’re watching this, I love you. I’ve always loved you and forgiveness is the best policy.’

The veteran actress continued: ‘I don’t want to hold on to anger and resentments. I want to have a free, happy and guilt-free life.

‘My dad did a lot of good for me and I have to just respect his life and his process. Maybe someday he and I will have a moment where we [reconcile].’

One of Tatum and Ryan’s most bizarre encounters occurred in 2009, when they both attended the funeral for his former partner Farrah Fawcett.

Ryan admitted to flirting with his daughter – whose mother is Joanna Moore – at the service without realising who she was.

He explained: ‘I had just put the casket in the hearse and was watching it drive away, when a beautiful blond woman comes up and embraces me.

‘I said to her, “You have a drink on you? You have a car?” She said, “Daddy, it’s me – Tatum!”‘

The A Bridge Too Far actor admitted that the surreal incident epitomised their complex relationship.

Ryan – who was estranged from his daughter for decades – said: ‘That’s our relationship in a nutshell. You make of it what you will.’

In her 2004 autobiography, A Paper Life, Tatum alleged that she was molested by her father’s drug dealer when she was aged just 12.

Among the bombshell claims in her tome were allegations that she endured physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, blaming his own drug use.

However, her famous dad denied the allegations, saying in a statement: ‘It is a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a “bestseller”.’

However, things have evidently been far more harmonious between the pair, as Tatum sent her dad a Valentine’s Day message amid his health woes.

The actress shared an adorable photo of herself and her father both laughing hysterically while sitting next to each other on the front stoop of a home.

‘I found a picture of us in better times,’ she began in her lengthy and emotional caption.

‘I want to tell you that I am me because of you, and I mean all my good qualities,’ the former child star continued.

‘The way I have taught my children the joy of irony and how to love. The ability to laugh ourselves. Love of movies.’

And then in a reference to their two-decade estrangement, she added: ‘I wish things could be different that I could have made choices you could be more proud of. I have to live with myself and take pride in the woman I am today for better or worse.’

She ended heartfelt message by confessing that all she wanted was ‘for you to feel my love for you and know there is no preexisting reasons except that I love you.!! Just know that! Baby Mozart at your feet. Love your daughter.’

The Valentine’s wishes came two days after Tatum posted a now-deleted picture of her dad looking gaunt as he received treatment for his heart while Tatum looked on.

‘With my legendary dad !! Trying to get his heart fixed up!!,’ Tatum wrote, along with two broken heart emojis and two sparkling heart emojis.

Tatum shares her three children with ex-husband John McEnroe, who she divorced in 1994, six years after their tied the knot.

Courtesy: (Dailymail)