Lake City International Film Festival 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ayodhya Film Festival announces new dates: 16th to 18th December, 2019

After months of planning for an impressive festival line-up, the team at Awam ka Cinema that organises the Ayodhya Film Festival announced this morning that the event, scheduled to happen from 15-17 November 2019, has been postponed. This call has been taken in view of the impending law and order situation that might arise due to the Ayodhya verdict which may come sometime the same period. The annual event that will be on its 13th edition will now run from 16th to 18th December, 2019, organisers have confirmed.

With the new date for the festival announced, the organisers have extended accepting last moment entries till 5th December which might induce film makers to send in their films. Festival Director Shah Alam says, “Except for the date change, everything remains the same as planned. We have sorted out logistics and built support from locals, who are already overwhelmed with the film festival taking place in their backyard.”

"As Awam ka Cinema gears up to host yet another successful edition of Ayodhya Film Festival, we are focused on creating a vibrant ambience for film makers and audience to further enhance Ayodhya’s position as a leading film making and tourism destination (and not just a holy town) that offers unforgettable experiences," said Festival Chairperson and Jury Mohan Das. “This year’s selection spans a range of genres; from social issues to psychodrama and thriller, to provocative period piece and taut social commentary to award winning films across the globe,” he added.

The 13th Ayodhya Film Festival in partnership with other global film festivals will take place from 16th to 18th December, 2019. The full festival programme, screening schedules and nominations will be announced on 10th December, 2019.

Pyaar Toh Tha is the love song you need to raise you up when you're feeling down


Some love stories last a lifetime, others fade away like a receding hairline. But one hopes and one believes that things will go back to the way they used to be. That emotion is at the heart of the latest Bala track, Pyaar Toh Tha.

Encompassing a sea of emotions, Pyaar Toh Tha sees Ayushmann and Yami in a stark departure from the mood we've seen them in so far. The comedy gives way to an intense romance, some cute moments and healthy dollops of drama. Jubin and Asees bring the fire to the raging intensity one sees on screen and one cannot help but feel overwhelmed with all the emotions at play. Directed by Amar Kaushik and produced by Dinesh Vijan of Maddock Films, the story of the film is all about a man in deep distress over his baldness.

Composed by Sachin Jigar with lyrics penned by Priya Saraiya, it features the voices of Jubin Nautiyal and Asees Kaur and is picturized on lead pair Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam. The song is now available on Sony Music India’s YouTube channel and across all streaming platforms. Watch the video here to get drowned in this deeply beautiful love song here.

Amrita Narayanan: Erotica and pornography are put in the same basket in India

Amrita Narayanan and Madhuri Banerjee attended the day 2 of Sahitya AajTak and spoke about what is writing erotica in India like. They also spoke about the basic differences between erotica and porn as well about their books during the session, 'Writing Erotica in India,' being held in New Delhi. Madhuri Banerjee, who is also known as the Carrie Bradshaw of India has written the acclaimed book, Losing my Virginity and other dumb ideas. She also screen wrote Hate Story 2.

Amrita Narayanan who is a clinical psychologist has written Parrots of desire and A Pleasant Kind of Heavy. She has also researched the history of erotica in India.

Other eroticas that deserve kamasutra fame
While speaking about other literature material that deserves to be as famous as Kamasutra, Narayanan mentioned Tamil Sangam. She said, "These books convey the feelings of the people involved. Kamasutra doesn't involve any emotions. It is all about the steps. But these other books talk about the feelings and the emotions of the people involved."

Why erotica?
Madhuri Banerjee explained why she writes erotica. "I talk about relationships, my first book was about a woman who was a virgin and decided that the only way to be accepted by the society was to lose her virginity. She said that people don't talk about sexuality in India. My book came out in 2010, and all I wanted to do with the book was to create a dialogue about sexuality, but no one spoke about it. It is never about sexuality or writing erotica, for me, it has always been about relationship."

Amrita, said, "The modern Indian readers need companionship on their erotic journey. Desires are something that we are very alone in. Conservatism is something that makes us feel things are against us, but books make you feel like there is something for you. Books can open you up to your own feeling. That is why I started writing."

Misconceptions about erotica and porn
Amrita said, "The main thing is that erotica and pornography are put in the same category, erotica is subjective, you care about people, about their feelings. Pornography is only about the person watching it. It keeps you in your shell, erotica is a long lens which gives a greater perspective." She further explained that in erotica, the word eros is a combination of lust and affection. "If you are driven more towards lust, what you come out with is, Pornography but if you are driven more towards the affection, you get erotica."

Has erotica liberated indians?
Madhuri said, "I think over time the internet has opened so much stuff for us, OTT is an uncensored platform, you have all the information out there. But, if you are choosing to be conservative, you will always be. If you have labels and boxes for yourself you will always be like that. There is information that is out there that will help you evolve and grow but, that is only if you are willing to do that."

Amrita added saying, "Books don't liberate people, people liberate themselves. But books can surely help." She spoke about an incident as well, "There are certain periods in Indian history, where Indians tried to promote the nation as the land of yoga, but not as the land of Kamasutra. People have actually come up to me and told me that I have spoilt the Indian culture after reading my book, A Pleasant Kind of Heavy. There was an Island of resistance to that."

How does news affect your writing?
Amrita said, she stopped watching the news while she was writing, A Pleasant Kind of Heavy, which was during the Nirbhaya rape case. This step was taken so that the news does not contaminate her mind and hints of it show in the book. "Growing up in the 80s in India, rape and harassment was the only thing that I grew up reading. A magazine even published an article on ways to save yourself while travelling. The news made me feel like my body was under attack and at that moment no human can be sexual. Shedding out the news was a way of protecting myself. That is when I could start to imagine and start to fantasize."

For Madhuri things are different. She said, "It is up to you how much you take in or not take in from the news. During the Mumbai attacks, I was in deep grief so I could not write for a long time. It can also be inspiring at times. But I don't shut myself out in any way while I am writing."

Why has erotica lagged since independence?
Amrita said, "India wanted to promote itself as a hardworking country after Independence. And hard work and sexuality don't go together. We abandoned this part of the cultural heritage after Independence. When the English came to India first, they thought of us as primitive native beings and we maintained that. We needed to maintain the middle-class work ethic of the people of India because we needed that image to promote the country."

Conclusion
Madhuri ended by saying that erotica writing should be a part of our education system. "We are teaching biology but we are not teaching sexuality. They should teach how to be ok with your body. We should be talking about this in our schools. Everything in India is about abstinence. Kids are going to find about it on the internet, parents and teachers should be talking to kids in school. Children should be able to write erotica and express their feeling about sexuality."

Sony Music’s Hip Hop focused label, Awaaz comes out with another catchy track - ‘Paisa Paisa’


Yesterday saw the release of ‘Paisa Paisa’ by Sony Music’s Hip Hop focused label, AWAAZ. ‘Paisa Paisa’ features Mumbai artists - Shaikhspeare, Farhan Khan, and Rasla. The single is a conscious hip hop song with trap vibes written all over; where Shaikhspeare, Rasla, & Farhan Khan uses their art to show the ugly side of politics and greed. When asked about the single, Shaikhspeare went on to say, “We wanted to reflect how money was controlling things around us and make the message reach to the masses in an entertaining way”

Shaikhspeare is the co-founder of Mumbai's veteran Hip-Hop Collective, Bombay Lokal, which features multiple aspects of Hip Hop in 1 crew - including break dancers and graffiti artists. The crew operates out of Nalasopara, Mumbai and has been instrumental in spreading knowledge about Hip-Hop in Mumbai. As one of the veterans of the Hip Hop movement in India, Shaikhspeare took Farhan Khan under his wing for this single, and they both worked closely together with Rasla, the track’s producer.

Rasla played an integral role in the creation of the single, ‘Paisa Paisa’. As a producer, he has worked with multiple artists, and also features as a DJ with his own productions. The Gujarati producer took his time to craft his sound to stand out within the Hip Hop community. “The Hip Hop spirit is lit everywhere in India,” said Rasla, “It’s wonderful how Hip Hop has grown so much, and there’s much more to come.”

Farhan Khan, who kicks off the song in the first verse, grew up in Mira Road and has been on the grind in the Mumbai Hip Hop scene for the past three years. When asked about his thoughts on the current state of Hip Hop in India, Farhan Khan said, “It's great that the Indian Hip Hop scene is growing steadily; and the mass audience is slowly catching up to the Hip Hop energy.” He added, “And once they all catch up, it will be the true golden era of Indian Hip Hop.”  With multiple singles planned throughout the year, Farhan Khan has ultimate respect for the grind required to make it in the industry.

Awaaz has been instrumental in impacting the Desi Hip Hop scene in India throughout 2019, releasing ten back to back singles in the summer. The joint venture between Desi Hip Hop Inc and Sony Music India is on a mission to find, nurture, and celebrate Hip Hop artists from all over India and the South Asian diaspora abroad. With a weekly playlist by Awaaz on multiple platforms including Spotify, Saavn, Wynk, Hungama, and Amazon Music, listeners can discover the new wave of Desi Hip Hop music burgeoning out of India. This week, the Awaaz playlist features ‘Paisa Paisa’ along with multiple other hits from within the Indian Hip Hop community.

Hear it here..

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Ajay Mahendru’s digital debut with Red Chillies is garnering him rave reviews

It seems like this is the right time for upcoming actors to seize the opportunity and take up good roles on streaming platforms like Netflix and others. After Jatin Sarna who encashed on his Bunty image in ‘Sacred Games’ on the same platform, another Delhi Guy Ajay Mahendru (he’s also from SRC from where Jatin schooled in dramatics) made his digital debut on Netflix with SRK’s Red Chillies Entertainment this festive season. In a conversation over coffee with Soham Siddharth, Editor - Films & TV World; Ajay Mahendru opens up more on his role, his transformation, the whole experience of the series and a lot more.

Award winning actor Ajay Mahendru, who started his career from Sri Ram Centre (SRC), is reaping praises from not only across the nation but also from overseas including Pakistan and Balochistan for his digital debut in ‘Bard of Blood’ now streaming on Netflix. A political spy thriller, ‘Bard of Blood’ is based on the novel by Bilal Siddiqui and is produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment and directed by ace director Ribhu Dasgupta. Playing the character of Rehmat Khatib – one of the 4 Indian spies who get caught while transferring classified information across to Indian heads, Ajay Mahendru says his theatre background with renowned names like Govind Pandey, Swaroopa Ghosh, Hema Singh, Avtar Sahni and Tripurari Sharma from the NSD and his 2 year course at SRC helped him undergo the transformation and prepare him to get into the skin of the character. 

Confidence personified, Ajay had faced the camera earlier with a plum role in the serial ‘Yahaan Ke Hum Sikandar’. One thing led to another and he was offered a good role in ‘Nancy’ followed by ‘Ishq Unplugged’ and ‘Jhalli Anjali’ for Channel V, Suhani Si Ek Ladki for Star Plus, etc. He also did a lot of Ads for big brands including Ceat Tyres, Sprite, Amazon, BhimApp, Early Salary, Verisign.com, Star Sports, Labels India, etc. until ‘Bard of Blood’ happened. “And I am delighted to be making my digital debut with Red Chillies Entertainment and Netflix,” says this 25 something young lad.

Ajay says he couldn’t have asked for a better launch. “Frankly speaking, I was on cloud 9 when I was signed by Red Chillies Entertainment for ‘Bard of Blood’. It had still not sunk in. But then in a flash, I remembered my Daadi’s word – Tu Shahrukh kol jaa, O tennu kaam dega.... Was it telepathy or a premonition that she kept on saying always? I used to laugh her off saying - Daadi, aap bhi na. But her words did prove prophetic and this is the first big banner that I have worked for in Bollywood,” says Ajay with a glint in his eyes.

Speaking about his character Rehmat Khatib in the series, Ajay says that the story revolves around four Indian agents in Balochistan captured by the Talibs and are about to be executed when Tanveer Shehzad (Jaideep Ahlawat), the Taliban handler of the ISA intervenes. He convinces the chief to spare the four men for a while as he has a plan for the greater good. “I am playing one of the four Indian agents Rehmat Khatib who eventually has an altercation with the Talib chief’s son Aftab who executes him on the spot in a fit of rage. The talibs later play football with my severed head,” he added.

The scene where the talibans play football with Ajay’s severed head is one scene to watch out for. The scene has provoked “an outpouring” not only from his immediate family but from hundreds of viewers not only from other parts of the globe but also from Pakistan and Balochistan. He has been getting a lot of rave reviews for the same and people have been praising and appreciating his histrionics and controlled performance as well. Speaking about this scene, Ajay says that the brief he got from his director Ribhu Dasgupta was to stay as natural as he could be. “There was a time when there was loud cinema, today it is more natural. Though my part had a high octane scene that propagates Aftab (Ashiesh Nijhawan) to chop off my head in frenzy, Ribhuda didn’t want over the top hysteric dialogue delivery but to portray my pent up anger with facial expressions and body language. He made sure that I stand out in the scene and I’m really thankful to him as I have been receiving commendable reviews for that,” said a beaming Ajay. “Yeah, one more thing – a very cool and a focussed director that he is, Ribhuda who has a good track record of working with the best in the industry, was very supportive to extract the best. It’s indeed a huge thing for someone like me who’s an outsider to this industry with no godfathers to support,” added Ajay.


Having undergone prosthetics for creation of his head for the talibans to play football with, Ajay says the prosthetic experience was something he wouldn’t easily forget. He reminisces: “I was excited to be part of BoB, as it’s my first web series and that too with such a big banner and a platform like Netflix. It was a great experience working with the same prosthetic team who worked in Bahubali. Having said that, as Amitabh Bachchan sir mentioned somewhere that the use of prosthetics is not that easy. Yes the prosthetics take their pound of flesh, and it can be a mentally and physically taxing experience as it isn't easy to sit for hours all covered in a blue liquid with breathing curtailed - that’s the dedication an actor has to put in for his performance. Yes, the prosthetic part was one helluva experience that I won’t easily forget. There came a time when I felt that I may not be able to take it anymore as I couldn’t even breathe and it became really difficult.”

Shoot for the series happened in three different locations and schedules including Ladakh, Mumbai and Sambhar in Rajasthan. Though he doesn’t have any direct scenes with Emraan Hashmi or the other cast including Kirti Kulhari and Vineet Kumar, he has high regards for the trio. According to him Kirti Kulhari as Jannat is the one to watch out for. Same time he has high regards for his co-actors including Jaideep Ahlawat and Danish Hussain. “I feel privileged and humbled when I see stalwarts like Jaideep bhai and Danish Hussain sir who are so down to earth. It was an amazing experience working with a stalwart like Jaideep bhai who has no airs or starry attitudes. You learn a lot working with such actors as they make your role a cakewalk and drawing the best out in a scene,” Ajay continues.

Ajay at times follows the method school of acting but mostly follows his instincts. “That’s my personal best quality as I’m able to lose all inhibitions in front of the camera. Getting into the skin of the character is not that easy. I imagine and experience all kind of feelings and go through emotions that I never knew existed in me. That way, I’m able to get in touch with my sensitive side which is a revelation to me at times,” Ajay gushes. Perhaps this is one reason why this actor who’s looking for a meaty chance to prove his histrionics has won a couple of Best Actor awards. He has worked in short films like Dehaant, Sakhi, Kaise?, Insaan, Dastak, Shaque-Off, LDR and a few others. “Sakhi in which I play a negative role won Award of Merit at Best Shorts Competition at La Jolla, California, USA. Shaque-Off in which I played positive lead won me Critics Award for Acting as well as Best Actor Award. Kaise which is about the casting couch in the Film Industry went on to bag not one but 6 Best Actor Awards for me including at Germany and UK. Dastak won 3 Best Actor Awards including one at the recently concluded 3rd K Asif Chambal International Short Film Festival,” says a beaming Ajay.

Ask him what next and he happily puts across that he has just finished shooting another series ‘Bhagat ka Bharat’ where he is playing the titular character Bhagat Singh. Apart from that, he is trying his hands at something that is fun and exciting and is taking him places. Yes, you guessed it right - it’s a travel based series “Lets Bag Pack Go”. He went across Thailand to Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, James Bond Islands and so on just to return on time for the launch of his series ‘Bard of Blood’.  “It’s a different kind of travel series especially looking at Indian travellers and giving them the option of Budget travel at prices unheard of. Apart from that, I have signed a few projects which I will reveal when the time is right. Till then, I continue to be the same Ajay to his non-filmi friends, and go back to a loving home,” concluded Ajay with his dimpled smile.

We at Films & TV World wish him a very bright future just as the gleaming diyas of Diwali... A Very Happy Diwali, Ajay Mahendru.

Louis Tomlinson returns with his joyous new single 'We Made It'. Announces World Tour for 2020

Louis Tomlinson returns with his joyous new single 'We Made It'.  'We Made It' is an ode to teen dreams and young love, which fuses both the euphoric indie influences of Louis's teen years with more contemporary electronic pop sounds.

The track is inspired by stolen nights out in Manchester in the early days of One Direction. “Any time off I had, I’d go to Manchester for nights out with my mates. It made me realise I didn’t live in the real world anymore and I missed it. I loved being normal, reckless and stupid. It was the best escape. We’d stay up all night, talking about our dreams and what we thought would happen to us. That age is such an exciting time. You’ve no idea what the future holds, but you have so much potential. Where is my life headed? Who knows?"

“The chorus of We Made It is also about me and the fans. Between us, it has taken a lot to get here. I’ve had to work really hard, had to learn about so much about myself. I feel as though only when I get out to tour, to sing these songs directly to the fans, will I have cemented the start of my solo career.”

Alongside the release of the single, Louis announced today a Wold Tour for 2020 that will take in cities. Louis also revealed that his debut solo album 'Walls' will be released on January 31st 2020. The album is available to pre-order now. Ask Louis why he only recently felt ready to record a solo album and is only now itching to be back on stage and he’ll tell you straight – the songs. His run of hits in 2017, including hugely successful collaborations with Bebe Rexha and Steve Aoki, were in retrospect a mere dipping of toes in the water. Temperature tested he made some decisions –  Louis wanted to be an artist who had his own sound and something to say. Chasing chart positions and radio play had to take a back seat to making music that meant something to him and, in turn, to those all-important fans.

“There was definitely a process of understanding where I sit musically,” says Louis. “I have my own tastes and, to a certain extent, they are fighting against the musical tide. “When I grew up, pop meant Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, The Killers and Amy Winehouse. Times change, obviously. Currently pop is very urban and street, which is not what I relate to. Sure, I could make those sort of songs, but they wouldn’t feel like me. The puzzle was how to please both myself and the fans.”

Louis recently headlined the Coca-Cola music festival in Madrid to an audience of 25,000 people. A tour is in the planning and his debut solo album is scheduled for release early next year.

Earlier this year, Louis picked up the Best Song Award at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards for his recent single 'Two Of Us', which has so far hit 40 million streams on Spotify, with YouTube views at 23 million. In 2018 Louis won an iHeart Award for 'Best Solo Breakout', and an EMA Award for 'Best UK & Ireland Act' in 2017. He was ranked No.5 on Billboard’s emerging artists of 2018 and has over 60 million combined followers on social media. As a member of One Direction, Louis has sold over 100 million records. Overall Louis’s solo music has garnered over a BILLION streams.

“I feel like a new artist now. It’s taken a while for me to be comfortable on my own, to learn to trust my gut and make sure I get what I want. I feel the most confident I’ve ever been, both as a songwriter and a singer, and the most mature. Of course I want to be successful, but what matters is what my music means to me and what it means to the fans. That’s the priority. The rest we’ll have to wait and see.”

Delhi set to witness the biggest Indian Literature Festival - Sahitya Aaj Tak at IGNCA

Sahitya_without_sponsor_Logo resize
India's capital is soon to be the venue for the 4th edition of 'Sahitya Aaj Tak,' the much-acclaimed literature festival emphasizing on the importance of literature & art in today's times. The event will see renowned personalities from different fields like writing, publishing, music, media, business, theatre, cinema, etc. Some big names that will be a part of the event are Prasoon Joshi, Imtiaz Ali, Anand L. Rai, Prem Chopra, Saurabh Shukla, Kailash Kher, Roohani Sisters, Ravi Kishan, Pankaj Udhas, Irshad Kamil, Ruskin Bond, Pankaj Kapur, Chetan Bhagat and many more.
On the Hindi stage, director Imtiaz Ali will talk about love and singer Kailesh Kher will be performing Kailasa. Poet Kumar Vishwas will tell his story, Uday Prakash will talk about his literary journey and there will be a Sufi music session by Nizami Bandhu, soulful ghazal sessions by well-known shayars, a qawwali session by Roohani sisters, performance by singing sensation Shubha Mudgal, plays by veteran actors like Saurabh Shukla and much more.

Also, for the first time, the event will have a separate stage for English authors from India and South East Asia. Author Ruskin bond will talk about the thoughts behind his works and authors Anita Nair, Megha Pant and K.R. Meera will express their views on feminism.  Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai will talk about the politics of writing and Chetan Bhagat will engage with the audience while in conversation with renowned quiz master Siddhartha Basu. Many more such interesting sessions will be organized on the English stage.

This edition of Sahitya Aaj Tak will also see some of the finest regional language writers including Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Rajasthani, Punjabi, Oriya, Gujarati Marathi, Chhattisgarhi and more. Another interesting thing that is going to happen for the first time is an open mic stage called ‘Mic Ke Laal’. Emphasizing on the importance of the spoken word, people can freely express themselves on this stage and be heard and understood by keen listeners.

The event will also celebrate art through a showcase titled ‘Of Celebrations and Collaborations’. It will be an interaction between art and literature, exploring the myriad ways through which these fields entwine. Artists like Arpana Caur, Chittrovanu Mazumdar, K. G. Subramanyan, Chitra Ganesh, Sunandini Banerjee, and many others will participate in this exhibition curated by Hema Singh Rance.

The event will also have sessions by Durjoy Datta, Anand Neelakanthan, Kumar Vishwas, Shailesh Lodha, Swanand Kirkire, Udai Prakash, Malini Awasthi, Hans Raj Hans, Anup Jalota, Manoj Tiwari, Romesh Gunesekera, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Ashok Vajpeyi, Rahat Indori, Waseem Barelvi and more. A total of 100+ sessions are scheduled to be a part of Sahitya Aaj Tak’s art and literature festival.

They will interact with the audience and express their uncensored views, and no holds barred interactions, highlighting the importance of free speech. There will also be book launches by Pankaj Kapur, Romesh Gunesekera and Amruta Patil along with a special unveiling of Rajdeep Sardesai’s new book cover. It will be an impactful platform for expression through poetry, prose, music, and drama that will be held on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd November 2019 at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi. 

There is no entry fee for the festival. You can register for free at www.aajtak.in/sahitya (for Sahitya Aaj Tak) and www.aajtak.in/sahityaenglish (for Sahitya Aaj Tak English).