Friday, February 27, 2015

Manish Mundra's Drishyam / Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab, 2015 Calls for Submissions for Their First Edition

Manish Mundra’s film production company, Drishyam, in partnership with Sundance Institute, is organising Dhrishyam – Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab 2015 to be held in Goa April 12-16. The Lab is inviting applications as a part of its Open Submission Process. The deadline for submission of scripts is March 5, 2015.

The Lab is for filmmakers making their first or second narrative feature; we will consider co-writers, writer/directors, or writer/director teams, and the scripts should be independent in terms of story and spirit and also in terms of budget.

The Drishyam Sundance Screenwriters Lab will provide an opportunity for writers to develop their work under the guidance of accomplished international advisors in an environment that encourages storytelling at the highest level.

In order to apply, filmmakers must submit a complete draft of a screenplay as well as supporting materials (cover letter, artistic statement, bio, synopsis, and directing sample if applicable).  Interest and inquires should be directed to

Srinivasan Narayanan, the former Festival Director of Mumbai Film Festival, MAMI who will be heading this initiative says, “With our rich tradition of storytelling, the effort is to hone the skills, open new perspectives in narration and usher in the international idiom in film making to our own tales. To goal is to help Indian films and film makers to find their rightful place in the global space.”

Manish Mundra, the chairman of Drishyam says, “The idea behind Drishyam’s collaboration with the Sundance Screenwriters Lab in India, is to promote and nurture the new breed of young and talented writers and directors and give them an opportunity to be mentored by the finest International filmmakers. “

“The lab will be very beneficial for Indian Cinema in the long run. It goes well with our idea of promoting content driven cinema. Films like Margarita with a Straw, Umreeka and Masaan have come out of Sundance Screenwriters Lab.”

Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981.Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Umreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, I Am My Own Wife, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

Drishyam is a company established by Manish Mundra, which is focused on actively working towards contributing to the development of Indian independent cinema. The company has already invested in films that are being recognised internationally, and is in the process of finalizing more projects for the upcoming year. The journey started with the film Ankhon Dekhi directed by Rajat Kapoor. The film was one of the best-reviewed films in India in 2014 and was critically acclaimed for its simplicity, philosophy, ensemble cast and acting. The two projects that followed Ankhon Dekhi won great accolades as well - Umrika, directed by Prasant Nair won the Audience Choice Award at Sundance Film Festival 2015 and Dhanak directed by Nagesh Kuknoor won the Grand Prix award and Crystal Bear Special Mention at Berlinale 2015 – Generation Kplus. Committed to its cause of developing and nurturing film talent in India, the company has also partnered with the Sundance Institute to set up a Screenwriters' Lab in India.

Mumbai Film Festival collaborates with Toronto International Film Festival

It’s get-set-go for the recently appointed Mumbai Film Festival leadership team that is busy gearing up for the 17th Mumbai Film Festival scheduled to be held from 29th October - 5th November 2015.

The MAMI team is happy to announce a collaboration between the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image  (MAMI) and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) that will include a series of workshops led by Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, TIFF and Natalie Lue, Vice-President, Production and Visitor Experience, TIFF. They will visit Mumbai this week to share their experience, learnings and insights over the years from TIFF with the MAMI team. TIFF is recognised as one of the most successful Film Festivals around the world. Traditionally, many Best Picture Oscar winners come out of the Toronto Film Festival.

The workshops have been enabled by the generous support of the Canadian General Counsel of Mumbai.  Welcoming the TIFF team to Mumbai, Mr. Richard Bale, Consul General of Canada in Mumbai said, “TIFF is one of the world’s premier film events and the Consulate is very pleased to support the visit of its Artistic Director Cameron Bailey. We look forward to ongoing collaboration between TIFF and MAMI in the coming years. The Consulate’s support is part of our ongoing promotion of the Canada-India Audiovisual Coproduction Treaty, which came into force on July 1, 2014. The Treaty facilitates and provides incentives to Canadian and Indian producers and filmmakers to combine their creative, technical and financial resources to create joint work.”

Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, said: "Mumbai is one of the world's great film cities and deserves a great film festival. I was impressed by how the city's film community rallied to support MAMI last year.    The Toronto International Film Festival is glad to help our colleagues in Mumbai build a strong, sustainable celebration of cinema”.

Kiran Rao, Chairperson, MAMI, said: “The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the leading festivals of the world, and we're really excited to have the Artistic Director Mr Cameron Bailey here in Mumbai to do a workshop with us as we create a new blueprint for the Mumbai Film Festival. My film "Dhobi Ghat" premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and as a filmmaker I couldn't have asked for a better platform as it is truly one of the most well attended, audience-friendly festivals in the world. We are really grateful that he is taking the time out to do this with us and we look forward to gaining many insights from his experience.”

The recently appointed MAMI team members who will put together their expertise and experience to bring Mumbai and India a bigger, better and even more exciting 17th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival that include Chairperson, Kiran Rao and Festival Director, Anupama Chopra. The members of the new Board of Trustees are Filmmakers Anurag Kashyap, Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar, Vikramaditya Motwane, Actor Riteish Deshmukh, Actress Deepika Padukone, Mr. Anand Mahindra, Chairman & MD, Mahindra Group, Mr. Ajay Bijli, Chairman and MD, PVR Pvt. and Mr. Siddharth Roy Kapur, MD, Disney. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pati, Patni aur Love Test on Bal Gopal Kare Dhamaal

Love knows no boundaries. Living up to this quote this week on Bal Gopal, Sharma Ji’s wife Sadhna will put Gopal Sharma on love test. Sharma Ji who lives a mundane life, gets into another mess created by his wife. Catch the entertaining episode coated with love today at 8:30 PM on Big Magic.  

During a gossip session, Sadhna and her friends decide to test their husband’s love for them. Sadhna asks Sharma Ji if he still loves her to which he gets surprised. Sadhna further asks him to write seven sacred marriage vows to prove his profound love for her which he refuses to do. Sadhna is annoyed with him and decides to leave the house. On the other hand Sharma ji’s son Ravi is also angry with him and thinks that his father doesn’t love him anymore. Just when everything seems upside down in Sharma Ji’s life, Bal Gopal comes to his rescue and does the trick. What trick will Bal Gopal play to rescue Sharma Ji?

Will Sharma Family learn its lesson? Catch Sharma Ji proving his love to Sadhna in the love test on Bal Gopal today at 8:30 PM on Big Magic.

FOODFOOD bags four awards at the 7th Golden Star Awards

FOODFOOD, India’s premier 24x7 food lifestyle channel, bagged four awards at the prestigious 7th Golden Star Awards 2015. The award ceremony which recognises the best in the travel, food, hotel & hospitality industry, awarded FoodFood with the titles of ‘Most Admired Food Brand for the Year’, ‘Best Celebrity Host – Chef Amrita Rai Chand’, ‘Best On Ground Food Brand Promotion Event. “Maa Ki Daal” and ‘Best Event Manager – “Suman Chandra”.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. SK Barua (CEO - Turmeric Vision Pvt. Ltd.) says, “We are elated that FoodFood has been recognised by the Golden Star Awards for our work in the Hospitality sector and our efforts in bringing people closer to food. Ever since we have changed our stance towards laying greater emphasis on the element of food lifestyle, we have been able to broaden our horizons and create a greater reach with our audience. Gaining recognition from Golden Star helps us validate our work of going in the right direction.”

Going forward, FoodFood aims to create more such content that provides viewers with thought-provoking and insightful looks into how eating habits and traditions are inextricably linked to personal identity, lifestyle and history.

Shekhar Suman launches Author Zaarra’s "The Forbidden One"

Leadstart Publishing along with Crossword Bookstores hosted a book launch today. The afternoon saw the launch of Zaara Khader’s book The Forbidden One. Veteran actor and TV personality, Shekhar Suman launched the book.

Author Zaara Khader said," The Forbidden One is a compilation of short stories - the chronicle of characters who, in some way or the other, are either excluded or restrained or tattooed ‘promiscuous’ by the society. The emotions are very well described so one can relate to it. One will relate to the book very well as it makes you feel your forbidden experiences and thats the essence of it.

Shekhar Suman, Veteran Actor and TV personality, expressed himself by saying," I like reading books. The book is very well written and the short stories are wonderfully presented. I wish Zaarra good luck and hope everyone enjoys reading it."

Mr. Swarup Nanda, CEO of Leadstart Publishing said, “Leadstart Publishing is extremely happy to have associated with the event. The topic gains relevance and am sure a lot will relate to it. We sincerely thank Shekhar Suman for gracing us at the event.”

The Forbidden One is a compilation of short stories - the chronicle of characters who, in some way or the other, are either excluded or restrained or tattooed ‘promiscuous’ by the society. Malicious and primitive in its ways, pushing such people on the periphery is bourgeois. Yet such people have a life of their own and as we go delve deeper into the lives of these characters we discover strengths, self-belief and even a sense of ease with which these characters go about their daily chores. Each of the ten tales here is set in the deep ocean of human emotions. Except that some of these emotions find their expressions in forms that are supposed to be suppressed as per the norms and inherited wisdom of the society.

Zaarra is a media professional who got enticed into the profession of expressions at an early age even though she studied to be an engineer. From hosting radio shows, producing TV shows and conceptualizing events and engagement platforms she has been in the business of entertainment, communication and sponsorships for almost a decade now. Crafty with words and sensitive to emotions to the core she discovered an urge to reach out to the world and cage their imagination with a few characters and tales which seemed familiar yet unknown. Writing comes to her naturally as does creating characters that are so real that you can almost touch and feel them. Having written some impressive jingles for the advertising world followed her lyrical venture on contemporary Sufism, her compilation of stories here is more about characters who display exemplary resilience in their pursuits to follow their heart without a bother of what the society thinks of them or defines them as.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Actress Jaya Prada conferred Doctorate in Arts & Culture, by Desh Bhagat University

Actress and politician Jaya Prada added another feather to her cap, in the form of a Doctorate in Arts & Culture. The gorgeous and talented actress has to her credit block-buster Hindi movies like Sharaabi, Sargam, Sanjog, and Kaamchor among others. Jaya Prada has acted in over 300 films in Hindi, Telagu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali and English languages.

The beautiful actor who started acting in films from the young age of 13 years received the Honoris Causa Degree of Doctorate in Arts and Culture from Desh Bhagat University, Punjab. Dr. Jaya Prada is a commerce graduate and has been actively involved in the field of education through her charitable Trust. She is the founder of Jaya Prada Charitable Trust, Jaya Prada Educational Society and Nishtha Foundation. It is her firm belief in the power of education that spurred her to setup the Neelaveni Krishna School of Nursing, Rampur in 2009. Her charitable trust has also provided skill based education to the youth of this country, in the form of computer education to over 15,000 students, Basic Teachers Training Courses, and Jaya Prada College of Law in year 2010.

Speaking about the doctorate, Jaya Prada says: “Today is a very happy and proud day for me that my contribution to the field of arts and culture has been recognised. The people of Punjab have loved me unconditionally over the years, and this is yet another instance of their love for me. People of Punjab have loved me as an actress, supported me as a politician, encouraged me as an artist and now honoured me for my contributions. I was conferred the Doctorate in the presence of over 1200 students, who are the future of this country. Through this recognition, I would like to tell the youth of this country, that education is the tool to strengthen us as individuals, and to take our country forward. Education provides us the stepping stone to take up careers of our choices as politicians, doctors, engineers and such. Education is the single levelling tool which makes no discrimination between girl or boy, and gives everyone the same opportunity to move ahead in life.”

Along with Dr. Jaya Prada, Sudhir Giri, Chancellor of Sri Venkateshwara University was also conferred the Doctorate in Education at the function. Inspired by the movement of Late Shri. N.T. Rama Rao, Dr. Jaya Prada had joined politics in 1994 at his invitation for the upliftment of poor, downtrodden, destitute and for the larger welfare of society. She became the Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha (1995-2002). In 2004, this daughter of Andhra Pradesh moved to Uttar Pradesh, contested and won Lok Sabha elections from Rampur constituency. She again won General Elections in 2009 from Rampur constituency and has worked tirelessly for the welfare of the masses.

Dr. Jaya Prada has been the Member, Committee of Industry, Committee on External Affairs, Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Consultative Committee, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting during her tenure as Member of Rajya Sabha (1996-2002). During 2004-09 she has been Member, Committee on Information Technology, Committee on Empowerment of Women and Member, Parliamentary Forum on Water Conservation & Management. Since 2009, she was elected for second term as Member of Lok Sabha again from Rampur, and she is actively working as Member, Committee on Finance and Committee on Information and Broadcasting.

The actress has received four Filmfare Awards as Best Actress for her roles in Sargam(1979), Sharabi (1984), Sanjog(1985) and Sagar Sangaman. She has also been conferred Rajiv Gandhi award for her contribution to the field of cinema and Kala Saraswathi Award for her contribution to the field of art. After her hiatus from the movie industry, Dr. Jaya Prada will be shortly making her comeback to the silver screen though a Malayalam movie.

Mumbai to host Lit o Fest, a literature carnival with a difference

Literature enthusiasts and authors, young, old and established, equally await the festival

Mumbai’s literature fest with a difference, Lit o Fest in its debut edition organised by E-Bizz Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd. will be held at Sir JJ School of Arts & Architecture, Mumbai on 28th February and 01st March, 2015. Geared up to bring more depth, thought and action for every author and literature enthusiast in India, the two day festival will be focused on offering every writer an equal opportunity and space to be seen, heard and published.

To keep up the ‘difference’ promise, there is a whole lot at Lit o Fest that the traditional literature fests leave unaddressed. From a line up of valuable sessions with recognised authors – each remarkable, witty and sensitive and packed with a noteworthy arsenal on reading, debate and discussions; undivided attention on young emerging authors including Hindi and other regional author’s work, to initiating an Authors awards to recognize emerging authors and felicitate established literary achievers, there is something for every author. Opening with a sparkling inauguration ceremony, the two day fest will unfold some spotlight sessions and workshops on Hindi language such as ‘Hindi - How Popular?’, ‘Hindi bhi hai trendy!’, ‘Aao Hindi, Sapne Dekhein’ and ‘Hansi Gulzar Hai’, a humour writing workshop in Hindi. With regional workshops on ‘Marathi / English- The Matter Matters’, ‘Dalit Literature’ and a first of its kind discussion on ‘Music speaks’, there is also an element of delight in deliberation at the thought provoking literature haven. Another unique session is the Lafzee e Bayan - The beauty of Urdu Language poetry and Galib ek Dastan. Top it with evenings set around ‘Mushayara’ and ‘Jugal bandi’, and the culture lovers are in for a complete package of literature, live music and high spirits at Lit o Fest.

This is also the only literature festival in India which is publishing the awarded manuscripts of the young budding authors for free. The goal is to also help them understand the technical aspects of writing and publishing through several seminars. A lit-o-fest committee has been formed to offer deserving literature students scholarships and to also bring up selected needy students of JJ school of Arts.

With a unique format offering fourfold takeaways, ‘sabha’ i.e. discussions and workshops, ‘sammelan’ i.e. exhibition and art display, ‘sanskriti’ through plays and performances, and ‘sammaan’ implying awards and felicitations; the festival is truly one of its kind. For audience across sections and regions, the festival ensures uninterrupted flow of ideas, live music sessions, interactive workshops and a space to dare, dream and imagine.

Smita Parikh, Festival Director, Lit o Fest, shared, “Lit-O-Fest is extraordinary in every sense. From the time we conceptualised it the plan was to do the unthinkable – to put established, emerging and minority writers - all on one platform for the very first time! With engaging sessions with some iconic authors the festival diligently allocated equal space and attention to the young and talented English, Hindi as well as Regional language authors. With Book Designers, Painters, Illustrators & Musicians all under one roof, we have set out to create a never-seen-before literature carnival for everyone.”

On February 28th and March 01st 2015 at the JJ School of Arts, come prepared to spot legends Gulzaar Sahab, Javed Akhtar, Salim Arif, Quaisar Khalid, Mumtaz Rashid, Hasan Kamal, Wasim Barelvi and Kasim Imam at the Mushayara; music icons Hariharan, Jaspinder Narula, Abhijit Pohankar, Pandit Jitu Shankar, Anup Jalota, Gioconda and Talat Aziz at Jugalbandi besides the who’s who of the literature world.

Detailed festival schedule is available on

bindass' first fiction show, ZINDAGI WINS

When in doubt, follow your heart they say. But if you are a 23 year old doctor in charge of saving lives, decisions seldom come easy. An insightful peep into the medical world and the coming-of-age journey of a young heart specialist make for the interesting premise of bindass’ brand new show ‘Zindagi Wins’. With young faces and a fresh narrative, the youth entertainment channel gears up to take its stance as ‘enabler of purposive action’ a step further and explore unchartered territory with its upcoming fictional drama. The show will revolve around life that goes on inside a hospital with doctors fighting to save lives unknown to them and at the same time trying to live their own emotionally complicated lives. Starring young actors Abigail Pande, Sara Khan and Kiran Srinivas ‘Zindagi Wins’ will premiere on bindass on February 21, 2015 every Saturday 7:00pm.

‘ZindagiWins’ follows the story of its strong protagonists Dr. Aliya portrayed by Abigail Pande and Dr. Malvika by Sara Khan, as they pursue their calling in the noble profession. Along the way, the show explores the various day-to-day dilemmas that young doctors face, both on the professional and personal front. From falling in love with a fellow doctor, to challenging their worst fears of losing a patient at the operation table, at the same time making efforts to uphold the respect and grace of their profession. Often finding themselves at a crossroad only make them ever more determined to emerge as winners and make a difference.

Through its fresh approach towards the trials and tribulations of a doctor’s life, ‘Zindagi Wins’ aims to celebrate the essence of life and all its emotions, whilst exploring daily dilemmas of today’s young professionals. With a series that brings stories of resilient faith, courage and compassion bindass once again aims to bring relevant content for its constantly evolving viewer base.

‘All Good Scents’ partners with Raahie band to celebrate the season of love

In a first of its kind initiative the newly launched exotic perfume brand ‘All Good Scents’ has partnered with the popular band ‘Raahie’ to come up with a romantic love song for its consumers. Meant for couples of all ages, the song ‘Tum Aao Na’ went on YouTube on Valentine’s Day and has already garnered more than 1 lakh views. The song is an expression of love and togetherness and features a young couple and their passionate moments with each other.

The song highlights the fact that how your loved ones’ fragrance has a dramatic effect on you and how it can instantly make you remember them when they are not around. The song directed by Manoj Jadhav was shot in Madh Island and took around a week to shoot. Specially targeted around Valentine’s Day (14th Feb.) the main aim of the song is to celebrate the season of love and emphasize the strong association of fragrance with love especially when you miss someone.

Speaking on this special initiative, Rajiv Sheth, CEO & Creative Director, says,”All Good Scents is proud to present the exquisite love song ‘Tum Aao Na’ and partner with Raahie band. The song is an endeavor to blend music with fragrance as we are in the month of celebrating love and togetherness. Till now, it’s been getting terrific response on our social network pages. We are sure that this intoxicating song will also find a place in the playlist of our consumers.”

The perfumes featured in the song are available online on platforms like Myntra, Nykaa and Purplle has been getting terrific response especially from the young consumers. All Good Scents has perfumes designed both for Men and Women.

Watch the song ‘Tum Aao Na’ here

Sony DADC releases ‘Children of War’ on home video

The Hindi Period Drama Exposes the Veiled Genocide of 1971 by the Pakistani Army

Home Entertainment Services by Sony DADC, India’s leading home entertainment content provider, releases Hindi drama film ‘Children of War’ on DVD & VCD. ‘Children of War – Nine Months to Freedom’ released in theatres on 16th of May 2014 in India and  Bangladesh that garnered huge international critical acclaim for uncovering the veiled subject of the 1971 Genocide by the Pakistani Army.

Consequently, many viewers wrote letters of support for the war crime victims to the United Nations, the House of Commons United Kingdom, the United States Congress and the European Parliament asking them to take note of the film and lend support to trial for justice against the war criminals.

Director Mrityunjay mentions that “I believe that a film maker feels most satisfied when a film can influence positive change in society and just a few days back the Government of Bangladesh re-released the film to mark their ‘Victory Day’ and the parliament has passed a new ruling; recognizing all women victims of rape and war crimes in 71 as freedom fighters! This gives them an equal standing in the society, which is far from how they were treated as recently as a year back. It makes me proud that ‘Children of War’ is not just the first Hindi Film to be released on DVD by Home Entertainment Services by Sony DADC, but is also the first to influence a parliamentary decision.”

The movie is set in the backdrop of the 1971 genocide. ‘Children of War’ brings to surface the agonizing tale of the birth of Bangladesh and recreates with nerve-wracking vividness the horrors of the time when a whole civilization was threatened with extinction. It does so by weaving together three distinct journeys of love, loss, infidelity, sacrifice and the undying human quest for freedom.
The movie is directed by debutant Director Mrityunjay Devvrat and the star cast includes talented actors like Victor Banerjee, Farooq Shaikh, Raima Sen, Pavan Malhotra, Tillotama Shome, Indraneil Sengupta and others.

Children of War has already been hailed as a war epic and finds itself in an elite list of films like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, Alan Pakula’s Sophie’s Choice, Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, Nandita Das’s Firaaq and Shekhar Kapoor’s Bandit Queen.

Arjun Mathur starrer Coffe Bloom's first romantic track released

The promo of the first song from the film was released on Valentine's Day and has received a phenomenal response from all quarters. Featuring Arjun Mathur (Luck by Chance, Fireflies) and Sugandha Ram (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na), the song is a soulful, romantic track that sets the premise of the film. Coffee Bloom will see a major international release as it releases simultaneously in India, USA and Toronto on March 6, 2015.

The film revolves around Dev Anand, a self proclaimed wise man who finds comfort in being a loser, having given up on life as a result of a love gone wrong. A life changing event takes him on a journey to a coffee plantation. There he meets Anika, his long lost love, currently his boss. Love blooms in an idyllic setting, bringing Dev out of his self imposed funk and Dev finds a new reason to live.  A terrible misunderstanding pushes him into taking drastic measures. Much is at stake as the yearly bloom is round the corner. And Dev is confronted with his past, present and future – all at once.

You can have a dekho of the song here:

Loveleen Ramchandani gives students of Whistling Woods International a new look!

Loveleen Ramchandani, a celebrity hair and makeup artist, visited  Whistling Woods International's Fashion College campus on 13th February 2015, a day before Valentine Day.

During Loveleen's visit to Whistling Woods International, students were very excited to look different!This was like a Valentine's gift for them. Loveleen got an amazing response from the students as well as the staff of WWI. Everyone was very excited and Loveleen managed to transform hair-dos of nearly 30 people.

Loveleen focused more on makeup based on the skin type. She advised the students by asking them to use minimal makeup in the day, focus on concealing under the eyes. Also, that it is important to see a Dermatologist for Acne or Pigmentation so that it can be treated at its initial stage.

Loveleen enjoyed her visit at Whistling Woods International and the students were more than glad to have her in their campus for a day filled with self-love!

Mumbai’s Priyanka Khurana Goyal crowned as Mrs India Queen of Substance

Now will head to compete in Asia-Pacific Queen of Substance title to be held in Singapore in June 2015

An epitome of grace, poise and beauty, Mrs Priyanka Khurana Goyal walked down the ramp of the 2015 Mrs India pageant for women of substance, in a red gown and a smile to match. Priyanka with her distinctive features, charming personality and poignant introduction, bested 24 contestants and won the crown of Mrs. India Queen of Substance . As a winner, Priyanka will now head to compete in the prestigious Asia-Pacific ‘Queen of Substance’ title in June 2015 in Singapore.

Priyanka is the first investment banker to win the Mrs India Queen of Substance pageant, which is organized by the Handicapped Children and Women’s Aid (HCWA). HCWA is an initiative, run by Ritika Vinay (Director) - winner of Mrs Asia Pacific Queen of Substance 2014 . Priyanka participated in this initiative as it was positioned as a social organization that promotes community services for the underprivileged and focuses on women empowerment. The pageant, which invited participation from married women, celebrates beauty, talent, intelligence and compassion with women of substance (from all walks of life and from all parts of the country) displaying theirmultiple talents. Priyanka’s vivacious personality and unique perspective not only won her the title, but also led her to be crowned ‘Mrs Popular’ by her peers. Her “Marwari bride with a Punjabi tadka” avatar gave her a standing ovation. 

Mrs. India Queen of Substance Priyanka Khurana Goyal says, “The Mrs India Queen of Substance title was a keenly fought competition with 7 rounds – interview, talent, introduction, bridal, traditional, evening gown, tennis wear and question-answer round. Winning the title gives me a voice and a platform to express my views on social issues that I strongly feel about. I want to be an inspiration to all the women in the world of banking and finance who wish to pursue their aspirations of being an all-round personality with multi-facetted interests and hobbies.”

The guest of honour for the event held on 7th February 2015 was the Ambassador of Quretia Her Excellency Ms Fousia and Minister of Nigeria High Commission Ms Queen. The two-day event, organized at the ITC WelcomHotel Dwarka was flagged off by Bollywood actor Mahima Choudhry with the talent round. The judges’ panel included celebrities from various walks of life such as designer Prachi Bhardwaj, image consultant Babita Saxena, cosmetologists & dermatologists Dr Varun Katyal and Dr Deepti Dhillon and the renowned Kathak dancer Madhura Phatak, apart from pop singers Shankar Sahani and Ssameer. Mesmerizing songs by pop singer Ssameer and singer-composer Shankar Sahani started off the event on a melodious note, followed by the participants introducing themselves and then by a bridal round enlivened by the designs of Jaipur-based fashion designer Mohit Falod. The guest list also included musician Shamsher Mehandi and Commissioner of Police Alok Verma. The main sponsors of the event, which was choreographed by well-known fashion choreographer Nittin Bedi, included the ITC Group, Café Coffee Day, Lumina and La Fiesta.

After pursuing her academics in Capital as a student in Delhi University, Priyanka went on to do her MBA from IIM Calcutta, graduating in 2006. Since then, she has enjoyed the professional sphere in which to showcase her dedication, perseverance and spirit of achievement, answering to the various challenges that have come her way with the same poise and intellect that held her in good stead in the pageant. Today, Priyanka is mother to a two-year-old son and the vice president of Nomura, one of the largest investment banks in the world and a noted firm on the Wall Street.

A big believer in the power of yoga and meditation, Priyanka not only pursues these as a means of physical fitness, but also mental strength. The introspection that both these avenues of ancient Indian teachings offer, led her towards a path to discovering the deeper meaning of life. Priyanka takes equal inspiration from her son and considers children to be great teachers of how to live life to the fullest. “You only become old when you let the child inside you die. So stay young and be happy!” she says. She also indulges in other interests such as multi-country cuisines, soap making and bread making amongst others. Priyanka’s interest in women’s empowerment and community welfare will yield positive notes in the near future.  

Gionee presents ‘Love Ke Side Effects’, a short film contest by Pocket Films - A call for entries

India’s pioneer in alternate content, Pocket Films,and the maker of the sexiest phone in the world, Gionee,come together to celebrate “love” and present the country’s most entertaining short film contest ‘Love ke side effects’powered byFunOnGo. The contest in its second year comes with a theme simmered with love and an opportunity to win a trip to Paris besides other exciting prizes including Gionee smartphones.

This year on Valentine’s Day, Pocket Films and Gioneedecided to take the notion of “love” a step ahead and give every film maker a golden chance to portray a love story through a film. The idea is to handpick films centered on love, romance, affection or side effects of love including breakups, commitment phobia, possessiveness, manipulation, emotional blackmail among love’s many facets.  Starting from the day of love February 14thuntil March 31st, 2015, the contest is open for short film entries of 1 to 10 minutes duration.

Offering a unique and ubiquitous platform to every film maker, Gionee, Pocket Films and FunOnGoare focused on combining expression, creativity and reward for India’s young talent while giving them the wider tapestry they seek to present themselves to the world.

Mr. SaameerMody, Managing Director, Pocket Films, expresses, “It is February and there is love all around. ‘Love’ as an emotion has brought out the best in film makers across generations. This contest which is in its 2nd season aims to provide a platform where everyone can express their unique interpretation of this universal emotion and make film lovers witness unseen facets of it from a film maker’s lens. It is a win-win for the young film makers for they love the opportunity to showcase their talent to the world.”

Mr. Nomit Joshi, Head Brand, Gionee India, said, “As a brand we are excited to be a part of the short film contest as we feel films gives a platform to express the thoughts for the makers/directors. This also fell well with our products as we also give a platform to express themselves and the camera in our phones work as an enabler to follow the passion of filmmaking.”

Winner of Best short film by jury will get return tickets to Paris with trophy. 1st Runner up will get a HD Camera and 2nd Runner up will get Gionee Smart phones. The entries for the contest shall be accepted until 31st March 2015. For detailed contest terms and to participate in the contest visit

"Pragaash" and "Muafinaama" to compete against each other at two prominent film festivals this February

Last year, nearly half-a-dozen new born babies, mostly girls, were abandoned in Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir also recorded a huge decline in sex ratio in 2011 census. The menace of girl abandonment is growing by the fold. With a message to end discriminations against the girl child, “Muafinaama” or ‘The Atonement’ will be showcased at the Darbhanga International Film Festival 2015 in Darbhanga, Bihar which is happening from 19th to 22nd February 2015. Simultaneously, it will also be screened at the 2nd Uttarakhand Short Film Festival at Survey Auditorium in Dehradun on 22nd February 2015.

Muafinaama is about a Kashmiri Pandit guy who falls in love with a Kashmiri Muslim girl and struggles to get her. The film also holds a parallel story line about the increasing menace of child abandonment. The film, according to award winning director Mohan Das, is inspired by the numerous child abandonment cases in Kashmir last year. “A woman is a full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. Then why do we want to abandon her when she has just come into this world? When are we gonna change this mindset? Muafinaama's tries to portray the repentance of a man amidst various social and political uncertainties. It also looks at dilemmas and repentance of the protagonist after he fails to save the abandoned child,” Mohan Das told Films & TV World. "The film will be represented by one of the producers Lashyaban Kashyap at the Uttarakhand Short Film Festival, whose contribution to the film is immense. I will represent the film in Darbhanga," added Das.
Mohan Das who also shot his docu-feature “Pragaash” in Kashmir last February is also showcasing his film at both these festivals. Speaking about “Pragaash” he says,” Pragaash throws light on the situation of today’s Kashmir that is No More a Troubled Paradise. And my aim was to show it as paradise for people. The film has an emotion narrative in Hindi, English and Kashmiri with real life characters from the valley. Apart from showcasing the beautiful locales of Dal Lake, the Nigeen Lake, Pari Mahal, Shalimar Gardens, Nishat Bagh, Hazrat Bal Mosque, the Jama Masjid and the Kashmir University, we have also captured the stretch from Srinagar to Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonmarg. However, this is not a travelogue but a story on human bonding and relationships.”

The film features real life characters for bringing out the essence – especially a guitarist and lead singer of a Kashmir-based band ValleyBoyz, Mohammad Rafi. Speaking more about this project, he adds: “I have always wanted to shoot in Kashmir – the Paradise on Earth, which I had seen so well in the movies. Yet what have never been shown across is the beautiful minds of the people here. The hearts of people are as pure as snow and the warmth that exudes not from the Kangri, but from within their hearts. This project is going to showcase both – the beauty of Kashmir vis-a-vis the beauty of people on the inside, not the outside.”

No wonder then that both the film is not only diametrically different from each other but the soft romantic story with high paced drama will make the watching engrossing to captivate the audiences. Whether it brings home some awards is another factor altogether.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nagesh Kukunoor’s "Dhanak" bags two awards at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival

Nagesh Kukunoor’s Dhanak (Rainbow) bagged two awards - The Grand Prix for the best feature-length film and the Special Mention for the best feature film by The Children's Jury for Generation Kplus, at the recently concluded 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

The film, which is co-produced by Manish Mundra, Nagesh Kukunoor and Elahe Hiptoola, had its world premiere at the prestigious film festival, Berlinale held from February 5-15th, 2015. The only Indian feature selected in the festival was competing in the Generation Kplus category against films selected from across the world.

Nagesh who had promised himself to attend Berlinale only if his film makes it to the festival says,  “Dhanak's journey has been as magical as the film's story. To have this Berlinale honor be the culmination of a fantastic trip is what dreams are made of. Or maybe this is just the start of Dhanak's next journey.”

The thrilled producer, Manish Mundra informs, “The film received an overwhelming response at Berlinale. All the screenings of the film saw a fully packed house and cheering audience. The premiere screening, which was held at massive theatre of 1200 seats was sold out. At every screening, almost everyone stayed back for the Q&A and then mobbed the director outside the theatre.”

Manish produced the award-winning film Ankhon Dekhi and also co-produced Umrika, which has won the Audience Award in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition section of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. He also contributed 50 lakhs to Mumbai Film festival, 2014.

Quotes by International Jury
"This dynamically-directed film delivers joy and heartbreak in equal measure - the young brother and sister at its heart and the unbreakable love between them are irresistible. As we journey across the country with these two young people, we become deeply invested in their quirky “against all odds” quest. We were constantly surprised by the twists and turns in their journey, and the unusual, eccentric characters that awaits them at each and every juncture! Filled with color, magic, music, spontaneity and a plenty of emotion, this film lives up to its name and delivers a celebration of life to savor long after the end credits roll!"

Quotes by Children's Jury
"This year, we chose a colorful, touching and humorous film. The story and the performances of the young protagonists impressed us deeply."

The film which stars, Hetal Gada and Krrish Chhabria in the lead roles is about an eight-year-old blind boy whose 10-year-old sister promises him that he will get his vision back before he turns 9. The film follows the duo on a magical journey through the sand dunes of Rajasthan. The film also stars theatre actors, Vipin Sharma and Vibha Chhiber in the prominent roles.

Like Iqbal, Dhanak also explores the beautiful relationship of a brother and sister and the central character suffers from a disability, but in a dramatically diverse setting. This is also Nagesh’s second film with children after the much acclaimed Rockford.

The co-producer Elahe says, “The audience in Berlin was an eye opener. And I’m not saying this because of the reaction to Dhanak or the fact that they got every intended nuance. It was with the Q&A sessions. Needless to say I’m over the moon with not one but two awards at this prestigious festival. Have gotten the 1st pot of gold, and here is looking to cast our rainbow over many other skies.”

Filmcafe opens on valentine: Launches debut issue

As part of its initiative of completing five glorious years of writing all about the glamour world, albeit online - Films & TV World - The online magazine for films and television have started a glossy last night on the Valentine Day. And they have aptly titled it FILMCAFE as their idea was to present it as a coffee table magazine - very different in approach from other film glossies yet retain the class as expected by their readers.

The magazine was initially planned to be launched on the New Year. But January is also the busiest period when the year starts and hence the Valentine week was chosen as the guys behind this magazine calls it their Labour of Love. “Yes, we chose to launch our magazine on Valentine day, as this magazine is our Labour of Love - well chiseled and crafted with the best sections - from Films to Television to Fashion to Modelling to Short Films and Film Festivals,” said Soham Siddharth, editor of FilmCafe.  

In the very first issue, FilmCafe has brought to you an exclusive peek into what’s filming with Nishant Malkani who made a mark first on television and later in the world of films. Get to read about another star in the making - Saurabbh Roy whose Luv.. Phir Kabhie is due for release soon this year. He bares his heart out in an exclusive chat where he talks about his film, his passions and his love for cinema. The Idiot Box section will be featuring Big stars from the Small screen. This issue features a star who is often seen in the televised episodes of CID, Crime Patrol, Savdhaan India and others - Saheem Khan, who has also done a movie Parakashtha with Maushmi Udeshi. Parakashtha was recently screened at the Jaipur International Film Festival and has garnered a good response.

FilmCafe has a Reflexions section, where performance oriented artists will be showcased. This issue has Aaditi who has resolved to have the Bollywood Khan’s as her mentor along with Madhu Sneha who’s all set to go International after “Switch”. Sheena Chohan who started her acting career with names like Mamooty, Jairaj and Buddhadev Dasgupta talks about her innings in the world of acting.

FilmCafe has a modelling section too where upcoming models and actors would be featured in every issue. This month’s lucky Model of the Month is Deeksha Upadhyaya from Etah now based in Jaipur and Dhiraj Hemdev from Mumbai; both of whom want to make a career in Modelling. Simultaneously, Focus section highlights the big banner and big films to release in 2015 along with their prospective release dates. Who will make it and who will bite the dust - read it to know about the films you are looking forward to see.

Bollywood will rule, but "Short Films” are fast emerging as a serious contender fuelling the creativity of filmmakers who are bubbling with ideas and good content but lacking the necessary resources to make a full length feature. Expressions column will be providing these makers with exposure and viewership and get them more viewers for their short films and documentaries. In this debut issue, Expressions focuses on the issue of rape and how our short film makers deal with such issues. Talk of short films and can we leave the Film Festivals behind? This issue has a thought provoking article on the film festival culture that has gripped the nation. From Darbhanga to Dehradun, every city has a film festival these days and is well covered in this section. That’s FilmCafe for you - providing complete wholesome entertainment in every sphere.

“Did we miss out on anything? Perhaps yes! We also want to introduce a page on short stories which can in a way inspire short film makers to make a film on it. Who knows, it might not only induce someone to film the same and as well bag some awards too. Hoping against hope? That’s what we believe in. The aim of this section will be to bring the writers and the film makers on a common platform to exchange thoughts, interact and draw sustained, engaged attention that we ourselves bring into our articles,” signed off Mahua D, Associate Editor of the magazine.

Zoya celebrates Valentine’s Day with Merchant of Venice

Zoya- exquisite diamonds from the house of Tata, hosted a showing of the finest in uniquely inspired diamond jewellery. Put together by Zoya stylists for the month of love, the event and the selection was celebrated by the crème de la crème of society and glitterati including Elli Avram, Joy Sengupta, Viraf Patel, Rituraaj, Asif Basra and more . The floral colors, the dust pink, reds and rich magentas of the rubies and diamonds showcased celebrated passionate and timeless love.

Adding dramatic flair to the evening was an enchanting visual enactment of the love scenes from Shakespeare's “Merchant of Venice” performed by leading names in theatre and film such as Vickram Kapadia and starring Luke Kenny, Rajeev Siddhartha, Neil Bhoopalam and Ira Dubey who was wearing one of Zoya's Valentines selections. The enactment was preceded by a high tea that had an eclectic mix of Mumbai's high society from corporate honchos to film stars in attendance. The play opens to audiences in Mumbai on February 27, 28 at NCPA.

Says Arif Padiath, Business Head, Zoya , 'Each piece of Zoya jewellery is like a piece of art and diamonds have always stood for being the ultimate symbol of everlasting love. We are glad to collaborate with Masque on this unique presentation of the visual enactment of love in one of Shakespeare's most famous plays, The Merchant of Venice, with a very fine cast on stage. Zoya's jewellery presentation uses the finest stones combined with stunning design and exquisite craftsmanship that is a perfect complement to the everlasting classic this play is."

Zoya is a chain of luxury diamond boutiques from the house of Tata. It is both a product and a retail brand and is targeted at the discerning, design seeking woman who is international in her aspiration. The store deals in exquisite styled ranges, primarily in diamonds, apart from the traditional and fusion polki & kundan jewelry besides providing an unmatchable buying experience. The store showcases luxury in its most undiluted form.

Zoya is not merely a jewellery store but a dazzling gallery of fine art, where indulgence comes alive in fine designs of gold, diamonds and precious stones. Creating a new setting, form and design for diamonds, Zoya contemporarizes famed and iconographic design sensibility, interpreting it traditionally and fashionably.

After a remarkable debut with YRF’s Aurangzeb, director Atul Sabharwal is back with a documentary “In Their Shoes”

After making a debut with Yash Raj films as a writer-director of the acclaimed Hindi feature Aurangzeb, and TV series, Powder, Atul Sabharwal is now coming out with an independent documentary “In Their Shoes”.

Centered on the Shoe industry in Agra and the people who are engaged in it, this feature length documentary is set to release on March 13th through PVR Director’s Rare and Long Live Cinema  in five cities viz. Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Agra and Pune.

Interestingly, this film is one of its kind where the filmmaker is not only associated as a producer-director with the project but also features in it as a son as he quenches his personal quest to go deep and learn about the legacy of his old family business i.e. Shoe trade.

Reminiscing a personal experience, Atul tells, “Back in 2010 I saw my father standing in a Woodland showroom in Agra, looking at a certain item on the shelf and muttering, "so much has changed". At that time, I did not know what had 'changed' though bulk trading in shoe material has always been my family business. Hence, I decided to document what 'used to be' and what had 'changed' and the result is this film.”

With a runtime of 92 minutes, this film navigates through the narrow alleys, crowded slums and giant export houses of the historic city of Agra, India, exploring certain answers through the interviews of footwear artisans, traders, manufacturers, exporters and government officials. Through their voices this film pieces together the tale of the industry and the men who built it and sailed it through or got sunk with the global events like India-Pakistan Partition, rise of the USSR, Solidarnosc movement of Poland, the collapse of Berlin Wall, opening of trade economies.

“I always had that urge to tell the story of shoe industry in Agra since I have been born and brought up there. In a way, this film completes a trilogy of sorts for me because all my work so far has been about a specific city and the trade that happens there.” says filmmaker Atul Sabharwal.

Referring to his earlier work, Atul adds,” Powder was about the trade of contraband/ narcotics in Mumbai while Aurangzeb was set against land trade in Gurgaon. Now this documentary also is the story of a key industry i.e. shoe trade within the city of Agra. Besides, it is interesting for me that all my three projects are in different medium from each other - a TV show, a studio feature film and a documentary.”

Shot by Ansar Shah and edited by Parmananad Kumar, this film allows the filmmaker to unravel the history of the footwear industry in Agra, and discovers how the global events of his growing up years impacted his relationship with his father.

Pause Wines partnered with Femina magazine for its first Beauty Awards with

Pause Wines, the renowned brand in the wine industry is honored to have associated with Femina magazine that hosted its first Beauty Awards with 2015 as their Goodie Partner. The award ceremony which was held yesterday in Mumbai witnessed the high profile jury, celebrities and experts from the fashion industry.

Femina, a fortnightly Indian magazine hosted its first Beauty Awards with and awarded the best beauty products across 35 categories ranging from hair, face, body and skin. The event was attended by the panel members consisting of celebrities, socialites and experts in the fashion, lifestyle and cosmetic industry. Based on the consumers’ choice and online voting for the survey on the favorite beauty product, the esteemed jury selected the winners from the survey shortlisted.

Pause Wines was a part of the goodie hamper and was presented to Ms. Coleen Khan (Hair Expert), Clint Fernandes (Makeup Expert), Jatin Kampani (Fashion Photographer), Dia Mirza, (Model, Actress and Producer) and Carol Gracias (Supermodel) who were a part of the jury at Femina Beauty Awards 2015.

Mr. Rajesh Patil, Managing Director, Pause Wines commented on the wonderful occasion, “We are happy to have allied with Femina and Such coveted events and ceremonies largely benefit our brand bringing the desired recognition. It is a pleasure to be a part of goodie hamper to such people who truly appreciate and enjoy the rich taste of wine.”

Dessange Paris hosts Ballerina Show by Kids

Dessange Paris, the French luxury grooming spa and salon associated with Prima Ballerinas and hosted a truly extraordinary ‘Ballerina show’ put together by adorable young students of the school.  Prima Ballerinas provides education in the art of classical ballet. The school is synonymous with creativity, artistry and joy in movement.

Prima Ballerinas is run by Julia Haydon who is the sister of Bollywood sensation Lisa Haydon. The actress was present to support her sister.  Femininity, elegance and charm are three words that define the world of DESSANGE, a house of luxury dedicated to women's beauty and likewise Ballet is a dance form that is high on beauty, perfection and elegance. Since both Dessange Paris and Ballet have French origin, the evening encapsulated the true essence of French rendezvous.

Dessange Paris took charge to make sure guests had a lovely French evening with quick French spa services along with French wines and of course the lovely performance by students. Mothers not just enjoyed the show by their little darlings but also indulged themselves in various spa services offered by Dessange Paris. It was indeed an entertaining and relaxing evening.

Kids from Prima Ballerinas presented Dance of the little Swans from the world famous classical ballet Swan Lake.

Talking about the association with Dessange Paris, Julia Haydon from Prima Ballerina said, “It’s indeed a great experience for us to showcase our talents at Dessange Paris amidst the proud parents. All our guests are having a great time getting pampered here and we hope to have many such evenings ahead.”

Nikhil Sainani Marketing Head from Dessange Paris said, “We at Dessange Paris believe in promoting talent and the Kids at Prima Ballerinas are truly talented. We are glad to host this evening for Mum’s and kids where they can have an enthralling experience amidst dance, music, and spa.”

Dessange Paris aims to be part of everyone’s lifestyle and offers a great sense of Style. Committed to offer world class beauty and wellness solution, Dessange Paris mesmerized the audience with its perfect French salon and spa services. Prima Ballerinas classes provide education in the art of classical ballet. The school is synonymous with creativity, artistry and joy in movement.

Yuvraj Singh to reveal his custom motorcycle at India Bike Week 2015 !!

This year India Bike Week organized by India’s largest festival planners the Seventy Event Media Group, together with the #1 Travel and Lifestyle channel Fox Life, in association with Harley Davidon and Shell Advance will have Yuvraj Singh – ace cricketer and an avid automobile enthusiast enthralling the audience. Yuvraj will be launching new designs by Autologue design – a car and bike customization company headed by Mukul Nanda who has developed an enormous appetite for crafting new designs from innovative concepts and has worked on projects involving cars, motorcycles, Go Peds, Go Karts and ATVs..

The most important Festival of Bikers, Bikes, Music and Mayhem in India will be held in Goa at Vagator on 20th & 21st February 2015 and over 10,000 riders and bike enthusiasts will ride cross-country to Goa to celebrate the spirit and lifestyle of the Indian Biking community. The launches by Autologue at India Bike Week 2015 will include Youwecan KTM Bike called X12, Autologue KTM X26 bodykits for the KTM Duke, Royal Enfield café racer kit, Hero Impulse Off-Road kit. Autologue will also be showcasing few of their exceptionally designed custom bikes.  Yuvraj got a custom bike made from Mukul and he got in touch for the Youwecan bike build. Looking at the work and seeing the scope of growth in the field Yuvraj is considering being more actively involved with Autologue

Speaking about his participation at the third edition of India Bike Week Mukul Nanda said “India Bike Week is the biggest platform for bikers and it is organized in a big scale with hardcore bikers participating from across the country and even from other parts of the continent, therefor we have chosen IBW as a launch platform. It is the only bike fest that has come up in the last 2 years in a large scale and we are expecting to get the varied target audience for our customized bikes”

He further added "  We have been gearing up for the last one year with our product range and getting our processes and infrastructure in place. We now are ready to start adding value to the custom bike community with our unique offerings like the full body kits, body panels and CNC machined aluminum parts."