Nina Davuluri brushes off racist criticism after Miss America victory


First winner of Indian heritage and aspiring doctor says she will rise above attacks on social media

 Miss America winner Nina DavuluriWinner Nina Davuluri said: ‘I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.’ Photograph: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The Miss America pageant has crowned its first winner from an Indian background – an aspiring doctor who plans to use the $50,000 (£31,000) prize money to fund her studies – sparking a flood of racist criticism on social media.

“I’m so happy this organisation has embraced diversity,” 24-year-old Nina Davuluri said in her first press conference, moments after winning the crown in Atlantic City. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

But within minutes of winning the title, Davuluri, whose talent routine was a Bollywood fusion dance, was the target of racist social media comments.

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If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,” said one on Twitter.

“WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISSAMERICA? Ever??!!” asked another.

Davuluri, however, brushed aside the negative comments.

“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

Her grandmother told the Associated Press that she cried when she saw the news on television.

“I am very, very, happy for the girl. It was her dream and it was fulfilled,” 89-year-old V Koteshwaramma said by phone from her home in the city of Vijaywada, in southern India.

In the run-up to the pageant, much attention was given to Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, an army sergeant believed to have been the first contestant ever to openly display tattoos. She has the Serenity Prayer on her rib cage, and a smaller military insignia on the back of one shoulder.

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Vail won a nationwide “America’s choice” vote to advance as a semi-finalist, but failed to make it into the top 10.

In a Twitter message on Sunday before the finals began, Vail wrote: “Win or not tonight, I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have empowered women. I have opened eyes.”

The pageant pitted 53 contestants – one from each state, plus Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands – in swimming wear, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.

‘Satyagraha’ Timely Wakeup Call for a Wounded Nation


Film: “Satyagraha”
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Rampal, Manoj Bajpayee, Amrita Rao
Director: Prakash Jha
Rating: ****

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Prakash Jha’s “Satyagraha” bears no thematic relation to any of his earlier political dramas. It is certainly not a sequel to his “Raajneeti”, as has been reported in some sections of the media. And yes, it is most certainly based on the movement that Anna Hazare started against corruption. To say that Mr. Bachchan’s character Dwarka Anand in “Satyagraha”, lovingly called Dadujee by one and all, and Dadujee’s turbulent relationship with the go-getting NRI-turned-Gandhian-nationalist Maanav Raghvendra(Devgn) does not bear a resemblance to the Anna Hazare-Arvind Kejriwal equation, would be plain blindness.

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What Jha and his very able astute and politically informed co-writer and long-time collaborator Anjum Rajabali have done, is to collect together the thematic threads of Anna Hazare’s mass anti-corruption movement and weave it into a gripping, thoughtful, hard-hitting and inspirational drama which contains all the resonances of a newspaper headline, and wrap it up in the semantics of cinema with as little creative violence as possible even while addressing an inherently violent issue.

From the time Jha made his intensely political drama “Damul”, there has been a constant strife between the director’s personal political ideology and its rendition into cinematically interpreted language. Drama and emotions have always been Jha’s bete noire. In his predominantly brutal domain of interpersonal politics, the human drama is played out austerely, often at the cost of squandering away the chance to draw the characters’ innerscape in an elaborately-charted scheme .

In Jha’s “Aarakshan”, we had seen that trademark emotional austerity in the way he portrayed Mr. Bachchan’s relationship with his screen-daughter Deepika Padukone. In “Satyagraha”, one feels the relationship between Mr. Bachchan’s character and his widowed daughter-in-law (Amrita Rao) could have gone a little further. But then Mr. Bachchan is the kind of extraordinary actor who can say so much about his character’s emotional environment in the most meagre playing-time. Here, he has that one moment with Amrita Rao when hearing her sob in the dead of the night, he goes into her room to console her… And we know the kind of deep bonding this powerful patriarch shares with his cruelly widowed Bahu.

Exposed: Ranbir, Katrina caught on camera


  3316020733 Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in Ibiza. (Twitter)

The couple photographed partying in Ibiza and dining in Dubai

The truth about Bollywood’s latest couple Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif is finally exposed.

How long did they expect to hide the truth about dating each other? They did fine till now, blatantly denying about their affair, but no more.
 
Ranbir and Katrina were photographed cozying up in Ibiza, the Spanish island destination, where they have been holidaying with director Ayan Mukherji.

This picture of Ranbir and Katrina sharing a tender moment seems to speak a thousand words.

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Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor leaving Dubai. (TWITTER)

It has happened in Dubai too – the curious co-incidence of Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor being spotted together.

A certain Dubai resident named Sara wrote on her Twitter page that she saw Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif together in Dubai.
 
Here are her tweets: Sarah @SarahU178h, “Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor chilling at La Petite Maison, DIFC.”

But strangely the couple is being spotted together is a regular feature from past few months.
 
Looks like a side-effect of the successful pairing of Ranbir with his ex-flame Deepika Padukone in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. The chemistry between Ranbir and Deepika was too hot for Katrina to digest and hence all the news of their secret rendezvous tumbling out.
 
In a series of events, Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, have been spotted together trying to evade the media.

In fact at the ‘Qyamat se Qyamat Tak’ bash, when Aamir Khan completed 25 glorious years in Bollywood, Ranbir Kapoor almost escaped an accident trying to dodge the media while giving a ride to alleged ladylove Katrina Kaif in his brand new car.

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Ranbir Kapoor with aspiring singer Rahul Vaidya in Ibiza. (TWITTER)

But strangely the couple is being spotted together is a regular feature from past few months.
 
Looks like a side-effect of the successful pairing of Ranbir with his ex-flame Deepika Padukone in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. The chemistry between Ranbir and Deepika was too hot for Katrina to digest and hence all the news of their secret rendezvous tumbling out.
 
In a series of events, Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, have been spotted together trying to evade the media.

In fact at the ‘Qyamat se Qyamat Tak’ bash, when Aamir Khan completed 25 glorious years in Bollywood, Ranbir Kapoor almost escaped an accident trying to dodge the media while giving a ride to alleged ladylove Katrina Kaif in his brand new car.

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Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif having dinner with their respective mothers. (TWITTER)

But of late it seems the couple has got tired of this entire hide and seeks from the media! The two who are inseparable these days don’t hesitate to make public appearances together hand-in hand.

The two arrived for Karan Johar‘s birthday bash in the same car. Ranbir Kapoor dumped his ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani‘ co-star Deepika and arrived with Katrina Kaif in the same car.

Before Kjo’s bash Katrina was spotted coming out of Ranbir Kapoor’s vanity van and not just this the two even arrived at Vidya Balan and Siddharth Roy Kapoor’s party together.

During an award function in Vancouver Ranbir, Katrina was photographed travelling together.

Three months and so many instances of them being spotted together at most unusual of places has given enough fodder for us to get thinking!

What else explains this than the urge to proclaim their love! We think the day isn’t far when the two will officially announce the committed status of their relationship.
 
What’s with Katrina meeting Ranbir’s mother and vice versa and bonding with them over private, family dinners – winning the mothers?.

Still “just good friends,” Katrina and Ranbir? That won’t convince anyone any longer.

IIFA goes digital with Google


Google will use Google+, YouTube, Search to bring the awards function to users on a digital platform.

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For Bollywood fans, here is some good news. Search giant Google Inc will bring the International India Film Awards (IIFA), to be held in Macau this weekend, to their computer screens.

Google will use Google+, YouTube and Search to bring the Bollywood glamour to users on a digital platform.

Bollywood stars will join a Hangout on-air live from the green carpet, YouTube will capture the pre-event parties, and knowledge panels across Search will showcase everything one needs to know about the nominees.

“We are extremely excited to bring IIFA home this year. With this association, we hope to ensure a never before experience to all Indian movie lovers. We will use Google+, Google Search Trends and YouTube to provide a great experience to the IIFA watchers. This association will help us to reach out to millions of IIFA fans and bring live action from IIFA 2013 to their desk tops and mobiles,” said Sandeep Menon, director-marketing, Google India.

Shah Rukh Khan rushed his premature baby boy to three hospitals


Baby was born four weeks premature weighing just 1.5 kg at birth

1469449578Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan along with his wife Gauri Khan attends the Times of India Film Awards 2013 at Vancouver, April 6, 2013. (REUTERS)

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan became a father for the third time at the end of May, Mumbai officials said on Wednesday amidst joy and some bad news.

The baby boy was born premature and was treated at three different hospitals.

His baby was born four weeks premature at Masrani Hospital in Andheri on May 27, said doctors who treated him.

He weighed just 1.5 kg at birth and developed complications that doctors at Masrani found difficult to treat.

Khan, after consultations, shifted his son to Nanavati hospital. His confidence in Nanavati is well known as he has been undertaking physiotherapy sessions at the hospital. However, doctors at Nanavati could not do much for his baby, whose condition had become more critical by then.

Khan was then advised to take the baby to Breach Candy hospital.

The neo natal care in Breach Candy is much better and specialised than Nanavati, hence Shah Rukh moved the baby to Breach Candy hospital. The condition of the baby got critical and the family was worried by then.

The baby boy since then has made a quick recovery. After spending three weeks in incubator in the neo natal care, the baby now is with his parents at Khan’s home, ‘Mannat’.

According to some reports, the actor’s sister-in-law Namita Chibber could have given birth to the baby. However, there is no confirmation on the same.

Shah Rukh Khan also got embroiled into a controversy over whether the actor and his wife had undergone an illegal prenatal sex test.

“Andheri hospital has informed the BMC health authorities that a boy was born on May 27, 2013,” said Vijay Khabale Patil, a spokesman for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

“The father’s name was Shah Rukh Khan and the mother was Gauri Khan,” he told AFP.

The Khans, already parents to a teenage son and daughter, have made no announcements on the matter but it is standard procedure for hospitals to give details of births in the city to the BMC.

Back in 2011, fellow Bollywood megastar Aamir Khan and his wife also had a baby boy using a surrogate mother.

The news that the birth was as far back as May means the child was born before rumours surfaced in the media that the Khans were expecting a boy, raising suspicions of an illegal sex test on the foetus.

India bans sex tests because of a preference for sons in the country. Female foeticide has led to a major population imbalance between the sexes.

Khan, star of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” and “My Name Is Khan”, topped the first Forbes India Celebrity 100 list earlier this year with annual estimated earnings of $37.7 million.

Being Rajinikanth’s son-in-law hasn’t helped me: Dhanush


Tamil superstar Dhanush, who is married to Rajnikanth‘s daughter, says being the son-in-law of the iconic actor has not helped or affected him.

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Dhanush got married to Rajnikanth’s daughter Aishwarya in 2004.

“Being his son-in-law doesn’t do anything to me actually. I have always done my own work. It (his name) neither helped me nor affected me,” Dhanush said in an interview in Mumbai.

He says it’s not worth comparing his work with his father-in-law as their styles of working are quite different.

“My choice of films are different. My method of acting is completely different from his. So there is no room for comparison. And comparing a 20-25 films-old guy with an icon is absolutely rubbish,” he said.

Dhanush is entering Bollywood with Raanjhanaa, but has not discussed about the film with his father-in-law. “To be very honest he has been very busy with his work while I’ve been with mine. We haven’t spoken about this film yet,” he said, adding he never discusses work with his dad-in-law.

When asked about Aishwarya’s reaction about him doing a Hindi film, Dhanush said she is yet to watch it, but right now they are quite thrilled that he is speaking in Hindi.

Dhanush will be seen romancing Sonam Kapoor in Raanjhanaa which also stars Abhay Deol, Swara Bhaskar and Suraj Singh and is set to hit the screens on June 21.

Even before his film releases, Dhanush has decided to do yet another Hindi movie with Raanjhana director Anand L Rai.

“Yes I am doing my next film here with Anand sir. We share a very good rapport. When we were shooting for Raanjhanaa, we came up with an idea and it was very fascinating. I thought we would do something later, but when we finished Raanjhanaa we got very close to each other and then I agreed for the film,” Dhanush said.

However, the actor refused to divulge details about the film, saying it was too early to say which genre it falls into. But he revealed that he would co-produce it.

Bollywood reacts to Mallika Sherawat’s ‘anti-India’ remarks


B-Towners react to Mallika’s statements asking her to leave the country if it depresses her so much, and settle abroad.

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Hema Malini
Mallika should not have forgotten what this country has given her. Instead of badmouthing us at an international gathering, she should join hands with other women who are working towards improving the status of under-privileged women.

Lilette Dubey
Women in India are in some ways freer than in other countries. But there are parts of India where women live wretched lives and tradition is a pretext for regressive values. But Mallika’s observations should not be taken that seriously.

Gauhar Khan
If she really feels this way I feel sorry for her regressive thoughts. I wish her a great life somewhere outside India that she finds non-regressive.

Pooja Bhatt
It is said that we do not see the world as it is, but as we are. While there are pockets of India that are way more regressive than even Afghanistan, there is another India that is way more progressive than Europe or America. India is too complex a nation to be reduced to a blurb. At the same time it is also a nation that permits everyone to have an opinion, no matter how banal or profound.

Divya Dutta
Wonder why she said what she did! Isn’t she undermining all the Indian women achievers who’ve been given great opportunities by this country? She got her fame here. Women in this country are on par with their sisters in any part of the world.

Raakhee Gulzar
Poor thing. She tried every trick, yet made no impact. If she says we’re regressive then she must leave, find herself a more suitable place of her choice. Maybe a nudist’s colony?

Amrita Puri
The context in which Mallika spoke was ridiculous. She made it sound like she is the only progressive actor in this country. It’s a shame that she was given a platform where she presented such a false and unintelligent point of view.

Shibani Kashyap
She shouldn’t be talking against India. It shows her lack of empathy with her roots and an absence of loyalty to the country that has given her name, fame and stardom. Rather than bitching about India why doesn’t she work towards the safety of women here?

Tapsee Pannu
I don’t want to waste my time and energy commenting on the comments of such people.

Tannishta Chatterjee
The status of women is no different in other countries. The expressions and manifestations are different. The cosmetic pressure on women comes from the West. In the US, being a woman president was made into such a  big deal.

Dia Mirza
Honestly, I believe India is a paradox and for many women in our country the benefits of progressive thought, equal opportunities and a level playing-field are denied.

There have been times when I’ve been deeply disturbed about many issues that trouble women in India. Having said that, I think it’s unfair to make a sweeping statement that encompasses all women. Such a rash generalisation undermines the very voices that strive to make India a better place for women.Instead of being pessimistic we should all make a conscious effort to strengthen those voices thereby further empowering women.”

Richa Chadha
I saw her interview and found it typical of a Colonial prejudice, replete with a gora accent and all. Yes, India has regressive elements that results in rapes, female foeticides and a gender bias. But India is also a country where women choose to wear and say what they want. It has Indira Gandhi, Indra Nooyi and Medha Patkar. And yes, we also have space for Mallika Sherawat. It is uncool for an Indian woman to go abroad  and speak ill of our country.

Dolly Ahluwalia
If she feels so strong against this country, why has she tolerated India for so long? She is forgetting her identity as a woman is due to this country. I am proud to be an Indian woman and to represent my country at international forums.

Khusbhoo
As a woman and a proud citizen of my country I find her statements very harsh. Her comments project my India in a very bad light to the outside world. We do have our flaws. But which country doesn’t? A child was flushed down a toilet in China this week.

Could society get any more regressive than that? Mallika is an Indian. She has the freedom to speak her mind. That shows how progressive we are.

SUBHASH K JHA