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Monthly Archives: September 2015

#Noir: ‘Titli’ – Oppression, Circularity and Butterflies.

The London Film (LFF) Festival gets underway in a weeks’ time and this year’s South Asian line-up is an absolute cracker.

It continues a recent trend at LFF and other film festivals around the world providing a platform for Indian filmmakers who refuse to peddle the usual Indian – read ‘Bollywood’ – fare.

And, it appears, it’s paying off. 

One of the South Asian highlights from last year’s LFF favourite’s – ‘Titli’ – will finally arrive in cinemas.

Directed by Kanu Behl and produced by Dibakar Bannerjee, the film tells the story of a young man, ‘Titli’ (the fantastic Shashank Arora), the youngest member of a violence family of modern-day highway bandits. 

Alarmed by the violence and bloodshed around him, Titli plots his escape from the family home – a task far more complex than it first appears.

It is as far removed from what is usually associated with Indian cinema as it can possibly get so the news today that it will be in cinemas on general release next month will be warmly welcomed by audiences across India.

In preparation, producers have also released an updated trailer.

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#MixUp: Oh Dear – Quantico network ABC just mistook Priyanka Chopra for someone else.

Priyanka Chopra’s received rave reviews for her portrayal of an FBI agent in the new ABC Network’s spy drama ‘Quantico’, so it must have come as a mild surprise for her when a news programme on the same network mistook her for fellow actress and beauty queen Yukta Mookhey.

The blunder was made this weekend on ‘Nightline’ as it promoted an interview with Chopra.  ABC quick apologized for the mistake. 

The story deals with the racial bullying Chopra suffered during her school days in the United States.  Chopra had moved to New York aged 13 to study.

To her immense credit, Chopra took ABC’s oversight in her stride, simply tweeting “LOL”.

Mistaken identities apart, Chopra can be utterly thrilled after ‘Quantico’ received critical acclaim pretty much across the board.  Even on the occasions the show itself was criticized – one reviewer called it a “silly spy drama” – Chopra won praise for her portrayal of FBI agent Alex Parrish.

The role’s a major coup for Chopra, 33, and critics agreed.

“Naturally Gorgeous and Charismatic”, one reviewer described Chopra whilst another said Chopra "has a poise and sexual spark that suggests a formidable potential FBI agent whose mind and beauty are equally stunning".

The former Miss World’s character Agent Parrish is among a group of young FBI recruits, all with specific reasons for joining the Bureau, who battle their way through training at the FBI’s Quantico base in Virginia.

One of those recruits goes on to launch a devastating terror attack – “the worst on American soil since 9/11” – and Agent Parrish is framed for the attack.
Parrish, of course, has nothing to do with it and embarks on a mission to clear her name and protect the country she loves.

Producers have described ‘Quantico’ as ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ meets ‘Homeland’: two of the finest shows to come out of America in recent years and, ABC’s nightlight producer apart, everyone appears to agree.

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#NewFrontier: Meet Google’s latest Nexus phones and tablets.

Google unveiled its new Nexus phones on Tuesday in its latest attempt to take a bite out of Apple's dominant share of the smartphone market.

The launch of the phones, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, comes a day after Apple reported record first-weekend sales of its new iPhones.

Nexus devices, which typically do not sell as much as iPhones or iPads, are a way for the tech giant to showcase its latest advancements in mobile hardware and software.

Google also unveiled a tablet built entirely by the company based on its Android operating system.

The latest version of Android, dubbed Marshmallow, will be available to existing Nexus customers from next week.

The Android mobile platform is a key element in Google's strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.

The Nexus 5X is made by South Korea's LG and the Nexus 6P by China's Huawei.

Both phones feature Google's new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back.

The fingerprint sensors will help quickly authorise purchases made through Android Pay, the one-touch payment app on Android devices that competes with Apple Pay.

The phones are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.

The tablet will be available in time for the holiday season on the Google Store.

The Pixel tablet puts Google in the sights of its biggest competitors, Apple's iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, which also have optional keyboards.

Google also unveiled a redesigned version of its Chromecast device for streaming Web content to TVs and introduced Chromecast Audio, which plugs into speakers to stream audio over Wi-Fi. Chromecast Audio works with apps including Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music.

Chromecast competes with the Apple TV set-top box.

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#Dishonour: ‘Forced Marriage Cops’ – The most important TV programme of the year.

On Wednesday night (Sept 30) Channel Four broadcasts arguably the most important TV programme of 2015 – lifting the lid on forced marriage and so-called “honour” crime in Britain’s ethnic minority communities.

‘Forced Marriage Cops’ follows a group of specially-trained officers tasked with investigating the crimes in and around Greater Manchester.

Producers spent nearly two years following the officers as they try to crack down on a scourge that claims scores of victims every year but goes largely unreported.

In the programme, we meet a 26-year-old woman who turns to the police for help after fleeing her abusive father and another woman who was forced into marriage 16 years ago but is now armed with enough knowledge about the laws to realize that she can be free.

Across Manchester there have been 239 reported incidents of honour based abuse and forced marriage although the true scale of the abuse is much more widespread given the closed nature of many communities.

So-called honour crime came to public prominence in 2009 following the murder of Warrington teenager Shafelia Ahmed.

Her parents killed their ‘westernised’ teenage daughter because they believed she had brought shame on the family.  They were only brought to justice in 2013.

Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine, head of Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection Division, said: “I am delighted that Channel 4 decided to follow the work of our teams – it’s a truly ground-breaking look at the work we do to tackle this crime, which is often concealed by families behind closed doors.

“Each day we work with our partners and local community to detect and protect victims and tackle what is an incredibly sensitive subject.  There are thousands of women affected throughout the country and we want this production to show them that help available and they will be taken seriously.

“Being forced into marriage to uphold family honour is not acceptable and everyone should have the right to choose who they want to spend their lives with”.

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#Festive: Narendra Modi has the complete sartorial package – Manish Malhotra.

By his own admission, fashion designer Manish Malhotra is a workhalic who doesn’t understand the concept of putting up your feet with a glass of champagne and a spot of brunch on a Sunday afternoon.

That work ethos was never more evident when the designer launched his ‘Festive Collection’ at the London designer boutique Aashni + Co this week.

The Festive Collection is one of the highlights of the fashion calendar in India and coincides with the country’s festival season and this was the first time Malhotra has unveiled it in London – a city which he said was “special” to him and where he intends placing a permanent footprint in the not-too-distant future.

Malhotra was also unveiled on the day as an ambassador for the British Asian Trust, the charity founded by Prince Charles.

“I am overwhelmed at the opportunity of coming on board as an ambassador for The British Asian Trust.  I have been observing their great work for some time and am looking forward to contributing in my own way”, Malhotra said.

The UKAsian caught up with the designer to talk about his plans for London and the sartorial choices of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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