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Tag Archives: good

#dizzygoals: Action star Akshay Kumar just ran round a football…for a good cause.

‘Brothers’ star Akshay Kumar has become the first Indian celeb to back the ‘Dizzy Goals’ challenge in support of a major campaign to raise awareness of the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

Launching next month at the UN General Assembly in the presence of 193 world leaders, the Global Goals are more than a dozen ambitious targets including ending poverty, providing quality education, abolishing gender inequality, improving the provision of renewable energy as well as tackling climate change.

The ‘Dizzy Goals’ is a parallel initiative aimed at drumming up support for the Global Goals and has already received the backing of football icons such as Real Madrid star Gareth Bale and England legends Gary Linaker and Alan Shearer.

The challenge involves well-known personalities running around a ball until they’re dizzy and then attempting to score a goal.

Akshay Kumar took up the hilarious challenge in Houston, USA during rehearsals for a music concert which marks the actor’s 25th year in Bollywood.

Kumar is well known for his stay-fit lifestyle and pushing himself to the limit of physical endurance but this was something else.

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#UKAsianReview: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Warm and Good-Natured

Movie sequels are rarely a good idea.

However, the people behind 2012's surprise critical and commercial hit 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' seem to have drawn inspiration from the collective wisdom of the film's veteran cast who return for a second jaunt over to Rajasthan.

Mindful of its existing audience - India lovers as well as, crucially, those on the verge of retirement - the producers have named the sequel the 'Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' - perhaps not as life-affirming as the first but hopefully entertaining.

The story picks up where the first movie ended with the advanced-in-years residents of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel nicely settled in, the colourful chaos of India not posing too many problems - not even for the eternally cantankerous Muriel Donnely (played by the magnificent Maggie Smith).

Muriel and her fellow 'outsourced' retirees - Evelyn (Jude Dench), Douglas (Bill Nighy), Madge (Celia Imrie), Norman (Ronald Pickup), Carol (Diana Hardcastle) are enjoying the warm sunshine and vibrancy of colourful Rajasthan with just the intrigues of romance causing them some mild stress.

There is something of a "plot" - the residents of the Exotic Marigold are busy preparing for the wedding of hotel owner Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) to Sunaina (Tena Desai) whilst Sonny is trying to close a deal on a second property (get it?).

Into that basic structure is placed numerous parallel narratives - most noticeably, the burgeoning romance between Evelyn and Douglas and the arrival at the hotel of the American silver fox Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) and his wooing of Sonny's mother Mrs Kapoor (Lilette Dubey).

Given the formidable talent on show, the assortment of narratives is entertaining rather than confusing, in particular how everything in life - from the weather to social conventions - appears to impede the pursuit of the simplest form of happiness in one's old age.

The romance between Evelyn and Douglas takes centre stage as the pair struggle to overcome their personal anxieties to be happy whilst Guy's sweetly relentless wooing of Mrs Kapoor is hindered not only by social customs but by business concerns as well.

Meanwhile, the once-prejudiced Muriel is struggling to come to terms with the contentment she has found at the Marigold, uncertain how best to embrace and enjoy it.

The problems seem to permeate down to the younger members of this community - Sonny is unable to decide what will make him happiest: the girl whom he so determinedly wooed in the first instalment or the promise of business expansion.

And the list goes on.

Whilst there's an Indian wedding, a trip to Mumbai and, of course, a dance number, the plot points seem designed merely to provide each one of the film's veteran actors a platform to tug at your heartstrings and they do so, yet again, to magnificent effect.

Each and every one of them is utterly compelling in their individual roles - from the achingly vulnerable Dench and the conflicted Nighy through the towering Maggie Smith and the effortlessly charming Richard Gere all the way through to the eternally hassled Lilette Dubey who carries the flag for the "home team".

Patel once again hams it up to a nearly-annoying level, perhaps trying to overcompensate for the thespian talent around him.

That's a minor quibble though, for the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel may be second best but it is as charming, good natured and warm as the first.

An entertaining romp through the travails of old age - travails that all of us are bound to encounter.

'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' is in UK cinemas 27 February.

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#BrainDrain: Is Reverse Migration a good thing?

Amidst a growing chorus of high profile voices calling for the Indian Diaspora to “return home” and participate in India’s economic recovery, education expert Supriyo Chaudhuri explores the pros and cons of ‘Reverse Migration’. I am involved in an organisation, which works to encourage African Diaspora professionals to go back …

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#OxfamINDIA: NISHA AGRAWAL – Fighting the Good Fight on Multiple Fronts

Nisha Agrawal has arguably the most thankless job in the charity business.

As CEO of Oxfam India, the career campaigner oversees a mammoth array of projects dealing with everything from disaster relief and humanitarian aid to gender equality and sanitation.

When she’s not fighting to overcome the crippling bureaucracy and rampant corruption that swirls around her work in the sub-continent like that thick smog that often envelopes New Delhi, Agrawal is travelling the length and breadth of India appealing for more help or, worst still, defending her organization’s work.

That problem becomes particularly acute when she travels to Britain where Daily Mail-reading Middle England tends to be skeptical about sending money to a country whose government spends public money buying Italian helicopters for “Very Very Important People” or sending spacecraft to Mars whilst a majority of its population subsists on a daily pittance.

Oxfam India is a fully independent entity one of 17 such organizations that fall under the Oxfam umbrella.

The charity, which is staffed by Indian nationals who also sit on its board, works in partnership with a staggering 180 different NGO’s across seven Indian states.

Its work is divided into four distinct segments: Economic Justice – improving the lives of marginalized communities; Essential Services, which focuses on education and health care; Gender Justice and Disaster Relief.

During a flying visit to London, the UKAsian’s editor Viji Alles caught up with Ms Agrawal to talk about accountability, poverty alleviation and the Anand Milk Union Limited or “AMUL”.

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Wine and the “Art of Seduction” for a good cause

With an ever increasing number of charities vying for a dwindling amount of funding, the better established charities are creating ever more innovative experiences for their wealthy benefactors to fund projects to uplift the lives of the underprivileged around the world. Pratham UK, the British arm of one of the …

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Mummy’s Cooking: Authenticity for a good cause

News this week that Pret A Manger was selling more than 75,000 bananas a week (at 50p a pop!!!) – along with its wide range of rather bland sandwiches and pastries – is evidence of a move towards blander and “faster” food by time and choice-starved Londoners. A new social …

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