Google India plans to get 50 million women in India using the Internet within one year through a new initiative that aims to bridge the gender digital divide by providing women with easier access to technology, the company said. With more than 200 million Internet users in the country and …Read More »
Pakistan’s TV regulator has fined ten private sector broadcasters for airing “excessive” Indian and foreign content, according to media reports. More than Rs 10 million (£60,000) in fines were handed out to the channels by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority along with letters warning them to “desist from such …Read More »
‘The Lunchbox’ star Irrfan Khan has bemoaned Bollywood’s “Item Number” image if Indian cinema is to be more universally appealing.
The 46-year-old actor, one of the handful of Indians who have successfully straddled Eastern and Western cinema, said it was vital tell the world that India can produce “interesting” cinema, beyond the escapism of Bollywood.
“We cannot continue being known as item number filmmakers. Bollywood is known as an item number, and we have to change that.
We have to connect with a universal audience in a way that they think that there is some interesting kind of cinema coming out of India. We need to find a universal language”, Khan told the Indo-Asian News Service.
The actor was speaking ahead of a screening of his latest film, ‘Qissa’, at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival in the United Arab Emirates.
Directed by Anup Singh, ‘Qissa’ (an old Arabic word meaning “Folk Tale”) is set in the chaos of India’s partition. Khan plays Umber Singh, one of the millions of Sikhs who were displaced during the bloody division of the sub-continent in 1947.
He and his family move to a safer location to rebuild their lives, and it is here that the story takes a remarkable turn. Having already fathered daughters, Singh now wants a son.
When his next child is born he celebrates his wish come true, but there is one problem: the baby is in fact a girl.
Much like ‘The Lunchbox’, Khan’s globally acclaimed previous release, ‘Qissa’ is an Indo-German-Dutch-French production and was well received at its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Unlike ‘The Lunchbox’ – a gently-paced tale of an unlikely romance – ‘Qissa’ explores much darker themes which still have “universal” appeal meant to “shake” the audience, Khan said.
The star of Oscar-winning international productions such as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Life of Pi’ also said that Indian cinema should look beyond domestic accolades as a way of improving its cinematic capabilities.
‘The Lunchbox’ – which won the Critics Award at Cannes in May - was controversially overlooked as India’s choice in the Best Foreign Film category at the 2014 Academy Awards.
“You can’t make a film and sit in your room and watch it.
You have to change the perception about Indian cinema when you go to (a) universal audience, and what better way to say that your film is universally accepted than (be at the) Oscar?” Khan said.
“Even your film’s business multiplies a lot.
We need to go universal, and how do you do that? Not by winning some award which is happening in India. Our awards are all for TRPs (Target Rating Points). And a National Film Award doesn’t carry as much weightage as here in the US.”
“As a filmmaker and as an industry, we need to establish our presence in bigger markets. That’s what Hollywood is doing in India, and that’s what we need to do in the rest of the world,” Khan added.Read More »
Foreign Secretary William Hague has defended the Prime Minister’s decision to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka this week, saying boycotting the meeting would “damage the Commonwealth”. Mr Hague told the BBC that participating in the summit would give the UK the opportunity to “raise concerns” …Read More »
American photojournalist Steve McCurry first came to India 35 years ago and he’s been back more than 80 times. As he releases a retrospective book on the stories behind his images, the legendary photographer behind the famous “Afghan Girl” photograph, examines why India still fascinates him so much and what …Read More »
Indian IT giant Infosys has agreed to pay a record fine of $34 million dollars for visa violations by its staff members in the US, according to documents released Wednesday. The US government has been investigating claims that the Bangalore-based group improperly used short-term B1 business visas, rather than H1-B …Read More »
Indian Grand Prix organisers have confirmed that Sunday’s race will go ahead even though the country’s top court has agreed to hear a petition on Friday seeking its cancellation over tax issues. The Supreme Court decided to hear the case after campaigner Amit Kumar accused race promoters Jaypee Sports International …Read More »
The Supreme Court of India has agreed to hear a petition seeking the cancellation of the Indian Formula One Grand Prix this weekend over unpaid taxes. The petition filed by campaigner Amit Kumar alleges that Jaypee Sports International, which owns the Buddh circuit near New Delhi, had not paid the …Read More »
The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has praised the high standards in business practice maintained by Indian firms in a survey of multinationals from emerging markets. China received the lowest rating of the five economies whose companies made up three quarters of the total sample in the survey of 100 of …Read More »
Spider Man creator Stan Lee has announced his first ever Indian superhero. Lee’s sub-continental hero ‘Chakra’ continues the legendary comics creator’s fascination with dual identities: the character is a young boy named Raju Rai who dons a suit created by his mentor, scientist Dr Singh, which transforms him into a …Read More »