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Female singers sidelined in Bollywood: Monali Thakur

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Mumbai,  The music industry in India is male-driven and leaves female singers with less opportunities, says the National Award-winning playback singer Monali Thakur.

Monali will be performing during an on-air show ‘Aap Jahaan, Concert Wahaan’, hosted by Radio City on Friday here.

The songstress, who made her way in the industry with reality television show “Indian Idol” and then paved her way through much struggle, told IANS over phone from Mumbai: “There are fewer opportunities for female singers in Bollywood. Out of a thousand songs created, only 10 songs would be female solo maybe.”

On the pay gap, the “Sawaar loon” and “Badri ki dulhania” singer said: “Leave that aside completely, where are the opportunities?”

Monali won the National Award for Best Female Playback Singer for her rendition of “Moh moh ke dhaage” from “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” in the year 2016. She says the award gave a boost to her identity in the industry.

“Earlier, only my songs were heard and celebrated, but after winning the award, public recognition towards me doubled. I believe that was a huge milestone in my career,” said Monali.

Born in a Bengali musical family in Kolkata, Monali has grown up while learning the nuances of singing. She participated in the second season of “Indian Idol” in 2005, and even though she didn’t win, she was noticed.

Monali feels struggle is a never-ending process and so she is still struggling to reach great heights.

Recalling her struggling days, she said: “I have struggled a lot. Till now, my journey in Bollywood is no less than a roller-coaster ride, but I am happy the struggle came and taught me how to take care of good times. Struggle is very much important as it will teach you the value of success and fame.”

Monali also has a piece of advice for upcoming singers.

“Remain honest to your work and do not disrespect the art of music ever. The industry is so messed up that newcomers should be wise enough to decide what is good and what is bad for them,” said the “Zara zara touch me” fame singer.

Having performing in MTV “Unplugged”, Monali says unplugged versions of songs are beautiful.

“There’s no doubt the digital production is great, but what is real music, how much pain do musicians take for creating a song… All this can be seen in an unplugged version,” she said.

Asked about the rising trend of old songs being remade, Monali said: “Nowadays, almost every popular old song is being recreated. I am not against it, but an overdose of something is not good. Makers should not ruin the essence of the original song. Instead of creating cheap versions of it, one should try to make a classic remake.”

As for her upcoming projects, Monali has lent her voice to songs in movies “Gold” and “Fanney Khan”, and she is all ready to come up with her new single in August.

Excited about her her Gig City on-air performance, she said: “My audience won’t be visible to me during my first radio concert, but I know my audience will listen to me for sure.”

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Shilpa Shetty faces racism at Sydney airport

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Sydney,  Actress-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra on Sunday alleged that she faced an unpleasant experience for being “brown” at the Sydney airport over her cabin luggage. Upset by an official who was curt, she says people’s tone must not change with preference to colour.

Shilpa, who dealt with racism in 2007 when she was a contestant on the fifth season of the British reality show “Celebrity Big Brother” — which she went on to win — faced the latest experience while boarding a plane for Melbourne from Sydney.

The 43-year-old took to Instagram to share the ordeal with a Qantas Airways lady staff member over a cabin luggage, which was deemed as ‘oversized’ at the check-in counter.

A furious Shilpa wrote: “At the check-in counter, met a grumpy Mel (that’s her name) who decided it was ‘okay’ to speak curtly to ‘us’ (brown people!) travelling together. I was flying business and had 2 bags (my allowance) and she insisted and decided my half empty duffel bag was oversized (to check-in), so she sent us to check it in at the other counter dealing with ‘oversized luggage’.

“There a polite lady (yes this one was) said, ‘This is not an oversized bag, please check this in manually if you can at another counter’ (all this happening while the counter is going to shut in five minutes).

“As the manual check-in wasn’t going through for five minutes (we tried), I went upto Mel and requested her to put the bag through as her colleague said it wasn’t an oversized bag. She refused again… Just being adamant especially when I told her this is causing a lot of inconvenience.


“We had no time to waste so we ran to the oversized baggage counter and requested her to put the bag through which she did after I told her that rude Mel had issues! To which another colleague joined in and reiterated my duffle wasn’t oversized and could’ve easily been checked in.”

The “Dhadkan” actress said her intention to narrate her experience is to make Qantas Airways take cognisance of the matter.

“Their staff must be taught to be helpful and tone can’t change with preference to colour. ‘We’ are not pushovers and they must know that being callous and rude will not be tolerated,” she added.

Along with the note, Shilpa also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers “whether it is oversized or not”.

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Kriti Kharbanda shares screen space with Ranveer Singh

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Mumbai,  Actress Kriti Kharbanda, who was seen on the big screen in “Yamla Pagla Deewana : Phir Se”, will now share the frame with actor Ranveer Singh — but for an ad commercial.

Kriti will feature with Ranveer in an advertisement commercial for paint brand Kansai Nerolac. They shot for the commercial recently at a suburban studio.

“It’s an honour to be part of such a prestigious brand that has existed for decades now and considered as the leader in their segment. It was a great opportunity to share the screen space with Ranveer and I had a whale of a time shooting with him for the commercial,” Kriti said in a statement issued on her behalf.

The actress has earlier been seen in films like “Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana” and Guest in London”. Her next movie is Sajid Nadiadwala’s multi-starrer comedy franchise movie “Housefull 4”.

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Alisha Khan hopes to share frame with Mahesh Bhatt

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Mumbai,  Actress Alisha Khan, who is gearing up for the release of her forthcoming film “The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City”, says she hopes to share screen space with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt in her next project.

Alisha was interacting with media for promotion of her forthcoming Tariq Khan directorial “The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City”, which will see Bhatt as an actor.

Asked about working with him, Alisha said: “I didn’t get the chance to work with him in this film, but I watched him closely during shooting and it was an amazing experience.

“I hope he will act again. I have signed an untitled film with Tariq (director) which will be written by Mahesh Bhatt. Since he acted in this one, I hope I get the chance to share screen space with him in the next project.”

On the film’s story, Alisha said it talks about reality.

“There are seven beautiful stories that you will be able to watch in the film. And the relatable emotional aspects are what you see everywhere in life and it will really touch your heart.”

Alisha was last seen on-screen in “Dare You” in 2016. Why the gap?

“‘Dare You’ was a completely different script. It was based on rape and I was playing the victim in it… It was also a very realistic film. I enjoy being part of realistic films.

“The gap between the two films was only because I was waiting for a film that will motivate me. I really believe in Tariq. He is a very talented man and he made all of us very comfortable while shooting for the film. It was a very homely feeling working with him.”

Alisha made her southern film debut with “Thakiduthatham” in 2016 and has also feature

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