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#MeToo discussion: All quiet on the IFFI front




Panaji, Nov 23; India’s #MeToo movement has been a raging point of discussion at most film-related red carpet events, press conferences and festivals. But not at the ongoing 49th International Film Festival of India.

IFFI was “not designed that way”, a top Ministry of Information and Broadcasting official, said in its defence.

Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, who has been accused by two women of sexual violation and harassment — both of which he has denied — continues to be on the steering committee of IFFI, and in fact, occupied a prominent seat at the ongoing edition’s opening ceremony.

He was also a part of the inauguration of a multimedia exhibition ‘The Mahatma On Celluloid’ along with Minister of Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

This was a far cry from last month’s Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star, where there were not just heated discussions on the importance of women’s safety at the workplace but also exclusion of projects involving those who were directly or indirectly named in the #MeToo wave.

There were expectations that IFFI would take a stand on #MeToo or at least have some mention or discussion.

Asked about it, Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, told IANS here: “I don’t think that was the platform… I mean, IFFI was not designed that way. But definitely, as you have seen the Minister of Women and Child, she has taken a very strong stand and in fact, even in Prasar Bharati, we have taken a strong action…. even in AIR, where artistes were involved, we have taken action.”

Khare was referring to Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi’s request to Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to step in and conduct a probe on the sexual harassment cases in All India Radio (AIR). This was in response to reports that the women working as casual announcers in AIR’s stations are being sexually harassed.

But the apathy was quite evident at the ongoing IFFI, when filmmaker Vinod Ganatra, head of the fest’s Indian Panaroma Non-Feature jury, termed #MeToo campaign a fad aimed at attracting publicity and getting mileage.

“It is a fad which has come with time. It is a chance to get publicity and mileage. It will not last. What is authentic will last. What is not authentic will disappear. There are people who encourage it,” Ganatra told the media here.

Writer-filmmaker Vinta Nanda, who accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her, believes every platform that is available to the entertainment industry should be open for discussion on issues related to the safety of women in the workplace and the #MeToo movement that rages globally.

“There wasn’t a single awards function or entertainment industry event in the whole world in the last one year where #MeToo did not become core to the discourse. That’s how seriously the movement has been accepted by the rest of the world.

“It’s sad that the respected Secretary I&B thinks that IFFI is not a platform to talk about the safety and inclusion of women in the industry. The #MeToo movement cannot be wished away as many people who are still in denial about women’s empowerment are imagining. These words spoken by the respected Secretary, if they are true, are regrettable. I don’t think that he could’ve meant it to be as it sounds,” Nanda told IANS via social media.

Film producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, President of the Producers Guild of India, took cognisance of the number of voices from the entertainment industry as part of the #MeToo movement and instructed Indian film production houses to implement and enforce the ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.

Asked about the importance of a significant platform like IFFI ignoring the movement, Kapur told IANS: “It is really at the discretion of individual festivals. These festivals are a celebration of cinema, and the idea is really to watch great cinema from around the world,” he said.

“I am not sure that there needs to be another leg to it, specifically discussing topics like this. But I think there’s a heightened awareness of it within the entertainment industry for sure,” he added.

Kapur believes it is important to let the law take its course, and to let the systems that have been set up to deal with this, play themselves out.

“I don’t think there should be knee-jerk reactions,” he said, adding that everybody has to take a call as far as including or excluding an ‘accused’ is concerned.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who has touched upon issues of casting couch and sexual harassment at workplace in films like “Page 3”, “Fashion”, “Calendar Girls”, “Satta” and “Heroine”, told IANS: “Everyone has taken a strong stand on #MeToo… But we need to give attention to genuine victims. Don’t trivialise it by putting false allegations.”


Kerala Government Promises High Court; Will allot 2 days exclusively for women in Sabarimala





New Delhi: Kerala government on Friday advised the Kerala High Court that it might take steps to ensure entry of women on the Sabarimala shrine. The Kerala government stated that they may be prepared to allot two days solely for entry of girls inside the temple. Four women have filed a petition in Kerala High Court in search of police protection for Sabarimala go to. They have sought guidelines from the court to state government to ensure protection and reserve days to facilitate only girls’s access inside the temple. The temple is slated to remain open until December 26, followed by way of some other month-long window till January 20, for an annual pilgrimage.

Many girls, together with social activists and journalists, have tried to attain the hilltop shrine in Sabarimala on account that Supreme Court’s verdict on September 28, in which, the apex courtroom allowed the entry of girls between the age group of 10-50 to go into the shrine. Protestors have however blocked the access of women and instead, urged the country government to take felony steps to revert the Supreme Court’s verdict.

The devotees believe that Lord Ayyappa is living in the Sabarimala in a nation of everlasting celibacy and women inside the menstruating age group have been banned from coming into the shrine. A Supreme Court bench, headed via former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, but, ordered that women have to be allowed to go into the temple, bringing up gender equality.

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Baby Girl in India miraculously survived even after being ‘run over’ by Train; Watch Video




indian girl escape from train

This is a one year old girl’s great scrape from death in India.

She dropped onto the tracks moments before a train got here roaring through the station in Uttar Pradesh state.

Remarkably, the one-yr-old survived.

Footage confirmed the baby’s body fitting smartly among the rails, that means the train surpassed over her with out inflicting any harm.

Her mom had in advance accidentally dropped her among the platform and the carriage as she was getting off any other train.

The incident happened in Mathura on Tuesday.

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Irrfan was my acting school: Mithila Palkar




Mumbai, Nov 23; Mithila Palkar says acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan was like an “acting school” for her when she worked with him in “Karwaan”.The movie features Irrfan and Dulquer Salman.

On her experience of working with two well-known actors in the industry, Mithila said in a statement: “Initially it took me time to realise that I am sharing screen space with Irrfan Khan. But when I started working with him, a lot of times I would end up laughing in a scene.


“I have never been to an acting school and on the sets of ‘Karwaan’, Irrfan was my acting school. By observing him, I learnt to improvise in the scenes along with focusing on the smallest of the details.”

Mithila also revealed her current favourite in Bollywood is Alia Bhatt. She feels Alia carries out brilliant roles with ease, and that really inspires her to push herself to perform better.

“Karwaan”, directed by Akarsh Khurana, will air on Sony Max on Saturday.

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