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Bold, stunning and eloquent, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’ sets the tone for IFFLA 2016

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The ‘Kali Pose’ , Diya TV’s Kari Lane poses with the ‘Goddesses’ from ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’

 

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) The Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles kicked off the fest with a bold and beautifully shot film, by IFFLA alum and award-winning director Pan Nalin, ‘Angry Indian Goddesses’. Before the screening the Hollywood Arclight seemed to get an injection of Bollywood. Filmmakers walked down the red carpet, showcasing the best of Indian and contemporary fashion, abuzz with talk of the theme that has emerged at IFFLA this year, ‘Female Focussed Films’.

Nalin’s opening night creation is a largely improvised film with women who act as real people rather than characters. The film starts off with a group of women descending upon Goa to gather at the request of their friend ‘Frieda‘. All of the women are college friends with the exception of Frieda’s ex-boss and her housekeeper. It turns out Frieda has a secret; she is getting married. However, there is some mystery around whom her betrothed is. There is dancing, talking, teasing, confrontations and bonding. The characters swear, smoke, talk about sex and just be real women, revealing the most natural yet subdued parts of an Indian woman’s mind, that are either relegated to character roles or just simply not portrayed in mainstream cinema.

The film is set in Goa and the cinematography is just right, as if it were a canvas for film, drawing attention to the story and the message. The seven women are in a house together being and doing what girlfriends do. The friendship and the chemistry between the characters is certainly relatable for many women. The tight shots on faces, details, reactions, expose the raw emotions the characters feel drawing you in as if you are with them. The seven women and their personal stories come together effortlessly through less dialogue and more emotion, a sense of being understood for who they are, who and what they want to be, and not being defined by the cultural constructs of what the society or the State wants them to be. They question these norms, these standards and laws and the story picks up steam as one of the characters ‘Frieda‘ finally reveals to her friends who she is getting married to.

Just when you start to laugh and be silly and enjoy the escape to Goa, Nalin confronts you with a bold truth, one that is feared, yet unexpected. What’s even more unexpected is the ending, it leaves you hopeful, yet glaringly aware of the brutal reality that must be confronted.

The Indian Film Festival has started off with a big and bold film and is expected to keep the trend going with a strong repertoire of films this year with female filmmakers and films that address issues women face not just in India but around the world.

One such film is Parched, a film about female subjugation in rural India, the thriving misogyny & the stark contrast in gender inequality.

The festival is being held all week long at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood and will host the Closing Night Red Carpet before the showing of ‘Waiting‘, starring Naseeruddin Shah & Kalki Koechlin, directed by Anu Menon.

 

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Big night for South Asians, Riz Ahmed and Aziz Ansari take home Emmy’s

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Riz Ahmed

British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed claimed a 2017 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series for portraying Nasir “Naz” Khan in The Night Of – a Pakistani college student who becomes caught up in a homicide investigation.

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed claimed a 2017 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

Portraying Nasir “Naz” Khan in The Night Of, Ahmed plays a Pakistani college student who becomes caught up in a homicide investigation. His character also spends time in prison.

“I want to say it is always strange reaping the rewards of a story based on real-world suffering,” Ahmed said when accepting the honor. “But if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our societies, xenophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that is something.”

Ahmed also thanked the South Asian Youth Action for “helping me prepare for this and The Innocence Project.”

“I don’t know if any one person’s win of an award or one person snagging one role or one person doing very well changes something that’s a systemic issue of inclusion,” Ahmed later said in a press statement. “I think that’s something that happens slowly over time.”

Prior to Ahmed winning his Emmy, only one other person of Asian descent had won an Emmy. Archie Panjabi won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2010 for her portrayal of Kalinda Sharma on CBS’s The Good Wife.

The 34-year-old actor, also known as Riz MC has starred in an array of films. He was first known for his roles in independent films The Road to Guantanamo (2006), Shifty (2008), Four Lions (2010), Trishna (2011) and Ill Manors (2012). His breakthrough role was in Nightcrawler in 2014 alongside Jake Gyllenhaal. His recent film credits include Una, Jason Bourne and the first Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One.

Known for politically-motivated rap lyrics, he also has fostered success as a musician. He has been active in charitable work, raising funds for Syrian refugee children. His film accolades and advocacy and charity work earned him a spot on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in 2017.

Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe won the Emmy for ‘Outstanding writing for Comedy Series’ for the episode ‘Thanksgiving’ in the second season of Netflix’s ‘Master of None’. As the duo walked up to the stage to accept the Emmy, the crowd started to clap and slowly rose to a full blown standing ovation. Waithe gave the acceptance speech, thanking Aziz for “making me co-write” and thanked her “LGBTQIA family” adding “I see each and every one of you”

Ansari and Waithe beat Alec Berg of ‘Silicon Valley‘, Donald Glover & Stephen Glover of ‘Atlanta’ and Billy Kimball and David Mandell of ‘Veep’

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Grammy nominated Indian American singer Raja Kumari signs with Sony Music

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Raja Kumari has inked a recording and exclusive representation management agreement with entertainment giant with Sony Music.

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Raja Kumari inks recording and exclusive representation agreement with Sony Music

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Grammy nominated singer and songwriter Raja Kumari has inked a recording and exclusive representation management agreement with entertainment giant with Sony Music.

Known for being a talented lyricist, rapper and recording artist, her music combines classical Indian roots with hip hop and rap, creating a unique style of music. The 31-year-old has composed music for Iggy Azalea, Gwen Stefani and Fifth Harmony. She has also worked with Timbaland, AR Rahman, Tricky Stewart and Fall Out Boy.

“It is really exciting and inspiring to be in India right now. I have always wanted my music to be the bridge between the East and West. I want to push the south Asian profile forward worldwide and I think working with an amazing team of Sony Music will help me achieve this,” Kumari said in a statement from Sony Music. “I believe this is just the beginning of my journey in the motherland and I know that together we will create some amazing music for the people worldwide. I’m here to make history!”
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“Her global music sensibilities and song-writing will resonate equally with the Indian as well as the international audience,” said Rohan Jha, Pop Lead at Sony Music India. “We feel we have an exceptional artist on board, and we are sure she will enthrall music fans across the globe.”

Her first song, penned for Iggy Azalea, “Change your Life,” was nominated for a Grammy Award. She also wrote six songs for Gwen Stefani’s “This Is What the Truth Feels Like,” album, which debuted number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart in 2016.

Her debut single ‘Mute’ is fostering rave reviews. Sony is set to release her next single soon, under their renowned label.

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Three Indian-American Writers named among 2017 Henry Award Winners

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Three Indian-American authors have been selected to the 2017 class of Henry Award winners.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Indian-American authors Shruti Swami, Amit Majumdar and Jai Chakrabarti were named among the 2017 class of the Henry Awards, distributed annually to commemorate short stories of the highest merit.

First presented in 1918 and funded by the Society of Arts and Sciences, the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories is an annual collection of the year’s twenty best stories published in U.S. and Canadian magazines.

Swami, who garnered the honor for the second time in as many years, was selected for her works on Night GardenThe San-Francisco resident was Vassar College’s 50th W.K Rose Fellow in 2012, and has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Hedgebrook, and Willapa Bay AiR. She is a Kundiman Fiction Fellow and a 2017-2018 Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose University.

Amit Majumdar, who is a nuclear biologist by trade, is also Ohio’s first poet laureate. He was selected for his short-story, Secret Lives of the Detainees, published by Kenyon Review. Majumdar grew up in Cleveland and currently works as a diagnostic radiologist specializing in nuclear medicine practicing full-time in Columbus, where he lives with his family.

Majumdar’s poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Image, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, National Poetry Review, The New England Review, Smartish Pace, and The New Yorker.

Chakrabarti won the award for his work, A Small Sacrifice for an Enormous Happiness, published by A Public Space. He is a 2015 “A Public Space Emerging Writer’s Fellow” and a graduate of the Brooklyn College MFA program. His previous works have appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Coffin Factory, Union Station, and A Public Space. Chakrabarti lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Tahmima Anam, a celebrated writer from Bangladesh who also won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ prize, was also named to the list of 2017 winners.

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