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- Pro Panja League to kick-off in Delhi
The inaugural edition would feature 180 players divided into six teams, who would compete in 10 weight categories. Besides the men and the women’s teams, specially-abled arm wrestlers will also compete in the league. Here’s what is in store for viewers… As a child, you must have played panja (arm wrestling) with your friends and siblings. But do you know that you can watch players from all across the country compete in this game live? The first season of Pro Panja League is set to take place from July 28 to August 13 at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi. It will feature 180 Indian professional players, who would compete for a trophy and a prize money. The league would include 10 weight categories: six different ones for men, three for women and one for specially-abled players. Unlike boxing and weightlifting, where each round is timed, players will not race against the time. They would, however, need to complete five rounds within a specific time frame. Pravin Dabbas, Founder, Pro Panja League, who co-owns the league with his wife Preeti Jhangiani, shares, “All rounds will not be timed. But 30 minutes will be given to finish five rounds with a minute of break between the rounds. This means it may take a few seconds or even 3-4 minutes for a round to complete. There will be a challenge round, where we will give players a timer. Players will get an opportunity to collect bonus points if they defeat their opponent within a few seconds.” Though panja has been played professionally in India for more than four decades but getting a league is the first-of-a-kind for players. Jhangiani points that the panja federation used to hold amateur tournaments in India but there was never a professional league in India. “There was a professional league in America called ‘The Wall’ but it has not conducted any tournaments after COVID-19,” she adds. Through the Pro Panja League, the owners aim to help players compete professionally. The league is also a platform for players coming from economically-weaker sections to get the right guidance. “Players from economically-weaker sections face a gamut of challenges starting from the right guidance on nutrition and training. We help them with on these subjects and give them the chance to train under some of the best coaches,” shares Jhangiani. Selection of the players Despite being its maiden edition, all players are selected carefully through a rigorous process. A Ranking Tournament was held in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh last year, where ~700 players competed against each other and were awarded ranks based on their performance. Sharing its details, Dabbas, explains, “We chose the players after they proved their mettle in the game at all levels. Ranks were awarded on the basis of performance. For instance, the winner of the tournament was given the first rank and its competitor in the final was given the second rank, and so on.” Nostalgia with panja When asked why he chose panja over other sports, Dabbas reveals that his love for the game dates back to his childhood days. “I have played it as a child and it is the only sport that is played across India, irrespective of the gender, geographical location and economic background of a person. I also like that it does not require any special kit like pads, rackets, bats and shoes, which are otherwise essential in other sports. That’s what pumped me to invest in this sport,” he clarifies. Pro Panja League will stream on Sony Sports 1 and Sony Sports 1 HD channels. Sports lovers can also cheer for their favourite players at the stadium free of cost. Due to limited seats, entry will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rules of the game Players get 30 seconds to grip each other’s hand. In case they fail to do so, referee sets the players’ arms. In case a player’s hand slips out, a strap is placed around the players’ hands. This is called a strap match. Both players are required to rest their elbow and hold the slab and in case they fail to do so, a foul is issued against them. Each player will be judged for its performance in the best of five rounds.
- The Night Manager Part 2 trailer out
The second part of the series will release on June 30. It will continue from the where the first part concluded. The first trailer of The Night Manager Part 2 is out. The series, starring Aditya Roy Kaur, Anil Kapoor, Sobhita Dhulipala, Tillotama Shome, Saswata Chatterjee and Ravi Behl, will decide the fate of Shelly and Shaan. Anil Kapoor, who plays antagonist Shailendra Rungta (Shelly) in the show, shared his excitement for the show. He said, “It's fascinating to see how Shelly has become one of the classiest and most-beloved villains. In this second part, get ready for new secrets to unravel and take you by surprise. While Shelly and Shaan may be uniting, one can never truly know what's on Shelly's mind. Sandeep Modi, the mastermind behind this character, has truly created a villain with a cunning and crafty mind." Actor Aditya Roy Kapur revealed that the second part will keep audiences on the edge of their seats. "The response to the first part of the series was nothing short of overwhelming. And there seems to be a huge amount of intrigue for season 2! My character Shaan begins a new chapter and the journey only gets more thrilling. The audience can be rest assured there are loads of unexpected twists and surprises in this second part," he said. Sandeep Modi, who is Creator and Director, The Night Manager, also promised that the series will be bigger, better and bolder. Talking about his collaboration with the actors, Modi said, “Collaborating with such fine actors like Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Tillotama Shome, Saswata Chatterjee and Ravi Behl has been an absolute pleasure. Their dedication and talent has breathed life into the complex and multi-dimensional characters that make The Night Manager so compelling.” The Night Manager is an Indian adaptation of the British series based on John le Carré’s novel of the same name. The first part of the series showed that an alliance was formed between Shelly and Shaan that left everyone surprised, including Shelly's closest friends. It will be interesting to see if this alliance will be long enough or will Shaan deceit him. The series will stream on Disney+ Hotstar from June 30.
- Explore India’s vibrant culture
This exhibition in Delhi shares unknown facts pertaining to India’s culture and features restoration, preservation and protection projects undertaken by InterGlobe Foundation. You must have heard of Odissi but can you explain the meaning of the various mudras showcased in this dance? Do you know how art, dance and music of one state is different from the rest? Or can you highlight the differences between a nafiri and a shehnai? If these questions make you bite your nails, you should head to the India International Centre in Delhi. InterGlobe Foundation, in a 10-day long exhibition titled ‘Tangible Conversations, Intangible Heritage’ is providing some of the unknown facts pertaining to India’s culture. These facts pertain to Indian art, dance, craft and music via text, photographs, videos, installations and visual demonstrations. The foundation documented, researched and mapped the materials to help people learn about India’s lost stories. The exhibition is divided into three parts. It provides an insight on the foundation’s innumerable restoration projects. The foundation works closely with different stakeholders in the restoration, preservation and protection of India’s monuments. Dr Monica Banerjee, Head, InterGlobe Foundation, while talking about the exhibition says, “This is the first time we are showcasing these works. It is our way of sharing the efforts we took under the built, natural and cultural heritage.” Built heritage deals with the support the foundation provided in restoration of monuments. Since 2014, the foundation has undertaken several such projects. The exhibition offers a platform to textually and photographically understand about the restoration drives it took since its inception. “Our first restoration project was Abdur Rahim Khan-I-Khanan’s tomb in Delhi in 2014. It took us six years to restore it. We employed people for two years for this project. It also brought the community closer while the restoration work was ongoing. The foundation also restored ‘Indra Kund’ (a heritage stepwell in Rajasthan),” shares Banerjee. Natural heritage deals with providing resources, such as water and land, to people, and cultural heritage deals with documenting about India’s art and craft. The exhibition also features the foundation’s journey of work and two of the research projects undertaken by the selected fellows. These include research on ‘Reviving the lesser known and sidelined musical instruments: Shreekhol, Taus, and Nafiri’ and ‘Beyond the geological magnanimity: Cultural landscape of Lonar Crater.’ The show can be viewed till June 6 from 11 am to 7 pm. InterGlobe Foundation was launched in 2010 and since its inception, it has focused on heritage. It was conceived as a philanthropic part of a conglomerate called InterGlobe Enterprises.
- Inside IIFA'23 invitation box
Bollywood actors Rakul Preet Singh and Rajkummar Rao unveiled the IIFA 2023 invitation boxes. Izzhaar has carefully designed them keeping the event's venue in mind. The most-awaited award ceremony featuring Bollywood's who’s who, IIFA 2023, is set to take place in Abu Dhabi. Just before the show, the host share invites to actors. These are not just any invites but each of the invitation boxes carry significance. This year's invitation boxes are designed by Izzhaar. Actors Rakul Preet Singh and Rajkummar Rao unveiled the boxes and gave a glimpse of their first look. These boxes feature a magnificent metal chessboard that contains Abu Dhabi's famous sights and the symbolic towers in the form of chess pieces. They are carefully designed to keep the event’s destination, i.e., Abu Dhabi in mind. Every aspect of the box reveals a story. For instance, the important structures of Etihad Arena, Adnoc HQ, and Nation Tower stand tall on the squares of Rook, Knight, and Bishop. The Shaikh and Shaykhah in these boxes depict the King and the Queen and the IIFA's trophies take the position of pawns on the board.
- Tarak Mehta actress accuses producer of sexual harassment
Actress Jeniffer Mistry Bansiwal filed an FIR against the show's producer Asit Kumarr Modi. Jennifer Mistry Bansiwal, who was part of Taarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashmah, has accused the show's producer Asit Kumarr Modi and two others of sexual harassment. Mistry, in her complaint filed in Mumbai, alleged that Modi sexually harassed her on multiple occasions over the last few years. Modi, however, denied the allegations and said he will take legal action against the actress for defaming him and the show. “Since we terminated her services, she is making these baseless allegations,” said Modi. The direction team of the show also spoke in the producer’s favour. Harshad Joshi, Rushi Dave and Arman said, “She lacked basic discipline on the set and was not focusing on her work. We regularly had to complain to the production head about her behaviour. On her last day she was abusive in front of the whole unit and left the set without finishing her shoot.” The trio also allege that the actress caused damage to the set in one of the instances. "She regularly misbehaved on the show with the entire team. While moving out from the shoot, she rashly drove her car out at very high speed not caring for people in her way. She even damaged the set property. We had to terminate her contract because of her bad behaviour and indiscipline during the shoot," they added. Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah is one of the longest-running sitcoms in the history of Indian television. Bansiwal essayed the role of Anjali, wife of Roshan in the show.
- Shriya Saran on importance of 'performing arts'
The actress shared that performing arts teach discipline and help in tackling failures. Most of us know Shriya Saran as an actor but did you know that she is also a trained dancer. The Drishyam-actress learnt dancing skills from the legendary Kathak dancer Shobhana Narayan before stepping her foot in the Indian film industry. She recalls, “Delhi is very special to me. I learnt Kathak from Shobhana Narayanji and visited Pandara Road.” Saran studied in Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, and completed her graduation from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. Though she misses Delhi, she is happy being an actor. She credits her parents who persuaded her to follow her dreams. “My family was always there to watch my performances. My mom had a dream to see me as a dancer and fortunately, I became an actress. My profession allows me to dance as well,” she shares. Saran will be next seen in Music School, which touches upon how families discourage children to pursue music professionally. But Saran feels that it’s time for parents to look at the broader picture as performing arts teach valuable lessons. “One thing that you learn from any performing art is practice and discipline. It also teaches you to tackle your failures and give respect. These things have stayed with me forever and help me in my life,” she adds.
- Music School: A musical tackling serious issue
Music School features 12 songs, out of which the rights of three of them are taken from 'The Sound of Music'. The film also marks the debut of singer Shaan. The Indian film industry has hardly experimented with a musical, featuring songs from the classic play, The Sound of Music, and coming with a serious message. When Paparao Biyyala understood how children from middle class families are still discouraged to take up music professionally, he decided to give audiences a musical titled ‘Music School’. On a promotional trip, Biyyala was in Delhi along with actors Sharman Joshi and Shriya Saran. Biyyala, who has written, directed and produced the film, shared that this might look an ordinary issue but it hampers the child's interest. “In middle class households, children are pressurised to study instead of taking up music and drama. When a child has lack of interest in a subject, failure occurs, and some children take wrong steps to overcome embarrassment. This a serious issue. That’s why we thought of narrating this story in a musical format,” he said. Though the film tackles a serious issue, the makers clarified that this two-hour long film is packed with entertainment. It features 11 songs and a musical dialogue. "You will laugh, cry and dance while watching it. It will make you look back to times when you danced," he added. Besides usual songs, the film also features three original tracks from the classic play, The Sound of Music, which were orchestrated by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and later converted to cinema. When asked how he could use those songs, Biyyala explained, “We took the rights of the songs from The Sound of Music and lifted them as is. Ilaiyaraaja supervised these songs and the background score was shot in Budapest. These songs have not been portrayed in a way it was done in the cinema in 1965.” The film also marks the debut of singer Shaan, who has sung several hits like Tanha Dil, Wo Ladki Hai Kahaan, Chand Sifarish and Bum Bum Bole, among others. It also features actors Sharman Joshi, Shriya Saran, Prakash Raj, Ozu Barua and Gracy Goswami in relevant roles. Music School will release in Hindi, Tamil and Telegu on May 12.
- Why Met Gala'23 was special for India?
American supermodel Naomi Campbell turned up in a pink saree-inspired gown. The dress code for Met Gala 2023 was 'in honor of Karl'. The entertainment industry becomes one big stage at red carpet events. This year's Met Gala event was one such platform where actors from different countries walked the red carpet. It was also a special one for India. It was the time when two Indian actors, Priyanka Chopra and Alia Bhatt, walked the Met Gala red carpet. But that's not all. People also saw a glimpse of saree at the event. It was American supermodel Naomi Campbell who turned up in a pink saree-inspired dress for the special night. Naomi's dress was a take on draped saree with silver sequins. It was a rare Chanel archival look that featured a pallu, which was carefully draped over the supermodel's left shoulder. The gown also featured a slit at the back. Naomi completed the look with silver arm cuffs and metallic strappy heels. This year, the theme at the Met Gala was 'Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty'. Lagerfeld, 85, died in 2019. He spent decades creating clothes for Balmain, Patou, Chloe, Fendi and Chanel in addition to his own namesake label. Naomi, who has regularly made appearance at the Met Gala, is also a regular visitor to India. She first came to India in 1994 and since then, the supermodel has regularly visited the country, with her recent one in April 2023. Her Met Gala look speaks remarkably on this love that she holds for India.
- Spain Embassy celebrates World Book Day in India
Embassy of Spain in India celebrated the World Book Day in India. It joined hands with Penguin Random House in India to bring Spain’s culture and literary works to India. A concert was also organised in this regard. The Embassy of Spain recently celebrated the World Book Day in India in collaboration with Penguin Random House. With this, the embassy opened the doors for book lovers in India to have a better access to Spanish literature. Penguin Random House in India has published Spanish classics in India, making these books easily accessible as well as affordable for India’s Spanish speaking population. Every year, April 23 marks the World Book Day in Spain. On this day, every book lover was offered a flower on the purchase of a book. The embassy and Penguin Random House India collaborated with 11 bookstores of four Indian cities and participated in this Spanish tradition, commemorating St. George’s Day in India. The embassy also gave its Indian audiences a glimpse of some of the books of Spanish writers to experience this cultural treat. A concert was organised where Spanish performers took the centre stage at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Soprano Minerva Moliner and pianist Alejandro Picó-Leonís performed 'art songs' on poems having a theme of love and roses. Talking about their performance, Picó-Leonís shared, “This is our first visit to India. The World Book Day has an exchange of books and roses. This theme works beautifully with our programme. We too are performing on some sensual poems by famous poets that talk about love and roses.” An art song is a special musical genre prevelant in Europe. Viennese composer Franz Schubert set the basis of this repertoire where famous poems written by accomplished writers were chosen and converted to melody using piano. The duo performed on a total of 22 compositions written by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and Spanish composers Joaquín Turina, Fernando Obradors, Enrique Granados and Eduard Toldra. While Moliner enacted the songs, Picó-Leonís supported her with piano accompaniment. Gaurav Shrinagesh, CEO, Penguin Random House India and Southeast Asia revealed details about the genre of books that would be available to Indian readers. “Penguin is pleased to collaborate with the Embassy of Spain to bring some of the greatest, most timeless literary works in the original Spanish language to Indian readers. It is only art, culture and literature that let us transcend borders and come together as a larger community, and Spanish is one of the more popular foreign languages in India. So, it was only a matter of time before original Spanish-language books found their way into our bookstores and bookshelves," he said. Several representatives of the diplomatic community, including several European, Latin American and US Ambassadors attended the event.
- Add panache to your wardrobe
Fashion designer Shilpi Gupta’s latest collection offers a range of traditional and contemporary outfits, and blends Indian embroidery and craft. Think of a wedding and everyone from a bride to her mother, sister, sister-in-law and aunt want something unique. Though there are plenty of stores in the market, seldom do we come across the one that caters to the needs of every member. Keeping pace with the changing preferences, fashion designer Shilpi Gupta launched her latest collection ‘Aks: The Reflection’ in Delhi. The collection was inspired by the Indian weddings. “Weddings in India are such a grand affair and I thought of adding my style to these weddings to make them stylish. I have tried to create different outfits for different functions: be it shagun, haldi, mehendi, cocktail party or the D-day. These cater to young brides as well her family,” she shares, while talking about the collection. The collection blends Indian embroidery and craft. In fact, she is one of the designers who eyes Indian art and architecture and uses them in her designs. “We are a very artsy brand. We want to create art in our collection and are constantly thinking of new concepts. We take inspiration from paintings and palaces instead of focusing on prints,” she clarifies. This collection is also high on art. It is divided into two parts: traditional and contemporary. “The classic look in this collection is in the form of Banarasi sarees that have been created using a chandi ki taar and sone ki polish. I have added gold hint to several outfits to match their look to Indian aesthetics,” she says. To create traditional outfits, Gupta used velvet, moga silk and raw silk. However, for contemporary ones, she introduced fabric from Milan and New York to show the two sides of the world. Both collections are unique in their own ways. While traditional outfits accompany age-old techniques, contemporary outfits include unique draping techniques. For instance, semi-precious stones and crystals have been used in a lehenga that comes with a jacket and dupatta. Besides the techniques, the designer’s outfits come in different styles, cuts and colours. When asked why she played introduced such diversity in outfits, she stressed that this was done to not only make the outfits available to brides, but their mothers, aunts and even bhabhis. “Till date, in a lot of Indian communities (like Marwadis), mothers wear lehengas. So, I created the classic and heritage look for mothers and a lehenga with a coat is for today’s modern brides. That’s why the entire collection comes in different colours. These outfits are also designed keeping cultural values of different communities in mind. That’s why none of them have deep cuts in blouses and all come with sleeves,” she shares. This collection is further diversified into two segments: Sitara and Gota. Sitara pays an ode to today's Indian woman. It uses unconventional fabrics, innovative embroidery techniques, unusual ornamentation, and chic colour palette. Gota is inspired by the traditional technique of weaving or applying gold metallic yarns into the fabric. The entire collection is available at the designer’s store in Defence Colony, New Delhi.