Archive | June, 2014

Saying no to Sujoy was difficult for Vidya

Posted on 25 June 2014 by admin

Actress Vidya Balan, who gave a stellar perfor­mance in Sujoy Ghosh’s “Kahaani”, says it was tough for her to say no to the director for his new film “Durga Rani Singh”.

“I am a little sad I couldn’t work in this project because we made ‘Kahaani’ together and we were like parents of ‘Kahaani’. It was a very difficult decision for me to say no (to ‘Durga Rani Singh’, but I was not keeping well so I couldn’t do it. I had no option,” said the Nation­al Award winning talent.

After Vidya turned down the offer, Kanga­na Ranaut was approached for the lead role in Ghosh’s film. But even she refused it. Now the director is report­edly on the lookout for an apt leading lady for his film.

Vidya says that after the success of “The Dirty Pic­ture”, a story inspired by the life of Silk Smitha, she was offered biopics almost every week.

“I have been offered many biopics. Every week someone asked me about new biopics. Three of­fers have come my way, but I have not accepted anything,” said the 36-year-old.

Meanwhile, Vidya, who is currently pro­moting her film “Bobby Jasoos”, is all praise for the movie’s producer Dia Mirza.

“She is great with taking care of the unit. We completed the film in 50 days and no one ever cribbed about their work. Dia managed the work beautifully and re­spects the unit,” Vidya said.

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‘Murder 3’ actress Sara Loren bags her next film

Posted on 25 June 2014 by admin

Remember Sara Loren (in pic above) who was seen in Murder 3? The Pak­istani starlet had changed her name for another shot in B-Town.

She was known as Mona Lisa when she fea­tured with Himesh Res­hammiya in Kajra Re. She has now bagged Anil Bal­ani’s Ishq Click with Ad­hyayan Suman.

By arrangement with Mid-Day.com

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Varun Dhawan’s rocking bachelor’s party

Posted on 25 June 2014 by admin

Bollywood’s eligible bachelor Varun Dhawan has found his Dulhania. And he celebrated his Bachelor’s Party, Bol­lywood style. The hottie was seeing taking over a popular club in Mumbai on Friday midnight along with UK based rapper Badshah & singer Akriti Kakkar to bring in the night with Saturday Sat­urday.

He was apparently so happy & excited that he grooved with the crowd and announced shots on the house, leaving club owners in a frenzy with over-crowded bar coun­ters. But everyone seemed to have a rocking time and all’s well that ends well.

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I consider acting to be cathartic: Krystal Garib

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Alberto Espinal

Bob Gundu

Deemed a “triple threat,” Krystal made her Broadway debut at the age of nineteen in the Andrew Lloyd Webber production of Bombay Dreams in New York City. Along with several film & television appearances (Hairspray, Good Morning America, Live with Regis & Kelly, MTV), she has also since performed in the Mirvish production of the Lord of the Rings in Toronto and toured the world with Oscar & Grammy Winning composer of Slumdog Millionaire, AR Rahman.

An active philanthropist, Krystal founded the House of Kiran, a non-profit performing arts and production company, in 2009. Before the film The King’s Speech ever hit film-waves, The House of Kiran helped raise over $40, 000 forToronto’s Speech and Stuttering Institute with its Shakespeare based productions, exploring the notion of finding fluency in speech through the rhythmic language of Shakespearean text.

Generation Next got an opportunity to interview this talented young artist:

Please tell us a bit about you academic/family background?

I was born and raised in BC, Canada to a Punjabi-Sikh family, although I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious. After high-school, I attended theatre school for a semester in Toronto before booking Bombay Dreams on Broadway which took me to NYC.

Why be an actress?

It’s a form of creative and artistic expression so, why not? When we have difficulty in articulating what we are feeling, acting provides a channel to get those feelings out. I consider acting to be cathartic and a productive use of energy.

What is it for you? Hollywood or Bollywood?

Both.

Why do you think many of modern songs are no evergreen songs of the past?

Because there is not as much demand, perhaps. Nowadays everything is so instant with social media, etc. Whether we choose to admit it or not, we judge things/people/artists based on what we see, not always based on artistry. That’s the world we live in. Many times if something is visually appealing enough, the artistry behind it isn’t as important. Our attention spans are very short. But there’s still room for both to be appreciated.

 Do you believe art is for entertainment or for social awareness? One can argue that with so much disturbance in life, people would like to enjoy art for relaxation purpose only.

The art vs. entertainment debate is long-lived. I believe art and entertainment are two different things but that there is a meeting point. As an artist, I create art because something compelled has me to do so. As an entertainer, I perform because it’s a way to connect with people. There are projects that serve solely for entertainment purposes and others that are artistic expression. It’s taken me time to discern between the two, but both have their value.

What’s your family’s reaction to your profession choice?

At first they were a little concerned, but at the end of the day my family has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I am truly grateful for that.

Is it a profession where you can make money? 

Yes. It’s important to keep in mind that the industry’s changing all the time so you need to think like an entrepreneur.

Do good looks matter? Do they get you into the door?

It would be naive of me to say that the way we look has no bearing in this industry. We live in a visual world and it’s not just in the entertainment industry that operates like this. With that being said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What’s important is that you take care of yourself. Keep your energy right and treat yourself right. Inner beauty outshines outer beauty any day and everyone has a place in this business so long as you follow your heart and your passion and it is truly what you want to do for the right reasons.

How do you keep yourself fit?

I continue to study and teach dance & fitness classes. I also love walking and running.

How much time do you spend on social media?

Sometimes too much, sometimes not enough!

What kind of pressures do you feel as a professional?

I suppose the same as professionals in any other industry. Being in a creative industry, my goal is to continue to evolve as an artist and human being. Service and giving back to community are a big part of the projects I like to work on. I don’t see it so much as a pressure, but rather a responsibility. It’s fun to bring things around full circle.

How much pressure do you feel to maintain a certain figure and looks?

It’s not pressure if you enjoy it. Be active, take care of yourself, do what makes you feel good/healthy and everything else will align and fall into place.

Is the industry different for men vs. women?

Absolutely.

What and who do you turn to when depressed?

My craft. Singing. Dancing. Writing. Music. Spending time with good friends/loved ones and laughing!

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Creating, renewing and loving. Both artistically and spiritually. I’ve learned that plans don’t always work out the way you want them to. All you can do is be true to you and that you are always evolving so we need to learn to embrace the journey.

What would you like to change in the world. Do you associate yourself with any charity?

The empowerment of young South Asian women through the arts is a cause close to my heart. As a result, my production company has set up the Maple Batalia Bursary for the Arts which is designed to educate and empower by virtue of the performing, visual or fine arts. www.maplebatalia.org for more info. I also love working with speech and stammering organizations as I grew up with a stutter.

Your favourite male artist
Gustav Klimt

Your favourite female artist

Martha Graham

Your favourite movie
I love 90′s films like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You and Mrs. Doubtfire. Scream is a classic too!

Your favourite book

As A Man Thinketh – James Allen

Your favourite place to visit
Any new place. But India will always be a fave.

Your favourite activity
Laughing with good friends.

Your favourite politician?
Martin Luther King Jr.

Your favourite singer?
Sade, Donny Hathaway, Eva Cassidy

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Is Horwath the loser in Ontario’s elections?

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Only a few weeks ago, Liberals were furious with the NDP’s leader Andrea Horwath for voting down a budget that was aligned more with the NDP ideals than that of the Liberals’. Today, the Liberals should thank Ms. Horwath for giving them the opportunity to form the majority government. No longer do the Liberals need to plead with the NDP or others to do the right thing, i.e., to secure the future of Ontarians by investing in the province’s infrastructure.

The Liberal victory is a godsend for Kathleen Wynne. She came to the premier’s office without the opportunity to lead her team in an election to a victory. That changed last night. By running a campaign that returned a Liberal majority, Kathleen Wynne has earned the right to lead the Liberals and hold the Premier’s office. No longer does she need to suffer for the mistakes of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, whose last couple of years in the government attracted significant controversy.

It is also a landmark moment for Ontario: In Kathleen Wynne, Ontario elected its first ever woman premier.

The biggest loser in this election is not the Hudak Conservatives, but the NDP. Had Ms. Horwath not defeated the May budget and triggered this election, she would have kept the minority Liberals hostage to her dictates. While the NDP is set to gain an additional seat in these elections, it has lost all legislative power it enjoyed only a few weeks ago. Hardly a success by any measure.

The June 12 elections have delivered Ontario from the political gridlock that prevented the Liberal minority government from governing. Now is the time to deliver the Ontarians from the traffic gridlock by investing in transport infrastructure and from the productivity gridlock by investing in education, health, and economic development. Ms. Wynne has won the mandate. She should now deliver on it.

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Voter turnout historic in June 12th elections

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Bump in voter turnout is first one in 20 years in the province

For the first time in more than two decades, voter turnout increased in Ontario compared to the previous provincial election.

Elections Ontario says unofficial results from June 12th’s election indicate 52.1 per cent of the province’s 9.2 million eligible voters cast their ballots.

That means 4.8 million Ontarians had a say in shaping the government.

That’s an improvement from a historic low in the last provincial election in 2011, when 48.2 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls.

Ontario’s Liberals secured a majority, winning their fourth straight mandate.

The Progressive Conservatives lost 10 seats, prompting party leader Tim Hudak to announce his plan to resign, and the NDP maintained their status as the third party.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne Understood The Electorate Better

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

By Samuel Getachew

Toronto

By the time TVO’s Steve Paikin declared the government of Kathleen Wynne re-elected at 10:43 p.m., the MPP from Don Valley West had made history as the first elected woman Premier of Ontario. Soon after, he would declare hers as a majority government.

In the words of former Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman, the reason Kathleen Wynne won was precisely because she was and still is the “best salesperson” of the decade old, scandal-ridden Liberal brand in Ontario. In the election, she faced a Tea Party-like candidate in Tim Hudak and a non-principled and surprisingly populist voice in Andrea Horwath.

Both of these candidates underestimated the electorate as they moved their respective parties to the far right. The NDP was even criticized by its core supporters in the middle of the election for venturing into unknown territory in a publicly released letter by NDPheavyweights such as Michele Landsberg and Winnie Ng.

“In this election, we are seriously considering not voting NDP,” and “from what we can see you are running to the right of the Liberals in an attempt to win Conservative votes. It is not clear whether you have given up on progressive voters or you are taking them for granted,” the letter read.

The party activists responded by calling the authors of the letter as “old NDP” — mirroring the second class language of one-time American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who once called Germany and France “old Europe” for not blindly supporting the Iraq war.

This gave ammunition for local Liberal candidates to attack the NDP on the ground and gave way for the defeat of MPPs such as Davenport MPP Johan Schein, the uninspiring Beaches East York’s Michael Prue and the antique Trinity Spadina’s Rosario Marchese. Once you take the progressive signature of the NDP, is there any reason to support them anymore?

Tim Hudak embraced a set of ideals that seemed far to the right and full of bad mathematics. He missed the opportunity to take the party to where successful Progressive Conservative Premier’s such as Bill Davis, John Robarts and Leslie Frost did. He attempted to embrace the former Premier Mike Harris Common Sense Revolution era of two decades ago instead of his own. He failed just the way Ernie Eves did in 2003.

Ontario lives in the political radical middle and is more moderate — in principle, ideas and people — than assumed. Kathleen Wynne understood that more than either the PCs under Hudak or the ONDP under Horwath.

Just look at the results. For the first time ever, the Liberals have more diversity in their caucus including a record three black MPPs elected at the same time in Michael Coteau,Mitzie Hunter and Granville Anderson. This was no accident as diversity has been a big mojo for this Premier.

In celebration of her victory, she remarked how, as a woman and a lesbian, if “I can become Premier, anybody can become one.” She was obviously reflecting the talent and future leadership candidacy of MPPs such as Michael Coteau of Don Valley East and Yaser Naqvi of Ottawa Center.

Wynne also made a comeback kid out of former Prime Minister Paul Martin, who tasted a humbling electoral defeat almost a decade ago in Ottawa. Not only did he endorse and had a role in the campaign but he also became her top adviser in the Liberal’s signature campaign idea — the new Ontario Pension Plan. His once defeated, neglected and ridiculed senior advisers – Richard Mahoney, Tim Murphy and David Herle — even managed the winning campaign against former Chretien Lieutenants such as Warren Kinsella, who has, in recent months, been endorsing a slew of NDP candidates from Joe Cressy, to Jonah Schein, to former NDP MP and Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow.

The 25th Premier of Ontario deserves our congratulations. That is whether one supported her or not.

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Speaking of my Father

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Manpreet K Chandpuri

Toronto

When daughters speak of their fathers, an oft-repeated refrain is: “They don’t make them like they used to.” That’s my refrain too. My father is the finest and best of men and I have known that since I was a child.

 My siblings and I studied in boarding schools thus we grew up away from home and from our parents. We went home only twice a year during holidays. However, during the school session my father came to see us every Sunday, sometimes accompanied by my mother. Sunday was called Parents’ Day, that’s when parents and relatives could meet with the children in the boarding school. 

  I don’t think my father ever missed a Sunday. It was after one such visit when I was about 8 years old that a friend of mine told me that she was very fond of my father. I distinctly remember her words: “Manpreet, your father is very nice, he offers biscuits to all the children whereas other people offer biscuits only to their own children.” It’s a little thing but speaks volumes of my father’s character. As they say, “It’s the little things that reveal us.”

 My grandfather was bed-ridden for seven years and for seven years my father slept in a chair by my grandfather’s bed. My father was a young man in his early thirties at the time; he put his own life on the back-burner to tend to his father. 

  In the bitter cold nights of the north Indian winter my father would cycle 12 kilometres to the city to bring a doctor home for my grandfather and then would drop the doctor back. Whenever my grandfather needed a doctor my father brought one home. He never regarded the weather or looked at the clock, whether it was the middle of a cold winter night or a hot sweltering afternoon my father did not shirk from the bicycle ride to the city. Not once did he think that a doctor’s visit was perhaps not necessary or that it could wait until a more convenient time.

 Papa left no stone unturned in taking care of my grandfather, he even incurred debt during that time because not doing the very best he could for his father never occurred to papa. Everything papa did he did happily and out of love, and not out of any obligation. For as long as my grandfather lived he remained my father’s top priority.

 If I had to describe my father in one word, the word would be ‘honourable’. My –0father is a man of high moral rectitude, is very honest, very upright, very virtuous, and someone who has never bent rules to suit his interest. No matter what, he always does the right thing, he always treats people right; he is a true gentleman. Never ever has my father kept someone else’s money, he would suffer a loss in dollars himself but would not keep a cent belonging to someone else. He would rather suffer losses than compromise his principles.

 Many years ago my father was involved in a legal battle and the daughters of his adversary were to be served summons for the legal process to begin. Whenever a summons was sent to their house, it could not be served: the reason was always that the daughters were not home. This continued for several months and for several months the court kept giving papa date after date after date. One day my father came face to face with his adversary and said to him, “Look, you are not getting your daughters to receive the summons; it’s fine! Your daughters are like my daughters, I will never call the police on them even if the case continues for 10 years.” The next time a summons was sent, it was received. Eventually the outcome of this legal battle was in my father’s favour; but that is hardly important, what is important is that here is a man who was ready to be harassed indefinitely but was not willing to abandon his principles.

 My father is very humane, very kind and compassionate, a fine human being. Papa retired more than a decade ago but during his more active years papa had a farm, and there was always a lot of staff working on the farm. My father treated all of them fairly; never was anyone’s wage delayed, nor was anyone bled white. It was acceptable, even recommended, to make the farm-labourers work their hardest, I had seen other land-owners do that but papa was never a hard task-master. Back in the day, labour at farms was paid by the day and not by the hour thus most land-owners made their staff work after sun-down, but not my father. On the contrary, he always seemed impatient to relieve them in the evening. I remember him saying, “In the evening every man wants to go home to his children so it’s not right to detain him.”

 Unlike my two siblings, I have not inherited my father’s chiselled bone structure or his twinkling eyes; but, I have inherited his tender heart. 

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Munni begum performs in Toronto

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Munni Begum, legendary artist of the Indo-Pak community renowned for her ghazals performed in the city last month. The Foreign Professionals of Canada organization hosted this live entertainment and dinner program.

Retired Vice chancellor Mr. Muneer Hassan addressed the audience and praised Syed Junaid and the rest of the Foreign Professionals of Canada organization.

Foreign Professionals of Canada President Syed Junaid also addressed the crowd on this occasion. His message was directed towards the professionals of the community to join the organization for a good cause to give back to Canada and especially to support those people who are trying to establish themselves in a new country.

Syed Junaid announced at this event that the organization is exploring offering free courses to help foreigners find new and promising jobs. He requested members of the community to help arrange for a classroom type setting to teach practical skills to the individuals who need help in Canada.

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DETERMINED TALIBAN AND CONFUSED POLITICAL LEADERS?

Posted on 19 June 2014 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

Lahore

 Pakistan is in the grip of a new wave of terrorism. The militant Islamic groups have shown determination to target state institutions and personnel. However, Pakistani political leaders, including the federal government, do not have a unity of mind for dealing with the threat of terrorism. This confusion of mind gives enough opportunity to Pakistani Taliban and other militant groups to strengthen their position and weaken the people’s trust in the Pakistani state for protecting their life and property. The Pakistani state is on the defense because it responds to what the militant Islamic groups do rather than taking the initiative to contain their activities.

 Violent incidents, especially bomb explosions and attacks on troop conveys, were taking place on a regular basis for the last one month. The major incidents in June were: Five people, including two Lieutenant Colonels, were killed in a suicide attack in Fateh Jang near Rawalpindi (June 4), attack on Karachi Airport by 10 militants. All militants and 30 security personnel and civilians were killed (June 8), 23 Shias were killed in two suicide attacks in Taftan in Balochistan, near Iranian border (June 8), motorcyclist fired shots at the entrance of Airport Security Force Academy in the Karachi Airport area (June 10); no one was killed or injured. The Army was called out to counter the attack on the Karachi Airport.

  These incidents have raised serious doubts about the federal government’s policy of sticking to negotiations with the Taliban. There has not been any known direct interaction between the Tehrik-i-Taliban-i-Pakistan and the federal government over the last two months but the federal government still argues for holding talks rather than going for security operation against the Taliban. This policy is now being questioned by a large number of leaders and political analysts. The military indicated before the Karachi Airport incident that it wanted to launch a security operation against Pakistani Taliban and their foreign and local allies.

 In the absence of political endorsement for full security operation by the civilian federal government the Air Force and the Army launched limited targeted air raids on the militant hideouts in the tribal areas from time to time as a retaliation to the militant attacks on troops.

  The meetings of the Corps Commanders and the Formation Commanders held in June expressed the Army’s determination to launch a full-fledged attack on the hideouts of Pakistani Taliban. The Formation Commanders’ meeting underlined the need of civilian support for any major military operation in the tribal areas.

 Nawaz Sharif’s refusal to opt for military operation has become a major grievance in his government’s relations with the military top command. The Sharif government is being viewed by the military as dragging its feet on this issue which is giving enough time to the Taliban to regroup and move out of the tribal areas and hide either in mainland Pakistan or cross over to Afghanistan.

  Pakistan’s civilian leaders, including the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group, condemn terrorist activity. However, they are divided as to who is resorting to terrorism and how to cope with it. Though the Tehrik-i-Taliban-i-Pakistan and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed responsibility for the Karachi Airport attack, no top leader of the federal government, including the Prime Minister, condemned these organizations by name.

 Only three political parties are publicly opposed to terrorism and the organizations that resort to violence. These are: the PPP, the ANP and the MQM. They support military action.

Islamic parties that subscribe to the Bralevi and the Shia Islamic traditions want tough action against the Taliban and other militant and sectarian organizations.

Other religious parties take varied positions ranging from supporting the Taliban to adopting an apologetic position for Islamic militancy.

Most of them blame India, the U.S. and Israel for sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan.

This argument of “hidden foreign hand” has become a part of their belief system to such an extent that they do not seek any concrete evidence for blaming the foreign enemies of Pakistan and Islam.

 The policy of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf on Pakistan’s involvement in war on terrorism is similar to the position of the Taliban.

 Imran Khan views Pakistan’s participation in war on terrorism since September 2001 as serving the interests of the U.S. and that it dragged Pakistan into a foreign war. Like the Taliban, Imran Khan wants Pakistani troops to be withdrawn from the tribal areas. He condemns violence but does not condemn the groups that engage in violence and opposes any military action in the tribal areas because a large number of civilians will be killed or driven out of their homes.

 Islamic parties like the Jamaat-i-Islami and the JUI take a pro-Taliban position on Islamic militancy and blame the enemies of Islam for destabilizing Pakistan. They are opposed to military action against the Taliban and other militants in the tribal areas.

 All these parties accuse the government of Nawaz Sharif for its failure to protect the life and property of citizens but if the military launches an attack against the Taliban and other groups these parties are opposed to it. These parties want to control terrorism (sponsored by the foreign enemies of Pakistan) without the use of state power against Pakistani Taliban and other Pakistan-based militant groups, who are, in their opinion, not opposed to Pakistan. They are angry with Pakistan’s pro-America policies, they argue.

 The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group reflects all the above diversity of views on terrorism and militant groups. As the ruling Muslim League derives political support for the population with rightest and Islamic orientation, it does not want to publicly endorse military action for losing votes from this section of population to Imran Khan and the Jamaat-i-Islami by supporting military action. Further, it is deterred by the fear of the Taliban retaliation in the Punjab which is the stronghold of Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif.

 An interesting argument given by the federal government and other political parties is that they support the idea of talking to those Taliban that want to talk and fight those that want to fight. However, the leaders making this argument of “good” Taliban versus “bad” Taliban are unable to name the Taliban groups that wish to accept Pakistan’s constitution and law.

  This divided mindset of the political and religious leadership in Pakistan makes it difficult for the federal government to adopt a clear policy towards the Taliban. They are also reluctant to provide political support to the military for a security operation in North Waziristan. This hesitation and confusion gives enough space to Pakistani Taliban and other violent groups to pursue their agendas against the state and society of Pakistan.

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