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Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2020 kickstarts its 11th year celebrations in Mumbai

The Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship which was announced in 2019 named after the superstar has been awarded to a young female researcher from Kerala

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Ahead of August 2020, when the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne will walk into its eleventh year with a grand opening, the team organised a prelude event in Mumbai before their main event in Melbourne. The multi award winning, much loved film festival, considered amongst the largest Indian film festivals in the world has year on year attracted the presence of Bollywood’s creme de le crème, including Shah Rukh Khan as the chief guest last year.

While it’s been 10 wonderful years, festival director Mitu Bhowmik Lange is gearing up to make the 2020 celebrations just as grand. Their ten year cerebrations included names like Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Rima Das, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Tabu and filmmaker Sriram Raghavan, Super Deluxe star Vijay Sethupathi and director Thiagarajan Kumararaja amongst others. Taking forward her relentless focus on inclusivity and diversity, she continues her passion to promote content and content creators who have pushed the envelope. Last year, the festival screened over 60 films from all over India and the subcontinent in nearly 22 languages. Amongst the other highlights was the 20-year celebration of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar, who was in discussion with cinephiles and fans, a discussion with filmmakers Zoya Akhtar and Rima Das – two firebrand directors who are changing the narrative, Andhadhun sweeping major awards at the awards night with the luminous Tabu and Sriram Raghavan whisking away top gongs. Multiple regional films, especially Super Deluxe emerged as a big winner with Vjay earning praises from King Khan, who called him the most wonderful actor he has ever seen.

The festival’s association with La Trobe University culminated with the launch of the Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship, announced at the 2019 festival. It has been dedicated to a female researcher – Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi from Thrissur (Kerala), working on farming practices through animal science, ecology and molecular studies. She was chosen from over 800 Indian women for the honour. She was awarded the four-year scholarship at a ceremony in Mumbai on February 26.

In a statement, Mitu says, “It has been an overwhelming journey that has gathered strength from all quarters in the past 10 years. The content landscape has changed and it’s heartening to see lines between commercial and independent cinema blurring. It’s the celebration of great stories now. IFFM continues its dedicated work towards supporting diverse voices and cinema. I am ecstatic about the initiatives we have taken, especially our association with La Trobe University, which takes us beyond what is covered under the purview of a standard film festival. We are looking at the growth of a community and taking the spirit of cinema to the masses. Having Mr Khan support a young researcher’s dream is a step towards us collectively furthering our social responsibilities. I and all of us at IFFM wish Gopika the very best. We hope to continue our work towards cinema and society unequivocally. We are also really excited to launch our Inclusive Film making workshops that further advocates true inclusive film making both behind and in front of a camera.”

Khan, in a statement, said, “I would like to personally thank Mitu. I take myself as the first hand ambassador of Melbourne and I attended the Indian film festival of Melbourne last year and it was such a warm and  hospitable experience. I’m a staunch believer in education and I would like to congratulate Gopika. Way forward for everyone is to gain an education and there’s never an end to learning. The key to Empower women world over is only by providing them with education. I think education in India or anywhere else in the world is a step forward. Gopika is fortunate that she’s soon going to be studying at La Trobe which is a fantastic university and I’m glad she’s getting this opportunity to do a PhD on her research. I admire Gopika’s dedication and determination. This scholarship will enable her to travel to La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia where she will pursue her dreams of helping to improve India’s agriculture sector. I wish her well.”

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Alia Bhatt is a big fan of Prabhas, says “I like Prabhas a lot”

His performance and screen presence in Baahubali series is awesome

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Prabhas has a massive fan following all across where his charisma does it all along with his phenomenal performances. The latest to join his league of admirers is Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt who will be next seen in Rajamouli’s pan-India release, RRR alongside stars, Ram Charan and Jr NTR. In a recent interview, the actress went on record to say that she became a big fan of Prabhas, after watching his exceptional performance in Baahubali.

Recently, during the media interactions, Alia Bhatt talked about her favourite star. The actress surprised all as Alia Bhatt said, “I like Prabhas a lot. His performance and screen presence in Baahubali series is awesome”. She further added, “I became his die-hard fan after watching Baahubali series.”.

Truly, Prabhas’ Pan-India appeal is not just the only thing that is making waves but also, his appeal amongst the leading ladies of Bollywood. His magnum opus Baahubali series became the highest grossing films of all time and was a hit amongst the audience.

Soon, Alia Bhatt will be making her debut in South Indian film Industry with RRR, which is being helmed by SS Rajamouli. On the other hand, Prabhas is keeping up all the excitement will be seen next in Prabhas’ 20th followed by Nag Ashwin’s directorial which is going to be a PAN-World release.

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Here’s why Guru Randhawa looks up to Mika Singh

Catch the singer get candid like never before, only on Zee TV’s musical chat show

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With Bollywood and music being nothing short of religions in India, Zee TV brings to its viewers the best of both worlds with its blockbuster weekend primetime offering. The channel’s first-of-its-kind music countdown show called ‘Pro Music Countdown’ is hosted by one of India’s finest RJs, social media influencer and YouTube sensation – Siddharth Kannan. The show presents superhit songs in a never-seen-before chat show format with the hottest Bollywood celebrities getting up close and personal about their career, romance and everything that’s brewing in B-town!

In the upcoming episode of the show, viewers will get a chance to get up close and personal with everyone’s favourite ‘Punjabi Munda’, Guru Randhawa. Being amongst the finest singers in our country today, Guru Randhawa’s personal and professional life has always remained under huge media spotlight. On Pro Music Countdown, Guru spoke about his journey in the  music industry and mentioned about the seniors he looks up to, including Mika Singh who continues to inspire one and all!

On being asked by Siddharth about his rapport with Mika Singh, Guru replied by saying “I have always looked at ‘Mika pajji’ as a brother and I always meet him whenever I come to Mumbai. It’s been such a long  time that he has maintained a name for himself in the industry, he is still as famous as he was 10 years old, which really inspires me. There are 2 most important things that I believe when it comes to senior artists, firstly it’s really important to respect them and secondly, it’s really important to be inspired by them.”

Even after getting so much fame, Guru Randhawa is really a down-to-earth and simple person which is very rare nowadays. How he respects is seniors is really commendable!

Watch Guru Randhawa talk about his life like never before on Pro Music Countdown on  April 5th  at 6 PM, only on Zee TV!

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Sushant Divgikar makes it to the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list – Class of 2020

Popularly known as RANI Ko-HE-Nur, he is India’s first drag queen to be featured in the list

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Sushant Divgikar is on cloud nine as he has been listed in the esteemed Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List – Class 2020. He has been featured under ‘THE ARTS’ honorees as well as in ‘Celebrities’ category. Sushant is India’s first Drag Artiste to be featured in the list and possibly the first and only ASIAN drag artist to be on this power list. The versatile artiste, Sushant has made it to this list with his sheer hard work and determination to follow his heart. He has stood by his values and contributed towards the LGBT community.

Talking about his latest achievement, Sushant Divgikar a.k.a. Rani Ko-He-Nur expressed, “I’m above and beyond the moon, stars, the entire galaxy right now and cannot contain my excitement! I am elated and feeling proud to be featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list which is of such an International repute. All the struggle and hard work I put in seems to be worth it. I would like to thank Forbes Asia team for recognizing the 14years of my life that I have given to make the performing arts and arts, in general, more conducive for diverse participation and recognizing one’s true authentic self! I hope that my journey and body of work inspires every young and ambitious person out there to spread your wings and fly high!”

Sushant has been featured amongst 300 bright and innovative young leaders from the Asia- Pacific region. These young entrepreneurs and change-makers have been selected from more than 3500 nominations, researched by a team of reporters and vetted by an A-list panel of judges who are leaders in their respective fields.

Currently, Sushant is focusing on his singing career and is working on releasing his original music in the coming month. The versatile singer is known for singing in a male as well as a female voice. His singing talent got recognition when he appeared on the singing reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa in 2018. He is a well-known LGBTQ activist and drag queen performer. He is involved with auditioning, mentoring and training younger drag queens and aims to make drag a more accessible art form in the country. In 2019, Divgikar made his international debut with Rainbow Riots-House of Wallenberg in Sweden and in the same year released the single “I’m Coming Out” during Stockholm Pride. In 2014, Divgikar won Mr. Gay India.

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