Lyricist Robiul Islam Jibon and singer Imran Mahmudul have paired up countless times over the years, yet their latest offering on the occasion of this year’s Ramadan promises to be different from all their past collaborations.
The pair are releasing three ‘Islamic songs’ this Ramadan, of which one titled ‘Koro Ibadat’ (Serve) has already been published on the YouTube channel of Imran on April 24.
All three tracks will be a capella devotional songs, without instrumental accompaniment, of which there is a strong tradition in Muslim communities in the form of the nasheeds.
Imran provides the voice and melody. He said: “Me and Robiul bhai did a huge number of songs together and people loved those. This is our maiden effort to bring up some Islamic songs without using any musical instrument.”
Both Robiul and Imran are by now household names in Bangladesh’s music industry as besides their other projects, they have been working together for almost a decade. Robiul is a three-time winner at the Channel i Music Awards, where Imran has also been a winner.
Imran has performed as many as 90 songs written by Robiul during the last 10 years. Almost all of these however have been pop songs or ballads.
“People all over the world are now praying for their lives, to stay safe and sound. We also took a step down this path with three Islamic songs. This is our effort to pray to the Almighty for our safety and wellbeing,” Robiul told UNB.
“Since it’s the holy month of Ramadan, we believe this is the perfect time to come up with some Islamic songs. We hope everyone will like these songs,” the lyricist added.
The other two songs, ‘Allah Meherban’(Allah the Benevolent) and ‘Azaaner Oi Pobitra Shur’(The Holy Melody of Azaan), will be released respectively by the local production house CMV and Dhruba Music Station.
As people around the entire world remain stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic which has already claimed over 2 lakh lives, four musical artistes of Bangladesh have recited a poem dedicated to the stranded people.
Lutfor Hasan, a celebrated singer and author who came to the limelight with the song ‘Ghuri Tumi Kar Akashe Uro’ a decade ago, has written the poem named ‘Esho he manush’.
“It took a few days to come up with this poem. I tried to describe as many situations as I can. I believe this is the very first poem of this kind. I’ll try to write more poems about our lives in future,” Lutfor told UNB.
Singers Putul, Shawon Gaanwala, RJ Troyee and Lutfor himself performed in the poem while Amzad Hossain composed the background music and coordinated the voice recording.
Local production house Dhruba Music Station launched this recitation on their YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Chris Evans' latest TV project had a nice lure built in — he was able to stay close to his Boston-area home.
"I got to sleep in my own bed and see my family on the weekends. And it felt really, for a little while, like I had a regular 9-to-5 job," the actor said. "That's tough to beat."
Evans stars in the eight-part Apple TV Plus drama series "Defending Jacob," which is set in the Boston suburbs. The "Captain America" star got to lean into his natural accent and visit spots he knew growing up.
But there was one part that was inauthentic: He didn't get to wear his own Red Sox cap during filming. "I offered to use mine, but mine didn't look as weathered. Mine was a bit new," he said, laughing.
Evans stars as an assistant district attorney in a Boston suburb whose 14-year-old son is accused of killing a classmate. He investigates the crime, risking his career as his marriage is shaken and both parents learn they really know little about the private life of their son.
The show raises questions about genetics, family secrets and trust. "Hopefully it's something that keeps you thinking well after it's over," Evans said.
British actress Michelle Dockery stars as the teen's mother. The "Downton Abbey" veteran said she was attracted to the project because it explored a family's dynamics under stress.
"What I loved about this story was it focuses far more on the effects that the crime has on the family as opposed to the crime itself," she said. "The show is really about family and how far would you go for your loved one?"
The series also features Jaeden Martell as their son, Cherry Jones as a defense attorney, Pablo Schreiber as a prosecutor and J.K. Simmons as an estranged family member.
It marks Evans' first return to episodic TV since his first professional job, the Fox summer 2000 show "Opposite Sex," which he jokes was "canceled in the blink of an eye."
He credits showrunner Mark Bomback and director Morten Tyldum with showing "meaningful contours and layers behind each character" and slowly ratcheting up the tension for what is ostensibly an eight-hour movie.
"I think 20 years ago this would've been a film and it would have been all engine — you would have removed all opportunities for the characters to breathe. It would have been entertaining, but it really wouldn't have gone too deep," he said.
"Defending Jacob" is adapted from the 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Evans said at the heart of the legal thriller is something everyone can relate to — guilt.
"I enjoy the examination of guilt. That I may be kind of revealing about my own personal nature, but I think there is some unique downstream manifestations from guilt. It's this thing that I think a lot of people live with but cope with very differently," he said.
"I think that guilt never fully silences. That echo is always there. But I think he had kind of reached a certain level of peace. And then all of a sudden, all of this trauma had to be exhumed in a very public format."
Shooting around Boston was a comfort to Evans, but Dockery said she also fell in love with the area, especially Walden Pond, which she calls "one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to." Her dad is Irish and she said there's "something about that Irish vibe in Boston that I really love.
Netflix picked up nearly 16 million global subscribers during the first three months of the year, helping cement its status as one of the world's most essential services in times of isolation or crisis.
The quarter spanned the beginning of stay-at-home orders in the U.S. and around the world, a response to the coronavirus pandemic that apparently led millions to latch onto Netflix for entertainment and comfort when most had nowhere to be but home.
Netflix more than doubled the quarterly growth it predicted in January, well before the COVID-19 outbreak began to shut down many major economies. It was the biggest three-month gain in the 13-year history of Netflix's streaming service.
The numbers — released Tuesday as part of Netflix's first-quarter earnings report — support a growing belief that video streaming is likely to thrive even as the overall U.S. economy sinks into its first recession in more than a decade.
"Our small contribution to these difficult times is to make home confinement a little more bearable," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said while speaking to investors during a video call from a bedroom.
Investor optimism about Netflix's prospects propelled the company's stock to new highs recently, a sharp contrast with the decline in the broader market.
Netflix's shares initially surged in after-hours trading after the first-quarter report came out, although they soon fell back. One reason: The strengthening U.S. dollar will likely depress the company's revenue from outside the U.S., which could dampen gains from some of its fastest growing markets.
Currency effects also limited Netflix revenue growth to 17%, for a total of $5.8 billion, even though the company ended March with nearly 183 million worldwide subscribers, a 23% increase from the same time last year. Netflix earned $709 million in the first quarter, nearly tripling its profit from last year.
Netflix shares edged up by less than 1% in Tuesday's extended trading to $435.69, leaving them below last week's record high of $449.52.
Even though it faces plenty of competition, Netflix appears better positioned to take advantage of the surging demand for TV shows and movies largely because of its head start in video streaming.
Since beginning its foray into original programming seven years ago, Netflix has built up a deep catalog that can feed viewer appetites even though the pandemic response has shut down production on many new shows.
That stoppage could hurt Netflix as well, although analysts at Canaccord Genuity believe its video library will serve as a "content moat" that can keep most competitors at bay.
One notable exception is Walt Disney Co., whose recently launched streaming service is also stocked with perennial classics, especially for children who have even more free time than usual.
That's one of the big reasons Disney's service has amassed 50 million subscribers and why Netflix is basking in another resurgence in popularity. Netflix predicted it will add 7.5 million subscribers from April through June. That's nearly three times more than its average springtime gain of 2.7 million subscribers during the past seven years.
Hastings praised Disney's fast start in streaming as "stunning" in his video call with investors. "My hat's off to them," he said. "We are both going to do great work."
Most of the most popular programs Netflix has in the works for this year are already completed, including the fourth season of "The Crown," its acclaimed series about Queen Elizabeth's continuing reign in the United Kingdom.
Even so, Hastings warned that subscriber growth seems likely to taper off during the second half of the year, given how many new viewers are poring into the service during the first half. That was just a guess, Hastings said, adding that the only thing he feels certain about these days is that video streaming win more converts for at least the next five years.
Idris Elba said he and his wife had their lives “turned around” after contracting coronavirus and although they had only mild symptoms, he said the experience was "definitely scary and unsettling and nervous”.
"You know, everyone's sort of feeling the way we have been feeling, but it has definitely been sort of just a complete upheaval," he told The Associated Press late last week.
But the British actor feels that there are life lessons to be learned, and the pandemic serves as a reminder that "the world doesn't tick on your time."
"I think that the world should take a week of quarantine every year just to remember this time. Remember each other. I really do," he said.
The British actor and his model wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba, spoke to the AP as they began a push with the United Nations to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on farmers and food producers in rural areas.
"People forget that 80 percent of the poor population live in these rural areas." Dhowre Elba said. "What we are really worried about at the moment, and why we are launching this fund is that those people are being forgotten."
In their new roles as U.N. Goodwill Ambassadors, Elba and his wife, have joined forces with the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to launch the new $40 million fund.
The actor believes people in rural and poor areas are likely to suffer more in the pandemic.
"If you imagine being in a village where no one even knows the name of your village or your population, and that you live in a slum where there is one room and six of you live in it," he said. "Social distancing is almost laughable."
"What we are really worried about at the moment, and why we are launching this fund is that those people are being forgotten," Dhowre Elba said. "While health, you know, is so important at the moment ... we don't want people to forget about what comes after that."
Both Elba and his wife have roots in Africa; Elba's parents are from Sierra Leone and Ghana, while Dhowre Elba is of Somali descent. The pair went to Sierra Leone in December with the United Nations to see how IFAD has assisted people there.
Elba said he was particularly concerned as to what the coronavirus pandemic could do on the continent in countries already suffering economically.
"We have to think about the forward planning. What's what's the fallout going to be?" he said.
The couple have been recovering in New Mexico, where the actor was filming when he became sick, but plan to return to London as soon as they can get a flight. Elba said he had to miss his 6-year-old son's birthday because of the lockdown but he's "hoping to see him as soon as I can."
"We've been fortunate," he added. "We have been staying in a lovely place that's been very comfortable for the time. But we're looking forward to going home."