In an unprecedented show of unity, India's Bollywood have come together and taken the country's two leading English TV channels to a higher court of law against what they claim is a "media trial" in the drugs scandal linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
Top names in Bollywood, including the three Khans — Salman, Shahrukh and Aamir — and as many as 34 filmmakers, including Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra, have filed a lawsuit in the Delhi High Court against Republic TV and Times Now for "irresponsible reporting" in the drugs case, a lawyer told the media on Monday.
In their plea, the Bollywood celebrities have asked the court to immediately restrain the TV channels and social media platforms "from making or publishing irresponsible, derogatory and defamatory remarks against Bollywood and its members". Media trial of Bollywood film personalities is tantamount to infringing upon their privacy, the plea says.
The Bollywood celebrities have also objected to the usage of words like "dirt", "filth", "scum" and "druggies" during reporting of the case, the lawyer said.
India's Narcotics Control Bureau is probing several Bollywood celebrities in the drugs scandal after WhatsApp chats retrieved from Sushant Singh's former actress-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries.
Rhea was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau on September 9, following days of questioning, in connection with the death of 34-year-old Sushant Singh, whose body was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his Mumbai flat on June 14. She was released on bail by the High Court in Mumbai last week.
The probes into Sushant Singh's death and the related drugs scandal have captivated and polarised India in recent months, with the media being blamed for carrying out "biased" reporting and pronouncing their judgment before the court.
After posting a 6.17 minutes video on Facebook titled ‘Ananta teaches rapists a lesson’ on Saturday in which the business tycoon-turned-producer and actor Ananta Jalil ended up blaming women's dressing habits for rape, the star has retracted the video on Sunday amid public outrage over his thoughtless comments.
The first video was posted from Ananta Jalil's wife, actress Barsha's verified Facebook page, which has been deleted. The new version was uploaded on his own verified Facebook page 'Ananta CIP' on Sunday evening.
Expunging the part from 1:32 minutes to 3:56 minutes from the previous version where he blamed women in general for their revealing dresses which, according to the actor, invite 'unwanted sexual advances' and attract the rapists' heinous actions - the actor posted the new video under the new title 'Some words that need to be said against Rape'.
"In yesterday's video, I mainly talked about women on the necessity of dressing up soberly. Many people took it positively, while many people took it negatively. I do not want to get involved in any sort of controversy, thus I am posting the revised and corrected version. Pardon me if you misunderstood," the actor posted the video with these words as the caption.
The newly revised video is 3:49 minutes long, where he kept the parts in which he starts off by scolding the rapists, before addressing them as his brothers and conveying his apology for his earlier harsh tone.
He goes on to spin the old and by now useless, discredited ploy of asking the rapists to put themselves in the position where the victim might be their mother or sister - a tried, and tested and failed tactic for reining in sexual violence, and one that implicitly justifies the perpetrator's actions in cases where they may have no mother or sister to relate the victim to.
He also pleads with the Prime Minister to bring in the death penalty for rapists - another simplistic ploy unlikely to yield any progress, and one that has been rejected by feminists themselves.
Upon the release of the first video on Saturday which is no longer available at this moment, massive outrage sparked on the social media platforms and some of the well-known faces have publicly announced that they are going to boycott Jalil for his 'hate-speech' against women.
Actress Meher Afroz Shaon who is also a filmmaker, architect, singer and the widow of late eminent writer Humayun Ahmed, wrote from her verified Facebook profile that from now on, she is boycotting Ananta Jalil for his disgraceful comments on women.
"I, Meher Afroz Shaon, as a Bangladeshi film and media worker and a sensible citizen of our independent nation, am boycotting Mr Ananta Jalil for his distasteful and irrelevant comments on Bangladeshi women through his insulting video message," Shaon wrote on her verified Facebook profile.
Theatre Thread, an internet-based film forum active on Facebook and YouTube where it previews, promotes and reviews Bangladeshi movies, has also posted an official statement on its Facebook page that it is also boycotting Ananta Jalil and will no longer preview, review, feature, react or promote any past or future ventures of Ananta Jalil for his absurd and whimsical comments.
Besides, many of his fans and followers from all sectors in the society along with celebrities from the entertainment industry have expressed outrage on social media platforms over the now-deleted comments made by the actor, ever since the release of the original video.
Amid countrywide protests over the growing incidents of rape and violence against women and girls, actor Ananta Jalil has blamed revealing dresses worn by women for inviting 'unwanted sexual advances'.
In a 6.17-minute video, titled ‘Ananta teaches rapists a lesson’, the actor is heard giving some advice to women “as a brother”.
“Women [in Bangladesh] wear indecent dresses inspired by women from other countries, cinemas, television and social media. People look at your figures instead of your faces because of the indecent dresses. They make indecent comments [about women] and think of rape,” he said.
“Do you (women) consider yourselves modern? Is the dress you’re wearing ‘modern’ or is it indecent? A modern dress means only showing your face and covering your body with decent dress which will make you look good,” the actor said in the video posted on his verified Facebook page.
He went on to say that any dress that does not cover the whole body except the face makes women look “very bad”.
“You get out on the streets wearing a t-shirt like boys. And when you’re dishonoured (raped) and return home you can either kill yourselves or can’t show your face in public,” he said.
Nearly 1,000 rape cases, including 208 gang rapes, were reported between January and September this year, according to human rights organisation Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK). Among the victims, 43 were killed after rape and 12 others committed suicides.
The actor said wearing ‘decent’ dresses will deter thoughts of rape. “People will look at you with respect if you wear decent dresses,” he said.
Data compiled from media reports by ASK showed that 68 of the victims were below the age of 6. Another 139 victims were between the age of 7 and 12. But this data most likely captures a small number of cases since most survivors do not report assaults fearing social stigma and sometimes fearing for their safety.
Ananta told men to think twice before raping. “What would you do if the same thing happens with your wife, sister?”
He also requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take measures to enact a law ensuring death penalty for rapists.
UN's Bangladesh office in a statement last week recommended an “urgent reform to the criminal justice system to support and protect victims and witness, and to speed up the slow trial process”.
The conviction rate for rape in Bangladesh is below 1 percent, according to the Human Rights Watch. Last week, the law minister said they are proposing raising the highest punishment for rape to death penalty instead of life imprisonment.
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee has been shifted to intensive care in a private hospital where he is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 after his health condition worsened, a senior doctor at the facility said on late Friday night, according to Indian media.
The 85-year-old actor was at an “acute confusional stage” following which the neurologist advised him to be shifted to the ITU, he said.
“Mr Chatterjee has been shifted to the ITU after he has been experiencing restlessness and reached an acute confusional stage. We have shifted him to the ITU for close monitoring. He is having several co-morbidities, that’s why we need to be more careful,” said the doctor.
Chatterjee was hospitalised on Tuesday after he tested positive for COVID-19.
He had been unwell for the past few days, following which a Covid-19 test was advised by a doctor.
Soumitra Chattopadhyay, a celebrated Bengali actor, is best known for his collaboration with Oscar-winner Satyajit Ray and the Feluda series.
Soumitra immortalised the titular role of Feluda in Ray's films. Apart from that, Soumitra was a part of several other works of Ray, including Apu'r Sangshar or The World Of Apu. Some of Chatterjee's best works include Ashani Sanket, Ghare Baire, Aranyer Din Ratri, Charulata, Shakha Proshakha, Jhinder Bandi, Saat Pake Bandha, and more.
The news of Soumitra’s testing positive has raised concerns within 'Tolly para' as it is fondly referred to as. Several of Soumitra's colleagues have wished for his speedy recovery.
A few days ago, Soumitra Chattopadhyay resumed his shoot with actor-director Parambrata Chattopadhyay's Bengali film 'Abhijaan'. In the film, Jisshu Sengupta will be seen playing the role of young Soumitra and Soumitra himself plays his older self.
Earlier, many actors, directors and producers like Ranjit Mallick, his daughter and actress Koel Mallick, wife Dipa Mallick, producer Nispal Singh and director Raj Chakraborty had tested coronavirus positive but have since recovered.
American poet Louise Glück won the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for her “candid and uncompromising” work, which looks unflinchingly and with biting humor at loss and trauma, especially in family life, reports AP.
She joins a handful of American poets who have received the prize, which has been dominated by novelists since the first award in 1901. The last American to win was Bob Dylan in 2016.
She is also one of the few women honored — the 16th female Nobel Literature laureate.
The Nobel Committee praised Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” in a citation read by Mats Malm, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, at the award announcement in Stockholm.
Glück, who shuns publicity, had no immediate comment.
In a 2012 interview with the Academy of Achievement, she noted that “worldly honor makes existence in the world easier” but said he true goal as an artist was “not capable of being had in my lifetime.”
“I want to live after I die, in that ancient way,” she said. “And there’s no way of knowing whether that will happen, and there will be no knowing, no matter how many blue ribbons have been plastered to my corpse.”
New York-born Glück, 77, who is a faculty member at Yale University, made her debut in 1968 with “Firstborn,” and “was soon acclaimed as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature,” the committee said.
Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel literature committee, said Glück’s 12 collections of poetry were “characterized by striving for clarity.”
Olsson said her verses, which often draw on classical influences and examine family life, were marked by an “austere but also playful intelligence and a refined sense of composition.”
Raised in a family with Hungarian Jewish origins, Glück has spoken of how a teenage struggle with anorexia, and the therapy she received for it, influenced her incisive writing.
“Louise Glück’s voice is unmistakable. It is candid and uncompromising, and it signals that this poet wants to be understood. But it is also voice full of humor and biting wit,” Olsson said. “This is a great resource when Glück treats one of our great topics, radical change, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss.”
Glück’s poetry collections include “Descending Figure,” “Ararat” and “The Triumph of Achilles,” which was published in 1985 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In contains one of her most anthologized poems, the spare and despairing “Mock Orange,” in which a flowering shrub becomes the focus of a wider wail of anguish about sex and life: “How can I rest? / How can I be content / when there is still / that odor in the world?”
The committee described her 2006 collection “Averno” as “masterly” and “a visionary interpretation of the myth of Persephone’s descent into hell in the captivity of Hades, the god of death.”
Glück is the recipient of many awards, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal in Poetry and the National Humanities Medal.
She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for “The Wild Iris” and the National Book Award for “Faithful and Virtuous Night” in 2014. She was U.S. poet laureate from 2003 to 2004.
Nobel laureates receive a 10 million kronor (more than $1.1 million) prize and are usually feted at a banquet in December, but the event was canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s winners will be invited to attend in 2021.
The literature prize comes after several years of controversy and scandal for the organization that awards the accolade.
In 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, which names the Nobel literature committee, and sparked a mass exodus of members.
After the academy revamped itself in a bid to regain the trust of the Nobel Foundation, two laureates were named last year, with the 2018 prize going to Poland’s Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award to Austria’s Peter Handke.
But Handke’s prize caused a storm of protest: A strong supporter of the Serbs during the 1990s Balkan wars, he has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes. Several countries including Albania, Bosnia and Turkey boycotted the Nobel awards ceremony in protest, and a member of the committee that nominates candidates for the literature prize resigned.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize for physiology and medicine for discovering the liver-ravaging hepatitis C virus. Tuesday’s prize for physics honored breakthroughs in understanding the mysteries of black holes, and the chemistry prize on Wednesday went to scientists behind a powerful gene-editing tool.
Still to come are prizes for outstanding work in the fields of peace and economics.