Renowned Bangladeshi theatre troupe Swapnadal showcased the adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's play 'Dakghar' by its Production Laboratory Theatre on Tuesday, in a ten-day international online theatre festival titled Antaranga Natyamela 2021, arranged by Indian theatre organization Baksha Bratya Natyajan.
Directed by Swapnadal founder and chief secretary Zahid Repon, the recorded version of the play was streamed on Swapnadal’s official YouTube channel at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, as part of the festival.
Besides Swapnadal, theatre troupes from Nepal and France also participated in this international virtual theatre festival.
Dakghar, an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s well-known play, is the 6th production of Swapnadal. The story of the play revolves around a little boy named Amal, who is suffering from an incurable disease and remains confined to a room in his adopted uncle’s house on doctor’s orders. He stands in the yard and talks to passers-by and asks them about the places they go to. With desires to join the children playing in the street, Amal passes his lonely moments seated beside his window.
Upon hearing that a new post office is constructed nearby, Amal fantasizes about receiving a letter from the king. The village headman mocks Amal and pretends that the child has received a letter from the king promising that his royal physician will come to treat him. The physician eventually arrives with a herald to announce the imminent arrival of the king, but Amal dies before the arrival of the physician.
Organized by the Indian theatre organization Baksha Bratya Natyajan in association with the Cultural Affairs Ministry in India, the ten-day Antaranga Natyamela 2021 began on January 17 and concluded on Tuesday with the virtual broadcasting of the play, under the category of the three-day international virtual theatre festival.
Reflecting on the necessity of global festivals for the betterment of cultural practices, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said on Sunday that Bangladesh has earned the respect of the world through successfully arranging globally admired cultural rendezvous like Dhaka International Film Festival every year.
The minister called off the curtain for the nine-day Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) and handed over the awards to the recipients as the chief guest, attending its concluding ceremony at the Bangladesh National Museum in the city on Sunday while State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid joined the ceremony as the special guest.
The program was presided over by festival executive committee member M Hamid and hosted by the festival director Ahmed Muztaba Zamal, while State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chief Patron of the festival M Shahriar Alam also joined the ceremony, among others.
Thanking the organizers for paying homage to the memory of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the 19th DIFF was dedicated to him, marking the occasion of his birth centenary as ‘Mujib Borsho’ and also successfully organizing the festival amid the pandemic, Dr Hasan Mahmud said this type of global festival is important for the society and the Information Ministry will be more associated with the festival from next year.
"Although the world is exploring an overwhelming growth of the OTT platforms, cinema halls-multiplexes-festivals never lost the appeal from the movie lovers. Netflix and most of the other OTT Platforms are rooted from the United States and India, however, still there are approximately 6,000 movie theatres in the United States and 8,000 in India."
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said, “This is such a prestigious film festival for Bangladesh, and our Ministry will increase its cooperation in the future editions of this wonderful international festival. Congratulations to the organizers for successfully arranging the festival this year, overcoming the hurdles ignited by the pandemic.”
The 19th edition of DIFF showcased a total of 227 films from around 73 countries. Films in the festival are being screened at six venues - the main auditorium and Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the Bangladesh National Museum, Shawkat Osman Memorial Auditorium of the Sufia Kamal National Public Library, the National Art Gallery Auditorium, and Music and Dance Centre of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Nandan Mancha of the Academy for open-air screening, and Bashundhara City and Shimanto Shambhar branches of Star Cineplex. Aside from these venues, the festival screened films using the virtual platform LagVelki.com for the first time.
All these films competed in the diversified sections in the 19th DIFF, including the “Asian Cinema Competition”, “Retrospective”, “Bangladesh Panorama”, “Cinema of the World”, “Children Films”, “Women Filmmakers”, “Short and Independent Films” and “Spiritual Films”.
The 2021 festival showcased feature films on global leaders under a new segment titled “Legendary Leaders Who Changed the World” for the first time in its history, honoring the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Founding President of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as part of the ‘Mujib Borsho’ celebration across the country.
The 19th edition also held a special segment titled “Tribute”, honoring the Oscar-winning cinema titan Satyajit Ray, also on the occasion of his birth centenary. Some of his notable films including “Pather Panchali”, “Aparajito”, “Jalsaghar”, “Apur Sansar”, “Ashani Sanket”, “Sonar Kella” and “Hirak Rajar Deshe” has been screened at the festival as part of this Section.
The films were screened from January 16 to January 24 at all the selected venues in the capital. Organizers Rainbow Film Society also hosted “7th edition of Dhaka International Conference on Women in Cinema'' on January 17-18, an international film-marketplace conference ‘West Meets East’ on January 19 and the special commemorative hybrid seminar titled “Satyajit Ray: National as Global”, remembering the Oscar-winning film-maestro Satyajit Ray on his birth centenary with distinguished guests including veteran actors in the subcontinent Sharmila Tagore and Dhritiman Chatterjee along with Supreme Court Justice and art enthusiast Syed Refaat Ahmed, cultural activist and trustee of Bangladesh Liberation War Museum Mofidul Hoque and art critic Moinuddin Khaled, presided by eminent thespian and former cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor. All of these special programs were held at the National Theatre Hall auditorium at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA).
The Trump Baby Blimp will live on long after its namesake has left the White House.
The Museum of London said Monday that it had added the giant balloon, which depicts Donald Trump as a screaming orange baby, to its collection as an illustration of the protests that greeted the U.S. president when he visited the city in 2018.
“By collecting the baby blimp, we can mark the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance,” Sharon Ament, the museum's director, said in a statement.
The blimp will become part of the museum’s protest collection, which includes artifacts from the women’s suffrage movement, peace activists who opposed the war in Iraq during the early 2000s, and more recent protests against public spending cuts.
The Trump Baby Blimp was designed by a group of friends who met in a London pub to discuss how they could speak out against Trump’s policies. What they came up with was a giant balloon that caricatured Trump as a screaming, diapered baby clutching a smart phone and topped by a quiff of yellow hair.
The blimp flew outside the Houses of Parliament on July 13, 2018, when thousands of demonstrators crammed the streets of central London to protest Trump’s visit to the capital.
“We hope the baby’s place in the museum will stand as a reminder of when London stood against Trump, but will prompt those who see it to examine how they can continue the fight against the politics of hate,” the blimp’s creators said in the statement.
Hours after an angry mob of Trump supporters took control of the U.S. Capitol in a violent insurrection, Selena Gomez laid much of the blame at the feet of Big Tech.
“Today is the result of allowing people with hate in their hearts to use platforms that should be used to bring people together and allow people to build community,” tweeted the singer/actor. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai, Susan Wojcicki — you have all failed the American people today, and I hope you’re going to fix things moving forward.”
It’s just the latest effort by the 28-year-old Gomez to draw attention to the danger of internet companies critics say have profited from misinformation and hate on their platforms. Gomez has been calling out Big Tech for months — publicly on the very platforms she’s fighting and privately in conversations with Silicon Valley’s big hitters.
Also Read: Trump impeached
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Jan. 6, just hours before the Capitol riot, Gomez said she’s been frustrated by what she views as the companies’ lackluster response. She said they have to “stop doing the bare minimum.”
It isn’t about me versus you, one political party versus another. This is about truth versus lies and Facebook, Instagram and big tech companies have to stop allowing lies to just flow and pretend to be the truth,” Gomez said in a phone interview from New York. “Facebook continues to allow dangerous lies about vaccines and COVID and the U.S. election, and neo-Nazi groups are selling racist products via Instagram.
“Enough is enough,” she said.
Facebook and Twitter representatives declined to comment. Google didn’t respond to an AP request for comment.
Gomez is among a growing number of celebrities using their platforms to call out social media, including Sacha Baron Cohen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Kerry Washington, and Kim Kardashian West.
Gomez became passionate about the issue in 2017 when a 12-year-old commented on one of her Instagram posts: “Go kill yourself.”
“That was my tipping point,” she said. “I couldn’t handle what I was seeing.”
Social media experts have argued that companies like Facebook and Twitter played a direct role in the Capitol insurrection both by allowing plans for the uprising to be made on their platforms and through algorithms that allow dangerous conspiracy theories to take flight. That’s even though executives, such as Facebook’s Sandberg, have insisted that planning for the riots largely took place on other, smaller platforms.
“The operational planning was happening in spaces that Selena, for example, was identifying to Sheryl Sandberg in advance saying, ‘You know, we need to do something about white supremacist extremism online and their ability to just form a group on Facebook and happily talk away to each other, plan what they’re going to do next,’” said Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has helped educate Gomez about online misinformation.
In emails shared exclusively with the AP, Gomez told Sandberg in September that “a search for a militia group ‘Three Percenters’ results in dozens of pages, groups and videos focused on people hoping and preparing for civil war, and there are dozens of groups titled ‘white lives matter’ that are full of hate and lies that might lead to people being hurt or, even worse, killed.”
That’s even though Facebook banned U.S.-based militia groups from its service in August.
In the same email, Gomez also points to several ads with lies about election fraud being allowed to remain on Facebook and Instagram and questions why that was being allowed.
“I can’t believe you can’t check ads before you take money, and if you can’t you shouldn’t be profiting from it,” she wrote. “You’re not just doing nothing. You’re cashing in from evil.”
In an email response to Gomez, Sandberg defends Facebook’s efforts to remove harmful content, saying the platform has removed millions of posts for hate speech, and bans ads that are divisive, inflammatory, or discourage people from voting. She didn’t directly address the advertising examples Gomez pointed to.
“It’s beating around the bush and saying what people want to hear,” Gomez said about her interactions with Sandberg and Google, among others. “I think at this point we’ve all learned that words don’t match up unless the action is going to happen.”
Following the violence at the U.S. Capitol, tech companies made some of their biggest changes to date.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms banned President Donald Trump, drawing criticism from some including the American Civil Liberties Union that it was censorship, and praise from others who say the president abused his platform by encouraging violence.
Also Read: Twitter bans Trump, citing risk of violent incitement
In a thread defending Twitter’s Trump ban, CEO Jack Dorsey said “offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”
In addition to banning Trump, Facebook has been removing video and photos from Capitol rioters. The company also added text on posts questioning the election, confirming that Joe Biden has been lawfully elected, and saying it was taking enforcement action against militarized social movements like QAnon.
While the changes are positive, they’re “just a drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Orlowski, director of Netflix’s “The Social Dilemma,” a popular 2020 film that showed how Silicon Valley’s pursuit of profit could pose an existential threat to U.S. democracy.
Voices like Gomez’s can be a huge help to get the message across, considering her hundreds of millions of followers, Orlowski said.
“Think of the advertising revenue from every Selena Gomez post. Think of the advertising revenue from every Donald Trump post, the advertising revenue from every post from The Rock or whoever,” he said. “Those people are literally generating millions of dollars for these companies ... The top 20 people on Instagram have probably the most influence over Mark and Sheryl compared to anybody else until finally Congress as a whole gets enough momentum and energy to put some legislation together.”
Also Read: Twitter blocks 70,000 QAnon accounts after US Capitol riot
Orlowski and Ahmed both said they’re looking to Biden’s administration for reforms, including a measure that would hold social media companies accountable for the posts they allow, an effort that has gained momentum and drawn bipartisan support.
“The question no longer is ‘Is there going to be change,’” Ahmed said. “The question is, ‘What kind of change are we going to get?’”
Meanwhile, Gomez vows to keep fighting as long as she has a pedestal.
“While I have this, I’m going to do good things with it,” she said. “I think that’s my purpose.”
Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma and her cricketer-husband Virat Kohli have set up a nursery for their baby girl at their 7,000 sq ft home in an upscale locality in India's financial capital Mumbai. And both being animal lovers, the couple have ensured that the "gender neutral" nursery walls display only pictures of animals.
In an interview with fashion magazine 'Vogue', Anushka said that she had personally designed the "gender-neutral" nursery for their baby. “I don’t believe that boys have to wear blue and girls pink. The nursery has all colours. Both Virat and I love animals and we want our baby to have that bond too. They are a big part of our lives and we really believe they can teach kindness and compassion to children," she said.
The revelation comes barely three days after the Bollywood's most adored couple had urged the paparazzis in Mumbai to not click photos of their newborn baby. The Indian skipper announced that they were blessed with a baby girl, their first child, on January 11, adding that "both the mother and the baby are healthy".
However, in a note to the paparazzi fraternity in the Bollywood city on Wednesday, the couple said: "As parents, we have a simple request to make to you. We want to protect the privacy of our child and we need your help and support."
The Indian cricket captain and his wife had, however, assured the paparazzis that they would share the "content" at the right time. "While we will always ensure that you get all the content you need featuring us, we would request you to kindly not take or carry any content that has our child."
Also read: Gavaskar’s comment distasteful, says Anushka
After being in a relationship for many years, Virat and Anushka, both 32, tied the knot at a low-key ceremony in Italy's Tuscany region in December 2017. In August last year, the couple took to social media to announce the pregnancy by writing "and then we were three".
A right-handed top-order batsman, Kohli is regarded as one of the best contemporary batsmen in the world. He has been the national cricket team's captain since 2013. Since October 2017, he has been the top-ranked ODI batsman in the world and is currently second in Test rankings with 879 points.
In 2018, Time magazine named Kohli one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2020, he became the only cricketer in the world to feature in Forbes list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world with an estimated earnings of USD 26 million.
Anushka, on the other hand, moved to Mumbai to pursue a full-time career as a model but she soon made her acting debut opposite 'Bollywood Badshah' Shah Rukh Khan in the highly successful romantic flick 'Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi' in 2008. She subsequently featured in Yash Raj Films' romances 'Band Baaja Baaraat' (2010) and 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan' (2012).