Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) has started a month-long special exhibition at its National Art Gallery, marking the 74th birthday of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday,
The special exhibition, titled 'Unnoyoner Kobi, Manobotar Maa' was inaugurated by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid as the chief guest. Eminent novelist and writer Selina Hossain and Secretary to the Ministry Md Badrul Arefin joined the inauguration event as the special guests.
"As long Bangladesh has Sheikh Hasina as its Prime Minister - we do not have to worry and live in the fear of being obscured. She has established herself not only the most successful Prime Minister of the country but also proved herself a truly compassionate and humanitarian leader, who really cares for the people of Bangladesh from her deepest core. We are proud to help BSA arrange this exclusive exhibition", KM Khalid said at the inauguration ceremony.
Addressing Sheikh Hasina as the "Daughter of the Greatest Bengali of all time" and the "True Mother of Humanity" for her humanitarian decision-makings on issues such as the cultural progress of the nation and her role in dealing the Rohingya issue and other situation, Selina Hossain said the Prime Minister has established the ideologies of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation, through her prolific works and wise decision making - which accelerated the development of Bangladesh in its every sector, and building the country as Bangabandhu's envisioned 'Shonar Bangla'.
Presided over by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky and hosted by Nobonita Chowdhury, the inauguration event also featured special cultural performances by renowned artistes and performers.
Singer Fahmida Nabi, SI Tutul and Ibrar Tipu performed special songs, BSA dance artistes showcased special dance performances and Poet Shahjadi Anjuman Ara and Golam Sarowar recited special poems dedicated to the Prime Minister.
The exhibition is showcasing 14 special artworks by 14 prolific Bangladeshi artists, which are made on 14 poems written by 14 renowned Bangladeshi poets. A total of 43 portraits made at BSA's special art camp titled 'Rekhachitrey Janani' and also a total of 134 artworks made at BSA's another previous art camp titled 'Sheikh Hasina: Bangladesher Shwapno-Sarathee'.
An exclusive installation art is also being showcased at the National Art Gallery plaza, made by 12 renowned artists as a tribute to the Prime Minister. The installation art is planned by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky and coordinated by artist Abhijit Chowdhury.
The month-long exhibition is open for everyone from 11 am to 6 pm till October 27. Visitors can explore the exhibition maintaining health guidelines and also virtually on BSA's official website.
The theatre scene in Bangladesh has never lacked its share of enthusiasts but like everything else was forced to bite the dust once the pandemic arrived and the country went into lockdown mode. Good news awaits however, as theatres are expected to get permission to stage shows once again, according to Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation's Secretary General Kamal Bayazid.
In an interview with UNB on Sunday, he explained the plans and upcoming work schedules for reopening the theatre activities in the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
"Seeking permission to restart theatre activities for our beloved audiences and theatre oriented activists, we have pleaded with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs via a letter on August 17 and the State Minister agreed to our request, so hopefully we will be hearing some good news this week," Bayazid told UNB.
He added, "Following the order of the ministry, BSA (Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy) is now preparing a guideline to regulate and monitor the activities that would be going forward in the upcoming days."
According to Bayazid, the National Theatre Hall has a total of 6 rehearsal rooms where up to 12 theatre teams can practice for 3 or 4 hours each. Those rooms have not been utilized since the beginning of the lockdown, and the theatre troops have been seeking permission to start rehearsal again before eventually performing in front of the audience.
He added that the troupes who have their own rehearsal arrangements in other locations have already started rehearsals and are even showcasing plays, such as Prachayanat's ongoing drama festival at its own venue in the capital’s Katabon for a very limited number of audiences.
Speaking of the audience for the upcoming proposed shows, Bayazid said, "The National Theatre Hall at BSA has a total of 750 seats. As we are well aware of the ongoing necessity of adequate social distancing, we have proposed to host a total of 1/3rd of its total capacity - meaning 250 people in special seating arrangements for the shows, once we get ready to host a possible drama festival in near future. As soon as BSA opens the rehearsal rooms, we would be rehearsing for the plays with a minimum number of performers, ensuring the safety for both the theatre team and the audiences."
"This drama festival is going to be arranged by Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation in association with other theatre teams and drama organisations. To honour the COVID-19 frontliners such as police, doctors-nurses, journalists and other professionals who have relentlessly been working in this crisis situation - we would like to invite them as special guests in this festival as a token of appreciation and gratitude," Bayazid told UNB.
Explaining the necessity of reopening the theatre activities, he further stated - "We really need to have this resurgence of theatre as soon as possible, because the people are in dire need of healthy entertainment. Theatre plays cannot be labelled only as entertainment - these narrate proper storytelling and provide a greater experience to the audiences than any other medium. Without the regular activities for this long, people especially the youths are getting distracted, getting engaged in unhealthy social activities, even committing crimes. We need to reopen not only for our survival but also to bring back the healthy entertainment - by maintaining the adequate health guidelines, of course."
The theatre scene has been in lockdown mode since March and BSA had immediately cancelled all the shows and rehearsals until further notice. This has been a truly unfortunate year for this medium, in contrast to last year which witnessed tantalizing drama festivals throughout the entire year.
Three Bollywood stars — Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan — were grilled by India's narcotics control authority in Mumbai on Saturday, in a drugs probe linked to the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
While Deepika was interrogated by the Narcotics Control Bureau at a guest house in Mumbai's Colaba area for a good six hours, Shraddha and Sara were questioned separately by the sleuths at the agency's Ballard Estate office.
"All of them were questioned on the contents of WhatsApp chats retrieved from the mobile phone of Sushant's actress-girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, which indicated they used drugs," an official told UNB.
"Though Shraddha and Sara have denied consuming drugs, they claimed to have seen umpteen times Sushant taking drugs in his vanity van and during shooting breaks," he said.
Apart from the three actors, Deepika's manager Karishma Prakash was also grilled on Saturday, for the second day in a row. "On Friday, actor Rakul Preet Singh was questioned and she had also denied taking drugs during questioning," the official added.
A day before, leading Bollywood celebrity designer Simone Khambatta was also grilled in the case that has captivated and polarised India in recent months.
The Narcotics Control Bureau, in fact, widened its probe into the drugs scandal after WhatsApp chats retrieved from Rhea's mobile phone apparently revealed that at least 20 Bollywood celebrities procured banned substances like cannabis, weed and hash from dealers with links to foreign countries.
Meanwhile, Bollywood actor Karan Johar has released a statement in which he again clarified that no narcotic substances were consumed at the party he had hosted in 2019, which was attended by a number of big names from Bollywood.
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.
Also read: Bollywood star Deepika quizzed in drug probe
India’s narcotics agency on Saturday questioned top Bollywood star Deepika Padukone in a drug probe, reports AP.
The agency is probing the movie industry’s links with drug peddlers and cartels.
Deepika arrived at the Narcotics Control Board's office in Mumbai after receiving summons earlier this week while on a shooting stint in the western beach resort of Goa.
Media reports say no drugs have been seized from her.
The board said in a statement that it started the Bollywood drug probe after the death of young actor Sushant Singh Rajput, whose body was found at his Mumbai residence in June.
An investigation is ongoing over the death.
According to the local media, Padukone was reportedly being questioned on whether she procured banned drugs for consumption following interception of phone messages making queries with local contacts.
She is one of more than a dozen people working with the Hindi movie industry who have been questioned by the board in the past two weeks.
Deepika’s manager Karishma Prakash was questioned on Friday and two other Bollywood actors are expected to be queried on Saturday.
A top Bollywood filmmaker, Karan Johar, said in a statement Friday that allegations of narcotics being consumed at a party hosted by him in July last year at his residence were “false and baseless."
Johar’s response came after an old video from a star-studded party at his residence surfaced on social media.
Terming distasteful Actor Anushka Sharma has sharply criticised the controversial comment made by former cricketer and commentator Sunil Gavaskar on her and cricketer husband Virat Kohli, reports Indian media.
Former Indian International cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, on Thursday made an unsavoury comment on the two after Virat’s Royal Challengers Bangalore lost to Kings XI Punjab on Thursday and the captain showed lack of form, reports Hindustan Times.
The match between the two teams saw the Virat and his team suffer a huge 97-run defeat. The RCB skipper dropped his KXIP counterpart KL Rahul twice and the right-hander went on to score an unbeaten 132 off just 69 balls.
Post Virat failing to deliver with the bat, Gavaskar said, "Inhone lockdown me toh bas Anushka ki gendon ki practice ki hai."
The commentator went on to say that facing Anushka's delivery is not going to help him, while referring to the following video, where the couple was seeing enjoying some gully cricket, reports Times of India.
Taking to Instagram stories, she wrote: “That, Mr Gavaskar, your message is distasteful is a fact but I would love for you to explain why you thought of making such a sweeping statement on a wife accusing her for her husband’s game? I’m sure over the years you have respected the private lives of every cricketer while commentating on the game. Don’t you thing you should have equal amount of respect for me and us?”
“I’m sure you can have many other words and sentences in your mind to use to comment on my husband’s performance from last night or are your words only relevant if you use my name in the process?”
The Instagram post also reads “It’s 2020 and things still don’t change for me. When will I stop getting dragged into cricket and stop being used to pass sweeping statements? Respected Mr Gavaskar, you are a legend whose name stands tall in this gentleman’s game. Just wanted to tell you what I felt when I heard you say this.”
The comment by Gavaskar had not gone down well with fans of Virat online.
Amid calls to the BCCI to remove Gavaskar from the commentary panel, an earlier statement by Anushka, issued to dismiss claims of favouritism and the tasteless trolling, was brought back by internet.
Reacting to Sharma's Instagram post, Gavasker told a TV channel, "Firstly, I would like to say again, where am I blaming her? I am not blaming her. I am only saying that the video said that she was bowling to Virat. So Virat has played only that bowling in this lockdown period. It is a tennis ball, you know one game that people have to pass time during the lockdown. That's all. So where am I blaming her for Virat's failures?"
Both Gavaskar's comments and Anushka's reaction have triggered a fresh debate online.
While cricket fans said that he did not mean it in the way it has been taken and that his comments have been taken out of context, there are others who say that there was no need to bring up Anushka's name at all, especially given the fact that she has in the past, been at the receiving end of a barrage of hate targeting her for Virat's poor performance.