Avengers: Age of Ultron is the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.
Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee and Jon Favreau serve as executive producers. Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters on April 24, 2015.
Bey Logan, consulting producer on Weinstein’s film Shanghai, accused of sexual misconduct
According to a report by Variety, a Hong Kong-based film executive Bey Logan, who has had professional and personal relationship with the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, has been accused of sexual misconduct.
Hong Kong’s HK01, in one of its detailed investigative reports around the #MeToo campaign, had first brought the news of Logan’s misconduct when an unnamed actress alleged that Logan was an accomplice as well as a participant in many instances of sexual misconduct.
It was reported that Logan, who is also a martial arts expert, would harass actresses on and off the sets. In addition to that it is also alleged that he sent actresses to Harvey Weisnstein’s hotel room whenever he was in the city where acts of sexual misconduct were forced upon those actresses.
A total of seven women have reported against Logan to HK01. One of these actresses happen to be the Indonesian-Chinese actress Sable Yu who was the lead actress in the film Snowblade that was helmed by Logan himself. She said he had told her during the film’s production that sleeping with Weinstein would only open better opportunities. Also, she was subjected to sexual assault by him which ranged from walking naked to completely inappropriate moves.
However, Logan maintained that “many of the accusations made against me are either untrue or taken out of context. I categorically deny any criminal wrongdoing. I have never forced myself on a woman.” He further added that he will “now step back and take time to reflect on my behavior and the values which I should uphold.”
Soha Ali Khan on the perils of being moderately famous, turning author, and lessons her family taught her
Soha Ali Khan has turned author with a tongue-in-cheek memoir called The Perils of Being Moderately Famous, published by Penguin. In her debut book, Soha strikes gives readers a glimpse into her private life — and her self-deprecating sense of humour.
“Penguin (the publishers) approached me to write the book — and hey weren’t the first to suggest it. My mother has been going on about the same for a long time. ‘You love reading and you write so well, why don’t you write a book?’ she’d ask. Earlier, I used to write her letters; I have also written some articles for the Oxford magazine.”
Writing a book was, of course, different — and quite a challenge. “I found (the idea of reaching) 50,000 words a daunting challenge, and I don’t work well with timelines. So I wasn’t sure, but the folks at Penguin asked me to write an introductory chapter and see, which I eventually did. I sent the draft to a few of my friends and the reactions were positive. That’s when I decided to try writing a chapter a month. But sometimes I would write a whole chapter in two days and then I would take two months to write another!”
Eventually, she started enjoying the writing process as she got over the fear of having signed a contract and working to a deadline. “You forget that somebody other than you is going to read this and it will be in the public domain. It is very cathartic. So you end up asking questions like ‘Have I given away too much?’, ‘Am I too vulnerable?’ — but the idea is to be sincere and honest. Readers don’t want something that is PR-controlled at the end of the day, or about building an image. They really want to know who you are, and I don’t mind sharing that,” Soha said.
Soha is the youngest of her generation in the Pataudi household. Some parts of her biography are pretty well-known — that she’s the daughter of the cricketer ninth Nawab of Pataudi Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi (aka Tiger Pataudi) and actor Sharmila Tagore.
Incidentally, Soha’s grandfather — Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi — was also a noted Indian cricketer and had served as the captain of the Indian cricket team (a feat his son would later emulate). Looking back on her family history, and what the abolishing of princely titles and privy purses in 1971 meant, Soha said, “There was a lot of pomp and show in my grandfather’s days. My father, born in 1941, also experienced that. Then he saw the time when royal perks were discontinued. From being the Nawab of Pataudi, he suddenly became (only) Mr Mansoor Ali Khan and he took that in his stride.”
Does she hold on to any vestiges of the past? “I would say the things that tie me to the princely past would be the jewellery or clothing — when we dress up for weddings we wear a traditional bhopali or a sharara. But essentially the spirit — the one that we have grown up with — has been very modern, liberal, secular and independent.”
Soha studied Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford, and later earned a Master’s degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her education helped broaden her perspective and understand the world through a more accommodating lens, Soha feels. “In England, there’s so much of aristocracy, but I went to a college that was very leftist; where things like social status were dismissed and not looked on with favour. It was far more liberal in its outlook in comparison with other colleges. People liked you for who you are, your personality — not for which family you came from, who your parents were or any kind of titles you had,” she said.
The very first chapter in Soha’s book is titled ‘Big Shoes, Small Feet’ and it’s dedicated to her father. Speaking of her dad, Soha said being laconic is something she picked up from him. “If I was sitting with him and we were having a conversation, it’d be fine. But he didn’t like to speak on the telephone; he always wanted to get to the point immediately. I would sometimes try to think of topics to prolong the conversation, but he would have none of it. Strangely, I — who would chat on the phone with my friends for hours during my school days — have now become exactly like him. I never answer my phone. If you text me, however, I’ll reply within seconds. I feel phone calls are intrusive and engaging in the formalities is a waste of time. Text messaging is so much easier.”
Among the major influences on Soha’s life was her maternal grandmother, ‘Lal Didi’. “Lal Didi taught us that it doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you are young at heart. All her friends were our friends. I remember, she loved hand-written letters a lot. I wrote to her once and sent the letter via a friend of mine who was going to Kolkata. He went to deliver the letter at 11 am, and she offered him a glass of whisky! She had a real zest for life… even when she was in the ICU, she used to get her makeup done because she wanted to look nice,” Soha recounted.
The women in her family played a huge role in shaping Soha’s outlook to life. “Each woman in our family is a product of her own experiences and her own educational background. My mother is the eldest in the family and hence her experiences were different, and difficult. I think the oldest child, especially the woman, always has a lot of responsibility and the extra task of parenting. Lal Didi finished her MA, but my mother couldn’t go to college and that has been one of her biggest regrets. That’s why she has ensured that all of us completed our education,” Soha said.
Coming back to her book, it’s certain to change perceptions about Soha herself. “A lot of people — especially when they think of the family that I belong to, being an actor or being from a certain ‘social class’ or having a certain amount of money — feel your personality would be a certain way, or that you might be spoilt, or you might be arrogant,” Soha said. “I think it’s nice to break certain stereotypes and misconceptions that people might have about you.”
Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival 2017: Amyt Dutta, Marcin Dylla to entrall audiences
It rarely happens that a western classical guitar festival gets sold out a week in advance, but in Kolkata in mid December, one festival is the exception to this rule. Chances are that during this festival, you will be able to witness the rare Theorbo and Baroque guitar being played in one concert. About 100 young aspiring classical guitarists from across the country are heading to Kolkata, for three days— from the 15 to 17 December—to get free lessons from internationally renowned maestros. The Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival (CICGF) is one=of-its-kind because it offers musicians, luthiers, composers and music aficionados an opportunity to interact with Grammy award-winning artistes and legendary composers in an informal setting, as well as the chance to attend some unusual concerts at Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Kolkata.
Since 2010, this niche music festival which is away from media glare, has been going strong on the strength of the exposure and opportunities it creates for the dedicated musicians, who throng the city from obscure places like Rewadi in Haryana, Banglore, Darjeeling, Nagaland, Assam and Delhi to name a few.
The music of a region is associated with cultural identity and memory, and as an instrument, the guitar appeared rather late on Indian landscape. Associated neither with folk or classical music, in our memory its has lived as an instrument played in and for Bollywood films, especially in songs in the 60s which were filmed on nightclub dancers. If the modern guitar came to be linked to colonial influences and the Church, which explains its greater popularity with and visibility in the north east and Goa, till 1970s, the classical guitar was spoken of as a mysterious entity in India, even by jazz musicians. To acquire a luthier-built instrument was almost an impossibility, nylon strings had to be imported and sheet music could be acquired only if you knew someone who could copy the scores by hand. Photocopiers were not even part of the imagination.
Even though western classical music was taught in schools run by Christian missionaries, inspired by the Trinity College London examination system, the focus remained on instruments like the piano and the violin. Of the many important by-products of the liberalisation of economy in the 90s, an important one has been availability of recorded music and musical instruments which opened the gates for the growth of the classical guitar in India. It was only the Internet that made it easier for music lovers to access written music and aspire to play this instrument, many years later. Until then, guitar competitions, festivals, workshops and the Indian Guitar Federation, which has been a major influence, were the only avenues where artists could explore it.
Western classical music played on a traditional Spanish (nylon-string) guitar has a dedicated following among some, but its not popular when it comes to the mainstream music scene. Students who wish to pursue careers in this instrument have very little exposure to live concerts and international-standard education. The CICGF was started to fill this gap. As an result of the unbroken chain of annual festivals focused on concerts and education, guitarists in different parts of the country have organised themselves and formed similar societies with informal guitar associations in Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Goa, Nagaland, Darjeeling, Delhi and Shillong. After the conclusion of CICGF, the Guwahati International Classical Guitar Festival and the Shillong International Classical Guitar Festival will follow, increasing the popularity of the genre. While the CICGF left a permanent mark on people within the community of classical guitarists, it has also become an eagerly-awaited event for concert-goers in Kolkata and the rest of country.
In its eighth edition, the CICGF will feature concerts by Pavel Steidl (Czech Republic), Marcin Dylla (Poland), Johannes Moller (Sweden), Miguel Trapaga (Spain), Paco Renteria (Mexico), Le Maestrio (France) and a closing performance jazz guitarist Amyt Datta, who will play with Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, and Pt Subhen Chatterjee’s Karma.
The visiting maestros don’t just perform; they also teach during the day. Classical guitarists from all over India can get access to all nine concerts spread across three days, get two free lessons from the maestro of their choice and avail of lodging and boarding facilities too. Students who previously learnt at the festival volunteer as organisers and help facilitate the young students’ learning.
The Calcutta International Classical Guitar Festival includes a national-level classical competition presented by the Instituto Cervantes New Delhi and Embassy of Spain in India. This year, it will be held on 14 December. Prizes include a trip to Spain and the chance to participate in the Cordoba Guitar Festival; a formal recital at the Instituto Cervantes; a prize guitar by Manuel Rodriguez; and strings and guitar accessories by Savarez. Last year’s winner Dipankar Singh thoroughly improved his right-hand technique after receiving tutorials in Spain, and this year’s competition too will open up new possibilities for classical guitar lovers in India, who often feel frustrated due to the lack of international exposure.
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