Telugu actor Adivi Sesh, who was undertaking treatment at a private hospital in Hyderabad after contracting dengue, has returned home and is recuperating.
The actor announced this on social media on Monday. “Back home. Rest & Recuperation,” the actor tweeted.
Sesh was admitted to the hospital in mid-September after he complained of a high fever. The actor was subsequently diagnosed with dengue. A source in the know, on condition of anonymity, told Silverscreen India, “He was taking treatment at AIG hospital in Hyderabad and his health started to improve a couple of days after his admission on September 18. His platelet count also increased and he was subsequently discharged on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, on the work front, Sesh will next be seen in the upcoming biographical action drama Major, in which he will be portraying the role of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, who lost his life during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
As per the source, filming was completed in August and post-production is currently underway. Major, which was slated to release on July 2, has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A new release date is yet to be announced. “With the ticket prices capped in Andhra Pradesh, the makers are planning for a big, pan-Indian release, so it might take time for them to announce the release date. Also, parts of Andhra Pradesh, like Vizag, have been affected by a cyclone with red alerts issued, which further complicates matters,” the source added.
Major is a Telugu and Hindi bilingual film. It marks the actor’s debut in Hindi cinema. The film, which is directed by Sashi Kiran Tikka, co-stars Sobhita Dhulipala and Saiee Manjrekar. It is produced by Sony Pictures Films India in association with Mahesh Babu’s GMB Entertainment and A+S Movies.
Adivi Sesh also has HIT 2: The Second Case, a sequel to the 2020 action thriller HIT: The First Case, in the pipeline.
Bajrang Dal, the Hindu nationalist militant organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), has said that it will not allow stand-up comedian and writer Munawar Faruqui to perform in Gujarat, Times of Indiareported.
The organisation has also reportedly threatened the organisers of the shows to cancel the scheduled shows or face consequences.
“Munawar Faruqui has been ridiculing Hindu gods and goddesses. He has been hurting religious sentiments of Hindus with his comedy. The Hindu society has been tolerant, but Bajrang Dal is not. Bajrang Dal knows how to give tit for tat,” said Jvalit mehta, a north Gujarat convenor of Bajrang Dal.
On September 12, Faruqui announced his Gujarat schedule as part of his India tour for the show Dongi To Nowhere. Tickets for the show are listed on BookMyShow for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Surat, Ahmedabad, and Vadodara, respectively.
Born and brought up in Gujarat and based in Mumbai, Faruqui was earlier arrested on January 1 while performing at a show in Indore for allegedly “hurting religious sentiments.”
When Faruqui got up on the stage to perform at the show in Indore’s Monroe Cafe, local BJP legislator Malini Laxman Singh Gaur’s son Aklavya Gaur Singh, who claimed to be the head of a youth organisation named Hind Rakshak, went on stage and disrupted the show. The comedian, and those in the audience who raised their voice in support of Faruqui, were manhandled. According to a source present at the incident, the police took no action against the attackers. However, Faruqui, his friend Sadakat Khan, who was in the audience, and three other comedians who were performing at the show, Nalin Yadav, Prakhar Vyas, and Priyam Vyas, and event coordinator Edwin Anthony were arrested.
In his complaint against Faruqui, Gaur Singh claimed that he had video evidence of Faruqui cracking jokes on Hindu deities, Godhra riots, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the show.
Although there was no electronic evidence for the claim, Faruqui’s bail plea was rejected four times based on “oral evidence” from the complainant.
Faruqui was finally granted interim bail by the Supreme Court on February 5 on the grounds that there was no video or material evidence proving that he had made derogatory remarks on Hindu deities that could hurt religious sentiments.
Actor Arjun Rampal urged member of media organisations to stop linking his name to the arrest of his partner Gabriella Demetriades’ brother Agisilaos by the Narcotics Control Bureau.
Demetriades was arrested after the NCB conducted a raid aimed at drug peddlers in Goa on Friday. He will remain in judicial custody for two weeks. Rampal in an official statement on Saturday said that he was shocked and taken aback by the arrest.
“I request the media to not make headlines using my name as we are NOT related and this is causing hurt and confusion for my own family and the people I have a professional relationship with. It is unfortunate that my name is being unnecessarily dragged in every publication though I have no association whatsoever,” he said.
He added, “As far as my family and I are concerned, my direct family and I are law-abiding citizens. And while the incident involves a person who is a relative of my partner, I have no other connection or relationship other than that with this person.”
Zonal director Sameer Wankhede said that this was the third case that the agency was pursuing against Demetriades. He was earlier named in a cocaine-related case, and was questioned in relation to the death by suicide case of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput.
The NCB had arrested Demetriades in October 2020. He was one of the 31 people named in the charge sheet.
A few weeks later, on November 9, the NCB had raided Rampal’s residence and recovered some medication. Consequently, the electronic devices of Rampal and his partner were confiscated in relation to the drug probe.
“I have faith in our legal system and whoever is on the wrong side of the law, should be treated as the judiciary deems fit. My trust is in the system in these matters,” Rampal said.
Two locals were killed as the Assam Police opened fire on people protesting their eviction on Thursday in the Darrang district of the state.
In a video (warning: graphic violence), which is widely being shared on social media, police officers in riot gear are seen attacking a civilian wielding a stick and opening fire at protestors. A cameraman, identified by NDTVas a government cameraman, is seen jumping on the motionless man who was injured by a police bullet. Later in the video, police officials are seen hugging the cameraman.
“Nine of our policemen were injured. Two civilians were also injured. They have been shifted to the hospital. Now things are normal,” Superintendent of Police Sushanta Biswa Sarma is reported to have said.
The Director General of Police (DGP) Assam took to Twitter and said that the cameraman from the video, later identified as Bijoy Bonia, was arrested in the case.
“Currently in Sipajhar, taking stock of the ground situation. The cameraman who was seen attacking an injured man in a viral video has been arrested. As per wish of Hon CM Himanta Biswa, I have asked CID to investigate the matter. Cameraman Bijoy Bonia is in Assam CID‘s custody,” he wrote.
Around 200 families from Dholpur were evicted this week despite having challenged the eviction in the Gauhati High Court in August and before they could file a reply to a government affidavit stating that the land belonged to it. As per the police officials, the protesters had started attacking with stones during the eviction on Thursday and they had to use force.
The eviction began in Dholpur on Monday. However, there was no violence on that day.
According to a Hindustan Timesreport, residents settled in and around Dholpur mostly comprise of Bengali-speaking Muslims.
In June, the Assam government decided to repossess 4,500 bighas of land in the district for an agricultural project by evicting 800 families who resided there, according to the report.
Taking to Twitter, Assam Chief Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma wrote on Monday, “Continuing our drive against illegal encroachments, I am happy and compliment district administration of Darrang and Assam Police for having cleared about 4,500 bigha, by evicting 800 households, demolishing 4 illegal religious structures and a private institution at Sipajhar, Darrang.”
“Today’s eviction is aimed at starting community farming by removing encroachment,” he further added.
Using the hashtag ‘Islamophobia’, journalist Rana Ayyub shared the video of Thursday’s violence and the cameraman attacking the injured local on Instagram and wrote: “This is the savagery unleashed in India as Modi speaks at the United Nations about global terrorism. Men in uniform hunt down Muslims in Assam, kill them and their photographers dance on the dead bodies of the Muslim villagers killed. Watch and burn. #islamophobia.”
Several others, including many journalists, shared the video and expressed their outrage over the incident on social media.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, singer-actor Lady Gaga, filmmaker Lin-Manuel Miranda, and singer Camila Cabello, along with over 60 other Hollywood celebrities, wrote a letter to entertainment and social media giants on Thursday, seeking their support to influence the US Congress into passing the climate change agenda.
“California is on fire, record-breaking and deadly storms are flooding New York City, hurricanes are devastating the Gulf. This summer alone, nearly one in every three people in the United States experienced an extreme weather event,” read the letter which was addressed to the heads of companies like Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Walt Disney, Discovery, AT&T (WarnerMedia), and Sony, among others.
The letter was written in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund, an off-shoot of the parental environmentalist organization NRDC.
Titled ‘Build Back Better Now’, the letter called on the organisations addressed to demand the passing of the “robust climate action” that President Biden called for in his Build Back Better agenda. It added that this will be Congress’ once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in a clean, just, and equitable future.
The Build Back Better agenda is US President Joe Biden’s “ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families – all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share.”
“The plan currently before Congress will protect people’s health and clean up our drinking water,” the letter added. “It will create a just transition away from dirty fossil fuels and create millions of new jobs. It will protect communities from climate change through investments in clean energy, clean transportation, and infrastructure upgrades. And it will make sure we finally prioritize and invest in the low-income communities and communities of colour that are hit hardest by both fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts.”
It is to be noted that US reportedly produces the second-highest carbon emissions, after China, and has been responsible for about 14.5% of the total global emissions according to a 2019 report.
After the letter was released, Netflix shared a statement explaining the measures it will be taking to achieve “net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022, and every year afterwards.”
Melvin Van Peebles, the American actor, director, playwright, and pioneer of modern Black cinema, with films like Watermelon Man and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song to his credit, died on Wednesday. He was 89.
Peebles’ son Mario Van Peebles, who is also an actor and director, released a joint statement about his father’s death, along with the Criterion Collection and Janus Films.
“Dad knew that Black images matter. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was a movie worth? We want to be the success we see, thus we need to see ourselves being free. True liberation did not mean imitating the colonizer’s mentality. It meant appreciating the power, beauty and inter-connectivity of all people,” he said.
“In an unparalleled career distinguished by relentless innovation, boundless curiosity and spiritual empathy, Melvin Van Peebles made an indelible mark on the international cultural landscape through his films, novels, plays and music,” the statement added. “His work continues to be essential and is being celebrated at the New York Film Festival this weekend with a 50th anniversary screening of his landmark film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song; a Criterion Collection box set, Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films next week; and a revival of his play Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, slated for a return to Broadway next year.”
Peeble’ Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) was one of the films that marked the beginning of the blaxploitation genre, which “refers to a group of films in the 1970s that featured Black actors in a transparent effort to appeal to Black urban audiences.” Though the term is a pejorative portmanteau of the words ‘black’ and ‘exploitation’, these films were among the first in which black characters were the heroes rather than sidekicks, villains, or victims of brutality. Prior to the 1970s, Black representation in films was scarce.
Like Peebles’ earlier work, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was a low-budget production. “After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a Black male prostitute goes on the run from ‘the man’ with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels,” reads IMDb‘s synopsis of the film. In addition to directing it, Peebles also starred in the film along with other Black actors in lead roles.
The film collected $4 million and is credited as one of the first films to incorporate Black Power ideology, as per Los Angeles Times. It was also heralded by the Black Panther party as a “the first truly revolutionary Black film.”
Mario Van Peebles’ 2003 biographical drama BAADASSSSS traces the difficulties his father had to face to shoot and distribute the film.
Notably, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song was only Peebles’ second production, after his debut feature film Watermelon Man in 1970.
Peebles also made documentaries like How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It), and plays like The Hostage, Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, and Don’t Play Us Cheap, among others.
Several members from the industry, along with studios, paid their last respects to the groundbreaking filmmaker.
Netflix’s social media handle for the promotion of Black content, wrote, “Rest In Peace to Melvin Van Peebles, Godfather of Black cinema. Your work proved our stories are worth being told on the big screen.”
Barry Jenkins, who directed Moonlight, wrote, “He made the most of every second, of EVERY single damn frame and admittedly, while the last time I spent any time with him was MANY years ago, it was a night in which he absolutely danced his face off. The man just absolutely LIVED.”
Actor Johnny Depp, while speaking at a press conference at the San Sebastian Film Festival, called cancel culture a “instant rush to judgement” and warned that no one is safe from it.
Cancel culture, or call-out culture, is a form of expressing criticism and boycotting an individual or a group for their questionable deeds. It largely takes place on social media.
Answering a journalist’s question about the phenomenon, Depp said, “It’s a very complex situation. It can be seen as an event in history that lasted for however long it lasted, this cancel culture, this instant rush to judgement based on what essentially amounts to polluted air.”
“It’s so far out of hand now that I can promise you that no one is safe. Not one of you. It takes one sentence and there’s no more ground, the carpet has been pulled. It’s not just me that this has happened to, it’s happened to a lot of people. This type of thing has happened to women, men. Sadly, at a certain point, they begin to think that it’s normal. Or that it’s them. When it’s not,” Depp further said.
He added, “But I believe that if you are armed with the truth, then that’s all you need. When there’s an injustice, against someone you love or someone you believe in, stand up [for them].”
The actor, who has films like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Finding Neverland to his credit, has been embroiled in a prolonged legal battle with his estranged wife, actor Amber Heard, who has levelled domestic abuse allegations against him.
Heard filed for a divorce in 2016.
In April 2018, The Sun, a UK tabloid, called Depp a “wife-beater” in an article and Depp filed a libel claim against the publication, which was rejected by the British High Court’s Justice Andrew Nicol in 2020. Justice Nicol also found that 12 of the 14 alleged domestic violence incidents did occur. The judge ruled that Depp had assaulted Heard on these occasions and put her in “fear for her life” three times.
Depp was consequently, ousted from the Fantastic Beasts franchise and also dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise by Disney.
The ongoing San Sebastian festival felicitated Depp with this year’s Donostia Award for lifetime achievement. When this was first announced, the festival was criticised by CIMA, the Association of Women Filmmakers of Audiovisual Media of Spain, for the decision to honour Depp, who is facing such accusations of mistreatment from his ex-wife.
The case in question involves the creation of pornographic videos under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms and the distribution of these videos on apps such as Hotshots.
An FIR has been filed by the police based on a complaint stating that Vasisth, who was allegedly the director of porn films, threatened, coerced and lured women to act in obscene videos. The complainant claimed that she was coerced to act in such videos by Vasisth, which were then uploaded on the mobile application NueFlix.
Vasisth defended her actions on Thursday saying the content she produced for the online platforms was “bold, erotic content” which does not qualify as pornographic material. “There is yet no censorship for digital platform. If something is being done behind closed doors, no permission is needed,” she said in her statement as per an India Today report.
Further, she claimed that she has been framed throughout and said there is no evidence against her.
This comes after the Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order rejecting the anticipatory bail plea filed by Gehana Vasisth in the current FIR, which is the third one filed by the Mumbai Crime Branch in the case. The court ordered her to join the investigation as and when required.
Investigation into the pornography case began in February, at which time, Vasisth was taken into custody for over four months for offences similar to those in the present FIR. While she was in jail during the early stages of the investigation, a second FIR was filed against Vasisth and following her release, a third one was filed pertaining to the same case seeking her custody once again.
The case was heard by Justice R Mahadevan, who ordered the passport authorities to file a counter affidavit within two weeks detailing on what grounds they have impounded the filmmaker’s passport.
This comes as part of the battle Leena is fighting against filmmaker Susi Ganesan, whom she named as her harasser in 2018 during the #MeToo movement. Besides filing a defamation case against Leena, Ganesan also filed a petition to impound her passport. While his previous petition to do so was not entertained by the Saidapet Magistrate Court, Ganesan moved the court yet again and, in early September, Leena was notified that her passport was impounded by the Passport Authority, citing the defamation case pending against her.
Leena had been just set to travel to Canada to complete the last leg of her MFA Film program from York University when this happened. She then filed a writ petition with the Madras High Court to quash her passport impoundment.
Speaking to Silverscreen India about the Thursday hearing, Abudu Kumar said, “A show-cause notice was issued earlier asking why her passport had not been impounded and we had replied. However, they have not considered our reply and did not give us a personal hearing. Instead, they have impounded the passport in a defamation case. We challenged that and the court has asked on what grounds they have done this. Two weeks time has been granted to them to provide their reasons.”
Earlier, Senthil Kumar, who is also part of the Leena’s legal team, had told us that the passport office had sent Leena a show-cause notice in February stating that a criminal case was pending against her and asking why her passport had not been impounded yet. “We sent them a reply in March saying that the issue is not a criminal or police case, but one pertaining to two parties, which makes it a private complaint. We had also issued an explanation stating why Leena’s passport cannot be impounded. After this, there was no communication, until this recent development [the passport impoundment]. We had also annexed all the documents, but they have passed the order without consideration,” he had said.
The Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court rejected the interim medical bail plea filed by Bhima Koregaon case accused Shoma Sen on Tuesday. Sen’s medical bail plea was turned down along with those of three other co-accussed – Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, and Vernon Gonsalves.
The court also rejected the application filed by Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu and Sudha Bharadwaj seeking a copy of draft charges submitted by the NIA who are investigating the case, Live Law reported.
However, the Special Court has extended Rona Wilson’s temporary 14-day bail by three more days. He will now have to return to jail on September 30 instead of September 27. The court had granted him an emergency temporary bail of two weeks in August after his father’s demise.
As with the others named in the case, Nagpur University professor Sen, who is a women’s rights activist, was also arrested in 2018 and accused of having links with Maoists and carrying out “anti-national” activities.
Sen filed her bail plea on medical grounds submitting that she was vulnerable to the coronavirus as she is suffering from hypertension, blood pressure and other ailments. However, the NIA opposed her petition saying Covid-19 cannot be grounds for releasing any more prisoners in the case, and citing other pleas filed by her co-accused that had been rejected.
Since 2018, the police have arrested 16 activists and scholars under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Bhima Koregaon case. The arrests were made after violence broke out during the annual celebration called the Elgar Parishad at Bhima Koregaon, a panchayat village in Maharashtra, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in January 2018. In 1818, Dalits of the village fought the battle as soldiers (mahars) in the British army and defeated the Brahmin Peshwa Bajirao II.
The arrested activists are accused of allegedly having links with Maoists and backing the Elgar Parishad at Bhima Koregaon.
All of them have denied the charges and all have been awaiting trial for the past three years.
Ishwari Deshpande, the Marathi actor, died in a car accident in Goa on Monday, The Indian Express reported. The 25-year-old actor was travelling with her friend Shubham Dadge, who also perished in the accident.
According to the report, the car the duo was travelling in fell into a creek in the Arpora area of North Goa. The incident took place around 5.30 am near Hadfade village in the Bardez taluka. Deshpande and Dadge died due to drowning.
According to a report in Punekar News, eyewitnesses present on the spot said that Deshpande had called for help after the car fell in. However, since it was early in the morning, no one was able to rescue them.
Inspector Suraj Gawas, in-charge of Anjuna Police station, told The Indian Express, “Primary investigation suggests that the mishap took place because the driver lost control of the car. After losing control, the car crossed over to the opposite corridor and again crossed back before falling into a small creek. The fire brigade was called around 7 am. They managed to take out the car and the remains of the two.”
He also said that the family members of the deceased were contacted immediately.
Sub-inspector Akshay Parsekar, who is investigating the case, told the publication, “Based on the wristbands the two were wearing, we believe that they had visited a club in the area the night before. Dedge is a resident of Kirkatwadi in Pune, while Ishwari is a resident of another area in Pune.”
A News18 report states that Deshpande and Dadge were a couple on the verge of getting engaged. The report states that the former recently shot for a Hindi and a Marathi film.
Apart from acting in some Marathi TV serials, Deshpande had also starred in Sunil Chauthmal’s Marathi film Premache Side Effects. She had a YouTube channel on which she used to post vlogs and other videos for her fans.
Willie Garson, the actor best known for essaying the role of Stanford Blatch in the Sex and the City franchise, died on Tuesday. Garson was battling cancer, according to a Deadlinereport.
The actor is survived by his son Nathen Garson, who took to Instagram, and wrote, “I’m so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much. I’m so proud of you. Love you more than you will ever know and I’m glad you can be at peace now.”
Garson was in New York, shooting for HBO’s Sex and the City revival series, And Just Like That…, reprising his role as Blatch, protagonist Carrie Bradshaw’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) best friend.
His association with Sex and the City began in 1998. The HBO television series ran for six years. Garson also appeared in the films Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2 that released in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
Born on February 20, 1964, in New Jersey, Garson completed his education, first from Wesleyan University, and then from Yale Drama School.
He started out playing small roles in American television shows like Mr. Belvedere, Family Ties, Coach, Quantum Leap, Ally McBeal, and Party of Five, before landing the part in Sex and the City. His first notable role was in the 1996 show NYPD Blue. He also featured in an episode of Friends, and was part of the main cast of shows like John from Cincinnati and White Collar.
HBO paid tribute to the actor, and wrote, “He created one of HBO’s most beloved characters and was a member of our family for nearly 25 years. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and extend condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Garson’s Sex and the City co-star Kim Cattrall took to Twitter and wrote, “Such sad news and a terribly sad loss to the SATC family. Our condolences and RIP dear Willie.”
Cattrall, who played the character of Samantha Jones in the franchise, is not a part of the revival show.
Cynthia Nixon, his other co-star in the franchise, who played the role of Miranda Hobbes, wrote, “So deeply, deeply sad we have lost Willie Garson. We all loved him and adored working with him. He was endlessly funny on-screen and and in real life. He was a source of light, friendship and show business lore. He was a consummate professional — always.”
Denying all allegations of tax evasion and illegal funding, actor Sonu Sood addressed the media on Monday after series of raids in his offices and residence in the past week and said that he is a law-abiding citizen and all the necessary documents have been provided to officials of the Income Tax department, ANI reported.
According to the authorities, his organisation Sood Charity Foundation also raised Rs 2.1 crore from overseas donors using a crowdfunding platform that violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act that governs these kinds of transactions.
Set up during the beginning of the pandemic in July 2020, the foundation has collected donations of over Rs 18 crore till April 2021. Out of this, Rs 1.9 crore has been spent on relief work. The balance had been lying unused in its bank account, the authorities said.
The authorities also said that the Lucknow group which Sood entered a deal with was involved in diverting funds and “bogus” billing of subcontracting expenses. They added, “Evidences of such bogus contracts found so far are to the tune of over Rs 65 crore. Further investigations are being carried out to establish the full extent of tax evasion. Cash of Rs 1.8 crore has been seized during the course of the search.”
Addressing the issue, Sood said to the media on Monday, “Everything is in process and in front of everyone. We’ve given all details to everyone. They’ll do their job and I’ll do mine.”
Sood further explained that the money which he makes from the brand endorsements and the donations he receives from people from all over the world for charity are usually diverted to the foundation and not to his personal accounts. “In my foundation, the maximum funds we get is through my endorsement fees and it takes time to spend them. Not even a single penny has come to my account,” he said.
People have been linking the raid to Sood’s recent connection with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Recently, Kejriwal had announced that Sood would be the brand ambassador of the Delhi government’s ‘Desh Ke Mentor’ (country’s mentor) programme.
Speaking about this Sood said, “We are teaching students across the country. If any government will call me, I’m there for them. I’ll even become a brand ambassador if you call me in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab.”
In an interview to NDTV, Sood mentioned that he had been offered Rajya Sabha seats on two occasions by two different parties but he is not ready yet.
Regarding the raids, Sood said that the IT department was satisfied and happy with the documentation and paperwork saying “these were the smoothest four days of raid” and also praised him for his good work.
On the difference between the amount of money received and spent, Sood said that it has just been a few months since his charity received the money since the second wave in March 2021. “I make sure every single penny donated by anyone in this universe is accounted for,” he said.
Harvey Weinstein, the American producer, pleaded not guilty once again to 11 charges of sexual assault and rape in a Los Angeles Court and also filed a motion to dismiss the entire case, NBC Newsreported.
The prosecution had filed a motion under seal on Monday seeking the court’s permission to allow testimony at the trial from several accusers in support of the five women whose claims form the basis of the 11 charges.
Claiming that the District Attorney’s office is “opening up a water cannon of allegations” against Weinstein through numerous uncharged alleged victims, the producer’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the entire case arguing that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence and relied on faulty testimony.
Weinstein’s attorney also mentioned in the court that Weinstein being held at the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles despite “obviously struggling” due to his health problems is “akin to solitary confinement.”
Brought in a wheelchair to the court, Weinstein gave his agreement to waive the trial deadline. The next date for the hearing has been set for December 8.
Since October 2017, more than 80 women have accused the 69-year-old producer of sexual misconduct, following which he was dismissed from Miramax, the production company he had co-founded with his brother Bob Weinstein, and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.
In February 2020, Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York. Following a trial in the Manhattan Supreme Court, he was sentenced to 23 years of imprisonment for mainly two cases: a first-degree criminal sexual act when he forcibly performed oral sex on a production assistant in 2006, and the other for committing third-degree rape in 2013.
Weinstein’s conviction was a shot in the arm for the #MeToo movement that witnessed women across the globe coming out with allegations of sexual misconduct and assault at the workplace against powerful men.
While serving his jail term in New York, Weinstein was charged with several cases in California in 2020 for crimes in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013, and was formally indicted on April 11, 2021. He was extradited to Los Angeles in June to face trial on 11 charges, involving five unnamed women.
Ranaut alleged that during her public spat with actor Hrithik Roshan in 2016, the veteran lyricist and screenwriter invited her and her sister Rangoli Chandel to his house with malafide intentions and forced her to give a written apology to Roshan. She also claimed that Akhtar threatened her with dire consequences if she refused.
Ranaut had finally physically appeared before the court on Monday in the defamation case filed against her by Akhtar after several warnings from the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court that she would face arrest if she failed to do so.
On Monday, the case was adjourned to October 1 after Ranaut sought to transfer the defamation case claiming she had “no faith in the court.” The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate will hear her counter-complaint at the same time.
In her complaint, Ranaut claims that Akhtar demanded a written apology to Roshan and threatened her by saying that if she refused she would be put in jail. “He blatantly told me that — ‘by indulging in a public fight with my powerful co-star and his family’, I shall be making my own life miserable because I shall be subsequently going to jail,” she stated in her complaint.
The controversy, which had started with Ranaut calling Roshan an “ex” who did “silly things” in an interview, soon turned into a legal tussle between the two. In May 2016, Roshan lodged a complaint with the cyber crime branch of the police against “unidentifiable individuals” for impersonating him and sending e-mails to Ranaut.
Ranaut’s complaint on Monday also stated that Akhtar had tried to question her moral character during the meeting at the latter’s house and said “that my co-star (with whom I had a dispute), had a lot of evidence against me and shall use all such pieces of evidence against me, which will put my moral character to shame and tarnish my public image.”
Ranaut said she did not lodge a complaint with the police regarding what happened with Akhtar at the time was because of her family. However, both she and her sister were “shaken and traumatized” by the incident, she added.
A Mumbai court, on Monday, granted bail to Raj Kundra, businessman and actor Shilpa Shetty’s husband, in the pornography case, on a surety of Rs 50,000. Co-accused Ryan Thorpe was also granted bail, ANI reported.
Kundra was arrested by the Mumbai Police on July 19 as the “key conspirator” in a case involving pornography, the investigation for which had begun in February 2021. He has been accused of making pornographic videos under the pretext of producing short films for OTT platforms. Thorpe was arrested on July 20.
The accused have been booked under sections 354(C) (Voyeurism), 292 (sale of obscene content), 420 (Cheating) of the IPC and Sections 67, 67A (transmission of sexually explicit material) of the IT Act and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.
A magistrate court in Mumbai had rejected Kundra’s bail plea for the third time on August 10 after denying him bail twice earlier on July 23 and July 27.
When opposing his bail, the Mumbai Police had listed out 19 reasons to extend his custody, including the possibility that he could tamper with the evidence, influence witnesses, and even flee the country as he is a British citizen.
Seeking bail based on the ground that the investigation was complete, Kundra moved the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Esplanade, Mumbai, according to a Bar and Bench report.
Submitting that while the primary chargesheet did not contain any allegations against Kundra, Kundra’s counsel argued that the detailed supplementary chargesheet that has been filed by the Mumbai Police against Kundra and three other accused also did not contain allegations that the victims had a direct interaction or were approached by Kundra directly for the filming of the obscene videos.
Kundra’s counsel argued that the offence of cheating ‘does not seem to be made out’. As per the report, he stated that “once cheating is kept aside, all the other offences are punishable with a maximum of 5 years of imprisonment”.
Opposing Kundra’s bail application, the public prosecutor argued that Kundra cannot be granted bail merely on the basis of filing a chargesheet.
So far, 11 people, including Kundra, had been arrested in connection to the case.
On Saturday, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Excise Department, said its forensic analysis found that none of them had consumed drugs or any other prohibited narcotic substance, The New Indian Express reported. The SIT made the determination based on hair and nail samples collected during the questioning of the celebrities.
These same celebrities are also part of the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation into the money laundering angle of the same case.
The case dates back to July 2017, when the Telangana Excise and Prohibition Department had seized drugs worth Rs 30 lakh and registered 12 cases. Huge quantities of LSD and cocaine were seized from 13 people, and it is said that the banned substances were distributed at rave parties in Goa and Hyderabad, as well as at pubs and educational institutions.
Later, the ED began looking into the money laundering angle of the drug racket.
The New Indian Express report states that the celebrities involved in the case are expected to get some relief from the ongoing ED investigation in the money laundering case in light of the recent development.
According to NDTV, 30 people have been arrested and 62 questioned by the state’s excise department, out of which 11 are related to the film industry. So far, all the celebrities who have been served notices by the ED have denied any role in the case, and the excise department has not filed any chargesheet against them.
Vijay, the Tamil actor, has filed a civil suit in a Chennai court against 11 people, including his father veteran filmmaker SA Chandrasekhar and mother Shoba Chandrasekhar, seeking to restrain them from holding any meetings or activities in his name, The Hindu reported on Sunday.
The case is expected to be heard on September 27.
It is to be noted that this civil suit comes at the time when Vijay Makkal Mandram, a fan body of the actor registered by his father, had announced that its members would be contesting in the local body polls to be held in October in certain districts of Tamil Nadu. Vijay’s counsel submitted that it was the actor’s parents who had given permission for the members of the organisation to contest in elections as independent candidates.
According to The Hindu, the actor has sought a “declaration that the deed of association is null and void” and also asked for a stay on any meetings or activities that use his name. Apart from his parents, the actor also named people who were office-bearers in his fan club as respondents.
This is not the first time the actor has distanced himself from the political steps that his parents have taken. In November 2020, legal representatives of SA Chandrasekhar submitted an application to the Election Commission of India to register Vijay’s fan club as a political party called All India Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam. However, Vijay immediately issued a statement that he was in no way involved with the party. He had also warned that action would be taken against anyone who engaged in any political activities using his name, photo, or the name of Vijay Makkal Iyakkam. Following this, Chandrasekhar wrote to the Election Commission withdrawing the application to register the fan club as a political party.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has moved the Delhi High Court against the Twitter Inc’s refusal to remove a tweet published by Mohammed Zubair, co founder of the fact checking website Alt News co-founder. The tweet allegedly “threatened and tortured a minor girl”, Bar and Benchreported.
“That the Commission (NCPCR) in discharge of its statutory obligation, has been following up with Twitter Inc. with regard to the cognizance taken by it under Section 13(1)G) of the CPCR Act, 2005 against a complaint received regarding online threats and repeated incident of stalking of a minor girl on Twitter by the Petitioner,” the affidavit stated.
In a reply to an abusive message from a Twitter user named Jagdish Singh, Zubair had tweeted on August 6, 2020, the profile picture of the user where he had blurred the picture of a little girl who was his granddaughter and wrote, “Hello Jagdish Singh, Does your cute grand daughter know about your part time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you to change your profile pic. He also shared a screenshot of the tweet thread where Singh had commented abusive words in one of Zubair’s fact-checked tweets.
Following this, two First Information Reports were lodged against Zubair in Delhi and Raipur under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for allegedly “threatening and torturing a minor girl” on Twitter based on a complaint filed by the NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo.
Seeking action against Zubair for “threatening and stalking the minor girl on Twitter”, the NCPCR had also written to the Deputy Commissioner of the Delhi Police along with the nodal cyber cell officer based on the complaint which was initially from an organisation called Forum for Indigenous Rights – North-East India.
Besides the aforementioned, two other Twitter accounts whose usernames are de_real_mask and syedsarwar20 were also responsible, as per the FIR, since they had also commented on the post. These two profiles have been permanently suspended by Twitter for violating Twitter rules from August 25, 2020.
The NCPCR had also written to the Delhi Police seeking relevant information from Twitter Inc regarding the actions taken by them against Zubair.
“Twitter had, by way of its reply dated 25.08.2020, informed the Commission that two tweets referred to it; specifically two comments on the post (the links appear below), were no longer available for access on the Twitter platform. Your suggestion that this reported content is still available leaves us somewhat perplexed. We have since checked and we wish to re-confirm that the said content is not available (and screenshots are enclosed),” replied Twitter Inc after the NCPCR followed up with the Delhi Police on the matter this year again.
Meanwhile, Alt News co-founder Pratik Sinha tweeted that the website stands with Zubair.
“An attempt is being made to hound co-founder of Alt News, Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) through misuse of legal apparatus. Alt New stands by Mohammed Zubair. Zubair has been in the forefront of fighting fake narratives, and his work hurts those who have weaponised misinformation to subvert the Indian democracy,” the tweet read.
According to the authorities, his organisation Sood Charity Foundation also raised Rs 2.1 crore from overseas donors using a crowdfunding platform that violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act that governs these kinds of transactions.
“During the course of search at the premises of the actor and his associates, incriminating evidences pertaining to tax evasion have been found. The main modus operandi followed by the actor had been to route his unaccounted income in the form of bogus unsecured loans from many bogus entities,” the tax department said in the statement.
They added that investigations until now have revealed the use of 20 such entries, the providers of which, on examination, have accepted on oath to have given bogus accommodation entries.
“They have accepted to have issued cheques in lieu of cash. There have been instances where professional receipts have been camouflaged as loans in the books of accounts for the purpose of evasion of tax. It has also been revealed that these bogus loans have been used for making investments and acquiring properties. The total amount of tax evaded unearthed so far, amounts to more than Rs 20 crore,” they said.
Set up during the beginning of the pandemic in July 2020, the foundation has collected donations of over Rs 18 crore till April 2021. Out of this, Rs 1.9 crore has been spent on relief work. The balance has been lying unused in its bank account, according to the authorities.
The simultaneous search operations carried out at various premises of an Infrastructure group in Lucknow in which the said actor had entered into a joint venture real estate project and invested substantial funds, have resulted in unearthing of incriminating
evidences pertaining to tax evasion and irregularities in the books of account,” the department said in the statement.
The authorities said that the Lucknow group which Sood entered a deal with was involved in diverting funds and “bogus” billing of subcontracting expenses. They added, “Evidences of such bogus contracts found so far are to the tune of over Rs 65 crore. Further investigations are being carried out to establish the full extent of tax evasion. Cash of Rs 1.8 crore has been seized during the course of the search”.
An FIR was filed against actor Sahil Khan on Friday following the alleged suicide attempt of former Mr India contest winner Manoj Patil. The actor and three others have been booked in a case of abetment to suicide, criminal intimidation, defamation, and common intention, states a Times of India report.
The case was registered a day after Patil allegedly tried to take his life by overdosing on sleeping pills at around 12.30 am on Thursday. The bodybuilder and model was rushed to the Cooper Hospital, where his condition is currently said to be stable.
Although Patil’s manager Pari Naaz has said that the model took the extreme step after being harassed by the actor, no arrests have been made yet, according to the TOI report. “No one has been arrested. Action will be initiated only after completion of the investigation,” said a police officer of the Oshiwara police station.
The three others who were booked on Friday night aside from Khan are Raja Faujdar, Junaid Kalivala, and Rubal Dandkar.
Post the allegation, Khan held a press conference where he accused Patil of selling fake steroids to fellow athlete Faujdar. Khan also stated that the matter was not between him and Patil and that he was only trying to help Faujdar get his money back.
Speaking at the press conference, Faujdar said, “When I asked for money from Manoj Patil after he sold me the fake steroid, he said he would return it in some time, but 2-3 years have passed. When I called him 20-25 days ago, he hurled abuses at me. I am having problems in my stomach [due to the fake steroids]. He even threatened me. I have all the recordings of the calls. I did not file a complaint with the police as I wanted my money back.”
If you or someone you know is in need of support for suicidal thoughts or behaviour, please reach out to the following helpline numbers:
AASRA- 24×7 Helpline (Hindi and English): +91-9820466726
Francis Kiruba, the Tamil poet, lyricist and writer, died on Thursday night after suffering from a seizure. His last rites were conducted in his hometown in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu on Friday evening.
The late poet was 50 and was undergoing treatment at Government Kilpauk Medical College in Chennai for liver-related illness and breathing issues. Kiruba was living alone in a rented room in the city.
Kiruba, who hails from Pathiniparai in Tirunelveli district, aside from being a renowned poet and writer, is also known for his selective work in the Tamil film industry. He has contributed lyrics to Tamil films such as Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu (2009), Azhagarsamiyin Kuthirai (2011), Aadhalal Kadhal Seiveer (2013) and Kurangu Bommai (2017), among others. The poet has also served as story writer for the 2004 Tamil biopic of Kamaraj, named after the Indian politician. He has also penned a novel titled Kanni.
In 2018, Chennai police had booked the late poet on charges of murder after he was alleged to have pushed an unidentified man down and strangled him to death. However, the police had later discharged Kiruba after confirming through CCTV footage that he was innocent and had only intended to help the sick man.
Referring to this incident, writer and journalist Kavin Malar, while speaking to Silverscreen India, said, “After this, producer Gnanavel Raja had announced that he would rope in Francis as the lyricist for his banner Studio Green’s upcoming films. But, Francis did not go and meet him, and so, nothing came of it.”
Malar, who had known Kiruba for about 10-15 years, became closer to the poet after the 2018 incident. “I had received a missed call from him on Thursday morning. Before I could call him back, he had passed away. I feel terrible about not being able to attend that call on his last day. He was an affectionate person. He was never part of any groups in the literary world, but he was also a person who had no haters. He always encouraged me to write poetry,” she added.
Writer and researcher Stalin Rajangam mentioned to Silverscreen India that Kiruba’s works mainly concentrated on emotions and nature. Stalin also praised his poetic sense and added, “His words can make people imagine what he is trying to say. He had a free nomad-like life without any focus on material needs.”
Writer Yuma Vasuki, who knew Kiruba as a close acquaintance in the 90s while working as a illustrator in Chennai, got to know him through filmmaker Ajayan Bala. He said, “We used to meet often and he would show me his poems. I suggested that he publish them as a collection and connected him to a few publishers, one of them being Vasanthakumar. Later, his book Messiahvin Kayangal was published. He went on to publish more books for Vasanthakumar, who also played a major role in encouraging Kiruba to write the novel Kanni. The novel was based on his own life experiences and mental troubles. He brought a new dimension to Tamil prose writing.”
“During his last days, he was mentally disturbed and had issues with his nervous system. Kavin Malar and a few others helped him a lot,” Yuma added.
Kiruba was unmarried and is survived by a sister and brother.
Actor Manoj Bajpayee‘s father, RK Bajpayee, has been admitted to a hospital in Delhi and is said to be in a critical condition, ANIreported. He is 83.
Bajpayee, who was shooting for his upcoming project in Kerala, rushed to his father’s side upon hearing about his ill health, the report states.
The actor is yet to give an update on his father’s health.
The report quotes a recent interview where Bajpayee had opened up about how his father had pushed him to pursue his passion. “I came from my village in Bihar to Delhi at the age of 18. I joined Delhi University. Finishing my graduation was my father’s dream. He did not want me to leave my studies. So I really wanted to fulfil his dream and somehow managed to complete the course and take a degree,” he had reportedly said.
Born in Belwa, a small village near the city of Bettiah in West Champaran district in Bihar, Bajpayee went to Delhi to join the National School of Drama and then moved to Mumbai to pursue his dream to be an actor.
Recently, the actor was in the news for filing a criminal defamation complaint against actor Kamaal R Khan for posting an alleged derogatory tweet against him. In the tweet, Khan aka KRK had called Bajpayee a ‘Ganjedi’ (a marijuana addict). The tweet was in response to someone who questioned how Khan could call Bajpayee’s latest series The Family Man 2 ‘soft porn’. Khan’s original tweet disparaging the show has since been deleted.
Suresh Gopi, the actor and Rajya Sabha Member who stirred up controversy after seeking an honorary salute from a sub-inspector on Wednesday, said on Thursday that salute culture needs to end.
Addressing the media in Pala, Kottayam on Thursday, Gopi said, “Salute culture needs to end. No need to salute anyone. But, there should not be any political discrimination [if there is a rule].”
Gopi visited Puthur in Thrissur district on Wednesday to distribute aid to families affected by a storm. According to a report in The New Indian Express, Gopi approached the sub-inspector, who was sitting inside the jeep, and asked him to take necessary action on a complaint from local residents about fallen trees that were blocking traffic. At that time, Gopi also reminded the SI that he is an MP and needs to be saluted. The SI immediately got down from the jeep and saluted him.
When a video clip of this incident went viral on social media, it stirred up controversy.
However, according to The New Indian Express report, Gopi said he did not force the police officer to salute. “I addressed him politely as ‘sir’ and reminded him that as an MP, I deserve a salute and the officer saluted me. I was informed by the Rajya Sabha secretariat that the police have to salute an MP,” he had said.
During his address to the media on Thursday, reporters pointed out that, according to the Kerala Police Association, there is no rule that a cop has to salute a MP. Gopi responded to this with: “Does the police officer (in question) have any complaints? The association does not belong to a democratic set up. If they believe they do, then let them come to the parliament and complain to the chairperson.”
He further said the rule about whom the police have to salute is issued by the DGP and added that states function based on the laws of the country and the Kerala Police should follow the protocols that are followed by the country at large.
He also added that the Kerala Police Association’s aim should be the welfare of its members and not playing politics.
According to the Kerala Police Standing Orders, sourced by Manorama News, honorary salute can be offered to the President and Vice President of India, ministers of state and centre, DGP, ADG, IGP, DIGP, SP of the police department, general officers in uniform, judges of the Supreme and High Courts, district magistrates, sessions judges, guard of the commandant unit, collectors of districts, officers in armed forces, civil officers of higher rank, and the remains of the dead. It is notable that there are no mentions of MPs or MLAs.
Nona Gaprindashvili, former chess champion, filed a lawsuit against Netflix for falsely representing her in public eye through the 2020 show The Queen’s Gambit, on Thursday. She has sought damages worth at least $5 million.
The series runs parallel to Gaprindashvili’s life and is based on Walter Tevis’ novel of the same name. It follows the life of fictional American chess prodigy Elizabeth Harmon, or Beth, and her journey to becoming a World champion along with tackling her issues with drugs and alcohol.
Anya Taylor-Joy who plays Beth in the show has won the Golden Globe award for her performance.
According to the lawsuit, that comes a few days ahead of the Emmys, the Georgian grand-master referred to a scene from the final episode, End Game, wherein a commentator is quoted saying, “Elizabeth Harmon’s not at all an important player by their standards. The only unusual thing about her, really, is her sex. And even that’s not unique in Russia. There’s Nona Gaprindashvili, but she’s the female world champion and has never faced men.”
Gaprindashvili claimed that the allegation that she “has never faced men” is “manifestly false,” apart from being sexist, and was added to heighten the drama in the otherwise fictional show. The lawsuit stated that by 1968, the year in which the last episode is set, Gaprindashvili had competed against at least 59 male chess players (28 of them simultaneously in one game), including at least ten Grandmasters of that time.
The complainant added that the error was made despite Netflix hiring renowned chess players and experts Gary Kasporav and Bruce Pandolfini to work as consultants on the show.
Considering the show’s popularity, Gaprindashvili said that the false representation harms her brand in that her “current participation in the chess world, and her ability to earn income from that participation, remains tied to her historical success and accomplishments” that were notably achieved “when chess was overwhelmingly a man’s world.”
The lawsuit added that after the show’s release, Gaprindashvili confronted Netflix and demanded a public statement. “Netflix could have responded in any number of inexpensive and morally honorable ways of making redress, but instead it responded with extraordinary hubris, dismissing Gaprindashvili’s assertion of defamation by claiming that the false statement was “innocuous”, the complaint stated.
In addition, Gaprindashvili further pointed out that the show got her nationality wrong. “Piling on additional insult to injury, Netflix described Gaprindashvili as Russian, despite knowing that she was Georgian, and that Georgians had suffered under Russian domination when part of the Soviet Union, and had been bullied and invaded by Russia thereafter.”
The Queen’s Gambit is nominated in 18 categories at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, that is scheduled to be held on Saturday. It won nine Emmys at the Creative Arts awards, on Sunday.