Dhaka, Mar 1 (UNB)- A meet cute between Guddu (Kartik Aaryan) and Rashmi (Kriti Sanon) soon escalates into full-blown love. But in a daring attempt, the girl wants to try living-in with the boy before settling down for marriage. This even as their small town in North India is up in the arms against live-in relationships, thanks to protests led by none other than the girl’s own father, who is a local right-wing party leader.
'Luka Chuppi' is a situational comedy from the word go. And the situation in question is live-in relationships. What starts as a news story for a local reporter Guddu, turns into his own love story with hilarious complications. But peddling along are a host of other societal issues like misogyny, gender inequality, caste bias and moral policing that are tackled in a funny and harmless way. However, there is hardly a dull moment in the film that never takes itself too seriously.
As a debutante, director Laxman Utekar does a fine job of throwing in a bunch of quirky characters in unusual situations. Starting with the film’s hero Kartik Aaryan, who looks way too polished for his small-town character, but along the way, you soon start rooting for him. Whether he is covering a story or running for cover himself - Kartik exudes an endearing charm that is relatable. Ditto for Kriti. With all her prettiness and poise, she portrays the character of a girl-next-door without being over-the-top. However, the funny thing is, the two stand out as the only gorgeous couple in the entire town, what with the perfect touch of makeup and hairdo at all times. Their chemistry is not exactly crackling, but quite easy going, which works well for the narrative.
While Aparshakti Khurana plays the supportive friend Abbas adequately well, there is a very noticeable lack of comic punches in his dialogues. Pankaj Tripathi, a regular in this genre, is largely wasted in a role that could have been etched out far more elaborately.The rest of the actors, get ample chance to contribute generously. Be it the eccentric members of Guddu’s joint family or Rashmi’s politician dad, who uses his clout to rally against inconsequential issues.
But what really makes 'Luka Chuppi' an entertaining watch is the nuanced writing by Rohan Ghoge and its execution. The first half is swift and packed with funny moments that end in an unpredictable twist. The second half too, is marked by quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. At some point, the humour becomes repetitive, but it’s the short run-time that comes to the film’s rescue. Film’s two most popular songs (Coca-Cola & Poster) are thrown in at the end, during the credit roll.
Overall, 'Luka Chuppi' is a fun ride that never gets too preachy or uncomfortable for the family audience. It’s a clean entertainer with a message that’s not too loud, but clear, for sure.
Dhaka, Feb 28 ( UNB) - The 10th edition of Chobi Mela, one of the most prestigious photography festivals in Asia, began on Thursday with an opening rally from Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, following an inauguration ceremony at Chhayanaut Auditorium.
At the opening ceremony, the guest of honours were curator of USA’s Rubin Museum of Art Beth Citron, Nepali publisher, writer and editor Kunda Dixit, Indian photographer Raghu Rai, and economist Rehman Sobhan.
The programme was presided over by festival director Shahidul Alam. Lifetime achievement award 2019 was presented to late Dr Nawajesh Ahmed, internationally renowned photographer, agriculture scientist and author, for his outstanding contribution in photography of Bangladesh.
All venues of the 10th edition of the festival are situated in Dhanmondi.
The Drik-Pathshala under construction building in Panthapath is the main venue, along with Drik Gallery at Dhanmondi and Panthapath, Goethe Institut, Gyantapas Abdur Razzak Bidyapeeth, Britto Arts Trust and Alliance Française de Dhaka.
Artist’s talks, panel discussions and curated slideshows are organised at Goethe Institut.
An excellent selection of films is scheduled to be screened at Alliance Française de Dhaka auditorium while Pathshala South Asian Media Institute is the educational venue where workshops and portfolio reviews are held.
Thirty-three exhibitions with works from 44 artists spanning 21 countries will be featured during the event.
‘Archives of Persistence’ – a series of different projects consisting Bangladesh Garment Sromik Samhati, is included in this diverse range of exhibitions. One of the vital exhibitions at the festival is ‘Rashid Talukder (1939-2011): A Life’s Work’, based on works by late Rashid Talukder, one of the legendary photojournalists of Bangladesh.
The exhibition portrays a priceless visual documentation of Bangladeshi people’s history of independence – starting from the early 1950’s Language Movement to 1971’s Liberation War.
Eight workshops by prominent photo practitioners from around the world will be hosted covering a variety of topics.
Some of artist’s talks will include Arundhati Roy, renowned German publisher and bookmaker Gerhard Steidl, Indian Bengali singer, songwriter and music researcher Moushumi Bhowmik, and pioneering Indian photographer and photojournalist Raghu Rai.
Chobi Mela X has partly commissioned 13 Bangladeshi artists as Chobi Mela Fellows to produce site-specific artwork.
The focus of Chobi Mela is to strengthen the exposure and access of less-exposed majority world artists (Asia, Africa, Latin America etc.) that supports them in working towards change and prosperity.
Shahidul Alam said, “Chobi Mela has and will continue to be about bringing people together and, more importantly, bringing them to Bangladesh.”
Chobi Mela announces its newly formed advisory board consisting Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, former Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled, human rights activist Khushi Kabir, Nepali publisher, writer and editor Kunda Dixit, Indian photographer Raghu Rai, economist Rehman Sobhan, literary critic, activist and historian Serajul Islam Choudhury and human rights activist and former advisor to the caretaker government Sultana Kamal.
Mobile exhibitions on rickshaw vans have become a trademark of the festival resulting into an active participation of the masses. The mobile exhibition travels all over Dhaka to create platform for expression for people with low levels of textual literacy.
The festival will continue until March 9 while registration remains open every day for all.
LOS Angeles, Feb 28 (AP/UNB) — The family of Michael Jackson had a feeling the years-old child molestation allegations against the pop superstar would resurface at some point. So they say they weren't entirely surprised to learn that a forthcoming HBO documentary would feature two of his accusers.
"I thought, 'Oh here we go again,'" Jackson's oldest brother Jackie Jackson said Tuesday of the moment he learned of "Leaving Neverland" while on tour in Australia. "That's the first thing we said," Jackie Jackson said during an interview with The Associated Press seated next to his brothers Tito, Marlon and his nephew, Taj.
The documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to a standing ovation , will starting Sunday air the abuse allegations of two men , Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who had previously denied Jackson molested them and supported him to authorities and in Robson's case, very publicly.
"It was going to be the 10-year anniversary," Taj Jackson said, referring to his uncle's June 2009 death. "I remember a year ago I was like, 'This is too appetizing for the media. They're going to do something. This is the time when everyone comes out of the woodwork, the same cast, the same characters that have been discredited throughout the years. They have a platform now to talk about Michael Jackson."
It was the latest and most public pushback from the family and Jackson estate, which have repeatedly denounced the documentary in recent weeks through written statements, a lawsuit , and letters to HBO and Britain's Channel 4, which plan to air the film. HBO announced Wednesday that it will air a special on Monday night in which Oprah Winfrey also interviews Robson and Safechuck .
Their central criticism has been the film's failure to talk to family members or other defenders of Jackson, whom they insist never molested a child.
The brothers said they would have answered the allegations had the filmmakers asked them.
"Oh, we definitely would have come and talked to them about the situation ... to protect our brother," Tito Jackson said. "He's not here no more. He's passed, and, we're his brothers, we're supposed to do this."
Marlon Jackson added, "I look at it as yes, you're protecting your brother, but you're telling the truth, and we want people to understand the truth. And I do not understand how a filmmaker can make a documentary and not want to speak to myself or some of the other families that were at Neverland."
The documentary's director Dan Reed has repeatedly defended his film, which uses only the voices of Robson, Safechuck and their families.
"It's the story of these two families and not of all the other people who were or weren't abused by Michael Jackson," Reed told the AP the day after the film's premiere. "People who spent time with him can go, 'he couldn't possibly be a pedophile.' How do they know? It's absurd."
Robson, 36, and Safechuck, 40, both came forward as adults, first via 2013 lawsuits and later in the documentary, to talk about the alleged abuse, which Robson says started when he was 7, Safechuck when he was 10.
Both had previously told authorities there had been no abuse, with Robson testifying in Jackson's defense at the 2005 molestation trial that ended with the superstar's acquittal.
Jackson family members say they were especially stunned to first hear such allegations coming from Robson, a noted choreographer who has worked with Britney Spears and 'N Sync. Many Jacksons, including Taj, had known Robson and his family since he was a child. Robson had dated Jackie Jackson's daughter for over seven years.
"I was like 'No that can't be Wade Robson not the same guy that I knew, They must have got the names wrong," Taj Jackson said. "Wade was the most adamant person when it came to 2005 and the trial. He was their first defense witness. He was the star witness. He was adamant that nothing ever happened."
Taj Jackson said he remembers thanking Robson the day he testified, and Robson responding that it was the least he could do for Michael.
"To see that 180, it feels like the biggest backstab that you could possibly feel," he said.
The film acknowledges and discusses the men's initial denials of abuse. Both say they experienced trauma that emerged as adults when they started to accept what happened to them.
No one in the Jackson family has any memory of meeting Safechuck. They have focused their criticism on Robson, whose allegations, they say, have coincided with financial problems.
They say in particular that being denied a job with a Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show prompted him to change his story.
Robson has said it had no bearing on the allegations, and that he actually removed himself from the Cirque du Soleil show because he was having nervous breakdowns. Those prompted him to talk to his therapist for the first time about the abuse.
Robson's attorney Vince Finaldi said Wednesday that it was in fact the trauma from reliving the sexual abuse that caused Robson's financial problems, because he stopped working to deal with it.
"One of the keys to his healing was stepping away from the entertainment industry," Finaldi said.
The men's lawsuits have been thrown out on technical grounds, but their attorneys are appealing the rulings. Finaldi said they will pursue all available means whether via the law or media to tell their stories.
"They're never going to stop speaking their truth," he said.
The Jackson estate's lawsuit , filed last week, alleges "Leaving Neverland" violates a 1992 contract agreeing the channel would not disparage Jackson in the future. HBO called the lawsuit a desperate attempt to undermine the film.
Jackson's family urged those inclined to watch "Leaving Neverland" to look deeper into the situation.
"That's all we're worried about is just facts," Marlon Jackson said. "The facts, which are public record, tell a totally different story than what this documentary talks about."
New York, Feb 26 (AP/UNB) — The Oscars ended its four-year streak of dwindling viewership, reaching 29.6 million on Sunday to beat last year's audience by 12 percent, but it still represents the second-smallest audience in the award show's history.
The 2018 show had reached only 26.5 million viewers, a figure that set off alarm bells at ABC and the motion picture academy.
This year's show featured movies with more box office juice than in the recent past. It provided a water-cooler controversy over the merits of best picture winner "Green Book," and some memorable musical performances by Queen and the duo of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
It also went without a host after Kevin Hart backed off, although the trio of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph offered what was essentially an opening monologue.
The Oscars is generally the most-watched entertainment program of the year, often only second to the Super Bowl. Yet its viewership had declined steadily since hitting 43.7 million in 2014, the Nielsen company said.
Despite this year's rebound, it still represents only the second time since Nielsen has been measuring that viewership slipped under 30 million people.
The biggest Oscars audience ever recorded came in 1998, when 55.2 million people turned out to see "Titanic" named best picture.
ABC also said Monday that its preview of the drama "Whiskey Cavalier" was seen by 4.2 million people after the Oscars ended.
Los Angeles, Feb 25 (AP/UNB) — The segregation-era road-trip drama "Green Book" was crowned best picture at the Academy Awards, handing Hollywood's top award to a film seen as a feel-good throwback to some but ridiculed as an outdated inversion of "Driving Miss Daisy" by others.
In a year where Hollywood could have made history by bestowing best-picture on Netflix ("Roma") or Marvel ("Black Panther") for the first time, the motion picture academy instead threw its fullest support behind a traditional interracial buddy tale that proved as popular as it was divisive. But Peter Farrelly's "Green Book" weathered criticism that it was retrograde and inauthentic to triumph over more acclaimed films and bigger box-office successes. Spike Lee was visibly upset by the win.
"Green Book" also won best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali and best original screenplay.
Lee won his first competitive Oscar while the motion picture academy spread around awards for Ryan Coogler's superhero sensation "Black Panther," Alfonso Cuaron's black-and-white personal epic "Roma," and the Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" at a brisk, hostless Oscars awash in historic wins for diversity.
Lee's win for best adapted screenplay to his white supremacist drama "BlacKkKlansman" gave the Dolby Theatre ceremony Sunday its signature moment. The crowd rose in a standing ovation, Lee leapt into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson and even the backstage press room burst into applause.
Lee, whose film including footage of President Donald Trump following the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, spoke about the upcoming election.
"The 2020 election is around the corner. Let's all mobilize. Let's be on the right side of history," said Lee, who was given an honorary Oscar in 2015. "Let's do the right thing! You knew I had to get that in there."
The biggest surprise of the night, was in the best actress category. Olivia Colman won for her Queen Anne in the royal romp "The Favourite," denying Glenn Close her first Oscar. Close remains the most-nominated living actor never to win, with seven nominations.
"Ooo. It's genuinely quite stressful," said a staggered Colman, who later turned to Close to say she was her idol, "And this is not how I wanted it to be."
"Bohemian Rhapsody," which kicked off the ABC telecast with a performance by Queen, won four awards despite pans from many critics and sexual assault allegations against its director, Bryan Singer, who was fired in mid-production. Its star, Rami Malek, won best actor for his full-bodied and prosthetic teeth-aided performance, and the film was honored for editing, sound mixing and sound editing.
"We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant who lived his life unapologetically himself," said Malek. "We're longing for stories like this. I am the son of immigrants from Egypt. I'm a first-generation American, and part of my story is being written right now."
The lush, big-budget craft of "Black Panther" won for Ruth Carter's costume design, Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart's production design, and Ludwig Göransson's score. Beachler had been the first African-American to ever be nominated in the category. Beachler and Carter became just the second and third black women to win non-acting Oscars.
"It just means that we've opened the door," Carter, a veteran costume designer, said backstage. "Finally, the door is wide open."
Two years after winning for his role in "Moonlight," Mahershala Ali won again for his supporting performance in "Green Book" — a role many said was really a lead. Ali is the second black actor to win two Oscars following Denzel Washington, who won for "Glory" and "Training Day." Ali dedicated the award to his grandmother.
The night's co-lead nominee "Roma," which was favored to hand Netflix its first best picture win, won best director and best cinematography for Cuaron, whose film also notched Mexico's first foreign language film Oscar. Cuaron and his "Three Amigos" countrymen — Alejandro Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro, who presented Cuaron with best picture — will have had a stranglehold on category, winning five of the last six years.
Cuaron, who becoming the first director to ever win for serving as his own director of photography, referenced an especially international crop of nominees in one of his three acceptance speeches.
"When asked about the New Wave, Claude Chabrol said there are no waves, there is only the ocean," said Cuaron, referring to the French filmmaker. "The nominees tonight have proven that we are a part of the same ocean."
The wins for "Roma" gave Netflix its most significant awards yet, while "Black Panther" — along with best animated film winner "Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse" — meant the first Academy Awards for Marvel, the most consistent blockbuster factor Hollywood has ever seen.
Queen launched Sunday's ceremony with a medley of hits that gave the awards a distinctly Grammy-like flavor as Hollywood's most prestigious ceremony sought to prove that it's still "champion of the world" after last year's record-low ratings.
To compensate for a lack of host, the motion picture academy leaned on its presenters, including an ornately outfitted Melissa McCarthy and David Tyree Henry and a Keegan-Michael Key who floated down like Mary Poppins. Following Queen, Tina Fey — alongside Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph — welcomed the Dolby Theatre audience to "the one-millionth Academy Awards."
Rudolph summarized a rocky Oscar preamble that featured numerous missteps and backtracks by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: "There is no host, there won't be a popular movie category and Mexico is not paying for the wall."
The trio then presented best supporting actress to Regina King for her pained matriarch in Barry Jenkins' James Baldwin adaptation "If Beale Street Could Talk." The crowd gave King a standing ovation for her first Oscar.
"To be standing here representing one of the greatest artist of our time, James Baldwin, is a little surreal," said King. "James Baldwin birthed this baby."
The inclusivity of the winners Sunday stood in stark contrast to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash that marked the 2016 and 2015 Oscars. Since then, the academy has worked to diversify its largely white and male membership, adding several thousand new members and opening the academy up internationally.
More women won Oscars than ever before. Still, this year's nominations were criticized for not including a female best director nominee or a best-picture nominee directed by a woman.
Though the once presumed front-runner "A Star Is Born" appeared to flame out as awards season continued, it won, as expected, for the song "Shallow," which Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper performed during the ceremony. As she came off the stage, Cooper had his arm around Gaga as she asked, "Did I nail it?"
Best documentary went to Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin's "Free Solo," which chronicles rock climber Alex Honnold's famed, free solo ascent of Yosemite's El Capitan, a 3,000-foot wall of sheer granite, without ropes or climbing equipment. "Free Solo" was among a handful of hugely successful documentaries last year including the nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg documentary "RBG" and the snubbed Fred Rogers doc "Won't You Be My Neighbor."
"Thank you Alex Honnold for teaching us to believe in the impossible," said Vasarhelyi. "This film is for everyone who believes in the impossible."
Adam McKay's Dick Cheney biopic "Vice" won makeup and hairstyling for its extensive physical transformations. The category was one of the four that the academy initially planned to present during a commercial break and as its winners — Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia Dehaney — dragged on in a litany of thank-yous, they were the first to have their microphone cut off.
To turn around ratings, Oscar producers pledged a shorter show. In the academy's favor is a popular crop of nominees: "Bohemian Rhapsody," ''A Star Is Born" and, most of all, "Black Panther" have all amassed huge sums in ticket sales. Typically, when there are box-office hits (like "Titanic"), more people watch the Oscars.