Los Angeles, Jan 26 (AP/UNB) — Coroner office officials say former model and actress Kim Porter died last year from pneumonia.
The Los Angeles coroner's office on Friday released the results of its investigation into Porter's Nov. 15 death. Investigators determined after an autopsy that her death was from natural causes.
The 47-year-old was also a former girlfriend of Sean "Diddy" Combs and the pair had three children together. Combs eulogized Porter at her funeral in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia. Numerous celebrities, including Usher, Mary J. Blige, Lil' Kim and producer Russell Simmons attended the ceremony, which ended with fireworks.
Porter also has a son, actor-singer Quincy Brown, from a previous relationship with R&B singer Al B. Sure!
Combs called Porter "more than a soul" mate in a tweet after her death.
Dhaka, Jan 25 (UNB)- The film is Kangana Ranaut all the way. Her belief in her ability to carry the film on her shoulders is touching, reports NDTV.
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande, Jisshu Sengupta, Zeeshan Ayyub, Danny Denzongpa, Atul Kulkarni
Directors: Kangana Ranaut and Krish
Rating: 1 Star (out of 5)
Avowedly meant to stimulate patriotic zeal - "matrubhumi se niswarth prem (selfless love for the motherland)" - among Indian moviegoers 160 years after Rani Laxmi Bai laid down her life on the battlefield, Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi, is too exhausting a film to send the audience home bubbling with enthusiasm. The visual effects are low-grade, the stilted dialogues reek of laziness, the onscreen performances are pedestrian and the sets have a hurriedly-erected feel.
Manikarnika, for which lead actress Kangana Ranaut takes directing credit ahead of Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, blows history to smithereens and reduces the Rani of Jhansi, one of greatest warriors India has ever known, to a stunt queen, turning the film in the bargain into an outright travesty of cinema. The story of the queen's short but glorious life deserves a movie all right but a much better one than this.
In one surprising sequence, the Rani of Jhansi speaks unblemished English although the audience is never introduced to her language tutor. Stating that "words without culture have no meaning" - yes, in so many words and in Queen's English - she proceeds to extol the virtues of the mother tongue. "Matrubhasha maa hoti hai," she declares. Like much else in Manikarnika, this comes out of nowhere and leaves you scratching your head in disbelief.
In other scenes, the Rani runs and leaps like a champion athlete and mounts her steed with a hop, step and jump. We are expected to gape at the spectacle in wonder. We might have done so if only her exploits were lent a touch a believable humanity. She strikes no chords because all she does is deliver homilies on patriotism, courage and national pride. There is no room for nuance here. The real woman behind the irrepressible patriot is lost in the din.
In another crucial scene, the Rani's husband, Maharaja Gangadhar Rao Newalkar (Jisshu Sengupta in an extended role in which he isn't allowed to use his own voice), likens the bangles he wears to handcuffs, an emblem of enslavement. Why a film about a female ruler and warrior of unparalleled stature should treat a woman's accessory as a symbol of servitude is beyond comprehension unless one presumes that the makers of this movie do not know better.
The fact that Manikarnika, in an opening disclaimer, lays no claims to historical accuracy cannot, however, absolve its makers of the blame for producing a film so astonishingly inept. This despite the fact that it loses no opportunity to whip up exuberance - beginning with an introductory voiceover by Amitabh Bachchan drawing our attention to the hinsaa (violence) and atyachar (tortune) that the British East India Company unleashed on this "pavitra" bhoomi.
By turning Rani Laxmi Bai's valour into pulpy posturing about her wanting to be a mashaal (fire) of azaadi (freedom) in the hearts of her people for all times to come, the ho-hum screenplay (by KK Vijayendra Prasad) delivers a comic-strip rendition of a memorable, if tragic, chapter of Indian history, shorn of its intricacies. It captures neither the exemplary heroism nor the pathos of the queen's life. The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, which triggered a widespread rebellion against the British rulers and was a key juncture in Rani Laxmi Bai's life, is ill-advisedly glossed over.
The film does devote sufficient footage to the birth and death of her only child as well as to the premature death of her husband, but the titular figure's single-note demeanour allows for no depth in the characterization of a woman who broke every conceivable societal norm of her times.
We first see Kangana in 1842 - when Rani Laxmi Bai was 14 - using a bow and arrow to stop a tiger from pouncing on a hapless goat. The next thing we know is she is nursing the predator's wound and then setting the creature free. A little later, she saves a calf from ending up as lunch for British officers. Can a film about nationalism be complete today without an act of gauraksha?
The queen lived for 16 more years from the time she incapacitates the tiger and the character passes through different stages of that time-frame, but no perceptible change registers on the actress' visage, which, in any case, is behind so much cosmetic goop that it rules out the possibility of any tangible emotions filtering through the layers of make-up.
Kangana settles into a predictable pattern. She smiles through many of the most difficult situations that the rani faces, sports a smirk when she has to exude insouciance, goes all wide-eyed and holds an unblinking gaze when the idea is to convey obduracy, and raises her voice several notches to represent unbridled rage. All through the film, Kangana flits from one of the above moods to another, but the film never sheds its monotony. Especially mechanical are the battle scenes - they might be sporadic but when one erupts it goes on forever, consuming a lot of the film's two-and-a-half-hour runtime.
The cast of Manikarnika has some actors of proven class - Danny Denzongpa in the role of Mohammad Gouse Khan, Rani's Laxmi Bai's trusted cannon expert; Atul Kulkarni as freedom fighter Tatya Tope (a leading figure in the First War Of Independence) and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub essaying the character of a treacherous man whose designs on the Jhansi throne are thwarted - but none is allowed the space to rise above the overwhelming mediocrity of the material.
Not surprisingly, the British colonial officers, played by the likes of Richard Keep (General Hugh Rose) and Edward Sonnenblick (Captain John Gordon), are bad-guy caricatures. They have even less of a chance of making a mark.
Manikarnika is Kangana Ranaut all the way. Her belief in her ability to carry a historical saga of this scale on her shoulders is touching, even admirable. But her move into the director's seat couldn't obviously have helped the film's cause. She is everywhere, even where she isn't required. The result of the overreach is an overstretched, exaggerated drama that huffs and puffs its way through many a zone of utter redundancy.
Manikarnika is agonizingly soulless. Platitudes piled upon synthetic platitudes do not add up to great cinema, especially when none of the film's war cries delivers any bang for its buck. Save yours and give the film a miss unless you like the sound of misfires.
Nashville, Jan 24 (AP/UNB) — Carrie Underwood says her heart is full after the arrival of her second son.
The country superstar posted photos of herself, her husband Mike Fisher and her son Isaiah with the newborn, who she said was born early Monday. Her post states "his mom, dad and big brother couldn't be happier for God to trust them with taking care of this little miracle."
The seven-time Grammy winner Underwood and Fisher, a former NHL player, named him Jacob Bryan Fisher. The former "American Idol" winner revealed last year that she had three miscarriages in about two years.
The 35-year-old singer is scheduled to go on tour this spring and last year released her latest album, "Cry Pretty," which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart.
Dhaka, Jan 23 (UNB) - A five-day showcase of Iranian cinema will be held in the city on February 8-12.
Iran Cultural Centre, Dhaka and Bangladesh National Museum will jointly organize the showcase at the Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the museum.
An inaugural session will held at the main auditorium of the National Museum at 3.30 pm on the opening day.
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud is scheduled to be present as chief guest.
Mohammad Reza Nafar, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bangladesh and Touqir Ahmed, eminent actor and film director, will be present as special guests.
Rashidul Islam, Executive Editor of online portal Amadershomoy.com, will present the keynote paper while Md. Reaz Ahmed, Director General of Bangladesh National Museum will preside over the program.
The inauguration will be followed by the screening of the first film in the showcase, ‘M for Mother’, directed by Rasoul Mollagholipour.
Los Angeles, Jan 23 (AP/UNB) — "Black Panther" broke through an Oscar category wall for superheroes.
The Marvel blockbuster hit became the first comic book-based film to earn a best picture nomination from the Academy Awards on Tuesday. It was a major step for comic book movies, which had previously been shunned from film's top honor.
The most notable snub was 2008's "The Dark Knight," prompting the academy to expand the best picture category from five to up to 10 nominees.
It took a decade, but "Black Panther" cracked the category after becoming a box-office hit domestically and a cultural phenomenon. The film earned $700 million domestically during its theatrical run.
Overall, "Black Panther" was rewarded a total of seven nominations including Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart's production design, Ruth E. Carter's costume design and Kendrick Lamar and SZA's song "All the Stars." The film was also nominated for best sound editing, sound mixing and original score.
Beachler became the first African-American nominee for production design.
"To break down a wall like that, to be your ancestors' wildest dreams, to show other young women of color and boys and girls that you can do whatever you want no matter what struggles you have in your life — all of that. That's what it means to me," said Beachler, talking by phone from the Cincinnati set of Todd Haynes' latest film.
Ludwig Goransson, who scored the film, gave a lot of credit to the film's overall success to director Ryan Coogler, who was shut out of the directing category.
"He's an exceptional leader," said Goransson of Coogler, who he's known since college. The Grammy-nominated producer said his rapport with the director put together "memorable music" for the film.
"We're not doing anything different than what we did 10 years ago," said Goransson, a longtime producer of Childish Gambino. "I just tried to make the best music as I could to serve Ryan's vision. When working with him, I try to make the best possible music as I can."
Carter said she feels proud to be a part of a film like "Black Panther."
"With this film, I felt like there was a paradigm shift," said Carter, who was previously nominated for her designs for Spike Lee's "Malcolm X" and Steven Spielberg's "Amistad." ''The nominations let me know that not only Marvel fans, people of Africa and African-Americans felt really happy about this film, and loved the costume designs."