Dhaka, Nov 9 (UNB) – The second day of Dhaka Literature Festival 2018 filled the premises of Bangla Academy on Friday with the same amount of enthusiasm from visitors thronging the venue and attending speakers and authors as the first.
Celebrated Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala, originally from Nepal, graced the festival in an insightful dialogue with the award-winning actress-turned-director Nandita Das titled ‘Breaking Bad’ at the Abdul Karim Shahitya Bisharad Auditorium that event co-director Sadaf Saaz moderated.
Das and Koirala crafted very different paths within India"s vast, multi-layered film industry, which allowed them to bring a whole range of perspectives into the discussion.
In the 90-minute session they engaged on everything from various contemporary social ills to the much talked-about #metoo movement.
At the inception, the Sadaf Saaz lauded both actresses remarking about their career with ample contribution from the audience.
Manisha Koirala, who recently battled cancer, talked about her upcoming book on the matter titled "Healed" releasing in 2019.
She also remarked about her acting career saying "I always wanted to break the stereotypical women character in Bollywood."
"To me satisfaction is much more meaningful than profit," she added.
When asked about her current status in acting she said that she wants to "venture outside known territory" regarding the character in cinema.
Nandita Das spoke about her emergence as an actress and also as a director, mentioning her first directorial venture ‘Firaaq’ (2008) which was critically acclaimed.
“When we (women) direct movies we never consciously think about making it as a woman," she further said.
Later though she pointed to certain stereotypes in the industry that tend to stick to one’s identity as a woman, never letting them forget that society constantly evaluates them on feminine attributes.
Manisha resonated with her and stated that women make up just 20% or less of the cinema industry.
Manisha Koirala expressed her hope regarding the current generation upon being asked about the crude commercial portrayal of women.
"Slowly, a few male and female directors are making movies that don’t cast women stereotypically," she said.
Regarding the current #metoo movement which took the world by storm, both the speakers expressed grave concern.
"There should be a serious enquiry into each case and if found guilty there should be punishment," Manisha said.
But women should not always play the "poor me" card, she further remarked.
Nandita echoed the same sentiment while appreciating the young women daring to come forward to challenge the status quo.
"Today’s younger women are more intolerant to any kind of harassment which is a great thing," Nandita added.
After the dialogue they engaged in a Question and Answer session that saw many comments and queries emerging from the rapt audience.
Washington, Nov 9 (AP/UNB) — Former first lady Michelle Obama blasts President Donald Trump in her new book, writing how she reacted in shock the night she learned he would replace her husband in the Oval Office and tried to "block it all out."
She also denounces Trump's "birther" campaign questioning her husband's citizenship, calling it bigoted and dangerous, "deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks."
In her memoir "Becoming," set to come out Tuesday, Obama writes openly about everything from growing up in Chicago to confronting racism in public life to her amazement at becoming the country's first black first lady. She also reflects on early struggles in her marriage to Barack Obama as he began his political career and was often away. She writes that they met with a counselor "a handful of times," and she came to realize that she was more "in charge" of her happiness than she had realized. "This was my pivot point," Obama explains. "My moment of self-arrest."
Obama writes that she assumed Trump was "grandstanding" when he announced his presidential run in 2015. She expresses disbelief over how so many women would choose a "misogynist" over Hillary Clinton, "an exceptionally qualified female candidate." She remembers how her body "buzzed with fury" after seeing the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women.
She also accuses Trump of using body language to "stalk" Clinton during an election debate. She writes of Trump following Clinton around the stage, standing nearby and "trying to diminish her presence."
Trump's message, according to Obama, in words which appear in the book in darkened print: "I can hurt you and get away with it."
The Associated Press purchased an early copy of "Becoming," one of the most anticipated political books in recent memory. Obama is admired worldwide and has offered few extensive comments on her White House years. And memoirs by former first ladies, including Clinton and Laura Bush, are usually best-sellers.
Obama launches her promotional tour Tuesday not at a bookstore, but at Chicago's United Center, where tens of thousands of people have purchased tickets — from just under $30 to thousands of dollars — to attend the event moderated by Oprah Winfrey. Other stops on a tour scaled to rock star dimensions are planned at large arenas from New York City's Barclays Center to the Los Angeles Forum, with guests including Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker. While some fans have criticized the price as too high, 10 percent of tickets at each event are being donated to local charities, schools and community groups.
In "Becoming," Obama shares both pain and joy. She writes lovingly of her family and gives a detailed account of her courtship with her future husband, whom she met when both were at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin LLP; she was initially his adviser. Secretaries claimed he was both brilliant and "cute," although Michelle Obama was skeptical, writing that white people went "bonkers" any time you "put a suit" on a "half-intelligent black man." She also thought his picture had a "whiff of geekiness."
But she was more than impressed after meeting him, by his "rich, even sexy baritone" and by his "strange, stirring combination" of serenity and power. "This strange mix-of-everything-man," when she finally let him kiss her, set off a "toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder."
But throughout her husband's life in politics, she fought to balance public and private needs, and to maintain her self-esteem. She agonized over what she feared was a cartoonish, racist image. She remembered being labeled "angry" and, by the Fox network, "Obama's Baby Mama." At times, she feared she was damaging her husband's 2008 presidential campaign, especially after conservatives seized on a line from one of her speeches — taken out of context, she notes — that for the first time as an adult she was "really proud" of her country.
The remarks faded from the news, but she sensed lasting damage, a "pernicious seed," a "perception" that she was "disgruntled and vaguely hostile."
As the first black first lady, she knew she would be labeled "other" and would have to earn the aura of "grace" given freely to her white predecessors. She found confidence in repeating to herself a favorite chant: "Am I good enough? Yes I am."
"Becoming" is part of a joint book deal with former President Barack Obama, whose memoir is expected next year, that is believed worth tens of millions of dollars. The Obamas have said they will donate a "significant portion" of their author proceeds to charity, including the Obama Foundation.
Widely praised as a gifted orator and communicator, Michelle Obama has long said she has no interest in running for office, although she held a few campaign-style rallies before the midterms urging people to register to vote. The rallies were part of her work as co-chairman of the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization When We All Vote.
Last year, she launched a program to help empower girls worldwide through education. The Global Girls Alliance aims to support more than 1,500 grassroots organizations combating the challenges girls encounter in their communities.
Dhaka, Nov 8 (UNB) – The 8th edition of Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF), an internationally recognised literary festival, kicked off at Abdul Karim Shaihittya Bisharad Auditorium of Bangla Academy on Thursday.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor formally inaugurated the festivity around 11 am in presence of award winning director Nandita Das and Pulitzer Prize winner author Adam Johnson and event directors.
Praising the efforts of the hosts, Asaduzzaman Noor said DLF always holds principles that promote secularism and diversity.
The ruling government is always keen to extend support for sectors like art and science, he added.
He also said events like DLF should be encouraged as such ventures help our youth to grow a culture of contemplation rather than ignorance.
Producer and director of DLF 2018 Sadaf Saaz said they have always tried to stand by the literary figures that have been intimidated and even killed for their beliefs since the inception of the event.
Other two co-directors of the event, K Anis Ahmed and Ahsan Akbar also spoke on the occasion.
During her brief speech, Noted Indian director Nandita Das thanked the organizers for arranging such an extraordinary event on literature.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Adam Johnson resonated with her in his speech.
Meanwhile, a Kathak Dance segment was held before the inaugural session while the inauguration ceremony was followed by a dialogue session featuring Adam Johnson, David Biello, James Meek, Nisid Hajari and Courtney Hodell.
More than 200 speakers, authors and poets including Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Mohammad Hanif, Tilda Swinton and Manisha Koirala are participating in over 90 sessions of DLF.
Main attractions of the Dhaka Lit Fest include dialogue sessions covering literature and art, film screening, book launching and several cultural performances.
The festival will continue from 9 am to 7:30 pm in each day till November 10.
The 8th Dhaka Lit Fest is hosted by Bangla Academy with Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune as the Title Sponsors while Brack Bank is the key sponsor along with British Council, a strategic partner of the event.
The festival is free and open for all with online registration available at: www.dhakalitfest.com/register/.
New Delhi, Nov 8 (AP/UNB) — Toxic smog has shrouded the Indian capital as air quality plummeted to hazardous levels after tens of thousands of people set off a multitude of firecrackers to celebrate the major Hindu festival of Diwali.
With schools closed for holidays, many young children stayed indoors to escape the pollution levels that shot up to 681, as reported by the U.S. Embassy Thursday morning. That's 20 times higher than what's considered safe by the World Health Organization and could cause serious aggravation of heart or lung diseases.
A government organization blamed it on a combination of toxic fumes from the burning of stubbles in agricultural fields and firecrackers.
Revelers flouted the Supreme Court order that firecrackers could be exploded only between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the festival night on Wednesday.
Tokyo, Nov 6 (Xinhua/UNB) - World-famous Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami will open an archive at his alma mater that includes manuscripts of his works and his massive collection of music, the writer announced here Sunday.
At his first formal news conference in Japan in 37 years, the writer revealed his "dream" plan to open a "Murakami Library" at Waseda University in Tokyo, to store drafts of his best-selling novels, his translation work as well as his collection of vinyl records, according to Japanese local media the Mainichi.
"I'm more than happy if those materials can contribute in any way for those who want to study my works," Murakami said.
"I hope it would be a place for cultural exchanges with positive and open atmosphere," he said.
The writer came up with the idea of donation when he realized that his collection of materials has grown so much over the past 40 years and there was not enough storage space at his home and office.
"I have no children to take care of them and I didn't want those resources to be scattered and lost when I die," he said, adding that he "considered various places" and felt that his alma mater "is the best place."
Born in 1949, Murakami started writing after graduating from Waseda University in 1975. He has published more than 10 novels, a number of collections of short stories and collected essays. His works have been translated into more than 50 languages, among which is his best-known novel, Norwegian Wood, whose drafts will be included in the archive.