India's tax police Wednesday raided the properties of four Bollywood celebrities, including actress Taapsee Pannu and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, in the cities of Mumbai and Pune in the western state of Maharashtra.
Both Taapsee and Anurag are vocal critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party government. They have slammed the government on various issues on social media, including the ongoing protests by peasants against the three new farm laws.
Sources told UNB that 30 properties linked to the four Bollywood celebrities -- producers Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena being the other two -- were searched by sleuths of the federal Income Tax department in Mumbai and Pune over allegations of tax evasion.
"The tax raids were in connection with Anurag's Phantom Films, a now-defunct production house. Vikas and Madhu were co-promoters of Phantom Films. Several documents have been seized during the raids," sources said.
Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar refuted allegations that the raids were "politically motivated". "The Income Tax department probes someone based on whatever information they get. The issue goes to court later," he told the media in Delhi.
Maharashtra's ruling Shiv Sena ministers have come down heavily on the Modi government for the raids. "Anurag and Tapasee have raised their voice against the Modi government's policies. This action is an attempt to suppress their voices," Minister Nawab Malik said.
After modeling for a few years, Tapasee made her acting debut with the 2010 regional Telugu film Jhummandi Naadam and later acted in the 2011 Tamil film, Aadukalam. She made her Hindi film debut with David Dhawan's comedy Chashme Baddoor.
The actress got noticed for her performance in the courtroom drama Pink, which was a critical and commercial success.
Apart from acting, Pannu runs an event management company called The Wedding Factory along with her sister Shagun and a friend. She is also the owner of the badminton franchise Pune 7 Aces, which plays in the Premier Badminton League.
On the other hand, Anurag got his major break as a co-writer in filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma's crime drama Satya in 1998, and made his Bollywood directorial debut with Paanch, which never had a theatrical release due to censorship issues.
He then went on to direct Black Friday (2004), a film based on the namesake book by Hussain Zaidi about the 1993 Bombay bombings. He gained fame with the two-part crime drama, Gangs of Wasseypur in 2012.
Chloé Zhao became the second woman to win best director at the Golden Globes and the first female winner of Asian descent on a night in which her film “Nomadland” was crowned the top drama film.
Zhao, who was among three women nominated in the directing category, was honored for her work on “Nomadland,” about people who take to the road and move from place to place seeking work for usually low wages. It stars two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand and includes nonprofessional actors.
“I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us,” Zhao said, accepting the directing honor virtually on Sunday night.
She singled out real-life nomad Bob Wells, who appears in the movie, for help with her remarks.
“This is what he said about compassion,” Zhao said. “Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart to heart pounding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.”
The 38-year-old director who lives in Los Angeles is a leading Oscar contender for “Nomadland,” which is in select theaters and streaming on Hulu.
“Now this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories because it gives us a chance to laugh and cry together and it gives us a chance to learn from each other and to have more compassion
for each other,” Zhao said in her acceptance remarks. “So thank you everyone who made it possible to do what I love.”
She joins Barbra Streisand, who won in 1984 for “Yentl,” as the only women to win directing honors at the Globes. Until this year, just five women had been nominated in the category.
“Sometimes a first feels like a long time coming. You feel like, it’s about time,” Zhao said in virtual backstage comments. “I’m sure there’s many others before me that deserve the same recognition. If this means more people like me get to live their dreams and do what I do, I’m happy.”
Regina King ("One Night in Miami...") and Emerald Fennell ("Promising Young Woman") were the other female director nominees.
Zhao also was nominated for best motion picture screenplay and lost to Aaron Sorkin. McDormand received a nod for actress in a motion picture drama, but lost.
Born in China, Zhao made her feature directing debut in 2015 with “Songs My Brother Taught Me.” She broke out in 2017 with “The Rider.” Next up for her is the big-budget Marvel film “Eternals,” set for release this fall.
Narrating the thrilling and triumphant story of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)'s breathtaking operations to defeat the pirates of the Sundarban, acclaimed action director Dipankar Dipon's 'Operation Sundarban' is set for release on Eid-Ul-Adha 2021.
The action thriller set in the mangrove forest, produced by RAB Welfare Cooperative Society Limited, unveiled its teaser and website through a gala event at the Army Golf Club in the capital on Tuesday, where the makers announced the release date of the film.
Featuring an ensemble cast including Dhallywood's celebrated superstar Riaz Ahmed who is making a comeback after four years, alongside heartthrobs including Siam Ahmed, Nusraat Faria, Ziaul Roshan, Manoj Pramanik and Taskeen Rahman, the 1-minute and 33-second teaser was lauded by its audiences for showcasing the commendable narrative of the history and facts through infotainment.
Benazir Ahmed, Inspector General of Bangladesh Police attended the event as the chief guest while RAB Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun and Additional Director General (Operations) Colonel Tofail Mostafa Sarwar joined as special guests, alongside other higher officials and the cast members of the film.
The 1-minute and 33-second teaser of the film was then released by the guests, which was followed by the launching of the official website of the film, https://operationsundarban.com/.
"Sundarban has a language and narrative of its own, which was pretty much controlled by the water pirates until 2016 when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the Sundarbans free of pirates. Our film is depicting the story with the involvement of our 1,300 cast and crew members, narrating the saga of the mission against the pirates and their post-pirate life, and the livelihood of the natives living around Sundarban," Director Dipankar Dipon said at the event.
He added, "We had to work through a lot, with a mission to tell a tale that the Bangladeshi audiences have never seen before. In addition to that, we had challenges to make an actual movie that is different than a documentary. Without the cordial cooperation of RAB members and other elite force officials, alongside the people of Sundarban - this film would not see the daylight."
"For years, the imagery of our elite forces in our own movies were confined into silly, comedic actions such as discouraging the casts in the last sequences on not to take actions by themselves. Film is a wonderful medium of documentation of history, and without proper documentation, the glorious tale of our operation against the pirates in Sundarban would remain untold. From that perspective, we took the initiative and Dipon made justice with proper research and development on the project," Benazir Ahmed said at the event.
Also read: Shooting of ‘Operation Sundarbans’ begins
Comparing with movies from outside the country, RAB Additional Director General Colonel Tofail Mostafa Sarwar said about the film, "Reality is much more different and difficult than fiction. We often see international movies showcasing glorious operations of elite forces, and we have tried to do the same in Operation Sundarban, depicting the enthralling true stories blending adequate amount of entertainment."
Under the supervision of RAB, the shooting of the film has taken place in some remote areas in the Sundarban where people usually do not go or cannot go. Actor Siam Ahmed, alongside Ziaul Roshan, Riaz Ahmed and others have undergone special training sessions from RAB prior to the shooting in Sundarban and were seen taking part in various expeditions on water, land, and air into the teaser.
Initially scheduled to be released for Eid-ul-Adha in 2020, it faced delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The film is expected to enthrall the audiences in theatres during Eid-Ul-Adha 2021 and also with possible releases on global platforms including Netflix, the organizers informed at the event.
Eid ul Adha is most likely to fall on July 19/20 this year, subject to the moon sightings.
Bollywood actors Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan have been blessed with a baby boy, their second son, her father has announced.
40-year-old Kareena, the daughter of Bollywood actors Randhir Kapoor and Babita, was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital, a leading private hospital in Mumbai, on Saturday night and gave birth to the baby boy on Sunday morning.
"Yes, Kareena gave birth to a baby boy today morning. We are overjoyed. Both the mother and baby are doing well," Kareena's father Randhir told the media.
The couple -- dubbed Saifeena by the paparazzi -- announced the pregnancy on social media in August last year. "We are very pleased to announce that we are expecting an addition to our family!! Thank you to all our well-wishers for all their love and support."
Kareena and Saif tied the knot in 2012. They welcomed their first son, Taimur, in December 2016. Saif also has two children -- actor Sara Ali Khan and Ibrahim Ali Khan with former wife Amrita Singh, also a Bollywood actress.
Born to the Kapoor family, known as the 'First Family of Bollywood', Kareena -- the granddaughter of legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor, made her acting debut opposite another legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan's son Abhishek with the 2000 drama Refugee.
Her real success came in 2004 when she played a sex worker in the drama Chameli. She subsequently earned critical recognition for her role in the 2006 crime flick Omkara, a character based on William Shakespeare's heroine Desdemona.
Recipient of several awards, Kareena is one of Bollywood's highest-paid actresses. She will be next seen in Advait Chandan's Laal Singh Chaddha and Karan Johar's Takht. Kareena is also all set to publish her first pregnancy book later this year.
Saif, on the other hand, is the son of former Indian cricket captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and former Bollywood's yesteryear heroine Sharmila Tagore.
Marking Pahela Falgun and Valentine's Day, aspiring young filmmaker Zahid Gogon directed short-film 'Prem Puran’ is set to release today on LagVelki.com, country's first pay-per-view movie OTT platform.
Produced under the banner of Film Mistri production, 'Prem Puran' is inspired from a series of true stories based on Adamjee jute mill worker leader Shahid Tajul Islam, who demanded justice for the workers and embraced martyrdom during the Ershad regime in 1986. The storyline is also inspired by 'The Gift of The Magi' by O' Henry, 'Raincoat' by Rituparno Ghosh and 'Bhanga Chora' by Zahir Raihan.
Set in the locations including Dhaka, Pabna, and Kushtia, the 35-minutes short film is starring Manoj Pramanik, Samia Othoi, Arman Parvez Murad, Ashok Bepari, Pankaj Majumder and Wania in major roles.
"As I was really enthusiast to properly tell the story, I tried to follow every aspect of filmmaking grammar with 'Prem Puran' and made this film for our general audiences, projecting a familiar storyline. Through this affiliation with LagVelki, I hope the film will reach a broader audience," said Gogon, also the Tareque Masud Young Film Maker Award (2014) winner and a film graduate from the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).
'Prem Puran' has already participated and won awards in several festivals including the Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival 2019 and Chittagong Short Film Festival 2020 (Best Actress, Samia Othoi). It was also the finalist in the International Moving Film Festival 2019 (Iran), semifinalist in the Jaipur Film World 2020 and official selection at the Goa Short Film Festival-2019, Lift-Off Global Network 2019, Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival 2020, Kaaryat International Film Festival of India 2019 and the Honorable Jury Mention at the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2020, to name a few.
Anyone can watch ‘Prem Puran’ with a Tk 20 LagVelki subscription fee for 24 hours from anywhere in the country at LagVelki's website and app. Payments can be done through any Bangladeshi digital wallet and mobile banking services.