The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | 19-05-2023 | 11:45 am
Nearly 350 film crews have been permitted to shoot in Jammu & Kashmir over the last two years, a record number in the past four decades. Besides mainstream Hindi films, movies and series in Punjabi, Urdu, Telugu, Kannada and a series for History TV18, called OMG! Yeh Mera India, have also been shot in Kashmir.Just last month, actor Shah Rukh Khan had landed in the Valley for Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki, in which he plays an Army officer. A song for the film was shot in Sonmarg and the crew did a recce in the neighbouring Thajiwas glacier. Earlier this year, filmmaker Karan Johar had arrived at the Gulmarg Ski Resort with the crew of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, including lead actors Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt. While Gulmarg remains a favourite, besides Srinagar, Pahalgam and Doodhpathri, filmmakers are now being encouraged to explore unknown locales.The J&K tourism department said recently that it had selected hundreds of destinations to promote film tourism in the UT this year. The G20 tourism working group meeting, to be held on May 22-24 in Srinagar, will include a mega side event on film tourism.“Our focus this year is to promote film tourism, for which we have kept 300 destinations on the table for producers and directors to choose from,” said UT’s Tourism Secretary Syed Abid Rasheed, adding that the department will promote film tourism in a big way so that many untouched destinations are explored.Talking about the G20 event, he added, “It will be a great opportunity for J&K to showcase its beauty. Through the meeting, we will be able to promote film tourism in J&K.”Late last year, National Award-winning filmmaker Onir shot his film Chahiye Thoda Pyaar in Gurez Valley, located close to the Line of Control (LoC). Officials said with the security situation improving, areas close to the border have been opened for film shoots. Places like Bhaderwah and Kishtwar are also attracting Bollywood filmmakers, they added.The new film policy launched by the UT administration in 2021, along with single-window clearance and subsidy options, also entails “appropriate security and safety arrangements to be made free of cost to enable filmmakers to complete shooting”. Officials said this has reassured many film crews seeking to shoot in tougher terrain and in picturesque villages close to the LoC.In Harwan, on the outskirts of Srinagar, veteran actor Zarina Wahab recently returned to Kashmir after 45 years to film the Urdu web series Armaan. Noted filmmaker Lokesh Kanagaraj’s upcoming Tamil project Leo, featuring Vijay, Trisha and Sanjay Dutt, also included a schedule in Kashmir.“All the spots in almost all the districts in the UT are open for filming,” said a senior official, adding that the maximum number of requests have been received for shoots in and around Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Sonmarg and Doodhpathri.During the Covid-19 lockdown, when international travel remained largely curtailed, several filmmakers from regional film industries — particularly Telugu and Tamil — fell back on Kashmir to shoot song sequences, which they otherwise would have shot against the backdrop of the Alps. This gave a boost to J&K’s allied industries, including hotels, tour guides, taxi operators, translators and film production facilitation enterprises.Raj Kapoor’s 1949 film Barsaat is credited to have introduced the Valley to a larger audience, following which several filmmakers made a beeline for Kashmir. However, things began to change in the 1980s, after insurgency reared its head.In recent years, films like Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Mission Kashmir, Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Kabir Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan were shot in Kashmir. But now, officials said, 350 of 500 requests for permission to shoot films in the Valley have already been granted.The official added that the biggest change the new policy introduced was the single-window clearance system. “It is a seamless portal, where a simple application and minimum documentation is solicited from applicants and permission to shoot is provided within a month of the application being received,” he said.The applicant only interacts with the portal and clearances are coordinated from all the departments concerned. The official added that besides the location permission committee, headed by the respective divisional commissioners, the script screening committee looks at scripts for sensitive or anti-national content before giving the nod.In fact, there are incentives connected to the themes of films and series. For instance, as per the policy document, films produced to inspire the feeling of ‘One Nation, Best Nation’ shall be given 50 per cent of their cost or Rs 50 lakh, whichever is less, by way of subsidy. Films related to child and women empowerment will be given an additional financial assistance of 25 per cent.The 2021 film policy, which sets the vision till 2026, also aims to uplift the local film sector. A filmmaker giving work to local artists will get an additional subsidy of up to Rs 50 lakh, over and above the Rs 1 crore subsidy, in case more than 50 per cent of shooting days have been spent in Kashmir.Local Kashmiri actors are being taken as main leads, something that has not happened before. In fact, most actors in Onir’s Chahiye Thoda Pyaar are said to be Kashmiris.To popularise Indian films, the UT is also hoping to reopen closed cinema halls and upgrade existing ones. Last September, the UT got its first multiplex, with INOX opening doors in Srinagar. No wonder then that the epic moment was marked by the screening of two epic films — Vikram Vedha and Ponniyin Selvan.
With just the clothes on their backs, M Joy Singh and his family of five fled their home in the hill district of Kangpokpi and arrived at a relief camp in Imphal West’s Lamboi Khongnakhong on May 7. They have been there ever since and see little hope of returning anytime soon, even as the violence that started on May 3 continues across the state.They are among the thousands of families currently in relief camps across the state, many of whom have been living as refugees within their own state for close to a month now.As of June 2, there were 37,450 people living in relief camps across 13 districts. And with the continuing incidents of shooting and arson, particularly in the areas at the border of valley and hill districts, this number is rising by the day.The relief camp in which M Joy Singh and his family are being housed is located in a government school. Set up by local residents from a group called Indigenous Development Mission, it is much smaller than many other camps — housing 67 people from 22 families, most from Kangpokpi district and a few from Churachandpur district. Because the school campus is small, organisers say they are already running over capacity and have not taken in any new people since May 24.“The provisions for the camp are mostly being donated by different NGOs and clubs. They have been asking us about our needs and contributing. We have also been receiving some basic provisions from the government’s side,” said S Milan Singh, one of the organisers. Since May 12, they have received 18 bags of rice, three bags of dal, a few bags of salt, potatoes and onions, three tins of cooking oil and 22,000 litres of water from the district administration.In Churachandpur, Kennedy, part of the Kuki Khanglai Lompi group which runs 50 relief camps in the district, said meeting basic needs is a daily challenge amid the swelling numbers and soaring heat. On Saturday evening itself, more than 100 people arrived at the camps from Moljol village. Currently, he said, there are more than 6,500 people living in these camps, set up in schools, churches and community halls. Another 2,000 people are living in relatives’ homes but depend upon the group for food rations.“Different stakeholders are providing us with supplies. There are other civil society organisations, the church, private organizations, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum and the district administration… Right now, providing medicines to the people is a big challenge for us, especially since a lot of people are getting sick because of the heat,” he said. More than anything, however, it is the future that worries him.“We can’t just keep feeding them every day. Ultimately, people will need their own livelihood again,” he said.Back in Imphal, M Joy Singh — who was a teacher in a private school — said that for him, rehabilitation would ideally mean returning to Kangpokpi with protection so that he can restart his life there. “I have lived all my life there. My parents and grandparents have been cremated there. I don’t want to lose the place where I was brought up, but I fear it may take more than one or two years to return,” he said.At another relief camp in Imphal, M Baby, whose home was in Churachandpur town and who has been in the camp since May 10, said that her family would prefer a fresh start in the valley.“We came with nothing but our clothes. But there is nothing to go back to, everything is destroyed,” she said.According to the Deputy Collector of one of the districts concerned, there are primarily two sets of people in relief camps with differing long-term needs. People who have moved to the relief camps from border areas of the same districts, and those who have come from other districts dominated by people from another community.“Those from fringe villages will probably eventually go back. It is more challenging for the other displaced group. Until the question of where they will be resettlement is tackled, we want to at least find a better place for them to live where they can have some privacy and live as family units instead of all together, which is something we are working towards,” said the official.Among the inmates of the Lamboi relief camp are 14 children. While schools across the state have been shut since the start of the violence and will continue to remain closed till at least June 15, a small respite for the children is that some volunteer teachers have been visiting the camp for the past two weeks to conduct some informal classes for a few hours for them.
Airbus is closing towards a potentially record deal to sell 500 narrow-body A320-family jets to India’s largest carrier IndiGo, industry sources said on Sunday.The European planemaker has emerged as front-runner for an order eclipsing Air India’s historic provisional purchase of 470 jets in February, the sources said on the sidelines of an airline industry meeting in Istanbul.Such a deal would be worth some $50 billion at the most recently published Airbus list prices, but would typically be worth less than half this after widespread airline industry discounts for bulk deals, according to aircraft analysts.Airbus and Boeing are also still competing in separate talks to sell 25 A330neo or Boeing 787 wide-body jets to the same airline, the industry sources said.IndiGo Chief Executive Pieter Elbers, attending the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association in Istanbul, declined to comment on commercial matters.Airbus and Boeing also declined to comment.Reuters first reported in March that IndiGo, which has a 56% share of the domestic Indian market, was in talks with both Airbus and Boeing for the order, which if confirmed would be the largest by a single airline ranked by the number of units.IndiGo is already one of Airbus’s largest customers and has so far ordered a total of 830 Airbus A320-family jets of which nearly 500 are still to be delivered.Airbus and Boeing have been racking up billions of dollars of new orders stretching beyond 2030 as airlines lock in supplies ahead of looming shortages.Turkish Airlines had taken the spotlight before the IATA meeting with a surprise announcement that it could order 600 jets, but delegates said there were few signs of an immediate deal.TRAVEL REBOUNDIndian carriers now have the second-largest order book, with over 6% share of the industry backlog, behind only the United States, according to a June 1 report by Barclays.But some analysts have expressed concern that airlines could be over-ordering jets in pursuit of the same passengers.Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr told reporters on Sunday there was globally more supply than demand, however.The drive by IndiGo comes as the world’s third-largest aviation market is seeing a strong rebound in travel post-COVID, with passenger numbers surging despite high fares.IndiGo aims to double its capacity by the end of the decade and expand its network, especially in international markets.The airline has a codeshare partnership with seven carriers including Turkish Airlines, American Airlines and KLM.The alliance with Turkish Airlines has seen IndiGo make a major push into Europe, a favourite holiday destination among Indians, with the budget carrier now offering flights to 33 European airports.In a departure from its single-aisle strategy, IndiGo earlier this year began international operations to Istanbul with a Boeing 777, its first wide-body aircraft, taken from codeshare partner Turkish Airlines, which provides the pilots.Taking on the two widebodies is a stop-gap arrangement for IndiGo which needs the capacity until it takes delivery of the longer-range Airbus A321XLR planes in 2025-ish timeframe, Elbers told Reuters in an interview in March.
Most Indians have a fondness for starting their day with a steaming cup of tea accompanied by a couple of biscuits. It has been ingrained in our minds from childhood that consuming tea on an empty stomach can lead to acidity, so it is essential to have a few biscuits with our tea. However, this habit doesn’t end there. Throughout the day, every time we sip on a cup of tea or coffee, biscuits are the go-to accompaniment that we rarely miss. Have you ever taken the time to calculate the number of biscuits you consume in a day? Moreover, have you ever looked into the ingredient list of these biscuits?Biscuits, unfortunately, can be quite calorie-heavy and are high in hydrogenated fats. On average, a plain Marie biscuit contains around 40 calories. However, cream-filled or freshly baked varieties can contain as much as 100 to 150 calories per biscuit. Additionally, it’s rare for anyone to stop at just one biscuit. Most biscuits are made with refined flour, commonly known as maida, which gets absorbed quickly by the body and can contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain.Furthermore, biscuits are often loaded with chemicals such as emulsifiers, preservatives and colouring agents, which are added to increase their shelf life. Excessive amounts of salt and sugar are also commonly found in biscuits. High sodium consumption also ends in water retention resulting in bloating, puffiness and weight advantage. As a result, individuals who are hypertensive, diabetic, or overweight should avoid consuming biscuits. It is important to be cautious of sugar-free biscuits as well, as they often contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, which can affect metabolism and disrupt the gut microbiome. In addition, dipping sweet biscuits in tea or coffee can increase blood sugar levels.Even when a biscuit packet claims to be whole-wheat, fibre-rich, or oatmeal-based, the proportion of these healthier ingredients is usually minimal, ranging from 5 to 10 per cent. The primary ingredient remains the unhealthy refined flour. This deceptive marketing can lead consumers to believe they are making a healthier choice when, in reality, they are not.Some estimates say that even taking four digestive biscuits is equal to nearly a bag of potato chips! That’s bothersome for the heart health of people with high blood pressure, who eat these biscuits mistaking them to be a healthier option.Next time you reach for a biscuit, it’s worth considering the potential consequences. There are better alternatives available, such as consuming nuts like almonds, makhana (fox nuts), or roasted bhuna chana (roasted gram). These options not only provide a delicious taste but also offer essential nutrition. Nuts are rich in healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthier choice compared to biscuits.While the nostalgia and convenience of biscuits with tea are deeply rooted in Indian culture, it’s crucial to prioritise our health and make mindful choices. By replacing biscuits with healthier options like nuts, we can satisfy our taste buds while providing our bodies with the nutrition they need. So, the next time you’re tempted to reach for a biscuit, think twice and consider the alternatives that offer both taste and nourishment.As they cater to pleasure-seeking areas in the brain, consuming biscuits becomes an addiction much like cocaine and morphine. That’s the reason why you don’t stop at one.
The housing crisis is one of the most common problems plaguing countries across the increasingly urbanised world. New technologies like 3D printing are seen as a potential solution to provide affordable and secure housing.On Friday, business tycoon Anand Mahindra shared a video that showed the installation of a ‘foldable’ house made by Boxabl, an American housing construction company based in Las Vegas.Mahindra wrote, “I find these inventions fascinating. Yes, they’re usually cost-ineffective in India. But the need for speed in providing shelter (not just post natural disasters but also for accelerating economic growth) is so critical in a developing economy that we should explore how to ‘indianize’ these ideas & do them less expensively. Can @life_spaces look into this @amitsinha73?”.I find these inventions fascinating. Yes, they’re usually cost-ineffective in India. But the need for speed in providing shelter (not just post natural disasters but also for accelerating economic growth) is so critical in a developing economy that we should explore how to… https://t.co/kgNMW85gKa— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) June 2, 2023While many people agreed with Mahindra, others pointed out that the house shown in the video might not answer India’s housing crisis, especially in urban areas. Echoing this view, a Twitter user wrote, “Given India’s large population it need multistoried housing, space should be created artificially. India is an unique country with its population and needs a specific solution. Other countries model could not be copied”.Boxabl is known for its 400 square feet house which can be installed on any surface using connector plates within one day. The house can be shipped and hauled using an SUV or a pickup truck. Currently, this house is priced at $49,500 (approximately Rs 40,00,000).As per Boxabl’s website, these homes are resistant to bugs, mould, water, fire, and hurricane-level winds. The company got much attention in June 2021, after billionaire Elon Musk insinuated he lives in a Boxabl house when he tweeted that he lives in a “$50k house in Boca Chica”.
THE HARYANA government is coming under increasing pressure to take a stand on the continuing protest by wrestlers, who belong to the state, demanding the arrest of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh over sexual harassment allegations.Barring a few BJP leaders, the Manohar Lal Khattar government has largely stuck to the stance that law will take its course, even as the Opposition and Haryana’s powerful khaps have flocked to the wrestlers’ side.Khattar earlier said he did not support wrestlers resorting to protests, adding: “The issue is not related to Haryana. It is related to players’ teams and the Union government. The Supreme Court has already ordered registration of FIRs.”With FIR details now indicating the level of harassment the wrestlers were allegedly subjected to, The Indian Express called up the entire Haryana Council of Ministers to get their response.Overall, the ministers stuck to the official line. A few said the wrestlers should wait for the police’s probe findings, others said the protests were engineered by the Opposition, while several refused to comment.Here is what they said:“The allegations are very serious in nature. From what I have gathered from media reports, the Delhi Police needs to speed up its investigation into the matter. Everything is on the Delhi Police as of now… For me to say who is innocent or guilty, it is not possible, because it has all come out in the public what the FIRs state. It is up to the Delhi Police to expedite their investigation into the FIRs. If the allegations are substantiated by the probe, the strictest possible action should be taken… Although it is not a state (Haryana) subject, everybody from the state is with these girls.”“They (the wrestlers) should come out of the clutches of Opposition leaders and not allow themselves to be sacrificed for political interests. Somewhere there is a mahapanchayat or somewhere a dharna… They have the right to take part in an agitation, but players should come out of the clutches of these Opposition people soon. The government is listening to the players. They demanded a committee, registration of FIRs, that has been done… These players are our national heroes but the matter has got a little spoiled because they have got caught in the clutches of Opposition leaders.”(Earlier Vij had offered to raise the wrestlers’ issues with the highest level in the government.)“Both sides are giving their versions. I saw on social media that the complainant whom they (the wrestlers) said is a minor has three birth certificates in her name… What would have happened if he (Brij Bhushan) had got imprisoned under the POCSO Act on the basis of this (one of the FIRs against him is under the Act to prevent sexual assault against minors)! That is why an inquiry is required. Any action against anybody should only be taken after a thorough inquiry. Once the inquiry is completed, whoever is found guilty should be punished. Would it be called justice if, only on the basis of allegations, somebody is thrown into jail without an inquiry? A proper investigation is required to unveil the truth. Once the truth comes out, whoever is found guilty should be punished accordingly… What is happening is that one side is firm on its accusations, while the other side is vehemently opposing them. So, how will there be justice? That is why everybody should wait for the outcome of the ongoing inquiry.”“Our daughters are our pride, they are our honour. But, nobody should politicise this issue. A player should be seen as a player, also a player should not play into the hands of politicians. Otherwise, their sanctity will diminish. Doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani hona chahiye (the truth should come out). An impartial probe should be conducted… Yes, the way the Delhi Police treated our daughters (as they marched to the new Parliament building) needs to be condemned and action should be taken against them… (But) Brij Bhushan is giving his side of the version and it is for the courts of law and police to find the truth. We are all making efforts to resolve this ongoing standoff. Justice shall surely be given to our daughters.”“I don’t want to say anything on this. I have said earlier what I had to say.”(Last month, Ranjit Singh, who was earlier in the INLD and is the son of its late supremo Devi Lal, had supported the protesting wrestlers and said, “These wrestlers have brought pride to the country at the international level… It is not fair if sportspersons have to sit on dharna for their rights.” He had also said that the allegations against Brij Bhushan should be investigated at the earliest, and he should resign on moral grounds.)Dhanak promised to talk, but did not call back. Later, he could not be reached.“These wrestlers have brought laurels to our country and we are proud of them… Nobody is trying to save Brij Bhushan. Rather, FIRs have already been registered and an investigation is on.”Dalal did not respond to repeated calls.(Earlier, he had said: “As per the law, anybody and everybody has the right to carry out a peaceful protest. All legitimate demands shall be fulfilled as per the law. Be it farmers or sportspersons, all their legitimate demands shall be fulfilled as there is a BJP government, whose primary objective is to serve the people of this nation.”)Banwari Lal did not respond to repeated calls.(Earlier, he had said: “The wrestlers’ protest is being carried out at the behest of Opposition parties… They keep getting such protests orchestrated.”)Singh promised to call back but was later unavailable.(Singh is himself facing an FIR over sexual harassment charges levelled by a woman coach. He was removed as Sports Minister after much delay by the Khattar government, but continues to hold his Printing and Stationery portfolio.)Yadav could not be reached despite repeated calls and messages.(Speaking earlier this week to a few mediapersons, Yadav had feigned ignorance, saying he did not have much information about the incident and said only the Union government could speak on the matter as it pertained to it. He had also called the protesting wrestlers “nation’s heroes”.)Gupta could not be reached despite repeated attempts.The only woman in the Khattar Ministry, Dhanda did not respond to queries.