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James Franco pulled from Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue

James Franco has been erased from the cover of Vanity Fair's annual issue celebrating Hollywood and the Academy Awards.

"We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him," the publication said in a statement released to CNN Friday.

The magazine debuted its new cover Thursday, with the headline "The 2018 Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio: 12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported the change, Franco was digitally removed from the cover after sitting for famed photographer, Annie Leibovitz.

Those featured are usually photographed in small groups and then digitally combined into one image. As a result, dropping Franco did not necessitate a reshoot.

The actor has denied allegations by five women who told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month they experienced inappropriate and sometimes sexually exploitative behavior by Franco.

Source : CNN

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Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh to get engaged in Sri Lanka?

After the hush-hush wedding ceremony of Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma and Indian Cricket Team captain Virat Kohli, it's time for another B-Town wedding, if reports are true!

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh who have been dating for almost five years might get engaged in Sri Lanka.

India.com reports that the engagement might take place on January 5, which is also Deepika's birthday! How wonderful would it be if the Bajirao Mastani co-actors finally decide to tie the nuptial knot!

There were reports earlier that Deepika will celebrate her birthday with her rumoured beau in Sri Lanka and only then return to India. However, the reports of an engagement is indeed a sweet surprise!

Ranveer was seen at an airport in Sri Lanka last week on Thursday along with Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani. Deepika, who was holidaying in Vienna, flew to Sri Lanka to spend time with her beau.

“The couple is going snorkelling, and will spend time with each other. There are people in Sri Lanka who can identify them, but then it’s also a country that lets people be at peace and doesn’t intrude on privacy. So, they will be able to spend quality time with each other,” a leading daily quoted a source as saying.

Deepika and Ranveer's dating rumours started coming up since Goliyon Ki Raasleela – Ram Leela released. The two are currently gearing up for the release of Padmavat(I), which recently got CBFC clearance after being surrounded by numerous controversies.

The Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial also stars Shahid Kapoor and is yet to get a release date.

(Zee News)

 

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‘Surangani’ Ceylon Manohar passes away

‘Ceylon’ Manohar aka AE Manoharan passed away in Chennai late Monday due to age-related ailments. The 73-year-old actor-singer, famous for his Tamil pop ‘Surangani’ made in mid-70s, had been living at Kandanchavadi near the Tidel Park on OMR.

Starting his career in dramas and locally produced films in Jaffna in the 50s and early 60s, Manoharan launched into a singing career in Colombo in 1970 when he sang for the Great Friends Enterprises. He was the hero in the first Tamil movie made in Jaffna called ‘Pasa Nila’. Since then, he had acted in over 250 films in Tamil, Sinhalese and a couple of other languages.

It was during his tenure as a producer for dramas in the commercial section of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation in 1972 that Manoharan began specializing in pop music and released many numbers in Tamil, Sinhalese and English. It was during this time that his ‘Surangani’ hit the charts and won him the title ‘Pop Chakravarthi’ at a music festival in Jaffna.

Manoharan’s film as hero, ‘Vaadai Kaatru’, made in 1977 had won the President’s Award for the best story in Sri Lanka. This was followed by several films in Kollywood with top stars like Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, besides Dharmendra and Mammootty. He was also part of TV series like Thirumathi Selvam, Athipookkal and Anjali. Manoharan has also performed in numerous music shows all over the world.

Source : Deccan Chronicle

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Padmavati: Controversial film 'cleared by Indian censor board'

India's film censor board has cleared the release of controversial Bollywood film Padmavati, reports say.

The film, which tells the story of a 14th Century Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler, has sparked nationwide protests by Hindu and caste groups.

However, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told local media it had not recommended any cuts.

In November, India's top court rejected an appeal by a lawyer to block the film's global release.

Padmavati tells the story of a 14th Century Hindu queen belonging to the high Rajput caste and the Muslim ruler Alauddin Khilji. Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh play the lead roles.

Hindu groups and a Rajput caste organisation allege that the movie, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, depicts an intimate romantic scene between the two characters; the producers of the film deny this.

Although a fictional character, Padmavati is deified and held as a symbol of female honour among Rajputs.

The controversy comes amid an upsurge of Hindu nationalism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP. Muslims and members of the Dalit caste have been murdered in "beef-lynchings", the iconic Taj Mahal has been attacked over its Muslim heritage and there have been efforts to undermine Mahatma Gandhi's standing over his dream of Hindu-Muslim unity.

The censor board said it had appointed a special board to consider protesters' concerns and said these had been "discussed at length", the Press Trust of India reported.

"The film was approached with a balanced view keeping in mind both the filmmakers and the society," a statement said.

The board said it wanted a disclaimer to be shown saying that the film did not claim historical accuracy. It also called for a second disclaimer saying that the film did not promote the practice of self-immolation by widows, outlawed in the 19th Century.

It recommended changing the film's name to Padmavat, after the 16th century epic poem of the same name.

Rumours about a scene in the film of the Muslim king dreaming of a romantic tryst with the Hindu queen have enraged many, including the Rajput Karnik Sena, a fringe caste group that has called for the film to be banned.

The group had disrupted shooting and one member had slapped Bhansali on the set earlier this year. Others vandalised cinemas and threatened to chop off Padukone's nose, referring to an incident in another epic, Ramayana, where a character has her nose cut off as punishment.

The group also held protests against the film in several states and Rajput community members have burned effigies of Bhansali.

Source : BBC

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Amid "Padmavati" Protests, Chittor Fort Shuts Down For 2nd Time In History

 "Padmavati" may not be released in Rajasthan tomorrow despite a Supreme Court order, with distributors saying they will not screen the controversial film based on the story of Rajput Queen Padmini, amid massive protests.

The Chittor Fort, the magnificent setting of the Padmavati legend in Chittorgarh, has been shut down for a day, for the second time in its centuries-old history after members of the Karni Sena, which has led protests against the film, tried to break in.

The Karni Sena has threatened that hundreds of women Rajput protesters will commit "Jauhar" - an ancient tradition of self-immolation - at the fort if the film is screened. According to legend, Queen Padmini committed "Jauhar" and jumped into the fire along with several other women at the Chittor Fort, preferring death to dishonour.

"We will not allow the film in Rajasthan," said Lokendra Singh Kalvi of the Karni Sena today.

Karni Sena activists were arrested this morning over the Jauhar threat. A spokesperson for the group had said that "1,900 women have registered for the act".

Protesters today blocked highways and vandalized property, not just in Rajasthan but in Gujarat, Haryana and Maharashtra, to show their anger against the film, which, they allege, distorts the story of Queen Padmini and shows Rajputs in poor light.

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected the final appeal by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to ban the film over law and order trouble. The two states, along with Haryana and Gujarat, had refused to screen the film even after the censor board's green signal earlier this month.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali's extravagant costume drama stars Deepika Padukone as Queen Padmini, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Sultan Alauddin Khilji, who leads an invasion to try to capture the queen.

A year ago, members of the Karni Sena attacked the film's director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and vandalised the set during filming in Rajasthan. They alleged that the film showed a romance between Queen Padmini and Khilji, which the makers have emphatically denied.

Source : NDTV

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That's All, Folks: The Original Designer Of Bugs Bunny Dies Aged 99

Other cartoon characters may be better known these days, but Bugs Bunny remains one of the most influential cartoon characters in the history of animation - as well as one of the few lucky enough to play basketball with Michael Jordan.

 Never seen without his carrot but always cracking a joke or two, the famous grey rabbit icon became the official mascot of the Warner Bros. franchise and has gone on to appear in more films than any other cartoon character - including Disney's Mickey Mouse.

 That success is all down to one man in particular, Bugs' designer Bob Givens, who died from natural causes last Thursday, 14 December, at the grand old age of 99.

 Givens died while receiving palliative care for an illness at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank. His death was announced by his daughter Mariana on Facebook

 Givens worked as an animation checker on the 1937 Disney film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs before being hired by Warner. Bros to redesign Bugs, who was judged to be 'too cute' in his original design.

 He was responsible for the first official design of Bugs as the wisecracking rabbit made his debut in the 1940 Oscar-nominated animated short A Wild Hare.

 Since then, Givens' design of Bugs has been largely the same, although it's obviously been refined as years have gone by. That's not a bad legacy to have at all really.

 Givens' career in animation lasted a whopping seven decades as he worked for the Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbara animation studios, as well as racking up credits on a list of other important movies and TV shows.

 For the first 30 years of his career, Givens worked as a character designer and layout artist, working on a short to short basis.

 Lending his expertise to the original Popeye cartoon, Givens went on to work for almost every major series of cartoons in the 70s and 80s, contributing to Garfield & Friends, Tom & Jerry, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Givens received his final credited work on Timber Wolf in 2001 before largely retiring from active animation work, although he continued to teach and give animation talks well into his nineties.

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The Fairway National Literary Awards 2017

One of the gala events associated with the Fairway Galle Literary Festival is the presentation ceremony of the prestigious Fairway National Literary Awards, the most valuable literary prizes awarded in Sri Lanka. The Fairway National Literary Awards competition is the only one of its kind that accommodates all three main languages used in Sri Lanka. It was recently announced that the Fairway National Literary Awards 2017 ceremony will be held on the 26th of January 2018 at 5.30 pm at the Fairway Pavilion in Galle.

Gracing the awards ceremony with his presence as chief guest will be the Honourable Minister of Finance and Media, Mr. Mangala Samaraweera. Several other Cabinet Ministers will also be present.

The panels of judges have already selected a total of 13 novels for the shortlists – five from the Sinhala language category and four each from the English and Tamil language categories. Each shortlisted novelist in each language category will receive a cash prize of Rs. 100,000 while the eventual winner in each language category will receive a cash prize of Rs.500,000.

The judges for the English language category comprises of Ranjani Obeyesekere – academic, literary critic and translator in the fields of literature, and theatre and performance, ‘Jolly’ Somasundaram – retired civil servant, writer, playwright, and film and literary critic, and Arun Welandawe–Prematilleke – actor, playwright, director and specialist in immersive theatre.

The shortlisted novels for 2017 in the English language category are,
‘Dutugemunu: Prince of Destiny’ by Rukmani Samaranayake,
‘Song of the Sun God’ by Shankari Chandran,
‘Wrath of Kali: The dark side of God by Mario Perera and
‘The Other One’ by Amanda Jay.

The panel of judges for the Sinhala language category comprises of Gamini Viyangoda – writer, translator, social activist and political columnist, Buddhadasa Galappaththi – poet, writer, award winning columnist and stage drama make-up artist, and Prabha Manuratne – academic and literary critic championing feminist theory, Marxism and psychoanalysis.

The novels that have been shortlisted for 2017 are,

Handha Paluwa Thani Tharuwa’ by Nishshanka Wijemanna,
‘Yakada Silpara’ by Wimal Udaya Hapugodaarachchi,
‘Garunda Muhurthaya ‘by Keerthi Welisarage,
‘PandakaPuthraWasthuwa’ by AnurasiriHettige and
‘NikiniKaluwara’ by Deepthi Mangala Rajapaksha.

The Tamil language category’s judging panel comprises of V. Maheswaran – academic and award-winning writer, Sumathy Sivamohan – academic, award winning film-maker, writer, performer, playwright and poet, and M. S. M. Anes – academic, writer and translator in the areas of philosophy, culture, music and folklore.

The four shortlisted novels for 2017 are,
‘Thazhumbu’ by M. Balasingham,
‘Kulaimurisal’ by J. Wahabdeen,
‘Ethanam’ by Theniyaan and
‘Neenthik Kadantha Nerupparu’ by N. Yohendranathan.

The Fairway National Literary Awards are presented by Fairway Holdings with the objective of recognising, encouraging and rewarding excellent creative writing in Sri Lanka. The competition has become increasingly popular and the announcement of the winners for 2017 is eagerly awaited.

(Daily Mirror)

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Egyptian singer detained for four days for eating banana in music video

An Egyptian pop star has been released after four days in jail and may face further questioning over a music video in which she wore only underwear eats a banana in a suggestive manner.

Shaimaa Ahmed, known professionally as Shyma, released the racy video for her song ‘I Have Issues’ last week. It was immediately met with complaints.

In the video, Ms Ahmed dances in her underwear and uses fruit to seduce a classroom full of men in which ‘Class 69’ is written on a chalkboard.

“The content of the video clip is harmful to the Egyptian society,” MP Jalal Awara said.

“There must be a firm stance against promoters of this substandard art.”

“Singer Shyma presents a lesson in depravity to youths,” one newspaper editorial said.

On Saturday she was arrested at her home in Cairo on suspicion of “inciting debauchery” and “corrupting public morals”, Egyptian media reported.

Source : The Telegraph

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Sri Lankan filmmaker pines for old-school craft of cinema

It may seem odd to hear one of the top Sri Lankan filmmakers of all time claim that cinema, as we know it, is dead.

"If you look at the process of filmmaking, there was a mystery involved. These days, a lot of the process is digital and films are made specifically for television. There used to be a separation between the two mediums. That is why I feel that cinema is kind of dead," explained Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara, who is in the city as a jury member for the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), in a chat with TOI. His work, in fact, was also part of a global anthology of short films by many directors, which demonstrated that cinema is on its death march.

Jayasundara's India connections are far and wide, having been a student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) — "people there have a good sense of cinema" — and he remains the only Sri Lankan director to have made an Indian film, the Paoli Dam-starrer Bengali film Chhatrak.

Chatrak 1

The film ran into trouble with the Censor Board over nudity in a scene, which ensured that the subject of the film, that of exploited foreign workers in the Middle East, was largely overlooked.

"The entire controversy was unfortunate. In the film, I wanted to acknowledge the value of humanity, something you find when you read (Rabindranath) Tagore's poetry. I also made the film from a global perspective, without any filters and I wanted to pay tribute to the migrants' contribution to society. But the idea was never to make the film controversial in any way," Jayasundara asserted.

His work first came to global attention in 2002 when he made a short film about the then-raging Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) insurgency, which had ravaged entire parts of the country. To this day, politics in Sri Lanka is largely divided along ethnic lines, with very little reconciliation efforts having taken place, Jayasundara said. (TNN)

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Woman Marrying Sri Lankan Bloke Not Sure She Can Pull Off 23-Letter Wedding Hashtag

Betoota Hills resident, Samantha Keary has read every single Australian bridal magazine that has been printed in the last 18 months.

As a self-confessed bridezilla, she knows two things. One, her dress is costing more than the venue – and two, she needs a hashtag.

‘Wedding Hashtags’ are a relatively new phenomenon in modern Australian marriage ceremonies. While many newlyweds argue the hashtag is used to help them curate and archive all photos posted to social media by their guests – it is often misinterpreted as a bride’s opportunity to show off how beautiful her wedding was to a greater digital circle than her own

Unfortunately for Samantha, her husband-to-be, Todd, is of Sri Lankan heritage, meaning their hashtag is probably not going to take off.

Officially known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Island nation that Todd’s family originate from is situated just off south-east India. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the south-west – it is well known for its fucking long last names.

While Samantha toyed with #MeetTheWasalamudiyanses – she just isn’t confident that her slow-speaking relatives from Townsville will be able to get their head around the phonetics.

She also thought about placing notes at each table setting with #Todd&SamanthaGetMarried – but that was also too long, and Instagram doesn’t let you use non-numerical and letter characters.

“This is fucked” she says, only eight months out from the final day.

“Everything is ruined. Why couldn’t they just anglicise their fucking name like my family did when they got here”

While Todd is treading very lightly on this seemingly pointless issue, he says there is not a chance in frozen hell that he will be taking Samantha’s last name to avoid this issue.

“That seems like a pretty dramatic resolution” he says.

“I think I might lie and tell her about some spooky Sri Lankan ritual that means the only people who can take photos at Weddings is the fucking stoner I’m paying five grand to do it anyway”

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Pole-dancing robots aim to spice up nerd fest

They grind and gyrate around a pole, with moves like a real stripper.

But these dancers are robots, brought in to offer a new entertainment twist to the crowds descending on Las Vegas this week for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.

The robo-strippers are the creation of British artist Giles Walker, who said he designed the vaguely humanoid machines as an expression about surveillance, power and voyeurism.

Pole 1

No one would confuse the robots with real strippers, with a head made from a jettisoned surveillance camera and the rest from bits of scrap material from mannequins and car parts.

"I wanted to do something sexy with rubbish," Walker told AFP at the Sapphire Gentleman's Club a few blocks off the Vegas Strip at a media event Monday night which was not part of the official CES program.

Artificial intelligence? Don't even think about it. These strippers are powered with recovered windshield wiper motors and the artist's sense of feminine style.

Peter Feinstein, the club's managing director, said he invited Walker and his robots to add variety at a venue which has long hosted attendees to one of the world's largest tech shows.

"This is our 18th year for the club, and we felt we needed to come up with something new and unique," Feinstein said.

"It used to be just nerds. But we wanted something more creative that would appeal to both men and women."

At the club, where human dancers were also performing, the robots got mixed reviews.

"I think it's a good idea," said one male customer who asked not to be identified, but added that he preferred the real thing.

"This is just the first step. They're not there yet."

One of the club's dancer's who gave her name only as Rouge said she was not worried about the competition.

"I think there are a lot of people with weird fetishes so I am sure somebody will get turned on by that. But nobody can beat the beauty of someone, and our talent with our brains, the way we talk, the way we use our bodies," she said.

"We can make people feel better than them."

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UK's Prince Harry And Fiancee Meghan Markle Release Engagement Pictures

Britain's Prince Harry and his American fiancee Meghan Markle have released a series of portraits by New York-based fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski to mark their engagement.

Lubomirski, a former assistant to Mario Testino, famed for his photos of Harry's mother Princess Diana, took the pictures this week at the royal retreat of Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle, west of London, where the couple are due to marry on May 19.

"I cannot help but smile when I look at the photos that we took of them, such was their happiness together," Lubomirski said.

Queen Elizabeth's 33-year-old grandson, Harry, fifth-in-line to the throne, and Markle, 36, who stars in the U.S. TV legal drama "Suits", announced their engagement last month.

Source : Reuters

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