Padmaavat is set for release on January 25.
Clearing the way for the nationwide release of Bollywood period drama Padmaavat, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed notifications issued by four states prohibiting its screening. The Court also asked the States to provide security to the film crew if required.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud prima facie accepted the petitioner’s contention that once Central Board of Film Certification had cleared a movie, States cannot interfere with it.
“Once the Parliamentary legislation confers the responsibility and power on a statutory board and board grants Certificate, non-exhibition of it by states will be contrary to statutory provisions”, the court said in its interim order.
The apex court also reminded that it was the “duty and obligation of States to maintain law and order”.
Senior Counsel Harish Salve who appeared for Viacom18, the movie producer, urged the court to order security for the film crew saying they were being threatened. The court agreed to this and said keeping in view of the situation, the State must provide them security if they ask for it.
Appearing for the states, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought for more time to reply to the petition saying more facts needed to be brought on record.
“Suppose there is a rumour against a community which is in majority in my state, can’t I take action”, Mehta asked and added, “we have intelligence record and we want to place them on record”.
The CJI did not accept this and said: “If you go by this, 60 percent of literature, even classical literature of India cannot be read.”
Mehta repeatedly sought for more time saying there was no urgency in the matter as the film was set for release only on January 25.
But Justice Chandrachud countered this saying “it is important, valued Constitutional rights are at stake”.
The court will hear the matter next on March 26.
Film is also releasing in tamil watch the trailer -
The chief of a charity working with old people described loneliness as more damaging to health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
People across the world have several platforms to connect with new people or stay in touch with friends and family at all times in the age of social media. But the irony of our times is that many are struggling with loneliness even as they are in the midst of a crowd.
The sad reality about this condition is reflected in the British administration’s decision to appoint its first ever minister for loneliness. Junior Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch will take over the ministry meant to help people tackle isolation which British PM Theresa May described as the sad reality of modern life.
The appointment comes after an initiative by deceased lawmaker Jo Cox who was killed by a right-wing extremist. Millions of people in society are living in close proximity but aren’t able to form meaningful social bonds.
The chief of a charity working with old people described loneliness as more damaging to health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Former United States surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy wrote that it may be linked with higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression, dementia and anxiety.
On a related note, Haasan, earlier in Sept, said he would be willing to work with Rajinikanth, if the superstar decided to enter politics.
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth has extended his wishes to actor Kamal Haasan for announcing his political debut.
"I wish him all the best," said the 67-year-old.
On that note, Haasan, on Tuesday, announced that he will undertake a state-wide tour of Tamil Nadu from February 21 and will also announce the name of his political party and its ideology at the beginning of his journey.
He further announced that the tour will be undertaken in multiple phases. On this tour, which will be flagged off from his hometown of Ramanathapuram, the 'Dasavatharam' actor will be proceeding to the districts of Madurai, Dindigul and Sivagangai, where he will be interacting with locals.
On a related note, Haasan, earlier in September, had said he would be willing to work with Rajinikanth, if the superstar decided to enter politics. Earlier on Wednesday, actor R Madhavan also extended his support to Kamal Haasan for his entry in politics.
Akshay Kumar starrer 'PadMan' will also be the first Indian film to screen at The Oxford University.
Writer-producer Twinkle Khanna has been invited to speak at The Oxford Union, the world's most prestigious debating society.
The 43-year-old actor-turned-author will address the students of the Oxford University tomorrow, where she will also showcase her upcoming production, 'PadMan'.
Based on the life of social entrepreneur and activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, who revolutionised sanitary hygiene in rural India 20 years ago, the film stars Twinkle's husband actor Akshay Kumar in the title role.
Through her address, Twinkle will give an insight into the story of the movie and how it would play an interesting role in tackling taboos and addressing stigma around menstrual hygiene.
'PadMan' will be the first Indian film to be screened at The Oxford University.
Also featuring Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, the film opens worldwide on January 25
Haasan also said, a celebration of ‘Dravidian’ all across South India will end discrimination and help them 'speak in chorus with Delhi.'
After announcing his foray into politics on Tuesday, actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday said the meaning of the term ‘Dravidian’ should not be restricted to Tamil Nadu alone. He said the term should also include other southern states in order to receive a better deal from the Centre.
According to a report in NDTV, the megastar’s well-admired column in ‘Ananda Vikatan’ magazine was a caustic observation of the Centre’s tax collection procedure.
“I feel of late, sharing of taxes with states is not done well. Tamil Nadu is the second largest tax contributor. It's fine to develop northern states with it. That's how even in families we help an unemployed sibling. But the gullible contributor should not be left to starve," Haasan wrote.
The actor further argued in his piece that a celebration of ‘Dravidian’ all across South India would bring an end to discrimination and help them “speak in chorus with Delhi.”
Haasan, in his column, explicitly hinted at the gulf in the state’s political scenario after the death of former chief minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa. The leadership crisis within the party, even after sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran came to power in December, underlines Tamil Nadu’s fight toward stability.
The megastar’s take on ‘Dravidian’ doesn’t only encompass the common welfare of all southern states but also renders other torchbearers of the ideology concerned as regressive, the NDTV report said.
The actor’s Thursday column said he would start his political tour --- a “journey of discovery to understand people’s needs and aspirations” --- on February 21 from ex-president Abdul Kalam’s hometown, Rameswaram.
Haasan said, though limited but he has had inspiring exchanges with Kalam. “Like Kalam, I too have a dream for a good Tamil Nadu,” the actor added. He also said how a single man fails to capture power but the people together don’t and hence people should be elevated first.
Haasan’s political debut coincides with Thalaivar Rajinikanth’s entry into politics. Rajinikanth, on Wednesday, wished Kamal Haasan luck for his maiden endeavour.
The players, spread over two cars, were travelling from Kandapalayam, in Namakkal district, after they played a match there.
A Tamil Nadu league cricketer died and six other players were injured when the cars they were travelling in collided and fell off a bridge in Namakkal district on Monday evening.
Nine league players were in two cars, travelling from Kandapalayam after they had played a match. According to the Times of India, they were in Namakkal district to play a match held as part of the Pongal festival. After the game, they were on their way to a hotel in Paramathi Velur. The accident took place at around 4.15 pm.
The police told TNM that both cars were racing each other near Paramathi Velur when the incident took place.
"The two cars were trying to overtake one and other when the accident happened," said an investigating officer. "One person died on the spot, six were injured and two escaped unscathed.”
Reports suggest that the drivers were attempting to avoid hitting a woman who was crossing the Salem-Madurai highway. When the first car hit the brakes, the second one rammed into it from behind. The two cars then fell off the bridge.
A player from Thanjavur, identified as Prabhakar, died on the spot. The others, who were injured, were rushed to government hospitals in Salem and Erode. The Nallur police have registered a case and investigations are underway.
The other players are from across the state, including Coimbatore and Cuddalore.
In a separate incident in Krishangiri district, six people died and 27 others sustained injuries when a car hit a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus near Hosur on Sunday evening. The bus fell on its side when its driver tried to avoid a collision with the car. The bus rolled over and fell into a roadside pit. The conductor passed away on the spot.
According to reports, the accident happened when the car driver lost his control over the vehicle. The car rammed the median of the Bengaluru-Chennai National Highway at Gurubarathapalli, near Shoolagiri.
Tik Tik Tik is an upcoming science fiction thriller film written and directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan. The film has been promoted as India's first space film. The film features Jayam Ravi, Aaron Aziz and Nivetha Pethuraj in the lead roles. The venture began production in October 2016. The teaser was released on August 15, 2017. The Trailer was released on 24 November 2017. The film is scheduled to release on Republic Day of India, 26 January 2018
After working together in Miruthan (2016), Jayam Ravi was again impressed by a storyline narrated by Shakti Soundar Rajan and agreed to work on another film in March 2016. Jhabak Movies agreed to produce the venture, while it was revealed that it would be the first Indian film in the space genre. The team began pre-production work thereafter, with Jayam Ravi describing it as the biggest film in his career. Actress Nivetha Pethuraj joined the film's cast in September 2016. She was selected due to her knowledge of martial arts. She is trained in jujutsu and kickboxing. Aaron Aziz, a Malaysian-based actor who mostly performed in Malaysian and Singaporean drama and films was selected as the lead villain, marking his entry into Tamil cinema for the first time in his career. D. Imman composes the music for this film, (This is Imman's 100th album) continuing his collaboration with the director. There will be no romance or songs in the film. Jayam Ravi’s son, Aarav, plays the role of his son in this film too.
The team began filming in October 2016 at EVP Film City in Chennai The film is also being shot in Munnar, where the shooting has been halted for a while due to the arrival of forest elephants near the shooting spot. The total duration of VFX scenes is 80 minutes in the film.
With rising traffic and the existing facility bursting at its seams, a drastic overhaul of the inadequate amenities has become the need of the hour. The work that will begin soon will also hopefully help address many of the complaints raised by passengers
Saturday morning was chaotic at the Chennai airport as many flights were delayed or cancelled in the heavy smog caused by festive Bhogi bonfires. But the airport with an unenviable public image of leaky roofs, cracking glass panels, collapsing false ceilings and multiple bird hits is finally gearing up for a radical overhaul in the coming months.
The modernisation project comes five years after the airport underwent its Phase I expansion.
Soon after the announcement was made, doubts were expressed over whether the Anna International Airport needed another massive investment of ₹2,587 crore only years after nearly the same amount had been spent for the Phase I development of the airport in 2013. With the airport growing at 10-15% annually, as per statistics provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, the expansion and re-modification of the Chennai airport has become an immediate need for the city. A report by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) in 2017 reiterates the need for a second airport for the city as well.
“In Chennai, the site for a second airport has not yet been finalised, which means that operations are still several years away,” the report says.
The proposed Phase II modernisation will require the old T2 (Kamaraj Domestic) and T3 (Anna International Airport) terminals to be pulled down and reconstructed. The existing domestic and international terminals, T1 and T4 respectively, will be modified. The project also calls for the construction of additional parking bays, a travelator and a multi-level car parking facility.
Since the existing terminals have been mocked for their poor design and engineering-related issues, officials say the Phase II expansion focusses on them. AECOM, a firm that has been a consultant to Singapore's celebrated Changi Airport, says it will recreate that experience for passengers here as well.
“This time, there certainly won't be issues like cracking or breaking glass panels, as we have designed the terminals to suit the prevalent climatic conditions,” an official of the firm said. “Also, as airports serve as the gateway for a city, we will showcase Chennai's culture. We plan to have an array of murals and statues displaying classical and folk art. We have given priority to Tanjore paintings as well.”
But as part of the redesign, the overhauled airport will look like one large integrated terminal, and though the domestic and international sections will function separately, they will be connected internally. There is a tricky side to the plan — the domestic terminals will be located at either end, with the international terminal at the centre. This is because the existing domestic and international terminals will be modified to serve as domestic terminals, while the old Kamaraj and Anna International terminals will be demolished and together become a single international terminal at the centre of the facility.
Quite apart from the fact that Chennai-based passengers are accustomed to using the domestic terminal to the right of the airport, visitors to the city could also be left searching for gates with this unusual layout. Clear signage would therefore be especially important.
Other plans include a travelator, which was to have been part of the Phase I expansion but was dropped as part of cost-cutting measures in the ₹2,000 crore project. However, work began on a recently revived project for a travelator, ten years after it was first mentioned. This facility, estimated to cost ₹40 crore, will span a distance of 600 metres to connect the domestic and international terminals. It is expected to be completed in two months.
Multi-level car park
Like the travelator, this project was to have been part of the Chennai Airport's Phase I expansion, too, but was shelved as authorities were not satisfied with the response from bidders. After a detailed study by research firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a multi-level car park is planned over 4.32 acres on either side of the Chennai Metro Rail Station at the airport. The parking lot, which will cost about ₹250 crore, can hold 750 vehicles on each side and will be opened in about 18 months.
A. Shankar, National Director-Strategic Consulting, JLL, says, “This is an interesting project, which has an innovative PPP (Public Private Participation) structure. There is also the opportunity for the development of multi-level car parking, along with space for integrated commercial development on a design-build-operate-maintain basis, providing construction-cum-licence to operate and maintain the facility.”
These expansion plans will not be adequate for the Chennai Airport over the longer term. The CAPA report says that despite maximising their capacity, airports like Chennai and Delhi will be saturated in 4-6 years. With plans for a second airport failing to get off the ground, the AAI has chalked out a new plan to have a satellite terminal near the remote bays of the Chennai Airport, to manage traffic when the modernised airport gets overcrowded.
Metro Rail connections
As the redesigned airport turns sleek and passenger-friendly, connectivity to public transport offered by Chennai Metro Rail would benefit thousands of passengers. Currently, the Airport Metro Rail Station, which provides direct connectivity from Little Mount and Nehru Park, carries about 2,500 commuters daily. This is likely to grow manifold when direct services from Chennai Central Railway Station to Chennai Airport begin in April 2018.
While the impressive plans give the impression that the Chennai Airport will be equipped with several sophisticated facilities, passengers want the authorities to mainly focus on a seamless transit. Sudhakar Reddy of the Air Passengers Association of India (APAI), says, “There should be more check-in counters, and more lines for the security check should be manned, because thousands of passengers wait endlessly in queues on a daily basis. Also, they should manage immigration and baggage collection more efficiently as, yet again, passengers are delayed to a great extent otherwise.”
Moreover, poor maintenance of toilets has been a constant complaint for years now. Even issues like poor Wi-Fi connectivity put off passengers who have long hours to kill before they can take a connecting flight.
Orders by Indian airline operators for new aircraft is expected to cross 1,000 units, making the country one of the largest buyers of aircraft in the world. Several airlines like Jet Airways and IndiGo have been placing orders for new aircraft. Significantly, many airlines favour narrow body aircraft, such as those from the French manufacturer ATR, to expand their network to Tier II cities. For instance, IndiGo recently ordered 50 ATR aircraft and has already begun serving destinations like Patna, Udaipur, Varanasi, Lucknow and Rajahmundry from Chennai. Apart from this, several low cost carriers have started flying additional routes as part of Regional Connectivity Scheme launched by the Centre.
To reduce congestion and bring down flight delays, the AAI also has plans to decongest airways and reduce flight delays. For a start, they have now begun cross-runway operations — where both the main and secondary runways are simultaneously operated. This will increase aircraft movement from 36-42 an hour. However, it is not clear why cross-runway operations were recommenced now after 10 years. This may well be a pointless exercise as they would have to be stopped when construction for the redesigned airport begins in a few weeks from now.
Other plans to decrease congestion include straightening of the ‘Bravo’ taxiway and the construction of two rapid exit taxiways to reduce the time an aircraft stays on the runway. Although there has been progress by learning from the mistakes made in the Phase I of the project, there still seems quite a long way left to go.
As the CAPA report suggests, a body like the National Airports Commission should be formed to hold responsibility for preparing a National Airports Masterplan that frames long-term goals for better the planning, execution and working of airports. As far as passengers of the airport are concerned, it will be yet another round of putting up with inconveniences as construction and modification activities begin. Nevertheless, it may be well worth the trouble if the Phase II expansion results in a better, more user-friendly airport this time.
Pollution levels shoot up; doctors warn of serious health consequences; activist slams TNPCB for not doing enough
Chennai city was on Saturday morning covered by a thick blanket of smog as residents in many areas burnt garbage, old mats and clothes to celebrate Bhogi, the first day of Pongal. The smoke from these fires mixed with the fog and the lack of winds let the smog remain in the ambient air till as late as 9.30 a.m. Many residents suffered from breathing difficulty, cough, sneezing and watery eyes.
Madhavaram resident G. Devarajan, an asthma patient, said he felt breathless due to the thick smoke engulfing his area. “Though there is a lot of awareness among the people about not burning garbage, many still continue to burn old mats and clothes saying it is part of the tradition. I had to take medication for my condition,” he said.
Elders, kids at risk
Pulmonologist Hisamuddin Papa explained that Saturday’s smoke was very bad and in the long run it can cause problems. “Over a period of time, such smoke and exhaust from vehicles can lead to Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease. People who have lung problems, elders and children are more vulnerable. For those with asthma, these physical particles can trigger an attack. We will get to see patients coming in for a week or ten days with issues,” he said.
According to data provided by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), among the 15 zones of the Chennai Corporation, the Valasaravakkam zone recorded the highest PM10 (particulate matter up to 10 microns) level and it reached 386 microgram/cubic metre. The permissible limit for PM10 is 100 microgram/cubic metre. The TNPCB said that when compared to last year, pollution levels were higher in 13 zones.
G. Kumar, a resident of T. Nagar, said that he delayed his morning walk due to the smog. “I also ensured that children stayed indoors. The smell of burning matter hung in the air. It could be sensed even inside homes till late in the day. We do not close the windows since it is pleasant at nights this time of the year. However, by 3 a.m. we had to close them,” he added.
Even on pre-Bhogi day, pollution levels were beyond the permissible limit in eight zones. Data obtained from the Central Pollution Control Board National Air quality Index (AQI) of 315 (where 315 is PM2.5 levels measured in microgram/cubic metre) at the continuous monitoring station at Manali, which touched 500 later in the day, which means that the pollution levels would affect even healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases. While the station at the Alandur bus terminus recorded an AQI of 238 and a maximum of 445 microgram/cubic metre where the AQI meant that the smog would lead to breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure; the one at IIT-Madras recorded an AQI of 116 and a maximum of 462 microgram/cubic metre.
Too much on Anna Salai
An independent air quality monitoring exercise undertaken by Huma Lung Foundation and Health Energy Initiative India at five locations showed that some points including, Kodungaiyur and Anna Salai, recorded PM2.5 over 500 microgram/ cubic metre.
Environmental activist Swetha Narayan said the TNPCB has not done much to control the smog on Bhogi day. “Between 2005 and 2010, the Board did massive awareness work and pollution levels were bearable. As a person who has lived here for 14 years, I feel this is the worst Bhogi so far. What happened this year? How much have they spent on monitoring? What action have they taken on violators,” she asked.
Thousands of passengers suffered as all flights at the Chennai airport were delayed and 12 of them were diverted due to poor visibility, officials said. The last flight departed from the airport at 3.30 p.m. and after that, the visibility began to dip at the airport. As the visibility was reduced to 50 m and then to almost zero, none of the flights could land or take off after that.
Twelve flights, eight international and four domestic were diverted to destinations like Bengaluru and Hyderabad. At 9.30 a.m., Air India's flight from Delhi arrived and one after another others too began to land. As the morning operations came to standstill, the consequential delays of other flights continued till late noon. Few flights to destinations including Pune and Sharjah were cancelled too.
Lakshmi Ramnarayan, a passenger from Mumbai who had to arrive from Muscat at 6.30 a.m., came only by 9.30 a.m. “I realised it was a big mistake to have to taken an early morning flight on the day before Pongal. I had a meeting scheduled at 9 a.m. and my clients were waiting for me. It was such an embarrassment. I was frustrated by the time we landed,” she said.
Another passenger Reema. S, who had to go to Kochi was disappointed as her flight was cancelled. “I had to attend a friend's wedding in the evening. Now, I am left wondering how to reach Kochi,” she added.
Known for his spirited life and daring positions on various issues, Gnani is often recalled by his friends as a firebrand journalist of Madras of early 1980s, besides his many experiments in literature, street plays and theatre.
Veteran Tamil writer, journalist and theatre personality, Gnani Sankaran, died in the wee hours of Monday at his residence in Chennai. He was 64.
Undergoing regular dialysis for kidney ailments for few years, Gnani was away from his active social life for several months.
Known for his spirited life and daring positions on various issues, Gnani is often recalled by his friends as a firebrand journalist of Madras of early 1980s, besides his many experiments in literature, street plays and theatre.
One of his journalistic works that kicked up a major controversy was an interview of Jayendra Saraswathi in 1981 that put the pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham in trouble for his remarks of conducting prayers to make M Karunanidhi sick. A sub-editor working with Ethiroli magazine, Gnani’s met Saraswathi along with Chinna Kuthoosi, a veteran journalist and Dravidian thinker, who has been a strong critique of the Mutt.
Gnani was seen joining AAP and unsuccessfully contesting from Alandur constituency in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Later he would quit AAP citing health reasons.
Gnani was one of the few public intellectuals who had been demanding Karunanidhi to hand over the party leadership to his son M K Stalin. Often, his demand to handover the baton to Stalin triggered controversy as he would cite the old age of Karunanidhi. One such statement had finally forced a leading Tamil daily to stop his column allegedly under the pressure of DMK leadership.
Gnani has been a Left of the Centre, his friends recall. Whether they were protests on bus fare hike or strike of nurses in Chennai’s leading private hospitals or corruption or authoritarian politics of Dravidian majors or anti-nuclear protests, Gnani’s was one such voice that everyone waited for, and he was vocal about social issues through his television programmes and number of columns he wrote in popular Tamil publications.
At the peak of corruption allegations and chaos in academics in Tamil Nadu state universities where Dravidian majors took turns to sell the posts of Vice Chancellors in the last two decades, Gnani once told this reporter: “Universities have become like a cemetery, where departments are like coffins and the department heads are sitting like corpses. They have lost their minimum sense of shame, and they have learned to work under people who purchased their posts for several crores.”
His clarity on political developments and strong disagreements with dictatorial party leaderships were evident in his political comments. At a time when Jayalalithaa was imprisoned in disproportionate asset case and her intervention was lacking in the long-pending Cauvery issue, Gnani would say that “Jayalalithaa was the only leader in AIADMK who could handle Cauvery issue.”
“It is a fact that there is nobody better or worse than O Panneerselvam (who was the CM in absence of Jayalalithaa) because everyone else in the party, other than Jayalalithaa, resembles Panneerselvam. Criteria set for an AIADMK leader is not his leadership quality,” Gnani would say. And about Madras cadre and bureaucracy, he said: “If they are efficient, they are equally corrupt too. They may not get accused in corruption charges, but they are hand in glove with corruption and benefits from corrupt regimes,” he said.
His body has been kept at his residence in KK Nagar, and will be donated to a hospital. He is survived by his wife and a son.
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