Events Films London News

Kaushik Ray’s Poignant Short Film ‘The Lime Green Shirt’ Premiered At BFI Flare 2024

Lime Green Shirt, which premiered under the ‘Tender-hearted’ category on Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March 2024 at BFI Southbank. Jointly produced by Ray’s own production house, Taran Tantra Telefilms with Neeraj Churi alongside Berlinale Talent Pooja Chauhan (Goldfish). A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

The 16-minute short, picturised in the English language with Bengali, revolves around Saraswati Sinha (Lillete Dubey, Monsoon Wedding), a retired and widowed doctor, who lives alone in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Desperate to reconnect with her son Akash (Kush Khanna, Boogie Man), with whom she has become estranged over the years, Saraswati travels to London to stay with him. A successful trader with a stylish Penthouse apartment, Akash seems to have it all. Yet, beneath the veneer of success, he is plagued by deep-seated traumas and crippling self-doubt, which he blames on his strict upbringing by an unforgiving mother who demanded academic greatness at the expense of his passion for music.

As the unintended consequences of her authoritarian parenting become painfully clear, Saraswati realises she must confront her fears and transgenerational traumas if she wants to rebuild a relationship with the son she barely knows.

Inspired by a true incident in the filmmaker’s life, the picture was shot last year, with two original songs written by Kaushik and the lead actor Kush. The poetic storytelling is inspired by social realism of filmmakers like Mike Leigh and the humanism/colour palettes of Satyajit Ray. Therefore, he has the flair of exploring the middle classes, with a key focus on the British Asian queer community. This influence is also mirrored in masterpieces by idol visionaries like Pedro Almodóvar.

“The Lime Green Shirt in many ways is my own origin story. At its heart is the kernel of my own truth, albeit its retelling is fictionalised. I am fascinated by the balance of fact and fiction, and have always found myself drawn to human drama that explores the nuance and space between the black and white. Life is filled with contradictions, and I embrace them. I look for the rainbows in the grey. As a filmmaker it is essential to me that I to equip my wider team with female and QPOC cast and crew, with a deliberate view to bring diversity into storytelling,” Kaushik said.

“BFI Flare has such a special place in my heart. The first short I co-produced, Muhafiz (The Protector), premiered in 2022, and that’s where I met the producer of The Lime Green Shirt. So to have my first film as writer/director debut there, feels super special. Towards the end of my legal career, I started supporting queer Indian filmmakers in telling interesting stories, as a producer. My film is based in London (as am I), so it’s sort of a homecoming for me,” he added.

The Lime Green Shirt marks Kaushik’s first film as writer/director. His feature debut A Life A Rose is being produced by French production house Backup Media and Bombay Berlin Film Productions Limited, with leading Indian actress Deepti Naval (Lion) in the main role. This same-sex love story between two septuagenarian Indian women was ground-breaking in its scope.

Kaushik Ray – Taran Tantra Telefilms (Director)
Following a 20-year career as an international development lawyer, British-born Kaushik Ray runs a small film production company ( focusing on South Asian LGBTQ+ content, in particular stories about intersectional prejudice in minority communities.

Pooja Chauhan (Producer)
Berlinale Talent Pooja Chauhan trained at New York Film Academy and won the VFF Talent Highlight and Arté Kino Awards for her project Girls will be Girls.

Neeraj Churi (Producer)
Neeraj is the founder and owner of Lotus Visual Productions ( which provides a medium for performance artists and filmmakers via sponsorships, grants, and production opportunities to express their creativity towards generating vibrant and dynamic conversations.

The organisation strongly believes in the power of our creative projects to foster better understanding and bridge-building between communities while encouraging aspiring filmmakers and artists to bring their creative vision to reality, pushing the envelope on social taboos and acceptance.

The focus is on bringing stories of the South Asian LGBTQ+ community worldwide to the screen via a broad array of projects ranging from feature films, feature-length documentaries, short films, short docs, and social media projects. With active projects in various stages of production in India and the UK, strives for a robust and authentic representation of LGBTQ+ experiences on screen and provide opportunities for community members on and off the screen. They also promote South Asian Queer cinema by organising theatrical screenings in the UK and curating films for film festivals and corporate screenings.

ALSO READ: Tathagata Ghosh’s Short Film ‘IF’ World Premiere At BFI Flare, London

Events Films London News

Tathagata Ghosh’s Short Film ‘IF’ World Premiere At BFI Flare, London

The prestigious BFI Flare 38th edition took place at BFI Southbank and on BFI Player in March 2024. The biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival in Europe, celebrates the best of queer cinema from around the globe. This year in particular featured fantastic content from South Asian filmmakers, including British South Asian filmmakers. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

The short film IFby acclaimed Bengali filmmaker Tathagata Ghosh is a 26-minute short tells the story of a lesbian couple who are torn apart because of an arranged marriage, but with a mother’s love, perhaps another future is possible. 

If’ starring Adrija Majumdar, Shivamrita Chakraborty, Bimal Giri, Paromita Mukherjee and Ranodeep Nandy is based on “people and incidents around me, I wanted to search for love in the darkness the film sheds light on-the challenges faced by queer individuals. My film is my cry of anguish in these troubled times. A cry which I hope will be heard and won over by love,” says Ghosh.

Director & Producer: Tathagata Ghosh

Writer: Buan G.

Cast: Adrija Majumdar, Shivamrita Chakraborty, Bimal Giri, Paromita Mukherjee, Ranodeep Nandy, Bina Ghosh

DOP: Sayan Biswas

Editor & DI Colorist: Amir Mondal

Sound Design & Film Mix: Anindit Roy, Adeep Singh Manki

Music: Nabarun Bose

Logo & Poster: Debanjana Haldar

Director’s Associate: Sanbarta Ghosh

Chief Assistant Director: Ashish Dubey

This is a film which is short in running time but mighty in impact. Excellent Acting, a crisp script, precise editing and seriously excellent Direction. This film is gripping also moving and is a must-watch. 

About the Director: A Berlinale Talents alumnus, Tathagata has always believed in telling stories of people from different social backgrounds. People who do not have a voice of their own. Tathagata has written for various leading web film magazines as well about cinema and film making. His Bengali detective novel “Senilar Sonket” got published in the 40th Kolkata International Book Fair in February 2016. He has also directed numerous commercials, music videos and written screenplays for several projects. His last short films “Miss Man”, “Footprints”, “The Scapegoat”, “The Meat” and “The Demon” have travelled to numerous prestigious international film festivals and have won several awards. Filmography: The Demon (2018), Miss Man (2019), The Meat (2020), The Scapegoat (2021), Footprints (2023), If (2024).

ALSO READ: Kaushik Ray’s Poignant Short Film ‘The Lime Green Shirt’ Premiered At BFI Flare 2024

Events Goa Lite Blogs

Goa’s Spring Festival Paints the Town with Tradition and Culture

Xenni Uzzo stands out as a thrilling fire ritual in South Goa. Annually, on the first full moon night following Shigmo, the village of Molcornem in Quepem, Goa, becomes the stage for a distinctive and age-old ceremony known as Xenni Uzzo…reports Asian Lite News

Every year, as the winter bids farewell and spring tiptoes in, the vibrant state of Goa in India bursts into a riot of colours and festivities. This traditional Hindu festival Shigmotsav, marks the arrival of spring and is celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm. The festival which is set to be held from 26 March to 8 April in the entire state will come alive with cultural performances, float parades, music, and traditional dance during Shigmo.

As the colours of Shigmo paint the streets with exuberance, various other festivals prepare to showcase its diverse cultural heritage through a series of unique festivals. These festivals embody the essence of Goan traditions, each offering a distinct experience for travellers seeking to delve deeper into the soul of this coastal paradise. Witness a journey through five extraordinary festivals that add a splash of colour and a dash of excitement to the festivities alongside Shigmo in Goa.

Xenni Uzzo in Molcornem Sanguem, Embracing Goa’s Fiery Ritual: Xenni Uzzo stands out as a thrilling fire ritual in South Goa. Annually, on the first full moon night following Shigmo, the village of Molcornem in Quepem, Goa, becomes the stage for a distinctive and age-old ceremony known as Xenni Uzzo. This ritual serves dual purposes: it honours the village’s founding figures and beliefs while also commemorating the spring harvest festival.

Despite the rapid pace of modernization, the residents of Molcornem maintain a deep reverence for their traditional customs, particularly evident during Xenni Uzzo. Utilizing natural resources, such as dry cow dung cakes, locally termed “Xenni,” and leaves, they generate sparks, referred to as “Uzzo,” by striking these elements together. Encircling the resultant fire, villagers partake in spirited dances, while men transport areca nut tree trunks from carefully selected plantations near the Mallikarjun temple.

Ghode Modni in Thane, Sattari, a Spectacle of Horses and Warriors: Ghode Modni, meaning ‘horse dance,’ is a unique festival celebrated in the villages of Thane, Sattari and other places. This centuries-old tradition showcases a spectacular display of horsemanship and martial arts, with performers dressed as warriors riding decorated horses. The rhythmic sound of hooves and the colourful attire of the performers create a mesmerizing spectacle that captivates audiences. The Ghode Modni folk dance emerges as a significant highlight of the Shigmo festival celebrated during the harvest season in Goa. Etymologically, “Ghode” translates to “horse,” while “Modni” signifies “joyful,” encapsulating the essence of the performance.

Chorotsav in Zarme, Unveiling the Charms of Goan Villages: Chorotsav, also known as the ‘festival of thieves,’ is a quirky celebration held in the village of Zarme in Sattari Taluka. This offbeat festival pays homage to the folklore of Goan villages, with locals dressing up as mischievous thieves and engaging in playful antics. From mock robberies to comedic performances, Chorotsav offers a lighthearted glimpse into the humour and creativity of Goan culture.

At the festival, four participants are buried with only their heads protruding, while another four have their heads submerged in pits. This symbolic act represents a tragic incident from centuries past when thieves were mistakenly executed. The spectacle draws a crowd of both locals and intrigued spectators, who observe with a mixture of fascination and anticipation as the eight individuals are interred alive.

Fiery Rituals of Homkund Utsav in Charao, a Spectacle of Devotion and Tradition: In the quaint village of Charao, nestled amidst the lush greenery of Goa, the Homkund Utsav takes on a fiery intensity, offering a unique spectacle of devotion and tradition. Here, amidst the tranquil surroundings, locals gather to perform age-old rituals that pay homage to their ancestors and seek blessings for prosperity and well-being. 

The festival entails igniting a pyramidal stack of wood, typically measuring around five to six feet in height. Once the wood is reduced to smouldering ashes, local men and boys participate in a remarkable ritual, traversing barefoot across the scorching embers to the rhythmic accompaniment of traditional percussion instruments like the dhol, tasha, and cymbals. This spirited and mesmerizing event witnesses the participation of hundreds of individuals as they bravely tread upon the fiery path.

Shisha Ranni in Canacona: Where Devotion Cooks Blessings on Fire: Shisha Ranni is a traditional festival deeply rooted in Goan culture in Canacona. During this ritual, rice is cooked atop the heads of three Gades, which are humanoid representations of divinity on Earth. Interestingly, the term ‘Ranni’ directly translates to ‘stove,’ emphasizing the central element of this ceremony.

In a remarkable display of devotion, three villagers from Canacona taluka’s Gaondongorim voluntarily offer their heads as makeshift stoves for cooking rice over a wood fire. 

From the colourful extravaganza of Shigmo to the quaint charm of village festivals, Goa offers a diverse array of cultural experiences for visitors to explore. Whether you’re captivated by the pulsating beats of traditional music or tempted by the tantalizing flavours of Goan cuisine, these unique festivals promise to enchant and delight you at every turn. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the festivities, and embark on a journey of discovery through the vibrant tapestry of Goa’s culture. Visit the Goa Tourism Website for more information 

ALSO READ-Goan cyclist rode 1200km TriGoa Atal Sethu to Ram Sethu LR ride on a bicycle

-Top News Events UK News

Memorial Gates Ceremony Honours Commonwealth Heroes of World Wars

The event was hosted by the Memorial Gates Council in partnership with The Royal British Legion. The Right Reverend Saju Muthulaly, Bishop of Loughborough, led the prayers…reports Asian Lite News

The commemoration for service men and women from the Commonwealth who served with the Allied Forces during the First and Second World Wars was held today at the Memorial Gates in central London.

This year the ceremony also remembered Baroness Shreela Flather who inspired the project and helped found the Gates which stand on Constitution Hill just by Buckingham Palace. 

Baroness Scotland PC KC on behalf of the Commonwealth

The annual wreath laying ceremony was attended by significant individuals including High Commissioners, Foreign Ministers, Speaker of the House of Commons, and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth. The event was hosted by the Memorial Gates Council in partnership with The Royal British Legion. The Right Reverend Saju Muthulaly, Bishop of Loughborough, led the prayers.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons

This year, the 80th anniversary of the Battles of Kohima and Imphal, we specifically remembered those who served in the Fourteenth Army. At Kohima and Imphal, and across South Asia, this polyglot Fourteenth Army turned the tide of war. It was an Army that spoke 40 languages, contained Sikhs, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Jews and many other religions. Of its thirteen divisions eight were Indian Army, three were African, and only two were wholly British.

The Lord Bilimoria CBE DL laying a wreath on behalf of His Majesty the King

The Fourteenth Army helped play a part in shaping today’s multi-cultural Britain, thanks to the collaboration of the men and women from so many religions, races, and nations. It created ties that span continents, nations, people and religions.

The Right Reverend Saju Muthulaly, Bishop of Loughborough

Chief guest, Mark William Rawdon Slim, 3rd Viscount Slim (and Grandson of Field Marshal Bill Slim – Commander 14th Army), said: “The Battle of Kohima was the turning point of the Burma Campaign. If the battle had been lost, 14th Army would have been stranded at Imphal with its supplies cut off and the Japanese would have taken control of India. Due to the great bravery and resilience of the Commonwealth soldiers from which 14th Army was formed, the ensuing Allied victories at Kohima and Imphal in 1944 eventually led to the biggest land defeat in Japan’s history in 1945.

Chief guest, Mark William Rawdon Slim, 3rd Viscount Slim (and Grandson of Field Marshal Bill Slim – Commander 14th Army)

Over twenty different nations made up 14th Army which at its peak numbered 1.3 million personnel, the largest British led campaign of World War 2. It was a truly multi-cultural force that operated in total unity to achieve a great victory. We should all be very proud of and grateful for its achievements.

The Burma Campaign is an excellent example of the huge contribution made by volunteers from Commonwealth countries during the two World Wars. 14th Army consisted of 700,000 troops from the Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lank) and over 100,000 from West and East Africa. In total, five million men and women from Africa, the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent volunteered to serve with the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. The Memorial Gates stand as a monument to reflect not just the tremendous role these volunteers played, but also the gratitude Britain holds for their vital contribution in its hour of need.”

Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council, said: “I am proud to be Chairman of the Council of the Memorial Gates. The Memorial Gates Ceremony on Commonwealth Day commemorates the service and sacrifice of the five million volunteers from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean in the First and Second World Wars.

This year we are commemorating the 80th anniversary of the battles of Imphal and Kohima.  These battles witnessed the most extraordinary bravery, and I am very proud that my late father Lieutenant General Bilimoria’s battalion, the second/5th Ghurka Rifles (Frontier Force) were awarded two out of the 5 Victoria crosses at the Battle of Imphal, Subedar Netrabahadur Thapa (post) and Naik Agansing Rai VC, who I was privileged to know since birth.

The sacrifice and bravery of those who fought in the battles of Imphal and Kohima, will be an inspiration to us all forever.

Marking the 75th anniversary alongside the Ceremony provides an opportunity to commemorate and remember, as we continually do on Commonwealth Day, and through the activities of the Memorial Gates Council, the significant contribution that those from around the Commonwealth and world have made to the success of our great nation.”

Secretary General of the Commonwealth Baroness Scotland said: “As we celebrate Commonwealth Day in an increasingly unstable world, we would do well to remember the many Commonwealth citizens whose lives were lost in the pursuit of peace.”

The Royal British Legion’s Director of Remembrance, Philippa Rawlinson said: “The RBL is proud to continue supporting this ceremony at the Memorial Gates to pay tribute to the five million men and women from the Indian sub-continent, Nepal, Africa and the Caribbean who served during the First and Second World Wars, helping to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.

Sir Ben Okri

This year we mark the 80th anniversaries of momentous battles and turning points of the Second World War. Today’s service remembers in particular those who served in the Fourteenth Army at the battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1944. A truly multinational force, their victory was a turning point in the war in the east and key in the Allied liberation of Burma. 

Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council

The Gates also recognise the major contribution of these men and women, and their descendants, to the rich diversity of British society and today’s event highlights the vital contribution of people from across all the Commonwealth who stood together in the face of global conflict.”

Son of Baroness Flather and Memorial Gates Council Member, Dr Paul Flather

This year we also honour and pay our respects to Baroness Flather, the Life President and founder of the Council. She sadly passed away on 6th of February 2024.  She was the single person who inspired the concept of a lasting memorial to all those from the former Empire, Commonwealth and Nepal who sacrificed their lives in the’ two World Wars.

ALSO READ-Commonwealth nations celebrate 75-year milestone

Events Lite Blogs

Canberra Nights Aglow with Spectacular Lights

Questacon’s 2024 Enlighten Festival projections will highlight the connection between storytelling, curiosity, and the science that surrounds us, including Senior Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Violet’s heartfelt acknowledgment of First Nations people as the original scientists, emphasising the importance of sharing knowledge between generations…reports Asian Lite News

The Enlighten Festival is back from 01st to 11th March lighting up Canberra nights once again this year. The program is jam packed with breath-taking illuminations, interactive activities, music, film, and family fun.

There are a number of Illuminated installations around the festival precinct in the National Triangle each showcasing its own unique story and inviting visitors to stop, reflect and interact. As we’ve come to expect our iconic national institutions will be lit up with colourful and creative imagery.

In celebration of the 35th Anniversary of Parliament House, its facade will transform into an animated creation inspired by the popular LEGO® brick model of Parliament House designed by LEGO Certified Professional Ryan ‘Brickman’ McNaught. You can also join arts educator Naomi Zouwer on the forecourt of Parliament House at a creative hands-on print making workshop inspired by LEGO® bricks and the iconic architecture.

The National Portrait Gallery will feature Yuwi, Torres Strait and South Sea Islander and legally blind artist Dylan Mooney. The display will see Mooney transform the façade of the National Portrait Gallery building into a giant digital canvas via a livestreamed drawing performance. Against an animated backdrop, Mooney will undertake a nightly portrait drawing session which will dynamically appear in real-time on the building. With no two nights the same, this commission encourages audiences to return during the festival.

Questacon’s 2024 Enlighten Festival projections will highlight the connection between storytelling, curiosity, and the science that surrounds us, including Senior Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Violet’s heartfelt acknowledgment of First Nations people as the original scientists, emphasising the importance of sharing knowledge between generations.

The main stage will be located at the centre of the Enlighten Festival Hub and will feature live music entertainment from local and interstate acts. Roving performers will also provide entertainment for visitors. More details on the performers will be available on the Enlighten Festival website soon.

The Enlighten Festival Hub will celebrate the some of the best the region has to offer with a range of food and drinks from the BentSpoke Beer Garden and new wine and spirits bar Bar Berra. Enlighten Food Park, a playground for foodies, will feature a lineup of food trucks and innovative restaurateurs from across the east coast of Australia as well as local favourites.

The short film festival Lights! Canberra! Action! on 08th March, will showcase our talented local film makers interpretation of this year’s theme ‘A Sense of Purpose’.

On 10th March, Symphony in the Park will see Australian rock legends the Hoodoo Gurus take centre stage with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra in a world premiere of their greatest hits reimagined by Alex Turley.

As the Festival wraps up Monday, 11th March, the community is invited to celebrate Canberra Day with the Canberra Day Appeal Fun Run, followed by a day of entertainment in Commonwealth Park from 10am to 5pm. Profits from the event will support local charities through Hands Across Canberra.

From Enlighten’s last weekend on 09th March through to the 17th, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular will feature around 40 hot air balloons launching at dawn each day and hot breakfast and coffee available from the food trucks and coffee carts.

ALSO READ- Vegan Culinary Delights: W Hotel London

Events Lite Blogs

Mumbai Festival 2024 Hosts KASHISH Chalchitra Utsav

An interactive story building contest and a panel discussion on emerging trends in Indian LGBTQ+ representation in cinema and web series are also planned…reports Asian Lite News

KASHISH Arts foundation is organising a 2 day-long Indian language LGBTQ+ film festival as part of the recently launched Mumbai Festival 2024 activities by Maharashtra Tourism. The event titled ‘KASHISH Chalchitra Utsav 2024’ will be held on January 27th & 28th from 11.00am to 9.30pm at Veda Kunba Theater, Andheri West. 

This Indian language festival is coming after a hiatus of 4 years, to also coincide with the ongoing Mumbai Queer Pride month activities.

The festival will feature 37 Indian LGBTQ+ films in Hindi, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Panjabi, Urdu and Sanskrit. These are films which have won awards, acclaim or audience favourites at past editions of KASHISH Pride Film Festival, earlier known as KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.

“KASHISH has for the past 14 years been an integral part of Mumbai, and we are very happy to be celebrating KASHISH Chalchitra Utsav with our collaboration with the government-supported Mumbai Festival, and also the community-led Mumbai Queer Pride month activities. We want to continue to build bridges between the LGBTQ+ community and society, to mainstream LGBTQ+ narratives and lives,” said Sridhar Rangayan, festival director.

“We want to bring Indian language LGBTQ+ cinema to the forefront, so that we can have diverse narratives which can speak and convey to our fellow citizens in their own languages,” said Saagar Gupta, director of programming.

An interactive story building contest and a panel discussion on emerging trends in Indian LGBTQ+ representation in cinema and web series are also planned.

The Mumbai Queer Pride March will be held on February 3, 2024 starting from August Kranti Maidan.

KASHISH Pride Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ film festival and the first mainstream LGBTQ+ film festival in India. It has been held in Mumbai for the past 14 years and the 15th edition will be held June 5-9, 2024 at Liberty Cinema and other venues.

More information about KASHISH at and details of the festival are available here.

ALSO READ-Festival of Hope Foundation Gears Up for a Night of Inspiration and Fundraising

Events Lite Blogs

Festival of Hope Foundation Gears Up for a Night of Inspiration and Fundraising

The Festival of Hope Foundation has been promoting cancer awareness across Delhi NCR via health camps, events, etc. They also host an annual fundraiser that supports the treatment of a few children fighting cancer…reports Asian Lite News

To honour the strength and spirit of cancer warriors, the 16th season of the Festival of Hope is scheduled for February 4th, 2024, at The Grand Hyatt Gurgaon.

The Festival of Hope Foundation has been promoting cancer awareness across Delhi NCR via health camps, events, etc. They also host an annual fundraiser that supports the treatment of a few children fighting cancer.

The efforts of leaders of hope to instill wisdom and encouragement foster optimism and inspiration for a better future. Sonali Gupta, MBBS MD Dr. Anjali Hooda, Dr. Sameer Gupta, Dr. Sonia Lal Gupta, Celebrity Fitness Expert Kitty Kalra, TEDx Speaker and influencer Harpreet Suri, Executive Director of PVR INOX Ltd. Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Managing Editor Chaiti Narula, and Influencer Kaniz Rabbi, and many others will support the cause.

“Extremely grateful to all who continuously support us. Especially our health partners this season, the Metro hospitals have graciously offered to treat a few patient’s pro bono,” says Shalini Vig, founder of the Festival of Hope Foundation.

“It’s such a beautiful cause to be associated with, and I’m honored to dress the Leaders of Hope this season,” commented the designer on board, Sahil Kochhar.

Dr Sameer Gupta (Director – Metro Group of Hospitals) mentioned, “As we come together to honor strength and resilience, let’s cherish the understanding that every little contribution matters. Our combined actions today sow the seeds of hope for a healthier tomorrow. Cancer, often discussed yet least understood, takes the spotlight on this occasion, emphasizing not only the significance of awareness but also how society, united, can support those deprived of treatment due to financial constraints or lack of awareness.”

“The Festival of Hope is a beacon of support, uniting us all in the fight against this formidable adversary. Metro Group of Hospitals shares the same ethos when it comes to treating cancer patients. We take pride in being part of this cause. Together, with Metro’s commitment to providing pro bono treatment, we aim to make a significant impact, inspiring resilience, and paving the way for a brighter future.” says Dr Sonia Lal Gupta (Director – Metro Group of Hospitals)

Many prominent people, including cancer warriors, doctors, and influencers, will promote the Festival.

ALSO READ-An Iconic Venue for a Countryside Dream Wedding: Stapleford Park Hotel, Leicestershire

Events Technology UAE News

AI Startup Pitches Soar After MBZUAI Entrepreneurship Success

The 12 startup business plans covered a variety of verticals, including AI safety, AI for health, AI for social good, and more.

The inaugural Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) Entrepreneurship Courses concluded with 12 AI-based startup business plans presented at an on-campus event in Masdar City.

22 students gained the entrepreneurial skills, tools, and networks needed to commercialise their AI solutions in the UAE, and three startups were fast-tracked for financial grants from MBZUAI.

Jointly launched by MBZUAI’s Incubation and Entrepreneurship Centre (MIEC) and startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based startup accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, the programme aims to boost the AI startup ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

The top three AI-assisted technologies and applications are Audiomatic, which provides automatic and emotionally intelligent audio production for video content, including customised scores, sound effects, and narrations; Limb, an application providing accessible physiotherapy information such as exercise correction and pain management features; and Momzo, a complete AI assistant for women’s maternity to motherhood powered by generative AI.

“These are the first AI-focused entrepreneurship courses at the university and in the UAE and come on the eve of an expected AI startup boom led by generative AI,” MBZUAI’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations Sultan Al Hajji said.

He added, “The entrepreneurship courses actively encourage students to take advantage of the favourable entrepreneurial environment in Abu Dhabi and ignite the potential to transform their research and engineering know-how into a business. The startup pitches highlight specific-industry and application-use cases and have the potential to make a significant impact on society with their bold, sophisticated, and innovative concepts.”

Managing Director of startAD Ramesh Jagannathan said, “The MBZUAI IEC programme immersed AI innovators in the exciting world of innovation and entrepreneurship, where they learned to apply business literacy heuristics to their ideas. According to an Accenture Report, AI will add $182 billion in annual gross value to the UAE’s economy by 2035. These startup projects demonstrate high potential and are poised to strengthen the UAE’s knowledge economy.”

The 22 graduates represent more than ten nationalities, with 41% being women. All participants graduated from the intensive five-week entrepreneurship courses, which included eight workshops and three community engagement events covering topics such as idea generation, market discovery, prototyping, and pitching.

The 12 startup business plans covered a variety of verticals, including AI safety, AI for health, AI for social good, and more.

The top three pitches were named by a panel of expert judges, including Jean-Luc Scherer, business incubation expert and advisor at Sandooq Al Watan; Mariam Al Badr, director of outreach at Khalifa Fund; Dr. Ramzi Ben Ouaghrem, director of research development and engagement at MBZUAI; Michael Huang, acting director of strategy and IEQA at MBZUAI; and Selim Tira, investment representative at Shorooq Partners.

ALSO READ: UAE, Malaysia unite for digital infrastructure advancement

-Top News Events India News

India’s Republic Day Celebrations Begin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began Republic Day 2024 celebrations by paying floral tributes at the National War Memorial in Delhi on Friday morning to honour bravehearts of the Indian armed forces.

PM Modi was received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on his arrival at the National War Memorial.

This year, the guards were commanded by an Indian Army Officer, Major Indrajeet Sachin from 6th Battalion of Sikh Regiment.

When the Prime Minister laid the wreath, the Inter-Services Guards presented `Salami Shastra’ followed by ‘Shok Shastra’. Simultaneously, the buglers sounded the ‘Last Post’.

PM Modi observed a two-minute silence in homage to the supreme sacrifices of the armed personnel in protecting the nation after which the buglers played ‘Rouse’ and the guards presented ‘Salami Shastra’ again.

The Prime Minister then endorsed his remarks in the digital Visitor’s Book of the National War Memorial.

PM Modi was joined by the three service chiefs as he paid his respects at the solemn function. He then proceeded to the Kartavya Path for the Republic Day parade.

President of India, Droupadi Murmu will unfurl the national flag, to be followed by a rendition of the national anthem, and receive a 21-gun salute. The parade will commence with President Murmu taking the salute.

French President Emmanuel Macron will be the Chief Guest at the parade, which is set to showcase India’s rich cultural diversity, unity and progress; its military prowess on the back of increasing indigenous capabilities, and the growing Nari Shakti.

Earlier, Prime Minister Modi extended greetings to the nation on the occasion of the 75th Republic Day.

“Best wishes on the special occasion of the 75th Republic Day. Jai Hind!” PM Modi posted on X.

A total of 25 tableaux, including 16 from various States and Union territories and 9 from central government departments, will be on display at the Republic Day parade.

Republic Day is celebrated on January 26 every year to commemorate the day when our Constitution came into effect in 1950. (ANI)

Events India News Politics

Tamil Nadu Celebrates Veerapandiya Kattabomman’s 265th Birth Anniversary With Races

Like every year, the entire village celebrated the 265th birthday of freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman this time as well….reports Asian Lite News

On the occasion of the 265th birth anniversary of Veerapandiya Kattabomman bullock cart races were held in the village of Vaippar near Vlathikulam in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district today.

Like every year, the entire village celebrated the 265th birthday of freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman this time as well.

Winners of the bullock cart races were showered with prizes of Rs 1 lakh cash, lambs, and LED TV. The event gathered a crowd who watched the Bullock cart race with interest.

Many pairs of bullock carts from various parts of Tamil Nadu like Thoothukudi, Nellai, Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Theni, and Virudhunagar became a part of this event at Vaipar ECR (East Coast Road) road today.

The competition was held in 3 categories – big bullock cart, small bullock cart and poonjittu. Following this, the owners of the bullock carts and the drivers who won the competition were honoured with prizes.

Notably, the Great warrior Kattabomman popularly known as ” Veerapandiya Kattabomman” raised his voice against the British regime was born in the 17th century AD in Panchalankurichi, a small historic village located 25km from Thoothukudi and 55 km from Tirunelveli.

The existing Memorial Fort was constructed in 1974, by the government of Tamil Nadu. The Memorial Hall has beautiful paintings depicting the heroic deeds of the saga which give a good idea about the history of the period.

Sri Devi Jakkammal Temple, the hereditary Goddess of Kattabomman, is located in the fort complex. Cemetery of British soldiers can also be seen near the fort. The rest of the old fort is protected by the Department of Archaeology. City bus services are available from Thoothukudi.

On January 3 Tamil Nadu Chief Minister paid his homage to the great warriors “Today is the birthday of the pioneers Veeramankai Velunachiyar and Veerapandiya Kattabomman, who wrote the sacrifice chapters of the south in the history of the Indian freedom struggle in the eighteenth century! All Indians should know the bravery of these two who refused to pay taxes, resisted the creation of the British, and proclaimed the character of a Tamil who was bigger than life! The land that planted the seeds of freedom struggle a century before the 1857 soldier’s mutiny should be remembered as Tamil Nadu! (ANI)

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