Bollywood Films Interview

‘I know about hard work I have put in for all my films’

Janhvi also spoke about her latest release ‘Good Luck Jerry’ and how she worked on her diction…reports Asian Lite News

 Janhvi Kapoor has talked about how initially in her acting career the Bollywood actress was made to feel that she got everything on a platter and got things she does not deserve.

Recalling the same, Jahnvi in B4U podcast ‘Hear It Here with’ Suchitra Pillai and Sudhi Sachdev, said: “During ‘Dhadak’ and ‘Gunjan’, I have been made to feel that I got everything on a platter, and I got things I don’t deserve, which means that I am technically worthless, and I am getting opportunities because of the work my parents have done.”

“At the same time, I also felt an overwhelming respect and love for my parents, and I am being given love and work because of that. But the truth is that I love acting and I live for it. I work my ass off to give it back to them for what they have done for me, and because I am doing what I do because of their love. And then I realised that what I can do is to enjoy my work.”

The daughter of late veteran actress Sridevi and producer Boney Kapoor added: “I do have respect for the fact that other people have lost out on the opportunity. But no thanks. I realised that what I can do is to make sure that I can give it more than my best and my everything. I don’t know about the beauty and talent I have, that you mention, but I do I know about the hard work I have put in for all my films.”

Janhvi also spoke about her latest release ‘Good Luck Jerry’ and how she worked on her diction.

“I started training for my diction and dialect, and there is a specific rhythm to the Bihari accent and it’s so meetha. Once you tap into the rhythm it’s difficult to get out of it. And then I was playing a girl from Bihar, in Punjab, amongst a gang, and I was the only girl in a group of thugs. They were all in character, and most technicians were also male.”

She added: “They did make me comfortable, but it does feel funny because there are these very sweaty groups of men whose job is to intimidate you. I was not allowed to go back into the van because my character never had such privileges. I suddenly realised that we actors have such privileges when everyone including the light dadas and others are sweating it out on the set.”

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Films Interview Lite Blogs

‘A lot of physical training needed to depict sports stars on screen’

For depicting the life of a sports personality there is a lot of physical training that is required and Taapsee said that she was fortunate as she was prepared to play a professional cricketer by not just one but four coaches including Mithali Raj’s friend Nooshin Al Khadeer for the biopic…writes ILA SANKRITYAYAN

From ‘Soorma’, ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ to ‘Rashmi Rocket’, Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu has some incredible sports films to her credit and now she is all set for another one, ‘Shabaash Mithu’, a biopic on Mithali Raj, former captain of women’s cricket team.

Mithali Raj is among the highest run-scorers in women’s international cricket and Taapsee says it was never easy for her to portray a living legend on screen.

Taapsee was in Capital for the promotion of her movie, ‘Shabaash Mithu’ along with Mithali Raj and director Srijit Mukherji.

She told about how she prepped up physically and mentally to depict Mithali and the kind of roles she is looking forward to play.

“It was a biggest challenge and especially for someone who has not played cricket ever before to portray a living legend like her-the first woman whose name comes to mind when you talk about women’s cricket.

“And this is also true that if this role was not so challenging I would not have been motivated to give my best. Apart from that, to perform as a character, we both are very different as individuals. So, the challenge was not limited to just the cricketing field, it was also beyond, to impersonate in a way. I am not someone who’s very good at mimicry.”

“When I have to portray someone who’s not really like me I will not try to mimic her. I’ll try to embody her and make a version of myself like give a part of myself into that character. Instead of trying to just superficially mimic someone. So that also takes a little bit of effort mentally to change yourself to portray someone who is so different from you,” she added.

Taapsee, furthermore asserted that she was extra careful because this movie is not only based on cricket which is loved by the entire country but it comes under more scrutiny as the story revolves around a woman cricketer and that makes the topic more sensitive and need to be handled with care. Moreover, the actress said ‘yes’ to the movie even before its script was ready.

“When this opportunity came to me I thought about what could be better than this. It seemed like this role was written for me. It was full of challenges. Firstly because this movie revolves around cricket which is most loved in our country and second because it is based on the life of a women cricketer. Wherever women are involved that lens with which people will look at you will be double precise.”

“They will be observed with a double microscope like how she is holding the bat, how she hit the ball. So, the level of commitment needed was double. And we all had given that. I have put all my effort into portraying a cricketer and the same goes for the director and producer. It is a team work,” shared the ‘Pink’ actress.

For depicting the life of a sports personality there is a lot of physical training that is required and Taapsee said that she was fortunate as she was prepared to play a professional cricketer by not just one but four coaches including Mithali Raj’s friend Nooshin Al Khadeer for the biopic.

She revealed: “I was trained by four coaches, not just one. All of them have played with her and were friends with her, especially Nooshin. They had the responsibility, the herculean task to turn a non-cricketer into Mithali Raj. I think we should praise them for courageously accepting this challenge without even knowing me. The first day, I didn’t even know how to lift a bag. I came for practice the second day to begin again. “

“It was beneficial to learn from Nooshin not only because she is a cricketer and has played with her (Mithali) for a long time but also because she is a very close friend of Mithali. So, this helps me to not just learn cricket the ‘Mithali way’, but to also know Mithali beyond the pitch. Due to the fact that she was busy at the time, it was extremely difficult for me to conduct research work. In fact, I didn’t even have any videos of her. Before, it was also really difficult to find her interviews.”

“The ones that were found were from around 2012-2013. There weren’t any interviews prior to that period. I had no footage. Therefore, Nooshin was a window for me to know Mithali, not just as a cricketer, but also as a person beyond the ground.”

Recalling her first meeting with Mithali, Taapsee reminisced: “I was getting butterflies in my stomach. Because I always admire sports stars. I have this little fangirl moment whenever I see any sports star who’s represented India because since childhood I used to watch sports more than movies. I am fond of them so much because there is no second take for them like we get in movies. So, when I met Mithali I talked a lot, in fact more than her. Now at certain times I feel if I would have let her speak, maybe I would have understood the character in a much better way.”

Taapsee had a lot of memories from the sets of her movies and she enjoyed every bit of it. The way she played cricket and prepared herself will always be with her. At last she talked about her wish and concluded with: “I want to play an avenger and please tell Marvel they can do something about it.”

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Interview Lite Blogs

‘Madhavan transformed Nambi Narayanan a great scientist on screen’

The visuals that I shot during these visits were later used for the documentary, ‘Nambi: The Scientist’. It was indeed an experience for making a movie in a larger frame…Prajesh Sen speaks with Arun Lakshman

The movie ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ released globally on July 2 and is gaining good reviews as well as positive word of mouth.

The movie is about the life and struggles of the country’s eminent scientist, Dr. Nambi Narayanan who was a senior scientist in the ISRO and later was alleged of being involved in espionage.

He fought the case and won it and got acquitted of all charges and even made the police pay him compensation for undue detention in police custody and trauma.

Scripted and directed by actor R. Madhavan, the movie has been co-directed by Prajesh Sen, who had written a book on Nambi Narayanan and made a documentary on the eminent scientist.

We caught up with Prajesh Sen, who has acted in several hit movies in the Malayalam film industry after quitting his job as a journalist in a leading Malayalam newspaper.

You are part of the movie Rocketry: The Nambi Effect, Please share your experiences about the film.

A: Experience means my close association with Nambi Narayanan Sir. I was in school when I first heard about the ISRO spy scandal and had a feeling that it was true. But later when I grew up, read a lot, and developed my own social outlook, I could understand that he was wronged.

Later, I became a professional journalist and tried to get his interview but he didn’t relent. However, after constant perusal, I could get his interview and my interview with him was a big hit which was titled ‘Is there an answer to my nine questions’.

Then I wrote a book on him, ‘Ormakalude Brahmanapatham’, which took five years for me to complete. I travelled to places where he had been to, including Vernon in France, and there I took visuals which later turned out to become my documentary on him, ‘Nambi, the Scientist’.

Q: Popular actor R. Madhavan is casted as Nambi Narayanan and how was the feel of Madhavan as Nambi?

A: In fact Madhavan the actor has transformed into Nambi Narayanan literally and he has totally become the great scientist on screen. All the mannerisms of Nambi Narayanan were properly displayed by Madhavan. We never felt that he was acting but was living the role of Nambi sir. On watching the movie in a theatre among the crowd, I turned highly emotional at the performance of R. Madhavan.

Q: Was your documentary, ‘Nambi: The Scientist’, a good experience in the larger frame of the movie?

A: Yes, I did the documentary on my experience with travelling with Nambi Narayanan sir during the research on his book. Had the experience of visiting the scientific labs where he had conducted research, his studies, and everywhere.

The visuals that I shot during these visits were later used for the documentary, ‘Nambi: The Scientist’. It was indeed an experience for making a movie in a larger frame.

Q: R. Madhavan has played the role of Nambi Narayanan and he acted in the movie as a 27-year-old Nambi and later as a 75-year-old Nambi Narayanan also. How was the feeling while working with him during the shoot?

A: Yes, the period of Nambi Narayanan from the age of 27 to him turning the age of 75 was portrayed in the movie. This led to the movie taking two years to shoot to be completed.

Madhavan had even bleached his beard and hair to get the grey look and had taken enormous effort and strain to bring the body condition to that of a 27-year-old Nambi Narayanan and later as a 75-year-old. This is the first time that I am seeing an actor taking this much strain and this was a totally dedicated effort on the part of R. Madhavan.

Q: Madhavan has gone on record that this was his best film ever. Do you have the same feel?

A: There is no confusion in stating that this is the best role played by R. Madhavan in his career. He has put his soul and heart and physique into the movie. He has turned each moment into the scientist Nambi Narayanan. This is his best performance, best makeover, and best direction.

Even if this was his first directorial venture, he had performed exceedingly well. As a co-director of the movie, I had the feel of his total performance in the movie as an actor and director. His thirty years of acting experience was converted in the making of the movie.

Q: You had written a book on Nambi Narayanan and later did a documentary on the Rocket scientist. Did these experiences help you during the direction of the movie?

A: The experiences I had in writing a book on him and later making a documentary on him helped me a lot during the shooting of the movie. Also, I traveled quite a lot with Nambi Narayanan Sir.

All these helped during the shooting of the movie. I had a personal rapport with him which can be termed a friendship and this helped me during the shoot. This has helped the totality of the movie as such.

Q: Will the movie have a major impact across the globe as this is not a movie on a sportsperson or a movie star but on a scientist. Your comment?

A: After watching this movie, the people would think of themselves — not only scientists I mean, but each and every individual who watches this movie will think about themselves in the shoes of the great scientist and how he was wronged and targeted.

The life of Nambi Narayanan, the scientist will be etched in golden letters in the hearts of the people who had watched the movie.

Everyone who had watched the movie praised Nambi Narayanan sir and said that they were ignorant as to what a big man he was. People knew him only as a person who had escaped after being charged in an espionage case. Now the audience understood that he is beyond that and had made major contributions to science.

Each individual who has watched the movie will understand that he is such a great nationalist and how much people will celebrate Madhavan as an actor, and so will Nambi Narayanan, the scientist be celebrated. The movie will give great recognition to the scientific community of the country and the world.

Q: How was the experience during the shoot of this movie?

A: I had completed the movie ‘Captain’ and was doing my preliminary discussions for my movie, ‘Vellam’ when I joined this team as a co-director. I could learn several things from Madhavan Sir and how he was molding actors and even as a co-director,

I was made comfortable by him. Sync sound was done by people who have been exposed to that area of expertise. Graphics, including VFX, was done by a big company called Assemblage and I had the opportunity to visit their premises and cooperate with them giving me a great experience.

The camera for the movie was wielded by Sreesha Roy from West Bengal, who is an FTII Pune product and this was his sixtieth movie. His experience helped us enjoy the style of his work. The editor of the movie was Bijith Bala who is the editor of all my movies and his experience and professionalism helped the movie and the team very much.

The movie was made on a wider platform and Shah Rukh Khan and Suriya did cameo roles in the movie. I am totally indebted to R. Madhavan and Nambi Narayanan Sir for having given me an opportunity to be part of this movie which will be a game-changer.

ALSO READ-‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ to release on July 1

Hollywood Interview Lite Blogs

Brad Pitt: I always felt very alone in my life

It’s only one of several radical changes he’s made to his health over the past few years. After Pitt’s ex-wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, he got sober and spent a year and a half attending Alcoholics Anonymous…reports Asian Lite News

Contributor and author Ottessa Moshfegh meets actor and producer Brad Pitt at his Hollywood Hills home in a new cover story for GQ magazine’s August issue. Throughout their conversations, Pitt is open and honest about his career’s future, the various changes he’s made to improve his health, and his feelings of loneliness. He also talks about his upcoming projects, which include the action comedy Bullet Train.

Pitt is a legendary leading man, Hollywood power broker, and possibly the greatest heartthrob of all time. However, he has recently appeared onscreen less frequently and has been more focused on his role as a film producer. He tells GQ that he’s trying to think about what’s next and what kind of path he wants to take in the final stages of a prolifically creative career.

“I consider myself on my last leg, this last semester or trimester,” he says. “What is this section gonna be? And how do I wanna design that?”

Part of that design includes his production company, Plan B Entertainment. This year, Plan B is putting out Women Talking – an adaptation of Miriam Toews’s novel about a group of Mennonite women who unite against their rapists – directed by Sarah Polley.

“It’s as profound a film as anything made this decade,” Pitt remarks.

Like all accomplished actors, he has become more picky about which films he will appear in. Pitt, on the other hand, is happy to lend his talents to an unusual blockbuster when the timing is right, especially if there’s a personal connection. Pitt will star in Bullet Train, an action comedy thriller directed by David Leitch, who previously worked as Pitt’s stunt double in Fight Club, Troy, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Pitt plays Ladybug, an assassin on a train from Tokyo to Kyoto who has recently recovered from burnout and is returning to his high-stakes job with a somewhat erroneous sense of confidence in his fitness for duty.

“You know, you do a month of therapy, you have one epiphany, and you think you’ve got it all figured out, and you’re never going to be forlorn ever again,” Pitt says of his character. “That was that. I got this, I’m good to go!”

Pitt also tells GQ about his mission to improve his health. He explains that he quit smoking during the pandemic after offering Moshfegh a nicotine mint. Although he initially attempted to reduce the amount of cigarettes he smoked, he realised that simply cutting back on cigarettes wasn’t going to suffice-he needed to quit completely.

“I don’t have that ability to do just one or two a day,” he says. “It’s not in my makeup. I’m all in. And I’m going to drive into the ground. I’ve lost my privileges.”

It’s only one of several radical changes he’s made to his health over the past few years. After Pitt’s ex-wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce in 2016, he got sober and spent a year and a half attending Alcoholics Anonymous.

“I had a really cool men’s group here that was really private and selective, so it was safe,” he tells GQ. “Because I’d seen things of other people, like Philip Seymour Hoffman, who had been recorded while they were spilling their guts, and that’s just atrocious to me.”

Pitt has talked in the past about how he struggles to remember new people, to recognize faces, and he fears it’s led to a certain impression of him: that he’s aloof and self-absorbed. Moshfegh, however, finds him to be the opposite. Pitt is deeply committed to forging meaningful connections, to probing life’s existential quandaries, and hearing the personal stories of others.

“I always felt very alone in my life,” he explains, “alone growing up as a kid, alone even out here, and it’s really not till recently that I have had a greater embrace of my friends and family. What’s that line, it was either Rilke or Einstein, believe it or not, but it was something about when you can walk with the paradox, when you carry real pain and real joy simultaneously, this is maturity, this is growth.”

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Interview UAE News

UAE made quantum leap in industrial development: Al Jaber

Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of Emirates Development Bank, said that the UAE had made quantum leap in its industrial development thanks to the support, directives and vision of its wise leadership…writes Nasser Al Jabri and Ahmed Al Nuaimi

The country has managed to enhance its strategic industrial position, as it moves forward towards achieving its industrial goals with a set of competitive advantages, and has positioned itself as an attractive global platform and a pioneer in the manufacturing sector, he added.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of the ‘Make it in the Emirates Forum’, Dr. Al Jaber underscored the important role of Emirates Development Bank (EDB) in providing financial solutions that support the UAE’s national industrial strategy, highlighting the bank’s contribution to the national economy and GDP in the UAE to date.

He explained that EDB is one of the key financial engines of the UAE’s industrial transformation and economic diversification agenda, as it offers innovative financing solutions and programmes, with its latest target involving the deployment of AED25 billion of support to 13,500 companies within the five priority sectors.

Asked about EDB’s achievements, Dr. Al Jaber said that EDB’s objective is “to maximise our impact on the UAE economy”, by setting a target to raise the bank’s contribution to GDP to more than AED10 billion through developing value chains in the national economy, focusing on the industrial sector.

He noted that EDB contributed a nine-fold climb in industrial capital deployed, from AED108 million in 2019 to AED1 billion in Q1 2022, an increase of 832 percent, as well as a five-fold increase in SME loans approved from AED79 million in 2019 to AED407 million in Q1 2022, or 415 percent. EDB also recorded a nine-fold increase in large corporate loans from AED29 million in 2019 to AED 268 million in Q1 2022, a boost of 824 percent.

The full text of the interview is as follows:

Q1: It has been one year since the Emirates Development Bank launched its new strategy. Could you provide a recap of the major pillars of this strategy?

The new strategy of Emirates Development Bank was launched by our wise leadership in April 2021 to turn EDB into one of the key financial engines of the UAE’s industrial transformation and economic diversification agenda. This strategy is based on the pillars identified by President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the launch of the strategy last year, in which EDB was mandated to support and empower the national industrial sector, facilitate the adoption of advanced technology, empower the growth of SMEs and encourage start-ups and innovation – all of which are in line with national development priorities and initiatives.

Moreover, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said that the Emirates Development Bank Strategy will accelerate vital priority sectors such as manufacturing, advanced technology, infrastructure, healthcare, and food security by supporting the thousands of companies who operate within them, providing a key impetus to the national economy far into the future.

EDB undertakes this role through a range of financial and non-financial products that aim to enhance the bankability of companies and increase their access to the financial resources required to launch, expand or improve their business. EDB deploys a range of tools and criteria that allows us to measure the developmental impact of these financial offerings, ensuring we deliver the maximum benefit to the national economy.

EDB is executing this strategy across three main tracks, the first of which is direct financing to SMEs and large corporates sponsoring industrial projects. The bank has set a target to deploy AED25 billion of support to 13,500 companies within the five priority sectors.

The second track is indirect financing through our Credit Guarantee Program, which supports SMEs by guaranteeing loans from our partnership network of nine commercial banks. This program has mobilised more than AED332 million of capital to SMEs in the past year.

The third track is non-financial solutions, including training, consultancy and market studies, which are hugely important in a rapidly evolving economic landscape. We also offer digital solutions such as EDB’s the new digital banking app, which enables SMEs and start-ups kick-start their business by providing business bank account and an IBAN number within 48 hours and then offering a comprehensive range of fast, secure and round-the-clock banking services.

In the context of the ‘Make it in the Emirates Forum’, EDB has a massive role to play in empowering local manufacturing. The forum presented industrial companies, manufacturers and investors with a unique opportunity and access to some of the product procurements plans of 12 of the UAE’s leading companies who have identified over 300 products across 11 sectors at total purchase value of AED110bn. EDB’s participation is critically important as it is key to ensuring that financing requirements are met.

Q2: One year into the strategy, what has EDB achieved so far against set targets and in comparison, to previous years?

EDB’s objective is clear: to maximise our impact on the UAE economy. We have set a target to raise the bank’s contribution to GDP to more than AED10 billion through developing value chains in the national economy, focusing on the industrial sector; EDB’s presence today in the ‘Make it in the Emirates Forum’ is a testament to its relentless commitment to support the growth of advanced industries and further enhance the adoption of advanced technology.

In a year of transformation for EDB, we have been able to record a significant number of achievements. Through our direct financing and credit guarantees, EDB has seen a 19-fold increase in industrial GDP impact from AED59 million in 2019 to AED1.11 billion in Q1 2022, which equates to a rise of 1783 percent. There was also a nine-fold climb in industrial capital deployed, from AED108 million in 2019 to AED1 billion in Q1 2022, an increase of 832 percent. This was accompanied by a five-fold increase in SME loans approved from AED79 million in 2019 to AED407 million in Q1 2022, or 415 percent. Also, we registered a 9-fold increase in large corporate loans from AED29 million in 2019 to AED 268 million in Q1 2022, a boost of 824 percent.

As a key partner in the Ministry’s efforts to advance the industrial sector and increase its contribution to the UAE’s GDP, EDB used the Make it in The Emirates Forum to underline how its range of financing solutions can help large corporates and SMEs to expand, diversify and improve operational efficiency. Our participation at the Make it in the Emirates Forum has provided an opportunity to not only showcase our products and services, but also demonstrate our readiness to work in partnership with investors, commercial banks, freezones and other industrial enablers in order to mobilise the capital needed to accelerate the UAE’s industrial ambitions. EDB’s renewed strategy, which is aligned with the UAE’s national agenda, is preparing for the challenges and opportunities of the next 50 years and fulfilling an important gap in the market to ensure long-term and sustainable growth in the country.

Q3: Can you discuss the sectors supported by EDB and how much financing was done in the past year?

In line with the wise leadership’s directives, EDB works under the umbrella of the comprehensive vision for the national economy that seeks to position the UAE as a global hub for industry, advanced technology and the industries of future, as well as a magnet for global talents and capabilities, and guarantee our industrial, food, and technological security.

Based on this, EDB is focused on supporting sectors that diversify the economy towards non-oil GDP, and develop sectors that are a national priority for economic self-reliance and those that offer stable and sustainable growth for the future. EDB identified five key sectors that play a vital role in strengthening the economic resilience and competitiveness of the UAE, a list topped by manufacturing – in particular, petrochemicals, plastics, metals, machinery, electrical equipment, and renewable energy equipment. The second is healthcare, which includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical equipment, and hospital services, then comes food security, which includes agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and water desalination.

Advanced technology, which is a major pillar of the UAE’s economic future, is another priority, and we focus on supporting activities in 4IR technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence. The fifth priority sector is infrastructure, encompassing energy and utilities, waste management, transportation, broadband connectivity, digital Infrastructure, and the circular economy.

EDB is driving industrial growth in each by offering a patient debt approach with flexible pricing and tailored financing solutions for customers who have investments in the UAE that facilitate high-skill job creation, capital expansion, export promotion, import substitution, technological transformation and investment in advanced technology, green energy adoption, and brownfield or greenfield development. In the year since the strategy’s launch, we have approved AED1.52 billion in loans to key sectors, including AED750 million to the industrial sector, AED350 million to the advanced technology sector, and AED400 million to the healthcare sector.

Q4: How then is EDB different from commercial banks?

Emirates Development Bank believes in the significance of partnerships and that, by combining the efforts of various financial institutions across the UAE, we can push economic development forward and ultimately deliver sustainable development for all. That is why we are a partner to the UAE’s commercial banks.

Because of its developmental nature, EDB is different from commercial banks as all of our operations are driven by our economic development mandate, with an objective to maximise economic impact for the UAE and drive GDP growth. EDB fills a critical gap in the market by enhancing the bankability of SMEs and supporting projects that offer benefits for the wider economy but are perhaps less viable for commercial bank lending. We assess economic development impact criteria on top of the standard risk and profit calculations of commercial banks and offer eligible projects more flexible terms, including interest grace periods, longer tenors, lower financing costs and higher loan-to-value ratios.

This unique approach is based on three key pillars: development impact assessment, risk evaluation, and efficient and quick deployment through our network of partners. To assess the developmental impact, EDB uses a proprietary ‘Developmental Impact Scorecard’ to evaluate a company’s or project’s eligibility for finance. This measures both the quantitative and qualitative impact, evaluating criteria such as: project nature, whether it contributes to creating a new industry sector, supports an ecosystem of SMEs, attracts foreign direct investment, contributes to local procurement, includes advanced technology, or drives in- country value and export promotion, among others.

In terms of risk evaluation, we believe in risk prudence. While we allow for more risk where the development impact potential is greater, we are still careful when assessing clients. That’s why we don’t offer financing to companies that are either overleveraged or have a negative credit history, or those seeking debt restructuring or acquisition financing.

For the third pillar, EDB can quickly and efficiently deploy financing through our network of partners in the public and private sector. Since the launch of our new strategy, we have signed 26 partnerships with key economic freezones, chambers of commerce, departments for economic development and government agencies focused on attracting direct investment to the UAE. These partnerships enable us to identify the right clients and projects and move quickly to bring their development plans to reality – and accelerate our impact on the national economy.

Q5: Finally, what message would you give to EDB’s target clients?

Our industries should be competitive and based on the highest standards of quality; they should be empowered by our existing enablers, incentives and differentiated advantages, including peace, stability and an excellent quality of life. Our industries should be export oriented and contribute actively to our economic diversification. In fact, enabling our industrial development will have a broader positive impact on the UAE economy, and all aspects of society.

The UAE enjoys many competitive advantages, the most important of which is a wise and supportive leadership that always looks to the future with a positive outlook, provides and focuses on ensuring stability, and have given directives for a flexible and encouraging environment to achieve our goals. We also enjoy highly skilled human resources, energy resources, raw materials, a strategic geographic location, advanced infrastructure, transparent laws, reliability and credibility, competitive financing, an ideal quality of life in a diverse, tolerant and secure society, strategic partnership agreements and cooperation and trade agreements with various countries around the world. All of which have enabled us to develop our national industry, attract investments, build partnerships, and enter new markets.

With that, I would say to all current and potential customers, my message is that EDB is a strong, trusted and reliable partner for any business, whether local or international, that is looking to set up or expand their business in the UAE. We are confident that our new mission will play a pivotal role in driving the national economy to reach even greater heights and consolidate its pioneering position.

In order to help realise the strategic goals of the UAE’s economy, we are focused on ensuring your ease of doing business and to support every stage of your company’s growth journey. We call all project owners to communicate with the bank and discuss the ways in which we can help you achieve your objectives.

ALSO READ:Dubai Silicon Oasis to host its first E-Sports event in October

Bollywood Films Interview

‘No one knows what works at box office’

Karan Johar’s earlier film ‘Shershaah’ received immense love from the audience and critics after its direct OTT release, according to Varun, Karan has faith in ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ and the makers believe that the film deserves a theatrical release…reports Asian Lite News

In a career span of 10 years in the Hindi film industry, he is one of the few actors who delivered as many as 11 hit films.

But as the audience is evolving in the post-pandemic era, and Indian cinema is passing through a sea change, Bollywood superstar Varun Dhawan, who is ready to face the box office results of his film ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’, says no formula can be fixed to predict the fate of a film.

Varun said: “Look, honestly speaking, no matter how much we guess, analyse and predict the fate of a film, at the end of the day, there is no formula and no one knows what works at the box office. And we have seen that in recent times. Post the pandemic, things have changed but the only unchanged factor is people still love going to the theatre and watch a film that is entertaining.

“Whether it is a ‘KGF’, ‘RRR’, or ‘Sooryavanshi’, people watched them. But that does not mean that all larger-than-life event film works… as I said, there is no formula. Our film is a pure family drama that has emotion, comedy, and everything that we have grown up watching in a Karan Johar film!”

While Karan Johar’s earlier film ‘Shershaah’ received immense love from the audience and critics after its direct OTT release, according to Varun, Karan has faith in ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ and the makers believe that the film deserves a theatrical release.

“You know, Karan is a big name in this industry and he has in-depth knowledge about the whole box office game. He watched and loved the film and decided to release it in theatres. We had offers from OTT platforms for its direct OTT release with good financial deals. But he is taking the risk of releasing it theatrically.

“Even I have a share in the film as a producer because we had to restructure the finance post the pandemic. This is as much as my film and the audience are looking forward to that… it’s a family entertainer coming from the house of Karan Johar. I know that our fans will love the film,” Varun signed off.

Directed by Raj Mehta, ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ also starring Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Pajukta Kohli and Manish Paul releases on June 24.

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Neetu Kapoor: Acting has become a part of my healing process

Talking about one of such films ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, the veteran actress said, “It was a special appearance where I played the on-screen mother of Katrina Kaif…writes Arunthuti Banerjee

She made her debut in 1966 when she was just six-years-old. With time, she went on to become a favourite actress of her era.

At the age of 21 when Neetu was at the peak of her career, she got married to the then superstar Rishi Kapoor and majorly discontinued her acting career, even though she appeared in few films later.

Now, at the age of 63, the veteran actress will be seen in multi-starrer Bollywood film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’.

Neetu said: “You see, when I started acting, I didn’t even know that I was doing; as a child, your life was not in your hands.

“It was a situation where I was working as a child artist to support my family. By the time I grew up as a teenager, I felt extremely comfortable in front of the camera and acting was like a part of daily life. I was going with the flow honestly. Then I got married to the man I loved and I was the happiest with my family and children.”

She made her comeback in 2010 with the film ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ alongside her husband Rishi Kapoor.

“The offers for film kept coming and I kept on refusing. In between, I did a few special appearances, only because my husband told me, ‘chal na, ye karte hai, kaam karke maza ayega’. He was my best friend too,” recalled Neetu with a smile.

Talking about one of such films ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, the veteran actress said, “It was a special appearance where I played the on-screen mother of Katrina Kaif.

“Technically speaking, if we go by the context, my character Pooja was a negative one. She left her daughter and family for her lover. But Adi (Aditya Chopra, producer of the film) sat me down and explained that he wanted to cast a couple who would come across as ‘in love’ even in their middle age. That was the reason why he decided to cast me and Chintuji (Rishi Kapoor) together.”

“Now, I am an actress by choice. Now, acting has become a part of my healing process.”

“It is heartbreaking to lose a partner of 45 years, with whom I have grown up and lived my life. But also, I want to wake up to hope, to a new day, I am looking forward to something. This film ‘Jug Jug Jeeyo’ was exactly that for me,” said the mother of the Bollywood superstar Ranbir Kapoor.

The film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ — directed by Raj Mehta, produced by Karan Johar, starring Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor alongside Neetu Kapoor – releases in theatre on June 24.

ALSO READ-Neetu remembers Rishi Kapoor with a note

Interview Lite Blogs Media

How ‘Daily Milap’ intricately involved in the history of freedom struggle

The Urdu editor and the reader have a personal equation, which does not exist in any other language. I am a family member of my reader…reports Rahul Kumar

One of India’s oldest Urdu newspapers, The Daily Milap has an interesting history that spans three countries — India, Pakistan and even the UK. The newspaper and its owner-editors also share an intricate weave and weft with that of the growth of the country and the evolution of Indian society. Interestingly and perplexingly, the change is not much reflected in the readership of the Urdu press, which still remains anchored to the days of yore.

India Narrative catches up with Navin Suri, Chief Editor of The Daily Milap at his office on the Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, often called India’s Fleet Street. The newspaper has entered its 100th year, which is an achievement in tech-driven times where established publications, and even late entrants, have been falling like ninepins.

With more than four decades behind him as editor, Suri talks at length about the fading sheen of the Urdu media, challenges from the ever-evolving technology and Milap’s journey through the decades.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: How is this long journey of Milap interwoven with that of India?

Suri: Milap has been intricately involved with the freedom struggle of the country. My father and my five uncles were all involved in the freedom movement.

My uncle Ranbir Singh was a close confidant of Bhagat Singh. After the bombing, Bhagat Singh was arrested along with his comrades. They were put in solitary confinement and the British were trying to extract information from them unsuccessfully. They devised a plan and told Bhagat Singh that his other comrades had turned approvers, which was not true.

Bhagat Singh’s father Kishan Singh got wind of this. He came to us and said how do we relay this information to Bhagat Singh that nobody has revealed information to the British?

At that time, relatives were allowed to meet the prisoners once a week under a watchful eye.

So, on the day that Kishan Singh had to visit Bhagat Singh in jail, Milap published a news on its front page saying that, ‘nothing had happened and Bhagat Singh should not worry’. Inside the jail, Bhagat Singh was on hunger strike when his father visited him with jalebis wrapped in Milap. Bhagat Singh was confused because his father knew that he would not accept food due to the hunger strike.

During that meeting Bhagat Singh’s father told him, ‘jalebi sut dein, lekin akhbar deikh lein’, (throw the jalebis but do read the newspaper) which confused Bhagat Singh further. However, he did what he was told and he read the newspaper carefully. He eventually understood that his comrades had not buckled under British pressure.

Q: Can you share more interesting anecdotes like this with our readers?

Suri: In another case — the Hindi Aandolan, Master Tara Singh was fighting for a Punjabi Subba and wanted the Sikhs and Hindus alike to mention that their mother tongue was Punjabi. Hindu organisations also stood up to say that Hindi was the mother tongue for both the communities.

Finally, the matter reached Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

It must have been around 1960-1961 and both sides went to Nehru to present their case. In their presentation, Master Tara Singh and Sant Fateh Singh showed Nehru clippings of Milap to say that Punjabi should be made the mother tongue.

In their presentation, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Arya Samaj too showed Milap cuttings to Nehru and stressed that Hindi should be made the mother tongue. Nehru was amused and told both the parties, ‘aap Punjabi ke liye lad rahe hain, aur aap Hindi ke liye lad rahe hain, lekin akhbar Urdu ka dikha rahe hain. (You are fighting for Punjabi and you are fighting for Hindi, but both of you bring newspapers in Urdu).

Q: What are the changes that you have seen in Indian society over this long period?

Suri: There is more acceptability of societal issues among people. For example, divorce does not have the same taboo that we once had. Earlier so much was vested in a marriage through culture and society. Now divorce has been accepted by women as well as ‘respectable families’.

I also see tolerance grow in religion and faith and in forging and un-forging of friendships. Earlier if someone said something about religion or a guru, people would be thrown out of the village and ‘hukka pani band ho jata tha’ (people would be ostracised from the community). It is no longer the case.

Q: How is the Urdu news reader different from that of the English or the Hindi news reader?

Suri: It is a tricky question. The Urdu reader is personally involved in his newspaper and so is the editor. I still write the editorials under my name, wherein I address the readers as ‘main aur tum’ (I and you).

Our readers write letters to us as if they know me personally. An Urdu reader may not know me but I will get invited for his family occasions like marriages and even bereavement in his family.

On other occasions, I will get a letter from a father, asking me speak with his 19-year-old daughter who wants to study. The father wants me to persuade his daughter to get married because that is the tradition in the family.

The Urdu editor and the reader have a personal equation, which does not exist in any other language. I am a family member of my reader.

The relationship between us is such that the reader is expected to send letters to us and the editor is expected to publish those letters.

Q: So what are the Urdu readers reading?

Suri: Ever since the Urdu newspapers began publishing from Bengal and from Lahore, they have covered life and society, not just politics. Now politics has been steadily increasing but other aspects of our society continue to be published.

We publish more positive news than about politics or religion. We will still take news about a particular type of kahwa preparation or knitting from Kashmir. Our focus continues to remain on our readers and the society. Readers still like to remain involved personally in the Urdu newspaper.

In earlier days, page one would have politics on one day, religion on the second day, maybe a scandal on the third day and would publish people’s letters and society-related news on another day — all on page one.

We would carry information on knitting because our readers liked to see that in the paper, but that disappeared now. There was a time when we would even carry the complaints of a housewife against her husband.

The subscription for our newspaper is still called ‘chanda’ (donation) instead of subscription. Hum toh chande pe jee rahe hain (We are literally surviving on donations).

The wall in Navin Suri’s office is adorned with swords presented by gurdwaras, a kalma from the Koran that showers blessings and miniature murtis of gods and goddesses

Q: How has Milap kept pace with changes in the media industry?

Suri: We are making a lot of effort but not all of that has met with success.

Urdu no longer enjoys the same glory that it once had but there is no point in hollering about it either. We have to accept that the Urdu media is struggling.

It was in 1983 that we first began computerising Milap. We were looking to Pakistan for help and reached out to the largest Urdu newspaper — Nawai Waqt. However, things did not progress much. Finally, a Hyderabad-based company helped us develop Urdu software. Since then, we have been ahead in the technology race among the Urdu media in India.

Once during the late sixties, we even started publishing from London. The Milap London newspaper was bilingual-printed in Urdu and English. This was in response to the launch of a Pakistani newspaper in London. We lasted about three to four years only.

Q: Every media house is struggling with the online medium. How is Milap coping?

Suri: We are branching out as much as we can. Besides the website, we have a Milap app.

We launched the Milap News Service which provides exclusive Milap articles to the Urdu media. In about nine months we have a subscription base of 86 newspapers for our news service.

We are also providing information to the diplomatic core. The embassies of various countries mainly want to know how their policies are being perceived among our readers. The embassies and diplomats find us dependable and credible in the information that we provide to them.

Q: Another challenge before the mainstream media is the proliferation of fake news and misleading information on social media platforms. However, the responsibility to debunk wrong information often falls on mainstream journalists. How is the Urdu media coping up on this front?

Suri: Well, the Urdu social media too has a lot of fake news. Sometimes it turns out to be very embarrassing for us because people may try to project fake information through us. We nip it in the bud. We try to hit back hard against fake information.

It is very difficult to cure it. ‘Har aadmi apne aap ko khuda samajhta hai’ (Everyone on social media thinks he is god). These are the positives and negatives of technology.

Q: Do you have readership in Pakistan?

Suri: We have no statistics on readers in Pakistan, though we do have Twitter followers there. Milap and Pakistan do have an interesting relationship.

We had been critical of Imran Khan as the prime minister. Finally, one day we noticed that he blocked both of our accounts on Facebook and Twitter. We felt very flattered by this.

Then during the 1971 war, relations between India and Pakistan were at a nadir. One day someone came to us and said that they had caught packets of Milap on the border. Then we came to know that 2,000 copies of our newspaper were being smuggled to Pakistan from the Punjab border every day. So, I guess we have some readers there.

ALSO READ-Freedom At Last?

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‘Acting is fortunately a space for learning’

“When I was approached for the show, which was set on a very big scale, the English version was narrated to me by the author himself, I was really excited when it was offered to me.”…Tabu speaks with Akshay Acharya

With two National awards, a Padma Shri honour, several other accolades and an illustrious body of work by her side, one may wonder what keeps Tabu inspired and find passion in her work, every single day. The answer is pretty simple – to find a purpose in her work and work towards the goal.

The actress, who can be heard playing the narrator in the Hindi audio adaptation of English author Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’, recently spoke about what inspires her as an artiste, the roles that have given her emotional catharsis in a career spanning almost four decades and the challenges of working in the medium of audio podcast.

Monotony can easily seep in a work environment of any nature but not for her as she sticks to her mantra of pursuing the purpose. She mentions, “In a profession you have to find a purpose which makes you go to work everyday passionately. And I think our profession (acting) is fortunately a space which provides you an opportunity to learn every day and to work with different people everyday (in addition to playing different characters).”

Furthering her point, she says, “Everyone has their different perspectives (in a collaborative medium of film making) and this automatically becomes a new experience for you which gets rid of the regular monotony. The hunger for growing in your own craft and journey as a creative person is the purpose which you have to go ahead with.”

Every medium comes with its own set of challenges. Talking about the challenges she faced with regards to the medium of audio podcast and how she made her way around it, the ‘Andhadhun’ actress says, “What people generally assume is that when you are lending a voice to someone or something you don’t really have to wear the makeup or you just have to sit in one room and deliver it. However when you have no visual stimulus and then you have to create an entire world on your own while sitting alone with just your voice it is a huge challenge.”

“And it’s because you are visualizing and emoting it by yourself. For that purpose your voice needs to have that power to convert all of your narration into visual stimuli which is very difficult. Especially considering the story of ‘The Sandman’ which is not the story of the normal world. Creating a world which you have never seen and more importantly doing it convincingly is a very difficult job but is also a great job”, she adds.

The Hindi adaptation of ‘The Sandman’ is available to stream on Audible. Sharing how the project landed on her plate, Tabu says, “So I had already worked with Audible for ‘Thriller Factory’. Hence, I have a very good rapport with them. Although I just did one story with them, my love for landing voices to characters, I always wanted to be a part of more of such shows.”

“When I was approached for the show, which was set on a very big scale, the English version was narrated to me by the author himself, I was really excited when it was offered to me.”

The actress shares that she reveres the profession of writing because it requires designing a story from thin air. She says, “I would like to say that I am a huge fan of writers and authors. I think that the job of a writer is very difficult because a writer is the only creative person who only uses their imagination and creates something out of nothingness. It is a very solitary job.”

Adding on to that, she shares, “When I was narrating all alone (for ‘The Sandman’) I felt it to be a bit difficult but then I imagined the plight of the writers, who have to write such an epic story while sitting alone. To tell such a story a writer might possess height and a sense of intellect.”

She considers it “a huge honour” to be a part of the epic that ‘The Sandman’ is. “I am very honoured to narrate the story and make these characters come alive.”

Ask her what are some of those characters that have given her a sense of pride and fulfillment with their dimensions and psychologies, and true to her nature, she gives a succinct response as a closure to the conversation, “‘Maqbool’, ‘Astitva’, ‘Haider’ in a huge way and ‘Andhadhun'”, she signs off with a smile.

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‘Cinema is like magic to me’

The ‘Wazir’ actress says she is looking forward to watch the Malayalam film ‘Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’…writes Durga Chakravarty

Aditi Rao Hydari cannot control her excitement as she is all set to make her red carpet debut at the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival.

The Indian actress shares that it is the place where one can surround themselves with the best of cinema and also “bump into people who you have watched growing up.”

Talking about the advantage for an actor to go to a festival like Cannes, a very happy Aditi shared: “I think bumping into meeting people who you have watched growing up or even now… Films and filmmakers. It is all about cinema. For me, cinema is like magic to me and I always thought it was beyond my reach. So, I actually feel lucky and blessed to be a part of the Indian film industry.”

This time the Indian pavilion at the Cannes Film Market will present six films at the festival – ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ (Hindi, English, Tamil), ‘Godavari’ (Marathi), ‘Alpha Beta Gamma’ (Hindi), ‘Boomba Ridea (Mishing), ‘Dhuin’ (Maithili) and ‘Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’ (Malayalam).

The ‘Wazir’ actress says she is looking forward to watch the Malayalam film ‘Niraye Thathakalulla Maram’.

“This year in fact, it is special because 75 years of India on 75 years of Cannes and commemorating it by honouring India and Indian film industry and there will be a lot of people there… But Malayalam part of the competition I am looking forward to watching it… It’s a place where you surround yourself with cinema and best of cinema and people for whom cinema is a passion.

“There it will be cinema time infinity… I think it is great opportunity like that to meet people and watch cinema from the world. I think festival brings the world closer… I feel the world is somewhere coming closer, there is more inclusivity.”

Aditi was supposed to attend the prestigious ceremony two years ago courtesy a make-up brand but everything was put on hold due to the global outbreak of Covid.

“I am nervous because I am not nervous yet… But I am very, very excited and I hope that I can keep that excitement and enjoy the whole process and I hope this time which is so magical and exciting. I was supposed to go the year that lockdown happened. So, now I am going and this is my first time,” she said.

Apart from watching movies and strutting the red carpet, Aditi hopes to go around cafes and try French food.

“I am actually (looking forward to French food). I love French food. I hope I have time to sit in a cafe and feel French but I don’t know if my schedule will allow me but yeah I am looking forward to that experience.”

“And that’s why I am going on saying you know what you imagine as a kid growing up… I want to experience like that. So, I want to have fun, I want to enjoy it and I want to feel lucky I am there. I don’t want these four days to go under pressure.”

She is also looking forward to being around “films”.

“And I think that’s what makes its so special and of course there is the fashion element as well which all of us stalk non stop but I think primarily films being magical and beyond reach and Cannes is everything that represent that. It is literally the home of cinema.”

“It’s aspirational almost to be there and be a part of the whole festival and I think that magic is something that I am looking forward to. I want to be in front of that blue water on a windy day and experience that French Riviera in all its effortless beauty.”

That’s not it!

Aditi knows that she will be under the scanner. However, she does not let the pressure of that dim her excitement.

“People are going to be very strict and judgemental and they will be watching through a microscope and I understand it. I have a responsibility nd I am going to be watched very closely but at the same time I am telling myself that everybody have to do their job and I have to do mine which is to fulfil my responsibility but also to have fun for myself. That is something I want to do for myself.”

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