Biden backers turn to Bollywood hit tune to woo Indian-Americans

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By Arul Louis
New York, Oct 18 |
Turning a Bollywood hit tune into a campaign anthem, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s supporters are wooing Indian-American voters with an eye on swing states where small margins can decide who becomes the next President.

Ajay Bhutoria, who produced the video, told IANS that he wanted to reach the estimated 1.3 million Indian-American voters through a unique campaign media with an element from popular culture that resonates with them.

The campaign video based on the motif of “Lagaan” movie hit song “Chale Chalo” composed by A.R. Rahman, includes appeals to voters in 14 languages.

“We chose this song from the movie ‘Lagaan’. Me and my wife wrote the lyrics for it, ‘Chale chalo Biden, Harris ko vote do’,” Bhutoria said.

It is on YouTube and is circulating on social media.

A shorter version of it with three languages is running on TV Asia, a channel popular among Indian-Americans.

Bhutoria said that the prime target of the campaign is the Indian-American living in the swing states – those which neither party has locked down and could go either way.

After working in 2016 for Hillary Clinton who lost the election despite getting 2.3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump because she failed to carry the electoral college made up of state delegates that finally decides who is the President, Bhutoria said he was determined to not see that happen again.

Seeing that she lost Michigan by only 10,000 votes and some others by slim margins, he wanted to mobilise Indian-American voters there who could make the difference.

He and his wife, Vinita, have also produced another video, “America ka neta kaisa ho, Joe Biden jaisa” (How should America’s leader be? Just like Joe Biden!) and a set of visuals with catchy slogans like, “Trump hatao, America bachao” (Remove Trump, Save America).

The sentiments on these visuals have been echoed in the idioms of 13 other languages.

They’re all making their rounds on social media.

Bhutoria said that his campaign incorporates so many languages because the Indian diaspora is as diverse as India and the voters have to get the message in their own mother tongues.

A member of the Biden campaign’s national finance committee and the Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership Council, he has held fundraisers for Democrats and Biden’s wife, Jill, was at one at his house in March, he said.

His links to Biden and Harris go long back he said.

He had worked with Biden on a programme when he was Vice President, and had known Vice Presidential nominee Kamala Harris from the time she was the California Attorney General.

“They both are going to do great things, especially when it comes to the Indian American community,” Bhutoria said.

He said that Trump was all about phot-ops when it comes to India and Indians while Biden has concrete programmes.

He asserted that on areas where Trump has failed, Biden will act – restarting H1 professional visas that have been stopped, revamping the Green Card system to end the backlog for Indians, concluding a trade agreement with India and reentering the Paris climate pact to work with India on fighting climate change.

“Biden is going to stand with India against the aggression of China, Biden is strictly against cross-border terrorism in South Asia,” he said.

The “Chale Chalo” video starts off with an introduction by Biden, who says: “This campaign with Indian-American at senior levels, which, of course, includes at top of the heap our dear friend who will be the first Indian American vice president in the history of the United States of American – Kamala Harris.”

It segues into the song with a line of young men lining up as in the movie, but holding Indian and American flags.

While the song plays, clips appear of people making appeals in different languages.

Bhutoria, who is based in the Silicon Valley, said that he has founded several companies, including a technology consultancy.

He said that his campaigns did not need a budget because people donated their time and services for making it and some friends supported the airing on the TV channel.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)

Source: IANS

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An actor must be thick-skinned: Kriti Kharbanda

An actor must be thick-skinned: Kriti Kharbanda

New Delhi, Oct 27 | Giving up and sitting back has never been an option for actor Kriti Kharbanda who insists that as an actor it is important to be thick-skinned in order to survive. Adding that for an actor, there are always enough people to put him/her down, but very few who will motivate, she says, “You should be your biggest cheerleader. The moment you give up on yourself, the world will refuse to help. And when one decides not to, nothing in the world can break you. Before my big hit, people would say, ‘she won’t last’. However, I refused to pay any heed to that, and focussed on the positives — there were many still willing to put money on me. Then came the life changing hit. But it happened to me only because I didn’t give up and kept going.”

Kharbanda who will be seen in Bejoy Nambiar’s ‘Taish’ along with Pulkit Samrat, releasing on October 29 on Zee 5, says that the director managed to bring out the best in her and the role was both challenging and intense. “It is unlike anything I have done before. ‘Taish’ has introduced me to a very different side of my acting abilities. Working on this film has taught me several things which I would like to imbibe and utilize while working on other projects too.”

Expecting that the film will precipitate more work, the actor who made her acting debut in 2009 with the Telugu film ‘Boni’ and has worked in Kannada, Hindi and Telugu language films does not really see any drastic contrasts between the industries in different regions. “It is all about the the people you work with. I have had good and bad experiences everywhere. There is never a guarantee that if you are working within a particular region or with a production house, everything will be smooth or bad. For me, it has only been about personal growth, no matter which language I have worked in. How I used to understand and respond to a situation — I wouldn’t react the way I did five years ago, considering one matures with age.”

Excited about the kind of cinema being made by a newer crop of directors working on a smaller budget and willing to experiment with narratives, the actor who starred in films like ‘Veerey Ki Wedding’ and ‘Pagalpanti’ says she is always on a lookout for roles that pose new challenges. “So many talented people coming from across the country are coming forward with novel stories. I would love to be part of those tales.”

As one witnesses major films being released on OTT platforms, Kharbanda says that while an actor would love a theatre release considering the experience it offers to audiences, in times like these, premieres on digital platforms are understandable. “Well, if theatre releases are not happening, this cannot mean that we would stop working. Also, it makes all the sense to support the producer if he decides that the future of the film is on an OTT platform.”

For someone who does not mind spending time at home, the lockdown was not really brutal. “I am glad that I managed to learn several new things during that time including playing the piano. The idea is to constantly think ahead. The lockdown taught me to prioritize my physical and mental health. We now know not to take anything for granted.”

All set to start shooting for her next film ’14 Phere’ to be directed by Devanshu Singh, Kharbanda adds, “I have also signed something else, which should be announced by the last week of November.”

(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at sukant.d@ians.in)

Source: IANS

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Bookshelf: Books that spotlight children's mental health

Bookshelf: Books that spotlight children's mental health

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANSlife) In these unprecedented times, when isolation fatigue, gloom and the fear of losing a beloved has also come to grip children, taking care of their mental health is of paramount importance.

Here’s a list of books that address the various emotions children struggle with, and can be companions to them during the hard times.

‘The Room on the Roof’ by Ruskin Bond

A classic coming-of-age story which has held generations of readers spellbound! Rusty, a sixteen-year-old Anglo-Indian boy, is orphaned and has to live with his English guardian in the claustrophobic European part in Dehra Dun. Unhappy with the strict ways of his guardian, Rusty runs away from home to live with his Indian friends. Plunging for the first time into the dream-bright world of the bazaar, Hindu festivals and other aspects of Indian life, Rusty is enchanted, and is lost forever to the prim proprieties of the European community. Written when the author was himself seventeen, this moving story of love and friendship, with a new introduction and illustrations will be enjoyed by a whole new generation of readers.

‘Who Stole Bhaiya’s Smile?’ by Sanjana Kapur

Bhaiya does not feel like playing these days. Could it be because of his new monster friend Dukduk, who is always hanging around him. No one in the family takes Bhaiya seriously. But Chiru knows there is more than what meets the eye. A story about the lingering effects of depression. The book is illustrated by Sunaina Coelho.

‘Hearts Do Matters’ by Anita Myers

What the world needs now in these times is love. ‘Hearts Do Matter’ supports children and adults through the losses and grief in their life. It teaches us that even when loved ones cannot be with us, we can feel their presence in our hearts. The new release is a beautiful picture book about a little girl who has a very special relationship with her mother. Her mother promised she would always be with her, and she shows in the book that she kept her promise in the most loving way.

Source: IANS

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Yotta infrastructure to invest Rs 7,000 cr for data centre park in UP

Yotta infrastructure to invest Rs 7,000 cr for data centre park in UP

Mumbai, Oct 27 | Hiranandani Group subsidiary Yotta Infrastructure on Tuesday announced to invest Rs 7,000 crore to set up a 20-acre hyperscale data centre park in Greater Noida.

The company said it has received necessary approvals from the US government for the park that will house six interconnected data centre buildings offering 30,000 racks capacity and 200MW of power.

The construction for the first building will commence in December.

“Yotta’s vision to support the Digital India initiative just received a big boost with the inclusion of our northern India campus that will enable us to address India’s growing need for data sovereignty,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, Co-founder and Managing Director of the Hiranandani Group.

In July, Yotta launched the world’s 2nd largest tier IV data centre in its Navi Mumbai Datacenter park.

The company has also inked an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up a campus in Chennai at an investment of Rs 4,000 crore.

“We expect our NCR campus to be operational with the first building before July 2022.

“It was a very natural choice for us to look at NCR to set up our third facility after Navi Mumbai and Chennai, given the growing needs of enterprises and intentions of hyperscale cloud service providers for expanding their availability zones in this region,”: said Sunil Gupta, Co-founder and CEO of Yotta Infrastructure.

Yotta is a managed data centre service provider that designs, builds, and operates large-scale hyperdensity Data Center Parks in Navi Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

Source: IANS

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