Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kathak Queen Sitara Devi wanted to meet PM Narendra Modi

Kathak Queen Sitara Devi wanted to meet PM Narendra Modi, wrote a letter to the PM few weeks before her death

The last letter that Sitara Devi wrote was to Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Just a few weeks before she was admitted to the Cumballa Hill Hospital, dancing legend Sitara Devi in a recorded video interview had told IndyaNewz.com that she wanted to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sitara Devi was a great fan of Modi and hoped that Modi would help her get her dance academy moving. All her hopes were pinned on Modi. She even wrote a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested us to forward it to him, says Flynn Remedios, Editor of IndyaNewz.com. The letter was dictated by Sitara Devi to her daughter Kathak guru Jayanti Mala Mishra who penned it down in the presence of a couple of her students and handed it over to the Editor of IndyaNewz.com. That was probably the last letter that Sitara Devi would write. A copy of that letter still is in possession with IndyaNewz.com and is published below. READ THE LETTER HERE.

For the last 30-35 years Sitara Devi had been running from pillar to post to get a plot of land in Mumbai, sanctioned for a dance academy which she planned to set up. At her insistence about six months ago, on the 26th of March 2014,  IndyaNewz.com launched an online campaign on Facebook titled "Support Sitara Devi" (Facebook.com/support.sitara.devi), but like the dancing queen's efforts, the campaign fell on deaf ears. A very sad tribute to the fallen legend, the campaign did not even get  50 LIKES on their Faceboook page and was abandoned by the organisers.  Says Flynn Remedios, "We tried to popularize the cause, but there was no response.  We had to abandon it as there were no funds and even the media was not so supportive."

A scanned image of the letter can be found at the link below

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kathak dancer Ranjana Bhattacharya honoured with the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar award

Kathak exponent and actress Ranjana Bhattacharya who recently performed at the Bhavans Mumbai Kathak festival and the Taj Mahotsav was honored with the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar award at a Shiv Jayanti function in Mumbai today. Ranjana Bhattacharya has been studying Kathak for the last 10 years under Kathak gurus Jayantimala and Sitara Devi. Jayantimala is the daughter of the legendary Padma Shree awardee Sitara Devi.
Ranjana Bhattacharya will also perform at the Maharashtra Cultural Festival to be held in Mumbai during April this year.
Ranjana has displayed her Kathak skills at the Taj Mahotsav and has given performances at the Lucknow Kathak Kendra, Isckon Mumbai, Ujjain Festival last year where she performed with her guru Jayantimala.
Ranjana has been studying Kathak under the guidance of Jayantimala for the last 7 to 8 years and has given hundreds of performances in India and abroad. After studying Kathak for about two years she got a bengali film Sonar Sansar opposite superstar Prosenjit which launched her in the world of films and Bollywood eventually. She also featured in films like Zilla Gaziabad, Right Ya Wrong, Chashme Baddoor and has done ad films like Vithoba dantmanjan, Nmart, Zalim lotion, Kabjamrut, etc. She also did a Bhojpuri film Ee Mati Mein Sab Kuch Kathe produced by her Guruji in which she played the lead female role.
Ranjana has been doing theater for the last 5 years and has acted in plays like Uncle Samjha Karo , See No Evil, Hear No Evil and Get rid of my Wife.
Ranjana who was introduced to the classical dance legend best described by Rabindranath Tagore as Nritya Samragini, meaning the empress of dance – Sitara Devi and her daughter Jayantimala by a well-known film photographer who is a family friend says, “Of course we all love her, she is so modern in her thoughts and tell us all the time to create and have an identity of our own first and then try to achieve something.”
Speaking about her training to Newz66.com, Ranjana says, “:My guru has a house where we practice and live the entire day. That’s like my second home where I eat, live, dance. Sometimes bade guruji chit-chats and teaches us but we all are very scared of Sitaraji as she is a strict and very disciplined teacher.”
Ranjana’s hobbies include travelling and exploring different cultures and cuisines, cooking watching movies and sometimes reading inspirational books.
Speaking to content agency Newz66.com, Ranjana Bhattacharya said, “I am honored to be presented with the Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar award for my contribution to dance, art and culture. It’s a long way and the woods and lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep,” she said quoting Robert Frost.

Monday, March 10, 2014

J&K girl Purnima Behl is North Indian Teen Queen

Jammu & Kashmir-born, 21-year-old model and aspiring actress Purnima Behl was selected the North Indian Teen Queen at an event held at Shimla in the state of Himachal Pradesh last week. India Teen Queen is a talent contest open to Indian youth between the age group of 18 to 21 with the aim of promoting talent amongst youngsters. 22 finalists from different parts of North India, vied for the crown which Purnima Behl bagged easily with her crisp answers and a crispier kathak dance performance.

After completing her graduation, Purnima Behl briefly worked with the Concepts Group in Dubai, UAE - an event company that manages events and exhibitions throughout the world. She has been modeling and participating in events and pageants since she was 16. She came back to India to pursue a career in acting and has now made Mumbai her home.

Her work experience over the last 4 years includes Concepts LLC (Events & Exhibitions), Y S Events (Events) , Liebe Magazine cover shoot, editorial features for magazines and publications like Woman's Era, Meri Saheli, Vinita, New Woman and many others. She has participated in events like the BMW Launch in India, and worked on small projects with PJ Films Pvt Ltd, Ayushi Films Pvt Ltd and Om Bajaj Productions

Well-trained in dance styles like hip hop, bollywood, Indian Classical Dance (Kathak) her hobbies include painting, modeling, travelling, listening to music, photography and writing poems. She has done a professional actors course from the Stella Adler Acting Studio in Mumbai and trained for 5 years in classical kathak at the S P Academy in Jammu.



Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sigma Rock & designer Umair Zafar collaborate to promote Lucknowi Chikankari & Embroidery

Lucknow, 2nd March 2014 We all celebrate our annual events and functions with a lot of aplomb, but when we do it with for a social cause; it makes a great difference to those benefited. Sigma Rock Infra Ventures Pvt Ltd - a Lucknow-based real estate company believes and stands for integrity and ethics and this was amply evident in their effort to support and promote the small craftsmen and karigars of Lucknow. Sigma Rock presented celebrity designer and stylist Umair Zafar's Chikankari Summer Collection 2014 on 1st March at a glittering ceremony at the M B Club in Lucknow to promote the craft and enhance and encourage the craftsmen and karigar community which has suffered greatly due to neglect and lack of promotion. Bollywood diva Rituparna Sen walked the ramp  for Umair Zafar and also distributed prizes and awards to achievers of Sigma Rock.

Lucknow based designer Arshi Jamal also show-cased his ethnic collection as the guest list included young and energetic minister Naved Siddiqui,  Major General Suresh Gupta, Dr Vikram Ahuja, Lens man Subodh Bajpai, Shashank Agarwal, former Indian women’s cricket team captain Nighat Khan, Asst Director - Ministry of Communication Ravi Pratap Singh,  Urban Fashion Franchise Head Shoaib Zafar and many others.

Gorgeous Rituparna Sen Gupta, the show stopper for Umair Zafar enthralled the audience with her beautiful moves. Ace choreographer Shie Lobo made the night more appealing with his synchronized choreography. Rupa Khurana and Rajesh Tandon anchored the gala event.
According to, Asrar Ahmad Khan, Director Sigma Rock, “We being housing providers relate directly to fashion and lifestyle. This event hence is one more form to connect people with fashion and lifestyle.  This is yet another feather in our cap. The aim for Fit and Fashion 2014 is to create awareness about fitness and fashion among Lucknowites.”

Designer Umair Zafar who hails from Lucknow and is known for his patronage for the culture and crafts of the city of Nawabs speaking to news agency Newz66.com in Lucknow said, "This show is for the craftsmen of Lucknow who have long been neglected by other designers and big brands alike. I thank Sigma Rock for supporting us in this noble cause. We are showcasing 35 national and international models to display the designs. I have used the blend of Lucknow’s ancient art -  the chikan with popular modern fabrics. It’s now possible to carry chikan in all seasons. It is not vintage any more. These fusions will give chikan a high fashion and party angle given the fact that over 20 varieties of fabric have been used.”

The magic moments were captured by the lenses of Subodh Bajpayee.  Patrons supporting the event included Urban Fashion, Diet Mantra, Magic Holidays, Golden Blossom Imperial Resorts, Signature Premium, Flashcabs, PR advisory Kaivalya Communication, Meem Productions and many more.

Ms Bikini Online 2014 right on track, asserts Flynn Remedios

Dispelling rumours and a fake and fraudulent press release circulated anonymously and clandestinely to some websites which have auto posting enabled – that permits automated publication of content without human intervention, Editor, Publisher and CEO of Newz66.com, Flynn Remedios in a press note circulated to media persons in Mumbai on 4th March 2014, said, “We are right on track with the Indian edition or version of Ms Bikini Online 2014. I have been associated with Ms Bikini India since 2007 and it is incorrect, misleading and scandalous at the least to say that this is a fake event and that too just one day after it’s announced. As a businessman I have every right to promote and publicize a proposed event and most producers announce films even before they have a script ready or have signed on even one actor.  For various reasons including legal and regulatory we have had to hold the event only in its online format and the actual physical event – Ms Bikini India, had to be deferred. We are committed to hold the online version this year as well and are also trying our best to make the physical event happen too. The winners are judged by a combination of online votes and Facebook “likes’ and other criterion include a panel of experts.”

Clarifying about fake media releases against him and his company newz66.com, Remedios said, “The write up has been circulated by a competitor who has done such things in the past. In the past, I have overlooked and ignored such misleading press releases about me circulated by jealous and frustrated competitors. This time I am not taking things lying down. I will hit back with all I have got and everything I can lay my hands on. I have written to the Cyber Crime Cell of the Mumbai police today as well as the Mumbai Police Commissioner complaining about such defamatory articles or news items circulated or published to defame me and discredit my website as well as cause me financial and pecuniary  losses and also indirect loss of reputation to my clients and business associates. I will also file private civil and criminal complaints in the appropriate magistrate’s court in Mumbai against the perpetrator or perpetrators and bring them to task.”