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Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performs at the Music for Vision Concert in Mumbai

Music for Vision Concerts in Mumbai and Delhi Mark New Phase in HelpMeSee’s Global Campaign to Eradicate Cataract Blindness

Mumbai, October 20, 2016: Two unique Music for Vision concerts being held in Mumbai and Delhi in October marks the start of a new phase in HelpMeSee’s global campaign to end cataract blindness, with the proceeds going to support training for cataract specialists and achieve cataract backlog free communities in some of the poorest districts in India by 2020. India has one of the largest cataract-affected population in the world.

The Concerts

The concerts, being held at the prestigious NCPA, Mumbai, and Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi, are a unique Indo-US musical collaboration bringing together leading international musicians. They are presented by HelpMeSee and Music for Life International (MFLI), two well-known international organizations. The dates of the concerts are October 20th at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai, and October 23rd at Siri Fort auditorium, Delhi.

They will feature legendary Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan; distinguished US based conductor and MFLI Artistic Director, George Mathew; renowned American violinist; Elmira Darvarova (the first woman ever to serve as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York); and the Bombay Chamber Orchestra which has brought orchestral music to Indian audiences for more than half a century. The concerts will feature iconic works by Indian and American composers, UtsadAmjad Ali Khan who will be soloist in hisSamaagam Concerto for Sarod and Orchestra, and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring respectively.

MFLI Artistic Director George Mathew observed, “Music has the capacity not only to bring people together for a cause, it has frequently and can become the vehicle to illuminate the cause. Aaron Copland’s iconic ballet music is a powerful metaphor for the gift of vision that HelpMeSee seeks to bring to millions of people affected by cataract in India and beyond.”

India Vision: A Five Year Perspective

Since 2012, HelpMeSee has worked with 292 cataract specialists in ten countries who have performed nearly 250,000 surgeries, and have created India’s first ‘Cataract backlog free’ district in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh in 2014 and subsequently replicated this in another four districts (two each in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh).

Recently HelpMeSee opened its Learning Development Centre in Mumbai, where high-fidelity simulation and courseware training systems are being developed to train cataract specialists, based on the success of simulation-based aviation training technology.

The HelpMeSee India Foundation is supported by an India Advisory Board with eminent business leaders, MrRanjitShahani, VC & MD, Novartis, MrPradip Shah, Founder, Chairman of IndAsia Fund Advisors, Mr. Sunil Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director, SPM Capital Advisers and distinguished personalities, Ms. HemaMalini, Mr. Kapil Dev and Mrs. Subhalakshmi Khan amongst others.

Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, President and CEO, HelpMeSee said, “Access to affordable, high quality cataract surgery is the solution to eradicate cataract blindness, which is by far the leading cause of all treatable blindness in India and the rest of world. Cataract blindness elimination can achieve massive economic impactand end the human suffering of victims and their families. Effective public-private partnerships assure that no cataract blind person is left behind. In India or anywhere else. ”

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When Maera Mishra’s first negative character got her teary eyed on the sets of Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega

Zee TV’s popular fiction show, Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega, has been a favourite amongst TV viewers and the interesting story around Guddan (Kanika Mann) and Akshat’s (Nishant Singh Malkani) love life kept them intrigued and entertained for the past couple of years. It recently took a 20-year leap and showcased the tragic death of Akshat and Guddan and post the leap, the show now revolves around the ups and downs of their daughter, Choti Guddan’s life. Essayed by Kanika Mann herself, Choti Guddan finds her hero soon after the leap. Agatsya, the character played by Savy Thakur, is all set to give her all the happiness that she deserves. But standing in her way is Nia, who is Agastya’s soon going-to-be-wife.

Essayed by television actress Maera Mishra, Nia is a grey shaded character who although appears to be a kind and soft-hearted person to the world, is actually quite the opposite. The negative character is all set to turn Choti Guddan’s life upside down and while the actress (Maera) was beyond thrilled to portray her first ever negative character, it seems like the role’s requirements might have left her a bit overwhelmed. The actress who is anything but like her character, found it hard to emote the exact emotions and animosity that her character goes through. In fact, Maera got so affected that a particular sequence got the actress in tears.

Narrating her experience, Maera who plays the role of Nia in Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega mentioned, “We shot for a particular scene where I am yelling and scolding a kid to eat her food. As unbelievable it might sound, but I actually began crying by the end of this scene because I am not really a person who raises my voice, and neither can I tolerate someone else doing it. We had to shoot a couple of retakes because I kept getting teary eyed. In fact, my Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega director and the young girl that I was shooting with were trying their level best at not making me feel bad about the sequence.”

Adding further, Maera said, “This character being my first grey shade is pretty challenging for me and I am giving in my 100 per cent to do justice to the character. In fact my mom, who was earlier convincing me to play positive shades only, recently appreciated my performance in Guddan Tumse Na Ho Payega and that honestly has given me quite the boost to explore this side of myself.”

While our sweet Maera is busy planning and plotting tragedies as Nia in Choti Guddan’s life, she is unaware of the twists that are set to come in her own. As Nia and Agastya’s wedding kicks off in full swing, will the latter finally be able to express the feelings he has for Choti Guddan?

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Director Sneha Shetty Kohli’s next music video ‘Tanhaai’ starring Tulsi Kumar is a soulful rock ballad

Director Sneha Shetty Kohli’s fresh new music video ‘Tanhaai’ features Tulsi Kumar and Zain Imam. A tale about rising up and out of loneliness that we often find ourselves in.

The song is in power-packed vocals of the very versatile Tulsi Kumar and composed by talented music duo Sachet-Parampara.

Sharing about the shoot of the song, Director Sneha Shetty Kohli, adds “We shot the entire song across Mumbai in just 3 days and shooting in between the pandemic with all necessary precautions and rains was challenging yet an amazing experience”. Sharing about the theme of the song, she adds, “Break ups are a part of life and to accept it and come out stronger and not lose your identity in the whole process is what makes or breaks you”.

After the success of most popular music videos like ‘Genda Phool’ featuring Jacqueline Fernandez and Badshah, ‘Dil ko Karaar Aaya’ featuring Sidharth Shukla and Neha Sharma and the top hit ‘Naagin’. Director Sneha Shetty’s next ‘Tanhaai’ is all set to rule the worldwide charts.

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A trailblazer in educational innovation, Whistling Woods International hosts virtual masterclass with the team of ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’

Whistling Woods International (WWI) has always served as a beacon for India’s creative community, inspiring them to greater heights of achievement and success. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, WWI has once again led the way for India’s education sector by hosting an exclusive online masterclass session. This step provided the students of Asia’s premier Film, Communication, and Creative Arts institute with an uncompromised and unparalleled exposure to creative insights on filmmaking.

This unique online masterclass featured the cast and crew behind the acclaimed 2020 biopic Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. Present for the session were the film’s director, Sharan Sharma; writer Nikhil Mehrotra; actress Janhvi Kapoor, who played the titular character; editor and WWI alumnus Nitin Baid; and director of photography, Manush Nandan. Hosting the session was Rahul Puri, Head of Academics at WWI, who led the highly informative and engrossing session. Following an initial round of introductions, the team took turns to describe their individual contributions to the film.

Rahul Puri subsequently began the session by posing a series of questions. When asked about the portrayal of patriotism and women in the armed forces, Sharan Sharma cited about the influence of the real Gunjan Saxena. He stated, “Many cues were taken from Gunjan ma’am and the way she is in real life. She showed us a different view of patriotism, stating that this was her duty towards the country.”

The film was highly praised for its portrayal of the father-daughter relationship, with Sharan Sharma noting that the actors drew their inspiration from the real Gunjan Saxena and her father, “Gunjan ma’am always looked up to her father. Similarly, Janhvi looked up to Pankaj Tripathi and had a lot of respect for him as an actor. Hence it was a natural progression.” Janhvi Kapoor shared this opinion, stating, “I have a lot of respect for Pankaj sir. I admire him and thus forming the bond came naturally to me. Scenes with him always felt nice and were very natural.” The conversation further progressed to the way in which the film was scripted, and that the story had a lot of clarity, while Sharan narrated the script to the team.

Manush Nandan went on to describe his role in shaping the helicopter scenes in the film, and the emphasis on realism. “Sharad had suggested certain details and insisted that nothing could look unreal. The first half was easy as it was  all about Gunjan ma’am growing up, but the chopper scenes in the second half weren’t something we had done before.”

As the session came to an end, Sharan Sharma praised WWI for constantly upholding the standards of education for the film industry, noting, “Hats off and congratulations to all of you at WWI. From my experience of being in film business, I have come across so many alumni who are technically skilled and extremely professional and industry-ready. In a way they have taken over the industry! We are very happy to have interacted with the students of WWI.” With the session concluded, Rahul Puri led a vote of thanks for the team.

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