In a $1.2 billion deal, Michael Kors buys Jimmy Choo

Pairing the perfect handbag with shoes is no longer a difficult task. Luxury fashion retailer, Michael Kors, announced that it has purchased British powerhouse, Jimmy Choo.

The deal is said to be for $1.2 billion, or £886 million, and is expected to catapult the diminishing sales of these high couture brands. Michael Kors, one of America’s and the world’s most affordable brand on the high couture shelf, has faced dipping sales over the years with a sizeable chunk of their consumer base opting for e-purchases, or more affordable retailers like Zara and H&M.

Jimmy Choo, started in 1996 in a market where shoes did not toe the line. With daring designs and revolutionary styles, a frenzied, loyal consumer base was found, with the likes of the late Princess Diana, Emma Stone, Kate Middleton, Kendall Jenner and Michelle Obama sporting them on the red carpet. They went up for sale in April and finalised with Michael Kors this week.

This deal comes just a month after luxury handbags and accessories giants, Coach and Kate Spade drew a buy-out deal worth $2.4 billion, bringing the affordable high fashion game to a far more competitive edge.

 

News Sources – The New York Times, Forbes

Strong Script saves Salman’s Tubelight from going off

Cast: Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Zhu Zhu, Matin Rey Tangu, Om Puri, Mohammed   Zeeshan Ayyub.
Director: Kabir Khan
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

As the Bollywood tradition goes, 2017 also witnessed actor Salman Khan celebrating Eid with his fans with his latest venture ‘Tubelight’. The Salman-Kabir Khan actor-director duo famous for Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan, delivered another film for ‘Bhai’ fans to enjoy during the festival.

The movie claimed to be an emotional and family watch by the star is set in the backdrop of the 1962 Indo-China war and tries to portray the consequences of war on not only the soldiers’ lives but also the lives of their loved ones who are left behind waiting for their return.

Salman Khan has been trying to reinvent his image with projects like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and now Tubelight. The 51-year-old actor has attempted to venture far from his hero image to the vulnerable character of a man with the innocence and understanding of a child. The film, an official adaptation of the 2015 Hollywood film ‘Little Boy’ puts Salman in the role of a brother Lakshman, determined to bring back his younger brother Bharat, portrayed by Sohail Khan, who has gone to fight the 1962 war.

The chemistry between the Khan brothers manages to come out beautifully in some moments, but also becomes a drag many times. The awkward stance of Sohail Khan is clearly visible in the film, who doesn’t look at ease with his character. Playing a mentally-disabled character, called Tubelight by everyone around him, Salman is somewhere able to make up for his otherwise expression less face.

The makers of the film possibly tried to use the adorable child actor formula to add to the charm of the film again;eight-year-old Matin Rey Tangu failed to capture everyone’s audience unlike Harshaali who had managed to outshine even Salman in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

The scripting and camera of the film manage to win hearts to quite an extent. Scriptwriters Kabir Khan, Parveez Sheikh and Sandeep Srivastava deserve all the appreciation for the political commentary included in the film. Statements like “I don’t need a certificate to prove that I am an Indian” by Chinese actress Zhu Zhu who plays Matin’s mother clearly takes a dig at the constant certification of patriotism being awarded in our country recently. Mocking the concept of the person shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ the loudest to be the real Indian, again proves to a very smart and much needed take on the pitiable definition of nationalism gaining popularity in our nation. Lens work done by Aseem Mishra beautifully captures places like Ladakh and Manali, at the same time managing to recreate the 1960s aura.

The message of inclusiveness and Gandhian ideals and making friends with the enemy, although sounds cliché but comes out very innocently and beautifully on the screen. The acting definitely disappoints, but the script manages to save the film to some extent. The first half is far more engaging as the second becomes a bit of a drag. The female actors in the film aren’t able to leave their impact, while the supporting cast including Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Narayan and Yashpal Sharma as Major Tokas manage to do justice to their parts.

The cameo of Shah Rukh Khan comes out as a surprise but doesn’t really impress. The music of the film is way too loud, the songs are shot very well and manage to convey the emotions of the moments, but the makers could have possibly toned the sound a bit down as it unnecessarily overshadows the film.

The film being the late veteran Om Puri’s last, stars him in a fatherly role and plays out as a poetic eulogy to the legend.

*Spoiler Alert*

The symbolism in some of the scenes such as the one where Lakshman spreads Bharat’s ashes in the river with the latter’s soul running forward and mixing with the ashes comes out very strongly and conveys the emotions spot on. Although the scene is a copied one, it still plays out strikingly and creates a mark on the audience’s minds and hearts.

 

Overall, the simplicity in the approach and the attempt by Salman Khan to depict the naivety works out to some extent, although the scope of improvement is very much there. It might have been interesting if more emphasis could have been on child actor, still the film passes on as a one-time watch

Google doodle celebrates hero from forgotten times

New Delhi, January 3: Google India today celebrated India’s first female social reformer Savitribai Phule’s 186th birthday dedicating their doodle. The doodle portrayed a motherly figure of Savitribai protecting the women of India in her arms. She is the first Indian to have her doodle in 2017.

Regarded as the pioneer face to the Social Reform Movement for her work against cast and gender based discrimination in Maharashtra; Savitribai has given India a lot in terms of women’s education and welfare.

Born on January 3 1831 in Naigaon, Maharashtra, Phule is regarded as one of India’s first generation feminists for her significant contributions in ensuring equal opportunities for education under the British Raj.

In 1848, she opened a school for girls from different castes along with her husband Jyotirao Phule in Bhidewada, Pune. At that time she was welcomed with stone pelting in the orthodox Pune society.

In 1854, three years before the Sepoy Mutiny, she established a shelter for the widows and in 1864 built an accommodation to provide space for child brides, who were casted away by their families.

Although forgotten by the patriarchal writing of history, Google’s Art and Culture Platform, in partnership with feminist publisher Zubaan Books has been doing its bit to challenge this highlighting the achievements of people like Savitirbai in their new series of virtual exhibitions.

With over 1800 works of art and photographs sourced from 26 cultural institutions across the country, the viewer is introduced to grassroots activists, poet, scientists bearing rich history of women in India.

Sources: Hindustan Times, Scroll

Image source: google India

British singer George Michael passes away on Christmas

British pop singer and songwriter, George Michael, died at the age of 53, in his home in England on Christmas Day, reported USA Today. The news was confirmed by his publicist Connie Filippello, who added that the pop star had passed away peacefully in his sleep, due to heart failure and requested everyone to respect the privacy of the family during the emotional time.

Thames Valley Police has rendered the death as “unexplained but not suspicious”, The Hindu reported.

Michael, born as Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou in North London, rose to fame as the lead singer of pop band Wham! in the 1980s and became a heartthrob for the teenage population. Later on, he split to create an immensely successful solo career, winning numerous Grammy and American Music awards. He sold more than 80 million records worldwide in four decades of his career span.

Michael’s solo work centred the themes of sexuality and desire.  After being caught in a lewd act in a public toilet in Los Angeles by an undercover policeman in 1998, he didn’t shy away from the exposure and came out with his sexuality in his single “Let’s Go Outside” which became a huge hit and a popular gay anthem for millions.

He later on came into the limelight in various controversies regarding substance abuse and drunk driving, which took a toll on his health. He had recently been planning a comeback with a documentary named ‘Freedom’ focused on his rise to fame, his legal battle with producer Sony for his contract and the making of his music video “Freedom ‘90’”.

Various stars such as Elton John, former Wham! Band mate Andrew Ridgeley, Madonna took to social media to express their grief.

 

Sources:  Mirror , Chicago Tribune

Image Source: AFP

Movie Review- Dangal

Movie cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Sheikh, Sanya Malhotra, Zaira Wasim, Suhani Bhatnagar, Ritwik Sahore, Aparshakti Khurana, Girish Kulkarni

Movie director: Nitesh Tiwari

Movie rating: Three stars

There comes a time in every actor’s life where he/she has to decide whether to look good on screen or to perform. For Bollywood mega-star, Aamir Khan performance has always topped the priority list, and with his latest release for which he gained 22 kilos, the actor has once again proved his perfection.

The flick narrates the story of a Haryanvi wrestler, Mahavir Singh Phogat, who after losing his hope of having a son, trains his daughters Geeta and Babita to make wrestling history. Thus breaking the taboo of Indian women participating in a sport, which is by far dominated by men.

What works very well for the film is the script, Director Nitesh Tiwari, along with Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, and Nikhil Mehrotra should be given a handful of compliments for their tongue-in-cheek quality, peppered with humour and several poignant father-daughter emotions all through.

However, certain scenes in the film that depicted how our society always wants a mother to have a son, and how a girl faces the brutal world waiting to crush her have not been so impactful.

The backdrop throughout the film is very rustic, earthy, and connects a viewer to the place, where the narration is set in.

Aamir Khan perfectly plays the character of a ‘ziddi’ yet a sensitive parent. Fatima Sana Sheikh and Sanya Malhotra, who have portrayed the character of Geeta and Babita, respectively, to quite an extent, are able to grab eyeballs with their acting. Sakshi Tanwar, who plays the role of Khan’s wife is restrained yet effective throughout the narration.

One the whole, the flick sets itself on dual-parameter, firstly, that it is a popular sport, and about the people who play it. Secondly,  it makes a very strong statement over the girl-boy equality in the place, where girls are killed in the mother’s womb.

Music director Pritam and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya have successfully managed an earthy soundtrack for the movie with Daler Mehndi’s title track pumping up the adrenaline. The film also has a soft track Gilheriyaan, complimenting it is a Haryanvi rap, hip-hop Haanikarak Bapu, and the Dhakaad number.

Image source – youtube

Jerry Pinto among Sahitya Akademi award winners

The 2016 Sahitya Akademi awards have been announced – and among the winners are Mumbai’s Jerry Pinto, Tamil writer Vannadhasan, and Hindi writer Nasira Sharma.

Pinto’s Em and the Big Hoom, Sharma’s Paarijat and Vannadhasan’s Oru Sru were deemed winners among 24 names as declared by the Akademi’s executive board.

In a statement, they said that among the winners were eight books of poetry, seven books of short stories, five novels, two on criticism, one of the essays and one play. The books were chosen by a jury of three formed on the basis of languages concerned. The languages are 24 in number.

Each winner will be felicitated with a casket in which a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and an engraved copper plaque (designed by film-maker Satyajit Ray) would be placed. The “Festival of Letters” would take place at a once-a-year event held on February 22, next year at New Delhi.

The awards relate to the books published in the time period between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2014.

The Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) is an Autonomous Organisation of the Government of India, Ministry of Culture. They annually recognise exceptional writing by writers published in any major Indian dialect.

 

Sources: Scroll, Sahitya-Akademi

Image Source: Representational Image

Miss Porto Rico crowned as Miss World 2016

In its 66th edition, the grandest beauty pageant crowned Miss Porto Rico as Miss World 2016, held in MGM National Harbor, Maryland, United States. 19-year old Stephanie Del Valle became the second from her country to hold the title after Wilnelia Merced won it in 1975. This further added as Porto Rico to become the 17

19-year old Stephanie Del Valle became the second from her country to hold the title after Wilnelia Merced won it in 1975. This further added as Porto Rico to become the 17th country with multiple winners since the pageant started in 1951.

Crowned by Miss World 2015 Mireia Lalaguna of Spain, Del Valle called it an “honor and a great responsibility” to represent her Caribbean homeland. Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramirez representing Dominican Republic became the first runner-up followed by Natasha Mannuela representing Indonesia became the second. The top five finalists also included Evelyn Njambi Thungu from Kenya, and Catriona Elisa Gray from the Philippines.

Representing India, Priyadarshini Chatterjee also managed to be in the top 20. She became the first candidate from North-east states (Assam) to represent India in Miss World pageant. The last time an Indian won the Miss World crown was Priyanka Chopra in 2000.

 

Sources: Times of India, Huffington Post

Image source: AFP