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

JK Rowling’s Beedle the Bard sold for Rs 3.15 crore

One of the seven copies of the book, written by JK Rowling for the most prominent people responsible for bringing Harry Potter in this world, was sold for £368,750 ($467,000, 439,700 euros, Rs 3.15 crore).

This copy of ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard was bought by an unnamed telephone bidder at the auction house Sotheby’s in London on Tuesday. It was gifted to her publisher, Barry Cunningham, who had published her first book- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Cunningham decided to sell it off with Rowling’s blessings, almost 20 years after the first Harry Potter book that was published. Mr Cunningham, a publishing house owner currently, said he would be sad to part with the edition, but he hoped to use the gift to benefit his children as well as Rowling’s charity Lumos.

It was sold along with the envelope in which the copy was enfolded.Mr. Cunningham’s copy had a cover made with brown Moroccan leather with silver stones in all the corners and also a silver mounted skull in between.

It had a note written by Rowling saying “To Barry, the man who thought an overlong novel about a boy wizard in glasses might just sell … THANK YOU.”

In the last movie of the Harry Potter series, this book was left by Dumbledore for Hermione to help them defeat “You-Know-Who”.

SOURCES: The Guardian, The Telegraph

Image Source: ENews

‘Growing Pains’ actor Alan Thicke passes away

Alan Thicke, a Canadian actor and beloved TV dad on sitcom ‘Growing Pains’ and off-screen father of R&B singer Robin Thicke breathed his last on December 13. He was 69. His death was confirmed by his singer cum actress ex-wife, Gloria Loring through a statement on Facebook.

According to Reuters, he was said to have suffered a cardiac arrest. Robin Thicke, his Grammy-nominated singer son told The LA Times that his father was playing hockey with his 19-year old son, Carter Thicke when he had an attack.  He was rushed to the Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California where he breathed his last. “I saw him a few days ago and told him how much I loved and respected him,” Thicke told the newspaper, adding that his father was an inspiration for his own musical career.

Born in Ontario, Canada in 1947, Thicke began his career with Canadian theatre and television before venturing into Hollywood. He hosted several talk-shows and penned songs during the course of his career. He went on to host the Very Merry Christmas Parade in The Walt Disney World and popular American late-night-talk-show, ‘Thicke of the Night’ before bagging the iconic role of Jason Seaver, a psychiatric father on the popular sitcom, Growing Pains. His other works included Alpha dog, How I Met Your Mother, Fuller House etc.

He received his first Emmy nomination for The Barry Manilow Special in 1977. He is survived by his wife Tanya and sons carter, Robin and Brennan.


Image Source: ETOnline

Priyanka Chopra elevated to Global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

At UNICEF’s 70th Anniversary event at the United Nations headquarters, Priyanka Chopra was appointed as the newest global Goodwill Ambassador.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said, “Priyanka Chopra is already a champion for India’s children and as a UNICEF global Goodwill Ambassador, she will be a force for children and adolescents everywhere.”

Announcing the appointment was footballer David Beckham and actress Millie Bobby Brown who welcomed Priyanka on stage at the star-studded event commemorating UNICEF’s seventy years as a child agency.

Priyanka’s involvement with UNICEF goes a decade back when she first became associated with the organization and visited many centers and villages across India. Due to her efforts in promoting child rights, she was appointed in 2010 as the National Ambassador for UNICEF.

Priyanka broke the news on her social media Twitter and Instagram. She has joined the likes of other global goodwill ambassadors such as David Beckham, Jackie Chan, Ishmael Beah and Orlando Bloom to promote UNICEF’s latest initiative #foreverychild.

The celebration, led by next generation of celebrities was a demonstration of the effect of UNICEF’s work done over a period of seven decades to protect rights of all the vulnerable children of the world.

Speaking on stage about her new role as a global ambassador Priyanka said, “Let’s choose humanity, let’s choose to act now, let’s choose to fight now and let’s choose to ensure a better world for our children, their children and the generations to come.”

SOURCES : ET , Huffington Post

Image Source : Twitter

Apache High Street: Sports and Food

Being a sports enthusiast with a large amount of interest in derby matches in the Premier League, Apache High Street was the obvious choice to watch the first Manchester Derby of the year, thanks to its immense popularity by sports enthusiasts in Pune. The projector screen in Apache is said to be the biggest for an in house display of sports and this combined with its food delights was enough for us to make our way to Apache High Street in the evening. Right from the parking to the entrance, the restaurant-cum- pub is evidently well planned as the space is utilised properly and is split into a car and bike parking as well as a direct entrance to the restaurant from the lower lobby. The loud mostly European music greets you as you step into the outside seating and once registered at the booking deck, you are immediately seated. The place was relatively crowded by the time we reached owing to the match that was about to begin in 30 minutes. As the inner restaurant was full, we seated ourselves in the outer seating, which was beautifully arranged using basic simple white and black coloured tables and chairs. In order to provide a better ambience, they had placed candle lights as well. After going through the menu, we ordered for a BIRA beer and a starter called Chicken Cheese Teriyaki. Our order arrived in approximately 10 minutes, which was quite impressive and the garnishing was wonderful to look at. As the recipe used in the starter was a continental twist to the original, the taste was a mix of both European as well as an Indian continental which was a treat to the tongue. Following this, we went to the main course and ordered Thai Red Curry with rice and a Pasta Arabiata, both prepared exclusively with an in-house recipe. Though the order took over 30 minutes to arrive, the quality of the food was sufficient enough to let us forget it. The Thai dish was on point and tasted exquisite with small chicken pieces laced with the red sauce. The extra sauce made it spicy and gave what I thought was an Indian touch. The Pasta, however, was not the best I’ve had. It seemed under-cooked and was relatively not warm enough to be fresh. On asked, the waiter however told that it was freshly cooked. Except for this minor setback, Apache High Street was the perfect place for sports enthusiasts like myself to relax on an evening and enjoy a football match in a very well put ambience with great continental food.

Rating: 3.5/5

Agent of the Absurd- Edward Albee, breathes his last

American Theatre lost it’s boldest icon, Edward Albee on September 16, 2016 at the age of 88 following a short illness. Jacob Holder, his longtime personal assistant confirmed the news of his peaceful demise at his Long Island home in Montauk, New York.

In a note,which presumably was written a few years in anticipation of the nearing death before undergoing an extensive surgery, Albee said, “To all of you who have made my being alive so wonderful, so exciting and so full, my thanks and all my love.” It was released by Holder along with the statement that confirmed his death.

Famed for his scabrously caustic yet piercingly funny dramas, he explored themes of escapism, self-delusion, death, uncertainty and complexities of intimate relationships and the desperation to break-free from the facade of modern life, through theatre. A Pulitzer prize winning playwright, he has authored more than 25 plays including, The Zoo Story (1958), The Sandbox (1959) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962) , which was later adapted into a critically acclaimed film.

Albee’s five decades of illustrious career, introduced the world to the taste of raw, uncompromising and sometimes even brazen honesty portrayed in the space of theatre. His first play in 1958, The Zoo Story is an example of his razor-sharp wit which jolted the audience out of the slumber of hypocrisy and civil pretence, exposing the realities of an urban American– the social disparity, alienation and dehumanization amid a commercial world.

It was followed by the phenomenal success of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , which concretized his position as one of America’s greatest playwrights and he began to be compared with theatre stalwarts like Arthus Miller, August Wilson and Tennessee Williams. A portraiture of a volatile marriage of middle-aged couple , it painted the intricacies that lie beyond the fabric of the institution of marriage, in an urban landscape. Later in 1966 it was adapted into a black-comedy film, directed by Mike Nicholas and starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, which eventually was nominated for Academy Awards,with Taylor winning the best actress award. Virginia Woolf  won Albee much acclaim, which included a Tony in 1963 for best play. It was even nominated for Pulitzer Prize that year,however, the board eventually rejected it. But, his Pulitzer journey was yet to begin.

Throughout his tumultuous commercial career, Albee garnered critical appreciation and three Pulitzer Prizes for best drama. A Delicate Balance (1967)  was the one to begin with, which later went out to be adapted into a film starring Paul Scofield and Katharine Hepburn. The second Pulitzer came in 1975 for Seascape and it was followed by Three Tall Women(1994), which won him the third Pulitzer. Later in 2005 he was honoured with the special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.

He was “the American agent of the Absurd,  our homegrown equivalent of (Samuel) Beckett.” as Mel Gussow, New York times critic would remember him. With an intense, unpolished honesty his plays plundered his past, to produce works that were often autobiographical in nature.

In his 2007 letter to the audience, Me, Myself and I, Edward confessed his quandary with the idea of untangling his plays to the people who asked ‘what it was about’. His plays according to him, in addition to being complex, were mostly ‘opaque’, which allowed a window of interpretation to the audience.

Albee through his work, taught the world to see, beyond their baggages. His mantra to understand not just his plays, but theatre in general was, “Pretend you’re at the first play you’ve ever seen…Have that experience — and I think ‘what the play is about’ will reveal itself quite readily”.