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I was molested at 7 and raped at 16, says Padma Lakshmi

NEW YORK, Sept 26: American TV personality, author, actor, and model Padma Lakshmi recently said that she had been raped as a teenager.

In reference to the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that allegedly went unreported for decades, Lakshmi wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times.

In the piece, the Top Chef host mentioned that she was 7 years old when she was assaulted for the first time and 16 years old when she was raped.

Narrating the incident, Lakshmi said that she dated a 23-year-old "charming and handsome" college student when she was 16, who would "flirt" with her at her part-time retail job at a mall in Los Angeles. But just a few months into the relationship, Lakshmi said that he sexually assaulted her while she was asleep.

"When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother," she recalled in the piece. "He never brought me home late on a school night. We were intimate to a point, but he knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex."

On New year's eve three decades ago, Lakshmi said that after a night out with her boyfriend, she fell asleep at his apartment. "The next thing I remember is waking up to a very sharp stabbing pain like a knife blade between my legs. He was on top of me," the star wrote. "I asked, 'What are you doing?' He said, 'It will only hurt for a while.' "

Unaware of what date rape meant at that point in time, Lakshmi said she was unsure of whether the incident classified as rape or sex, but continued to tell her future boyfriends that she was a virgin. "Emotionally, I still was," she noted.

Lakshmi further explained how, when she was 7 years old, she was sent to India to live with her grandparents for a year after she told her mother and stepfather that a relative had touched her inappropriately and put her hand on his penis. "The lesson was: If you speak up, you will be cast out," the star said.

"I have nothing to gain by talking about this. But we all have a lot to lose if we put a time limit on telling the truth about sexual assault and if we hold on to the codes of silence that, for generations, have allowed men to hurt women with impunity," she concluded.

Sanju zooms past Tiger Zinda Hai, becomes 4th highest grossing Indian film ever

NEW DELHI, July 30: There is no stopping for Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Sanju, a biopic on controversial Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt. The film has continued its glorious run at the box office and has now become the fourth highest grossing Indian film ever. In all probability, the movie will reach to the third spot by the end of this week.

Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh has tweeted that Sanju has surpassed the lifetime business of Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai to reach the number 4 spot. So far, it has collected Rs 339.75 crore, upping the total collection of Tiger Zinda Hai at Rs 339 crore. It has now eyes fixed on Aamir Khan’s PK which is at three with a tally of Rs 340.80 crore. The top two films in this list are Baahubali 2 (Hindi version, Rs 510.98 crore) and Dangal (387.38 crore).

Despite making more than Rs 500 crore worldwide, Sanju has received mixed critical response, with most critics complaining that the film had whitewashed some of the more controversial aspects of Dutt’s life. Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has already announced his own Dutt biopic, which he says will tell the true story, warts and all.

Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas engaged

NEW YORK, July 27: Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are now engaged, according to reports in the US media. The engagement took place in London last week where Nick and Priyanka celebrated her 36th birthday together. The couple, who met at the 2017 Met Gala in New York, are expected to get married later this year. Nick and Priyanka are yet to confirm the engagement.

Nick closed down a Tiffany store in NYC to buy her an engagement ring, People.com reported. “They are so happy,” a source said. “His friends and family have never seen him like this, and they’re all really excited for him. He’s definitely very serious about her,” the source continued. Nick and Priyanka were seen with his brothers in London. The American singer had also shared a photo of Priyanka from London on his Instagram stories.

Earlier on Thursday Priyanka’s Bharat director announced that she had backed out of the film. In his tweet, he seemed to allude to Priyanka’s relationship with Nick and a potential announcement. Zafar wrote that the reason why Priyanka left Bharat is “very, very special” and she informed them just in “the Nick of time”. Priyanka and the American singer have been dating for more than two months.

Priyanka and Nick’s relationship rumours began in late May, when they were spotted together on several occasions. They arrived in India in June for a short holiday and attended the engagement of Akash Ambani and Shloka Mehta as well. They included a vacation within a vacation when they took off for Goa with Priyanka’s cousin and actor Parineeti Chopra and brother Siddharth. During his time in India, Nick also met Priyanka’s mother, Madhu Chopra. She said that it was too early for her to form a definitive opinion about him because they’d met for a short time and in the company of several others.

They then jetted off to Brazil, where Nick was scheduled to perform at the VillaMax festival. Pictures from Mumbai,Goa and Brazil were shared online by multiple sources, including Priyanka and Nick themselves. During this time, they also seemingly made their relationship ‘Instagram official’.

More recently, the two have been spotted wearing matching rings. Priyanka recently told People magazine that she wants to have children. “I am a very ‘live in the today,’ maximum ‘live in the next two months’ kind of person. But [in] 10 years, I definitely want to have kids. That is, it’s going to happen in the next 10 years. Well, hopefully earlier than that. I’m very fond of children and I want to be able to do that,” she said.

Nick has previously dated former beauty queen Olivia Culpo and singer Delta Goodrem. This will be their first wedding for both.

Sanju earns Rs 500 crore worldwide

NEW DELHI, July 13: Director Rajkumar Hirani’s biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt, Sanju, starring Ranbir Kapoor, has crossed Rs 500 crore in worldwide earnings, according to trade reports. The film is on the cusp of crossing the Rs 300 crore mark (nett) in India, a little after two weeks of release.

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh tweeted on Saturday that the film is ‘continuing its dream run’. The film made Rs 202 crore in India in the first week and another Rs 92 crore in its second week, for a total of Rs 295 crore. The film has also made close to $7 million in the US.

The film is fourth on the list of films with the biggest opening week collections. Baahubali 2 is at the first position with Rs 246 crore while Salman Khan’s Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai are at the second position and third positions with Rs 208 crore and Rs 206 crore collections, respectively.

After making Rs 34.75 crore on its opening day, Sanju became the highest grosser of 2018 as well as of Ranbir’s and Rajkumar Hirani’s careers. The film went on to cross the Rs 100-crore-mark in the first weekend itself, again making it to the highest weekend grosser of 2018 and the actor and director’s respective careers.

The film has received mixed reviews from critics - it holds a 50% rating on review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes - and criticism has been directed at Hirani’s whitewashing of some of the more scandalous aspects of Dutt’s life.

'Baaghi 2' Enters 150-cr Club

MUMBAI, April 20: Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani starrer ' Baagh2' has managed to survive in the third week due to its gripping storyline and high octane action sequences which have been the high point of the film. The word of mouth publicity has also helped the movie get more audience to the cinema hall.

According to a recent report on BoxofficeIndia.com, the Ahmed Khan directorial grossed another Rs 10.50 crore in its third week at the ticket window, which in return has taken its total collection to a staggering Rs 154.05 crore.

Apart from the leading pair, the film also stars a bunch of versatile actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Prateik Babbar and Randeep Hooda, who have given stellar performances even after essaying grey characters.

Looking at the success of their film, the makers have decided to make the third instalment of the 'Baaghi' series which will be directed by Ahmed Khan will feature Tiger in the lead role. The film will reportedly go on floors in December this year itself.

Baaghi 2 Takes Tiger Shroff-Disha Patani To 100 Crore Club

MUMBAI, April 4: Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani's action flick has taken Bollywood by surprise. From Jacqueline Fernandez's recreation of Madhuri Dixit's popular number Ek Do Teen to the lead actor's action sequences, the movie has managed to create quite the buzz around it. Baaghi 2, the sequel of Ahmed Khan's hit movie Baaghi, is the remake of 2016 Telugu movie, Kshanam.

The Tiger Shroff - Disha Patani starrer has done well in terms of collections as well. The cash registers haven't stopped ringing since its release. Trade analyst, Taran Adarsh mentioned on Twitter that the movie has managed to collect Rs 10.60 crore on Tuesday taking its total India collection to Rs 95.80 in five days.

It must be mentioned that Baaghi 2's whopping collection is despite the bandh that was called across the country.

The movie collected Rs 25.10 crore on its opening day, followed by Rs 20.40 crore on Saturday, Rs 27.60 crore on Sunday, Rs 12.10 crore on Monday.

Baaghi 2 surpassed Deepika Padukone's Padmaavat's opening day collection but fell short of its opening weekend collection. It is highly likely that the movie is going to cross the Rs 100 crore mark today, making Baaghi 2 Tiger Shroff's first movie in the much-coveted club.

According to earlier tweets by Taran Adarsh, the movie has been doing well overseas as well.

Baaghi 2 has been praised for its action sequences and from the looks of it Bollywood has found its next action hero. Critics have also unanimously praised the stellar supporting cast of Manoj Bajpayee as the sardonic cop, Randeep Hooda as the undercover agent, Deepak Dobriyal as the shady car dealer and Prateik Babbar. However, critics made it abundantly clear that the movie falls short in more ways than one.

Ahmed Khan's Baaghi 2 revolves around the lives of Ranveer Pratap Singh aka Ronny and Neha. When Neha's three-year old child goes missing, she turns to her ex-boyfriend Ronny for help. Ronny, as expected, takes on the task.

Irrfan Khan says he has contracted a rare disease, is fighting for choices

MUMBAI, March 6: Actor Irrfan Khan has shared in a tweet that he has contracted with a rare disease and is undergoing further tests to reach a conclusive diagnosis. The actor has been away from work for the last few days after news came that he had been diagnosed with jaundice. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore.

Taking to Twitter, the Hindi Medium actor wrote, “Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease. I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will. My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible. In trying times, please don’t speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week – ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me.”

A Vishal Bhardwaj film, reportedly based on mafia kingpin Sapna Didi, was postponed after its lead actors – Deepika Padukone and Irrfan were said to be under weather. While Irrfan was said to have jaundice, Deepika had back pain. The filmmaker had said then, “In the past few weeks, I felt like I was back in the days of Maqbool while prepping with them. Deepika and Irrfan’s look tests have come out exceptionally well, nothing like you’ve seen before, and it took me a moment to recognize them when I saw the test photographs. I want both of them to be strong and fit before we start the film.”

The tweet proves that Irrfan’s condition is more serious than earlier thought.

We wish the actor well.

‘Shape of Water’ triumphs at an Oscars

LOS ANGELES, March 5: The 90th Academy Awards crowned Guillermo del Toro’s monster fable “The Shape of Water” best picture at an Oscars that confronted the post-Harvey Weinstein era and sought to pivot to a vision of a more inclusive movie business.

A sense of change was palpable at the ceremony Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where winners made impassioned arguments for gender equality and diversity.

Guillermo del Toro’s monster fable “The Shape of Water,” which came in with a leading 13 nods, took a leading four awards, including best production design, best score and best director for del Toro. He became the third Mexican-born filmmaker to win the award, joining his friends and countrymen Alejandro Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron — who once were dubbed “the Three Amigos.”

“The greatest thing that art does, and that our industry does, is erase the lines in the sand,” said del Toro, alluding to his international career.

Jordan Peele won for his script to his horror sensation “Get Out,” becoming the first African-American to win for best original screenplay. Peele said he stopped writing it “20 times,” skeptical that it would ever get made.

“But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone would let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it,” said Peele. “So I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”

In a year lacking a clear front-runner the awards were spread around. Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic “Dunkirk” landed three awards, all for its technical craft: editing, sound editing and sound design.

Things went expected in the acting categories, where Frances McDormand won her second Oscar for her performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” McDormand asked all the attending female nominees stand up in the theater.

“Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects that need financing,” declared McDormand. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen, Inclusion Rider.”

Subbing for last year’s best-actor winner, Casey Affleck, in presenting the best-actress award were Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence. “It’s a new day in Hollywood,” said Lawrence.

Three widely admired veteran actors won their first Oscars. Gary Oldman won for his Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) took best supporting actress, and Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”) won best supporting actor. Oldman thanked his “99-years young” mother. “Put the kettle on,” he told her. “I’m bringing Oscar home.”

But many of the show’s most powerful moments came in between the awards. Ashley Judd, Anabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek — who all made allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein — together assembled for a mid-show segment dedicated to the #MeToo movement that has followed the downfall of Weinstein, long an Oscar heavyweight. They were met by a standing ovation.

“We work together to make sure the next 90 years empower these limitless possibilities of equality, diversity, inclusion and intersectionality,” said Judd. “That’s what this year has promised us.”

Host Jimmy Kimmel opened with a monologue that mixed Weinstein punchlines with earnest comments about reforming gender equality in Hollywood. And of course, Kimmel — returning to the scene of the flub — dove straight into material about last year’s infamous best-picture mix-up.

“I do want to mention, this year, when you hear your name called, don’t get up right away,” said Kimmel. “Give us a minute.”

But while Kimmel spent a few moments on the fiasco known as Envelopegate, he expended far more minutes frankly and soberly discussing the parade of sexual harassment allegations in the wake of the revelations regarding Weinstein. Kimmel cited the industry’s poor record for female directors and equal pay.

“We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore,” said Kimmel. “The world is watching us.”

Gesturing to a giant statue on the stage, he praised Oscar, himself for keeping “his hands where you can see them” and for having “no penis at all.” But Kimmel introduced the broadcast as “a night for positivity,” and cited, among other things, the box-office success of “Black Panther” and “Wonder Woman.”

“I remember a time when the major studios didn’t believe a woman or a minority could open a superhero movie — and the reason I remember that time is because it was March of last year,” said Kimmel.

Several cinema legends won their first Oscar. James Ivory, 89, won best adapted screenplay for his script to the coming-of-age drama “Call Me By Your Name,” becoming the oldest winner ever. After 14 nominations, revered cinematographer Roger Deakins finally won for his photography on “Blade Runner 2049.” In the category, Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) became the first woman nominated for best cinematography.

Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani joined Kenyan-born Lupita Nyong’o to salute the so-called Dreamers — immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children and here without permanent protection from deportation. “Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood and dreams are the foundation of America. And, so, to all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you,” Nanjiani said.

Later, Pixar’s colorful ode to Mexican culture “Coco” won best animated film as well as best song for “Remember Me.” Best foreign language film went to Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastian Lelio’s drama starring transgender actress Daniela Vega.

“The biggest thank you of all to the people of Mexico,” said director Lee Unkrich to loud applause. “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”

Netflix scored its first feature-film Oscar, with best documentary going to “Icarus,” Bryan Fogel’s investigation into doping in sports, aided by the assistance of Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory who candidly discussed the doping scheme under Vladimir Putin. Fogel dedicated the award to Rodchenkov, “our fearless whistleblower who now lives in grave danger.”

“Darkest Hour” won for best makeup. The period romance “Phantom Thread” won for costume design.

The ceremony was the crescendo of one of Hollywood’s most turbulent awards seasons ever — one that saw cascading allegations of sexual harassment topple movie moguls, upended Oscar campaigns and new movements launched to improve gender equality throughout the industry.

No Golden Globes-style fashion protest was held by organizers of Time’s Up, the initiative begun by several hundred prominent women in entertainment to combat sexual harassment. Their goals go beyond red carpets, organizers said in the lead-up to the Oscars. “We did the dress code thing and now we’re doing the work,” said #MeToo founder Tarana Burke on the red carpet.

The parade of sexual harassment allegations made the normal superficial red carpet a place of sometimes more serious discussion than attire. Scrutiny fell Sunday on E! host Ryan Seacrest after his former stylist, Suzie Hardy, alleged sexual harassment against the red-carpet regular. Seacrest has denied it and E! has supported him. Best supporting actress Oscar nominee Mary J. Blige said Seacrest is “fighting for his life right now.”

Twenty years ago, a “Titanic” sweep won record ratings for the Oscar broadcast. But ratings have recently been declining. Last year’s show drew 32.9 million viewers for ABC, a 4 percent drop from the prior year. Even more worrisome was a slide in the key demographic of adults aged 18-49, whose viewership was down 14 percent from 2016.

Movie attendance also hit a 24-year low in 2017. But this year is already off to a strong start, thanks largely to Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” which many analysts believe will play a prominent role at next year’s Oscars. In three weeks, it has already grossed about $500 million domestically. The film’s star, Chadwick Boseman, was placed front-and-center, at the Dolby Theatre.

This year, the academy prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show.

With just a few minutes before the show started, Kimmel and his team emerged from his dressing room chanting, “Let’s get it right this time!”

 

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