“This is a job interview which I feel I am not going to get.”
With this opening, actor Swara Bhasker set the tone for the Express Adda .
Blending the personal with the professional and political, she fielded a range of questions — from her choice in films to her social media account.
She has been at the receiving end of trolling on social media platforms for her liberal opinions. During the question and answer session, she was asked about contemporary feminism by a BJP worker who drew parallels between women across the globe who voted for right wing leaders like Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
Quick to the take, she responded: “I have not used the term feminism today on this platform. It’s a historical movement, very diverse…replete with conversations and contradictions. For me, it’s all about equality — not just of representation, but also of opportunity and accountability — which not just women but many communities in India lack,” said the actor. We need to have more of a say in subjects beyond what we are going to cook today, she said.
“Feminism is about choice. If women want to deny themselves their own rights, sure. If you want to wear a saree, keep a karvachauth, vote for Trump, or Modi, sure go ahead — they are doing it already. As long as people are having conversations, all is good. As long as people are not being lynched, they are not being burnt alive, as long as they are not being tied on jeeps and being flogged, and as long as our leaders are not attending pro-rape rallies, I think all is good,” she said.
Swara Bhasker talks about feminism at Express Adda
The actor also touched upon the choice of roles she has been offered and the ones that she would like to be offered. “A historical character for sure — a biopic. And yes I would like to play a man, not just a tomboy or chop my hair. But to cross gender lines,” she said.
“It was fully the naatch gaana of Bollywood that motivated me to move to Mumbai. It is completely pathetic, sad and narcissistic — the reason that I wanted to move to Bollywood: to appear in the TV show Chitrahaar,” said Bhasker as she spoke of her journey in the Hindi film industry.
The 30-year-old also touched upon her personal privileges as well — coming from an academic background and the kind of education that she has had. “I am very privileged, all thanks to the support of my parents. Also, the kind of background I come from, equipped with a cultural and social capital. Added to this, is the fact that I speak English in Bollywood. I will say this, that maybe at that time I was not the most talented actors around. I am sure there were more talented girls from small towns, who did not quite look like from the same class as I was. I could perhaps go up to a producer and crack a joke,” she said.
The actor, whose notable works include Nil Battey Sannatta, Anaarkali of Arrah and Raanjhaana, also touched upon caste and various layers of privilege. “When we talk about nepotism and the kinds of privileges and places that we are born into, there are many invisible kinds in operation as well. There is this critique that I have been reading. If you look at the caste profile of Bollywood — the actors and stars — there are hardly any Dalits. This is something we need to think about and ponder carefully,” the actor said.
At the Express Adda, Bhasker was in conversation with The Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta and National Features Editor Devyani Onial.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change. Past guests include the Dalai Lama, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, veteran journalist Mark Tully, herpetologist Romulus Whitaker, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, actor Tabu, writer Amitav Ghosh and cricketer Virat Kohli.
(Courtesy Indian Express)
BBM Aka BlackBerry Messenger to Shut Down in May, but BBM Enterprise Becomes Available to Individual Users
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is shutting down. Emtek, an Indonesia-based company which had taken over the development of BBM consumer version in 2016, on Thursday announced that it will be winding down the messaging service on May 31, 2019. In light of Emtek’s announcement, BlackBerry has stated it is releasing BBM Enterprise (BBMe) for the individual users. The Android version of the BBMe is already available for download, whereas the iOS version will be coming soon. BlackBerry Messenger once used to be one of the most popular messaging apps in world and a key feature of the BlackBerry devices. It was later introduced on Android and iOS platforms, but its popularity dwindled as competing chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger gained momentum.
Emtek blamed the difficulty of bringing new users to BBM as one of the reasons why it is closing down the service. BlackBerry Messenger will continue to remain functional up to May 31, after which the app will cease to operate.
“Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services,” Emtek wrote in a blog post. “The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.”
It is important to note here that BBOS or BlackBerry 10 users will remain unaffected as BlackBerry continues to manage BBM for the platform, but they won’t be able to send and receive messages from BBM for Android/ iOS users after Emtek shuts the app down.
Meanwhile, following Emtek’s decision, BlackBerry has decided to step in, and the company revealed in a press release that it is bringing BBM Enterprise to the individual users. The service was earlier limited to the company’s enterprise customers. BBMe is now available as a free download from Google Play Store and it will be coming to Apple App Store soon.
According to BlackBerry, BBMe will be free to use for the first year, following which the users will have to buy a six-month subscription at $2.49 (roughly Rs. 170).] Given that BBMe includes built-in enterprise-grade end-to-end encryption, which is not available in BBM consumer version, the subscription may be worth price for avid BBM users.
“This decision [to release BBMe for individual users] was made out of BlackBerry’s respect for loyal BBM users and was not a contractual obligation,” BlackBerry said in a statement.
Instagram testing co-watching feature on app
Facebook-owned photo-messaging app Instagram is testing a new feature that would let users co-watch on-platform video content with friends, while being able to see their reactions on the video via the phone cameras.
The option would start with a split-screen view, where users would be able to apply face filters and other visual tools to their personal camera feeds, Social Media Today reported on Thursday. “Instagram’s co-watching media picker is essentially tabs of Explore, Saved and Liked.
It’s somehow also showing me photos though.
Unless Instagram designed co-watching so we can stare at an image together, it will be fixed when released,” reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong tweeted.
The feature would let users watch Instagram videos together with added interactive elements of being able to see and hear their co-viewer in a minimised window.
At present, the option appears to only support two concurrent viewers, alongside the Instagram Live functionality.
“That could be somewhat restrictive, but then again, previous research has shown that 85 per cent of the messages shared on Instagram are distributed to the same three friends, highlighting a desire for more intimate communication on the platform,” report added.
The photo-messaging app’s test feature is similar to Facebook’s previously launched “Watch Party” feature — that lets users watch public videos in real time with a group of friends on the app.
Since launching Watch Parties in groups last July, Facebook says that it has facilitated more than 12 million “Watch Parties” within Groups alone, while “Watch Parties” also garner 8 times more comments than regular videos in Groups, the report noted. Instagram has not commented on testing or availability of the feature as yet.
F&D R3 Wireless Speaker Launched in India, Priced at Rs. 4,990
Audio brand F&D, also known as Fenda Audio, has made a name for itself in the audio accessories space, and sells a wide range of affordable speaker systems, headphones, portable speakers, soundbars, and more. The brand is available both online and offline, and is considered a good entry-level option for aftermarket speaker systems. The latest product from the company is the F&D R3 wireless speaker, which is priced at Rs. 4,990. The product is available online through major portals, as well as offline in retails stores across the country.
The F&D R3 is a portable wireless speaker which uses Bluetooth to connect to various source devices, such as smartphones and computers. The speaker uses two 3-inch full-range drivers along with passive radiators, for a total of 12W of output. The speaker has a frequency response range of 70-20,000Hz, and weighs about 950 grams. For connectivity, the R3 uses Bluetooth 4.2, and also allows for FM radio, TF cards, auxillliary, and USB drives for music playback.
The speaker has a 4,500mAh battery which promises battery life of up to five hours on a single charge. The speaker features an interesting pattern on the exterior, along with controls for power and playback at the top. The speaker has an MRP of Rs. 4,990 and will be available to buy at various online retailers, among other offline retail stores.
F&D is better known for its 2.1-channel and 5.1-channel speaker systems, but also has a large range of wireless speakers, headphones, earphones and soundbars. The company has been present in the Indian market for some years now, and offers buyers affordable options for home and portable audio equipment.
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