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‘If people don’t like something, I change it’, says Bharat Dabholkar

Monitor News Bureau

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She is 19 and has just arrived from Surat to Mumbai. He, once famous, is a struggling Bollywood script writer. When they meet, they do not hit it off right away. After all, he divorced her mother, and it has been 16 years of absence. A story of a father and the daughter he barely knows unfolds in Bharat Dabholkar’s new play, That’s My Girl. Famous for his ads, especially Amul Butter, Dabholkar has written and directed 32 plays, including successes such as the anti-establishment satire Bottoms Up and Blame It On Yashraj, about the great Indian wedding. Dabholkar gets tender and emotional with That’s My Girl. Excerpts:

Emotional Quotient

I had seen a Marathi or Hindi play on the subject of a father-daughter relationship years ago, as well as Neil Simon’s film, Ought to be in Pictures, which deals with the same subject. That’s My Girl is inspired by these. I prefer my theatre to be more dialogue based. The characters and the dialogues should be so interesting that you can work the play with a black background with no sets or props and people should still enjoy it. In That’s My Girl, we have one set that we don’t change, except for adding colour in the second half, because this girl finds the house very boring, so she paints the walls.

 

Script is Hero

In advertising, it is not the punchlines and tagline that are the main thing. There is a lot of research into the product, and a lot of thinking before it is compressed into a 30-second commercial or a 100-column centimetre ad. With plays, I write the whole thing without getting into discussions with people. I write what I feel and rarely do a second draft. We start rehearsal and then, if I feel that a line or a joke can be cut or added, I do it. I believe that actors, no matter how senior they are, should not add things into a play. I discourage it.

Set the Cast

Casting is almost 50 per cent of the success of a play. Normally, I am very happy working with people I have worked with before because we form a team and we understand each other. Anant Mahadevan plays the father. He gets very involved and it is not just about doing his lines and going away. Ananya Dutta plays a stylist with a major film studio, who is a girlfriend of the father. She is the mediator between the father and the daughter and, when she sees them fighting or arguing, she tries to make peace. The only newcomer is Shweta Rohira. I didn’t know anybody who looks like a 19-year-old girl from my earlier plays and we asked for auditions. She walked in, and I saw that she fitted the role perfectly. The only problem was she had never done theatre before, she had done television. But, she had tremendous enthusiasm and actually gave up a film in order not to miss the rehearsal. She has done a wonderful job. I find that, after a show, people come and hug her and say that she reminds them of their daughter.

Happiness Index

My feeling is that in theatre, like advertising or any form of communication where you are expecting people to purchase a product or tickets, you cannot say, ‘I am doing this fantastic job, which my peers would love me for and the audience be damned’. There is an audience sitting in front of you, who are not necessarily theatre experts. They want to be entertained, laugh, cry, or whatever, but go back with a happy feeling. I do my theatre for them. If an audience member does not like something in a play, I change it. There have been cases when a single person has written or told me, ‘I loved your play but did not like one thing’. I have told them, ‘Please come for the next show, it will not be there’. I was educated as a lawyer and I know that one’s fundamental rights to wave one’s hands whichever way one wants, ends where the other man’s cheek begins. If I say that I have a fundamental right as a writer to write whatever I want and not care about what others feel, it is the wrong way to look at it.

The play will be staged at Rang Sharda in Mumbai on April 22, and in July in Delhi.


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Tech-Film

Baby’s First Smart Diaper: Pampers Takes ‘Wearables’ to a Whole New Level

The Kashmir Monitor

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Pampers is the latest company to jump into trendy, wearable devices with a new “connected care system” called Lumi that tracks babies’ activity through a sensor that attaches to diapers.

The sensor sends an alert to an app notification when a diaper is wet. It also sends information on the baby’s sleep and wake times and allows parents to manually track additional info, like dirty diapers and feeding times. A video monitor is included with the system and is integrated into the app. Pampers didn’t say how much the system, which is launching in the US this fall, will cost.

The announcement Thursday from Pampers, which is part of Procter & Gamble, is a sign of the growth in the “baby tech” industry. The Internet of things, or IoT, has invaded homes, promising to make routines and tasks more efficient. Companies have launched connected bassinets, smart night lights and pacifiers, bottles that track feedings and even apps to replicate the sound of a parent saying, “Shush.” Research and Market report predicts the interactive baby monitor market alone will reach more than $2.5 billion by 2024.

 

But with the increase in “smart” options for babies and younger children, too, parents must make decisions about how much tech to use as they seek to raise them in an increasingly connected world.

“Even an infant or a toddler deserves a little privacy,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of bestselling book “How to Raise an Adult.”

From smart diapers to social media, today’s parents are grappling with an ever-expanding crop of privacy concerns triggered by widespread connectivity of devices.

Posting photos, tracking their development in an app or even searching for information on their health conditions can help big tech develop digital profiles that could follow those children for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, it’s still unclear how data for children’s connected devices are used and how secure it is. Take baby monitors and security cameras: There are dozens of examples of baby or child monitors being hacked or otherwise compromised, including an incident reported by The Washington Post earlier this year in which a Nest Cam installed in a child’s room began playing pornography.

Lythcott-Haims said that parents should proceed carefully when evaluating data-collecting mechanisms for use on their children, even in the earliest stages of life. Tracking a baby too closely could also quickly morph into helicopter parenting.

“When does tracking every move become inappropriate surveillance?” Lythcott-Haims asked. “If we can track their diapers, we can track their Pull-Ups, then we can put trackers on their clothing. Pretty soon we don’t have to worry because we’ll know everything from before birth to end of their lives.”

The Lumi system encrypts all data and uses “the same standard of security as the financial services industry,” said Pampers spokeswoman Mandy Treeby. The system does not currently include two-factor authentication, something security experts consider key to avoiding unauthorised access to systems.

The goal of the system is to alleviate stress for new parents, and feedback from those testing the system has so far been positive, Treeby added.

Lumi isn’t the first jaunt into high-tech diapers. In 2016, Google’s parent company Alphabet filed a patent for “a diaper sensor for detecting and differentiating feces and urine.” Last year, Huggies partnered with Korean company Monit to launch a smart diaper sensor in Korea and Japan.

The risk with so many ordinary objects becoming “smart” is that it makes them dependent on software updates and malfunctions – or a product losing its connectivity if a company goes out of business or discontinues the line. Nike’s $350 self-lacing shoes for instance stopped lacing earlier this year because of a software update.

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Tech-Film

FaceApp is fun but dubious terms of service raises serious privacy questions

The Kashmir Monitor

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AI photo editing app, FaceApp resurrected in the past week. Everyone’s social media feed is now filled with people posting photos of how they would look when they turn old. While FaceApp is all the rage right now you may be giving the company access to a lot more than you think.

FaceApp had a surge in downloads starting slowly on July 12 and getting a big push from July 13 according to Sensor Tower. In India, FaceApp was down for a few hours late last night but the app is now accessible. To use FaceApp, one needs to give permission access to their photos. While this seems understandable, FaceApp can do much more with your photos then just edit them.

First spotted by Forbes, FaceApp has some dubious terms of service which is detailed on the company’s website. The most striking thing about FaceApp’s terms of service is that the company has rights to use “user content” for commercial purposes.

 

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you,” reads FaceApp’s terms.

FaceApp clearly states that it can use your photos and information shared on the app for commercial purposes without any royalties. While it’s totally up to the user to do as they like with their FaceApp photos, it also raises security questions, especially since FaceApp is storing user data.

Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has been continuous scrutiny over sharing user data with services. Facebook’s 10 year challenge which became viral globally was also suspected to be a major data collecting scheme. Nothing has been proved as yet, but it’s definite that users are still not aware about how companies have access to data. FaceApp has now been downloaded by over 100 million users on Android, and it also became the top-ranked app on iOS.

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Tech-Film

Rape case: Aditya Pancholi gets interim protection till Aug 3

The Kashmir Monitor

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A sessions court extended till August 3 the interim protection from arrest granted to actor Aditya Pancholi in a case of rape filed against him by a Bollywood actress.

Pancholi had approached the court seeking anticipatory bail after the suburban Versova police lodged an FIR against him on June 28.

The actor was then granted interim protection from arrest till July 19.

 

“The court on Friday adjourned the hearing on the plea till August 3. The interim protection granted to Pancholi from arrest shall continue till then,” Pancholi’s advocate Prashant Patil said.

The 54-year-old actor has been charged under sections 376 (rape), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 384 (extortion), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The actress alleged that between 2004-2006, Pancholi kept her at different locations and forcibly tried to establish a relationship with her by spiking her drinks.

Pancholi claimed that he has been falsely implicated in the case.

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