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

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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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Oculus Rift S VR Headset With Higher-Resolution Display and Built-In Tracking Announced

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Oculus VR has launched its next-generation Rift virtual reality headset. The new Oculus Rift S features an inside-out tracking which eliminates the need for any external sensors. The Rift S also offers a higher-resolution screen compared to its predecessor. Oculus has announced that the Rift S head-mounted display will ship this Spring at a price of $399 (roughly Rs. 27,300). The company hasn’t revealed an exact launch date yet.
Oculus says it has collaborated with electronics giant Lenovo to develop the Oculus Rift S. The Rift S isn’t quite a major upgrade over the previous headset but aims to offer a higher quality VR experience and better ergonomics.
The Oculus Rift S and its predecessor still share the same core platform, which means users can access VR content created for either of the headsets. Oculus has also maintained the same PC requirements for the new Rift S as the original Rift.
Oculus will also enable cross-buy and cross-play features, enabling users to upgrade their hardware and still have their library accessible as it is.
Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset features a new high-resolution display with improved Fresnel lenses. The display panel offers a resolution of 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye) with a refresh rate of 80Hz. For audio, the Rift S includes a headphone jack and near-ear speakers.
The Rift S comes with an inside-out tracking system called Oculus Insight, confirming previous reports. This removes the need to have external cameras for a full-body movement. Oculus Insight will also be included in the company’s upcoming Quest virtual reality headset.
Oculus is also bringing a new feature called Passthrough Plus to the Rift S platform. The feature will enable users to view real-world surroundings as they set up their virtual reality space using the Oculus Guardian tool. Users will be able to switch between the Home Launcher and a real-world feed of their surroundings quickly, thanks to the new inside-out tracking system.
Due to the collaboration, the Oculus Rift S will feature both Oculus and Lenovo branding. It will also ship with a new halo strap. While the company hasn’t specified an exact release date yet, Oculus could launch the Rift S along with the Quest during Facebook’s F8 developer conference which is scheduled for April 30 this year.

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Google Stadia Game Streaming Platform, Stadia Controller Announced

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At GDC 2019, Google announced Stadia, its game streaming platform. Stadia will work across devices from smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops, and PCs via Chrome. It integrates YouTube as well, allowing developers to add a Play button to game video on YouTube and lets users immediately play the game on Chrome. Stadia will leverage Google’s data centres that are present in 200 plus countries and territories. Google’s Phil Harrison took to stage to show off Assassin’s Creed Odyssey working across a Chromebook, Pixel 3, and TV via Chromecast in a seamless fashion. Furthermore, you can use your own controllers or keyboard and mouse on Stadia on your PC or laptop.
In addition to this, Google revealed the Stadia controller. It links to data centres directly via WiFi. It features two new buttons — a Capture button that allows players to share to friends, themselves or the world via YouTube. There’s also a Google Assistant button to assist players in-game.
Stadia’s architecture has been built on Google’s data centre tech which also powers its search results. It’s been infused with gaming-focussed hardware to keep up with the task of streaming heavy games. Powering the data centres is the Stadia GPU from AMD which is at 10.7 teraflops. This is nearly double of what the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro has, making it possible to play games like Doom Eternal running at 4K 60fps in HDR on Stadia.
The company claims that it has been testing Stadia’s tech internally for years and plans to allow for 4K 60fps gameplay with HDR in surround sound when it’s available for all. Eventually Stadia will also scale up to 8K too. Users will also be given the option to share Stadia gameplay footage to YouTube at 4K 60fps as well. Developers can create multiple points of purchase and play for games on Stadia through Gmail, YouTube, and search, going as far as to let players click a link on a game trailer and get right into a game. YouTubers could use it to send custom challenges to their fans and players can even create and share their own links to let others get in a game at the exact location they’re in.
However Stadia won’t be restricted to single-player games. Google confirmed that multiplayer games will be supported as well. These would include battle royale and couch-based co-op experiences.
And in a refreshing move, Harrison confirmed that Stadia will support cross-platform play as well. A concrete release date and price point hasn’t been confirmed yet and we don’t know what Internet connection would be needed for it, though Harrison said Stadia will launch in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe later this year.

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Nubia Red Magic 3 will be powered by Snapdragon 855 processor, confirms company

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Nubia has apparently started working on its third iteration of its gaming smartphone, dubbed Nubia Red Magic 3. Nubia’s general manager, Ni Fei, has made a post on Weibo confirming six key features of the upcoming Nubia Red Magic 3.
To recall, Nubia recently launched its Red Magic in India at Rs 29,999 and is yet to launch its successor, the Nubia Red Magic Mars in India. Currently, only a handful of smartphone manufacturers like Asus, Black Shark and Razer offer consumers dedicated gaming smartphones.
In the Weibo post, Ni Fei confirmed that the device will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with an Adreno 640 GPU. It will come with 12GB of RAM and will have a comparatively higher display refresh rate than most gaming PCs.
The device will come packing a 3,800mAh non-removable battery with support for fast charging. It will also come with a liquid and air dual cooling system paired with a new 4D shock vibration motor and DTS 7.1 3D Surround Sound for a better gaming experience.
According to a recent report, the company will soon be launching its Red Magic Mars in India to compete with brands like OnePlus and Asus ROG, followed by its recently announced Nubia Alpha foldable smartphone. The report also mentioned that both the devices will be priced between Rs 40,000 to Rs 30,000.

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