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‘Kedarnath’ a genuine attempt to create harmony: Abhishek Kapoor

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Seeing a Muslim porter carrying a Hindu pilgrim on his back — something that speaks a lot about India as a country — left a seed in Abhishek Kapoor’s heart and mind to tell a tale of “harmony” with his forthcoming Hindi film “Kedarnath”.

A firm believer of Lord Shiva, Kapoor has urged those opposing ‘Kedarnath’ to have patience and faith in him. Reacting to the ‘Love Jihad’ controversy that the film has been caught up in over the romance between the lead characters — a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy — he says the movie is his “pure attempt to create harmony and more understanding”.

A BJP leader had sought a ban on ‘Kedarnath’ for promoting ‘Love Jihad’.

 

Was he prepared to face such concerns while he was shooting the film?

Kapoor told IANS during a tete-a-tete in the capital: “You do consider stuff like that can happen, but the idea is not to titillate them (movie-goers) in a certain sense or the idea is not to create a controversy. This film is genuinely a very pure attempt to create harmony and more understanding amongst ourselves.”

However, he feels that if someone is going to find faults and tries to take advantage of the situation, he can’t help it.

“One’s attempt is to do something (with a film) that has not been done before and you have to have some courage. To answer all those people out there who are skeptical, they should know that there is nothing that they should worry about. We have not made a film that will offend anyone. If at all, they will see each other with more understanding and more love.

“I would request them to have patience, to have faith in me because the way they love Hindu religion and want to protect it, I also want to do the same. I am also a follower of Lord Shiva and love Hindu religion like anyone else. Hence, I won’t do anything that will disappoint people,” Kapoor said.

Written, directed and co-produced by Kapoor, the film tells the story of a Hindu girl who takes a pilgrimage to the historic Kedarnath Temple in the Uttarakhand mountains, where she meets and falls in love with a Muslim boy who becomes her guide.

As they grow closer along the journey, they face many obstacles, including familial disapproval and contrasting backgrounds. When the sudden rains of the 2013 Uttarakhand floods devastate the region, the couple are forced to survive against the elements and face the ultimate test of their love.

It’s not just the ‘Love Jihad’ controversy that the film has run into as the project has overcome many hiccups in its making. It was salvaged after Ronnie Screwvala took over the film from former producers Prernaa Arora, Bhushan Kumar and Ekta Kapoor.

In hindsight, Kapoor said: “There was fear and to put it lightly, they (the ones who were making it before) were just not qualified to run the show with me. They sounded pretty good in the beginning but in the longer run, I realised that they were not qualified for it.

“A movie has so many careers and so many lives at stake and once I am the owner of this film and I have brought the partner, I have to detach from them and secure my film. Tomorrow whatever the fate the movie will be — whether it is a hit or a flop, people will like it or dislike it, but as a filmmaker and as a person who is going to carry this burden, my duty is to secure the film to the end.”

Releasing on December 7, “Kedarnath” will launch Sara Ali Khan, the daughter of actor Saif Ali Khan and his former wife Amrita Singh. She has been paired with actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Kapoor hopes the film brings “healing”.

“The intent is pure. The story is true and the characters and the actors have performed really well as I see it. The audience will decide what they have to decide but my conviction is pure,” he said.

Was Sara always in mind for this film?

“I never actually look at the cast before I have the story in place. The story did emerge first. As a kid, I used to go to Vaishno Devi very often and I didn’t have that much of faith then. So after my last movie, I had a trip there. On one such trips, to see a Muslim porter carrying a Hindu pilgrim on his back, was a vision. If you look at it and see what it stands for, it tells you what this country is all about.” Kapoor said.


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Nike Adapt Self-Lacing Smart Sneaker Will Require Regular Charging

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Nike has found a new way to capture more information about its customers: through their sneakers.

At an event called the “Future of Footwear,” Nike unveiled a new shoe concept, called Nike Adapt, that tracks performance in real time, allowing the company to give weekend warriors athletic tips and also sell them more products.

“It’s the start of a new day,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation. “It’s like we’re moving from footwear to firmwear.”

 

The shoes, with their data-tracking capability, present customers with a choice about privacy — if they opt not to share their data, they’ll miss out on a lot of the product’s capabilities. The company is starting with basketball shoes, which will sell for $350 (roughly Rs. 25,000).

The shoe self-tightens to an athlete’s preference – there are no laces – and is adjustable via an app. The products carry sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes that can give Nike a full, personalized snapshot of its owner’s performance. They’ll need recharging every two weeks.

“It’s like having two smartphones strapped to your two feet,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products.

CEO Mark Parker discussed the new shoes in vague terms in December, calling it a “major step” in taking Nike’s new digital emphasis and embedding it into actual product.

Nike stores are also going digital. The company calls new flagship locations unveiled two months ago in New York and Shanghai “Houses of Innovation.” They blend online shopping with the in-person experience. To get the full experience, you essentially have to download the Nike app.

Nike is in the midst of a digital transformation. A large part of that is trying to get more of its customers to become members of the NikePlus loyalty program. The company has found members spend three times more than nonmembers when they shop at Nike.com.

Though Nike has seen rapid growth in apparel sales, shoes still accounted for 61 percent of the company’s $36.4 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

Nike auto-lacing shoes have been around since 2017, when the company sold a limited number of low-top sneakers for $720, the most expensive shoes it ever released.

These shoes will be available through Nike’s direct channels, and through retailers, and will debut in the NBA on the feet of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum later this week.

The shoe’s technology is can be updated through the app, meaning its capabilities can change after it’s purchased. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company plans to release more products with the Adapt technology, including running shoes, sportswear and lifestyle items.

“The advantages we’re looking to provide the athlete are so substantial that you’ll see a mass of people wanting to make use of those benefits,” Martin said.

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Microsoft Says Will Set Up 10 AI Labs, Train 5 Lakh Youth in India

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Microsoft India to set up Artificial Intelligence (AI) labs in 10 universities and train five lakh youth across the country in disrupting technologies.

The company also said it will upskill over 10,000 developers over the next three years.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare and agriculture,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

 

Microsoft AI today is fuelling digital transformation for over 700 customers and 60 per cent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

Over 700 partners have geared up to support the AI ecosystem, said the company.

Microsoft in December announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, for empowering institutes to skill students in AI and Cloud technologies.

India is one of the first countries to have such a programme in which Microsoft will support selected institutes that have the best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, onsite training for faculty and students, access for participating students to Cloud and AI services, developmental tools and developer support.

In April 2018, the company announced the Microsoft Professional Programme (MPP) for the public.

This programme is helping in providing job-ready skills along with real-world experience to engineers as well as others who plan on improving their skills in AI and data science, using a series of online courses.

“Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust and accountability,” said Maheshwari.

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TP-Link Launches New Wi-Fi 6 Routers at CES 2019 With Something at Every Price Point

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TP-Link has announced five new next-generation wireless products at CES 2019. All these routers are based on Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with prices ranges from the affordable entry-level routers to expensive wireless routers meant for gaming. In December last year, TP-Link had introduced its first two Wi-Fi 6 routers based on Broadcom platforms. With its latest announcement at CES 2019, the company seems keen on bringing more Wi-Fi 6 products for everyone.

The new TP Link Deco X10 is a mesh networking-based wireless router. It comes in a pack of two (one main unit and a satellite), priced at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 24,340). It offers a wireless bandwidth of up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The company has also announced a new Archer AX11000 gaming wireless router. It is a tri-band wireless router capable of a maximum wireless throughput of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz bands and up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. TP-Link had added USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports to enable storage sharing across the network. The router will sell at $449.99 (roughly Rs. 31,300) and will be available later this month.

 

TP-Link’s new Archer AX6000 is a dual-band wireless router that offers features similar to the Archer AX11000 and is shipping right away. It includes a 2.5Gbps WAN port so in case you have a high-speed broadband connection, but you don’t play games, this might be the right router for you as it costs $100 (roughly Rs. 6,954) less than the Archer AX11000.

The basic TP-Link Archer AX1800 brings Wi-Fi 6 at an affordable price point. The Archer AX1800 is a dual-band wireless router which comes with a Gigabit WAN port and a USB 2.0 port to share data across the network. The router is priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 9,040). It will be available later this year.

TP-Link has also announced a new wireless range extender at CES 2019. The RE705X Wi-Fi range extender is a dual-band repeater which is priced at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,953). It will ship in the third quarter of 2019.

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