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Using Laxmi Agarwal as lens to tell larger story on acid violence in India: Meghna Gulzar

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Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar, who is set to direct a film on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, says the movie is an attempt to explore a larger story on acid violence in the country through the real life subject.

Deepika Padukone will be playing the lead role in the film, which marks the actor’s first stint into production.

Meghna says Laxmi’s case is the most revealing example of how India’s law, medicine and administration machinery came together for justice.

 

“In the film with Deepika on acid violence, I am using Laxmi Agarwal as a subject because she is the most known acid fighter. Plus her case and her story has been the most relevant in terms of where legislation on acid violence, medical advancement, compensation for victims and things like that was concerned.

“There was a whole socio-medical and legal impact that her case had. Therefore, I am using her as a lens to tell a larger story on acid violence in India because even though acid is banned and the sale of acid is regulated in our country as of five years now, we still have acid attacks. It is still the simplest thing to get in a Kirana store in a tier-3 city,” the director told PTI in an interview.

In 2005, while Laxmi was waiting at a bus stop in Delhi, she was attacked by an assailant, a man twice her age, known to her family and an unlikely suitor whose advances she had declined.

The film will showcase her journey in the time after her attack spanning a decade, a significant part of the story is the game-changing PIL in the Supreme Court which inspired the amendment on acid laws in 2013.

Meghna is not new to recreating real life stories on the big screen, having made Talvar, a critically-acclaimed film on 2008 Aarushi-Hemraj twin murders of Noida and this year’s Raazi, which is based on a book inspired by a real-life account of a female spy.

The director has another project that will delve into the life of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw but it is a not a biopic.

“The film on Field Marshal Manekshaw is not a biopic. I’m looking at the man, his life and his times,” she says, adding with a heavy sigh, “I’m way over my head over here (the story)”.

Meghna does not like being called a female filmmaker but says the concept of “male gaze” is relevant in cinema.

She says every story has to be told from a certain perspective: case in point her film Talvar, which, she believes, required a male gaze.

“And I was a woman telling the story. It’s the most masculine film I’ve ever made, there’s no room for emotion. There’s one female character in that movie which is Konkona and the girl who comes only for a few seconds at the end of the film.

“Everything was about male gaze so even when you’re staging a scene you’ve to go into the mind of all the different male characters. How would they stand, how would they react, how would they react to each other. What would their response be, what would their posture be?”

Meghna says she was careful in not taking sides with the story that became a tabloid fodder. And yet she wanted to give it a moral compass.

“With Talvar, I said, ‘I’m being objective’. I’m telling you both sides of the story but when I put that video footage at the end of the film which showed the only time that the girl was alive. That was my moral compass that I was leaving you with, that okay this is actually what happened, these two people died,” she said.

“If you want your story to be grey, there will be no moral compass. If you want to give a very definite take to the audience that they can go home with, at the end of your film, you will have a moral compass, and that moral compass could be any device. Sometimes the audience finds a moral compass that you didn’t even realise you placed and that’s the beauty of it,” she added.


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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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