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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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Tech-Film

Google Assistant Can Now Wake You Up by Gradually Turning on Your Smart Lights

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Google Assistant has received a Gentle Sleep & Wake feature that will enable your Google Home device to set a routine and gradually turn lights on or off over the course of 30 minutes. The feature will work with Philips Hue smart lights to gently wake you up in the morning or go to sleep at night by adjusting the lighting in your room. This essentially mimics a sunrise and sunset. Google has initially brought the smart feature in Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, and the US in English only.
Utilising the new addition, you just need to ask “Turn on Gentle Wake up” after activating Google Assistant on your Google Home device by saying, “Hey Google.” This will automatically pair your daily morning alarms with gradual brightening of your Philips Hue lights. However, it is worth noting here that you need to speak the Gentle Wake Up command on the same Google Home device on which you set your alarms on.
Similarly, you can ask Google Assistant “Sleep my lights” to gradually start dimming your Philips Hue lights. You can also programme the command for up to 24 hours in advance. Further, you can precisely tell Google Assistant to dim lights of a particular room by saying, “Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room.”
Google Assistant can also gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at the time you set and can be set up to 24 hours in advance by saying, “Hey Google, wake up my lights at 6:30am.”
Additionally, Google has made the Google Assistant smarter to enable your Google Home device to tune out ambient noises. You just have to say, “Hey Google, play white noise” and see the new change in your room.
Google Home in your room can also help you try out a short meditation or a sleep exercise. You have to ask, “Hey Google, tell Headspace I’m ready for bed” or “Hey Google, I want to meditate.” This will trigger Google Assistant to give you recommendations such as healing sounds and sleep sounds through your Home device.
For someone who wants to enable Google Home Hub to save step-by-step recipes for later use, Google has made a “My Cookbook”. Google Home Hub can also play workout videos by saying “Hey Google, show me barre workout videos.” Moreover, Google Home devices can also read out audiobooks for you once you say, “Hey Google, ready my book.” You can also say, “Hey Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading each night.

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Asus ZenFone Live L2 With 3,000mAh Battery, Gradient Finish Launched

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Asus ZenFone Live L2 has been quietly introduced by the Taiwanese computing giant. Currently listed on the Asus’ global website, the smartphone is a successor to the company’s ZenFone Live L1 phone that was launched in May last year. Asus ZenFone Live L2 runs on obsolete Android 8 Oreo and sports a dated design with massive top and bottom bezels. There is no word on the pricing or availability details of the phone at this point.
According to the official listing, Asus will be releasing the ZenFone Live L2 smartphone in two colour options – Rocket Red and Cosmic Blue – both of which come with a gradient finish.
Asus ZenFone Live L2 specifications
The dual-SIM (Nano) Asus ZenFone Live L2 runs on Android Oreo with the company’s ZenUI 5 on top. The phone features a 5.5-inch HD (720×1440 pixels) IPS display with 18:9 aspect ratio, 400 nits brightness, and 82.3 percent screen-to-body ratio. It will be powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC, depending on the market, paired with Adreno 505 and Adreno 308 GPU respectively. Additionally, the ZenFone Live L2 packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB/ 32GB of onboard storage, and a dedicated microSD card slot (up to 2TB).
On the imaging front, Asus will be offering a 13-megapixel or 8-megapixel primary camera with an f/2.0 lens. There will also be a 5-megapixel f/2.4 selfie shooter as well on the front.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, 4G LTE support, and Micro-USB 2.0. Further, ZenFone Live L2 includes a 3,000mAh battery and a 3.5mm audio jack. The dimension of the phone are 147.26×71.77×8.15mm and it weighs 140 grams.

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Microsoft unveils new Xbox all-digital edition

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Microsoft has unveiled its Xbox One S All-Digital Edition for $249 which would be available starting May 7.
This is a new model that will be sold alongside the original Xbox One S and the more powerful Xbox One X.
“A disc-free, completely digital Xbox One is no longer just a rumoured pipe dream for cord cutters and the current generation of Fortnite fanatics who’ve never had to set foot inside of a GameStop.
“The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will hit retailers on May 7 for $250 (that’s $50 less than the Xbox One S) and it’s available for pre-order today,” Engadget reported on Tuesday.
The new console comes with three popular Microsoft-owned titles, namely Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 3 and Minecraft.
“The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is $50 less than Xbox One S and we expect to maintain at least this price difference between the two consoles,” Jeff Gattis, General Manager of Platform and Devices Marketing at Microsoft was quoted as saying by The Verge. There’s also a special offer on Xbox Game Pass, the monthly subscription service that includes access to more than 100 games.

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