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Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar welcomed in Pk.



LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan today said the current visit of noted Indian poet Javed Akhtar along with his film star wife Shabana Azmi to Pakistan would open new doors of peace for Pak-India relationships.
In a meeting with Indian celebrity couple here on Friday, he said: “Pakistanis are the most peaceful and loving people and Pakistan, indeed, has fought on front-line in the war against terrorism”.
Chohan said that both neighboring countries should work together in the areas of art to promote harmony and peace in the region.
On this occasion, Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar said that they were overwhelmed by the warm welcome which had been given to them by the people of Pakistan.
“We will never forget the love and respect which we get during the visit”, they added.


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China sci-fi blockbuster blasts off at the box office



SHANGHAI: China’s first space-age blockbuster is on a trajectory to become the country’s highest-grossing movie ever and is being held up as evidence that big-budget home-grown films can now hold their own with Hollywood on pure spectacle.

“The Wandering Earth” has made more than 3.9 billion yuan ($576 million) in domestic box office as of Tuesday morning, putting it on course to eclipse the 5.7 billion yuan earned in 2017 by current champion, “Wolf Warrior 2”.

Based on a novel by Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin, the film tells the story — through the eyes of Chinese protagonists — of a project to move the earth away from a
dying sun using giant fusion-powered engines.

Reportedly made with a $50 million budget, the movie draws on pride in China’s growing space programme and is packed with advanced special effects.

Director Guo Fan said that three-quarters of the more than 2,000 special-effects shots
were created by Chinese staff.

Noted film commentator Wang Hailin told a recent movie seminar that “The Wandering Earth” showed that “the historic moment to rival Hollywood has arrived.”

“The Wandering Earth” has also made $3.8 million in North America in the 11 days since its release, the highest for a Chinese film in nearly five years, the film’s official social media account said on Sunday.

With Chinese President Xi Jinping asserting tight control over arts and entertainment
and pushing patriotic themes, any Chinese film depicting a future world is bound to draw political scrutiny.

But the movie largely ignores politics, with no mention of China’s ruling Communist Party.

Chinese heroes figure most prominently in the action, but the film’s overall message is to encourage international collaboration.

In a pivotal scene, a Chinese astronaut played by martial artist and actor Wu Jing — the star of the “Wolf Warrior” franchise — works closely with a Russian counterpart in a bid to save the world.

Co-produced by state-owned China Film Group Co. and Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism Co., “Wandering Earth” also shows frames — rare for a Chinese movie — of a destroyed Beijing and collapsing landmarks in Shanghai as apocalypse hits.

Liu, the Hugo Award-winning author of the story, said in an interview with state television that China lacks good original science fiction, but that the strong “sense of future” in the rapidly modernising country bodes well for the genre.

Director Guo conceded that Chinese sci-fi films still have a long way to go to keep pace with Hollywood’s high standards, but he was hopeful.

“Science fiction is the barometer of a nation…. If this nation wants to embrace the world and dream of the future, then the journey of Chinese sci-fi will be an ocean of stars and (have) a broad future,” he told state television.




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Oscars, how does it work?



LOS ANGELES: The ballots are almost all in!

Millions of television viewers around the globe will tune in Sunday to watch the Oscars, the glitziest night in showbiz, but most don’t know how the winners are chosen.

Less than 8,000 people in the entertainment industry select the honorees — and Tuesday marks the final day of voting.

The following is a look at the complex, sometimes confounding process that leads to
the winners of the 24 Academy Awards:

– Who votes? –

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles currently has 7,902
voting members.

Academy membership is divided into 17 branches — actors, directors, producers, costume designers, etc — and candidates must be active or otherwise have “achieved distinction” in the industry.

Applicants must be sponsored by two Academy members representing their branch.

Oscar winners and nominees are automatically considered for membership and don’t
need sponsors.

Applications are reviewed once a year by the Academy’s Board of Governors, which has the final say on who joins the elite group.

Members used to enjoy voting rights for life but since 2016, “voting status” has been limited to 10 years, and is renewable, to avoid having voters who are no longer active in the business.

Lifetime voting rights only come after three 10-year terms. Those not active become “emeritus” members who cannot vote.

– Who are the Academy members? –

On principle, the Academy does not reveal its voting roll, though nothing prevents a member from saying he or she can cast a ballot.

Following the #OscarsSoWhite uproar in 2015 and 2016, about the lack of black nominees, the Academy has endeavored to be more inclusive, vowing to double the number of women and minority members by 2020.

In June 2018, the Academy took the unusual step of revealing the names of all 928 people invited to join.

If they all agreed, 31 percent of Academy members are now women and 16 percent are people of color, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

– How are the nominees chosen? –

Members of each of the 17 branches pick the nominees in their area of expertise.

The actors’ branch — the largest voting group — submits nominations for the acting categories, directors submit nominations for best director and so on.

Nominations for certain awards, like for best foreign language film and best animated
feature, are chosen by special committees.

The entire membership votes to choose the nominees for best picture.

– How are the winners chosen? –

All voting members choose the winners.

In 23 of 24 categories, the person with the most votes is the winner.

But when it comes to the coveted best picture award, the Oscar voters have since 2009 used a complicated preferential ballot system in which they rank the films from most favorite to least favorite.

Anywhere from five to 10 nominees can be chosen: this year, eight films are in contention.

If one film garners more than 50 percent of the vote outright, it automatically wins.

Otherwise, accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers uses an instant-runoff voting system that ensures that the film that enjoys the widest consensus among Academy voters wins.

That means the count begins by eliminating the film that received the lowest number of first-place votes and redistributing those ballots to those voters’ second choice.

The process of elimination continues until there is one film left with more than 50 percent of the vote.

“The idea of the preferential ballot is to reflect the wishes of the greatest number of voters,” explained Ric Robertson, who was the Academy’s chief operating officer in 2009 when the process changed.

“Otherwise you might end up with a movie that, say, 25 percent of the people love and the rest can’t stand,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

“This way, hopefully, you have a winner that most people can live with.”




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Zoheb Hassan says ‘taking legal stand against PSL’ for using Disco Deewane without permission



Zoheb Hassan says ‘taking legal stand against PSL

LONDON: Pakistani pop icon and music composer Zoheb Hassan has lashed out at Pakistan Super League over using Nazia Hassan’s Disco Deewane at opening ceremony in Dubai without prior permission.

Hassan, who composed the original performed by his late sister, said neither the PSL management nor the singer sought any kind of permission before using the track.

“I was shocked to see that a reputable platform like PSL used our track Disco Deewane without our prior permission. Outright infringement of intellectual property should be condemned and I am going to take a legal stand on this one,” he wrote.

Disco Deewane was performed by Shuja Haider and Aima Baig during the opening ceremony of PSL 4.

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