Samarpan Singh looks more like KGF’s Rocky than Kabir Singh, says media

After a news report that debutant actor Samarpan Singh’s bearded look resembled that of Shahid Kapoor’s look as Dr Kabir in the superhit movie Kabir Singh, a section of the media has chosen to carry a rejoinder.

Disagreeing that Samarpan’s look resembles Kabir, the popular website India Shorts has stated that the actor’s rugged bearded suited-booted look, gait, style and attitude is closer to the look of the character of Rocky played by Yash in the more recent megahit KGF movies.

“He may be a Singh, and he may have a similar beard, and he may also be a doctor in real life. But nah, we’d say, he’s seems like stunning Rocky than crazy Kabir,” wrote the site.

“Yash aced it in KGF, and Samarpan is more like Yash’s character Rocky than the Dr Kabir of Kabir Singh. But yes, one thing we agree on and that is — the guy makes a good choice for Bollywood roles,” the site concluded.

For the record, the stylish Samarpan Singh made a rocking debut with the web series LuvDown on Disney+ Hotstar. The series has been watched with appreciation and anxiety by viewers during its initial run and has got a fresh lease on YouTube. Laced with sarcastic humour, LuvDown is a rom-com revolving around the story of a couple stuck together in a flat during the pandemic.

That’s not Kabir Singh, it’s Samarpan Singh!

One look at this picture and you might wonder how similar the look is to the character of Dr Kabir in the superhit Shahid Kapoor-starrer Kabir Singh.

But hold it, it’s not who you think! This young lad is actually debutant actor Samarpan Singh and he insists he is “very very different” from the self-obsessed man-child character of Dr Kabir who makes his painful way into a sort of adulthood in the movie.

“I am nothing like that,” laughs Samarpan, who recently made his debut in the web series LuvDown. The series was watched with appreciation and anxiety by viewers during its initial run on Disney+ Hotstar and has got a fresh lease on YouTube. Laced with sarcastic humour, LuvDown is a rom-com revolving around the story of a couple stuck together in a flat during the pandemic.

“Don’t judge me by the looks,” quips Samarpan. “I’m much more chilled out than the ultra-hyper Kabir. I don’t believe in putting a stamp of ownership on people, and my friends say that I am one of the most understanding and accommodative friends they have had in their lives,” says Samarpan.

But if there can be one thing similar to Dr Kabir Singh’s character (apart from his current look), what would that be, we ask Samarpan. “I think that would be his passion,” quips Samarpan who is actually also a doctor in real life.

Don’t be surprised if you soon see this intelligent and handsome intense-looking new talent in Bollywood.

Global healthcare consultant Vijay Dhawangale envisions a healthier world with preventive healthcare

Suggests Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs for countries

International healthcare consultant Vijay Dhawangale proposes an accessible diagnostic initiative which can make preventive healthcare a way of life across the world.

According to an estimate, chronic diseases may contribute to over 70 percent of global deaths by 2030. And one of the most effective ways of nipping lifestyle diseases in the bud, is preventive healthcare.

To aid the development and practice of preventive healthcare across the world, global healthcare consultant Vijay Dhawangale opines and proposes a revolutionary Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to ease the burden of disease on people, by offering them accessible diagnostic services through public health facilities.

“We care for our automobiles more than we care for our own health! Just as we ensure that our cars go for regular servicing, rather than awaiting a breakdown before hauling it to the service centre, we need to ensure that our bodies too, get a regular check-up. If diagnostic healthcare services are made more accessible, the shift towards preventive healthcare can be faster,” says Vijay Dhawangale.

His model of Healthcare Diagnostics Programs around the world involves nuanced strategies for local and state-level implementation, overseen by a central agency designated by governments. The initiative envisions providing a package of essential diagnostic services free-of-cost across all public health facilities using innovative, low-cost technology.

As per the proposed model, the government’s role is limited to enabling these diagnostic laboratories to be set up, while the responsibility of providing quality diagnostics can lie with the relevant laboratory partners.

Dhawangale has earlier piloted a PPP healthcare project by setting up over 200 diagnostic laboratories across five states in India, spanning both private and public sectors. Over 10 million citizens in remote locations across India are supposed to have availed free diagnostic services from these labs, which are attached to more than 3,000 government hospitals. Dhawangale believes that this model has the potential of being scaled and implemented globally.

“Both, availability and access to quality diagnostic healthcare, along with regular sensitization and awareness programs, are the need of the hour. These can ensure that people make their trips to hospitals, not just when they are unwell, but as a regular ‘wellness’ activity. Such preemptive diagnostics can help doctors catch the onset of a disease early on and prevent it altogether,” Dhawangale elucidates further.

Moreover, he points out that preventive healthcare, aided by timely and quality diagnostic services, can ease the burden on healthcare infrastructure and services. This can result in access to better care for those who need it the most, while ensuring that the majority of people remain in good health.

Who is Vijay Dhawangale?

Vijay Dhawangale is a venture capitalist and a global healthcare consultant who has successfully helmed multiple ventures across a multitude of domains and industries. He is particularly vocal about access to quality healthcare for all.

As part of a pilot PPP healthcare project, Dhawangale has set up over 200 laboratories, attached to more than 3,000 government hospitals across five states in India. More than 10 million citizens from remote locations across the country are supposed to have accessed free diagnostic services through these.

During the pandemic, Dhawangale has also been instrumental in setting up more than 15 COVID testing labs for quick and precise testing at critical locations across the country.

Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat shines with Ek Number Super

With the multi-starcast Marathi movie Ek Number Super emerging a success, newbie actress Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat is on cloud nine.

“I am so happy that the audiences have lapped up the film and appreciated my work,” quips an elated Pranali, who plays one of the main leads. Her hard work has paid off.

Pranali has received praise for her performance from all quarters. She is a “complete natural,” said a fan after watching the film. “She is effortless in her acting and shines and sparkles with liveliness throughout,” he enthusiastically added.

Directed by Milind Zumber Kavde, Ek Number Super is a mystery-comedy revolving around a group of friends on a vacation, when things go unbelievably haywire. Audiences have called it a “laugh riot” and a “path-breaking subject attempted for Marathi cinema.” In a review, a film critic went so gaga over the film that he forgot to mention the story of the movie, but kept praising it non-stop.

In an article in Lokmat, the publication has spoken about how people have liked the fresh genre of mystery-comedy. It has said that the songs are superhits and that some people have even been spotted dancing to the numbers in a few theatres. The article praises the job of all the actors and adds that the film has received good feedback from people of all age groups.

For the record, Pranali has earlier done 30 advertisements, a web series, a mythological television series and several short films. She has also acted in various theatre plays and trained in Hindustani classical singing and contemporary dance in India and abroad. No wonder she has performed like a seasoned performer in Ek Number Super.

But after the acclaim and new found fame, our eyes would surely be tracking her career moves hereafter. Who knows, Bollywood or perhaps even an overseas project might come calling soon.

Preetisheel Singh D’souza triumphs with 8th box-office blockbuster in 5 years

Da Makeup Lab emerges as the undisputed market leader in makeup and prosthetics

For a technician working behind-the-scenes for movies, box-office success is the ultimate stamp of appreciation. And character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza of Da Makeup Lab seems to attract success like a luck magnet.

Just look at the long list of hits and blockbusters. She has given eight megahits in the last five years. Recent blockbusters include Padmaavat (2018), Andhadhun (2018), Chhichhore (2019), Housefull 4 (2019), Bigil (Tamil) (2019), Master (Tamil) (2021), Pushpa: The Rise (Telugu with dubbed versions in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi) (2021) and most recently, Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022).

All these films for which Preetisheel has provided the makeup and prosthetics, have broken various box-office records. But the list doesn’t end there! Her other huge successes in the last five years include names like 102 Not Out (2018), Bala (2019), Pati Patni Aur Woh (2019) and Panga (2020).

As if these too are not enough, she has been part of many commercial successes earlier too. The list includes Haider (2014), Brothers (2015), Talvar (2015), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Shivaay (2016), Mom (2017) and Aval (Tamil) (The House Next Door in Hindi) (2017).

For the record, Preetisheel won the National Film Award for Best Makeup for her very first film Nanak Shah Fakir.

Along with her partner-husband Mark D’souza, she runs India’s No. 1 hair, makeup and prosthetics outfit Da Makeup Lab in the posh Mumbai locality of Versova. Plus, with more and more interesting films like Chup, Cobra, OMG 2 and Ram Setu coming up for release, Preetisheel’s success streak shows no signs of slowing down.

Samarpan Singh-starrer LuvDown has a déjà vu moment with Netflix’s The Bubble

Actor Samarpan Singh is quite surprised to learn that the new Netflix film The Bubble is actually made on the subject of ‘a movie made during the lockdown’.

“I am surprised, but smiling,” says the new-age actor. “Learning about the subject of The Bubble took me back in time, when a year ago, we faced multiple challenges, shooting our web series LuvDown in a flat during the pandemic,” he remarks.

Just like this subject of The Bubble, the story of LuvDown revolved around a couple trapped together in a flat during the lockdown. “The pandemic made good and bad memories for most of us on the planet. So it’s good to see more and more filmmakers create stories revolving around the time,” adds Samarpan.

For the record, LuvDown was probably the first production on the subject of lockdowns. The web series, watched with appreciation and anxiety by viewers during its initial run on Disney+ Hotstar, also got a fresh lease on YouTube, with viewers able to sit back and enjoy the sarcastic humour of the rom-com with a nostalgic smile.

Featuring Samarpan Singh with Amrit Kaur Dhillon as his love interest, LuvDown featured seven episodes written and directed by Sritama Dutta. They have been produced by Onkarjit Singh, Gurjit Singh and Aditya Bharadwaj, and presented by Y Star Cine & Television Pvt Ltd.

After the series, Samarpan has signed up for a Hindi film and will also be seen in a music video soon. He is looking forward to more work in Bollywood. Going by his steady climb in the film industry, we wouldn’t be surprised to find him bagging some plum Bollywood projects in the near future.

If war shapes boundaries, art shapes cultures, says Pratyusha Chhajer

Dance should be above politics and wars, she feels.

Ballet dancers and academies all over the western world have been protesting against the random sanctions put on them due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. Concerts, dance recitals and exhibitions have been postponed indefinitely after the recent Russian intervention in Ukraine.

“It is unfair to sanction an academy in the West or Europe just because they have a Russian name or follow a Russian style of dancing or have Russian dancers training there. That is arbitrary but that is what is happening with many right now. We are all being judged for having any Russian connection,” says the owner of an academy in the West who does not want to be named.

Entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer of SS Ballet Academy in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, concurs. “The conflict is not good. No one is disputing that. However, I agree that to sanction a place, just because some of the teachers are Russian or they follow a Russian style of ballet dance, is misplaced.”

Though there are no sanctions on any Russian form of dance in India, Pratyusha is disturbed by this trend of ‘cancel culture’, especially when it comes to cancelling art forms. “Dance, just like music, is a universal language. Without having to speak, humans can express themselves through dance. Let’s not forget that if war shapes boundaries, art shapes cultures. Thus art should be above politics and wars.”

“Dance is the rhythm of moving leaves, dance is the rhythm of flowing water, dance moves to the rhythm of breeze — dance is  everywhere. Dance is within you, dance is outside you. So we should work in the direction of preserving culture, performing arts, traditions and heritage for our future generations,” she concludes.

India’s SS Ballet Academy leading the way with online dance classes

Who thought there would come a time when the world would almost be stranded inside their homes. But the pandemic and its lockdowns brought in new realities and even ushered in a new era of Work From Home.

But as the old saying goes, ‘All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,’ people soon realised the ill effects of a sedentary virtual lifestyle. And that’s when, out of the blue, a whole new concept of an online education of dance took birth.

Online learning suddenly seemed to be more exciting than ever. And though dance requires more of a person-to-person interaction in teaching, dance teachers and academies around the world, did find ways to teach it through the computer and mobile screens.

One such academy is SS Ballet Academy (SSBA) headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Founded by entrepreneur Pratyusha Chhajer, SSBA follows the Vaganova Method of ballet dance, which was made internationally famous by Russian ballerina Agrippina Vaganova.

Starting out in Indore, SSBA shifted its headquarters to Ahmedabad recently and plans to expand, with branches in Mumbai and Delhi in the near future. It is a member of the internationally prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID) certification, which is an official partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (popularly known as UNESCO).

Talking about the online dance classes boom, SSBA’s founder Pratyusha Chhajer says, “Online classes not only offer a great opportunity to learn a new dance form, but also build confidence of the students, that too, while they enjoy the comforts of their home atmosphere.”

“Though it’s not the most ideal way of learning dance, it offers an opportunity to many outstation students who can’t manage to come to a new city to learn,” she remarks.

SS Ballet Academy aims to train newcomers and continue to take professional dancers under their wing, to help them reach a world stage.

“The online classes have given them a new chance to opt for distance training and continue their dream of becoming ballet artists,” adds Pratyusha. She further informs, “Inspite of the challenges, we are happy to have a good strength of ballet dancers joining SSBA and continuing their practice with us. They have been participating in different examinations and getting onto the next level.”

As soon as the pandemic situation gets completely normal, SSBA will restart the regular classes, but has decided to also continue with online classes.

Newbie Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat to debut with Ek Number Super

Come April and a new talent is set to shine in the entertainment industry — actress Pranali Sanghmitra Bhagwat. The spunky gal makes her debut as one of the main leads in the awaited multi-starcast Marathi movie Ek Number Super.

A very focused and determined person, Pranali has been into acting and dance ever since her childhood. Completing her Bachelors in Engineering (Information Technology) from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, she moved to Mumbai to pursue her dream. Starting out with multiple auditions, Pranali did around 30 advertisements, a web series, a mythological television series and several short films including Abhisarika, before bagging the feature film Ek Number Super.

Pranali plays a goofy and mischievous, yet bold and bindaas character of Meena in the movie. “It’s the role of a light-hearted fun girl. But in a unique way, the film conveys a message about respecting women and not objectifying them,” she informs.

Directed by Milind Zumber Kavde, Ek Number Super is a mystery-comedy revolving around a group of friends on a vacation. It is also the first time that a film with this genre is been made in the history of Marathi cinema. So how different is Pranali’s character from her real life persona?

“I’m progressive, but not boastful and breezy as the character of Meena,” she says with a smile. “Both Meena and I have liberal values essentially. But I’m much more introspective. While I’m spontaneous and adventurous, I seek meaning in everything I do. In that sense, I am quite different from Meena,” she comments.

Pranali has loved to act and dance since childhood. In fact, her family recalls that she began dancing at the age of two. She danced at home and then in school and later did workshops in Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Bollywood dance.

She even got selected and trained by Shiamak Davar’s dance academy in a Special Potential Batch. Pranali has taken formal training in Hindustani classical singing for four years during her school days, performed in various theatre plays later, trained in contemporary dance and even learnt acting at Kishore Namit Kapoor’s acting institute. She then moved to advertisements and acting assignments. Now that’s quite a journey in such a short span. Truly ‘super’, isn’t it?

Pranali credits her parents and especially her mother, for recognising her singing and dancing skills and encouraging her since childhood. “My parents have always been very progressive and their support and encouragement has meant a world to me,” remarks Pranali. “My grit, focus, determination, spirit of survival and constant growth in life comes from them,” she adds.

As Pranali embarks upon her new journey as a lead actress from this week, it’s a model leap for achievers like her who have a single-minded approach to their careers and pursue dreams with never-ending passion. Kudos.

Apparel marketplace Zaffori integrates Wise for ease of doing business

A quick and reliable payment system is integral to the success of any business. For the sake of ease and safety of payments, multinational apparel marketplace Zaffori has integrated the payment transaction software Wise into its online platform.

Gauri Shah, president, Zaffori Ventures, explains, “Having a trustworthy payment solution for our designers is one of our main priorities. Since Zaffori works with international designers, a quick and efficient payment solution where our designers can receive their payments as soon as possible is very important, especially since each piece of garment is made-to-order/made-to-measure. This is why we have integrated Wise into our platform.”

Thus, no matter which country Zaffori’s designers originate from, they will be able to receive their payment just within hours, making the flow of payments very easy and efficient for them.

Zaffori’s team chose Wise because it offers a quick payment solution that fits perfectly into its platform and business model. “We were looking for a payment solution that can send automated payments to our designers at the end of the billing cycle, ensuring that our designers receive payments in a timely manner, thus making it the perfect fit,” informs Shah.

The company believes that utilizing such great technology will not only enhance Zaffori’s platform and make it more user friendly but will allow its designers to do business on the platform with ease.

Since Wise is integrated into the Zaffori online platform, all payments will be made within the platform and therefore the designers would just need an account on the Zaffori platform. It would be that easy. This method will enable designers to also generate monthly or weekly reports of all the payments they receive, all in one place.

A first-of-its-kind, Zaffori is a high-end apparel marketplace which provides a unique opportunity to shop customized clothing from some of the top fashion designers in the world. Every product purchased through the online marketplace is one-of-a-kind due to its tailor-made approach. This makes Zaffori a premier platform in high-end fashion which caters personally to an individual with uniquely customized designer wear.

Zaffori also offers free storage space for designers at its fulfillment center in New York, allowing them to have an immediate presence in the US market. Moreover, the firm has also partnered with the world leader UPS to make the shipping process easier and efficient for the customer.

Mrs India Namrata Tolia Shah honing her acting and dancing skills for Bollywood

The ultimate mark of a great artist is versatility. And going by that parameter, newbie Namrata Tolia Shah stands a high chance of hitting the mark.

After winning the Mrs India title recently, Namrata has expressed her keenness to enter Bollywood, following the footsteps of beauty pageant title holders like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta, Neha Dhupia, Manushi Chhillar and others.

Meanwhile, the news media has already termed her “a complete package rolled in one.” This is because of her being multi-talented. Apart from her love for acting and dancing, Namrata is a management professional who also dabbles in adventure sports.

She is a research scholar, a vivid traveller and a strong believer in social causes and humanitarian service. She is vocal about women empowerment and comes across as a highly optimistic and motivated person.

In fact, it was this versatility which impressed the judges of the Mrs India beauty pageant. So enamoured were they with Namrata’s varied talents, that they praised her for her charisma, character, confidence, beauty, wit, wisdom, grace and poise. So now you know why the media is writing about her as “a complete talent package rolled in one.”

From the last few weeks, Namrata has stepped up her training in dance and acting. She has been working on her fitness regimen, voice modulation, expressiveness, diet and diction. Time will tell if this multi-talented charmer can work her magic with Bollywood next.

Sakal Publications releases two books Dilkhulas and Chef’s Diary by veteran journalist Pooja Samant

Sakal Publications, a well-known media house, has recently published two new genre books.

One is Dilkhulas, which focuses on the journey of some of the most-renowned Bollywood personalities including Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Shabana Azmi, Parikshit Sahani, Vidya Balan, Tapsee Pannu, Padmini Kolhapure, Kalpana Iyer, Anu Agarwal and Bisbeet Chatterjee. The beauty of this book is that it shows stars as their real self, without make-up and as normal people minus the stardom aura.

The second book is Chef’s Diary. This one is a chronicle of India’s who’s who chefs and their success stories. Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Ranvir Brar, Chef Vikas Khanna, Pankaj Bhadoriya, Nilesh Limaye, Prashant Sabne, Rishim Sachdeva, Shipra Khanna, Varun Inamdar, Sandeep Kad, Himanshu Taneja, Harpal Singh Sodhi, Parag Joglekar, Viraj Shenoy, Shantanu Gupte and others feature in this one.

Both the books have been authored by veteran journalist Pooja Samant, who has worked in journalism and the media industry for more than 35 years. The books are in Marathi. They are available on Amazon as well as in book stores.