Category: rfllhrudt

One step forward for Hyde

first_imgAfter a fine 2016 season, Jaheel Hyde wants to go one step further in the 400m hurdles. The 20-year-old plans to surpass his Olympic Games semi-final placing with a spot in the final at this year’s IAAF World Championships in London. To that end, he is working to move to the next level.”You know, last year I hit every mark that I set out for last year,” he reflected recently on a 2016 campaign that saw him defending his World under 20 400m hurdles crown, cutting his Jamaican junior record to 48.81 seconds and reaching the Olympic semi-finals. “I wanted to defend my World Junior title and to take everything in steps,” he said.Now, the University of the West Indies student is focused athletically on London. “Each year, I’m going to have to put on one step on it,” he asserted, “so that is what I’m aiming for this year.”Asked to pinpoint his 2017 target, Hyde said, “Of course I want to make the World Champs team, and I want to make the finals, and that’s the one step.”The former footballer is still adjusting to the rigours of training solely for athletics. “Trust me, it’s very hard, “he confessed. “When I was doing football, you know I started track and field in January,” he recounted, “so sometimes I would say to him just let me start training in January because to train from September straight back through to August is very hard.”He is, however, resolved to do the work greatness requires. “If I want to move to the next level, these are the sacrifices I have to make, so I’m not really bothered by it anymore.”MY OWN DESTINYIt’s no surprise that he misses the beautiful game. “Of course I miss football,” he revealed. “I even have thoughts of going back to football, between me and you,” he said.Despite that, this precocious Cameron Blazers team member won’t lace up his boots for quite some time. “I just want to enjoy my track and field career and see what happens,” he said . Moreover, he is quite sure that he was right to choose athletics over football. “I always wanted to do something where I control my own destiny,” the former Wolmers’ Boy striker reasoned.”For example, the Manning Cup final,” he recalled of a 3-2 loss to Jamaica College in 2013. “I played my heart out there, scored two brilliant goals and we lost.””When I go out there by myself now, and I mess up, I know that’s all on me,” he said. “When I lose, it’s on me,” Hyde said. “When I win, it’s on me.”last_img read more

After eSports venture, ONE Championship launches athleisure line

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? “We wanna be able to compete against the giants like Nike and Adidas,” said Teh.During its fight week in Singapore, ONE Championship marked the launch of “ONE eSports” which will see a number of events in Asia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissLike martial arts, eSports is a big growing industry with a large millennial audience and we leverage our ability and scale to unleash world class heroes and bring your world class esports entertainment,” said Teh.ONE Championship is teaming up with online fashion service company Zillingo to market the promotion’s merchandise, some of which were nly previously sold during events. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Hua Fung Teo, CFO of ONE Championship, during the press conference for ONE: Conquest of Champions at City of Dreams Manila. PHOTO FROM ONE CHAMPIONSHIPAfter its venture into eSports, ONE Championship is tapping into another lucrative industry.Hua Fung Teh, CFO of ONE Championship, announced on Tuesday that Asia’s biggest martial arts promotion is launching an athleisure line, featuring sportswear and lifestyle apparel.ADVERTISEMENT Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READcenter_img The merchandise can be viewed at which was made public during the press conference.“This is never been attempted. This is unprecedented. Unprecedented in that no global sports and lifestyle brand has ever come out of Asia, but we did it in sports media and we’re doing it in e-sports and we’re doing it in sports and lifestyle.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college ONE champion Brandon Vera nothing but grateful to Filipino fans: I owe you more than a smile Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

UN Chopper Crash: Pilot’s Condition Remains ‘Critical’

first_imgNo casualties have been reported from the United Nations (UN) helicopter marked RA 22426, bound for the Southeast that crash-landed after a few minutes of technical difficulties while en-route; however, one of the crewmembers – a pilot – is said to be in ‘critical’ condition.The incident occurred in the Thinker’s Village Community in the vicinity of the Robert L. Johnson (RLJ) Hotel, along the Roberts International Airport highway.Though the helicopter did not explode, it sustained significant damage.  Sandy and grassy terrain absorbed the craft’s impact with the ground. That allowed it to sink down deep into the soft surface – and to safety.The chopper, which took-off at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 22, from the James Springs Payne Airfield in Monrovia, was heading for Fishtown, River Gee County; but it developed technical problems right at the point of take off, passengers explained.It was said that the injured pilot came in contact with metal roofing, (zinc) when the craft landed. A building under construction was partly damaged upon initial ground contact.According to officials, the chopper was scheduled to make its first stop near Fish Town and later, Barclayville, Grand Kru County.According to sources, there were nine people on board: three crewmen and six passengers; some of them were loaded into a Jeep and other vehicles, and taken to the JFK Memorial Hospital.The occupants included UNMIL personnel and officials from government ministries headed for various rural assignments.According to passengers, the pilot was forced to land the helicopter after assessing the seriousness of a mechanical problem that they had no answer for.“The problem became serious while we were already over the ocean; the pilot had to make a U-turn to find a solid and safe ground for crash landing,” passengers told the Daily Observer.A survivor, Grace Nyemah, from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said that while the helicopter was taking off, they noticed that the engine went off on three separate occasions. It was after the fourth attempt that it finally took off.She said that the most intense moment came when it was notice that the engine of the helicopter had gone off, compelling the pilot to use his training and experience to maneuver for a forced – but safe – landing.Ms. Nyemah said that while in the air, some unfamiliar activities claimed their attention; it was after several minutes that the fourth pilot officially informed them of the situation.First, he calmed them down by saying that the technical team was finding a means of bringing the situation under control.Grand Kru’s Chief Medical Officer, Mitchell Greene, who was also on board, had minor injuries on various parts of his body. He said that it was by the grace of God that they were saved; the situation was severe and very frightening, he explained.He praised the pilot for bringing the aircraft down safely. “We are grateful to God that nothing very serious happened to the majority of us.”Meanwhile community residents and eyewitnesses at the scene lauded the pilot for his bravery and quick-thinking; he saved the crewmen and passengers by returning the craft to dry land, as it certainly would have fallen into the ocean.Meanwhile, UN said in a release following the crash that made an emergency landing a few minutes before noon at Thinker’s Village in Monrovia.“The helicopter, with nine passengers and four crew members on board, was en route from Spriggs Payne Airfield to Fishtown as part of UN’s regular shuttle flight. One passenger and one crewmember sustained minor injuries. During the landing, the aircraft damaged a house, without causing injury to any of its residents or any other members of the local population. The Liberia National Police and UN Security have secured the area.The UN has launched an investigation to establish the cause of the incident.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Hurricanes storm past Aggies

first_imgBy Tim Reynolds THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MIAMI – The last Thursday night game at the venerable Orange Bowl was something for the Miami Hurricanes to cherish. And it was a win they desperately needed. Wright completed 21 of 26 passes, finding Cooper with one scoring throw and Chris Zellner with another late in the third quarter to make it 31-0. Sam Shields had six catches for 117 yards for Miami, which had three scoring drives take a combined 1 minute, 9 seconds. “We had to trust each other, come out, play hard,” Shields said. “And win.” The Hurricanes, who are 10-0 on Thursday nights at home since 1986, are leaving the Orange Bowl for Dolphin Stadium next season. “This is something that’s going to get us on a roll,” Wright said. “It kind of got our confidence back up.” Stephen McGee had a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:03 left for Texas A&M, and backup quarterback Jerrod Johnson threw a 33-yard TD pass to tight end Martellus Bennett with 5 seconds left. Texas A&M’s three leading rushers – McGee, Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane – came into the game averaging a combined 235 yards, a big reason why the Aggies’ were ranked fifth nationally in rushing offense with nearly 300 yards per outing. That trio rushed for 21 yards in the first half and 69 for the game. Lane had no carries in the first half, and the Aggies didn’t get on the board until Matt Szymanski’s 32-yard field goal with 11:40 left.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Kyle Wright threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Graig Cooper scored twice and the Hurricanes stymied No. 20 Texas A&M’s high-powered offense in a 34-17 victory – just the second in their last nine games against ranked opponents. “It was a Thursday night game, prime time, so the nation got to come out and see what we really have as a University of Miami football team,” Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon said. The Aggies (3-1) entered averaging 46.3 points, scoring at least 38 in every game. Those numbers plummeted against the Hurricanes (3-1), who held a 402-240 edge in yards and said a spotlight game like this represented the perfect chance to make a statement. It came through loud and clear. “We just got beat, got beat by a better team,” Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said. last_img read more


first_imgBEO has a brand new website and is launching two exciting competitions, with a prize fund of €16,000 to celebrate.September 2013 see the much needed revamping of The website was originally designed by BEO students 3 years ago and it was decided this year with the growth of COMÓRTAS BEO and the introduction of COMÓRTAS AMHRANAÍOCHT NUACHUMATHA that beoireland needed expanding.BEO was founded by students from Coláiste Ailigh in 2009. They were quickly joined by neighbouring schools Loreto Convent, St Eunans College and Errigal College in an effort to raise awareness of emerging Irish musicians, social issues and improve the image of “Gaeilge” in local schools.BEO’s involvement in an NDRC hosted competition over 6 weeks in 2010 resulted in the student led development of and COMÓRTAS BEO our own National BEO competition backed by the Donegal NTB, Donegal County Council, Dessie Larkin agus Foras na Gaeilge.Since its start, more than 30 schools have participated in Comórtas BEO with winner Bridgetown Community School, Co Wexford in 2012 and Scoil Phól Kilfinane, Co Limerick in 2013.Finalists were asked to make a presentation to some celebrity judges outlining why their school hosted the best school based concert in Ireland. These were, Jackie Hayden former deputy editor of Hotpress, well respected author of many music related books but perhaps is best known for the person who first signed U2, Paddy Mc Kenna musician and 2FM presenter, Mary O Hagan who is the senior Producer of the Matt Cooper show on Today FM, Cian Mc Carthy musician and Radio na Life presenter, Brian Fisher of Practice Makes Perfect Event and The Nerve Centre in Derry, Deaglan Mac Eamharcaigh In Their Thousands and Caitlín Uí Chochlainn Cultural Officer Donegal County Council.BEO has grown each year and in 2014 aims to increase participation in Comórtas BEO to 50 schools nationally (North and South).A team is being prepared to visit 30 schools throughout the country. If you feel that your school is in a position to learn more please contact us ASAP as we have only a small number of spaces left on the calander. September 2013 sees get an overhaul with help from Foras na Gaeilge. The new website is more users friendly and takes on a darker look. All at BEO are very excited to see how it is perceived by the public.Comórtas BEO 2013/14 will be launched in Scoil Phól Kilfinane, Co Limerick on October 4 (Eurovision style) with 70 Letterkenny based students travelling south to the event. The following day a presentation will be made as a part of FÉILTE, World Teachers Day hosted by The Teaching Council in Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.2013 also see Bliain na Gaeilge and we are also hosting another national competition in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge and Údarás na Gaeltachta with a first prize of €3,000 for the writing and preforming of an original song in the Irish language. This competition is open to teenagers in schools and clubs all over the country. The final of this competition will be held during the Oireachtas 31st October in Killarney. Tuilleadh eolas ag www.beoireland.comBEO KICKS OFF NEW WEBSITE – AND A €16,000 PRIZE FUND! was last modified: September 13th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:000 PRIZE FUND!BEO KICKS OFF NEW WEBSITE – AND A €16last_img read more


first_imgIf your school has a prizegiving coming up then why not take some pictures and send them to  We’ll be happy to feature all schools. Donegal Daily is your website!  LORETO COMMUNITY COLLEGE, MILFORD PRIZEGIVING CEREMONY – IN PICTURES! was last modified: May 28th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Loreto Community CollegeMilfordlast_img

Doba upset about fan’s alleged slurs

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Washington State coach Bill Doba said it was “upsetting’ to learn a UCLA player said he was the target of a racial slur during the Bruins’ visit to Pullman, Wash., two years ago. Doba addressed the topic during his Tuesday session with reporters, and said he will ask fans during his weekly radio show, and other appearances, to behave more appropriately Saturday when No. 12 UCLA visits the Cougars. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “A racial slur anywhere, anytime, in any country is uncalled for. It’s wrong,’ said Doba, who added such incidents ‘don’t help us in recruiting.’ Doba added that many times in his career he’s been the target of abuse by fans at visiting stadiums. “I’ve been spit on,’ Doba said. “I’ve been hit by a whiskey bottle in other places. It’s not just Pullman fans (misbehaving), it’s throughout (college football).’ Meanwhile, Bruins coach Karl Dorrell, who is African-American, said he did not hear any racial comments during his 2003 trip to Martin Stadium, but has heard them in other venues. “You hear it everywhere,’ Dorrell said. “There’s racism everywhere. It’s not just in one geographic area. I’m not saying `It’s only in Pullman.’ That can be in any place. That’s just the given nature in any environment. You just have to deal with it and not make it an issue. Just go out there and play and do your job.’ When UCLA’s Page ran 38 yards on a game-changing fake punt in the fourth quarter against Cal, the Bears only had 10 players on the field. Tedford told reporters during his Tuesday media session the 11th player was running onto the field when someone else shouted for the players on the sideline to “get back.’ The 11th player mistakenly thought the directive was shouted at him, and ran back to the sideline. “It was a youthful mistake that needs to be recognized by the coaches involved,’ Tedford told reporters. “It’s very disappointing. It’s not just the kid’s fault. It’s also the coaches’ fault.’ The absent player was supposed to be at right end, where Page ran. Bruins tailback Maurice Drew is getting almost as many touches this season as a year ago, but he said he learned to better care for his body so he can recover more quickly. “Coming from last year, you learn how to take care of your body a little better after experiencing all the pain,’ Drew said. “I’m in cold tubs more and more.’ Drew averaged nearly 20 touches in the first five games of 2004, and said he was sore the rest of the season. Through five games in 2005, he is averaging 17.6 touches per game, but said he feels much better. UCLA defensive tackle Brigham Harwell (ankle) practiced lightly, and is expected to play at Washington State … Linebacker Kyle Bosworth, who plays on special teams, has a broken left thumb and did not practice … Bruins third- string quarterback David Koral hasn’t been with the team since Thursday. He is suffering from an illness, but could be back later this week. Brian Dohn can be reached at (818) 713-3607. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img “That’s very upsetting to me,’ Doba said. “Hopefully, it’s just one idiot.’ It comes in response to a story in the this paper in which Bruins senior strong safety Jarrad Page said fans at Washington State were rowdy, and yelled “everything, from racial comments to all that type of stuff.’ last_img

South African Women in Sport Punching Above Their Weight

first_imgBronze, silver or gold: South African female sporting heroes have long carried the pride of the country on their shoulders and in their hearts.But raising the profile of South African women in sport takes blood, sweat and tears, on and off the field. Sporting bodies and pioneers in the industry are hard at work to ensure that women’s sport is well established, receives sufficient financial backing, and gets free and fair media coverage.One sure fact is that there’s always something to celebrate. SA’s National Women’s soccer team, Banyana Banyana made history in November last year after qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time. The team, led by their fearless coach Desiree Ellis, will be heading out to France to compete in June.A star player worthy of a special mention is Portia Modise, retired Banyana Banyana’s all-time leading goal-scorer who has been selected as one of 13 FIFA ambassadors for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, a role she has taken up with high regards. Apart from her excellent striker skills on the field, Portia has always advocated for women in sport to be treated equal to their male counterparts, especially in the area of remuneration.Speaking to in a recent interview, Portia said: “This (WWC) is going to bring change for a lot of young women and open a platform for girls who didn’t know where to go. I think things will slowly change.”Another resilient voice advocating for women in sport, is Brand South Africa’s Board Trustee, Ms. Muditambi Ravele. In her capacity as chairperson of the South African Women & Sports Foundation, Ms. Ravele addressed delegates at the 2018 FIFA Women’s Administrators four-day Course in August last year, where she spoke about the misconception that women are constantly tearing one another down, highlighting how much support women give each other. Known for pushing boundaries, Ms. Ravele encourages many sportswomen to join what is predominantly perceived as male-dominated sports, like boxing.In raising the profile of women in sport, Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part Ambassador and Sports Media Personality, Kass Naidoo utilises her platform Gsport, to celebrate South African women in sport. Gsport aims to improve the media profile of South African women in sport, that will in turn, help with more sponsorship opportunities. Through extensive media coverage, Gsport wishes to on-board Corporate South Africa to stand behind female athletes.Brand South Africa commends these pioneers who not only engage in on-going dialogues that encourage a strengthened Nation Brand, but also lead by example.last_img read more

Resource Discovery| Caregiver Self-Care Activity Book

first_imgBy: Bari Sobelson MS, LMFT & Hannah Hyde, M.Ed.We can’t talk enough about the importance of self-care. We also can’t talk enough about the importance of resources! VA Caregiver Support offers training, educational resources, and many other tools to assist and support caregivers in their important role in the health and well-being of Veterans.We found the Caregiver Self-Care Activity Book which is a resource full of great self-care suggestions and tips. The following are some of our favorites…Go Outside!As John Muir eloquently put it, ” Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  Go outside and relax for a little while! VA Caregiver Support recommends leaving your cell phone inside to minimize distractions.Stretch AwayAccording to VA Caregiver Support, “stretching increases flexibility, range of motion, and energy levels. It reduces muscle tension, and provides relaxation and stress relief.” Not sure how to get started stretching for self-care? This section provides a list of stretches that you can do any place, any time!Create a Mindfulness Glitter JarIf you like to get your creative juices flowing, this is a great activity for you! Here you can find how to make a glitter jar and the ways in which this jar can be helpful for you through creating a clearer mind and focused breathing.Make friends and improve your social lifeThe Mayo Clinic contends that friendships can enrich your life and improve your health in a number of ways. Here you will find a detailed list of ways in which you can make friends and improve your social life!Walk down memory lane“Reflecting back on a happy or joyful time is powerful. It can ignite gratitude, hope, and remind you of your strengths.”  VA Caregiver Support suggests an activity to help reflect back on good times.LaughWho doesn’t love a good laugh? Take a look at the different things you can do to get that silly bone working! If you like a good corny joke check out their list!Comfort StoneHave you ever heard of a Comfort Stone? Learn more about what it is and how to use it in this section of the activity book.Journaling“Journaling is a creative and therapeutic activity that you can do for yourself anywhere, anytime. You can explore your innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences.”  In this section, you are provided with some ideas to get your ideas flowing for journaling on your own.Prepare Yourself for Sweet DreamsAccording to NIH, “sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.” This activity book provides things you can do to prepare for a good night’s sleep!Interested in further exploration of this resource?You can check out this resource from VA Caregiving Support at Caregiver Self-Care Activity Book.  We suggest you look at all of their recommended activities in detail if you are looking for ways to increase your self-care.Written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT of the MFLN Family Development Team and Hannah Hyde, M.Ed., of the MFLN Military Caregiving Team.last_img read more

Bollywood Bhakts

first_imgIn the Kingdom of Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai may be King and Queen and Amitabh Bachchan the Maha-Emperor, but in reality where does the power really lie? Who calls the shots, who is the real life-blood of that unreal temple of Bollywood?You may be surprised to learn it’s you, me and the chap searching for samosas at the concession stand and yes, also that entire family (father, mother and two kids) who have journeyed on their Bajaj scooter in Lucknow or their dust gold Toyota van in Edison, N.J., or San Jose, Calif., to catch the latest Hrithik Roshan starrer.In fact, there are millions and millions of Bollywood Bhakts or devotees, spread all over the world from India to Pakistan to Russia to the United States. If Bollywood were an organized religion, the Bollywood Bhakts would make it the most revered church in history with their total, undying devotion.Vinay Srivastava, who has taught film studies at the State University of San Francisco, aptly compared this fervent devotion to the Bhakti Movement, albeit tongue in cheek: “We have this tradition of hero worship and it continues to this day. We used to have this in Hollywood too in the 30’s and 40’s, but it declined in the 50’s. In India it persists and we do worship special characters.“Even in politics, one family ruled for a long time, not because of any special characteristics, but because we love to give divine status to one important person. The same hero worship is transferred to film heroes and heroines.” Aishwrya Rai in concert Film critic Maithili Rao also describes this phenomenon in her book, Bollywood: “Film stars have been the unifying icons in a country starved of role models, particularly in the post-independent days of cynical disillusionment.”Thus you have Amitabh Bachchan turned into a virtual god by legions of passionate fans. When the superstar was injured on the film sets of ‘Coolie’ in 1982, India’s collective heart missed a beat. Hundreds of thousands of fans mobbed the Breach Candy Hospital, some offering their blood, others their prayers. Even the prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, came to the star’s bedside. Amitabh’s critical condition had some distraught fans trying to commit suicide while one enterprising fan actually ran backwards for 550 kms in a novel form of penance to appease the Gods.Surely the award for most devoted Bollywood Bhakt has to go to A.B.Kamat, the general secretary of the Amitabh Bachchan Fan Association in Calcutta, who has ambitions of building an Amitabh Temple and held huge pujas as part of an 11 day Amitabh Mahotsav in 2001. He was quoted in the media at the time, “The traditional Hindu way of worship began around 8:30 a.m. First Lord Ganesh (the elephant god) was worshipped, then Lord Narayan and finally god Amitabh Bachchan.” The magnum-opus Mughal-e-Azam , which chronicled the ultimate romance between a prince and a courtesan and the clash of love and duty has been re-released in color.Media reports noted that six Hindu priests conducted the ceremony, chanting from scriptures before a huge garlanded photograph of a young Amitabh at the ABFA Club in the Dum Dum neighborhood. Photographs of the Hindu gods Ganesh and Narayan were part of the pantheon along with those of the film god, and a sculptor had been commissioned to build a 12-foot plaster of paris bust of the superstar for the ceremony. Plans were afoot to build an Amitabh Temple where an idol of the super star would be installed and religious hymns would be substituted with the chanting of dialogues from his famous movies.Now, if this isn’t bhakti, what is?The devotion comes in many forms and Amitabh’s recent visit to New York for a retrospective of his films had the entire South Asian community a-buzz. While he is hardly known to mainstream Americans, the 1,100 seat Alice Tully Hall was quickly sold out at $60 a pop, for a “darshan” of the star. The films were sparsely attended by the South Asian community, after all, they had probably seen them so many times they could recite them backwards. But they certainly turned out in full force for this live viewing, setting off on a teerth yatra or pilgrimage from all over the tri-state area, with grandparents, parents, children and even babies in tow.And being in that huge hall with Amitabh enthroned on the stage was no less than being at a religious revival. The first time he opened his mouth to greet the audience in his rich baritone, the crowd went wild. Clips of his films were met with howls, whistles and claps. Although cameras were banned in the auditorium, hundreds of flashes went off from digital cameras and camera cell phones. Scene from latest Amitabh Bachchan thriller Waqt No rules could come between Amitabh and his devotees. And the babies seemed to bowl their appreciation too.During Q&A, people in the crowd threw etiquette to the wind and shouted out questions simultaneously, bubbling over, asking if they could come up to shake his hand, yelling in unison, “We love you!”And this was a group of well-heeled, savvy, upscale, even suburban Indians. It was obvious that although Amitabh had never set eyes on them, he was a part of their family, a part of their lives. They jostled him with verbal embraces and exclamations of love that comes from the intimate familiarity one would have for a dearly loved family member. Decorous Alice Tully Hall had probably never seen such an exuberant outpouring.The Hindi film aesthetic connects villages and big cities, rural communities and sophisticated urbanites and in fact has been doing so for over 100 years, long before it got nicknamed Bollywood. The Indian frenzy for films and stars has been captured in Jonathan Torgovnik’s splendid book of images, Bollywood Dreams, which reveals the hold cinema has on the masses – right from the larger-than-life hoardings of Bollywood films that tower over mortals, almost like gigantic statues of Gods in ancient Egypt, to the lines of ordinary people waiting to buy a ticket for a cinematic entrée into a dream world. Film producers embraced diasporic fans by integrating them into Bollywood in film stories such as the highly popular Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge..Nasreen Munni Kabir, the UK based film expert, explored the Bollywood bhakti phenomenon in her essay in Torgovnik’s book. She says the early theatrical forms, such as Ram Leela and Ras Leela, the exploits of the gods, had a great impact on the evolution of Indian cinema. Early films from 1913 onwards were shown in villages and small towns in tents, close to the temple, and were visited right after prayers. “Such devotion can still be seen in the hero worship accorded to Bollywood stars. People want to act, talk and look like their idols. Barbers down the decades have been asked to give their customers an Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar or Shahrukh Khan cut and tailors have been told to copy the clothes of the beautiful Madhubala or Aishwarya Rai.”Stars may be ordinary mortals in real life, but the giant screens give them a larger than life persona and Bollywood cinema is an intriguing canvas with its potent mix of music, stars, drama, dance, lavish costumes and sets. Kabir says Hindi films take on the grand themes – redemption, survival against the odds, the importance of honor and self-respect, and the mission to uphold religious and moral values, something which Hollywood does only rarely now.“Not so in India, where film directors routinely tackle the big questions head on, even when making a formulaic run-of-the-mill entertainer. It is this particular kind of story-telling that has offered people of Indian origin their most beloved form of popular entertainment.”Little wonder then that these films hit home with viewers at multiple levels and they associate so strongly with the stars that make it all come alive. So it’s not just Amitabh or Shahrukh or Aishwarya, but practically every star has a huge fan following and everyone from the rag picker on the streets to the suave college girl is excited to see a movie star in the flesh. Scene from Devdas “The word ‘fan’ comes from fanatic,” points out Madhulika Khandelwal, director of the Asia Center at Queens College. “Idol is a term routinely used for film stars in India. There has been a worshipping tradition in India of leaders and of turning them into demi gods – and this is not just in Hinduism, it’s almost the national culture.The stars become leaders, where they are presenting our own lives and views on a big scale. So by seeing Amitabh Bachchan our own identity becomes bigger; our own life could be mundane but by being in touch with these stars and films somehow it’s all on a much bigger scale.”It is this devotion that has made Bollywood the success story that it is. The Bhakts go to see favorite movies again and again. Take the magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam, which chronicled the ultimate romance between a prince and a courtesan and the clash of love and duty. When it was released in 1960, it became the biggest money-grosser, opening in 150 theaters. It ran uninterrupted for three solid years at the Maratha Mandir Theater in Bombay – yes, the name of the theater was just a coincidence, but it could have been a temple for all the devotion shown!   Mumtaz Hussain, a filmmaker from Pakistan who lives in Manhattan, has seen the film no fewer than 34 times and can rattle off dialogues, songs and trivia. While Mughal-e-Azam did very well the first time, the new colorized restored version of the film is drawing a cult following too. The box office collection in India was $6 million with just 180 prints, as compared to the biggest grosser of the year, the hot new Bollywood film Veer Zaara, which did $10 million with 550 prints.The film ‘Sholay’ is perhaps the most popular film of all time, breaking all records, running for five years in a theater in Bombay. When fans connect with a film, they return to it time and again, so popular films routinely celebrate silver jubilees and golden jubilees.With Indians moving out into the Diaspora, the audiences have multiplied tremendously with generations born on foreign soil being introduced to the power of Indian cinema. There are devoted fans from South Africa to Dubai to the UK and Indian films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham are top grossers abroad, because of the vast South Asian fan base. Scene from Dhoom.Indeed, while children of the Diaspora may not know the language or may be reluctant to embrace all aspects of their Indian culture, Bollywood is something parents and children often can agree on. Many children get their first exposure to Indian music, dance and values – albeit a Bollywood version – through cinema, since most immigrant parents wean their newborns on Bollywood videos along with the baby food. One can discover 7 year old Indian girls saying with utmost gravity, “I’ve been a fan of Amitabh Bachchan since I was 2 or 3 years old.”Says Khandelwal, “There’s a special experience in watching a film together with other people who understand. There’s a cultural language that we all share. I think it’s very much a part of ethnic identity. It’s very hard to first transmit and then to preserve certain traditions and cultural practices, and films are somewhat an easier medium to do that.“These films are not just films and these stars are not actors and actresses. They really come out of the screen and become a part of people’s lives. For Indians, especially who are living away from home, Bollywood has a much larger role, almost integral to the life away from home, and that’s a kind of connection.”Cinema for immigrants is about community, of social interactions at theaters, of being with like-minded people who speak the same cultural language. For the young, stars become trendsetters in fashion and style. The latest filmi music is mandatory at weddings and wedding style is inspired by that seen in the movies. Just recently at a huge Indian wedding in Miami, the entire decor was inspired by the lush sets of the film Devdas. Scene from LagaanIndeed, stars assume larger than life, leadership roles. The India Day Parades in California or New York do not have a national leader or politician as the grand marshal – it’s always a movie star, who draws huge crowds. Says Khandelwal, “They become almost symbolic not only of the national identity of India, but also a cultural identity of India.”Busy professionals seem to melt at the sight of a movie star. When Amitabh Bachchan was at a press conference at the Lincoln Center on a week day morning, an entire contingent of fans turned up bearing a huge silver trophy for him. Dr. Akshay Dave, a physician in New Jersey, is an active member of this online fan club, which was started by Fatima Mohammad of South Africa and has 500 members in several countries. The fans meet online to discuss the superstar’s movies.Asked how a busy physician connected with being a fan, Dave fluttered about the Bachchan charisma, “I’ve always been fascinated by movies, even before I went to medical school. I always wanted to do something with movies, but I went into medicine so I couldn’t accomplish my other dream.” Manisha Koirala.India may be a land of engineers and doctors and IT professionals, but at heart Indians are all Bollywood Bhakts. Many would have liked to be a part of the Indian cinema, which they grew up on and around which their teen years revolved. The passion for cinema remains, no matter where they go or the professions they pursue.Whether it is a huge national conference of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) or Asian American Hotel Owner’s Association (AAHOA), one of the chief guests is bound to be a star, such as Madhuri Dixit or Hema Malini. At a conference of Indian psychiatrists, Khandelwal was taken aback observing a psychiatrist in the audience ask about the psychological meaning behind a song from the popular Dev Anand movie Guide, “Tu Jahega Kaha, musafir, jahega.” (Where are you going, traveler?) The audience did not find it odd , however, and the panelist responded seriously to the question.Another time, Khandelwal attended a conference on the city of Bombay, where an anthropologist presented an entire paper on Dev Anand’s films in Bombay! Bollywood is certainly getting a lot of respect, and the films are not just being seen, they are being analyzed in academia!During the last few years with the advent of the world wide web, the influence of Bollywood has multiplied many times over, creating a virtual community, an entire online nation of Bollywood Bhakts united by the miracle of the Internet and email. Perhaps more than any other community, people of Indian origin have the most computer geeks and IT professionals. Scene from Mughal-e-Azam This band of Bollywood fans is adept at using technology. In a recent BBC online poll, Amitabh Bachchan was voted Star of the Millennium, beating out legends like Marlon Brando, Sir Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Sir Alec Guinness. For Bollywood fans, clicking that mouse was almost their religious duty!The Internet is currently abuzz over the reigning Queen of Bollywood, the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai. Fans have created no less than17,000 websites in her honor. She receives a mind-boggling 5000-10,000 emails dailyfrom around the world. Since it’s not possible to reply to all of them, she selects them at randoms for response.Bollywood Bhakts have set up a thriving community on the web – it’s like a huge colorful souk, a bustling bazaar where you can go from link to link, from Shahrukh to Salman to Preity to Rani – each star has its ardent devotees. While some sites are hi-tech marvels, others are pure labors of love of individuals.Aishwarya appearing on Oprah? Amitabh on Charlie Rose? The news goes out lightening fast through the tom-tom drums of email and thousands of Bollywood fans tune in to watch their heroes in action. The Internet has a thriving culture of countless sites for Bollywood news, movies, stars and fan clubs. There are Bollywood meet-groups from London to Vancouver to Houston to Bombay, in which online fans actually get together to view Bollywood movies. There’s a meet-up group even in Paris! Rani Mukherjee.Click around and you come to, a fun site for the clueless Bollywood fan who doesn’t know Hindi or Indian culture. It answers such weighty questions as “Why don’t the characters kiss already?” “What does it mean to wear red stuff in the part of your hair?” and “What does it mean to touch someone’s feet?” It also provides detailed synopses, vocabulary lists and transliterated and translated lyrics for films, making it easier for non-Hindi speaking fans to understand the mysteries of Bollywood.Bollywood Bhakts are a quirky lot who transform their obsessions into their life work: there’s a site hosted by Uday Mahadeo Talwalkar, who has made the world’s biggest typewritten portrait (21.4 feet by 13.3 feet) of Lata Mangeshkar. He used 364 A-4 size sheets of paper and took approximately 236 hours over five years to create his masterpiece.For Bollywood Bhakts, stars are as important as food, air and water. One fan wrote in an essay on the web, “1942 is an important year in Indian history. Not only because it marks the Quit India Movement, but also because the film industry’s biggest blockbuster Amitabh Bachchan was born.”Nor are they averse to risking life and limb for their tinsel gods. In Bombay: Maximum City, Suketu Mehta relates the story of two Pakistani boys who were caught by Indian soldiers as they illegally crossed the border in Kashmir: “It turned out that they hadn’t crossed to join the jihad: they had braved death at the border in order to see their idol in the flesh. They had planned to travel to Bombay to see Shahrukh Khan.” Scene from SarfaroshWith the new interest in India around the world, Bollywood fans are riding high with each new victory of their stars, be it Lagaan’s Oscar nomination, Aishwarya’s appearance on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world or Amitabh Bachchan’s appointment as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. Now Hindi movies often show in mainstream theaters in Manhattan and reviews appear with frequency in major media from The New York Times to The Village Voice. Each becomes a matter of pride for the Bhakts, a validation of what they knew all along – that Bollywood is the best.    Film producers have also embraced the diasporic fans by making them a part of Bollywood stories in films such as the hugely popular Dil Wale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, which showed that you can live outside India, and yet always be an Indian and carry on Indian values. The recent ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ focused on NRIs in New York and further incorporated the lives of immigrants into Bollywood, making overseas fans feel even more connected.Bollywood has had its share of detractors who deride it as lowbrow and over simplistic, but the fact remains that it’s got hooks, which nothing can match. Even in today’s day and age, Bollywood films are often a morality play – such as the recent Bagabaan, which touched upon the very real issues of ageism and the problems faced by seniors.These ugly truths are usually swept under the rug, but when Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini talk, everyone listens.Indian cinema is also a great unifier, a Utopia where class, color, status and religion don’t matter, and this appeals to the innate love of fairness that most people harbor and admire. Shahrukh Khan can play a Hindu and Preity Zinta a Muslim, and no one blinks an eye. The best talents of all religions and regions come together as one to create Hindi cinema, and that perhaps is one of the strongest virtues of Bollywood. As Maithili Rao says, “The Hindi film is the all-India film: this is a truism. It is a cementing secular force that heals and binds a contentious, clamorous people.”   Bollywood has its high-brow fans too, authors such as Salman Rushdie to Shashi Tharoor to Suketu Mehta. All of them grew up watching Bollywood films and the color and surrealism of Hindi cinema finds its way into their writing. Hollywood directors from Ismail Merchant to Mira Nair to Gurinder Chadha have also been impacted by Bollywood. And now a whole generation of young Indian American actors, producers and directors are starting out in their careers, carrying the magic of Bollywood cinema in their sub-conscious.Bollywood is all encompassing. As Khandelwal says, “This is who we are, this is part of our culture. Whether we like it or not, it looks like Bollywood has hit the mark really in terms of how cultural identity will be defined. It’s about easy doses, it’s about relaxing and enjoying our culture.”Bollywood fans have spawned entire industries, from DVDs and music CDs, live Bollywood shows to movies inspired fashions. Bollywood music plays in clubs and Bollywood dance has become popular as a fitness routine. And now with the new and improved, technically superior Bollywood films, a whole new fan base is being created worldwide, from Latin America to China. Russians have been avid fans since the days of Raj Kapoor but now we even have Vietnamese grocery stores in the Mid-West stocking Bollywood videos!Even mainstream Americans are no longer immune to Bollywood’s siren call. At the recent Amitabh Bachchan retrospective, a caucasian couple admitted that whenever they put on a Bollywood video at home, even their little dog starts dancing! Another woman came out of the theater, exhausted, but jubilant, “It’s like going to the opera!”Rochelle Goldman of Brooklyn, who recently visited India and attended some movies there, needed her Bollywood fix. She heard the world’s most famous film star was coming to town and decided to pop in for a Bachchan film at the retrospective and was completely hooked. She was sitting through movie after movie – and on one day she saw three movies back to back. She said, “I’m just emotionally drained! You can’t take your eyes off him when he’s on the screen.”Evelyn Alter of Manhatan once wandered accidentally into a showing of Devdas at a multiplex where she had gone to see a Hollywood movie. She was so intrigued by the costumes, music and dance, that she decided to see the movie from start to finish. She too is addicted now and heads to every new Bollywood film that opens. She sat through several of Amitabh Bachchan movies and cooed, “I’ve just become a complete, total fan.”Looks like a whole new contingent of Bollywood Bhakts is being recruited! But then, who is not a Bollywood fan? When Amitabh Bachchan was asked whom he looked up to, in essence who was Amitabh Bachchan’s Amitabh Bachchan, he promptly replied, “Mr. Dilip Kumar.” Looks like even God is a Bollywood fan. scene from Veer ZaaraEven seasoned journalists turn to jelly when it comes to movie stars. At the recent one-on-one interview session with the Big B, scribes towed along a massive Bachchan biography for autographs by the star while others posed for pictures with him.And who can blame them? Meeting Amitabh Bachchan and not taking a picture with him would be like passing up a memory snap by the Taj Mahal.Taking the Bhakti analogy a step further, fans give the dakshana or offering in the form of the price of the movie ticket as they step into the darkened auditorium to sit in union, in silence to meditate on the utterances and exploits of their mighty cinematic gods. The problems of the real world are forgotten as they concentrate on the one truth, the one reality of the celluloid world. That’s as close to a religious experience as one gets!   Related Itemslast_img read more