Modi party under fire for demanding cuts in Tamil-language film

Above, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, addresses a gathering of Bhartiya Janta Party supporters during Gujarat Gaurav Mahasamellan on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on October 16. The BJP’s demands for a cut to the film incited anger on social media. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2017
0

Modi party under fire for demanding cuts in Tamil-language film

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party came under fire on Saturday for demanding cuts to an Indian film, claiming it showcased “anti-Modi hatred.”
A scene in the Tamil-language film “Mersal” shows a character delivering a fiery monologue in which he attacks the government’s failure to provide free public health care despite charging a national goods and services tax (GST) of up to 28 percent.
“People are paying seven percent GST in Singapore and receiving free medical care. The Indian government is taking 28 percent GST from people. Why can’t the government provide free medical care?,” says the character, played by south Indian star Vijay, who goes by one name.
The scene sparked an uproar among members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who have called for it to be deleted from the film.
H. Raja, the BJP’s national secretary, said the film showcased “Vijay’s anti-Modi hatred” as he countered the claims made in the movie.
“It’s a lie that medical treatment is free in Singapore,” he tweeted Friday.
The BJP’s demands for a cut to the film incited anger on social media, where hashtags #Mersal and #MersalvsModi were trending Saturday after many users accused the party of curbing freedom of expression.
Political rivals also attacked the Hindu nationalist party’s censorious demands.
“Mr. Modi, cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal,” Rahul Gandhi, vice president of the opposition Congress party, tweeted Saturday referring to the government’s controversial cash ban, the so-called demonetization, imposed last year.
The GST, which came into effect on July 1, was designed to replace a web of state and national levies and transform India’s $2 trillion economy into a single market for the first time.
But critics have said the tax’s complex structure — four main rates ranging from five to 28 percent — has confused businesses, hurt sales and pulled the brakes on the growth of Asia’s third-largest economy.
“Mersal” released on Wednesday to record earnings and has been running to packed theaters.


Did Younes Bendjima just call Kourtney Kardashian out on Instagram?

Kourtney Kardashian is dating French-Algerian model Younes Bendjima. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 17 July 2018
0

Did Younes Bendjima just call Kourtney Kardashian out on Instagram?

DUBAI: The Kardashians are no strangers to harsh comments on social media, but did Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend — Algerian-born model Younes Bendjima — just troll her on Instagram?
According to US-based website The Shade Room and the entertainment world’s vault of all things scandalous, TMZ, the 25-year-old model left an unsavory comment on a snap that the mother-of-three posted on Monday.
Kardashian shared a snap of herself wearing a floral-print bikini with the caption, “Don’t be shady, be a lady,” alongside a sunshine emoji. The photo leaves little to the imagination, with the reality TV star wearing a wide-brimmed, floppy hat and a skimpy swimsuit.
According to media reports, Bendjima commented: “That’s what you need to show to get likes?” in a now deleted post.
“Kourtney, your man has questions sis. Y’all think he was just playing or nah? The comment has since been deleted (sic),” The Shade Room posted on its Instagram account.
In retaliation, fans of the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star flooded Bendjima’s Instagram account with similar comments on photos in which the model is posing without his shirt.
The pair just returned from a much-documented-on-social-media holiday in Italy’s Capri, which Kardashian’s three children — Penelope, Mason and Reign Disick — enjoyed with the lovebirds. Mother and manager — momager, if you will — Kris Jenner also made a surprise appearance on the yachting vacation.
Kardashian and Bendjima reportedly met during Paris Fashion Week in October 2016, when Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint.
According to W Magazine, he stepped in to act as a translator between the Kardashian family and French police.
Bendjima, who reportedly previously dated model British Jourdan Dunn, splits his time between New York and Paris — where his mother lives — and speaks fluent Arabic, English and French.

He was scouted in 2011 and made his runway debut in 2013, walking the catwalk for French fashion house Givenchy. The model has also starred in campaigns for Hermes, Calvin Klein, Burberry and Ralph Lauren among other high-end brands.