Mumbai fire leaves Slumdog Millionaire star, Rubina Ali homeless

Rubina Ali, childhood star of Slumdog Millionaire has been left with nothing after a fire ripped through hundreds of tenement blocks near where she lived with her family in a one room ‘shack’.

The fire started late Friday evening and destroyed many homes near the railway lines where Ali had continued to live after garnering international recognition for her role in the Bollywood blockbuster. Nobody has been reported as injured by the fire.

Ali was launched to international fame by Danny Boyle’s Oscar winning 2008 spectacle Slumdog Millionaire, and said that she has lost almost all of her possessions including irreplaceable photographs from her time in LA for the Oscar ceremony and from the set of the film.

“We only have a few clothes left, we tried hard to salvage whatever we could before the fire spread. My pictures at the Oscars, all my memories, are all gone,” Ali told interviewers while her family huddled together under a single blanket.

Although the flames had been extinguished by the time Ali and others dug through the ashes to find anything of value, small plumes of smoke still rose from the smouldering embers which are now all that remains of her home.

She was just 8-years-old when she took the role of Latika in Boyle’s film and her moving story which charted the rise from slums to the internationally recognised Oscar awards made headlines the world over.

[adsense]Boyle promised both Ali and her co-star Azharuddin that he would provide homes for them in Mumbai after the film.

Azharuddin moved into his home in July 2009, and Ali is set to take up residence in a new apartment in Bandra; one of Mumbai’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, within the next few months where she will be rubbing shoulders with many Bollywood stars.

“We have found a flat for them and they will move in in the next couple of months,” said Neerja Mattoo, a member of the ‘Jai Ho’ trust.

Please share your thoughts on Rubina’s bad luck by leaving a comment.

Read about other Oscar winners like Trent Reznor, The King’s Speech, Natalie Portman and Luke Matheny’s God of Love.

images: onlybombay.blogspot.com, thecount.com

Diet experts say Jennifer Hudson has gone too far with weight-loss regime

Jennifer Hudson turned heads at the Oscars when she sashayed down the red carpet looking stunning and slimmer than ever in her orange Atelier Versace gown, but has she lost too much weight now?  According to a number of diet experts, the answer is yes.

The Dreamgirls star’s weight loss has been closely monitored and until Sunday night her dramatic transformation has generally been praised, but now people across the board are claiming that Hudson is too thin.

In an interview with CBS News, dietician Marisa Sherry said: “Jennifer Hudson’s appearance left me wondering how far she has pushed the Weight Watchers diet.”

“She looks good, but each time I see her she seems to be getting skinnier and skinnier and she’s now at the point where I would start to question how far she will go.

“If she can maintain this lifestyle and sow that she is eating real food, not starving herself, then she will be a great role model.

“But if she continues to lose weight and isn’t doing this in a healthy way then I would be concerned about what impression that leaves on young people.”

And an author for Hollyscoop described the 29 year old’s weight-loss as “a disappearing act”, going on to say: “Jennifer Hudson has pulled a disappearing act on us. She was so svelte in her tangerine orange Versace dress at the Oscars, she nearly vanished when she turned to the side.”

Jennifer, who is a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, recently revealed on Oprah that she has lost 80lbs. “It’s like a brand new me. Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself,” the newly svelte star said.

[adsense]The Oscar award winner has dropped from a size 16 to a size 6, but insists that  her goal is “feeling good and being healthy, not fitting into a certain dress size.” She attributes her weight loss to keeping her exercise interesting, by switching between routines such as playing basketball, jumping ropes and running on the treadmill. “That 4 and 2 and 0 is not for me,” she said.

So why all the hype, one has to wonder. She looks healthy and happy and seems to have adopted a sensible lifestyle to look the way she does. Certainly in relation to many other super skinny celebrities doing the rounds on the red carpet, Jennifer appears to be doing a very good job of taking care of her body and health.

What do you think – do the critics have reason for concern, or should they just back off?

Read here about Jennifer Hudson being voted by Fitness magazine last year as having the best celebrity body in the category Best Celeb Slim Down and about Aretha Franklin’s weight-loss secrets.

Celebrities who have battled weight issues include Sharon OsbourneOprah WinfreyKirstie Alley and Sara Rue.

Images: PR Photos and Wikimedia Commons

Randy Newman and Trent Reznor scoop Oscars

Randy Newman picked up the award for Best Original Song at the 2011 Academy Award ceremony for his composition of We Belong Together which featured in Toy Story 3. The songwriter was in a self-deprecating mood as he collected his 2nd award in 20 nominations; highlighting the inconsistency in category nominations as he did.

“Cinematography has five. What? They couldn’t find a fifth song?” he asked with tongue firmly planted in cheek. A grateful Newman delivered the punch line added that if there had been a fifth contender they’d most certainly have beaten him.

Whilst reporters frantically huddled around a composed Newman after the awards were over he told them that he thought the song was “not the most consequential” piece he’d ever written and that he felt that his music for previous films such as A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Awakenings had much more impact on the movie’s atmosphere.

“Last year I knew I wouldn’t win,” Newman offered as he rightly predicted a win for T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham. “This time I thought I might have a chance. I still didn’t prepare!”

Toy Story 3 picked up the award for Best Animated Feature Oscar along with Newman’s Best Song award.

Elsewhere in music Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross collected the Best Original Score award for their collaboration on the soundtrack to The Social Network. Reznor was more hmble in his acceptance speech than Newman however.

“Wow. Is this really happening?” Quizzed an astounded Reznor.

[adsense]”When we finished work on ‘The Social Network,’ we were very proud of our work and happy to just be involved in this film, and to be standing up here in this company is humbling and flattering beyond words.”

Later during post award interviews Reznor was quick to praise David Fincher’s vision in defining how he wanted the score to sound, citing Vangelis’ atmospheric and iconic sounding Blade Runner soundtrack as a point of influence.

“A side of my music with Nine Inch Nails was going instrumental so it was not a huge leap or stretch to try this,” said Reznor on his first foray into the world of movie scores. “The biggest challenge was working with a picture. David Fincher knew exactly what he wanted. It was one of the best experiences of my life from start to finish.”

Please share your thoughts on the wins for Randy Newman and Trent Reznor by leaving a comment.

Read more about Oscar winners, The King’s Speech, Luke Matheny’s God of Love, Natalie Portman and Trent Reznor’s Golden Globe award.

images: laist.com, musicmaven.wordpress.com

Jill Clayburgh's life is heralded at the 2011 Academy Awards Ceremony

Jill Clayburgh, actress and two time Academy Award nominee was remembered at the 2011 Oscar ceremony last night. She was listed amongst several other well known names who passed away last year, in a fitting tribute to her life’s work on the big and small screen.

The Kodak Theater was the setting for the 2011 Oscar ceremony last night, and Clayburgh’s life was heralded during the In Memoriam segment of the awards.

Jill Clayburgh remembered during In Memoriam

The In Memoriam segment began running in 1993 and has become one of the most anticipated parts of the awards, but is not without controversy. Many years have seen popular actors omitted from the three minute section and this years ran to five minutes; still unable to please all of the people.

Criticism is being levelled at the producers this year for failing to recognise others who died in 2010 such as Corey Haim of Lost Boys fame; Peter Graves of Airplane 1 & 2; Betty Garrett of the classic 70’s and early 80’s TV show, Laverne and Shirley; and Maria Schneider of Last Tango in Paris.

Jill Clayburgh’s career spanned over five decades and her passing came last year as she succumbed to leukaemia, aged just 66.

Her most lauded role came in the 1978 film An Unmarried Woman in which she portrayed a divorcee who finds a new lease of life and sexual adventure with a young artist in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, after breaking free of 16 years spent in a dowdy marriage. This role won her a nomination for Best Actress which was eventually won by Jane Fonda.

Her other nomination came for the film Starting Over, a comedy which saw her opposite Burt Reynolds.

[adsense]Her final big screen appearance was in Love and Other Drugs in which she played the mother of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character.

Her battle with leukaemia lasted 21 years and finally claimed her life on Novermber 5th, 2010. She died at her home in Lakeville, Connecticut with her loved ones at her bedside.

Please share your thoughts on Jill Clayburgh or last night’s Academy Awards by leaving a comment.

Read about the Oscar winners, The King’s Speech, God of Love, Natalie Portman, and Jill Clayburgh‘s untimely death last year.

images: gayamericanheroes.info, altfg.com

The King's Speech shines spotlight on stuttering and dispels misconceptions about disorder

The movie, The King’s Speech, a portrayal of the life of  stuttering British King George VI and his relationship with his speech therapist, is — in addition to be a strong contender for the Oscars — also being lauded for putting the often misunderstood speech disorder in the limelight.

According to the National Stuttering Association, stuttering afflicts about 3 million people in the United States and 65 million worldwide. It is a speech defect, for which the cause is still not known, in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or last longer than normal. These problems cause a break in the flow of speech and if stuttering becomes worse, words and phrases are repeated.

Many are hopeful that the film will help to bring the speech defect out of the shadows and change some of the perceptions about stuttering. In fact, the film seems likely to do for stuttering what Rain Man did for autism and As Good As It Gets did for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Norbert Lieckfeldt, CEO of the British Stammering Association (BSA), speaking about the misconceptions of the disorder, said: “The obvious one is ‘if only you’d take a deep breath and think about what you want to say, it’ll come out. ‘People who stammer know exactly what they want to say. It’s just that their body at that point will not allow them to produce the right sounds in the right order.”

“There is a misconception that people who stammer are stammering because they are nervous, or more shy, or more intelligent or forced to be right-handed when they are left-handed: all urban myths.”

[adsense]Lieckfeldt offers the following tips for anyone meeting someone who stammers for the first time:

  • Always listen to what is being said, not how it is being said.
  • Keep eye contact, don’t look away. That would indicate to the person with the stutter that you are feeling embarrassed.
  • Try not to finish their sentence for them, even if you think you know what they want to say. If you get it wrong, the person with the stutter has to start all over again which is exhausting.
  • Try to slow down your own rate of speech. If you talk very fast without pauses, that speeds up the general level of conversation.

The King’s Speech, which sees Colin Firth tipped for an Oscar for his portrayal of the stuttering monarch, is being praised by stutterers and medical professionals alike for its raw and honest portrayal of the speech defect. In an interview with CNN,  Dr. Gerald A. Maguire , who underwent  speech therapy and mediation treatment as a child, said: “It really captured well that anticipatory anxiety, the fear around the speech, the frustration that people who stutter have even today in seeking help and seeking relief of their symptoms.”

“The movie gave an accurate portrayal of the stuttering problem, and especially captured the frustration stutterers have in public speaking situations and the great lengths they will go to alleviate the problem.”

Click here to read about Oscar contender psycho-thriller Black Swan, which shines the spotlight on psychosis and about the late comedian Charlie Callas, who often played off physical tics such as stuttering, speech problems and shaking.

Images: Wikimedia Commons and soundsandsights.org

Black Swan Effect: Oscar-nominated Natalie Portman’s portrayal of psychosis

Leading the race for the Oscars, Darren Aronofsky’s unnerving psychological thriller depicts the harrowing descent of innocent and fragile ballet dancer Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman, into a state of psychosis in her desperate quest to embody the seductive and destructive Black Swan perfectly.

“The only way to be perfect,” Arronofsky says in an article about Natalie Portman in the January edition of Vogue, ” is to allow chaos and madness to enter your life.” And ultimately, Portman’s character  does achieve elusive perfection, but not without paying a heavy price.

Under great psychological pressure from herself, her controlling mother and her ballet director, and determined to the point of obsession to show that she has what it takes to play the sweet and beautiful White Swan’s evil twin in Tchaikowsky’s Swan Lake, Nina starts to unravel at the seams, her life and mind spinning dizzyingly out of control as she begins to penetrate the  darker side of her personality.

Enter psychosis…

A person who is suffering from an episode of psychosis experiences a loss of contact with reality that usually includes false beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions) and seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations). A psychotic event can be triggered by a number of factors including medical illnesses, sleep deprivation, severe stress or trauma, drug reactions and genetic predisposition.

“Natalie Portman’s character was involved in a highly stressful competition, she had conflicted relationships with her mother and her understudy, and she was the object of sexual advances by her director,” said Dr. Steve Lamberti, professor of psychiatry at University of Rochester Medical Center. “Any one of these issues alone would be stressful, but experiencing them all at once could be emotionally devastating, particularly for a young woman who is somewhat naive and sheltered.”

[adsense]As Nina spirals into a state of deepened anxiety, she increasingly loses touch with reality. For instance, she develops a rash, and picking at the wound reveals several black swan feathers embedded in her skin, toys in her bedroom and her mother’s painting seem her come alive and mock her, and she conjures up fantasies and delusions, including a lesbian sex scene with her understudy.

“It was intense and disturbing and fascinating and mysterious,” Nadine Kaslow, vice-chair of the department of psychiatry of Emory University and psychologist to the Atlanta Ballet, said about Black Swan. “What was a hallucintion and what was real? When people are psychotic, it’s difficult, even as a therapist, to know what’s real and what’s not.”

These are some of the questions the viewer is left with at the end of the  cinema experience. Is the understudy Lily, played by Mila Kunis, a projection of Nina’s shadow — her unconscious, repressed self — or does she truly exist? Or is she perhaps a a combination of the real and the imagined?

Let us know what you thought about the movie by leaving a comment.

Click here to read about bulimia and anorexia, which are extremely common in the competitive world of ballet.

Read here about actress Thandie Newton, who developed bulimia when she was 14 and training to be a ballerina.

Images: inquisitir.com and fanpop.com

Eclipse nominated as biggest howler at the 2011 Golden Raspberry awards

The news this morning looks grim for the cast and writers of Eclipse after the Razzie 2011 awards nominated it for 9 accolades – none of them good.

Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, stars of the much celebrated (by pre-pubescent girls, or people with the mentality of pre-pubescent girls) Twilight sagaEclipse, a series of teen werewolf/vampire flicks that have been impossible to avoid over the past few years unless you live in a cave in Afghanistan (which is preferable) will rue their decision to get out of bed today once they see the headlines.

The only categories Eclipse didn’t receive nominations for were Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Eye-Gouging Misuse of 3D, the only reason for that being that it wasn’t made in 3D.

Clearly the Razzie judges have it right though as the series was a dreadful saga of a teenage love triangle centred on a girl who couldn’t decide whether to lose her virginity to a werewolf or a vampire. The writers should have thrown a zombie in for good measure, although there were enough of those that paid good money to see the dreary films. They’ll never get those hours back.

Anyway, supernatural paedophilia aside, the Razzies is an annual event that takes place the night before the Oscars, and is a celebration of all that is abysmal, generic, mind numbing and downright useless in the film world. So most things that come out of Hollywood these days then.

Here’s the lowdown on this years Razzie nominations:

WORST FILM
The Bounty Hunter
The Last Airbender
Sex & The City 2
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Vampires Suck

WORST ACTOR
Jack Black – Gulliver’s Travels
Gerard Butler – The Bounty Hunter
Ashton Kutcher – Killers and Valentine’s Day
Taylor Lautner – Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Valentine’s Day
Robert Pattinson – Remember Me and Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston – The Bounty Hunter, The Switch
Mylie Cyrus – The Last Song
Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon – Sex & The City 2
Megan Fox – Jonah Hex
Kristen Stewart – Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Alba – The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers and Valentine’s Day
Cher – Burlesque
Liza Minnelli – Sex & The City 2
Nicola Peltz – The Last Airbender
Barbra Streisand – Little Fockers

WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Billy Ray Cyrus – The Spy Next Door
George Lopez – Marmaduke, The Spy Next Door and Valentine’s Day
Dev Patel – The Last Airbender
Jackson Rathbone – The Last Airbender and Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Rob Schneider – Grown Ups

WORST EYE-GOUGING MISUSE Of 3D (new category for 2010)
Cats & Dogs 2: Revenge Of Kitty Galore
Clash Of The Titans
The Last Airbender
Nutcracker 3D
Saw 3D

WORST SCREEN COUPLE / WORST SCREEN ENSEMBLE
Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler – The Bounty Hunter
Josh Brolin’s Face & Megan Fox’s Accent – Jonah Hex
The Entire Cast of The Last Airbender
The Entire Cast of Sex & The City 2
The Entire Cast of Twilight Saga: Eclipse

WORST DIRECTOR
Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer – Vampires Suck
Michael Patrick King – Sex & The City 2
M. Night Shyamalan – The Last Airbender
David Slade – Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Sylvester Stallone – The Expendables

[adsense]WORST SCREENPLAY
The Last Airbender – written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko
Little Fockers – written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on characters created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke
Sex & The City 2 – written by Michael Patrick King, based on the TV series created by Darren Star
Twilight Saga: Eclipse – screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer
Vampires Suck – written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer

WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF or SEQUEL
Clash Of The Titans
The Last Airbender
Sex & The City 2
Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Vampires Suck!

Share your thoughts on the Razzies, Eclipse or the film industry in general by leaving a comment.

Read about the Golden Globes, Trent Reznor‘s award, Anne Hathaway signing up for Glee, The Social Network and Natalie Portman.

images: scenicreflections.com