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Latest News New York

ZEE5 to launch in US on June 22

New York, NY: After having won the hearts of millions of South Asians across the globe, ZEE5, the world’s largest streaming platform for South Asian content, has announced its launch in the United States on June 22. The platform is currently under beta testing in the market.

The US is the final and largest launch for ZEE5, setting the stage for its rapid growth in a market with a ready 5.4 million diaspora audience that has a deep cultural and language connect to this content.

With this launch, the streaming platform will open up access to the largest catalogue of South Asian i.e., Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi content to diaspora and even mainstream content consumers in the US who have been eagerly waiting to access ZEE5’s massive content library.

“The United States represents our most significant market and the last bastion in our global journey as we launch an ad-free subscription service. As a Global Media Conglomerate, we have had a very deep connection with our diaspora audiences here, so it is a rather happy moment for me to now be bringing this audience the largest aggregation of South Asian content on a single platform through ZEE5,” said Amit Goenka, President, Digital Businesses & Platforms, ZEE Entertainment.

“The United States is home to millions of people whose families have strong connects with South Asia, and we are glad to bring them the largest and most diverse catalogue of culturally relevant entertainment across Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi stories,” said Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global.

  • 3,500+ movies – including 120+ World Digital Premieres like Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, Simmba, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Dream Girl, Operation Java (Malayalam), Ka Pae Rannasingham (Tamil), Switzerland (Bengali) etc.

  • 1,600+ TV shows including Kundali Bhagya, Mithai (Bangla), Sembaruti (Tamil), Sa Re Ga Ma Pa (various languages) etc.

  • 200+ Originals – including The Final Call, Kaafir, Mentalhood, Churails, and more.

  • 600+ music, food and lifestyle videos coming soon.

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Bollywood India Latest News

Bollywood diva Shilpa Shetty Kundra new brand ambassador of “Laxmi” from the House of Spices

Laxmi, the oldest and most well-loved South Asian brand in North America is best known for delivering uncompromising quality and authentic ethnic foods that stand for purity and everyday value for South Asian consumers. 

Shilpa and Laxmi share a similar passion for perfection both having carved their own niche making them a dream team. Their association is one that forges a path of excellence and will leave a legacy to remember. Shilpa Shetty Kundra will be the face for all brand communications for Laxmi with special focus on promoting popular products such as basmati rice, wheat flour, spices and lentils. 

Commenting on this exciting new alliance, House of Spices company executives, Neil Soni (CEO) and Amrapali Soni (COO) said, “Shilpa with Laxmi was an easy decision. Her evolution into health and wellness, in addition to her culinary curiosity fits well with the evolution of Laxmi brand. In today’s world, we need to engage with our consumers, let them know we are listening. After refreshing the Laxmi logo, it was time to give the brand a new voice. We could not be happier that the voice is Shilpa’s.” 

Laxmi is dedicated to keeping the South Asian culinary traditions alive and thriving by continuing to fulfill desi cooking needs by offering range of superior products from the extra-long basmati rice to the purest haldi (turmeric), ghee and the newly launched range of Ayurvedic spices.

Speaking of category challenges in the marketplace, Chief Sales and Marketing officer Sundeep Lamba mentioned that “With the explosion of brand options at the store, for a consumer it is a difficult choice to make especially not knowing how these products are sourced and handled. Laxmi has always stood for quality, trust and value and with our new association with Shilpa Shetty Kundra, our brand promise will come to life.” 

The origins of the Laxmi brand are based in traditions and family values and therefore it is no surprise that their latest campaign revolves around bringing those values to life. 

Commenting on the campaign inspiration, Suhasinee Patil, VP Marketing shared some thoughts on what makes this campaign so special. According to her, “This past year with all its challenges has proven to us that nothing matters more than family and one way we all stayed positive and connected was through cooking. The pandemic brought out the chef in all of us and induced us to try new foods, focusing on reducing stress and boosting our immunity. It inspired us to change our lifestyle and prioritize health and family.”

With this campaign, our message to the consumers is simple: It’s time to bring home foods that stand for quality and purity; it’s time to bring home a brand you have trusted for over 50 years; It’s time to bring Laxmi  home! 

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Latest News USA

Nepali Uber driver in SFO coughed on, pepper sprayed by passengers

New York: An Uber driver has been coughed on, pepper sprayed and assaulted by passengers who ripped off his mask after he says he asked them to wear a face covering.  

Subhakar Khadka, 32, says he was racially abused by the three women after picking them up in the Bayview area of San Francisco on Sunday. 

Shocking footage filmed on Khadka’s car camera shows as one of the women coughs in his direction before leaning forward to grab his phone and then rip off his mask.

Khadka says another of the women then pepper sprayed inside his car.  

Uber says it has suspended the account of the woman who ordered the car.

Khadka, who moved to the US from Nepal eight years ago to support his family said, ‘If I was another complexion, I would have not gotten that treatment from them. The moment I opened my mouth to speak, they realized I’m among one of them, so it’s easy for them to intimidate me.’

Uber said in a statement: ‘The behavior seen in the video is appalling. The rider no longer has access to Uber.’

They have given Khadka $120 in cleaning funds.

Meanwhile, a fundraiser for Khadka had raised $93,091 of a goal or $20,000 as of Mar. 13, set up by Cyan Banister, one of the first investors in Uber.

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Latest News USA

Indian American Lufti Hassan to head Gandhi Mandela Foundation in US

Indian American businessman and a Democratic Party leader in the US, Lutfi Hassan joined the Gandhi Mandela Foundation (GMF) as a trust member on Thursday.

Founder chairman of the Apex Group of Companies in the US, Hassan took oath as the chairman of the Foundation for the Americas – US and the region. He was administered the oath by secretary general of the GMF Nandan Jha at the Foundation headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday.

According to a press release issued by the GMF, president of Jama Masjid United Forum Syed Yahya Bukhari was present during Hassan’s oath taking. Bukhari presented Gandhi Mandela Medal as a souvenir to Hassan on the occasion.

On his new role, Hassan said, “My job would be to involve the younger generation in the work being done by GMF and get them engaged with the ideology of Gandhi and Mandela. I see a lot of young people here who are very excited to be part of this fabric. Similarly, I would like to expand the mission in the US and carry it forward”.

The GMF is a Government of India registered trust that promotes individual freedom, civil liberties and human rights across the globe with its headquarters in New Delhi and has its presence in America, Africa, Russia, Great Britain, Switzerland, China, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Hassan is an established civic leader representing the South Asian community in mainstream American politics. He has served as an advisor on Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senatorial, Congressional, Mayoral and Judicial campaigns in the US, including as a national finance co-chair for the Obama for America campaign in both 2008 and 2012.

Recently, Hassan served on the board of advisory for South Asians for Joe Biden during the presidential run-up. He was among the select few from the South Asian community who were invited at the Biden-Harris inauguration ceremony. (Source: The Hindu)

 

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Latest News USA

Downtown Berkeley street renamed after Indian American immigrant Kala Bagai

Berkeley city officials, the Bagai family and others unveiled the renamed Kala Bagai Way on Thursday, the first street in Berkeley to be named after an Asian immigrant.

Previously a fork in Shattuck Avenue located between University Avenue and Center Street, Kala Bagai Way was renamed after one of Berkeley’s first South Asian residents, according to her granddaughter Rani Bagai. Upon emigrating from modern-day Pakistan with her husband and three sons in 1915, Bagai faced racism and discrimination through which she persevered. Rani Bagai added that her grandmother went on to become an immigrant activist and community builder.

“This is the first street in Berkeley to be named for an Asian individual, here in a city that is one-fifth Asian American,” said District 7 City Councilmember Rigel Robinson in an email. “There’s power in names, there’s power in whose histories we choose to memorialize. Today is about creating a sense of belonging for all who call Berkeley home.”

According to Rani Bagai, her grandmother’s family encountered resistance and ignorance from community members when they first moved to Berkeley. Not only were they locked out of a home they had purchased, but they also left their neighborhood as a result of racism.

Kala Bagai’s husband was stripped of his citizenship and eventually took his life, Rani Bagai added. Kala Bagai relocated soon thereafter to Los Angeles, remarried and formed an Indian-American community hub that hosted cultural events with a focus on inclusivity, according to Rani Bagai.

“She wanted to build bridges between American community and the Indian community to educate people about this other culture and be welcoming to other newcomers so that they could have the kind of welcome that she had been denied,” Rani Bagai said.

The city welcomed the renaming of the street by putting up banners in celebration of Bagai’s legacy, according to the event’s livestream.

“Most importantly, the renaming of these two blocks is a celebration of the diversity of our great town and in particular, the work of this amazing woman and also the South Asian community, which often has not gotten the same recognition of other communities in Berkeley,” said CEO of the Downtown Berkeley Association John Caner during the event. (dailycal.org)

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Latest News USA

Indrajit Majumdar first South Asian media executive to lead national ad and marketing organization

Los Angeles: The Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF), the country’s primary resource when it comes to Asian marketing, advertising and the power of the Asian American consumer, announced the election of a new president and several members of the 3AF Board of Directors after its elections held during the annual meeting recently.

Indrajit Majumdar, Executive Vice President of Zee TV, was named President of 3AF and will lead the non-profit organization for the next two years. He is the first media executive and the first person of South Asian descent in 3AF’s 21- year history to take on the critical role. Ten board members were also elected, and Iris Yim, Principal of Sparkle Insights, was chosen to continue her role as 3AF Vice President. Jay Kim, President of AAAZA, will also continue his involvement and serve as Immediate Past President.

Majumdar is a long-time veteran in the multicultural space and a tireless advocate for the South Asian community. As Executive Vice President at Zee TV, he is responsible for leading revenue for the company, the leading South Asian broadcaster in North and Latin America. He is especially excited about taking on the 3AF role, given the results of the country’s vice presidential race, in which the first Asian, first South Asian and first woman was elected. 

Majumdar said, “I am honored to be selected by 3AF to run this critical organization at this critical juncture. With the country’s new focus on the value that diverse communities play in our society, and the new heightened and elevated awareness of the South Asian segment given Vice President Harris’ election, our time as Asian Americans is now. I am humbled and honored to work with such a dedicated group of stellar individuals who have so much passion and commitment for our Asian segment and look forward to building on to the success previous 3AF presidents did before me.” As 3AF President, Majumdar said he will pursue many key 3AF initiatives including amplifying the Asian and South Asian voice, expanding the number of Asian media memberships in 3AF, and garnering more support and involvement from both 3AF members and non-members alike through new, fresh ideas. Majumdar added, “I want to actively engage corporations in America through different 3AF programs so they can learn more and benefit from the potential of the fastest growing population and consumer segment with the highest education and income levels and a cumulative purchasing power that is expected to touch $1.3 trillion by 2022.”

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Latest News USA

20 South Asian American pageant queens stand in solidarity with Indian farmers

Over the weekend, 20 pageant winners across the country joined forces to produce a strong message of solidarity with #WeStandWithFarmers through video 

Each of these women who represent prestigious systems like Miss India USA, National American Miss, Miss USA, Miss America, among many others, are united together in their shared mission to support the protesting farmers in India

The women in the video range in ages with a 21+ year gap between the youngest and oldest woman. Additionally, the women represent many states in the United States from California, Texas, Oregon, New York, Indiana, and many others. 

“In a country with over 70% of the population in the agricultural and its allied sectors, the past few weeks have been increasingly difficult with farmer suicide rates on the rise and violence in the face of peaceful protests. Pageant women have a unique ability to bring attention to issues and also, gain widespread support – financially and otherwise – within their communities. We know we have this unique platform and we are passionate about using it for what we believe in strongly,” says Serene Singh, the project’s founder. 

In the video are the following women in order of when they appear in the video: Serene Singh, Suhanee Patel, Esha Kode, Kim Kumari, Isha Jog, Jaanu Patel, Anjali Nair, Suhani Jani, Simarn Kholi, Nekita Regula, Vani Sharma, Shivali Patel, Alyssa Dass, Shivali Kadam, Manya Saaraswat, Afroza Nishi, Selene Ferdinand, Sanjana Yendluri, and Abirami Krishnan. 

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Latest News USA

Indian-American lawyer Jenifer Rajkumar elected to New York State Assembly

New YorkA 38-year-old Indian-American lawyer has become the first South Asian woman to be elected to the New York State Assembly.

Jenifer Rajkumar, a Democrat, defeated her Republican rival Giovanni Perna.

“Congratulations to @JeniferRajkumar on becoming the first South Asian woman elected to NY state office! Jenifer is a longtime public servant and legal advocate, and we know she’ll be a strong advocate for South Asian voices in Albany,” the Indian American Impact Fund tweeted on Wednesday.

Rajkumar, a Stanford-educated lawyer and an immigrant rights advocate, will represent New York City in the New York State Assembly, representing the 38th Assembly district, which includes Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale.

The New York State Assembly is the lower house of the NY state legislature, the state Senate being the upper house. There are 150 seats in the Assembly. Assembly members serve two-year terms without term limits.

Rajkumar is a lawyer and a professor at the City University of New York. She is also a former New York state government official.

According to her profile on her website, Rajkumar has early roots in public service. Her parents immigrated to the United States from India and settled in the Queens neighborhood of New York.

She serves on the Legal Advisory Council of Sanctuary for Families, New York City’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. She has spoken on public interest law and policy at Stanford Law School, CUNY Law School and Harvard Law School.

In 2015 and 2016, Rajkumar was selected to Super Lawyers’ New York-Metro Rising Stars List, a recognition given to no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in New York.

Her profile said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had appointed her as the Director of Immigration Affairs and Special Counsel for New York state.

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Bollywood Latest News

SF International South Asian Film fest to pay homage to Irrfan Khan

The 18th annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival will be held Oct 23-25 by way of a virtual event, its organizer 3rd I Films announced. 

The three-day festival will screen a select program of narrative features and shorts by independent filmmakers from South Asia and its diaspora, including stories from India, South Africa and the Pakistani and Sikh communities in the U.S., the release notes.

To keep connected and support the South Asian community, 3rd i’s film festival, “Bollywood and Beyond,” will be offered for free this year as a completely virtual experience.

This year’s festival presents an homage to one of the greats of Indian cinema, Irrfan Khan, who lost his battle with cancer in early 2020.

For this year’s festival, 3rd i Films brings back “Road to Ladakh” (which premiered at 3rd i’s inaugural festival in 2003) – a sensual suspenseful love story revolving around an encounter between two strangers thrown together by chance into the magnificent wilderness of Ladakh, near the borders of India and Pakistan.

A post-screening discussion will follow with Oscar nominee director Ashvin Kumar. It is free with registration, the release added.

Another film from the 3rd i archives this year is Avie Luthra’s “Lucky,” a narrative based on a short of the same name, which was nominated for an Oscar award in 2005.

Festival attendees can access scheduled screenings and filmmaker discussions from the safety of their homes, after registering online.

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