Beautiful Indian Bridal Wear Inspired by Disney Princesses

 

The love for Disney Princesses is at an all-time high. Earlier this month, we discovered a campaign by Disney Channel (Asia) which had Southeast Asian celebrities pose as Disney Princesses. That’s not all. We’ve seen artists re-imagine Disney Princesses as different ethnicities and even gender bend the princesses into princes.

Clearly, the Disney Princess hype is far from over. Recently, Indian bridal wear company Wellgroomed Designs found themselves inspired by Disney as well. The result? Wellgroomed created nine stunning Indian bridal looks inspired by Disney Princesses.

“In our quest to do something out of the the ordinary, we thought it be awesome to do a Disney themed bridal shoot,” Wellgroomed explained on their official blog. “After all, many brides grow up idealizing characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Jasmine, etc.”

“Our idea was to showcase these characters as Indian brides,” they continued. “We knew it would be a challenge to pull this off but we’re blessed with some very talented and creative people in our industry.”

Check out the breath-taking bridal wear below and tell us your favorite!

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Inspired by Snow White.

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Inspired by Rapunzel.

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Inspired by Ariel.

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Inspired by Cinderella.

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Inspired by Pocahontas.

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Inspired by Aurora.

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Inspired by Jasmine.

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Inspired by Belle.

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Inspired by Mulan.

 

All photos courtesy of Wellgroomed Designs.
Decor: Universal Decor
Photography: Amrit Photography
Jewelry: Obsession Jewelry
Makeup: Makeup Vibez by Ranjit Heer
Hair: Powder Room Studio | Glam by Sav I Iris Chau
Locations: Dhaliwal Banquet Hall, Surrey | Hycroft Manor, Vancouver
Models: Michelle Senghera, Jasmeen Johal, Carly Pinchin, Rachel Deagon, Alisha Sidhu, Shirin Sharifikhah, Iris Chau, Chanel Brar and Astra Pereira

Indian Comic Book Heroine Speaks Out Against Sexual Violence

 

In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in Asian females entering the comic book world. Marvel, for instance, has created two Asian superheroines: Ms. Marvel and Silk. Well, it looks like there’s a new girl in town and unlike the Marvel super heroes, she’s fighting something much more realistic than mutated super villains. She combats the very real issues of rape, sexual violence and harassment in India and all around the world.

“A beautiful woman, wrapped in a sari, sits calmly on top of a ferocious tiger,” NBC News describes. “This is how much of the world meets Priya, India’s newest superhero and a rape survivor.”

 

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From the talented mind of Indian American filmmaker Ram Devineni, Priya’s Shakti’s tale begins with a violent gang rape. As a result, Priya is ostracized by her family and community out of shame. This is when Priya sends an empowering message for women everywhere by not staying silent on the taboo topic. Under the guidance of the Hindu Goddess Parvati, Priya chooses to speak out against rape and other acts of sexual violence.

Devineni say’s he was first inspired to create this comic book after the infamous 2012 New Delhi gang rape. After speaking to a New Delhi officer, he was shocked to discover that many men thought the victim was the one who provoked the rape by being out so late.

In disbelief over this perspective, Devineni spent the following year traveling around India and Southeast Asia to get a closer look at the true nature of this very serious issue.

 

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“Talking with several rape survivors, I realized how difficult it was for them to seek justice and how much their lives were constantly under threat after they reported the crime,” Devineni. told NBC News.  “Their family, local community, and even the police discouraged them from pursuing criminal action against their attackers. The burden of shame was placed on the victim and not the perpetrators.”

Devineni was motivated by real-life stories to challenge society’s fear of discussing rape. He made the comic book even more accessible by adding another layer to it. Viewers can scan the comic book and the animation comes to life. With the addition of sound and movement, he hopes that people will remember that these sort of violent acts actually happen in real life.

“We want people to tell their friends ‘I stand with Priya,’Devineni explained, “and support women’s equality and the struggles of rape survivors to seek justice.”

The comic will premiere at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention from December 19th to the 21st.

 

Feature image courtesy of Bitpage

 

Kiss of Love: Mass Protest in India Opposes Conservative Views on Kissing

 

When I see couples give each other a quick kiss in public, I really don’t think twice about it. After all, growing up in American means movies, television shows and even cartoons which have characters show their love for one another with a quick peck. This act is not only normalized in our society, it’s actually seen as endearing and sweet.

This is certainly not the case in India. In fact, a public kiss is viewed as so disgraceful, you can receive jail time for that small, quick act of affection. The Indian Penal Code states that anyone who “does any obscene act in any public place” may be subject to arrest. And yes, public kissing falls into that list of obscene acts.

Although Westerners may be baffled by the conservative view, right-wing Hindu fundamentalists certainly take it very seriously. On October 23rd, a local news channel showed footage of a couple kissing inside of a cafe in Calicut. The reaction to this was swift and overwhelming. Within an hour of the broadcast, people smashed the windows of the cafe and caused chaos inside. They claimed it was punishment for endorsing “un-Indian” behavior. According to one Facebook commenter, public kissing is only for “filthy western people, where shame exists only in the dictionary.”

 

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From Cartoonist Unnikrishnan Mathrubhumi. Photo courtesy of www.facebook.com/kissoflovekochi

 

But while there are those bent on aggressively enforcing this conservative view, there are also many, especially the youth, who seek to oppose this perception on kissing. Less than a day after the violent acts against the cafe, a nation-wide movement called the “Kiss of Love” campaign was created and sparked protests throughout India.

“We wanted to show how humans express their love. A kiss is a short and sweet expression,” explained Rahul Pasupalar, co-creator of the movement’s Facebook page which now has over 140,000 likes.

 

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A number of these protestors are receiving daily death and rape threats, but the movement continues strong. In fact, many claim that this is about much more than just kissing. Because arranged marriages are still a common practice in India, the act of public kissing is seen as women making decisions on their own terms. The rise of kissing reflects the growing power of young women in deciding who to marry.

“The terms and timing of intimacy used to be initiated and decided entirely by the man,” said Dr. Avdesh Sharma, a psychiatrist practicing in New Delhi. “That is no longer true.”

 

Feature image courtesy of http://www.bbc.com/

 

How School Lunch in America Compares to Japan, Philippines, India and Korea

 

Yesterday, Buzzfeed released a video called “School Lunches Around The World” which (as the title suggests) shows the average school lunch of children from various countries.  Most interesting of all was the difference in size, nutritional value and of course, content.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.25.31 PMAccording to the video, a typical school lunch in the United States consists of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some chips, a Go-gurt, an apple and some milk. Although many comments argued that a more typical American school lunch consists of a slice of pizza instead of a PB&J, we have to admit that this combination pretty much hits the mark when it comes to average lunches.

 

But does the video accurately show the average school lunch in Asian countries?

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.37.59 PMAlthough the image shows Japan’s lunch consisting of rice, mackerel and pickled spinach, it’s safe to assume that the vegetables and fish can be substituted with other ingredients. The main essence of a Japanese lunch is clear: food is made from scratch and made to be healthy. In fact, Japan’s child obesity rate, which is always among the world’s lowest, has declined for each of the past six years.        

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.49.14 PMFor the Philippines, the video shows rice and lechon kawali (pork) on a banana leaf rather than a plate. Admittedly, the banana leaf gave quite a few people a chuckle. Viewers recognized this as the tradition in many rural areas of the Philippines. The main issue some had with this image is that it did not feature seafood, a staple of Philippine cuisine. That aside, this simple combination is more than common. Unfortunately, a diet rich in meats like Lechon may be the reason for high rates of hypertension.          

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 5.13.50 PMIndia’s school lunch consists of rice and saag paneer (a classic Indian dish consisting of cooked spinach and fried paneer cheese with thickened cream or coconut milk) and dal makhani (another Indian staple consisting of whole black lentil and red kidney beans). The meal has become an average school lunch thanks to a massive school feeding program which aims to improve nutritional levels among children.          

 

 

  Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 1.55.19 PM Korea’s average school lunch consists of purple rice, soup, kimchi, radish and bulgogi (grilled, marinated beef). While some viewers commented that this plate is inaccurate because it should be flipped to have the rice closer to us, we can go ahead and agree with the plate. Anyone who has dined at a Korean restaurant is accustomed to the colorful meal and the numerous side dishes.  

As viewers watched this video, they couldn’t help but notice that the American meal lacked vegetables and more importantly, it contained quite a large amount of processed and sugary foods. Many have linked this to the high obesity rates in the U.S. which have more than doubled in adults and children since the 1970’s.    

 

Check out more school lunches with the complete video below.

The World’s Smallest Woman Achieves Her Biggest Dream on “American Horror Story: Freak Show”

 

Tonight’s the night! The highly anticipated fourth season of FX television series American Horror Story premieres tonight and has fans on the edge of their seats in excitement.

As the name suggests, American Horror Story: Freak Show is is set in 1952 Jupiter, Florida and tells the story of a traveling freak show in America. There’s no denying our excitement for the expected suspense and horror (after all, there is a mysterious murderer in town), but truth be told, we’re more excited for something else.

AHS is including many actors from their usual cast, but in an effort to achieve authenticity, AHS went above and beyond to search for actors who may have actually been qualified for this type of show back when exhibitions of human oddities existed. This means AHS has opened their doors up and created opportunities for actors who have doubted their chances of ever being on screen because of their size, disability, etc.

Based on the numerous interviews with the AHS actors, many seem ecstatic about the opportunity. These actors finally get to show their talent in an industry that is not as accepting as many of us would like.

In particular, we’re excited to see 20-year-old Jyoti Amge from Nagpur, India. With a height of 23 inches and a weight of 11 pounds, Amge currently holds the Guinness World Record for the shortest woman.

“People like me might be small in stature, but can also act,” she says in an exclusive American Horror Story interview. “Regular people should not underestimate people who are small. In every aspect [we] can do things that normal people can.”

And Amge certainly proves that by achieving her biggest dream. When AHS producers checked out her official website, Amge openly stated that she wanted to move to Hollywood and become an actress.

Fulfilling that dream, Jyoti Amge plays the character Ma Petite, an assistant to the head of the freak show. Although Amge’s character is part of the freak show, she points out that an important message is to be learned from this: People who are different are not “freaks” and should not scare you.

Check out the American Horror Story: Freak Show interview below. Amge talks about everything from marriage, her pet peeves and of course, the must-see show.

 

 

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Newspaper Angers Bollywood’s Deepika Padukone With A Tweet About Her Cleavage

 

The beloved Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was quite the topic of discussion this past weekend. Unfortunately, the attention was not because of her highly anticipated, English-language comedy Finding Fanny, which opened in the U.S. this past Friday. Instead it was about something completely unrelated: her cleavage.

It all began this past Sunday when the Times of India, a leading Indian newspaper, tweeted a photo taken of Padukone with the caption “OMG: Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show!” This was followed by a link to a slideshow of more pictures of the 28-year-old actress.

 

 

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Now if the Times of India thought Padukone was simply going to ignore the tweet, they were very, very mistaken. Padukone wasted no time calling out the newspaper by discussing it’s content and lack of respect for women.

 

 

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The Times of India responded to the actress by insisting that they only meant to compliment her. They tweeted at her saying, “You look so great that we want to make sure everyone knew! :)”

In return, this fueled the anger of her fans who pointed out that when men catcall and objectify women, it’s not a compliment. Fans were so riled up that the hashtag #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone was trending in India. A number of other stars stood with Padukone and applauded her for speaking up. Among them was Audrey cover girl, Priyanka Chopra.     

 

 

After much controversy, the Times of India has taken down the tweet as well as the tweets related to it.

 

 

Why You NEED To See “Finding Fanny” This Weekend (Plus An Interview With Film’s Star Deepika Padukone)

 

Superstar actress Deepika Padukone (a member of the Bollywood 100 Crore Club a record-breaking four times last year) stars in the highly anticipated, English-language comedy Finding Fanny this fall. (The trailer alone has more than 3 million hits on YouTube; it hit the 1 million mark in a day.)

In the lazy tropical countryside of the Indian state of Goa, Padukone is a young virgin widow, bored with her mundane existence in the sleepy village. When the old local postman (Naseeruddin Shah) discovers a marriage proposal he had written 46 years ago mysteriously returned to him, never delivered, he is shocked and sets out to find out what happened to Stefanie “Fanny” Fernandes.

Under varying pretexts, he is joined by Padukone, the local (and bitter) mechanic, a belligerent artist and an obnoxious snob. What the dysfunctional characters do find on their journey is friendship and even love. The all-star cast includes Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapoor, with a special appearance by Ranveer Singh.

Details FINDING FANNY opens across US/Canada this Friday, SEPTEMBER 12

 INTERVIEW WITH FINDING FANNY STAR DEEPIKA PADUKONE:

Q: From commercial success to doing a quirky comedy like Finding Fanny, what kind of cinema excites Deepika?
A: I love commercial cinema. But I also get a rush from doing clutter-breaking stuff like Finding Fanny.

Q: You are at the peak of your career with hits after hits. What made you do an off-the-wall film like Finding Fanny?
A: A lot of people told me it’s a risk. I did not think of it as a risk, but a brave move on my part to do it. I went with my instinct. What my heart said. I trust Homi (Adajania) and his vision.

Q: But what drew you to the film?
A: For me, the story of a film comes first and character next. I was looking to do something different and I am glad I did this film. As we work in a Hindi language film, we are used to it. But when you do an English language film it is a different experience and it takes time to get into this space. The challenge was to perform in English language.

Q: You have a Konkani connection in the film. Talk to us about it.
A: As far as the accent of Finding Fanny is concerned, it’s actually something I enjoyed because I got to speak my mother tongue, Konkani, a little bit in some scenes. The film is set in Goa and Goans usually speak Konkani. I got to experiment and improvise. But most importantly it’s a nice feeling when you have command over a language. Having said that, the first few days were very difficult on the sets not just for me but also for the entire team.

Q: You are working with Dimple Kapadia again post Cocktail and as reported you adore her. Talk to us about your equation with her.
A: What I feel for Dimple-ji and my equation with her, I can’t describe it in words. She took me for lunch and shopping while we were shooting for Cocktail. She pampers me and spoils me. She treats me like her daughter.

Q: How would you describe the film Finding Fanny?
A: It’s a different film. I found it to be different. It’s refreshing, it’s quirky and cool!

 

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Local theaters, ticketing, and showtimes will be posted on Wednesday at:

http://www.fandango.com/findingfanny_175019/movieoverview

http://www.movietickets.com/movie/mid/182500

For more information, visit the official website.

 

Finding Fanny was featured in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

 

Film Shows The Dark Truth Behind Indian Brothels and Human Trafficking

 

“They took me to the hotel and even though I said no, they forcefully raped me, ” said one anonymous victim of human trafficking, her voice heavy with emotion. “In the morning I had no clothes on my body. I didn’t know what had happened, I was insensible. I felt very uncomfortable, blood was coming out. It was really difficult.”

Unfortunately, this vicious experience was endured by many of the woman who chose to tell their story for the documentary “Stolen Innocence.” Casey Allred, an American educator in India, and film director Chris Davis are the two behind this important project which all began in 2011.

Allred had opened a school in India and it was there that he noticed a peculiar trend: the girls were disappearing. Even when Allred and other teachers when to the homes of the missing girls to investigate, many were no where to be found and the citizens were reluctant to go into detail about the girls’ whereabouts.

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“I will never forget the day that I learned the truth,” Allred said. “I spoke with a local attorney who told me that he had parents coming to his office every day looking for their lost daughters. He then told me that these girls were being trafficked into the sex trade.”

Shocked by all this, Allred joined forced with Davis and went undercover to red light districts and brothels throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh to interview the sex workers. They have created a Kickstarter in hopes of raising funds to complete filming so that they can show the world the truth behind these brothels.

Check out the preview below.

 

 

Kiosk Disguised As An ATM Machine Helps Indian Women Report Rape Without Fear

 

There have been countless efforts to try and decrease rape cases in India where terrifying studies show that a woman is raped every 30 minutes. Although all these efforts (such as as anti-rape clothing) try hard to change things, rape continues to be a very serious and prominent issue in India.

Although much focus has been on rape prevention, what about those who have already fallen victim to this unforgivable act? Apparently, they face a whole new layer of difficulties when they try to seek justice.

According to Think Progress, a 16-year-old girl in Calcutta reported a gang-rape to the police. As punishment, the men raped her again and burned her alive. It’s very likely that many women do not report rape out of fear. After all, these death threats are apparently quite common.

 

 

“Women were being denied a fundamental right because of this fear of going to the police. Why should they need someone’s help to do something so basic?” said Joydeep Nayak, a senior member of the police force in India.

Nayak decided to create an alternative to going to the police station. Her solution? She created an electronic kiosk that allows women to discreetly report abuse without fear of backlash. The “Instant Complaint Logging Internet Kiosk,” or “iClik,” resembles an ATM Machine and has been installed in a bank in Bhubaneswar.

Nayak has even addressed the illiteracy issue in India.  For those who are unable to write out a report, the kiosk also records audio reports and scans written complaints.

“My dream is to have a kiosk alongside existing ATMs, in schools, railway stations and bus stations, all over the country — so that women can walk in, complain and leave without any escort or hassles,” Nayak said.

So far, about eight to ten women use the machine every day.

 

 

Rice Tales: Indian Journalist Tweaks Ice Bucket Challenge To Fit ‘Indian Needs’

 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has flooded social media platforms for the past couple of weeks has, despite its charitable cause, stirred up controversy about excess and unnecessary waste of water. Some critics chastise Californians and point to the serious drought the state is currently facing, and others find fault with the participants’ lack of precaution and consideration for those living in conditions where water is dirty and scarce.

Without badmouthing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a journalist from Hyperabad, India decided to slightly tweak the original challenge into an “Indian version for Indian needs.” Instead of using ice, the latest Rice Bucket Challenge calls for participants to fill a bucket with rice and give it to those who are needy, raising awareness of hunger and scarcity of resources in India.

The challenge gets rid of the option to opt out of donating by pouring ice water on your head, and instead, ensures that the challenge focuses on the cause: helping those in need.

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The Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page, which only launched a couple of days ago, has already garnered over 44,000 likes. The new-and-improved challenge was started by journalist (and, appropriately, an employee for a global rice research website) Manju Latha Kalanidhi, who is astounded at the wave the challenge has created, from India to the United States.

“It has a small incentive–post a photo and get liked…but from Sweden, from Australia, from America, people came up with their own little versions,” said Kalanidhi. “I sat up the whole night. Amazing to see the shares and the likes…It is like a social media tsunami. Exponential. It goes one, four sixteen…”

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This could potentially spark a movement of “rice bucket challenges” all over the world, helping the needy in poverty-stricken areas of China to the unfortunate living on Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles. However, it is important to keep in mind that these social media-crazed, hashtagged challenges should not be a platform for participants to highlight their own act of generosity, but instead an opportunity to contribute individual efforts into a larger, worldwide movement for improving the lives of the less fortunate.

[Photos credited to: Rice Bucket Challenge Facebook page]