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TV Anchor Durga Menon dies aged 35

Kochi : Television host Durga Menon (35) has died this morning after being supported on ventilator for past 21 days.

The end came at a private hospital in the city after a cardiac arrest on life-support.

Durga suffered from lupus, a chronic autoimmune disorder in which body’s immune system attacks normal, healthy tissues.

She is survived by her husband  Vinod, a businessman and son Gowrinath.

Her body has been taken to her ancestral home in Kodunagllur, where the funeral will be held tomorrow.


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Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh are married

Bollywood heartthrobs Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, who got married on Wednesday afternoon in Italy as per Konkani traditions, took their wedding vows according to Sindhi ritual today.

News of Deepika and Ranveer’s wedding was confirmed almost immediately yesterday after their film colleagues such as Karan Johar, Madhuri Dixit, Ritiesh Deshmukh and other wished them good luck on Twitter.

Deepika and Ranveer  tied the knot at the stunning Villa del Balbianello overlooking Lake Como in Northern Italy. A video taken from the nearby lake showed the couple and their close friends and family on a balcony at the villa. Also spotted were Deepika and Ranveer’s parents.

There were high security arrangements and very few images of the weddings have been leaked to media yet.


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Vaikom Vijayalakshmi gets married

Singer Vaikom Vijayalakshmi entered wedlock today at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.

She married Pala native Anoop in a ceremony at 10.30, attended by hundreds of people.

Vijayalakhsmi got engaged to Anoop on 10 September at a private function held at her residence in Vaikom, attended only by close relatives.

Anoop is an interior designer by profession and  a mimicry artist too.

Vijayalakshmi, who was born with visual impairment, made her debut into playback singing with  Prithiviraj starrer Celluloid in 2013. She sings in four languages – Tamil Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada.

Vijaylakshmi had called off a wedding arranged last year after her fiance insisted that she gives up singing after marriage.

The singer who lives near Udayanapuram temple in Vaikom is the only daughter of Muraleedharan and Vimala.



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Kavya Madhavan gives birth to baby girl on Vijayadashami

Amid fighting his blues in the film industry, Dileep took to Facebook to announce a happy moment – Kavya gave birth to the couple’s first child since wedding in 2016, a baby girl. The child, born on Vijayadashmi, is doing fine and so is Kavya, he added.

Kavya was admitted to a private hospital in Kochi after going into labour on 18 October.

In September Kavya’s close friends and family threw a baby shower on her birthday, making news of her pregnancy public.

A news channel quoted a family member as saying “”All the family members are delighted with this news. Dileep’s daughter Meenakshi will have a sibling now. Kavya and Dileep are very happy about it.”

Dileep was earlier married to  Malayalam actress Manju Warrier and has a daughter, Meenakshi, from that marriage. Kavya too had married earlier to Nishal Chandra but separated in 2011. Kavya then married Dileep in 2016.

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AMMA accepts Dileep’s resignation

Kochi : Mohanlal, president of Association of Malayalam Movie Artists(AMMA), on Friday said actor Dileep’s resignation was accepted.

He was speaking at a meet media session in Kochi alongside other stars including Jagdish, Siddique and Baburaj.

Dileep, accused as mastermind in the sensational actress assault case,  was reinstated into AMMA after Monhanlal took over reins this year. The move sparked widespread criticism and Women’s Cinema Collective(WCC) took to protest against the actor’s induction on war footing.

WCC came down heavily on AMMA for victim shaming the victim actress
WCC came down heavily on AMMA for victim shaming the victim actress

Asked on possibility of inviting back the five actresses, who submitted their resignation in protest earlier, Mohanlal clarified that will not happen.

Baburaj went on offensive referring to AMMA as a body”attempting to fragment AMMA even as it grows sucking the organisation’s blood.”

Siddhique endorsed Baburaj’s claim by adding WCC was engaged in creating splits within AMMA.

In the wake of increasing allegations of sexual harassment in the industry, Mohanlal said AMMA will soon open a wing to deal with women’s grievances. KPAC Lalitha, Kukku Parameswaran and Kaviyoor Ponnamma will be incharge of the unit, Mohanlal added.


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#MeToo actress reveals identity; Divya Gopinath accuses Alencier of sexual assault

Kochi :State award winner, actor Alencier Ley Lopez, is the latest to go under #MeToo fire, after actress Divya Gopinath, came out in the open accusing him of sexual assault.

Divya had earlier posted an anonymous account on the blog India Protests, introducing herself as a “woman actor who does not wish to be named” while talking about her ordeal fighting back Alencier who crept into her bed unseen one day.

The narration goes, it began with Alencier staring at Divya and other girls on the sets of of Aabhasam. Later on eye contact, he rolled his tongue in vulgar gestures, she wrote.

Then one day, when Divya was lay asleep  and her roommate was in the bathroom, she woke up startled on feeling his body next to hers on the bed and him asking “are you asleep?”. When she pushed him off, Alencier allegedly asked her to “lie down for just some more time.”  She then screamed audibly alerting her roommate and Alencier then quickly retreated saying he was only joking, the young actress wrote.

The incident, Divya says, was reported to the director up on which Alencier put up odd behaviour like coming drunk on sets and throwing tantrums.

The actor later personally apologised to Divya for having been out of his mind to have assaulted her, and she let go the incident as a  nightmare of the past.

Divya says, she felt compulsive to bring the episode out after she found him boasting triumphantly about his ‘adventures’. More so, when she found he abused several women like her who worked around .

Though Divya chose to keep her identity hidden, the blog post drew huge criticism for being fake and maligning. She then came out with a Live post on the Facebook(above) endorsing the account.

 Aabhaasam is Rima Kallingal starrer. Other actors include Divya Gopinath, Alencier, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Indrans and Naasar. The film was directed b debutante Jubith Namradath.


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Legendary Musician Annapurna Devi dies aged 91

Legendary Hindustani Classical musician Annapurna Devi died at Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai Saturday. She was 91.

Devi has been suffering from age related illnesses for the past few years and was declared dead around 3.51 am early morning.

World renowned maestro, ustad Ali Akbar Khan was her sibling.

Devi trained under her father Allauddin Khan, a veteran musician himself, since five years of age.

She later graduated from sit to her chosen instrument, the subahar.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled her death saying “Saddened at passing of Annapurna Devi, the founder of Maihar Gaharana”.


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#Me Too sexual allegation against Mukesh; Shall probe says AK Balan

Minister AK Balan said, a probe will be opened into sexual allegations against its MLA actor Mukesh, if the woman hands over a complaint in context of the harassment.

Casting director Tess Joseph, in a series of tweets, wrote her #Me Too story saying, she was asked to come into Mukesh’s suite several times when the TV show crew camped at a star hotel.

The incident allegedly took place 19 years back, when Tess then 20 years of age, worked as crew for the popular “Kodeeshwaran” reality show. While lodged at Hotel Le Meridien in Chennai, Mukesh allegedly called her several times on phone asking  to join him. He even got the hotel staff to shift her suite next to the actor’s, she alleged.

Reacting to the accusation, Mukesh said he has no knowledge of the whole thing and does not remember who Tess is.

Encouraged by more and more women coming into the open about alleged sexual assaults or harassments unknown so far, women in India especially from the film world are coming out with incidents from the past. Several reputed names are being put on the list of accused, the last being Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu and Bollywood actor Alok Nath.

Mukesh, the yesteryear mega star, is CPM  MLA representing Kollam.

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Violinist Balabhaskar’s wife Lakshmi taken off ventilator, conscious

Thiruvananthapuram : Violinist Balabhaskar’s wife Lakhsmi, who sustained serious injuries in the car accident that claimed her husband and daughter’s lives, is now off the ventilator, according to hospital sources.

Lakhsmi is fully conscious, said relatives close to her.

Relatives are faced with dilemma as Lakshmi, unaware of the twin tragedies, continues to ask for Balabhaskar and their 2-year-old daughter Thejaswini Bala.

The toddler succumbed to injuries shortly after the car crash on 25 September and was buried two days later, while Balabhaskar died on cardiac arrest on 2 October after a series of surgeries and remained on life support to the end. He was cremated on 3 October.

According to sources, family members are unsure how to go about telling her the painful truths.

It is not however clear if Lakshmi will undergo counselling before the news of death is revealed to her.

The tragic accident
The family was returning from the famed Shiva temple of Vadukumnatha in Thrissur on 25 September, after rituals for their daughter, Thejaswini Bala. The baby girl was born 16 years after  the couple’s marriage. 

Balabhaskar's funeral Oct 2
Balabhaskar’s funeral Oct 2

Balabhaskar was seated in the front with  child nestled in his arms. Around 2 am, the car crashed into a tree by the highway at Pallipuram, near CRPF camp in Thiruvananthapuram.

Little Thejaswini died the same day and Balabhaskar died five days later on 2 Oct of cardiac arrest. The musician had sustained serious injuries to brain and underwent a series of surgeries while in coma. 

The cause of the accident is considered to be the driver, a friend of the family,  dozing off at the wheel.

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#Me Too : Alok Nath raped me, claims Tv Show Writer Vinta Nanda

As part of #Me Too movement, Veterna TV writer, producer and director Vinta Nanda, alleged that actor Alak Nath, who portrays god fearing and religious man in on screen, has raped her more than once.

He was sacked from then iconic show 19 years ago for sexual misconduct with it’s lead actress too, Vinta claimed.

Vinta made the revelation in an elaborate Facebook post.

She describes how Alok’s wife was one of her best friends who visited each other’s homes often and made their “arts shine in the content renaissance that came along with satellite television in 1990s.”

On Alok, Vinta said he was an entitled drunk : “He was an alcoholic, shameless and obnoxious but he was also the television star of that decade, so not only was he forgiven for all his bad behaviour but many of the guys would egg him on to be at his worst,” wrote Vrinda.

Vinta further alleges that four shows that did well on TV were unceremoniously pulled off air after Nath’s sacking. The newly appointed channel CEO, Vinta claims, asked for their closures and insulted her saying women like her should be thrown out of the county.

On the first instance of rape, Vinta writes ““I was invited to a party to this man’s house, his wife, my best friend was out of town. It was usual for our group of friends from theatre to meet regularly so there was nothing unusual about my going to the party. As the evening flowed, my drinks were mixed and I began to feel strange. Then at around 2am I left his house. Nobody followed me or offered to drop me home, which was what was rather unusual. All I knew at the time was that I had to get home. I could sense it wouldn’t be right for me to stay there any longer.

“I started to walk home on the empty streets although the distance to my own house was long. Midway I was accosted by this man who was driving his own car and he asked me to sit in it and said he would drop me home. I trusted him and sat in his car. I have faint memory after that. I can remember more liquor being poured into my mouth and I remember being violated endlessly. When I woke up the next afternoon, I was in pain. I hadn’t just been raped, I was taken to my own house and had been brutalised. I couldn’t get up for my bed.”

Following the revelation, several celebrities have taken to Twitter to support Vinta and shame Alok.