19052023-LSTL-01.qxd 5/19/2023 12:04 AM Page 1 c m y b SPIDEY’S FIRST STOP IS INDIA Sony Pictures Entertainment India has announced that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse will make its debut in Indian theatres on June 1, a day earlier than its planned release in the US. It will be released in in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali. PTI TRIBUNE Sane voice Bhumi Pednekar champions the representation of women in cinema, and fights for gender inclusivity. She will be seen in The Ladykiller, Bhakshak, and Mere Husband Ki Biwi. LUDHIANA | FRIDAY | 19 MAY 2023 Hail the Queen Sheetal L OOKS like we are obsessed with queens now! It’s almost as if queens are being explored in every genre there is, romantic drama (Queen Charlotte—A Bridgerton Story), fiction (The Queen's Gambit), political drama (The Crown), biographical drama (The Queen) historical-drama, crime-drama (Queen of South) and the latest, documentary (Queen Cleopatra). Queen Cleopatra premiered on May 10 on Netflix. The docu-series, more of a dramatisation of history is actually the second season. The first part, African Queens: Njinga, released in February, opened to a Egyptian queen Cleopatra is still an enigma, which attracts historians as well as laymen. Producer Jada Pinkett Smith's docu- series Queen Cleopara is an attempt to demystify her... What a launch pad! Actress Richa Chadha’s international debut with Indo-Brit production Ainaa has had its official launch at the House of Lords in London. Richa takes on the lead role alongside British actor William Moseley. Ainaa is helmed by Markus Meedt, who makes his feature debut with the project. The film is a social drama about the impact of violence caused by war on human beings. Richa said, “I’m excited to be working in a new part of the world, I like to experiment. They have put together an impressive crew of the best of talent from India and the UK. It’s truly going to be a collaborative effort to embark on a film that deals with such an important subject. “We are currently in London prepping for the film with the shooting expected to commence on June 2.”—IANS positive feedback and three months later, producer Jada Pinkett Smith came up with another, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, who was a scholar, diplomat, and temptress and lead actress Adele James aced her part. Adele played the main role with grace, glamour, and vision befitting a queen. But the great names of the Roman empire, from Julius Caesar (John Partridge) to Mark Antony (Craig Russell) and Octavian (James Marlowe) are portrayed as mere pawns in her story. The middle path of history-meetsdrama is the right way to evoke interest among fiction lovers but A STILL FROM QUEEN CLEOPATRA the dramatisation does lack powerful performance by everyone but Adele. As for history buffs, experts on the docu-series have categorically differentiated the reality from fictional evidence about the last pharaoh of Egypt. When it comes to making statements on Cleopatra’s complexion (from black to pale brown) or her suicide, historian Shelley Haley and others have not imposed their personal views. But controversy erupted after the trailer launch which highlighted Haley’s comment, ‘Cleopatra was black’. It was a bold move from the makers-producers-platform for it helped grab more eyeballs for the series. Several facts like how Cleopatra influenced Caesar into c m y b adopting the Egyptian solar calendar (what we follow today) to her involvement in the library of Rome, are quite enriching. From the age of 17 and having to kill her siblings to stay in power, Cleopatra is a tale of courage and empowerment, which needs to be told time and again. The history lives on with such attempts of dramatising the queens from the past. The series might ignite the desire to learn more about the scholarly queen of Egypt, who had intimate relationships with not one but two most important leaders of the Roman empire. Egypt is fuming Meanwhile, the docu-series is also accused of black-washing the history and for cultural appropriation of Egyptians for it cast a black actress. But once you dive deep into the series, experts talked about how the queen was fictionalised by many in the past. But then painting the people of Egypt black could have been avoided as Ptolemy dynasty had Macedonians Greeks too. The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Archaeology through the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities released a statement on the issue citing evidence like coins, statues, and other depictions of Cleopatra. It reads, "Queen Cleopatra was light-skinned and (had) Hellenic features...far from any ethnic racism, stressing full respect for African civilization and for our brothers in the African continent that brings us all together." Former antiquities minister and Egyptologist Zahi Hawass was also critical of the second season and said, "This is completely fake. Cleopatra was Greek, meaning that she was light skinned, not black...Netflix is trying to create confusion by spreading false and deceptive facts that the origin of the Egyptian civilisation is black."
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