News India Times – that’s all you need to know Entertainment News India Times Novemebr 24, 2023 27 R yanWestra and Vishavjit Singh have teamed up on American Sikh to bring more diverse representa- tion and experiences into today’s media and to challenge perceptions of what an American (and a superhero) can look like. 2023 Academy Award winner Guneet Monga Kapoor (The ElephantWhisperers) and one of Vanity Fair’s top ten chef’s Vika Khanna serve as executive producers for this important film. American Sikh was created in partnership with Singh as the director-producer and Los Angeles-based direc- tor RyanWestra. It was animated by Studio Showoff, a Melbourne-based production house founded by Ivan Dixon and Sean Zwan that has produced work for Child- ish Gambino, HBO and Cartoon Network. Director-producer Vishavjit Singh is publicly known for his Captain America persona—a Sikh man equipped with his turban and beard — fighting against bigotry, intolerance and perceptions of what an American should look like. But Singh, the only member of his family born in the U.S., did not always feel he could embrace his identity this way. This is the true and unlikely story of an American- born, turban-wearing Sikh, Vishavjit Singh, who after a lifetime of facing prejudice, self-doubt and violence, finally finds acceptance in a superhero costume. Vishavjit Singh is a NewYork City-based illustrator, writer, performance artist, diversity speaker and creator of He got his spark for cartooning in the post 9/11 tragedy when Americans with turbaned and bearded countenance became targets of hate and bias crimes. For the past few years, Vishavjit has been traveling across the U.S. with his Sikh Captain America persona armed with a turban, beard and humor to tackle fear, anxiety, bigotry and intolerance. He uses storytelling as a tool to create a space for challenging conversations around identity, race, bias, vulnerability and how to be agents for change. Vishavjit hosts talks and keynotes in schools, univer- sities, government agencies and companies including Google, Apple, NASA and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. His message and work has been covered by a number of news outlets, including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, The Guardian and Time Magazine. Not only was this film featured on Good Morn- ing America and CNN, but in just over a month it won four top film awards including Best Short Animation at Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, for Best Animation at San Diego International Film Festival, the Grand Jury Award for Best Short Documentary and the Audience Choice Award at the Tasveer Film Festival in Seattle. American Sikh also received a special mention at the Chicago International Film Festival for Best Short Documentary and an Honorable Mention at Tallgrass Film Festival in the Documentary Short Film category. It has now qualified to be considered for a 2024 Academy award. Director RyanWestra has been fortunate to capture many powerful and important stories. He has trav- eled rural Punjab, capturing undocumented stories of Sikh genocide, documented the struggle of indigenous peoples against oil companies in Montana, followed the HIV/AIDS outreach work of an NGO in Mozambique, ed- ited an HBO feature documentary on reproductive rights, filmed the intensity of para-athletes pushing their limits, shot content for Headspace around a monastery in the Himalayas about mindfulness, shot a documentary about re-housing the most-at-risk homeless in Los Angeles, and has had minor roles on Netflix and HBO series that deal with wrongful conviction and bringing cult leaders to justice. Guneet Monga Kapoor is the first producer in India to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for The ElephantWhisperers, and is also one of the first filmmakers from India to be invited into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science. Guneet is the founder of Sikhya Entertainment, a Mumbai-based production house. She has produced close to 30 feature films includ- ing ground-breaking cinema such as The Lunchbox, Monsoon Shootout and Masaan. She was also one of the executive producers behind the 2019 Academy award winner, Period. End of Sentence. Vikas Khanna is an internationally-acclaimed Indian- American chef, filmmaker and author. He is a James Beard nominee and one of the first Indian chefs to be awarded a Michelin Star in the US. He has been featured among the 10 most influential chefs in the world by Van- ity Fair. Vikas is the author of 41 award- winning books, and the creator of Holy Kitchens, creating awareness of Sikhism through community kitchens. The Last Color marked his debut as a film writer and director, which raised awareness about the disinheritance of widows, and his Barefoot Empress focused on education for girls in India. Suneet Monga and Vikas Khanna will executive-produce Vishavjit Singh’s American Sikh. Photo:HardlyAnonymous Communications By RajivVijayakar Guneet Monga And Indian-American Chef-Filmmaker Vikas Khanna To Executive-Produce American Sikh Bollywood Film Poster For “Political War” Released On Times Square Billboard A poster for the upcoming Bolly- wood movie, “Political War” made by film-maker Mukesh Modi, was released November 13, 2023, on the Times Square billboard in the pres- ence of a number of stars. Among those present were actors in the movie, viz. Lulu Lopez, Marisa Roper, Liana Pirraglia, Bill McAndrews, DOP Ketak Dhiman, and others. The film also stars Prashant Narayan, Seema Biswas, Rituparna Sengupta, Mil- ind Gunaji, Shishir Sharma, Aman Verma, Abhay Bhargav, JitenMukhi, Prithvi Zutshi, Subhashis Chakraborty, Dev Sharma, Kanan Malhotra, Gaurav Amlani, Ravi Sharma, SweetyWalia, Anu Sharma, Twinle Saini, Arun Bakshi, Isaac Platizky and many more. The story line evolves in the backdrop of upcoming general elections in India in 2024. The film seeks to reveal the underbelly of politics, where corrupt politicians are raising funds from outsid- ers not aligned with the agenda of growing India into a prosperous nation. “Politicians will go to any extent to win the election – lie to people, create fear, provoke them on the basis of fake news – which you will all witness in Political War,” a press release fromModi said. “Political War” gets into the history of how on India’s independence in 1947, each individual had the right to vote and select leaders who were expected to serve their best interests. With the passing of time, some politicians changed the meaning of politics. Present politics turned out to be a battle for the throne where politicians want power over people, the power to collect wealth while in power. “Political War” is showcasing a story for the 2024 Indi- an election of how conspiracies are made in the country and how foreign support is taken to turn citizens against their own nation while putting the country at risk, the press release said. Modi and his team’s objectives for making the film are to: 1) Motivate the Community to Vote; 2) Expose Corrupt Politicians; 3) Expose Corrupt Foreign Resources; 4) India believes There is Unity in Diversity; 5) The Universe is one family Modi’s earlier films include The Elevator starring Golden Globe- nominated Eric Roberts, and Eugenia Kuzmina, which debuted in theatres on streaming platforms recently, the press release said. Modi launched a streaming service—Indie FilmsWorld (IFW), that aims to get independent filmmakers. Modi is also known for the series in Hindi called “Mission Kashi” released October 2022 on IFW. He has 3 more films in the pipeline to be released in the next 12 months, the press release said, including – “Torn” a psychological thriller, “The Kitchen Party,” a short, and “Arms Heist” a mini web series. Modi is also attempting to create a film festival for independent filmmakers, Indie Film Award Festival, the press release said, through which he says, independent filmmakers can be helped to distribute their films (in- ) By a StaffWriter Photo:Loudspeaker Media Photo:Loudspeaker Media Film maker Mukesh Modi, stands below the poster of the movie Political War, as it is displayed on the Times Square billboard November 13, 2023. From left, Kishore Malik, Mukesh Modi, Lulu Lopezz, Liana Pirraglia, Marisa Roper, and Mohan Wanchoo, at Times Square Nov. 13, 2023, for release of poster of Political War, a film made by Mukesh Modi.