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A Minute With Michelle Williams playing Steven Spielberg’s mother

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A Minute With Michelle Williams playing Steven Spielberg's mother

Michelle Williams won critical acclaim for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama, “The Fabelmans”, and her portrayal of the director’s mother secured her the best actress Oscar nomination on Tuesday.

Co-written by Spielberg and Tony Kushner, the movie is set in the 1950s and 60s and follows the fictional character Sammy Fabelman, based on Spielberg as a young man, as he falls in love with the moving pictures and discovers a family secret that changes the way he views the world.

Williams and Paul Dano play Sammy’s mother Mitzi and father Burt, inspired by Spielberg’s parents, the late Leah Adler and Arnold Spielberg.
In an interview with Reuters earlier this month, Williams spoke about the role, seeing an emotional Spielberg on set and during awards season.

Below are excerpts, edited for length and clarity.

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Q: What was it like to essentially play Steven Spielberg’s mother and take on this high-energy role?

Williams: “Very high energy! Honestly, it was a beautiful thing to inhabit for a period of time. I loved being her. I loved burning that brightly and having that much to give, to the point I really missed her… when it was all over.”

Q: As a mother and artist, how much did your character Mitzi and Spielberg’s mother Leah Adler resonate with you?

Williams: “She really did and she continues to honestly, the way that she was an artist. She was an incredible pianist, could have been a concert pianist, and could have travelled the world. But she used all of that energy and she put it into her family and she made her family this huge creative act. She made their childhoods so full of imagination and whimsy and play and joy and fun.”

Q: I understand Spielberg got quite emotional when she saw you and Paul Dano on set in character as his parents?

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Williams: “It’s such an interesting moment because here’s this man in front of you weeping because he’s so moved to see the presence of his parents again, which is really why he made the movie because he loved them so much and he wanted to bring them back and honour them and tell their story.

So your heart goes out to him because he’s emotional, but also inside, as an actor, you’re thinking: ‘Oh, thank God, like, it’s working. We’re on the right track.”

Q: There’s a lot of excitement over your performance. How do you approach awards season at this stage of your career?

Williams: “You make your work because you want people to see it and you want them to connect to it and so when something connects like this, it’s really rewarding.”

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Feroze Khan’s lawyer files defamation suit against Muneeb Butt

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Feroze Khan's lawyer files defamation suit against Muneeb Butt

Faique Ali Jagirani, Feroze Khan’s advocate, filed a defamation suit against actor Muneeb Butt saying that the actor had tried to bring disrepute to his firm.

Actor Muneeb Butt took to Instagram and alleged that the lawyer of Feroze Khan was trying to increase his followers on YouTube.

Jagirani has now approached the FIA for action against Butt for “defaming” him and his firm.

The complaint was submitted on Friday by Jagirani to the FIA’s cyber crime wing. “Mr Muneeb Butt who is working in showbiz industry is defaming my law firm, namely Coopers Law Firm, and myself as a lawyer, without any reason on various social media platforms such as Instagram. Such act of Muneeb Butt has violated by constitutional right saved under Article 14 of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1973, inviolability of dignity of men etc. as well his malafide intention with ulterior motives to defame me and my law firm,” he wrote.

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Motown’s Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala

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Motown's Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy celebrated at pre-Grammy gala

Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy, the visionary creative duo behind the revolutionary Motown genre, saw their legacy play out onstage Friday at a pre-Grammy gala honoring their life’s work.

From Robinson’s “The Tracks of My Tears” to “My Girl” songs, Motown defined the 1960s and influenced scores of artists that followed.

Gordy’s now iconic Motown Records, which the 93-year-old founded in Detroit in 1959, also played a pivotal role in uniting Black and white music fans in a decade convulsed by racial divisions.

Robinson was only 17 years old when he was recruited to join the label, where the balladeer became a prolific songwriter and seminal figure of the early days of R&B and soul.

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“There had never been anything like Motown before Motown,” the now 82-year-old artist told AFP on the red carpet. “There will never be anything like Motown again.”

The star-studded gala that this year included Motown prodigy Stevie Wonder is an annual pre-Grammy tradition from MusiCares, the charitable wing of the Recording Academy that raises money to help musicians in need.

Friday marked the first time the show honored two artists, a decision MusiCares said was necessary to fete the two musical legends “of equal and parallel esteem.”

“Both loom so large in music, and their stories are so intertwined, that picking just one as the MusiCares Person Of The Year — an honor previously bestowed on Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones, Aerosmith, and other luminaries — would be a half-measure,” the institution said.

‘Motown family’

Industry darlings turned out in full Motown swing with performers including the Four Tops, the Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, John Legend and Brandi Carlile.

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The Temptations opened the show with a rollicking rendition of their smash hit “The Way You Do The Things You Do” and later crooned “My Girl” as Gordy and Robinson flashed megawatt smiles and bopped along.

Sheryl Crow belted out Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” in a feathered, sparkling minidress, and Jimmie Allen performed “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with Valerie Simpson, who co-wrote that hit, which Marvin Gaye and later Diana Ross made famous.

A trio of Best New Artist Grammy nominees — DOMi and JD Beck, Samara Joy, and Molly Tuttle — did a genre-bending medley of Motown classics.

“How in the world did I get to be in the Motown family? How in the world did I get a chance to have a catalog and be sitting here in front of my two amazing mentors?” said Lionel Richie in a heartfelt tribute.

“You guys mean the world to me,” he said before singing “Easy,” the beloved track he made famous with the Commodores in a performance that bought the room to its feet.

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Wonder had the room standing once again as he delivered a reggae-tinged version of “Tears of a Clown.”

“I wouldn’t be here” without Robinson and Gordy, said Wonder — the virtuoso and music luminary who auditioned for Motown at just 11 years old.

“I can never repay you,” he said. “Thank you, I love you, thank you, I love you.”

“We should write a song like that!”

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Legendary singer Malika Pukhraj remembered on 19th death anniversary

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Legendary singer Malika Pukhraj remembered on 19th death anniversary

The 19th death anniversary of legendary folk and ghazal singer Malika Pukhraj is being observed on Saturday, Feb 4.

She was given the title of Malika due to talent and popularity. Her best work includes ghazals such as “Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon”, “Mare Qatil Mare Dildar Mere Paas Raho”, “Lo Phir Basant Aaye” and “Piya Baaj Piyala Piya Jaye Na”, among many others. These songs are still famous amongst music enthusiasts in Pakistan.

Pukhraj was born in 1912 in Hamirpur to a family of musicians. She was named Malika by a spiritual guru while her aunt, who was also a famous musician, gave her the name of Pukhraj.

The singer had been interested in music ever since her childhood and wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps. She received her early music education from Ustad Ali Baksh Kasuri, the father of famous vocalist Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

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At the age of nine, Pukhraj performed in front of a huge crowd at the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Hari Singh. He was instantly impressed by the young talent and appointed her as a court singer in his darbar where she served for the next nine years.

After that, Pukhraj began singing professionally. During the 1940s, she emerged as a big singer and her popularity peaked on both sides of the border. After the creation of Pakistan, she chose to settle in Lahore and restarted her career in here with Radio Pakistan, receiving a great response. Pukhraj also branched into folk singing alongside her classical music.

In 1977, the singer was invited by the Indian government (as she worked at All India Radio before Partition) and was awarded the Legend of Voice Award. Following that, in 1980, Pukhraj was given the Pride of Performance Award by the government of Pakistan as well.

Pukhraj passed away in Lahore on Feb 4, 2004. She was survived by her daughter Tahira Syed, who is also an accomplished singer herself.

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