Telescopes capture supermassive black hole devouring star

Astronomers have captured the moment a supermassive black hole shredded a star the size of our Sun, releasing images Monday showing the devastating process in unprecedented detail. Using telescopes from the European Southern Observatory (ESO), they were able to monitor light flaring from the process — known as a tidal disruption event — from a black hole just over 215 million light-years from Earth.

They observed the star being physically torn apart as it was sucked into the black hole’s giant maw. “The idea of a black hole ‘sucking in’ a nearby star sounds like science fiction,” said Matt Nicholl, a lecturer and Royal Astronomical Society research fellow at the University of Birmingham, lead author of Monday’s study. “But that’s exactly what happens in a tidal disruption event. “When a star strays too close to a supermassive black hole, it is subjected to the phenomenal strength of the black hole’s gravity.

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The star can be physically torn apart and its matter pulled into long strings, a process known as  “spaghettification”. “When these forces exceed the star’s cohesive force, the star loses pieces that rush into the black hole,” Stephane Basa, a researcher from the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory, told AFP. “This exceptional influx of matter produces intense electromagnetic emissions, which last for several months while the debris is digested. “Basa said that around half of the star remained after the tidal disruption event. “‘Only’ half of its mass has disappeared,” he said. “That’s already titanic.”

‘A monster’

While other tidal disruption events have previously been observed, the powerful burst of light they emit is often obscured by a curtain of dust and debris. Because they discovered the event just a short time after the star was ripped apart the team were able to pinpoint how the obscuring debris forms. Using high powered telescopes, they observed the event as the light flare grew in luminosity then gradually faded — a process of some six months. Nicholl said that the observations suggested the star involved had roughly the mass as our own sun, but that the black hole was  “a monster… which is over a million times more massive.”

The team behind the study, published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, said they hoped it would help scientists to better understand how matter behaves in the extreme gravity environments surrounding supermassive black holes. Last week a trio of scientists, Roger Penrose of Britain, Reinhard Genzel of Germany and Andrea Ghez of the US, were awarded the Nobel Physics Prize for their research into black holes, dubbed by the Novel committee  “one of the most exotic phenomena in the universe. 


I never expected to be treated like this: Tapan Chowdhury

Renowned musician Tapan Chowdhury has been living in Canada for a long time, but he often visits Bangladesh for his musical commitments. He decided to stay in Canada for the safety of his family during the pandemic, but after receiving an invitation to sing at the celebrations for the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, he was more than happy to come back to the country.

Though he was set to present his own song on such a momentous occasion, it seemed like the organising committee had completely forgotten about their arrangement with him. This incident left the singer in a state of shock. 

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“I have never wanted to sing at any programme, unless I was approached by the organisers first. I have never forced anyone to choose me for events either. I will never forget this incident, and I will not forgive the person who is responsible for it,” said Tapan Chowdhury with a heavy heart. “I came to the country after verbally finalising everything with the committee. As artistes, we always want love from our audience, especially from those who have been with us for decades in our country, but this humiliation was just unacceptable.”

Moreover, the musician tested positive for Covid-19 on April 9. He is undergoing treatment from his home in Bangladesh, but his family in Canada is worried. “I don’t want any mercy from the authorities. Even if death comes to me, I will accept it,” said an emotional Tapan Chowdhury. “I don’t know what will happen to me. However, I never expected to be treated like this. All I wished for was to sing on the grand occasion.”

“I know that my fans and loved ones are praying for me,” he concludes.

Translated by Ashley Shoptorshi Samaddar


Farida Parveen hospitalised after contracting Covid-19

Noted singer Farida Parveen, who recently tested positive for Covid-19, is undergoing treatment at Universal Medical College Hospital in Dhaka. According to her son, Imam Zafar Nomani, she is currently staying in a cabin at the hospital. “My mother is facing breathing problems. We found out that nearly fifty percent of my mother’s lungs are infected, after her CT scan reports came out. We request all of our well-wishers to pray for her,” he added. Earlier, the singer was staying at home under special supervision, as per her doctor’s advice.

Farida Parveen’s songs have been appreciated by listeners both at home and abroad. She was born on December 31, 1954, in Natore. She was introduced to Lalon Sangeet under the tutelage of Mokshed Ali Shah.

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Brought up in Kushtia, the singer started out with Nazrul Sangeet in 1986 as a listed artiste of Rajshahi Betar. Later, in 1973, her patriotic songs started gaining ground among her fans. She is also the founder of Ochin Pakhi Sangeet Academy.


Rakhi Mahbuba returns with ‘Payer Chaap’

Lux Superstar famed Rakhi Mahbuba has returned to work after a long break with the film, “Payer Chaap”.  The Saiful Islam Mannu directorial  film, which will be releasing under the banner of Impress Telefilm, is based on the struggling life of a teenager. 

Rakhi has returned to the country from Australia to work on this movie. The director has recently stepped into Bangladesh from America for this production. 

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The shooting for “Payer Chaap” has begun today at Dhaka. “It is going to be a beautiful film and I will try my best to make it as entertaining as possible,” says the director.

The film also casts Deepa Khandaker, Saberi Alam, Pran Roy, Dipannita Martin, Shahana Sumi, and child artist Maymuna Islam Medha, among others.


Is the lockdown another death sentence for cinema halls?

Cinema hall owners have always talked about how the heydays are long gone, and how they now struggle to operate amidst a dwindling number of cinemagoers. However, the Covid-19 pandemic brought upon a new low in the already struggling industry.

The scenario today would have been unthinkable at the time when going to cinema halls was  a special occasion for families, groups of friends and individuals – excited for the next release by Nayak Raj Razzak, Farooque, Babita and Salman Shah. At one time, “Beder Meye Jochona” ran in cinema halls for years, so did “Noyon Moni”.

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Even a decade ago, “Monpura” brought hope that things would get better. Another Chanchal Chowdhury gem, “Aynabaji” was also indicative of change a few years ago.

Unfortunately, the pandemic and the renewed lockdown has left things looking dire.

“No one will understand the pain that we are going through”, says Mia Alauddin, the Vice President of Bangladesh Film Distributors’ Association. Mia is also the owner of Narayanganj’s Sathi Cinema Hall. “We are struggling to merely survive.”

The association had a meeting with government officials last July, and had received some monetary help. “Thanks to our honourable Prime Minister, we were able to give BDT 2500 to 5 staff members of each halls during that time. However, this lockdown means we will face tough times again”, says Alauddin, who says that not even 50 percent of the pre-pandemic audience show up to theatres now.

“We have kept the halls closed for now, even though we did not receive a formal notice to close down. We simply cannot keep up with the losses. However, the 11 workers in my hall are still getting their pay.”

Some cinema halls, which were supposed to open after the first wave of Covid, did not see the light of opening at all – among which renowned theatres like Jonaki, Modhumita and Balaka also make the list.

One of Dhaka’s oldest theatres is Azad Cinema Hall, which has stood its ground for 91 years. However, it is like a light that is about to extinguish. “I do not really know how much longer we will survive,” says Paritosh Roy, the accountant of Azad Cinema Hall. He has spent the majority of his life in this establishment. “We have tried to display old films to curb our losses, but it did not help much”.

Madhumita Hall has been a landmark establishment in Bangladeshi Cinema, with many in the industry having fond memories of going to see films there. However, it is also on life support. “For how long will I have to pay the staff out of my own pocket?”, says Iftekhar Uddin Nowshad, the owner of Madhumita. “We will note the situation until Eid, after which we might have to take a tough decision,” he says.

Mesbah Uddin, the manager of Star Cineplex, says that actions have to be taken quickly to save Bangladeshi halls. “The experience of going to a hall and watching a movie is incomparable. However, if we cannot save our halls during these dire times, there might not be any cinema halls left to visit.”

Like all sectors, arguably even more troubled is the state of Bangladeshi cinema halls during the pandemic. An intervention from the government is surely needed to save them from extinction.

Translated bySadi Mohammad Shahnewaz


Art world adjusts to lockdown cautiously

With spiralling Covid-19 cases, the government of Bangladesh announced a seven-day countrywide lockdown, starting from April 5. Art galleries and event spaces are monitoring the situation strictly. While most of them have postponed their public programmes, others have chosen to operate cautiously.

“Flowing & Static”, a group exhibition featuring the works of twelve artists, is underway at Galleri Kaya, Uttara. Initially, the exhibition was supposed to take place from April 2 to 16. Owing to the current circumstances, the event’s timeline has been extended to May 7, and its amended visiting hours are now from 11 am 4 pm. “We have strict policies in place for crowd management, following safety protocols. We are not allowing more than ten visitors inside the venue at a time,” said Goutam Chakraborty, Director, Galleri Kaya. “The exhibition catalogue is available online, and we are using social media to communicate with interested clients.”

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Artworks presented in “Flowing & Static” are mainly still-life, capturing the alluring beauty of floral depiction through the use of watercolor, pastel, charcoal, acrylic and mixed media, contained through canvas and paper. The participating artists are: Samarjit Roy Choudhury, Hashem Khan, Hamiduzzaman Khan, Abdus Shakoor Shah, Iffat Ara Dewan, Ranjit Das, Sheikh Afzal Hossain, Aloptogin Tushar, Anisuzzaman, Monidipa Dasgupta, Shohag Parvez and Shahanoor Mamun.

The group exhibition, “Dui” took place simultaneously at Dwip Gallery and Studio 6/6 from March 20 to April 3. As a part of the exhibition, an “art bazar” was held from April 1 to 3. Taiara Farhana Tareque, Co-Founder of Studio 6/6, shared that they were planning to continue the “art bazar” for longer, but for now, they have postponed all public events. However, they will be arranging individual appointments with art buyers upon special requests, maintaining all safety guidelines. People can also reach out to them online.

Goethe-Institut Bangladesh, in partnership with Kala Kendra, began the exhibition, “Futures beyond the Self”, featuring eleven multidisciplinary artistes, from March 10 at Kala Kendra, Mohammadpur. The exhibition, which was supposed to continue till April 8, was shut down. Goethe-Institut Bangladesh’s Programme Coordinator Khandaker Md Mahmud Hassan said that they will move forward with their virtual film events, if the lockdown is extended.

“Colors of Tradition”, a duet exhibition by artists Abdus Shakoor and Shambhu Acharya, started on April 3 at Edge Gallery, Gulshan 2. Though originally recognised as a modern artist, Shakoor takes a shift from this vein to explore a distinctly Bangla folk imagery for this exhibition. His pieces, alongside the traditional Potchitras done by Acharya, complement each other marvelously.

Edge Gallery’s Manager Md Abu Soyeb mentioned that they have been taking precautions in regards to the pandemic, such as measuring temperatures of visitors before they enter the building, providing hand sanitisers in both liquid and gel forms, and distributing face masks upon requests. Furthermore, only ten guests are allowed inside the gallery at a time, and as the space itself is over 3,000 sqft, people can maintain physical distance easily. Yet, as Covid-19 cases are on the rise again, visitors are quite low in number. “Colors of Tradition” is also available for viewers on Edge Gallery’s website. It will conclude on April 23.

The authors are respectively: a marketing student from North South University,; a postgrad student of English literature,  


Shooting during lockdown: The directors’ perspective

Directors’ Guild Bangladesh is allowing shoots from 6 am to 6 pm during this lockdown.

“Around 5,000 individuals work behind the camera during a shoot. Stopping shoots would mean putting them out of work,” says  noted actor and director Salauddin Lavlu, President of the guild. “Last time, we all had to work together to ensure that these workers are financially supported, but all of us were quite  inactive in the past year. As a result, we are struggling to meet even our own needs.”

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Directors’ Guild Bangladesh  has sent out messages to their members, asking them to follow the government’s rules for safety, if they decide to shoot. Nevertheless, this decision can change at any minute, and shoots will be stopped if the condition worsens.

“Artistes who stay in front of the camera have to take off their masks, as per the demands of a scene. For them, physical distancing is not possible. We should not take these things lightly, if we want to stop the spread of Covid-19. A complete lockdown is the best solution right now,” shared Shahiduzzaman Selim, President, Actors’ Equity Bangladesh.

While many shows are currently in production and need to complete shooting, director Amitabh Reza Chowdhury has stopped his shoots entirely until further notice. “I have been working with many senior artistes, and I did not want to take any risks,” he shares. Chowdhury will resume shooting only when the situation improves, and he can return to work in full swing. “Munshigiri, my project for Chorki, is already in post-production and I hope that we will be able to complete the work in due time,” he adds.

It appears that the world of television has turned upside down, much like last year.

“I had started shooting for my four Eid projects. However, we have cancelled all the schedules until next week,” says noted director Sanjoy Somadder. “I was hoping to resume shooting from April 20, but I have two children, both of whom are aged below three. I am worried about putting them in danger if I chose to step outside for long hours.”

Nevertheless, he plans to have three new releases for Eid Ul- Fitr, including the web film “Omanush”, and the tele-fictions “Namkaran” and “Anti-Hero”.

“We have to compromise a lot if we have to shoot from 6 am to 6 pm,” assets director Mizanur Rahman Aryan. His upcoming projects include two tele-fictions and two short films for Eid,  and one commercial. “What worries me is being able to deliver quality work, while adjusting to the precautions,” he adds.

Noted director Ashfaque Nipun shared a similar take. “We only get the funds about a couple of months before Eid for our productions. We have to organise night shoots for nearly every project, depending on the demands of the scripts. It is very difficult to work in such fixed hours,” he says. “There has not been any proper directives from the government for our industry. As our way of working is different, we need our leaders to work together, and come up with instructions that will solve our problems and help us overcome the odds.”  


Duronto TV’s 15th season to air on April 11

Duronto TV is stepping into its 15th season on April 11, 2021, Sunday with four new programmes, four new cartoon series, and one foreign programme along with the regular programmes.

The new programmes include the third season of “Ma-Babai Shera”, “Amar Shonar Bangla”, the third season of “Ultapulta: Baba Thake Bashay” and “Adbhuture Boighor”. On the other hand, the new cartoon shows are, “Kungfu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”, “The Penguins of Madagascar”, “The Backyardigans”, “Nella the Princess Knight” and an arts & crafts show “The Art Room.”

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The new season of the popular game show “Ma-Babai Shera” will air on April 11, Sunday to Thursday at 11 am and 5:30 pm. This 65 episode family game show is directed by Md. Tofail Sarkar and presented by Afrin Athoy.

“Ultapulta: Baba Thake Bashay” features Nafisa Jarin Moumi, Rizwan Rohan, Nirjhar Bishal, Tauquir Ahmed, Bijori Barkatullah and Jinat Shanu Sagota among others. Directed by Golam Muktadir and written by Aditi Majumder, the series will air daily from April 11 at 2:30 pm and 9:30 pm.

“Adbhuture Boighor” starring Ashish Khandaker, Gazi Rakayat, Rocky Khan, SM Mohsin, Shamsun Nahar Shirin, Amirul Islam, Hindol Roy, Rajib Salehin, Md. Ryan Hossain Azan, Joyeth Kalyan, Dhrupadi Das and many others. This drama serial is directed by Golam Sohrab Dodul and written by Shariful Hassan. This drama will be aired every day from June 10 at 2:30 pm and 9:30 pm.

The new season of Duronto TV includes a special programme, based on the history of Bangladesh named “Amar Sonar Bangla”. Renowned journalist, writer and educationist Abul Momen and member of Mukti Shangrami Shilpi Sangha and Singer Shila Momen took part in this programme. Alok Basu has conducted research and manuscript for the programme. Directed by Partha Protim Haldar, the show will air every Friday and Saturday, at 2 pm and 9 pm.

The new cartoon series, “Kungfu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness” will air from Sunday to Thursday, 10 am, 1:30 pm and 8:30 pm; “The Penguins of Madagascar” will air from Sunday to Thursday, at 10:30 am, 2 pm and 9 pm; “The BackyardDigans” will air from Sunday to Thursday from April 11 at 9.30 am, 1 pm and 8 pm; cartoon series “Nella the Princess Knight” will air from Sunday to Thursday from April 11 at 12:30 pm and 7:30 pm; Arts and crafts show “The Art Room” will air from Sunday to Thursday from April 11 at 8.30 am, 12 pm and 7 pm.

Two special programmes, “Janar Ache Onek Kichu” (Season 03) and “Banai Iftar Ma Baba Ar Ami” will air on Duronto TV on the occasion of Holy Ramadan. The new season of the quiz show “Janar Ache Onek Kichu” will air every day from the 1st day of Ramadan at 5.30 pm. The Cooking show, “Banai Iftar Ma Baba Ar Ami” will air every day from the 1st day of Ramadan at 5 pm.


“#Kobe?” trends on social media, Chorki dropping on June 3

Exciting video streaming platform Chorki has announced its date of release to be on June 3. The platform officially announced the unveiling of its operations on its Facebook page last night. A star-studded video, containing glimpses of its content, became a much talked about phenomenon on social media.

Stars being featured on the platform promoted the upcoming launch with a Facebook banner and hash tag of “Kobe?” uploading them on their respective platforms. Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Siam Ahmed, Mithila, Arnob, Iresh Zaker, Pritom Hasan Sabnam Faria, Zial Haque Polash and many others joined in the promotions.

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“We promised that we will bring 12 originals”, says Redoan Rony, the Chief Operating Officer of Chorki. “From June 3, our content can be accessed from any location on the planet”. Shihab Shaheen’s “Morichika”, Adnan Al Rajeev’s “Youtumor”, Amitabh Reza Chowdhury’s “Munshigiri” and Abrar Athar’s “Adhkhana Bhalo Adhkhana Mastan” have already been announced for the platform.


Shahiduzzaman Selim and Rosey Siddiqui test positive for Covid-19

Photo: Collected

Arts & Entertainment Desk

Renowned actors and husband-wife duo Shahiduzzaman Selim and Rosey Sidiqui have tested positive for Covid-19.

The news was confirmed to The Daily Star by Shahiduzzaman Selim himself.

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“I have postponed all my current shoots,” says the National Award winning actor. “Life comes first before anything else. I would urge everyone to follow proper health guidelines before shooting”, 

The Obhinoy Shilpi Sangha President asked the readers for their prayers and good thoughts. 

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