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  1. A new Assassin's Creed is probably on its way and the existence of the game was leaked via website listings. Ubisoft has not officially announced the game but leaks are pointing towards one of the biggest games in the series. The game listed on the websites was called Assassin's Creed Ragnarok and is expected to release later this year. © Ubisoft A leak that was posted on 4Chan and later on Reddit revealed detailed information that sounds believable but we still suggest you take it with a pinch of salt. According to the leaker, the game will launch in September 2020 and will be a cross-generational game. It will support four-player co-operative mode or with a single character that can be either male or female. It is said to have role-playing mechanics similar to Assassin's Creed Odyssey and will also introduce a new weapon durability feature. The game will also feature a hidden blade, an iconic feature that was not included in the previous iteration. © Reddit Leaks also suggest that the game will be set in the 9th century and will deal with Norse mythology. The map is also expected to be larger than ever and will expand to cities like Paris, London and Kiev. There will also be more emphasis on mythical beasts that will be protecting temples and other key locations. Previous Assassin's Creed games have leaked in the past and most of the rumours have turned out to be true. It would be interesting to see how Ubisoft will adopt Norse mythology into the Assassin's Creed world. We could expect the game to be announced sometime later this year. We may hear more about the game at E3, this June. View the full article
  2. 2019 was the year of Team India in the world of cricket with the Men in Blue performing on a different level altogether, both on foreign and home grounds. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took some major steps for the betterment of the game within the country and many players on their own created a lot of buzz throughout the year. A report carried out by Wizikey talks about five top international cricket newsmakers of the world. Indian skipper, Virat Kohli led the list as the most talked-about cricketer in 2019. And even though the 31-year-old has been in top form since the past two years and achieved great feats such as defeating Australia in Test and ODI series on their own soil for the first time in the history of Indian cricket and becoming the fastest in the world to reach 11,000 runs, his most talked-about moment of the year is rather unpleasant. © Reuters Regardless of India's brilliance led by Kohli in all formats of the game, the biggest news connected to the captain came in the form of a great disappointment when his side was knocked out of the ICC World Cup 2019 at the hands of Kane Williamson and the New Zealand cricket team. Obviously the World Cup exit was not well received by the fans and the batsman's captaincy was questioned by the masses. According to the report, from amongst the top five cricketers who created most news last year, 38% of it was related to Kohli. With 22%, former Indian captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni came ranked second on the list. The most number of media mentions the wicket-keeper batsman got last year was when he was dismissed during the World Cup semi-final match between India and New Zealand as rumours of him tearing up while walking back to the dressing room broke out overnight. Have never seen this man crying. ð­ We can't see dhoni cry like this.. It's breaking our heartsâ¤ð@msdhoni @ICC #CaptainCool #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/oWGnzeKBgN — UMANG TANK (@UmangTank3) July 11, 2019 Ever since, Dhoni's name has been constantly making headlines as speculations of his retirement from the game are being made all over the world. Rohit Sharma, India's powerful opening batsman and deputy in-charge made for 20% of the top five newsmaking cricketers. 2019 saw an already great hitter achieve that legendary status when he became the highest run-getter of the world in the 50-over format of the game in a calendar year. His media mentions skyrocketed in November when the cricketer led the team from the front as Kohli was away from duty. Most ODI Runs in 2019!#Cricket #RohitSharma pic.twitter.com/amnE8dDz97 — Cricjunction (@cricjunction1) January 1, 2020 Australia's Steve Smith and the current BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly come in at the fourth and fifth spots respectively with 9% of the share a piece. View the full article
  3. Music festivals are a dime a dozen these days, but often times it's very hard for the organisers to get things right. It takes a lot to blend the world of fantasy with powerful dance music, all while hosting a diverse crowd and world renowned artists. Sunburn's homecoming this year in Goa after many years promised all of that and then some. If you've attended any of the Sunburn events before then you already know that it's all about the music, the ambiance, the production, the vibe, and the overwhelming energy of the artists performing live. You can expect an incredible turnout bustling with energy. And that's exactly what this year's Sunburn was all about! © The Moneta Line Up That'll Leave You Spoilt For Choice This year's main stage saw some of the biggest artists in the world perform and turn it into the biggest party of the year. From Lost Frequencies, Jonas Blue and DJ Snake on Day 1 to Flume, The Chainsmokers, and Martin Garrix performing over the next two days, I think it's safe to say that the festival lineup left the audience spoilt for choice. It was truly incredible to see all the artists perform live. I think the old-school carnival theme was just perfect for this year. We'll get to the production part a bit later, but let's just say that it was fantastic. © Rudgr I am a huge fan of the young Belgian prodigy, Felix aka Lost Frequencies, and his set was among the best. As expected, he dished out thumping deep house with Like I Love You and Are You With Me. I also found myself spending a lot of time at the Psychedelic Circus Stage to jive to the sets by gems like Progressive Brothers, Shiva Manvi and more. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Lost Frequencies (@lostfrequencies) on Dec 27, 2019 at 9:01pm PST Dj Snake was at his best too. His ultimate anthems and classics amidst a barrage of LED panels, strobes, pyrotechnics, fireworks, CO2 cannons, and lasers sure worked its charm on the crowd. Greeting fans with "Namaste" and closing his set with a positive message was what I'd say, the highlights of the festival. © RUDGR I couldn't get a chance to interact with DJ Snake since he was on a tight schedule, but I did sit down with the Australian Grammy Award winning producer Flume the next day before his maiden performance in India. "This is my time first performing in India, so I don't know what to expect from the crowd. But I've been told that the energy is really high, so I can't wait to go out there," he said just minutes before his performance. Flume, by the way, is really excited for his new album which he plans on releasing in 2020. He's also looking forward to some interesting collaborations next year, but we'll have to wait a bit to learn more about it. © MensXP While Flume didn't reveal much about this project, Ritviz, was super excited for his Sunburn set and revealed some of the things that he's working on. Before he pumped up the audience with his signature sound, he said that he's releasing a full album this year and he's super excited. "I am also working on music for a movie, but I can't talk about it yet," he said. The main stage also hosted some big names like Fedde Le Grand, The Chainsmokers, and more. The “Closer” and “Paris” hitmakers seemingly brought everything they had to the performance and the duo took us through the highlights of their discography. The third day of the festival was also buzzing with energy as everybody was waiting for the final performance of Martin Garrix to end the show on a high note. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Martin Garrix (@martingarrix) on Dec 29, 2019 at 10:10am PST The Sunburn performance was Martin's last show this year as he's taking a break for New Years. This is the first time he'll not be playing anywhere during the New Year's as he intends to spend some time with his family and friends. Garrix is a man who knows how to get the crowd moving and that's exactly what his performance was all about. A Circus Theme For The Ultimate Homecoming As I mentioned earlier, this year's Sunburn festival was based on a circus theme, and the entire arena was dolled up for the big celebration. With stellar production, six massive stages, assorted adventure zones, a lively flea market, a lip-smacking food zone and a dynamic camping site; the festival was truly lit AF. © RUDGR Karan Singh, the COO, Percept Live says, "We wanted to do something that's bigger and better than anything has never been done before, so that's what we came up with." This year, we also saw a brand-new underground music venture , the Solaris Stage host label showcases by Sin City and Vivrant with acts like Hosh, Jeremy Olander, Khen, Anish Sood, Ana Lilia, Marino Canal, Pierre Ravan and Greenage. The main stage had a completely different vibe on the last day when Maceo Plex, DJ Luciano took over people with their psychedelic sets. © RUDGR Overall, I think the Sunburn 2019 was quite an event. It definitely wasn't looking like a normal show where they'd put up a couple of stages with few random artists. "It has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, it's almost like a piece of art. Sunburn is really a next level festival," said Karan while talking about the three-day extravaganza. For me, personally, Sunburn was a magical mix of breathtaking production, brilliantly choreographed acts and a phenomenal lineup of artists. Obviously, nobody knows what to expect from the event next year, but in the meantime, you can check out other Sunburn gigs like Sunburn Arena, Sunburn Campus and more that keeps happening throughout the year. Sunburn is also getting into the live music space like Rap, Hip-hop, Pop. etc., so I've been told that we should expect more of that in 2020. View the full article
  4. A farmer from Erakudi village in Tamil Nadu has built a temple dedicated to Narendra Modi. 50-years old P Sankar has built the temple on his farm with an idol of PM Modi. According to TOI, Sankar constructed the temple in eight months and it cost him around Rs 1.2 lakh to build the whole temple. The temple was inaugurated last week and a daily aarti is performed every day since then. A farmer in TamilNadu made a temple for our PM Narendra Modi for his good deeds and rules he implemented in favor of farmers. #NarendraModi #TempleForModi #TNfarmer #TamilNadu #Tirchy #farmer pic.twitter.com/kQbyvNt8b5 — Abishek Raj (@abishekavr) December 26, 2019 He said that he has been a beneficiary of various schemes introduced by PM Modi. "I received Rs 2,000 (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi) scheme for farmers, gas (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) and toilet (Individual Household Latrine Scheme) facilities. I also like him for his personality as well. I have been keenly watching him for long," he added. In fact, Sankar had visited the nearby coastal town of Mamallapuram when PM Modi had come there for an informal summit with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Even though he couldn't meet the PM, he was glad to catch a glimpse of his cavalcade from a distance. Sankar also claims to be a BJP member. He said that another major reason behind building a temple is the implementation of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test(NEET) for admissions to medical colleges. A #BJP Supporter Sankar constructed a temple for @narendramodi at Erakudi village in Trichy district in #TamilNadu. #NarendraModi #PMModi pic.twitter.com/MMMsMSIAYx — Purushottam Reddy (@puruam) December 25, 2019 His daughter couldn't get admission in a medical college even after scoring well in Higher Secondary exam due to illegal admission procedures. Sankar believes NEET will help put an end to such illegal processes. View the full article
  5. PUBG Mobile has been a phenomenon ever since it launched for free for smartphones. In a rather major development, PUBG Corp. revealed today that the game has now hit 600 million downloads across the globe, making it one of biggest mobile games on the planet. 600 million players from all over the world have downloaded PUBG MOBILR! A special thank you to all our players for your ongoing love & support â¤ï¸we could not have done it without you! pic.twitter.com/uILCHekBN1 — PUBG MOBILE (@PUBGMOBILE) December 2, 2019 The game gained major popularity in India and other Asian countries due to the free-to-play model. As of last July 2018, the game had 400 million downloads and grown by 200 million downloads since then. PUBG mobile may not be the top downloaded game right now as that title is still being held by Pokemon Go with over 1 billion downloads. To put things into perspective, the PC version of the popular Battle Royale game had around 50 million players as of July 2018. © MensXP The game is likely to grow in download counts and player base as the game expands to more regions in the coming year. As of now, it is the third most downloaded smartphone game and it looks like it won't be slowing down anytime soon. PUBG Mobile has also announced its plans for 2020 by announcing an esports tournament that will have a total prize pool of $5 million. View the full article
  6. A pair of axe-wielding thieves pulled off what might be the greatest art heist in decades, after breaking into one of Europe's most valuable vaults and escaping with treasures worth upwards of $1 billion. The heist took place at Grünes Gewölbe (The Green Vault), a museum in Dresden, Germany. Dresden has been a historical capital of culture and the arts for Germany, surviving through horrific bombings during World War 2 and retaining a legacy that has lasted since the early 1700s. It has since been used as a display venue for a collection of about 3,000 antique jewellery pieces, and many consider it to be one of the oldest and most valuable collections in the world. So How Did They Do It? At the heart of any good heist story is a good plan, and the people behind this theft were clearly well-prepared to deal with potential challenges. The plan was set into motion at 4am on a Monday morning, when the thieves set a controlled fire at Dresden's Augustus Bridge. © There has been a bridge at this very spot for nearly ten centuries - a testament to Dresden's rich culture. (Wikimedia) The fire was a carefully planned move to destroy a nearby power box. Once the unit failed, it cut off power to all security systems in the museum, except for the CCTV cameras. Soon, the thieves snuck their way towards the 'Jewel Room' window, cut its iron bars off, and entered the vault within. NEW: Surveillance video from Dresden's Green Vault museum shows the moment two thieves smash open a cabinet before stealing three historic jewelry sets reportedly valued over $1 billion https://t.co/R810RswOdt pic.twitter.com/BaNHmfTkjv — CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 25, 2019 The Jewel Room itself had 10 sets of priceless jewelry, three of which were nabbed after the thieves smashed their casings with axes. The stolen items include the diamond-laden breast star of the Polish Order of the White Eagle, a hat clasp with a 16-carat diamond, a diamond epaulet and a diamond-studded hilt containing nine large and 770 smaller diamonds, along with a matching scabbard. That's a lot of goddamn diamonds. According to German tabloid Bild, the jewels are worth around $1.1 billion, or nearly Rs 8,000 Crores. Marion Ackermann, General Director of Dresden's state art collections, said it was likely impossible to estimate the price of the stolen items due to their historic cultural value. The loot could have been even more ludicrous if the museum's 41-carat 'Dresden Green Diamond' wasn't on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art - the incredibly rare gem was mined from Kollur in Andhra Pradesh some 300 years ago. Taking off with the goods, the thieves fled the crime scene just about an hour after beginning the heist, at 5 AM. Naturally, the heist has drawn immense interest on the internet. Many people were taken aback by how easy the heist actually seemed: In this age and times they still keep valuables behind 2mm glass? — Thomas Okumu (@okumu_thomas) November 25, 2019 I thought they use cutting edge laser technology for glass, doors and wall. Still a hammer works ð pic.twitter.com/H6tHwbPBY6 — chandrasekhar (@sekhar11235) November 26, 2019 While others inevitably drew some movie comparisons - this story is right out of a Hollywood blockbuster, after all. :) pic.twitter.com/ssgrSe4vkd — Marcin WÄtrobiÅski (@mar_watrobinski) November 25, 2019 Many compared the heist to the wildly popular Oceans series. The ensemble-cast thriller starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and more centers itself around high-profile heists - usually in casinos. What's truly fascinating however, is that the value stolen by these 'Dresden thieves' amounts to nearly thrice the amount stolen in Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve combined! via GIPHY Currently, police and the public at large are speculating who the mastermind behind the heist is. No prime suspects are currently in play, though. View the full article
  7. No one could have imagined that 'breathing' would become a luxury in Delhi-NCR. Most of the Delhi-NCR areas have AQI's reaching alarming levels and, surprisingly, nobody seemed to be bothered. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the AQI of the national capital was around 467 at 7:00am on Wednesday morning. #DelhiAirEmergency: The Delhi we know is back! ð· pic.twitter.com/bHdJZIED4d — Delhi Climate Talks (@climate_delhi) November 12, 2019 Everyone is dealing with the toxic air and we shouldn't find pride in this. The usual range of air quality lies between 0-50 and Delhi's AQI stands somewhere around 301 to 400 and it falls under the category of 'very poor'. The bad situation calls for shutting down of schools and colleges and people are asking the government to take immediate action. The odd-even scheme did bring the pollution levels down but that can't be the ultimate solution. However, the scheme was relaxed on 11th and 12th November due to Guru Nanak Jayanti and it contributed to a major spike in air pollution. Im still in #Delhi, today the air quality is worst here. Pollution is at its peak, Mr 56inch @narendramodi come out in open and have the first-hand experience of air pollution. What are you doing to curb the air pollution in Delhi?#DelhiAirEmergency #DelhiChokes — Dr. Loneranger INC #WithRG (@Loneranger9new) November 13, 2019 This isn't what we can see, yet harms us the most. @ArvindKejriwal declare #DelhiAirEmergency . Stay indoors and if you can't afford to, buy a basic N99 mask. Eat greens, foods rich in Vitamin C and keep a check of your surroundings. Report burning or any such incidents. pic.twitter.com/J7yuDG3Ld2 — Swati Singh Sambyal (@swatissambyal) November 13, 2019 Delhi: People exercised and jogged - at parks, wearing masks this morning, as the air quality deteriorates. Visuals from Lodhi Garden. pic.twitter.com/sRonW2voXz — ANI (@ANI) November 13, 2019 People are seen wearing masks in parks and have been unable to go to walks due to the toxic air levels in the region. Stubble burning from Punjab and Haryana has only contributed to making the situation worse. According to the experts, there isn't going to be immediate relief from air pollution and it might take another two days for the situation to improvise. View the full article
  8. The term 'mass surveillance' doesn't induce a lot of confidence, does it? Everything you probably know about mass surveillance is tied to privacy infringement probably because it's essentially a practice of spying on a significant part of a population. Well, the fear of mass surveillance is now lingering over Indians because the Modi Govt is building the world's biggest facial recognition system for mass surveillance. The government is building the system in order to fight crime and catch criminals. Is it really. though? We'll get to that. © Reuters When I say mass surveillance, I don't mean the one where the government is planning to go the limits of email interceptions, wiretapping, and computer hacking. Right now, the efforts are limited to installing cameras to keep a track of everything that's happening. Or least that's the part of the story we know so far. Keeping the speculations aside, it's worth pointing out that Indians have mixed feelings about this whole mass surveillance thing. While some think that it interferes with our fundamental right to privacy, which is a debatable topic by itself in India, others think it's a good idea that's already being used by countries like the US and China to fight crime. And since there's only a little information that's available to use right now as to what will be deployed, what the data will be used for and how it'll be regulated, this remains a complex issue to tackle right now. So, is India ready to be monitored at all times? © Reuters There are different answers to this question depending on who you're asking. We may be technologically equipped to install the system that's necessary to monitor people at all times. But honestly, it seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Why? The simple answer is because India doesn't have a privacy and data protection law. A lot of whistleblowers and privacy experts are currently debating on mass surveillance and the use of the internet, and how they invade our privacy. They're doing it because it's indeed a sensitive topic which people don't seem to take very seriously. It's unimaginably scary how much tech giants know about us with whatever data that's available through our social feeds alone. Plus, this news comes at a time when the reports about Indians being illegally spied upon using Israeli software just came out recently. With no proper laws in place, a mass surveillance system sounds like a bad idea. At the end of the day, it's your personal data that's being collected. It's your facial data that's going to power this surveillance system. Will The Data Be Safe? © Wikipedia What about the data protection rules? When you're talking about a mass surveillance system of this scale, it means the government is going to collect critical information of Indian citizens. It's the kind of data that can easily be misused. With no laws to state how this data is going to be stored, used and protected, this sounds like another privacy breach that's waiting to happen. Even some of the biggest tech companies with state-of-the-art technology to protect the data have fallen prey to hacks and security breaches. There's no way to tell if India is ready to safeguard this kind of sensitive info, at least not right now. Mass Surveillance Won't Stop Crimes Altogether © Reuters According to India's national crime bureau, this mass surveillance tech is an effort in “modernising the police force, information gathering, criminal identification, verification”. So technically, we're not looking at a tech that's made to stop the first degree crimes. The camera footage can only be used to identify the criminals after the crime has been committed. Yes, that's good to prevent it from happening again, but don't you think we need proper force to stop them from happening in the first place. Yes, it'll help the police find, say, missing children and other people, but that's not the only issue we're dealing with, are we? People are obviously entitled to their own opinions and are free to share their concerns but at the end of the day, we need to wait and see how the Government is implementing the whole system. It may or may not help us fight crimes, but it could be a good step in the right direction. I just hope we won't be reading stories about how mass surveillance has made our lives harder, say, a few years down the line. Tell us what you think in the comments section below. View the full article
  9. New rumours surrounding the OnePlus 8 are already hitting the internet and a new leak suggests that the display for the pro variant is going to get a major upgrade. Currently, the OnePlus 7T series and the OnePlus 7 Pro both come with a 90Hz refresh rate display and the company has already confirmed future OnePlus phones will have at least a 90Hz display. However, the new rumour suggests that the OnePlus 8 Pro will come with a 120Hz display. © OneLeaks This is not the first time we're seeing a smartphone that comes with a 120Hz display as it is already present on a number of gaming smartphones. The ASUS ROG II phone is the latest device that comes with a 120Hz display that helps out users in gaming. Having said that, if this rumour (via PhoneArena) is true, the OnePlus 8 Pro will be the first non-gaming smartphone that will come with a 120Hz display. © MensXP/Akshay Bhalla The rumours come from tipster Max J who revealed via Twitter that the pro variant will come with the 120Hz display while the OnePlus 8 will launch with a 90Hz display. This rumour seems quite believable especially since most smartphones are expected to come with a 90Hz display nowadays. Be a "pro". pic.twitter.com/h4UwnOXn8H — Max J. (@Samsung_News_) November 7, 2019 OnePlus 8 rumours have been floating for a while and one of them suggests that OnePlus is going to ditch the pop-up selfie camera system and instead opt for a hole-punch camera on the screen. These are based on CAD-bases renders that were shared by renowned tipster @OnLeaks. The OnePlus 8 Pro is expected to come with a triple camera setup, a 3D ToF sensor and a 6.65-inch display. Source: PhoneArena View the full article
  10. In one of the most unlikely partnerships, a report by DigiTimes claims that Apple is working with one of the biggest gaming companies in the world. According to the report, Apple is working with game developer Valve to make an Augmented Reality (AR) headset which is expected to launch sometime next year. © iDropNews Valve has been one of the biggest gaming companies that has been responsible for games, hardware and Steam, a digital store for PC games. The report says, “Apple reportedly has partnered with US game developer Valve to develop AR head-mounted display devices, which may be released in the second half of 2020 at the earliest, with Taiwan's ODMs Quanta Computer and Pegatron said to handle the assembly job, according to industry sources.” © Valve Valve has worked on gaming hardware before and even made its own VR headset called the “Valve Index” that was launched in June 2019. The company has also worked with Apple in the past to bring native VR headset support for macOS High Sierra. It enabled the eGPU support for Valve's SteamVR software however, now it seems the two companies are parenting again to develop an AR headset. © iDropNews “Apple will cooperate with Valve on AR headsets rather than VR devices, as its CEO Tim Cook believes that AR can make digital content become part of the user's world and will be as popular as smartphones with consumers. This has also promoted Apple to step up the development of AR software by recruiting more engineers for graphic design, system interface and system architecture segments,” read the report. Apple has been investing in gaming with Apple Arcade and now it seems like the company wants to expand its horizons with AR. The new AR headset may have some gaming features but this partnership could also mean that Apple needed an experienced partner to develop an AR headset. View the full article
  11. The Government of Pakistan completed the Kartarpur Corridor in 11 months and made the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib the biggest Sikh shrine of the world. The Sikh pilgrims (yatris) term them as a gift from Pakistan government on the eve of 550th birthday...
  12. Image courtesy Gallup & Gilani Research Foundation Pakistan A vast majority of Pakistani?s have identified economic problem, specifically inflation, as the biggest problem faced by the country, according to a Gilani Research Foundation survey...
  13. Bollywood might be the entertainment manufacturing unit of this country, but to millions of people in India and even outside, PM Modi is a bigger superstar. The PM recently hosted a dinner for the Bollywood fraternity to mark the celebrations of Gandhi Ji's 150th birth anniversary. The evening saw some of the biggest names come under one roof to discuss culture, the life of the father of this nation and other initiatives taken by the PM and what Bollywood could do. It saw actors like Aamir Khan and SRK thank Modi Ji for this initiative as well. View this post on Instagram Thank u @narendramodi for hosting us & having such an open discussion on #ChangeWithin & the role artistes can play in spreading awareness of the msgs of The Mahatma. Also the idea of a University of Cinema is extremely opportune! A post shared by Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) on Oct 19, 2019 at 8:56am PDT I would like to thank PM @narendramodi for brining us all together, that too for a cause such as this (Mahatma Gandhi). I feel we need to re-introduce Gandhi Ji to India and the world: noted actor @iamsrk pic.twitter.com/JE8Ibv09Ue — PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 19, 2019 A cultural video which had these same actors talking about Gandhi Ji was also played at the event. Deeply honoured to have played a small part in showcasing Mahatma Gandhiji's greatness. Celebrating and saluting 150 years of the Mahatma #ChangeWithin - https://t.co/HdsUTwCccS — Rajkumar Hirani (@RajkumarHirani) October 19, 2019 Actors like Kangana Ranaut, Jacqueline Fernandez and even producer Boney Kapoor thanked Modi Ji for his support and initiatives for the film industry. The Prime Minister was approachable and supportive of our efforts, says @Asli_Jacqueline. Listen to what she has to say... pic.twitter.com/vKmNI1hGDs — PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 19, 2019 It's a remarkable day for us. PM @narendramodi has given great respect to our industry. Hear what Kangana Ranaut has to say... pic.twitter.com/Y0w6VvltV2 — PMO India (@PMOIndia) October 19, 2019 The selfie session already broke the internet with these warm, lovely smiles and retweets. When every citizen works Dil Se, the outcome will be exceptional. We will leave no stone unturned to carry forward the message of Bapu in letter and spirit. @iamsrk https://t.co/L0G38kKRvr — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 20, 2019 Through popular culture, the message of empowering women has travelled far and wide. May this trend continue. May our Nari Shakti keep shining in the world of films and culture. https://t.co/VaaU8jKlql — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 20, 2019 Films connect and make our society better. Happy to have met you, @itsBhushanKumar. https://t.co/siTK0nwHbq — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 20, 2019 However, some people on the social media were concerned about the PM's silence on the current state of the economy's financial health and these pictures didn't really make them very happy. PM met eminent economists and Farmers he discussed over deteriorating Indian economy and doubling farmers income#modiahaitomodihai #sharukhkhan #AmirKhan pic.twitter.com/LaCGhlFyDt — Armaan (@Mehboobp1) October 20, 2019 #BlackDiwaliForBankers Modi ji with bankers ð pic.twitter.com/HqVg6vyMAG — Vikram Singh Rajput (@RajputanaGreat) October 20, 2019 PM Modi ji taking time out from his busy schedule to meet the distraught account holders of #PMC_BANK We salute the dedication and hard work of our PM ð BMKJ pic.twitter.com/bmBNwTgdp3 — ðð³ðªðºð¢ ð ð¢ð¥ð¢ð· (@priyapyadav18) October 20, 2019 Culture, entertainment, all that is important for sure but it won't hurt for the government to announce its remedial plan or any sort of plan of action for the nation to know that they are aware. No one knows where this crisis is going to take the nation but our social media is surely up to date with all these celeb pictures.
  14. When we talk about B-town stars who have an impeccable collection of sneakers, Shahid Kapoor has proven time and again that he is a true sneaker God. Speaking of his fashion game, he is known to be experimental but there are times when he chooses basic over eccentric, making it quite easy for everyone to take style inspiration from. © Viral Bhayani Shahid was spotted recently for a show with Neha Dhupia where he looked effortless in smart casuals but his sneakers sure grabbed our attention. They are an oversized version and truly they are as big as they can get. Here's why we say that: © Viral Bhayani © Balenciaga © Balenciaga Shahid is wearing Triple S trainers by Balenciaga. These sneakers look super edgy with their bold aesthetics. They also have an embroidered logo on the sides. Since these sneakers have a complex three-layered sole, they look extremely bulky and oversized, making it appear quite big. © Balenciaga Since it's Balenciaga, the price of these sneakers is obviously high. They are worth Rs. 64,000 in India. We have seen Shahid sporting such heavy sneakers and undoubtedly, only he can nail it. © Viral Bhayani For his outfit, he elevated his style wearing a purple shirt teamed with purple pants that looked extra yet stylish, courtesy his stylist, Anisha Jain We are totally diggin' your look and sneakers, Shahid.
  15. Gully Boy making it to the Oscar's entry gate courtesy Ranveer Singh's brilliant performance and Zoya Akhtar's great storytelling, came as no surprise to anyone. © Excel Entertainment The narrative was compelling, gripping and hit us right in the feels, making us cry as well as feel elated, as we watched Murad (Ranveer) finally taste the success he deserves. Gully Boy is inspired by the lives of Indian street rappers Divine and Naezy, who started small and ended up joining the league of prominent artists in India. View this post on Instagram Wolfpack @naezythebaa #GullyBoy, @ranveersingh watch #FamouslyFilmfare @jiteshpillaai @filmfare #RanveerSingh #Bollywood #celebrity @ritesh_sid @zoieakhtar @FarOutAkhtar @excelmovies #TigerBaby @aliaabhatt @siddhantchaturvedi @kalkikanmani @ZeeMusicCompany @vivianakadivine @ankurtewari @dubsharma #GullyBoy #infitno_nurlat#melvinlouis#bollyshake#kajal #arjun__artist007 #indiandancefaculty #tareefan #veerediwedding #sonamkapoor #kareenakapoor #swarabhaskar #shikhatalsania #qaranx #badshah #dance #bollyshake #a2d2dance #bollylearn #indiadance #indiandancefame #dancersofinstagram #dancersofindia #ltrdance #bollydancenetwork #2 A post shared by Ranveer Singh GullY Boy (@ranveersingh_gullyboy) on Jan 17, 2019 at 8:17am PST Divine (Vivian Fernandes) hit to fame after his track 'Ye Mera Bombay' impressed everyone. He made his way up in the world of Hindi rapping and is currently an inspiration for many youngsters in the country who dream big, despite not having much. With a plethora of admirers running after him and rooting for him, there is one particular fan of Divine who has rooted for him since he began his journey and it's none other than his mother. Divine recently shared a video of his mother cheering and dancing her heart out at his concert, proving that mothers are indeed our biggest cheerleaders. View this post on Instagram Meri maa hai front mein torch light ke saat ðð½â£ï¸ðð½ #Farak A post shared by ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð ð (@vivianakadivine) on Oct 17, 2019 at 12:05am PDT Damn, that's just beautiful! © Instagram His song 'Farak' is dedicated to his mother and he has been very vocal about her contribution in his life and to his success.
  16. Xbox kicked off E3 last night and showcased what the Xbox Game Studios has been cooking for us. Yes, let's just say that there are a ton of games coming your way till 2020. In case you missed Xbox's E3 briefing where Keanu Reeves showed up to blow everyone's mind, well don't worry. That's why this post exists. We're here to help you catch up. So, here are some of the best game announcements from Xbox E3 that are worth checking out. Halo Infinite Although the new Halo was the last game to be showcased at the briefing, we're starting our list with it, because that's how it was. The Master Chief is back and like every year, it will yet again stand as a testament to the new era of Xbox hardware. Gears 5 Microsoft also made it a point to showcase the upcoming Gears 5 title with a bang. Along with a release date for the game, the studio also announced a new game mode called 'Escape' that looks classy and gorier than ever. Cyberpunk 2077 Oh yes! Cyberpunk 2077 was also showcased. And to our surprise, CD Projekt Red revealed that Keanu Reeves is going to be in the game, which is driving all the fans crazy. Here, watch the extended trailer yourself - Minecraft Dungeons We're already getting a new Minecraft game for Android and iOS called Minecraft Earth. But at E3, Microsoft revealed the highly anticipated four-player co-op game 'Minecraft Dungeons' for the first time. It looks awesome and we can't wait. Forza Horizon 4: Lego Speed Champions Last year, we got to see Forza's collaboration with 'Hot Wheels' for Forza Horizon 3. And this year for the Forza Horizon 4, a new Lego expansion is coming. Seriously, how cool is that? Yes, you can now take the fun and blocky Lego cars for a spin alongside the realistic ones in Forza Horizon 4. Elden Ring Last, but not least, we have the new 'Elden Ring'. This is the new title that we all have been waiting for. 'Elden Ring' is a brand new game created by the same people who made Dark Souls games, Bloodborne, and the new Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Not just that, they've teamed up with 'A Song of Ice and Fire' and 'Game of Thrones' creator George R.R. Martin, so we can only imagine how this game will turn out to be. In addition to the ones mentioned above, we also got to see games like 'Flight Simulator', 'Lego Star Wars - The Skywalker Saga', Blair Witch', etc. for the first time. You can quickly head over to Xbox's official YouTube channel or social media handles to check out the other games. And by the way, the new Xbox is also coming. Microsoft didn't really reveal any specs or tell us what it'll look like, but we do know that they're calling it the 'Project Scarlett'. Here, check it out - The new Xbox console is coming next year and it looks like it's going to be a powerhouse.
  17. E3 is just a day away and we have already seen some major announcements from Google, and blockbuster games like 'Watch Dogs 3: Legion' have been confirmed. However, there's more to the biggest gaming event in the world, as we can expect new hardware, new games and everything else related to gaming to be announced. So, here are some of our predictions for E3 2019: 1. Next-Gen Xbox Console © Microsoft Microsoft is the only console manufacturers to be attending E3 this year and we can expect the company to capitalise on this opportunity. Microsoft has already shared some information about the next console dubbed “Project Scarlett” and we can expect some big news. Although it is quite possible that Microsoft will not show us the console but the company may detail specifications and some of its features. Microsoft will also announce a new Xbox game pass for PC gamers and we expect to hear from Microsoft about the subscription service's pricing and game collection details. 2. Halo Infinite, Gears 5 & A New Forza Title © 343 Industries Microsoft is looking to showcase some of its first-party games and we can expect to see a demo of 'Halo Infinite', 'Gears of War 5' and a new 'Forza' title. We can also expect these game to come as a package as a part of the Xbox game pass for PC. Microsoft acquired several new game studios last year including 'The Initiative', 'Undead Labs', 'Playground Games', 'Ninja Theory' and 'Compulsion Games'. We can expect some sort of revelation of games these studios have been working on in the past year. 3. Marvel's Avengers Game & Final Fantasy Remake VII Remake © Sqaure Enix Square Enix is attending E3 this year and thanks to a tweet posted by the company, we know that Marvel's 'Avengers' will be shown off at the conference this year. We can also expect to see more of 'Final Fantasy VII Remake' as it was showcased in Sony's latest State of Play Event. The game is being developed by Crystal Dynamic 4. Watch Dogs 3: Legion & Beyond Good And Evil 2 © Ubisoft Ubisoft has been cracking-out some great games in the past year and we can expect to see some never before seen games. The company already announced a new Ghost Recon game via a teaser trailer, however, there are other games that will be showcased. Ubisoft has now confirmed that it will be showing 'Watch Dogs 3: Legion' that takes place in London, United Kingdom. We can also expect to see some gameplay for 'Beyond Good' and 'Evil 2' as the company has been teasing that game for a while. As of now, there is no word whether Ubisoft will show a new Splinter Cell game as it looks highly unlikely. Beyond the two new games, Ubisoft is rumoured to showcase three to four AAA titles but we can't be entirely sure about that for now. 5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Dragon Age 4 And FIFA 20 © Respawn Entertainment EA kicks off the E3 conference with their EA Play tomorrow at 9:45 PM IST and we can expect to see some gameplay footage for the new Star Wars game. The game was revealed at 'Star Wars Celebration' earlier this year and we are bound to see more than just a trailer. EA will also announce FIFA 20 and what all it brings to the table in terms of new features and gameplay. We can also expect to see more about Madden, NHL and NBA Live franchises. EA also debuted a teaser trailer for 'Dragon Age 4' at last years The Game Awards and even though it seems unlikely, we can expect some more information about the game that is currently in development.
  18. From prediciting (years before they actually happened) Donald Trump's presidency, Ebola virus outbreak, 5th episode of 'Game of Thrones Season 8' to predicting almost every breakthrough in technological invention, The Simpsons family knows the future like no one else. For those who don't know or have never heard about 'The Simpsons', I will assume that you were living under a rock all this time. FYI, the show that made its debut in 1989 is a satirical portrayal of a family, who lives in the fictional town of Springfield. The members in the family are Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. © Fox Studios However, except for the fact that the show made some crazy predictions that came true, how well do you know 'The Simpsons', one of the legendary families and sitcom in the history of television? We've compiled a list of some interesting facts that even the show's fans (except the biggest ones maybe) probably didn't know. 1. It usually takes around 6 to 8 months to create a single episode of 'The Simpsons'. 2. 'D'oh' is actually a word that was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001. The word is defined as: "Expressing frustration at the realisation that things have turned out badly or not as planned, or that one has just said or done something foolish." 'D'oh' is my favourite word now. © Fox Studios 3. This is the longest-running prime-time comedy and animated series in the history of American television. The show also holds the record for most guest stars on a television series. 4. In case you missed it, all the characters in the show have only 4 fingers on each hand, except God. Only God has five fingers. 5. Wonder why the show's main characters are yellow in colour? In order to attract the attention of channel hoppers. And you thought there was some hidden meaning behind it! 6. Bart's hair always consists of nine points, except for when it's combed. 7. Until 1998, the six main voice over actors earned $30,000 per episode. Between 1998 to 2004, they made $125,000 per episode. Today they make $507,000 (approx) per episode. © Fox Studios 8. TIME magazine in 1998 once called this show the century's best television series. In fact, in the same edition, they included Bart Simpson in the list of the century's 100 most influential people. Bart was the only fictional character to make it to the list. 9. In 1990, 'The Simpsons' released an album called 'The Simpsons: Sing The Blues'. One of the songs, 'Do The Bartman' was a global hit. But, did you know that the song was co-produced and co-written by none other than Michael Jackson, who was a huge fan of the show? Jackson also provided background vocals to the song. 10. 'The Simpsons' have visited all the seven continents. © Fox Studios 11. The show is the first, and so far, the only animated series to be nominated for Golden Globe for Best Television Series - musical or comedy. 12. Elizabeth Taylor, Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Mark Hamill, Steve Buscemi, James Caan, Ricky Gervais, and Joe Mantegna are the only guest actors to play both themselves and a fictional character on the series. 13. The character of Otto the bus driver is believed to be based on 'Guns N' Roses' guitarist Slash. Both have long black curly hair and are avid snake collectors. © Fox Studios 14. The website that Homer created with false 'dirt' on many citizens, was accessible at www.mrxswebpage.com. While the website still exists, it now appears to be identical to www.fox.com. 15. Bart Simpson's voice is actually that of a woman. Nancy Cartwright first tried out for Lisa's voice, but eventually ended up lending it for Bart. 16. The show's creator Matt Groening named the characters after his own family members, except for Bart. 'Bart' is an anagram for 'Brat'. © Fox Studios 17. A kid who was Bart's age when the show aired for the first time will now be as old as Homer. You can catch the latest episodes of the 'The Simpsons' on Star World.
  19. The 'TsuNaMo' that struck India yesterday, may have come as a surprise to many, but from what we can tell, the majority of Indian citizens not only expected it to happen, but also ensured that their expectations come to pass by voting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to power for a second term. We have seen some big wins this election season, and some even bigger winning margins that politicians have secured against their competitors. Here are the 12 biggest wins of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 and the highest winning margins secured by the candidates: 1. Amit Shah (BJP) - 5.57 Lakh © Twitter BJP President Amit Shah won by a margin of over 5.57 lakh votes from the Gandhinagar constituency in Gujarat, against Congress' C. J. Chavda. 2. Narendra Modi (BJP) - 4.5 Lakh © Twitter Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a sweeping win in the Varanasi constituency by a margin of more than 4.5 lakh votes against the Samajwadi Party (SP)'s Shalini Yadav. 3. Rahul Gandhi (Congress) - 4.31 Lakh © Twitter Congress President Rahul Gandhi won from the Wayanad constituency in Kerala by a margin of 4.31 lakh votes against Communist Party of India (CPI)'s P. P. Suneer. 4. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (BJP) - 3.93 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore from the Jaipur Rural constituency won by a margin of 3.93 lakh votes against Congress' Krishna Poonia. 5. Sadhvi Pragya Thakur (BJP) - 3.64 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Sadhvi Pragya Thakur defeated Congress leader Digvijay Singh in the Bhopal constituency by a margin of 3.64 lakh votes. 6. Rajnath Singh (BJP) - 3.47 Lakh © Twitter Home Minister Rajnath Singh won the Lucknow seat against SP candidate Poonam Sinha by a margin of 3.47 lakh votes. 7. Kanimozhi (DMK) - 3.47 Lakh © Twitter Kanimozhi of DMK won by a 3.47 lakh vote margin against BJP's Tamilisai Soundararajan from the Thoothukkudi constituency in Tamil Nadu. 8. Karti Chidambaram (Congress) - 3.32 Lakh © Twitter Karti Chidambaram of Congress won from the Sivaganga constituency against BJP's H. Raja by a margin of 3.32 lakh votes. 9. Tejasvi Surya (BJP) - 3.31 Lakh © Twitter BJP's Tejasvi Surya from the Bagalur constituency in Karnataka won by a margin of 3.31 lakh votes against Congress' B. K. Hariprasad. 10. Gautam Gambhir (BJP) - 3.04 Lakh © Twitter BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir won by a margin of 3.04 lakh votes from the East Delhi constituency against Congress' Arvinder Singh Lovely. 11. Dayanidhi Maran (DMK) - 3.01 Lakh © Twitter DMK's Dayanidhi Maran from Chennai Central constituency defeated PMK's Sam Paul S. R. by a margin of 3.01 lakh votes. 12. Ravi Kishan (BJP) - 3.01 Lakh © Twitter Ravi Kishan of BJP defeated SP's Rambhual Nishad by a margin of 3.01 lakh votes from the Gorakhpur constituency.
  20. Our society may be divided into many cultures and people who follow different religions, but the common thread lies in the belief that humanity is the biggest religion. The holy month of Ramzan is going on right now and setting a beautiful example of communal harmony, the Shri Sita Ram temple in Ayodhya hosted an Iftar feast proving that the world is a better place when we have love in our heart. Also, this is not the first time this happened, and the priest of the temple explained that they plan on continuing this tradition in the future as well. Ayodhya's Shri Sita Ram temple hosts Iftar Read @ANI story | https://t.co/YYx8PpDVvk pic.twitter.com/xryYtXxuti — ANI Digital (@ani_digital) May 21, 2019 The picture went viral on social media for all the right reasons and left everyone in awe of this brotherhood. This is Hinduism.There is no boundary and no restrictions for anyone. https://t.co/voE48RmXB8 — Pankaj Pujari (@pankajpujari) May 21, 2019 This kind of cultural harmony brings colorful rainbow in our country, maybe this symbolise something for haters of unity. ð®ð³ðð https://t.co/Bxh7F6g8E4 — Ankur Lodhi Rajput (@AnkurLodhiRajp3) May 21, 2019 This is indiaaa ð®ð³â¤ https://t.co/nI12Xhlx5p — Mahi 彡 (@ImShanTanu29) May 21, 2019 Ayodhya has been a site of major political differences for a very long time, but the people there are proving that nothing can come in the way of love and peace.
  21. Following a heavy dosage of Twenty20 (T20) action in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricketing action now moves on to the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in arguably the biggest spectacle - ICC World Cup - the sport has seen. Slated to begin from 30th May, the 12th edition of the ICC spectacle promises to be an exciting affair with the participating nations vying for cricket's biggest honour. One of the highly-anticipated sporting events in the world, the quadrennial cricket event garners public interest and captures the imagination of enthusiasts like no other. Four years after the first-ever ODI match was played, the organisers blessed the cricket fans with the maiden World Cup that was held in England in 1975. Comprised of eight teams - Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), the first World Cup was won by the Windies who got the better of the Aussies in the final at Lord's. It was for the very first time the fans got a taste of exciting competition in cricket. And, since then, there has been no turning back for this massive event. © Reuters Unlike the 2015 tournament where 14 teams were seen participating via two groups, this year will witness only 10 teams who'll compete in a single group. As per this year's format, each team will be seen playing with the other nine sides once, and the top four at the end of the group stage will progress to the semifinals. Having dominated the tournament with a record five title wins, Australia will be eager to defend their crown when they begin their campaign this year. However, they'll have to fend off strong title contenders including the likes of India, hosts England and New Zealand. After 10 warm-up games, the coveted tournament will kickstart with England taking on South Africa at Kennington Oval in London. A total of 45 games will be played before the tournament ascertains its semifinalists, who'll square off in a bid to secure their berth for the all-important final on 14th July. Schedule Date Match Venue Time 30-May England vs South Africa Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 31-May Windies vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 1-Jun New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 1-Jun Afghanistan vs Australia County Ground, Bristol 6:00 PM 2-Jun South Africa vs Bangladesh Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 3-Jun England vs Pakistan Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 4-Jun Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 5-Jun South Africa vs India The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 5-Jun Bangladesh vs New Zealand Kennington Oval, London 6:00 PM 6-Jun Australia vs Windies Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 7-Jun Pakistan vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 8-Jun England vs Bangladesh Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 3:00 PM 8-Jun Afghanistan vs New Zealand The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 6:00 PM 9-Jun India vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 10-Jun South Africa vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 11-Jun Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka County Ground, Bristol 3:00 PM 12-Jun Australia vs Pakistan The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 13-Jun India vs New Zealand Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 14-Jun England vs Windies The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 15-Jun Sri Lanka vs Australia Kennington Oval, London 3:00 PM 15-Jun South Africa vs Afghanistan Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 6:00 PM 16-Jun India vs Pakistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 17-Jun Windies vs Bangladesh The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton 3:00 PM 18-Jun England vs Afghanistan Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 19-Jun New Zealand vs South Africa Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 20-Jun Australia vs Bangladesh Trent Bridge, Nottingham 3:00 PM 21-Jun England vs Sri Lanka Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 22-Jun India vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 22-Jun Windies vs New Zealand Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 23-Jun Pakistan vs South Africa Lord's, London 3:00 PM 24-Jun Bangladesh vs Afghanistan The Rose Bowl, Southampton 3:00 PM 25-Jun England vs Australia Lord's, London 3:00 PM 26-Jun New Zealand vs Pakistan Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 27-Jun Windies vs India Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 28-Jun Sri Lanka vs South Africa Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 29-Jun Pakistan vs Afghanistan Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 29-Jun New Zealand vs Australia Lord's, London 6:00 PM 30-Jun England vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 1-Jul Sri Lanka vs Windies Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 2-Jul Bangladesh vs India Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 3-Jul England vs New Zealand Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street 3:00 PM 4-Jul Afghanistan vs Windies Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 5-Jul Pakistan vs Bangladesh Lord's, London 3:00 PM 6-Jul Sri Lanka vs India Headingley, Leeds 3:00 PM 6-Jul Australia vs South Africa Old Trafford, Manchester 6:00 PM 9-Jul TBC vs TBC, 1st Semi-Final (1 v 4) Old Trafford, Manchester 3:00 PM 11-Jul TBC vs TBC, 2nd Semi-Final (2 v 3) Edgbaston, Birmingham 3:00 PM 14-Jul TBC vs TBC, Final Lord's, London 3:00 PM Participating Teams Afghanistan © Twitter/@ACBofficials For a team that, earlier this March, recorded their first Test victory in only their second game, Afghanistan seems to be making the most of the opportunities on the field. The young Test-playing nation is full of surprises and, on their day, they are more than capable of beating any team in the world. The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) did turn a few heads when they sacked long-standing captain Asghar Afghan in April. The decision led to the appointment of three specialist captains across formats. Gulbadin Naib, Rashid Khan and Rahmat Shah will be seen in the leadership roles for ODIs, T20Is and Tests respectively. It'll be interesting to see how Naib fares as Afghanistan's captain when they start their World Cup campaign against Australia at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. Squad: Gulbadin Naib(c), Mohammad Shahzad(wk), Noor Ali Zadran, Hazratullah Zazai, Rahmat Shah, Asghar Afghan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Najibullah Zadran, Samiullah Shinwari, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran, Aftab Alam, Hamid Hassan and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Australia © Twitter/@CricketAus They might have been leading the list of most title wins in the ICC World Cup, but the Aussies know it fairly well that their campaign in England & Wales is surely going to be an uphill battle. The defending champions lack confidence especially after the infamous 2018 ball-tampering saw two of their biggest stars getting suspended for a year. Since that episode, Australia have been trying to rediscover that winning mentality that successfully aided their predecessors over the years. The return of David Warner and Steve Smith following their suspensions is a major boost to the Aussies, but their absence from international cricket for a year could see them struggle early in the tournament. On the other hand, the bowling department could turn out to be an area of concern for Australia, especially in the absence of Josh Hazlewood. They'll kickstart their World Cup campaign against tricky Afghanistan at the County Ground, Bristol on 1st June. Squad: Aaron Finch(c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey(wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner and Adam Zampa. Bangladesh © Twitter/@BCBtigers Ever since making their World Cup debut in 1999, Bangladesh have been a familiar face at the ICC spectacle. But, their best finish came in the last edition where they surprised everyone by reaching the quarterfinals stage. They won three games including the famous triumph over England in the group stage, but found their nemesis in India in the quarterfinals. Going into the tournament, Bangladesh looks like a balanced side. Mashrafe Mortaza has proved his worth as a potent leader in the past and Shakib Al Hasan has enough experience in international cricket to be his deputy. Mushfiqur Rahim is another experienced campaigner who's not only great behind the stumps, but his presence will also bolster his side's batting line-up. They'll need the senior players to step up when they face South Africa in their opening clash at the Kennington Oval, London on 2nd June. Squad: Mashrafe Mortaza(c), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Soumya Sarkar, Mushfiqur Rahim(wk), Mahmudullah Riyad, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Mithun (wk), Sabbir Rahman, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidy Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Abu Jayed. England © Twitter/@ECB_cricket The mighty Englishmen might have given us the sport that we've come to know as cricket, but the cricketing giants are yet to taste success at the ICC World Cup. In the decorated history of the tournament, England have bottled away three chances to lift the coveted trophy. They lost the 1979 final to West Indies before enduring successive heartbreaks in 1987 and 1992 to Australia and Pakistan respectively. But, the upcoming edition could be their chance to redemption, especially when they have the luxury to play at home, in familiar conditions. Led by the experienced Eoin Morgan, the hosts pack a punch with a team that is comprised of potential match-winners. Though they'll have to fend off threats from the likes of India and Australia, the Englishmen might just prove a tad too difficult for the opposition to handle in the tournament. The 'Three Lions' will be seen in action when they lock horns with South Africa in the tournament opener at the Kennington Oval, London on 30th May. Squad: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow(wk), Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood. India © Twitter/@BCCI The two-time World Cup champions are undoubtedly one of the biggest contenders to lift the coveted trophy this year. The team has enjoyed a brilliant run over the past year with favourable results in both home and overseas series. Led by the pragmatic Virat Kohli, Team India had a problem of plenty in the build-up to the ICC spectacle. The selectors had a tough time figuring out the 15-man squad, best suited for the English conditions to deliver the goods. After careful deliberation, the omission of in-form Rishabh Pant did spark some backlash which later saw him getting included in the list of stand-bys. From batting to bowling, the Indian team looks pretty solid on paper with a couple of all-rounders also in the fray. But, the long-standing No. 4 conundrum is still a chink in their armour. All the questions might get answered when they launch their title charge on 5th June against South Africa at the Rose Bowl, Southampton. Squad: Virat Kohli(c), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, MS Dhoni(wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja. New Zealand © Twitter/@BLACKCAPS Despite participating in the tournament since its advent in 1975, New Zealand are yet to lift the coveted trophy. The Kiwis came mighty close to clinching the World Cup title in 2015, but a seven-wicket loss at the hands of Australia left them heartbroken. Despite their previous failings, Kane Williamson-led New Zealand are still one of the top contenders for the World Cup title this year. The team is full of proven stars who are more than capable of turning the tide in New Zealand's favour. The likes of Tim Southee and Trent Boult will spearhead their pace attack, while Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi will add teeth to the spin department. The Kiwis have also included three all-rounders - Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham - who will play their part in the tournament. Williamson's men will begin their campaign when they take on Sri Lanka at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 1st June. Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor. Pakistan © Twitter/@TheRealPCB The 1992 World Cup champions, Pakistan, continue to remain an unpredictable brigade which is more than capable of crashing someone's party on their day. The ultimate underdogs at the ICC spectacle, Pakistan might have a fairly inexperienced squad going into the World Cup, but a mercurial side of their calibre still promises to go the distance. The youthful pace duo of Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi, who can clock 90mph at will, is expected to be a vital cog in Pakistan's impressive pace battery. But, the notable omission of Mohammad Amir, who has been sidelined due to suspected chickenpox, remains a big blow. The likes of skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez will surely come in handy when it comes to guiding the youngsters in the side with their vast experience. Beginning their campaign on 31st May against West Indies in Nottingham, Pakistan will be eager to build on their spectacular 2017 ICC Champions Trophy win with a similar performance in England and Wales. Squad: Sarfaraz Ahmed(c/wk), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abid Ali, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Hasnain. South Africa © Twitter/@OfficialCSA Ever since making their ICC World Cup debut in 1992, South Africa have struggled to justify their talent. The perennial underachievers of cricket, the Proteas have reached the semifinals on four occasions but just couldn't hold their nerve to go all the way. But, as their hunt for an elusive maiden title goes on, the current crop of players and the new-look South African squad offer great promise going into this year's World Cup. Led by Faf du Plessis, the Proteas boast of three solid opening options in Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram and Hashim Amla. Similarly, in the bowling department, the availability of Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi provide them with great options. But, it's going to be a problem of plenty for the Proteas and, right from facing England in the opening encounter on 30th May, they'll need to find their winning combination if they intend to get rid of the 'chokers' tag. Squad: Faf du Plessis(c), Quinton de Kock(wk), David Miller, JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi. Sri Lanka © Twitter/@OfficialSLC For a team that upstaged the mighty Australians in the final to win the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has, sadly, failed to follow it up at the major ICC events. The Lankan brigade came mighty close to securing their second World title in 2011, only to suffer a brutal heartbreak at the hands of Team India in the final. With their decorated cricketers calling time on their respective careers, the Lankans have struggled for experience, with the young guns doing their best to settle in quickly. Going into this year's tournament, Sri Lanka will rely on the experience of their veteran stars Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera to spearhead their challenge. They'll kickstart their campaign against New Zealand on 1st June at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Squad: Dimith Karunaratne(c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera(wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis(wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal. West Indies © Twitter/@windiescricket Having won two successive World Cups in 1975 and 1979, West Indies almost came close to securing their third, only to lose the final to India in 1983. Since that fateful day, the Windies have managed to enter the playoff stage only on three occasions - a semifinal entry in 1996 and a last-eight place in 2011 and 2015. Needless to mention, their ODI record, over the last five years, has been abysmal by any standards. But, despite all that, no team in the tournament would like to take them for granted, especially when West Indies boast of proven match-winners. Led by Jason Holder, the Windies are going into the World Cup, full of firepower. The likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer and Carlos Brathwaite are more than capable of single-handedly running away with the game. But, opening their campaign against Pakistan on 31st May, the Windies will need to find a way to click as a unit if they intend to go the distance this year. Squad: Jason Holder(c), Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope(wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Fabien Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse.
  22. You have already read the headline, and yes, we do mean it. As absurd and insane as it sounds, there is solid logic behind this theory. Let's look at the reasons which led us to wonder whether it actually is possible. Let's start from the beginning. Remember Viserys Targaryen's death? He died because Khal Drogo poured molten gold on his head, and it scalded him. Daenerys had said, "He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon." What did she mean by that? Both of them were Targaryens. What did she specifically mean by 'a dragon'? (c) Hotstar We'll come back to this, but let's look at another instance first. Daenerys came out of the fire alive, when the dragons were born, and one more time later, when she had set fire to the Dothraki tent. Now, George R R Martin had said, even in the books, that even though Targaryens have a very high heat tolerance, they are not fire-proof. So, Dany being unburnt was a miracle. It was extremely unusual and borderline magical, even by Targaryen standards. (c) Hotstar Why did she not get burnt? Let's now come back to what she said when her brother died - 'Fire cannot kill a dragon'. Did she know she is special? That she had a gift her brother didn't, despite being a Targaryen? Also, remember all the instances Viserys used to threaten her by saying "You don't want to wake the dragon"? What if it was not metaphorical, but literal? What if they knew some family folklore according to which some Targaryens could actually transform into dragons? (c) Hotstar Let's look at the dragons themselves, now. They are magical beasts that don't count as pets. They function at their own will. In fact, Dany herself could not control them during the earlier seasons, where Drogon flew off and she had to lock up Rhaegal and Viserion. But, what is interesting is the fact that Drogon come to rescue her when she needed help inside the fighting pit. (c) Hotstar Also, when Jon needed help beyond the wall, and she could travel with the dragons there. How did the dragons specifically find them? There was no specific address or coordinates, and it's unlikely that Dany just went randomly looking for them knowing that time is running out. That means dragons can sense it, and they don't need to be instructed. (c) Hotstar With that knowledge, let us look at the words of House Targaryen: 'Fire and Blood'. We used to think 'fire' signifies 'we own dragons', and 'blood' probably signifies 'we will kill whoever crosses our path'. However, Targaryens always used dragons to kill, and there was no bloodshed - only ashes. What did 'blood' mean then? What if it referred to their inherent characteristic, more like, their DNA? What if it means they literally have fire in their blood, which means they probably have a recessive gene of sorts that transforms them into dragons under certain circumstances, possibly like inhuman rage? (c) The Johnny Mack Project Let's also note here, how Targaryens tend to always marry within the family. What if they had this knowledge and they wanted to maintain the purity of the gene pool? That might explain all the inbreeding. Now, let's look at hints given in the show itself. Remember the stillborn child of Daenerys and Khal Drogo? Mirri Maz Duur, the witch, claimed that the child came out looking like a monster, and that he had scales like a lizard, and was blind with bat-like wings. Why did her stillborn child have dragon-like features? (c) Westeros.org Also, here is a screenshot from the intro of season 8. We can see 3 small dragons, and a huge 4th dragon behind them. (c) Hotstar What if that is Daenerys herself - the biggest dragon in Westeros? What if 'breaker of chains' is another connotation of her breaking free from her human form? She is, after all, the unburnt and the actual mother of dragons. All we can think of at this juncture is the wise Olenna Tyrell's battle advice to her: "You are a dragon, be a dragon."
  23. Before you proceed, you must know this article is dark and full of spoilers! Episode 3 of 'Game of Thrones' season 8 just hit our screens and let me just say 'Oh my GoT'! I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did, TBH. I was a little disappointed because at the end you're left wondering whatever happened to the 'prince that was promised' theory, hinting at Azor Ahai's re-reign through either Snow or Dany, but the ending was satisfactory regardless. Now the next thing to wonder is, if Arya is the prince that was promised, since the 'prince' is said to be of either gender. The legend of Azor Ahai was born centuries ago, when a Westerosi ended the long night and killed all the White Walkers or the 'Others'. So there could be a possibility the theory of the 'Prince that was promised' is still alive and kicking. © HBO But moving a little forward with why all the theories we've been contemplating haven't really played out in the 3rd episode is a little strange. There were so many. For instance, the rise of the dead from Winterfell crypts. Although, it's stated that the tombs of the dead in the crypts are protected by iron swords, which prevent the dead to rise and become wights. There was also a theory stating The Night King wouldn't be at Winerfell, since he's already marching towards Kings Landing. In fact, many theories didn't see the light of day only because Arya was decided as the Night King killer, and a true warrior since the beginning. From her thirst for knowledge to learn ways of a warrior to her training, it was like everything was foreshadowed, only we weren't paying attention. © HBO You may think the whole build-up about Jon or Dany saving the day was hyped beyond doubt, but in all honesty, Jon and Dany both played a significant part in fighting off the Night King and his army too. It was because of Jon everyone was prepped up for the war since he hosted a meeting to tell the world about them and it was Dany's army and her dragons that kept them at bay for as long as possible, at the Winterfell battle. But no one anticipated Arya's grave role towards the end. No one assumed she would strike like a ninja assassin, killing the Night King with a Valyrian Steel dagger. The same one that was used to kill Bran in season 1, before his mother and wolf killed the assassin and the same one Bran gave Arya, just in case you were wondering what Bran's role was throughout. He probably knew the future all along and did the right thing at the right time for it to play out well during the end. © HBO But you know what I realised while watching this episode? A lot of facts and scenario within the series were foreshadowed, especially where Arya was concerned. There were always instances and hints of what lay ahead but none of us really paid much attention. All along Arya was prepping to hunt the greatest enemy of all and we didn't even know it. Neither did she, but she knew she would have to act sometime in the distant future. Here's what I mean: (1) GoT was always trying to quietly set up Arya for the big showdown. Even her introduction in the show was her acing at archery. If you remember the scene from the first episode ever, where Bran is struggling to aim, because he over thinks, Arya sneaks up from behind and hits the target! And yes, this was her sans any training whatsoever. (2) Arya gets her first morsel of training from Jon, who hands her the trusted sword Needle and tells her to 'stick 'em with the pointy end'. If you've seen this episode, you'll remember Arya telling Sansa the same thing, while handing her a dagger for self protection. It all comes back full circle I suppose. (3) Arya's tryst with her 'dance lessons' aka sword fighting lessons with her teacher Syrio Forel was something to remember. That was the beginning of her professional training in sword fighting. The one thing Syrio always reminded her was her answer to the God of death: 'What do you say to the God of death' he'd ask. 'Not today' she'd say. In her second meeting with Melisandre in this episode, the red woman asks Arya the same question and Arya says 'not today', heading out of the hall. © Twitter (4) In season 3, Melisandre meets Arya with the 'Brotherhood Without Banners' and she predicts that Arya and she will meet again. She also tells Arya that she sees a darkness in her and in that darkness eyes staring back at her. Brown eyes, blue eyes and green eyes, eyes she'll shut forever. Throughout the series when Arya is seeking revenge from her 'list', she shuts many brown eyes. When Melisandre sees her again in the 3rd episode, she reminds her of the prophecy and about the blue and green eyes she's yet to shut still. *Major Hint*! © Twitter © Twitter (5) When she is kidnapped by the Hound, he plays a big pivotal role in her training. He teaches her how to find gaps and weak spots in an armour, and how to stab someone in the heart. Well, his teaching came quite handy when Arya kills the Night King. He also stayed alive, thanks to the Lord of Light, to fulfill his purpose of staying by her side towards the end. (6) In season 8 episode one, when Arya meets Jon for the first time after years, he is at the Weirwood tree when Arya comes to him without making a sound. He turns around and asks 'how did you sneak up on me?'. Why is this relevant? Because at the time she's about to kill the Night King, he has no inkling of her coming to kill him. The White Walkers feel a gush of wind but they don't realise it's Arya sneaking up on them, like a shadow, at the same place she sneaked up at Jon. Her Ninja skills are excellent and were always up to par to face this day. via GIPHY (7) This one's an important fact you might have missed. In season one, a Catspaw's tried to kill Bran when he was bedridden. He failed to do so but that dagger ended up with Little finger, who gave it to Bran in season 7. Bran gives that dagger to Arya saying since he's a cripple he won't be needing it. See the build up here? This clearly means Bran gave the dagger to Arya purposely because it's the same Valyrian Steel dagger Arya used to kill the Night King. Does this mean Bran predicted the future all along? If so, why did he sacrifice Theon?! © HBO (8) When Arya is killing the Night King, she uses a tactic she's used before in a fight with Brienne of Tarth. While killing the Night King, she lets go of the dagger from her right hand and as it falls, holds it with her left hand before she stabs his heart. In season 7, she uses a similar twitch of hand with her sword and her dagger, with Brienne. (9) Even though Arya didn't use the weapon she asked Gendry to forge for too long in this episode, she knew that weapon is her strength. While she was training to become the faceless man, she learnt how to use a staff, being blind and in absolute darkness. That was the series telling us that she was training for something bigger and more dangerous. © HBO (10) Arya is a Stark and it's known the Night King's origins have also begun from a Stark. The Children of the Forest carved the Night King from a local man, to help them fight against the first men. If you've seen that scene you'll notice the children have tied a man and they stab his heart with dragon glass. They've tied the man around what seems like a Weirwood tree to convert him. Weirwood trees are only found around Winterfell. So, it is a possibility the Night King is a Stark descendant and only a Stark could end his decent once and for all. Maybe our theories haven't gone to waste. Maybe the Prince that was promised is yet to come as there are 3 more episodes left. While we're waiting with bated breath for the next episode to air, we're also wondering what Arya's fate reads. I mean she wasn't ambitious about the throne at all. For her it was only about killing people who harmed her family and killed them and since most of them are already dead, will she die too, towards the end? Well, her character did evolve quite well and I really hope she lives to see the end.
  24. Samsung had already launched a 4K movie theatre last year but the company has now taken it up a notch by launching the world's biggest LED cinema in India. It's Samsung's Onyx Cinema LED screen format and has opened in Bengaluru today. The screen is said to offer larger-than-life visuals and is launching just in time for the 'Avengers: Endgame' release. © Samsung The theatre is called Swagath Onyx Theatre and is equipped with JBL Professional cinema loudspeakers from HARMAN. It has a capacity of 618 seats and is now the world's biggest LED theatre. The theatre is outfitted with a 14-metre screen and there are only two others in the world, China and Malaysia. The screen has HDR support is probably the only way to watch your favourite movies if you prefer great picture quality, vivid colours and accuracy. © Marvel Studios “Samsung is the only brand offering an end-to-end movie experience, from stunning visuals through Onyx Cinema LED Screens to phenomenal sound from JBL Professional by HARMAN. Onyx Cinema LED at Swagath Onyx Theatre in Bengaluru will revolutionize the cinema viewing experience for film lovers in the city and across India. This is a remarkable milestone for Indian cinema and a testament to our consumer-centric approach,” said Puneet Sethi, Vice President, Consumer Electronics Enterprise Business, Samsung India. “The current wave of cinema is replete with great visuals, rich soundtracks and background score. The new Onyx Cinema LED powered by JBL's iconic sound will transform the cinematic experience for moviegoers. This mighty combination of a revolutionary screen and legendary sound will truly elevate the content and we are excited for Indian cinephiles to experience this epic offering,” said Prashant Govindan, Head – Professional Solutions, HARMAN India & SAARC. © Samsung This Onyx Cinema LED screen also supports 3D visuals and comes with other proprietary solutions such as Onyx View and Onyx Sound. The theatre is open from today and tickets for movies will be available soon on your favourite ticketing platforms. *main image for representation purposes only.
  25. The moment I said I was going to attend an eSport event in India, a few of my friends burst out in laughter. They simply couldn't resonate with the idea of sitting in a large room staring at a big screen, watching a bunch of players, well, play a game. If you put some thought into it, then you may even start to think that they have a point. Unlike the appeal of the live experience of a traditional sport, where you can actually see professional players perform in front you, in eSports you're just watching a some players sit like statues and become a part of the computer they're playing on. And on top of that, you literally have to watch one of the big screens that are fitted in front of you to see what the players are doing. It's the exact same content you could consume from the comfort of your couch at home on platforms like Twitch. Then why do people pay big bucks to attend something which they can watch for free without breaking a sweat? © Adela Sznajder/ ESL Well, that's exactly what I was itching to find out. So, I attended one of the biggest eSports event in India last week and I am happy to report that I have a lot to share. And, I mean, a LOT! SPOILER ALERT!! If you're a passionate gamer, then let me tell you that's it's worth every penny you spend. But if you're one, then I am guessing you probably already know that, right? Last week, I attended one of the biggest Dota 2 tournaments in the world that's hosted by ESL One. It was the first time I had attended an eSports event ever, and I was filled with mixed emotions. So here I am, pouring my thoughts away to give you an idea of what it's like being a part of an event like this and what goes into putting up such a show. The Arena - Theatrical fanfare! © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The moment I stepped into the arena, I felt as if I walked into a virtual world. A world, which I had only seen through my computer screen. The stage was lit in red and blue lights, and it was surrounded by big screens, so the entire arena could watch what the players are doing. I entered the arena right before the action, so all I could hear was narratives from commentators coupled with a background sound to build the hype. Together with the lights, commentary, and some base-heavy thumps, the arena felt nothing short of a concert or a pro sporting event like, say, a boxing match. There was some serious energy in there. The arena was also draped with advertising slogans and hoardings of brands like Intel, Vodafone, DHL, and more. And as you can see, there's also a Mercedes standing right smack in the middle, which belongs to the player who's deemed the most valuable throughout the tournament. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer After I found a comfortable seat to settle, the players of the two teams that were about to battle it out in a do-or-die match were introduced. It was 'compLexity Gaming' vs 'The Pango'. The introduction of the roster, mind you, was an enjoyable sight of its own, with players entering the arena from behind us. I could hear the commentator introducing the players with their game-tags instead of their names. Interesting, indeed! “Welcome Naive-, Iceberg, Ghostik, XSvamp1Re, CemaTheSlayer from team Pango; the roster that'll be going against complexity Gaming”, he said. The crowd started cheering and hooting as the players walked through the center towards the stage, waving hands and throwing high-fives. The turn out wasn't overwhelming, but it was enough to fill the room with excitement. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL The players were allowed to walk in on the stage with their own set of peripherals that they are comfortable with, as long as they go through the referee who makes sure that they are not bringing in any exploits to gain advantage in the game. The crowd started settling in for the action, as the players were setting up their rigs and loading the game. I could hear a lot of distant chatter about what the people around me thought the game was going to be like. Each of them were making their own predictions. Honestly, I was quite surprised to see the sheer amount of knowledge some of these people had, and also their involvement in the game. I remember talking to a 'Pango' fan next to me, who started narrating me what the roster should be doing in that particular match to win. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL As the match started, the Dota 2 fans around me started showing their passion for the sport. It's one thing to sit home and watch the players play their game, and a completely different thing to sit among the people who know the game so well that they literally gushed out of their seats in excitement after watching their favorite player pull a solid victory move. It's a great feeling that you'd get only by experiencing the event firsthand live in front of you. I couldn't sit through the entire 'Best of 3' game, since I had I rush for the backstage tour where the real magic happens. But here are some really cool pictures from the event which you probably won't find anywhere else - A Geeky Gathering Backstage The ESL One team was kind enough to take me and a bunch of other journalists for a backstage tour of the event, to show us how their teams were running the show behind the scene. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures or record video while we were backstage for some obvious reasons, so I suggest you put on your imagination hat and start grasping as much as possible. From massive computer rigs to human-sized machines controlling the lighting system, the backstage is where's it's at. “All the computers that you're going to see here, and on stage are running on the most powerful tech that we can get our hands on”, said Seth Bull, the partner manager at ESL who's taking care of all the backend operation during the event. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL For the record, all the computing power that was necessary to run the operations at ESL One was provided by Intel. “Why we love working with Intel is because they provide us with some of the best and reliable tech we can get our hands on”, added Seth. Seth took through various areas of the backstage like 'Player Lounge', which, as the name suggests is a place where players can hangout after a match. We also saw 'Team Rooms', which is essentially room in which the players gather right before and after a match to discuss or even practice a game or two. As we were rushing through the huge backstage area, I couldn't help but notice the piles of empty monitor boxes that were lying around. Almost all the monitors used at ESL One (or at least the ones I could see) were ASUS monitors. Some of them were the ASUS ROG Swift PG258Q (FHD) while others were the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ (4K) units. From the monitors on-stage to the monitors used backstage by the operations team, ASUS is what I could see. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL The TV Production room was where the real work was being done. There were close to a hundred people working together to make sure that the steam was up and running at all time without any issues whatsoever. Seth made it a point to tell us that the level of production work that was going down inside that room was almost equivalent to what you'd see on high-profile events such a 'World Championship' games, etc. During our tour, the entire production unit was closely monitoring the systems as one of the most anticipated games of the season between “Mineski” and “Natus Vincere” a.k.a “Na'Vi” was underway. We could hear the crowd going crazy behind us as the players were walking on to the stage. Anti-Cheat Measures & Other Exploits “ESL's main team in Cologne, Germany is the one that's monitoring all our game data and keeping an eye out for any sort of anomalies“, said Seth, when we asked him if there were any anti-cheat measures in place. We were also told that ESL works with a lot of companies that provides anti-cheat software for games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike. Again, thanks to Intel, the computers both on and off stage have 'Hot Swap Drive Bay' so that each player has a copy of game ready at all times with all the optimum playable settings. Not only does it helps the team save some time, but it also means that no one can access the game files without authorization and tamper the files in any possible way. Also, there was no internet connection for the computers on-stage, an they all were connected to a LAN, ensuring that there's nothing getting into their systems. Intel's booth Was Fun Too Intel, in case you don't know, is one of the main backers of ESL One eSports event, and the company had set up a huge booth at the event venue. Intel's booth was honestly one of the coolest parts of the event as they had a lot going in there. There were a ton of gaming laptops and custom gaming rigs in the booth, and all of them were open for all visitors to check out. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer I couldn't get good pictures of some of the awesome gaming rigs in the booth mainly because of how packed it was, but I did manage to check out Acer Predator Thronos. Yes, it was the first time checking it out and I am glad that I stopped by. The Predator Thronos, Alienware's Area M51 were clearly some of the coolest products on showcase. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer I also had a chance to sit and talk with Frank Soqui, VP & General Manager, Gaming at Intel. Lee Machen, General Manager, Gaming Sales at Intel and Prakash Mallya, VP and Managing Director, Sales and Marketing Group, Intel India were also present for interaction. I had a great time chatting with them, discussing gaming, hardware, and more. The Final Say Setting up a huge stage like the one at ESL, and putting up such a massive show without running into any technical difficult is not easy feat. Of course, ESL is working with top brands in the industry like Intel to ensure smooth functioning, but handling logistics worth over $2 million is something that's worth appreciating. © MensXP/ Karthik Iyer The event, in my opinion, was as much a festival as it was a tournament. Could I have watched the entire event from the comfort of my home? Yes, absolutely! However, I wouldn't have heard the loud cheering or the crowd in real time or I wouldn't have witnessed the enthusiastic gamers literally jump up from their seats to show their excitement. Granted, I haven't experienced some of the bigger sporting events such as the Wimbledon or the Super Bowl yet, but experiencing the ESL One Dota 2 eSports competition with hundreds of strangers will undoubtedly go down as one of the geekiest gigs I've ever been a part of. © Adela Sznajder/ ESL Oh BTW, 'Keen Gaming' beat 'Mineski' to win ESL One Mumbai.
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