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Aishwarya Model Barbie Bollywood

25 Mar



Aishwarya Rai

LONDON: Kecantikan yang dimiliki bintang Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai mendapat perhatian apabila wajah bekas ratu cantik dunia itu bakal diabadikan sebagai model terbaru patung Barbie.

Rai yang pernah memenangi Ratu Dunia 1994 semakin mendapat perhatian apabila turut berlakon dalam filem Hollywood termasuk Bride and Prejudice, Mistress of Spices, The Last Legion dan terbaru Pink Panther 2 bersama aktor Steve Martin.

Beliau diibaratkan menjadi ahli keluarga diraja Bollywood apabila mengahwini anak pelakon bintang filem paling popular India, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan.

Pemilihan sebagai model Barbie meletakkan pelakon berkenaan sebaris diva Hollywood yang turut menjadi model patung berkenaan seperti Beyonce dan Elizabeth Taylor. – Agensi

Berita Harian

Kisah Filem Aishwarya Dan Abhishek

21 Sep

PEMBUAT filem, Rajiv Menon baru-baru ini mengumumkan rancangannya untuk membuat filem yang diterbitkan pada tahun 1973, Abhimaan yang akan dibintangi pasangan Aishwarya Rai dan Abhishek Bachchan. Namun, khabar angin mengatakan projek tersebut tidak berjaya. Penerbit asal filem ini, Pawan Kumar dikatakan tidak bersedia memberikan hak cipta filem tersebut.

Filem asal ini dibintangi Amitabh Bachchan dan Jaya Bachchan. Kumar yang kini sedang sibuk dengan projek lain, setahun yang lalu pernah mendekati pasangan suami isteri Bachchan (Abhishek and Aishwarya) untuk peranan utama dalam filemnya, namun tidak mendapat maklum balas daripada mereka.

Kumar yakin tema Abhimaan masih relevan hingga sekarang iaitu mengisahkan pasangan suami isteri bekerja di bidang yang sama dan isteri lebih sukses daripada suaminya. Senario tahun 1973 itu telah mendapat sedikit penambahan konteks masa kini. Kumar tidak mungkin mendekati Ash dan Abhi untuk peranan utama di filem itu.

Jadi, jika segala sesuatu berjalan sesuai dengan rancangan, Ash dan Abhi akan tetap menjadi watak utama penerbitan semula filem Abhimaan tetapi dengan produser dan sutradara yang lain.

Utusan Malaysia

Blogbusters

10 Aug

Blogbusters
 

Who says Bollywood stars are an insulated lot? Not their fans at least. Ever since the baap of all actors, Amitabh Bachchan publicly announced that he has started blogging on Bigb.bigadda.com, his blog is inundated with messages from thousands of fans. Bloggers have found the perfect medium to bridge the gap and stay tuned into updates on their favourite icons’ lives. Fans believe this is an intimate form of communication, almost like an entry into the star’s inner world.

No wonder star blogs have become hopelessly addictive. Be it aamirkhan.com or mynameiskaran.com (Karan Johar) or duskadum.blogpsot.com (Salman Khan), or rgvvarma.spaces.live.com (Ram, Gopal Varma)῅Bollywood personalities are hooked to this medium as they find it a personal canvas to vent their emotions and express opinions. Amitabh Bachchan, who is currently on his Unforgettable tour in the US, has been blogging at all odd hours every single day. Sometimes his entries are short and crisp and he’s instantly apologetic about lack of time. There are other days where he finds it hard to conceal his elation at the response to the tour. His childlike glee is evident in an excerpt from his blog:

Day 95

LOS ANGELES!! LOS ANGELES!! LOS OF ANGELES!!

What an audience! What a show! What response! Simply incredible!

It has been the best ever for me. And all the credit goes to the utterly fantastic fans and audience at the LA Sports Arena, that packed the venue right up to the rafters and just egged and shouted and screamed us into a performance that all of us will remember for a lifetime.

I popped every antibiotic available, every energiser around, prayed as hard as I could and gave it all I had. I don’t know how it all happened, but it happened. I stand up in salutation to the people at the venue, to the people of Los Angeles, to all the fans and well-wishers. You did it! And I humbly bow down to you with the deepest respect and love. Thank you!!

We need your prayers and wishes,

Amitabh Bachchan

Actress Koel Purie believes that the film fraternity has always set trends. “Since blogging has become such a huge trend, why should the industry be left behind? If Mr Amitabh Bachchan sounds articulate, it is because that’s the way he speaks. If Salman sounds blunt it’s because he speaks from the heart. I’m not surprised that blogs have become popular because it is a direct interaction between the star and his fans. I have a professional blog called onthecouchwithkoel and the feedback has been heartening so far.”

The web page of director Karan Johar’s blog offer a visual treat for fans who get to see Hrithik and AB in conversation, Jaya and AB sharing an intimate moment, SRK and his daughter Suhana in a tight clinch. Here’s an excerpt:

Reel Reminiscing

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:47:04 PM

The other day at home sifting through piles of memories, I came across some pictures that instantly transported me to a time in my life that meant so many things to me, and the people surrounding me. The making of my second film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was a larger than life experience. The scale and opulence of the film has been talked about for years, but in truth, the film had a cast that we may never see together on screen again. The characters had lives that were unabashed and indulgent, and my actors played that with confidence. Most importantly, it was the film of mine that my father loved the most.

Bollywood super brat Salman Khan seems to have a one-point agenda. His blog has largely been used to clear conceptions about himself. And going by the controversies the star seems to be involved in, it is a full-time job.

While enough has been written and televised about the famous feud between Sallu and SRK on Katrina Kaif’s birthday bash at Olive in Mumbai, our stud of a star wanted to have the last word. And what better way to express his anger than the blog. Here’s a recent update:

Day 37 – 10 Ka Dum

Friday, July 25, 2008

For the next few days you will hear and read a lot of shit about me, a lot of it. Keep on reading it῅but don’t react to it. I don’t. Like sometimes when you are travelling in a fast car and you find a dog chasing your car῅barking away. You don’t stop the car and start reacting to the dog῅u don’t῅there’s no point. I don’t wish to react. I don’t have the time for it. Besides, I don’t understand the language of dogs, except for my two – Myson and Myjaan.

Unfortunately, in our industry the developing trend is not to celebrate others’ success῅ every time another person is successful there will be someone trying to pull him down. You don’t increase your own efforts to become successful but try to always decrease someone else’s success῅ that’s the mantra of the industry.

I chose to remain silent. I do not have the time to spend reacting. But even silence speaks. Silence makes more noise than thunder. ῅Bandar sher ko chidhata hai῅. Sirf aawaaz kar sakta hai… Kabhi sher ko maar sakta hai? He can’t do anything. But when the lion roars, a whole pack of monkeys fall from trees!

So keep on reading῅read all the negatives῅read till they get tired of writing. Everyone goes through this῅but not for long. I say just look good, feel good and do good, that’s it. I love you all.

But film critic Deepa Gahlot, who has been at the receiving end of filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma’s ire, feels that this trend is short-lived. “It will fizzle out soon as none of these personalities have that kind of time. An Amitabh Bachchan takes time out of his daily schedule to blog. However it’s more of an one-sided affair. For instance, Ramu accused me of peddling scripts to filmmakers and when I sent him a rejoinder denying it, he didn’t carry my reply. If you want clarification, ask me questions through a public forum and I’m willing to reply. But it doesn’t happen that way,” she says.

Ram Gopal Varma claims that he is not net-savvy but believes that blogging is the medium of the future. “This is the perfect way for celebrities to represent facts correctly. I believe that anyone who is interested in personal and first-hand information gets it straight from the horse’s mouth,” he says. Here’s an excerpt from the director’s blog:

Ram Gopal Varma

Reactions to reactions:

Instead of reviewing reviews of Contract I decided to do that on my series of reactions henceforth. If the idea is to react to the reactions of various people on my thoughts and works, then why should I give special attention to the Khalids and the Deepas of the world? I find more juicier, bitchier and insightful comments coming from others. Come on guys. Let’s have fun!

But what about the allegation that stars use blogs to hit out at critics? “At the end of the day, a blog reflects the actor’s personality. Something in my blog that some perceive as rude could appear funny to others. It is a matter of perspective. At any rate I’m not as articulate as Mr Bachchan and what I express are my random thoughts,” he says.

Actor Akshay Kumar is all set to start his blog but has admitted in a televised interview that he will not use the medium to take pot-shots at his colleagues.

However there are some actors like a Shah Rukh Khan who simply do not have the time or inclination to blog, and others like actor Arjun Rampal have started getting interested in the medium. Says Arjun, “I think it’s cool and a great way to stay in touch with fans. I haven’t read any of the blogs but I’m sure they are fun. I personally haven’t looked at blogging yet but who knows I might do so sometime soon.”

While all star blogs are accessible, one has to create a special user name and password in order to gain entry to Aamir Khan’s blog. This is a new development. Wonder why Khan feels the need to make his netizens compulsorily create an ID. Perhaps the info on his blog is exclusive and the finicky Khan wants to ensure that only die-hard fans log onto his blog. Will the rest of the Bollywood fraternity follow this trend? Let’s wait and watch.

Rocky relationships run deep
 
By Dr Sharda Batra

My niece Jea has had a constant feature in her life – her trials and conflicts with a classmate she just cannot get rid of or wish away. Her friend/enemy has continued to bully, tease and torment her since kindergarten. Jea has tried reasoning, arguing, ignoring and complaining about her. Nothing seems to work.

Naina, an attractive married woman and mother of two, was intensely attached to her broad-shouldered dad and instinctively searched for him in any man she related to, including the one she married. On going through some therapy sessions including one of past life catharsis, Naina broke down while recounting an incident from her childhood.

Apparently, her father had left her mother for another woman who already had a daughter. One day, her father invited her for a nature camp. Naina, who was all of nine years, was delirious with joy at sharing a good time with the man she loved so dearly. However, when she reached there she found that her father was accompanied by his new family and probably had invited her to introduce her to them. Naina said she would never forget how she sat alone under the stars and wept as if her heart would break. Her father was not really interested in her for her own sake, the purpose of this outing was a practical one and not motivated by sheer love. Naina felt terribly let down. The hurt and expectation of the same flavour of love from her man continued to mar her relationships.

Most times we are related to or associated with people who bruise us not just physically, but also our fragile sense of who we are, our social images and professional standings. Generally, such people are very close to us, like a parent or lover is. At times it could be a colleague, a market competitor or even a house-help. This someone knows how to feather touch your feelings till your emotions overwhelm and carry you away in their powerful and blind current. Reason and logic fail, perceptions turn wonky, and the overruling emotion is of being rejected, humiliated, pushed or manipulated, depending on the person and situation.

The threads of such a relationship form a web and you find yourself inextricably trapped in the net. And if one actively gets out of the relationship, one finds that though the name and form of the next contender changes, the web and its pulls and restrictions remain the same. The prison remains the same, only the prisonkeeper changes.

Why is it that human lives and relationships follow some archetypal themes? Why does loving someone often hurt? Why do we suffer most at the hands of those we trust the most? What are the impulses which attract us to some people and is there a technique to detach from painful patterns?

Each of us has an awareness or consciousness, which has many layers. The most superficial layer is of thoughts and perceptions. Deeper are symbols, dreams and memories. Deepest is raw energy and a connection to all beings and every event.

Life is eternal and we get attracted to the same person, group of people again and again, driven by invisible forces and intangible threads of energy created by past actions, forgotten words and ignored thoughts. Some karmic debt of give and take and the law of this karmic exchange make sure that we encounter the same person. The material universe is governed by some laws – the law of gravity, the law of magnetism, etc. The law of cause and effect is one such infallible law. Every cause has an equal and opposite effect, says Newton and the sage nods wisely in assent. Past Life Regression has revealed instances where a man cheats on his wife causing her immense anguish. The triangle is replicated in another lifetime and the wife and the other woman swap roles with the other woman now playing the wronged spouse. Or a violent husband and his wife may exchange actions. However, all karmic replays are not so simple and the guru or the best friend may be born as an only child to a couple and by his untimely demise hasten the evolution of their spirit.

As you sow so you shall reap with intention being the most important factor in judgement.

It is startling (to say the least) when one realises that one has been in the same drama with probably the same person for lifetimes. The purpose of this drama and replay is to rise above it, through it. For accounts to be squared, one or both/all the parties involved have to transcend the conflict by allowing the pain to deepen their understanding of the universality of human nature.

For any of us caught in an unhappy karmic exchange the steps to follow would be:

1. Remind yourself that you yourself have attracted this person/situation in your life by some causes and energies that you have created.

2. That what you intensely love or grossly abhor, in other words whatever disturbs you in the other, is a projection of attributes deep in that part of your consciousness that is universal. All that I detest is something I am capable of. I need to accept this.

3. Train your mind and body to retain their equanimity at every stressful juncture. So conquer your inner nature and do not lose your cool. Neither does it help to clam up and withdraw.

4. Acceptance plays a key role. Accept that if you are unique so is the other person, and give him the space to express his uniqueness.

5. A deep compassion and unconditional love flows which either heals the relationship or carries you to another frequency where you now attract someone of that frequency.

If you introspect, allow yourself to undergo a cathartic flushing, there is always something which has to emerge from the deep recesses of your consciousness to be manifested in daily life.

An increasing awareness of who you are, your shadow areas and also the strengths, are thrown into visibility by the friction of this interaction. A seasoning of the personality and ripening of the soul is catalysed by this ceaseless interaction and energy (karmic) exchange over lifetimes.When you view a relationship from this perspective and take responsibility for your change, slowly there is realisation which clarifies and consoles. More than a squaring of karmic accounts, is the fact that the ferment of the emotional exchange in a relationship adds maturity to the soul and brings a realisation of its true identity.

Gradually, it dawns that the other is another aspect of you and that all relationships have a purpose – to guide you to your self.

Each one is here on his own trip and yet we are together in the journey – to aid, to teach and train and enlighten ourselves through the other. Like Gibran said – “Be like the pillars of a temple. Let there be spaces in your togetherness.”

The writer is a psycho-spiritual counsellor, alternate therapist, medical specialist and pathologist

God inspired me to move on
 
By Ritu Kumar

I see God in the rising sun, in the raindrops slapping on the ground, in the snow settling on the mountains, and in my inner self. I have always believed that it has to be more than just science to make these things happen. Although this understanding might surpass us, as we are human beings who are limited and bound to material bodies, there’s someone watching all of us for sure. He is someone who is more than just a creator of this universe.

Looking back to where I started my journey of spirituality, my memories take me back to the time when I was 26. I started working from Serampore, a city in the Hooghly district in West Bengal. That was the place where I learned printing. The city is very close to my heart. My first sari was printed in the same place when I was 26. After 10 to 15 years, around the time when my block prints became a rage among designers and many industrialists, people started stealing and duplicating my designs.

I acknowledged that the mills in Varanasi and Surat were not only copying my designs, but also started selling them and were making big moolah. I felt dejected. It was a very low phase of my life as my exclusive designs were everywhere in the market, without my name. I decided to enter the combat zone and take these mill owners to court. The journey was so arduous that I sometimes feel that God cradled me in his own hands at that point of time. From there, a fight began and I won the first copyright case in the country.

Since I was given the copyright for my prints, we started raiding many industries and factories, which were stealing my designs. One day, in Serampore, a premise was raided. I was taken aback to see how the designs which were carved out of my soul and heart, were conveniently being copied and sold out like trash. We successfully shut the place down, but the grief clung to my heart.

On my way back, when I crossed the Ganges, I decided to stop by Belur Math, the city that was founded by Swami Vivekananda. It was there that I realised it wasn’t the end. Sitting there, on the banks of the holy river Ganges, God gave me the inspiration to move on. That event signalled that I was ready to move on with my life. While it didn’t mean the end of my grief, that evening on the banks of Ganges brought me a peace I hadn’t experienced before. It felt as if God whispered into my ears that I’m not alone, and there’s a long way to go before I give up. That knowledge was no small thing. Up until then I’d experienced a roller-coaster of emotions, many of which centered on rage and fear. My process of healing began from that very moment.

As told to Shruti Badyal

Democracy needs a certain context
 

I love democracy, I love freedom. But to transform a country which has lived for 2,000 years in slavery is not possible through democratic means; it will take 2,000 years or even more. The mind of India has become accustomed to slavery, and when you give freedom suddenly to slaves they go berserk. It is like suddenly throwing open the doors of a prison and releasing all the prisoners, making them free.

l Democracy needs a certain context which is missing in India

We have more problems than we had before. We have not been able to solve a single problem; we have created thousands of other problems.

The slavery has gone into the very blood and bones, into the very marrow of the nation. To uproot it, something surgical is needed. Just telling people to be free is not enough. And how can the surgery be done if democratic means are adopted? Because “democratic means” simply means just telling people to be more understanding, to be more democratic, to be more independent. But that is not going to help. It is like telling an ill person to be healthy.

l A surgery is needed

Something drastic is needed, something radical is needed, not only medical treatment but something surgical. That is possible only if for 15 years at least the country lives under a benevolent dictatorship. Then compulsory birth control can be imposed on the people. Otherwise their freedom to reproduce is going to create so many problems that no government can ever solve them. By the time you solve a few problems, thousands more people will have arrived with all their problems.

l Poor people cannot be democratic

And when there is so much poverty, so much starvation, talking about democracy is all nonsense. It is like playing a beautiful song on the flute before a hungry man. The song is beautiful but to play the song before a hungry person is absurd, it is ridiculous.

The so-called Indian democracy helps only to increase its problems, to increase violence, because when people are hungry they become violent. These communal riots and all the rape, murder, arson, these show that the animal is surfacing.

l Democracy is borrowed from the west

This democracy helps only the politicians. It is better to drop this empty word “democracy”; it is just a beautiful word borrowed from others. In fact, all the great Indian leaders were educated in England. They saw democracy working beautifully there. They came back to India; they had seen democracy functioning perfectly well. It can function in England, but where is the context here? India should think first about its own tradition, history, past, and in that context we should create a government.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

Ash is everything I could ask for
 

When I am asked how does it feel to be married, I have to think hard because not much has changed really. I am living with my best friend, who is a great companion and she has made life easy for me. Ash is all proper, and correct, while I can be clumsy and a bit all over the place. As it is I don’t think it’s easy to live with men, and Ash has fit in perfectly with my life. Everyday is a learning and growing experience, and when you are with someone like her, there is bound to be a lot of exchange of experiences, stories which keep every day interesting and challenging. Sometimes I do have to try and match up to her, you can’t always let the wife have the upper hand, can you!

Marriage has been a slow, natural and gradual progression for us – first we were friends and then we started getting to know each other and became close to each other. But I won’t say we are still in our honeymooning period, because I have been constantly working through the last year and so has she. So whenever she’s away shooting, I try and be with her and vice versa. Every married couple would try and do that, to try and snatch a few more quality moments with their partners. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s not like Ash stops me from hanging out with my friends. But having said that, once you get married and have someone to go back home too, it’s natural that your priorities change. But I haven’t deserted any of my friends as it’s claimed, neither are we staying aloof from the industry. It’s not like we have become an island in ourselves or something. This whole thing about us laughing at Priyanka and Harman on stage is a ridiculous allegation – that would be very ill mannered, and neither of us is brought up that way.

We understand there’s always going to be speculation about us as a couple because of who we are. And I wouldn’t be foolish to say that our relationship is just like any other ‘normal’ couple. Firstly, I don’t understand what normal is. And secondly, given the external factors that constantly play a hand, it affects the scenario. Ash was hoping things would cool down for us in this regard after we got married, but I always knew it was just the beginning.

Now we are getting used to hearing stories of our fights, public showdowns… which are so untrue. If I have to pick a fight with Ash, I won’t choose a hotel lobby to do so. Give us that much credit at least. Of course, we have our differences and we argue and discuss things, but we also have a rule that we sort out the issues before going to bed rather than letting them fester while sleeping over it.

Ash is everything and more than what I could have asked for. Does she cook for me? No, she doesn’t have the time. But does she look after me; give me a sense of perspective on things? Yes.

Is my marriage affecting our work? How can it? It’s not like we are constantly glued to each other and only working with each other. There is no brand Bachchan as it’s made out to be. There is nothing one is trying to prove to any one. Not when we are making an appearance, not in the shows we are doing at the world tour, nor in the statements we make. Life’s just bliss right now, and nothing can change that.

Family Fission Goes ‘Critical’
 
By Ranjan Kamath

On August 15, India enters what in the 21st century is deemed ‘middle age’; a time when we consider our achievements and contemplate the legacy we confer on our children – India’s next generation.

Our Prime Minister will pride our imminent membership of the nuclear club, from the ramparts of the Red Fort but what will not find mention is the Indian nuclear family ‘going critical’.

My parents and other children of independence selflessly provided us ‘nuclear’ security built with the brick and mortar of tradition and values.

Meanwhile our children, for whom we create this future energy, deplete emotionally while we revel in the empowerment of having achieved critical mass with our knowledge economy.

The price paid for this bacchanalia of empowerment, is the ‘nuclear fission’ of the family; cocking a snook at the continuity of tradition and undermining familial security sans social safeguards.

Under imminent threat is the atom of the nuclear family – the child.

Our constitutional fathers cannot be faulted for not anticipating this sorry status; else they would have guaranteed children fundamental rights to both parents at all times.

In 1990 with India signing the internationally legally binding UN Convention on the Rights of the Child http://www.unicef.org/crc/ India committed itself to ensuring children’s rights and accountability before the international community.

With divorce becoming the rule, rather than exception, children are subjected to parental abuse in custodial battles. They are reduced to disputed ‘property’ rather than ‘hearts and minds’.

For five years I was a father to two sons, before being plunged into the insanity of a custody battle. Instantly, black coats oversaw my mutation from loving father to social psychopath. Blind Justice sanctified my ‘guilt’, generously affording me time to establish my innocence.

My ensuing campaign was not for child custody – never having lost the hearts and minds of my children but for the restoration of my children’s rights to a father, fighting for the right to fulfil my parental duties and responsibilities.

I was advised to “move on, get married and sire more children”by well-wishers who considered mine a losing battle. Feminists and social workers scoffed at my determination, legally secure in the “infallibility of the woman”.

A female officer of justice, admonished me for “going against Dharma” by seeking access to my children, till I reminded her we were in the precincts of law῅ not Dharma!

Five years later, when my sons opted to “stay with Papa”, the State Womens’ Commission ineffectually attempted to ‘lynch’ me with justice. As a man and father, I had ‘violated’ the rights of a woman by depriving a mother of her children.

While the judicial system yawns awake from its anachronistic slumber the processes of justice remain punitive for children, with custodial matters taking years to resolve. Men are legally emasculated by the urban woman who abuses the protection granted by the justice system -to her rural counterpart -to wreak vengeance on husband and father.

Skilful lawyers scavenge on the remnants of a nuclear family in its death throes, earning handsomely from warring couples who could have invested instead in their child’s education. Feminists and social workers reduce all men to village drunks and brutish wife-beaters to justify their raison d’etre ignoring the social dichotomy of rural and urban India. Ofcourse, the rights of the ‘vulnerable’ child are being ‘protected’ too, by denying it a father!

In my encounter with child rights’ organisations, I was comforted with the information that abuse in the eyes of the law, includes child labour, physical and sexual violence, not mental and certainly not parental abuse!

If we continue to ‘split our atoms’, we will nurture a dysfunctional generation of youth with explosive potential beyond our social control.

So, let not fathers and mothers seek votes of confidence to safeguard our atomic interests; if we cannot prevent fission between parents, let us prevent fall-out by evolving parenting protocols to insulate our atoms, so that India can envision an energy rich nuclear future.

You can mail your responses to ranjan.kamath@ gmail.com

Women men won’t commit to
 

“I am always attracted to the men that have commitment issues,” said a recently dumped friend, valiantly trying to figure out what went wrong. “I think I’m just attracted to the type of man who isn’t into a relationship. I get too emotionally attached but all they’re really after is a quick shag and then they want to move on to their next conquest.”

But I wasn’t so sure. The last three men she’d dated had all started out desperately wanting to shack up with her in connubial bliss. (After all, she is 6-foot with a hot Pilates bod and a tomboy streak that sends any man’s pheromones spinning in a tizzy.) Yet after dating them for around three to four months, everything suddenly goes pear-shaped. All three have whipped out the age-old antiquated axiom: “I’m just not ready for a relationship.”

While she’s currently sitting at zero-for-three and mightily confused, it could be easy to conclude a pertinent message that has emerged: It’s not them, it’s her. Coming on too strong, perhaps? Too emotionally needy?

When I suggested to this little fact to her, she wasn’t buying it.

“Maybe it’s because subconsciously I don’t want to commit,” she retorted. “I’m repeatedly asked out by the Mr Nice but I’m just not interested. He doesn’t give me that excitement I crave either.”

There are many women around the world that are complaining of the same conundrum: They simply can’t snag a boyfriend (let alone a husband) or even a relationship that lasts more than the four-month mark. So what is it about these women that makes an eligible man run a mile?

In trying to come up with a shortlist of things of things women shouldn’t do to get a man to commit, I decided to consult a bunch of folks to determine where the women are going wrong.

Women who are too needy. When women try desperately to get their man to commit, she tends to turn (in his eyes) into a bonafide bunny-boiling psychopath who is trying to cramp his style and close him in. A continuous stream of phone calls, barrage of text messages, invitations, outings with her folks (and temper tantrums if he wants to see his mates), is enough to make him all but run away to the desert to remain celibate for all eternity.

The writer is an author, columnist & dating expert

(You can mail your responses to asksambrett@gmail.com)

Music tunes in to video games
 

Jayprakash Mehta always had a passion for classic rock. He was the guitarist of his college band, and now after 20 years, he is passing on his passion to his children, but in a playful manner. “Thanks to video games,” says Jayprakash. “I always wanted my children to feel the music, the way I do. Thanks to Rock Band, today both me and my children share a common interest in music,” adds Jayprakash. Recently, video games have proved to be the trusted missionaries of music, and in a way are promoting music of the bygone era, immortalising legendary names among the younger generation. After the Internet, musicians today are looking up to video games to reach out to their fans, and this venture has been mutually beneficial for both the musicians as well as the video game manufacturers.

Testimony to the popularity of the games are international acts like Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, Metallica, Guns ‘n’ Roses to name a few. In the coming years, Harmonix’s Rock Band-II game will feature Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Shackler’s Revenge from their most anticipated album Chinese Democracy along with tracks by AC/DC and Rush. Another game manufacturer Activision, recently released a version of Guitar Hero dedicated to Aerosmith, and another version based on metal gods Metallica is due by next year. There are bands like Motley Crew and Rush which are re-mastering their hits after making endorsement deals with various video game manufacturing companies.

So, are video game manufacturers looking at music as the new tool to promote games or is it the other way round? Says Chirag Srikant, a game developer from Jump Games, “Though music is a very important part of video games, I don’t think games can do without it. Endorsing musicians for background scores in video games is a unique business model. Games like Rock Band and Guitar Heroes have only a few characters and levels in them, so they are banking on music to help them do good business.” However, the popularity of music in video games has also given way to a new genre of music called “video game music”. Today the web has a number of artistes who are termed as video game musicians, and the list seems to be incorporating new names on everyday basis (Mark Griskey, Inon Zur to name a few).

Though this “newly-found-friendship” between music promoters and video game manufacturers are creating waves in the international market, it is yet to catch up in India. “The Indian market for games is picking up. However, a majority of Indians still take gaming casually, a change in this attitude can help India experience a boom in gaming, and this can eventually help the musicians in the long run,” says Jessy Rapczak, a US-based game developer, who is currently setting up his business in India.

So, with a recent boom in animation (both in Bollywood and ad films), are Indian musicians ready to follow this international trend and promote their music through video games? “I don’t have a problem, as long as the games maintain an international standard. If given a choice, I will go for a game that will have a global appeal both in terms of the quality of animation and subject,” says Ehsaan Noorani from the composer duo Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Game developers too are echoing the same notes. Gautam, a mobile game developer for Jump Games says, “It is true that Indian animation has undergone acute changes in the recent past, but we are lagging behind when it comes to meeting international standards. The first priority should be to develop games that have an international appeal, only then we can focus on promoting Indian musicians on the global forum.”

However, there is hardly any doubt that Indian gamers are awaiting this welcome change, and so are the musicians. So, which genre of music will dominate the Indian “gamosphere”? What will be the response of the record labels, as such a joint venture will demand an amicable relationship between record labels and game manufacturing companies? Will this “progressive alliance” be profitable to our musicians, and how will it contribute towards revamping today’s ailing music industry? To this Ehsaan says, “I donthink record labels will have any problems with this venture. In fact, I think they will be more than happy to welcome game manufacturers and promote their games.”

Stressing on the fact that “India is the only country in the globe where record labels retain the intellectual copyrights of a musician”, Ehsaan sees this venture more profitable for record labels than musicians. He adds, “As the copyrights are with the record labels, musicians are bound to follow labels’ decisions. But yes, in terms of royalty, the musicians might get something more than what they usually get.”

So, if you are a die-hard gamer, and have a need for speed for pentatonic guitar arpeggios, this “progressive alliance” between the musicians and video games is sure to sweep you off your feet.

A guide to what’s new in the audio, video world
 
By Naresh Sadhwani and Deepak Jhangiani

Consumer Buying Habits

An international study by A.C. Nielsen has found that worldwide customers prefer to scan the web for their specific requirements of consumer electronic items and a good 80 per cent buy from a store whose website they visited first. So don’t be surprised if the Indian retailer also wakes up to this fact and spruces up his website almost as lavishly as he does his retail outlet.

Technology

eReading is a fast growing market, whereby a single eBook reader can now replace a library of books. Till now the screen size was a limiting factor leading to eye strain. Sometime back we spoke about the future of e-books and how they would soon come in foldable models. Now using a polymer (instead of the conventional silicon) technology Polymer Vision (a spin-off of Philips) is promoting a Readius with a foldable display. And with its mammoth memory you can now carry a whole library virtually in your pocket. Many other conveniences accrue: like comfortable reading while in motion/reading books at the airport, train station, park, anywhere without carrying the load of book/s. Even better is the fact that the battery carries a large charge which can last up to a week. Paperless offices now transform into paperless reading.

Readius΅.

The full display measures 127 mm; it displays 16 shades of grey and has 4 GB of on-board memory for all your e-books. The folded unit is 56mm x 100mm x 21mm. It has about a ten-day battery life and has USB, GPRS/EDGE and DVB-H connectivity to download data wirelessly. Already in the trial mode, the device is expected to hit the stands soon and will change reading habits forever.

TV Picture Quality

The march of technology goes on unabated. The latest fad in the market is the ‘telescopic Pixels’ an organic LED which is slimmer than the conventional LCD with far superior picture and sound quality. The technology works on the principle of several tiny mirrors which help to spread the light and thus increase the brightness and enhance the overall picture clarity.

Readers are invited to email their queries/suggestions/comments to sadhwanis@vsnl.com

Indian-Born Confused American
 

What will it be? The Orange and Green? The Star Spangled Banner and Pledge of Allegiance? Having spent a significant amount of time in both the United States and India, having loved and hated aspects of both, we’ve been trying to decide where to raise our child.

After much brain-racking and discussion, there are some very significant differences that we’ve uncovered in terms of the value systems of India and the US. We find ourselves perched somewhere in between, see-sawing from side to side depending on the issue at stake.

In the US, it’s very clear that the individual comes first. Children are reared to look after themselves and their own interests, sometimes to the absurdly extreme point of not sharing their toys with others for fear they may catch some infectious germs. That is great, because as parents, we know our child will protect himself and won’t suffer great hurt. As a continuation of this self-protection, there is a focus on civic responsibility and caring for one’s infrastructure.

Littering is a no-no, taxes a must, and looking after the environment you live in is paramount. But in exchange for the sparkling cleanliness and ease, there’s a lack of humanity and warmth. Since we’re looking at extremes, we can say that in India, on the other hand, it is common practice that the individual be subordinated to the common good. Family is important and parents are always right. A child’s individual needs can be dismissed with the snap of a finger and a wave of the hand. And it doesn’t end even if you move out of home. Parents, in-laws, and a battalion of aunties, uncles, and self-dubbed “well-wishers” are only too ready to guide your every move. Here in India, there’s no civic responsibility, no care for the surrounding environment. But although we often do things to make others happy, we are blessed with the love and concern (and two cents!) of any number of people, starting from the milkman, who has been around since the day we were born.

Finally, we decided not to choose. Why deprive our child of either when we’ve been lucky enough to have the best of both? Schooling, friends, lifestyle, everything can be transnational. In today’s age, he can study the same syllabus whether he’s in Timbuktu, China, or Antarctica. In order to achieve this, we’re making a conscious effort to live in both countries. So even though his accent might be a little confused, we’re hoping he ends up appreciating the best and understanding the worst of both India and the United States and everywhere in between.

Designer’s studio
 

The moment I’m asked about my favourite photo-shoot, images of my latest collection flash across my mind. Infused with energy and vigour, this collection is one that makes me feel proud of having created it.

And its shoot was very exciting.

I remember being keyed up about the shoot since I was going to meet Indrani Dasgupta for the first time after her wedding. And as expected, the glow on her face was mesmerising. Stylist Ashima Kapoor made her look even more stunning with natural and light makeup.

We planned to do the shoot in my garden and I think that is the main reason why we all were relaxed and things went on pretty smoothly. It was one of those times when things naturally fall into place, just the way you like them to be. Even the weather was wonderful, breezy and cool – perfect for an outdoor shoot. I remember noticing a certain feminine aura about Indrani. The preparation and the shoot happened in a lovely flow, it felt as if even the weather was complementing the garments.

‘Now, I’m an actor and singer too’
 

New age filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, who has directed films like Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya and Don, has now taken to acting, much on the lines of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt and Aamir Khan – who’ve been extremely successful as both, actors and directors. Farhan reprises the role of a rock star in his very first film, Rock On, which will release this month end.

“I would like to believe it’s my burning passion for acting that led me to act in Rock On! The film’s music is also of the genre that’s closest to me in terms of personal preference – rock. The character was exciting and it was challenging to sing the songs. The time also felt right and it was the next step in realising my creative goals. I am a writer, producer and director – now actor and singer too,” says Farhan.

What was it like to produce a film starring himself?

“The director, Abhishek Kapoor, was very sure he wanted his lead actor to sing the songs. But when I heard the script, regardless of whether I were to act in it eventually depending on how well I sang, I wanted to be a part of it and be associated with it in some way. It was special so I decided to produce it. This script took me back to the Dil Chahta Hai space emotionally, which was a wonderful zone to be in after eight years. It also released the little pent-up musician in me!” says Farhan who plays the guitar with some degree of professionalism.

Farhan is also playing the lead part in The Fakir of Venice directed by Anand Surapur and his sister Zoya’s Luck By Chance. The Fakir of Venice was started before Rock On began. The makers of that film have a certain release strategy in mind; it’s bent more towards the international audience. I play the central character and Annu Kapoor plays the fakir. It’s a black comedy based on a true-life story – how scams, shams and lies are a part of our life. Luck By Chance does not have the conventional format of a hero – it’s an ensemble cast comprising Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor me and some other characters which are integral to the movement of the story,” explains Farhan.

Given he’s doing full-fledged acting parts in these films, did he ever want to be an actor in the first place? “The biggest memory of my growing up years was the hero – the amazing man who could do anything and I was so influenced by films that this was the logical thing to do. But my ideas changed as I grew older and I decided to create films, rather than just be a part of someone else’s film. In fact I have watched actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Hrithik Roshan at close quarters when I directed them in my films and we discussed scenes and how they would approach them, albeit in their own different ways. It was very educative. All that information comes to good use as an actor today. I now sub-consciously plot my points according to my scenes,”says Farhan.

Is he confident enough to direct himself? “I don’t know if I can direct myself. It’s difficult for me to focus on just one thing. I need an associate/partner who can look into other aspects when I am acting, but I haven’t found that kind of creative link up yet. Direction takes too much and I haven’t reached the stage where I am so comfortable as an actor to know how to approach my role with ease and direct also. I’m still searching,” says the father of two.

How do his daughters react to him – as a director or an actor? “Shakya is eight years old and she pretty much knows what I do. Akira is only 17 months old but she has taken to the music of Rock On like Shakya had to DCH’s music. I take them along to my sets so that they know what daddy does and understand why he stays away for long spells of time. Akira gets spooked when she sees my promos on television and sees me sitting in the same room!” says the the director-turned actor, smiling. So, what’s easier – directing or acting? “What’s easy is subjective. I feel anything you enjoy doing is easy. Both jobs are very demanding, but direction takes a lot more and is more difficult,” says Farhan who after working with his father Javed Akhtar in Lakshya, is now collaborating with his mother, Honey Irani on a script called Beauty Parlour.

And it’s back to calling the shots come November, for his next directorial venture, Voice from the Sky.

Harman mum about rumours on his split
 
Film news

When the rumours of Priyanka-Harman split broke out, Harman was in Rajasthan shooting for Victory with some of the Aussie cricketers who he’s been good friends with. When his relationship drama was played out in the papers, there was a sympathy wave coming his away and the cricketers were insistent on taking him out on a boy’s night out to cheer him up.

Co-star Amrita Rao apparently went a step further almost offering him condolences over the split. According to a unit hand she had even written him a card saying something to the effect that it wasn’t the end of the world and he would bounce back and should keep his chin up.

Initially, since all of them were being so sweet to him, Harman didn’t want to burst their bubble and played along hoping they would realise that no such thing had happened.

But then when things didn’t stop, he was going red-faced trying to explain that things weren’t as reported in the press and he wasn’t heart-broken at all. Imagine the embarrassment his co-stars suffered. But they do deserve credit for actually making Harman admit that he is seeing Priyanka, something the media hasn’t been able to do.

Vidya takes her designer to task

Vidya Balan’s woes continue with the recent flak she received for her awful dress sense in Kismat Konnection. Probably that’s why she was seen taking her new designer to task on the sets of her next film produced by Vishal Bharadwaj.ῠ The hapless designer who had reached the sets with a bagful of clothes for Vidya to choose from was shocked to see her not liking any of the outfits specially made for her.

Designers mumble, ‘somebody please tell Vidya, given her limitations with the western attire there is only so much a designer could do’. But Vidya was smarting under negative feedback she had just received for her latest film and like they say hell hath no fury like a woman criticised. Vidya’s tirade against the designer and her refusal to shoot in outfits given to her, held up the shoot and the director himself had to come to her van and cajole her to relent. She did, but only when she was allowed to use her own outfit that was quickly organised to avoid any further delay.

Does life imitate art or vice versa?
 
By Vikram Bhatt

August 3 was friendship day and co-incidentally my classmates and I happened to arrange an evening together after about 13 years on that same day. It was a nice coming together and then as the evening wore on I wondered that if I put this in a film that school friends met after years on friendship day, the critics would say how very corny and I would never hear the last of it. and yet it was true and it happened.

Later as I drove home I wondered if life imitated art or did art imitate life? This has been an age-old discussion and one that has many consequences.

Last week after the Ahemdabad blasts a journalist from a magazine called me and asked me if I felt some blasts were inspired from the recently released film Contract. I begged ignorance and said that I had not seen Contract and don’t have a clue about the sequence in question. Though I had this to say to the journalist, considering that Contract released only a week before the blasts, it would be really scary to know that a terrorist outfit could plan, fund and execute a bombing in less than a week. Then this would be a really unsafe place to live in and yet I know that this cannot be true. So itjust a mere co-incidence that the film and the blasts all came together, or will we never know the truth?

I had a sequence in my film Ghulam where Aamir Khan runs towards an oncoming train and the sequence we called Dus Dus ki Daud. Later people told me that the youth were indulging in this kind of activity on the tracks after the film, but when I spoke to my writer he said he got the idea from youth that was already indulging in this kind of activity. So once again, does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

There are two things that I really muse about in this realm and the first one is that why is that if life imitates, it only imitates the wrong doings of the protagonists and not the right doings? They say that people start smoking and drinking after their on-screen idols do the same but why don’t they respect elders like the heroes and come first in class in all the subjects and fight for the innocent and the down trodden and save the girl from hooligans? So can we say that cinema only inspires the bad and not the good? Is that not really convenient? Blame it on the movies boys, a good whipping horse what?

And then my other point is, cinema is only about a hundred years old and there is nothing in the world that did not happen before the coming of the movies. There was betrayal, deceit, addictions, rapes, dacoits, intense sexuality, wars, politics, incest – just about everything and so how is life imitating cinema?

Anyone who claims to be original is lying. There are ideas that inspire ideas for sure but nothing inspires our imaginations like life does.

Cinema is a medium that freezes the events of life for everyone to see and keeps them ingrained in celluloid for generations. We cannot be blamed for inspiring the wrong doings, for immortalising them, we stand guilty.

The stuff of legends
 

There have been many biographies of Sir Richard Burton, the renowned and enigmatic Victorian explorer, ethnologist, archaeologist, author, translator, and one of the greatest linguists of his era. Curiously, however, there have been no major novels based on Burton’s extraordinary life. Iliya Troyanov, in a remarkable German novel Der Weltensammler, has corrected this omission. The English translation of his work, The Collector of Worlds, has created a sensual adventure, and an exploration of Burton’s behaviour.

Burton was a brilliantly charismatic scholar and adventurer. Even from an early age he set out to learn all he could about swords and guns. Duelling, riding, smoking, gambling and experiments with various forms of debauchery propelled him through a precocious adolescence, at the end of which, despite an obsession with the acquisition of languages, especially Arabic, he was sent down from Trinity College, Oxford.

But the loss of one opportunity signalled the beginning of another and he joined the British East India Company in 1842, aged 21, as an ensign – the lowest rank of commissioned infantry officer. India held the immediate appeal of having many languages. Burton soon mastered Persian, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Marathi, and over the next seven years greedily took in all he could find: delving into tantric Brahmin rituals; converting to Sikhism and then Islam; enjoying Eastern erotica; keeping native mistresses; and writing.

Once he began, he kept on writing for the rest of his life. He even gave in to the first stirrings of a lifelong love of disguise, learning the secrets of those with whom he mingled. Burton’s controversial army career (he served under General Charles Napier) ended dramatically because a report he had written on the boy brothels of Karachi came to the attention of Napier’s successor and was considered disgraceful because it was so accurate as to suggest participation on the part of the reporter.

Burton’s departure from the army threatened to destroy him, but he went on to further adventures around the world. He famously entered Mecca in disguise (1853), was wounded in Somaliland, sought the source of the Nile on two separate eventful journeys (1855 and 1857-58) and in 1860 crossed America to visit the Mormons in Salt Lake City.

Immediately after his marriage to the staunchly Catholic Isabel Arundell he embarked on a turbulent diplomatic career, being posted to Fernando Po (1861), then to Santos in 1865 and Damascus (1869). He was sent to Trieste in 1872, where he remained until his death 12 years later. Isabel then burned many of his documents and manuscripts, perpetrating one of the greatest literary crimes of the century.

Troyanov’s sympathetic novel is the product of immense research and understanding. We are led into the author’s imagined history of actual events as seen first through the eyes of Burton’s Indian servant, who introduced him to the languages and mysteries of the East; then from the viewpoint of the Ottoman governor of Hijaz, who conducts an enquiry with the men who accompanied the disguised Burton on his journey to Mecca; and finally we have the account of Sidi Muburak, the former African slave, who led Burton and his companion John Hanning Speke on their ill-fated journey to find the source of the Nile in 1857.

Iliya Troyanov himself is a collector of worlds. He was born in Bulgaria, fled to West Germany with his family to escape persecution, and grew up speaking German before emigrating to Kenya where he learned English.

He is the author of Mumbai to Mecca, an account of his own pilgrimage to Mecca, and in The Collector of Worlds, he has painstakingly followed the outline of Burton’s cryptic career, but unashamedly elaborated on the many frustrating gaps. It is a fascinating revelation, and speaks as much of Troyanov’s personal approach to Burton’s mystery as to any real solution.

In doing so it invites us to share Burton’s passion both for geographical discovery and for the unknowable and the unthinkable.

One of the great values of this absorbing novel is that we are allowed to discover for ourselves the passionate curiosity that shaped Burton’s entire life, where he used language and religion as his passports to a hitherto forbidden world, and where his zeal for adventure knew no bounds.

Troyanov’s scholarship has given us a new understanding of Burton’s world. It is an intensely passionate journey, and a wonderful piece of storytelling.

End of imagination?
 
By Sunil K. Poolani

While growing up reading good literature, it was not books that really fascinated us, but literary journals in which not just stories, poems and essays by the cr
me-de-la-cr
me of the writing world appeared, but those publications also carried analyses of and interviews with great writers, and reviews of their books. Armed with those journals, we debated and literally fought for hours, days, weeks and months together about the contents.

In those pre-liberalisation days, we could not afford the price of those journals (between Rs 2 and Rs 15), and at least 10 poor souls used to savour one single copy; by the time that copy did that tortuous round, it resembled an opponent in a Schwarzenegger movie.

Then, unlike today, many large-selling publications from the stable of big media organisations devoted a fair amount of space for good writing. In English, there were the venerated Illustrated Weekly and the Bombay magazine; both closed shop long time back, thank you. But it is heartening to know that some regional languages still follow that tradition – like Mathrubhumi in Malayalam and Desh in Bengali.

Also, there were these brilliant ‘little’ magazines that originated, since centuries, in far-flung areas like Santiniketan and Karimnagar, espousing issues as diverse as Rabindra Sangeet and Naxalism. They had the lives of fireflies but they burnt bright when they were alive, and every death encouraged another firefly to take shape and shine.

In English, apart from the government-sponsored daft efforts, there were, in the last two decades, some great journals that made a deep dent in literary minds. Civil Lines was one. Founded by the indomitable Ravi Dayal, Civil Lines swiftly became the abode of quintessential new Indian writing. Later, it was edited by the talented duo, Mukul Kesavan and Kai Friese. Nonetheless, like its brethren across the spectrum, it too died an immature death, but not before leaving an indelible mark – challenging the till-then norms by refusing to publish to a set schedule.

There were also similar literary endeavours (some still do exist, just in case) like Chandrabhaga, Biblio, Kavya Bharati, International Gallerie and Yatra. All these followed the model of their international ‘Bible’: the esteemed Granta, the UK-based journal which continues to whet many a connoisseur’s taste for new and good writing across the globe.

Today, literary magazine is a diminishing trade and a difficult passion to indulge in; no serious publisher in the world would risk burning her/his fingers in it today. In the last four years, the third issue of my ambitious ‘quarterly’ journal, Urban Voice, just came out. I, nevertheless, would like to bring it out periodically.

So that is why I watch with rapt admiration when I come across two amazing ventures, Atlas and Little Magazine. The former is brought out by the talented poet and prose writer Sudeep Sen and the latter by a dynamic duo, Antara Dev Sen and Pratik Kanjilal.

Little Magazine has, so far, stood the test of time, and has carved a niche of its own – offering, issue after issue, some of the best original writings in English and translations from even remote Indian tongues. Atlas is just two issues old, and Sen was explaining to me the vicissitudes of all kinds while producing a volume of this oeuvre. “It’s a tough game, unless you have loads of money.”

Hope these last vestiges of intellectual sanity live on in an arid land of crass commercialisation.

Tailpiece

C.P. Scott, the founder editor of The Manchester Guardian, once said, “News is sacred, opinion is free.” If our newspapers hardly believe in reporting news and resort to concocted opinions, a new breed of Indian novels is today banking on contemporary issues and polity for cheap, titillating fictionalisation. What next? I will leave it to you.

The writer is the publisher and managing editor, Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. Write to him at poolani@gmail.com

‘I value the words used in a book’
 

I am an avid reader. I cannot be away from books at all. Almost three books are always with me at a time. Presently, I’m reading Barack Obama’s autobiography and I found it amazing. For me, language matters the most. Being a daughter of an author, I have always been associated with books since my childhood. I value the words used in a book the most.

I like reading poetry and non-fiction. Fiction and bestsellers are least fascinating to me. Though selecting a favourite author is a bit difficult as there are too many I like, Amitav Ghosh, Kiran Nagarkar and Salman Rushdie top my list of favourites. I like the style and depth in their writing.

One book that I have read numerous times is Sare Sukhan Hamare, the collected works of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I read this book again and again, and every time I discover a new meaning from Faiz’s beautifully composed verses. I like this book because I have heard Faiz recite many of his poems many times. Moreover, at different stages in my life, every poem comes out with completely different meanings.

Another book that has been truly fascinating is Two Alone, Two Together: Letters Between Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru 1940-1964. It presents the rich inheritance of the Gandhi family. It has all the lessons that Indira Gandhi learnt from her father and later Nehruji learnt from his daughter. It is a beautiful presentation of a father-daughter bonding with a perfect combination of legacy.

Shakespeare’s stratford
 
By Christine Pemberton

Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is one of those places that you feel you already know well, even if you are visiting the pretty English town for the first time. It must be all those years of studying Shakespeare at school, that somehow makes everything seem so familiar.

There are streets lined with pretty black and white gabled Elizabethan houses, of which five have special historic significance, since they all relate to Shakespeare’s life.

Visit Hall’s Croft, which used to be the home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susannah; Nash’s House, and New Place, where Shakespeare died.

Just a short drive out of the town are Mary Arden’s House, the family home of Shakespeare’s mother, and the iconic Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. This much photographed beautiful thatched cottage in Shottery village was the home of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, before her marriage. We visited Anne Hathaway’s cottage early on a sunny, summer morning, the first people there, just beating a bus load of camera-happy Japanese by a whisker. We wandered through the panelled rooms, stooping to enter the low-beamed doors, and then visited the beautiful gardens. Amongst all the flowers, there is a pretty little arbour with a rustic bench, and you can sit there, press a discreet button, and listen to a private recital of some of the best known Shakespearean sonnets. A real treat.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust manages these five houses, and easiest and most economical way to visit these historic properties is to buy a combined ticket, allowing you to visit them all. If you only have the time or inclination to visit one of these homes, then make it Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

Back in town, take a short stroll along the banks of the river, past the barges and the over-fed ducks, which brings you to the pretty and equally much-photographed Holy Trinity Parish Church. It is here that William Shakespeare was baptised, served as a lay rector of the church, and was buried in the church in 1616.

Although the historical sites are a must, for me the real heart of Stratford is the unpretentious Royal Shakespeare Theatre on the banks of the River Avon. We pre-booked our tickets for Julius Caesar on the Internet, as well as the absolutely fascinating and not-to-be missed backstage tour. We did the tour in the afternoon, and so saw the props and the scenery for the play that we would see later that same night.

They show you everything that is involved backstage, from the sound system, the sets, to the dressing rooms, and the racks of costumes, wigs, boots and costume jewellery. You get see how the props are laid out at the side of the stage, all labelled and meticulously organised – the scroll for this character in this scene, and the sword for that character. Then, much to the childrens’ delight, we went on stage, and saw the set for the opening scene and looked out at the empty auditorium. It really gives you a great feeling of how a theatre works, and that evening when we watched the play, there was an added element of awareness and understanding.

The rhythm of Stratford revolves around the theatre. Restaurants serve early dinners for theatre-goers, all timed to the second, so that you can eat and be in your seat for curtain-up. Pre-order a glass of wine for the interval, and wander out onto the wide terrace on the river bank. Boats drift past in the wonderful light of an English summer’s evening, the ducks are so lazy they can hardly bother to eat the bread people toss to them, and with a little bit of imagination, the scene would hardly have changed since Shakespeare’s time.

The next morning, we wandered round the town centre, pottering around the shops, and then strolled down to the river, fed the ubiquitous ducks, and watched the lock gates open to let barges sail through.

But wait. What was that sound? Tinkly sounding bells. The rhythmic stamping of feet. Clapping. To my great delight, and much to the mystification of the Indian contingent in my family, there was a display of Morris dancing taking place. Morris dancing really is the English at their most eccentric best (I am English, so am perfectly entitled to say this!). Men and women, wearing extravagant clothing, with layers of bells round their ankles and sporting some of the fanciest head-gear you will ever see, dancing around in a circle: a bearded man with his face blackened, and wearing a hat decorated lavishly with flowers – it doesn’t get more eccentric than that.

Watching this display of English mid-summer revelry, I couldn’t but wonder if the great man himself hadn’t watched the same traditional dances, on this very spot by the river, some 400 years ago.

Getting there

By Air: The airport operates flights daily from over 60 national and international destinations. Alternatives include Heathrow Airport, East Midlands Airport and Coventry Airport. The Birmingham International Airport is located a mere 20 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. Multiple shuttle, coach, and limousine services offer transportation to your final destination.

By Road: To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London, take the M40 motorway and get off at Junction 15. Distance 102 miles (164 km), journey time approximately 2 hours.

By Train: Stratford-upon-Avon train station is located around half a mile west of the town centre. The town is easily accessible by foot from the station. There are regular services to Birmingham Snow Hill station (around an hour), Warwick (around 30 minutes) and London Marylebone (around two and a half hours).

Tourist information: Stratford-on-Avon District Council

Elizabeth House, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6HX

Email: info@stratford-dc.gov.uk Tel: 01789 267575 Fax: 01789 260 007

Accommodation

Stratford has four star hotels in Stratford Upon Avon which will suit most hi-end travellers seeking accommodation in Stratford Upon Avon.

Grab the free stuff
 

Whether it is New York’s Staten Island Ferry or London’s National Gallery, free activities are a welcome bonus for travellers of all ages and incomes. Travel website Travelandleisure.com has come up with a list of the world’s best free stuff for travellers.

n Free sightseeing: Get the inside track on a city from someone who knows it best, a local. These volunteers want to show off their town, and won’t demand a tip. Greeters can be scheduled via e-mail or telephone and should be arranged several weeks to a month ahead.

n Free bicycles: Zip around town on two wheels. In Copenhagen, Zurich, Bern, and Helsinki, you can borrow a bicycle from stands stationed around the city. Each program requires a nominal deposit which is returned after your ride when you lock the bike up. Many cities, including Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Lyon, offer free bikes for the first half hour (after that you’ll have to fork over some cash).

n Free podcasts: Download podcasts to your MP3 player and get a step-by-step narration of some of the world’s hottest spots. In Europe, Rick Steves will guide you through the Louvre, Versailles, the Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, the Uffizi Gallery, and other sites. Zevisit has free downloadable audio guides to scores of European cities. Author Peter Caine has a free podcast based on his book, Walking the Da Vinci Code in Paris.

n Free public transport: In Europe, 27 InterCity Hotels throughout Germany and one in Vienna offer free local public transportation to guests while visitors to New York can’t beat the spectacular view of the skyline during the 25-minute ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

n Free Accommodation: A hotel can be the most expensive part of a vacation so try living in someone else’s home while they live in yours. List your house or apartment on a vacation-exchange site like Only in America. To go global, the International Home Exchange Network features listings all over the world.

n Free Skiing: Try the Utah package where an early morning flight to Salt Lake City provides a boarding pass on which you can ski all day at Deer Valley Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, and The Canyons Resort. In Colorado, several resorts offer some type of free-skiing program to reward volunteer work and Quebec give a one day pass to anyone who dresses like Santa on Santa Claus Day.

n Free Sports events: Each year, dozens of Olympic teams train at the Utah Olympic Park, while at Lake Placid, New York, you can watch Olympic and professional figure skaters and hockey teams training for free.

n Free Museums and Zoos: Some of the world’s top museums don’t charge a cent. The national museums and galleries in England, Scotland, and Wales are free and you can’t miss the National Gallery, the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert. In Washington DC, admission to all 19 Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo is free.

n Free Concerts: Top-notch music from world-class performers can be a pricey affair but in rare spots around the globe. In South Africa, the precursor to the annual Cape Town Jazz Festival is the free concert on Greenmarket Square, which kicks off the main festival. At Antibes, France, take in the finale free concert at the celebrated Jazz a Juan International Annual Jazz Festival.

n Free Movies: In Paris every summer, the ultramodern Parc de la Villette outside the city draws movie lovers with its giant outdoor screen and free Open Air Cinema festival. In Baltimore, The American Visionary Art Museum sponsors Flicks on the Hill, an outdoor film series featuring free outdoor movies while Pismo Beach, California presents cinema under the stars every other Wednesday.

Fundamentals
 
By Senjam Raj Sekhar

Karnataka Quiz Association (KQA) celebrated its silver jubilee with style. ASKQANCE 2008, the 25th anniversary quiz festival held in the last week of June featured nine quizzes held over two days. The quizzes included subject specific quizzes like entertainment, sports, science etc and also quizzes for school and college going quizzers. The Open Quiz was a national affair with five out of the eight places taken by non-Bangalore teams. The quiz was eventually won by We Are Like This Wonly (Movin Miranda, Anustup Datta, Ochintya Sharma and Thejaswi Udupa).

This week we excerpt some questions from the informal sports and science quiz.

Write with your suggestions, questions (with answers) to D4/11 (GF), Exclusive Floors, DLF Phase-V, Gurgaon 122 002 or email senjam@gmail.com

Askqance 2008

1. Connect: Vienna, Catalan, Sicilian, Dutch, Indian, Scotch, Manhattan, Berlin, Belgrade, Leningrad, Dragon, Hedgehog and Stonewall?

2. The Arabian Oryx (Oryx leucoryx), became extinct in the wild in 1972 from the Arabian Peninsula. It was reintroduced in 1982 in Oman but poaching has had negative effects. Further populations have been reintroduced in Qatar, Bahrain, Israel and Saudi Arabia, with a total population in the wild of about 886 in 2003. About 600 more are in captivity. In modern sport how has the Oryx been reintroduced to the public?

3. In June 2002 about 50,000 fans gathered in front of the historic Kwanghwamoon gate to greet a motorcade carrying him. He reportedly walked away from that episode richer by some $1 million and an honorary citizenship to boot. Today he towers above the street on successive adverts outside the Hotel Moskva, and is seen popping up on posters all over town in Moscow, usually promoting Samsung. Name this “cheerleader-in-chief”.

4. It is derived from the 17th century French word meaning “to arrange” or “bring about”, and in modern usage, its verb form stands for deception, trickery, or subterfuge. In sports parlance it is used to indicate a bridge hand that is void of trumps. It is also a speed limiting device, with its widespread usage in the past few years being a consequence of Ayrton Senna’s tragic end. Identify the term.

5. In the 2nd Test of the Ashes series at Lord’s in 1934, Australian wickets fell in a heap. Hedley Verity took 7 for 61 and 8 for 43. This led to a major change in the commentators’ box in the next test at Old Trafford. What was the change?

6. George Lohmann (born June 2, 1865 in London, died December 1, 1901 in Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa) created a record that lasted for 61 years, from 1895-96 to 1956. Which record and who broke it?

7. It is the name of an alternative rock multi-platinum selling band from Jacksonville, Florida. The World Health Organisation issues a vaccination certificate with the same name. The rules of engagement issued to UK troops serving in Northern Ireland are also called thus. In sports it is used as a part of a language-neutral system designed by a Britisher Ken Aston, and found its first use on 31 May 1970.

8. The place of his birth was an important garrison town for the East India Company forces. Located on the Grand Trunk Road, it is now a well connected industrial center. His dad represented United Provinces in Ranji Trophy. He played most of his cricket in a town about 55 miles east-southeast of London, famous as a pilgrimage destination for Christians. Last year he was one of the recipients of the Sitara-e-Imtiaz. And he allegedly is the only man to have witnessed both Brian Lara’s innings of 501 not out vs Durham and Hanif Mohammed’s 499 in Karachi.

9. Connect (1) an Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem witch trials written in the early 1950s during the time of McCarthyism, when the government blacklisted accused communists, and (2) a number of different techniques for making steel alloy by slowly heating and cooling pure iron and carbon (typically in the form of charcoal) to a South Yorkshire building designed in 1971 by Tanya Moiseiwitsch that has a 980 seat auditorium.

10. “Camels ordinarily sit down carefully. Perhaps their joints creak. Possibly early oiling might prevent premature hardening.” What is this?.

11. This science was so dominated in Britain in the 19th century by Edward Tylor, that it was known as “Mr Tylor’s science”. It has 4 sub-fields – Biological, Socio-cultural, Linguistic and Archaeology. What is it called?

12. Scientist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond calls it the biggest mistake in history. In his book Guns, Germs and Steel, he argues that along with this practice came “the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism that curse our existence”. What practice is it?

13. The first appearance of this popular probability puzzle was in a Martin Gardner column and was called The Three Prisoner Problem. It is now named after the producer of the TV show that used it. Marilyn vos Savant analysed it in Parade magazine. Her answer was roundly criticised by thousands, with Math Professors writing in to say they had a good laugh at her ignorance. However, recent simulations show her analysis to be mostly right. What is the name of this puzzle that has caused embarrassment to many professional mathematicians?.

14. The west coast of India was not in line of sight of the epicenter of the 2004 Sumatra earthquake. Yet waves of up to 1m struck parts of the west coast. What one word physical phenomena made this happen?

ANSWERS

Askqance 2008

1. Opening defences/gambits in chess 2. Orry the Oryx was the mascot of the 2006 Doha Asian Games 3. Guus Hiddink, current coach of the Russian national football team 4. Chicane, from the French chicanerie meaning “trickery” 5. Till then, there was no scorer in the commentary box; this match started the practice 6. Best bowling figures in a Test innings. Lohmann took 9-28 which was overtaken by Jim Laker’s 10-53 7. Yellow Cards 8. Bob Woolmer 9. The Crucible. It is the venue for the annual World Professional Snooker Championships 10. Mnemonic for geological eras/periods. Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian etc 11. Anthropology 12. Agriculture 13. Monty Hall Problem 14. Refraction. In air, difference in refractive index causes light to bend. In the oceans, the differences in depth of water plays the same part, with waves travelling much faster in deep ocean and slower in shallow water.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Telly Bahus Turn Babes

9 Aug

Telly bahus turn babes
 

The bahus of TV soaps have ventured out of the confines of their homes, away from a scheming saas and the routine day-to-day nitty gritties of running the household to don glamorous image of Vogue’s cover girl. Walking on the untrodden path to the August issue of Vogue are Gautami Kapoor aka Tulsi of Kyunki, Shilpa Sakhlani aka Ganga of Kyunki, Gauri Pradhan aka Gauri of Kkutumb, Shweta Salve, Tina Parekh aka Shruti of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Reshmi Ghosh aka Bhumi of Kyunki and Sanjeeda Shaikh of Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka fame.

Their fashion sense hasn’t been something to write home about. Often criticised for the garish clothes and loud jewellery, the overly done make up and the premature white hair, these traditional belles have undergone a makeover keeping in tandem with the style, glamour and flamboyance that Vogue is associated with. For Reshmi Ghosh, also a Miss India winner, fashion shoot is a way of life, but even she rates the Vogue experience as completely different. “We had the best designers, beauty experts and photographer taking care of our looks. Attention was paid to every little detail. Though I have done cover pages earlier, it was wonderful to be shot by ace photographer Farrokh Chotia,” says Reshmi.

After having always seen Gautami play the ideal bahu draped in yards of cloth, this sure comes as a shock to her fans. “I have always been cast in roles that require me to wear sarees. No one has ever tried to reinvent my look, but in my day-to-day life I always wear western outfits. I hope after this people will see me in a different light,” says Gautami.

However, Shweta Salve, justifies the new look, “Actresses who play bahus are not like that in real life. This new look is not a huge image change for them, but yes for the public it is.”

Tina Parekh agrees with Shweta. “It was a great relief to be a partof the shoot. I could project my real image before the world,” she says.

All the actresses unanimously accede that they feel honoured to be a part of such a reputed fashion magazine, but Reshmi adds, “There are many talented and good looking people in television industry and they should be given exposure through such ventures.”

Acting comes from within for Sonal
 

Sonal Udeshi, the name might seem new to TV lovers, but for Sonal it has been quite a while in the entertainment industry. The actress, who is playing the character of Rajkumari Ambika in the new series Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki has achieved a lot in the field of acting. “I’ve done many serials and short films for Doordarshan. Besides, I also did an international serial Palwasha – The Rays Of Rising Sun in Afghanistan which is currently telecast in 10 countries around the world on Ariana TV,” said Sonal.

So, how was the experience of working for an international project? “More than being an international project, the theme of the story touched my heart. It’s a story of a girl who struggles a lot in her life for freedom to live life in her own way. And, finally she gains victory by becoming the first woman judge of Afghanistan,” she said.

Sonal wanted to be an actor since her childhood, but never joined any course to develop acting skills. “Acting is something that comes from within. It doesn’t need any professional training, but only practice. I always used to participate in as many plays as I could, both in school and college in order to improve my performance,” says Sonal.

Talking about her role in Mahabharat, she said, “It’s exciting to play a historical character. The classy look makes me feel like a princess.”

Though she is happy with the role of a princess, the fact that she doesn’t have to wear too much jewellery makes her even happier. “Though, it’s an epic, the new series is different in terms of the look and character. The characters are mythological, but have been given a modern twist,” she adds.

‘Sex is work I’m not paid to do’
 

So how does it feel being the unmatched king of Bollywood with a string of successes at the box office? “I feel like a fish out of water. I have worked my whole life to be good and successful at what I do, but it’s not easy being at the top. I am by no means complaining but it’s a shame that with success comes many a sad story. I have always said I would do anything for my people, my fans, and if it means taking the rough with the tumble I’m in all the way. I believe in karma. God is watching everything. No dog’s bark is ever worse than his bite, and I’d laugh if anyone ever tried biting me!” says Akshay in a calm yet determined voice.

So, how did he go about approaching the role of a sardar in Singh is Kinng? “Well I didn’t exactly walk up to a sardar and say ‘Teach me all you know’. I happen to know and love so many sardars in my life that it came naturally to me. It is one of my favourite characters. Wearing a pagdi was so honourable. You feel like a king the minute you put it on,” he says.

Katrina Kaif and he make a handsome on-screen pair and have done many successful films together. Who among the newcomers does he think makes for a great pair with him? “As for the newcomers, they are all on trial till they give me as many hits as our darling Kat has! Just kidding, I’ve just shot with the newest of the newcomers, Deepika Padukone for Chandni Chowk to China,” he says.

So what is his equation with Katrina like? “She’s a dedicated actress but between shots it’s like listening to your 10-year-old baby sister, with the knowledge of a lawyer,” he quips.

If Singh is Kinng’s huge buzz wasn’t enough, Akshay is the best thing on his reality show, Khatron Ke Khiladi. “I had a whale of a time, encouraging my ladies to conquer their biggest fears and being their knight in shining armour.” he says.

Of late Shilpa Shetty and Raveena Tandon – both his exes – have been praising the superstar at every opportunity. “Why shouldn’t they? I’m a nice guy. As long as people are able to say good things about me, I’m extremely grateful. They are both wonderful women with diamond hearts; I wouldn’t expect anything but positive things from them. That’s why I was once with them,” says the player.

Kat races to top slot
 

You’ve got to hand it to this girl. Three years back, she made a disastrous debut with Boom but today she has made it to the top. No doubt, having a successful boyfriend has played a major role in her success but to give credit to Katrina Kaif, the actress has worked hard to reach the top slot. Today, she has even replaced Aishwarya Rai in the Nakshatra ad, a fact which the news channels played up repeatedly. Katrina, though is a perfect diplomat and dismissed all queries regarding her new role with a politically correct response. “All the people concerned with the brand have done well in the past and I hope to take this further,” is what she commented. Smart gal, you sure can’t get any controversial statement out of her. In yet another televised interview, she refused to be drawn into the childish SRK-Sallu brawl and sweetly added, “I don’t talk about my personal life and things will sort themselves out.” Sensible, for with an on/ off boyfriend Salman Khan it’s best not to comment for even Kat will not be able to predict what Sallu will be up to next.

Right now she is promoting her latest flick, Singh is King and recent promos of a song shot in Egypt somehow evoke a deja vu feeling. Karan Johar had shot that wonderful song Suraj Hua Maddham with Kajol and SRK at the same location. In fact Kajol had also worn chiffon sarees designed by Manish Malhotra and now the designer has given the same look to Katrina in this film too. While it’s too soon to predict, how successful this song or film will be, it’s a pity that our directors can’t really think of original concepts even for their songs.

Yet another actress who seems to have fallen flat on her face is Vidya Balan. The poor girl’s rather desperate attempts at creating a sexy image seem to have backfired on her again. It’s bad enough that FHM magazine decided to do a sensuous cover shoot with her where the actress is only draped in a blanket. The actress, who simply does not have the curves, yet, should have rejected the concept but she didn’t and Headlines Today had a blast poking fun at her. Vidya not just needs a stylist but a good friend who can din some sense into the stubborn actress who needs some serious counseling before it’s too late.

Star leads, Sony back to third
 

After a difficult first quarter of 2008, Star Plus has substantially improved its lead over Zee in the second quarter. According to week 30 of TAM data, Star Plus delivered 315 GRPs against Zee’s 216. But the picture wasn’t rosy for the leader in the GEC space in February and March – Zee was almost within distance of catching up with the leader with 309 GRPs against Star’s 330.

After the launch of NDTV Imagine in January, Sony had lost its third position to the former in the first quarter and later to 9X in April and May. But in the last two months, Sony too has reclaimed its third position with an average of 99 GRPs over the last nine weeks.

What has led to Star’s improved performance and which shows have helped Sony bounce back in the third GEC slot? Fiction is working great for Star Plus across all slots – weekday prime time, weekend prime and the revamped afternoon weekday delivering better than the competition.

While Kyunki makes its presence felt and Bidaai continues to rule, the fiction shows launched on Star in the past six months have steadily climbed on charts. Kis Desh Mein Hai Mera Dil is leading with 4.6 ratings against Zee’s Maayka. Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat has fought competition and risen to 4.2 TVR. Similarly, Hamari Devrani has boosted Star’s ratings.

Sony too has reclaimed its third slot with weekend shows like CID, Comedy Circus, Boogie Woogie and 10 Ka Dum. Says business head Albert Almeida, “10 Ka Dum has helped improve the channel’s viewership by getting eyeballs for CID and Comedy Circus. Besides, Babul and Kuch Is Tarah have also started showing traction.”

ALC

Soha’s tribute to Mumbai
 

After Rang De Basanti, Soha Ali Khan is doing one more film with a social message. Her upcoming film, Mumbai Meri Jaan, directed by Nishikant Kamat, traces the story of the 2006 Mumbai train blasts and the tension that followed. According to the actress, the film is about communal harmony and national spirit. “The movie shows how in the face of crisis, people came together to help each other. They showed to the world they are Indians first, then Hindus or Muslims,” says Soha. Soha plays a journalist in the movie. “Being a journalist is a difficult job. It’s the responsibility of a journalist to provide people with the right information and truth. But a reporter can also get carried away when there is a lot of passion involved,” the actress says.

Movie, a let down
 
Filmy Talk

Money Hai To Honey Hai seems to have rubbed many a Bollywood actor the wrong way. Not long back, Tushar Kapoor was angry at the makers of the film for spoofing his sister. Now the quality of the movie has annoyed actress Celina Jaitley. Celina who who was in London for a short vacation saw Money Hai To Honey Hai and was shocked to see a very bad product.

And if that was not enough, even the financiers seem unhappy. After the first trial itself, sources close to the camp revealed that Sunil Lulla took aside Kumar Mangat and Ganesh Acharya and asked them to explain what made them to make a film like this.

With the film evoking such responses within the fraternity itself, it comes as a little surprise that the audience has shunned it.

Paresh scores

After romancing Mallika Sherawat in Maan Gaye Mughall-e- Azam, Paresh Rawal is now all set to romance Konkona Sen Sharma in Fantastic. It’s been almost three decades since Paresh Rawal made his debut in the film industry. But while other actors of his age have reconciled to do side roles, Paresh seems to be getting younger and more happening by the day.

After bagging a role opposite bombshell Mallika Sherawat in Maan Gaye Mughall-e- Azam, the actor has now landed with another role opposite Konkona Sen Sharma. And the same person – Sanjay Chhel – who got him to act opposite Mallika, has offered him this role.ῠ Paresh Rawal, along with Rahul Khanna and Javed Jaffery, will be acting with Konkona in Chhel’s next project, Fantastic.

Koena to do some action
 

Koena Mitra isῠ very busy these days with her international project Karna. Apart from trying to put on a heavy British accent, the actress is trying to get into the best shape of her life. She is working hard for a sexy, athletic figure, but she confesses that she is not interested in becoming a size-zero. “I don’t have to become a size zero to look sexy,” smiles the dusky beauty.

An athletic frame may not be so much in demand when it comes to Bollywood beauties, but Hollywood likes it that way. “My trainer Channel Pereira has helped me a lot. I’ve lost so much weight,” says Koena adding, “I’m down to 15 per cent body fat. The rest is all muscles. I couldn’t have done it without him. This is all for my actionῠ role in Karna.” Koena is the only lady in the all-male action-packed Karna and therefore has to train especially hard.

Bips not in Shilpa’s film

Shilpa Shetty denied rumours that Bong bombshell Bipasha Basu is all set to star in her debut production.ῠ In the past few weeks, reports have been going around that her first film as a producer will be an action thriller named VIP starring herself and Bipasha Basu. “The reports are false. It’s not named VIP. And Bipasha is not in the movie,” says Shilpa. Things will be finalised only after a month.” Shilpa also denied that they have approached any star as yet for the film.ῠ The actress informed that the film will take off by the end of this year.

Horrors of third world nations comes alive
 
By Sanatan Nehru

This is a romantic tale set across many years which centers around a medical student. He thinks he has found his calling as an international disaster relief worker – until he gets sidetracked by a philanthropic socialite who is entrenched in a troubled marriage.

The two keep inadvertently meeting up, and soon develop a special relationship. Jolie plays a pampered American woman married into a wealthy British family who has her consciousness raised one night in 1984 when an indignant relief doctor (Clive Owen) crashes a London society bash and castigates everyone for their insensitivity to the Ethiopian famine.

Inspired, she joins the doctor in Africa, and then rejoins him in Cambodia in 1989 and Chechnya in 1995 – the long process of their falling in love and we experience the heroic dedication and nightmarish lifestyles of relief workers.

The screenplay misses no opportunity to explain what horrific problems are being addressed by agencies such as the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and NGOs. The film has its heart in the right place.

Jolie and Owen both deliver impassioned performances, intelligent and emotional in equal measure.

Watch it this weekend.

Beyond borders Director: Martia Campbell Cast: Angelina Jolie, Clive Owen

Teejay impresses Bhatt
 

The so called ‘underdogs’ of Kabhi Kabhi Pyaar Kabhi Kabhi Yaar – Teejay Siddhu, Tina Parekh, and Karnvir Bohra – have managed to surprise all by putting up scintillating performances. Karnvir has not only impressed the judges but also inspired wife Teejay and on-screen partner Tina.ῠ Teejay has worked hard on her dance moves. So impressed was Mahesh Bhatt with her performance last week that he couldn’t resist kissing her. While, Krishna Abhishek, Kashmeera Shah, and Mukul Dev are strong contenders for the title, Karnvir, Teejay and Tina are also proving to be a big challenge.

Dhoni sings on TV

After 18 weeks, 9X’s song-n-dance extravaganza Gini & Jony Chak De Bachche reached its finale on Saturday. The concluding episode was action-packed, as Deepak and Nishtha of the Desi Dhurandhars were crowned winners by ace cricketers mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj, after dancing to the Singh is King song, said, “I enjoy dancing but I’m not half as talented a dancer as these kids!”ῠ Dhoni sang the famous Amitabh Bachchan song Salaam-e-Ishq Meri Jaan. He said, “It is fantastic to see children from smaller towns getting such a good platform to showcase their talents.”

Kavita Kaushik pads up for a cricket show
 

She is one of the best known faces on television. After carving a niche for herself with shows like Kutumb, Dil Kya Chahta Hai, FIR, Kavita Kaushik is now trying out a different ball game. She will soon be seen in a cricket show on Zee Sports.

“I am pretty excited. I will host a cricket-based show during Australia’s tour of India,” she says. She is being touted as the next Mandira Bedi. But the actress makes it clear that she will be her own unique self. “I will not copy anyone. While cricket is a religion in the country, there is a large population of people who do not watch the game. At least majority of the women do not. And there are some men also. I will add the layman’s angle to it. I will be another normal girl talking about cricket. People should find it interesting and watch the show and take more interest in the game,” she says.

Surprisingly, she herself is pretty ignorant when it comes to cricket, but she promises to brush up on the game before the series starts.

Until then, she is focussing on films. She missed out on Maan Gaye Mughale Azam. “Yes Sanjay Chhel did talk to me about the movie. But it did not work out. Probably it would be better to ask Sanjay what went wrong,” she says.

“I am waiting for something good to come my way. I am in no hurry. I want my entry into films to be worth remembering,” said the actress whose small role in Dil Chahta Hai was edited.

(Snippets by Sanskriti Media Entertainment)

Madhura in Sangam
 

Sangam has a new Kaveri in Madhura Naik. This Balaji discovery started her career with Kahani and until recently was seen in a negative role in Bidaai.ῠ Naik was roped in for Sangam as a replacement for Nidhi. “I don’t know why Nidhi left the show. I accepted the role because it is a refreshing change from my negative character in Bidaai,” Madhura says.

Trying to step into her character’s shoes, she explains that Kaveri is a modern girl with refined sensibilities.ῠ “Ganga knew of Kaveri’s love for Sagar. But Kaveri is oblivious to the relationship between Sagar and Ganga. Only Kaveri’s father knew that Ganga and Sagar were planning to get married,” Madhura throws light on the complex situation in the story. Kaveri’s father had planned to break the news to her, but his untimely death lead to a new chain of events in the series. “I can’t tell you anything about what’s going to happen next. Besides, a lot will depend on TRPs,” she adds.ῠῠ

Rajshree quits dance show
 

The Saath Phere protagonist, Rajshree Thakur knew her days were numbered on Ek Se Badhkar Ek since the judges never missed a chance to tell her that she was surviving only because of her popularity.ῠ And just as the competition was heating up with Shayantani, Jasveer, Sanober, Kushal, and Abhishek dancing their best, Rajshree Thakur made a quiet exit, before she could be ousted from the show. Besides being an average dancer, Rajshree is apparently suffering from arthritis. She, however, denies the claims, saying she has a ligament problem and has been advised complete bed rest.

Curtains down on Left Right Left Left Right Left is a story about six youngsters who find direction at an army school. Over time, the show lost its way and is now being cut, especially since SAB has become a comedy channel. And so, curtains will come down on LRL a month from now. “LRL was one of the most successful shows on SAB which is why it is a little hard to let it go. But since we are committed to deliver 24 hours of laughter, an intense drama set in an army background does not fit the mix,” says SAB business head Anooj Kapoor.

‘I want to do relevant roles’
 

Sour relationships make sweet news for the gossip mills. And television actress Shilpa Shinde has been featuring in that bracket once too often in the last few months.ῠ First, her relationship with her Maayka co-actor, Neha Bamb turned frosty. Then her eagerness to quit the serial because of her over-emotional role created bad blood between her and the producer. And pulling out from the reality show, Saas Vs Bahu, soured her relationship with Shoma Anand.

“Yes, there were problems between Neha and me, but we have buried them. Now we are not friends, but we are good professionals,” says Shilpa. About her problems with Shoma Anand, she says, “We shared good chemistry off-screen. We were to be paired as a saas-bahu couple in a dance reality show, but when I pulled out of it, Shomaji became upset. But I never agreed to do the show, people mistook my silence for an assent.”

Rakhi throws a fit
 

Rakhi Sawant cannot be cowed down by anyone. She walked out of one of the two shows she was shooting after just six episodes and is throwing tantrums on the sets of the other.ῠ A source from the sets of the show confirmed that Rakhi has abused theῠ the production team and the directorial staff. However, when she sees a star on her show, she keeps her rash behaviour in check.

Like when Deepika Padukone came to the set, Rakhi made her wait, but on seeing her she put up her best behaviour. “Deepika can be a star. But this is my show and I am the star. I will finish doing what I want to do first before I shoot her interview,” she said to a baffled production team.

Deepika was a little upset at the way the interview took place, but was happy that she was gaining some mileage from it on a personal level, since she has to share screen space and her boyfriend with two more girls in Bachna Ae Haseeno.

Raahil Azim to die in Babul
 

Though Raahil Azim doesn’t admit it, hisῠ act in Babul Ka Angan Chhoote Na was supposed to be a cameo. As his character Swayam appeared, the show’s main story was sent on the back burner. Swayam sees his old flame, Payal, who he wasn’t allowed to marry, in his younger brother’s wife Aastha.ῠ On losing his lady love Swayam becomes a mental wreck. However, on seeing the Payal look-alike, his affiction is cured. Now, Payal has returned to take revenge against Swayam. The revenge angle will be played out in the coming weeks that will see the end of Swayam and a return to the original story.

Malaika snubs Chunky
 

Malaika Arora seems to be taking her ‘hottie’ image a little too seriously. The actress recently got into a tussle with Chunky Panday on the sets of the reality show Zara Nachke Dikha. Onlookers were taken aback when Malaika snubbed Chunky.ῠ The men versus women format of the show has led to some biases, and Malaika and Chunky have parted ways, siding with their own sexes and scrutinising the participants out of prejudice. Malaika and Chunky haven’t been on speaking terms since the scuffle. When asked about the tiff, Chunky says, “It’s almost like a sexist war. I for the guys, she for the ladies. Though we try and keep our decisions un-affected but῅” We understand Chunky. Now the good news is that both, Maliaka and Chunky, have kept up their professional values, thus, causing no disruption in the shooting schedule.

Solo Reapers
 

Ask those who’re part of it, and you’ll find that playing in a band is not a bed of roses. There’s the constant need to take the bandmates along, and also the difficult task of striking a balance between artistic freedom and practicality. More often than not, the genius in the band gets overshadowed by his peers, and this leads to a cramping of individuality and differences among the mates, or even a break-up of the band.

Country musician Bobby Cash, who is currently making waves across the southern continent of Ausralia, says being a musician is all about creating an ambience – through music, lyrics and the performance. “Whether it’s one person or five, it doesn’t make a difference. In my case, I realised that being a solo performer has its own merits, and if I could pursue my dreams without having to worry about getting like-minded people to fulfill it, so be it. But I have a back-up band now, because some songs do require multiple instruments.”

Some artistes, however, have become what they are because they didn’t have the option of forming a band. Reenie Rea, the Indian-born, New York-bred pop talent, who recently released an eponymous album, says unlike a conventional band, she straightaway started out by recording with a producer who noticed her songwriting and vocal talent. “I’ve been singing since I was a kid, and I usually write my own songs. The producer was a friend of mine, so I had a bit of luck there. Of course, there were the initial struggles when I would open for other international artistes. But the fast hit came sooner for me,” says Reenie, who is now based in Mumbai and is planning a stint in Bollywood soon. “The only flipside of being a solo artiste is you have no one to fall back on,” she adds.

Artistic freedom seems to be the immediate cause for such individual talents to emerge, but there are also other advantages if you are a solo performer. Metro-rockers, as these artistes like to be called, also gain monetarily from such endeavours.

Suryaveer Hooja, a Delhi- based solo artiste who performs regularly at outlets like DT Diner (DT mall), Geoffrey’s, Unitech Country Club, Lifestyle India and RPM, says that solo artistes are a flexible lot and can “fit” any ambience. “I use a high-end synthesizer for my performance, so that obviates the need for fellow band mates. Also, the venues where I perform are not large platforms, so an individual artiste fits their bill perfectly. Then there’s also the added benefit of being paid more.”

Another reason for being a solo performer, according to Suryaveer, is that there is more time available for practice.

Hooja’s repertoire contains covers of popular alternative rock acts like Oasis, James Blunt and GooGoo Dolls.

An album containing his original compositions is also on the cards, but he’s waiting for the right label to come his way.

Underground music comes to the fore
 

If you have a niche for sampled sounds, loops and turntables, but are in search of a platform that can accentuate your credibility and bring you some recognition as an electronic artiste, here is some good news.

With an aim to make electronica “the music of the common masses”, a bunch of musicians and music producers have taken a pledge to revive the “almost” extinct underground music scene of the capital. Named Delhi Electronic Supply Unit a.k.a DESU (strictly not be confused with DUSU), this association is set to take the Indian electronica fans by storm, and have already started sprinkling their “electro-power” through various gigs in the capital.

“DESU’s aim is to revive the underground music scene of the capital, and provide a platform for the upcoming electro-artistes to showcase their talents,” says Manu Saxena, music producer and one of the founders of the association. Says Chintan Kalra, the bassist of Parikrama, and also the founder of electro-house act Khirki Gharana,

“Today people look at electronica as a corollary to the club culture, and hence associate it with commerce. Through DESU we want to present electronica as a genre of popular music, not just something that gets played only in clubs and other such commercial places.”

On Song
 

Film: Bachna Ae Haseeno

Aaa aa῅. Sajde mein yun hi jhukta hoon Tum pe hi aa ke rukta hoon Kya yeh sab ko hota hai Hum ko kya lena hai sab se Tum se hi sab batein ab se Ban gaye ho tum meri dua

Khuda Jaane ke mein fida hun Khuda Jaane mein mit gaya Khuda jaane yeh kyun huwa hai Ke ban gaye ho tum mere khuda

Tu kahe to tere hi kadam ke main nishanon pe Chalun rukun ishaare pe Tu kahe tho khwabon ka bana ke Main bahana sa Mila karu sirhaane pe

Ohhh Tum se dil ki baatein seekhi Tum se hi yeh raahe seekhi Tum pe marr ke mein tho Jjee gaya

Dil kahe ke aaj tho, chupa lo tum panahon mein Ke darr hai tum ko kho doonga Dil kahe ki sambhal zara khushi Na nazar laga Ke darr hai mein tho ro dunga

‘I dined at the world’s costliest eatery’
 

Talking of gastronomical delights is not always easy for a gastroenterologist. Even though I had the opportunity to try cuisines of different countries, I was always particular about staying away from junk food.

East or West, Indian food is the best, so after a few days of trying foreign food, I always manage to hunt down some Indian eatery, be it in France or Scandinavia.

Besides Indian, I like Italian cuisine with its pizzas and pastas, because scientifically, Italian food, with its high carb content, is akin to Indian cuisine. We have done research and found out that Indian people are more suited to carbs and vegetable protein unlike people in the West, who are more cut out for animal protein.

In world cuisine, I prefer Vietnamese food. Their noodles, fish, boiled vegetables and herbal spices taste great even though very little oil is used. Singapore is also very rich in its culinary delights, especially seafood. I also like the Syrian food, the Middle-Eastern shawarma, humus and chickpea.

In India, I find each state has its own special cuisine. I love Punjabi chhole and fish preparations from Bengal. The healthy Maharashtrian poha and Chennai coffee taste great.

While eating out in the city, my favourites are Waterfront for delicious sea food, Golden Dragon, Taj for Chinese and Dakshin, Kakatiya for South Indian food. The MTR tiffin house in Bangalore serves simple, tasty South Indian food.

I’ve dined at the world’s costliest eatery, Case, at Brussels, Belgium. The meal is about $1,000 per person. The dining place is a small kitchen! The price is so high because Beatles, Rolling Stones and other famous groups have visited here.

Among homemade recipes, my mother’s chapula pullusu, (spicy Nellore fish) and my wife’s fish cutlet deserve a special mention.

What I find unique about Hyderbadi cuisine is that it’s a m
lange of the North and South Indian cuisine. Hyderabadi spices are also very special. The biryani is so popular that even if my friends from abroad land here at midnight, they ask me to keep biryani ready.

I would advise foodies to eat carefully six days a week and gorge on whatever they want on the seventh day, just as I do.

(As told to Sulogna Mehta)

We chill out at our canteen
 

Hangout@the campus and canteen of Maturi Venkata Subba Rao Engineering College

Who all frequent: Students of MVSR – Monika, Nidhi, Aparna, Sneha, Laxmi, Rounaq, Ronak, Navnet, Amit and their class mates.

Cost: Rs 5-Rs 30.

What’s the catch: Our lush green campus offers a pollution-free-cool and tranquil atmosphere. It’s so vast that it never seems crowded even though hundreds of students chill out here. The canteen serves hygienic and tasty food including idli, dosa, manchurian, friedrice, chips, coffee, fresh fruit juices etc., says Sneha Jain, a fourth year student of the college.

Savour snacks with paan martini
 

Monsoon is one season when the craving for hot piping snacks is at its peak. Taj Deccan is the place to be. Their southern speciality restaurant has come up with starters’ menu available in both veg and non-veg. The platter consists of special snacks found in Andhra Pradesh including Hyderabad and Telengana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

The non-veg snacks comprises meen kutchi varuval, (crispy fried murrel fish fingers), nandaan kozhi roast is Kerala style spicy fried chicken and venchina vetta mamsam is a dry lamb preparation. The vegetarian items consists of ullipaya pagoda, dumpala ulli karma, cauliflower varuval and vazhakkai mezhukuporatty.

Even for beverages, there are some innovative cocktails. Cocktails, made with a distinct Deccan element – the paan martini, fennel martini and ginger martini – martinis infused with spices that are marinated in vodka. Besides, they have something more for food connoisseurs – paan and rose ice cream. While a bite melts in your mouth, one can find pieces of Benarasi paan and dried rose petals in the ice cream.

Try This
 

SAbu dana (saGO) PAKODAS

By Shailaja Sehgal, Homemaker

Serves 6

Ingredients

250 gms sabu dana (sago) 4-5 boiled potatoes 50 gms peanuts, crushed 4 tbsp cooking oil 2 green chillies, chopped Salt and black pepper to tasteῠῠῠῠῠ

Method

Soak the sabu dana in water for four-five hours. After the sabu dana is soaked, drain the water thoroughly. Mash the boiled potatoes well. Mix the sabu dana, potatoes, crushed peanuts, chillies, salt and pepper together. Next, make into flat or round balls and deep fry it for two-three minutes till it turns golden brown.ῠGarnish with finely sliced tomatoes and green chillies. Serve the pakodas hot.

Get set for the festivities
 

Janamastami will be here soon and city shops have stocked up on puja accessories and idols of Balgopal and Krishna. Before the rush begins ensure that you have all the items ready for the puja.Sai Pooja Samagri in Monda Market has a wide range of mukuts for the Lord. Prices range between Rs 200 and Rs 20,000. Jhoolas are priced from Rs 150 onwards. Flutes range from Rs 30 to 400. They also have silver idols of Krishna, simhasan and silver flowers that can be offered to the lord.

Misrilal store in Secunderabad also has idols of Balgopal in myriad shapes. Prices are from Rs 150 onwards. Do check out the mini umbrellasῠ for Krishna at the store. They are priced from Rs 650 onwards.

Also check out the wide variety of aarti stands, incense holders and marble idols of Krishna in Sri Balaji Pooja Stores, on R.P. Road. The aartiῠ stands are priced from Rs 250 onwards and a copper tirtam set could cost you Rs 150. They also have dresses for the idol. Prices range from Rs 30 to Rs 300. Don’t forget to take a look at the brass lamps and bells available in this shop.

Waistcoats, ties rule party circuit
 

There has been an influx of sleek ties and waistcoats on the party circuit. Wondering where to get the best stuff from? We have just the right information for you. Check out Wardrobe in Banjara Hills. The store stocks an exhaustive range of casual waistcoats both for men and women. Men’s waistcoats are priced from Rs 900 onwards and women’s waistcoats range between Rs 495 and Rs 795. Also on display are casual cotton waistcoats for women. Prices are from Rs 295 onwards.

Take a look at the party waistcoats available in Vogue The V Thing in Nagarjuna Circle and Passion in Style behind Lifestyle Building. Vogue has some interesting waistcoats with kalamkari prints on satin. Party waistcoats are priced at Rs 1,695 onwards. The store also has an interesting range of sleek ties, which are definitely worth a dekko.

Free for all
 

Spirits were reigning high as all TV stars got together to celebrate the “youthful spirit of freedom” through dance and song. The atmosphere was very lively as the actors and singers performed on stage.

S. Sreesanth was accompanied by Mandira Bedi. The entire cast of Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby was present at the event. Also seen there were Ronit Roy, Anwesha Dasgupta and the Panchvi Pass children Shreya and Dhairya.

Dark knightsῠand divas

Classic, simple, chic – black never disappoints. It’s no wonder that Bollywood’s best choose to tread the “dark line” and carry it off with style. No matter what colour gets called the “new black”, nothing can ever take its place.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Gutsy Gals Court Khatra

2 Aug

Gutsy gals court khatra
 

After the Indian audience lapped up spine chilling action and dare devil stunts on AXN’s Fear Factor, now it’s time for some desi action. Khatron Ke Khiladi, Akshay’s Kumar first TV show has the calibre to set the adrenaline rushing.

Indian television’s first stunt reality game show, KKK, which started off with 13 top names from showbiz has just entered an exciting phase with eight gutsy lasses – Yana Gupta, Vidya Malvade, Aditi Govitrikar, Anita Hasnandani, Anjana Sukhani, Nethra Raghuraman, Pooja Bedi, and Urvashi Sharma – fighting it out now for the grand prize of Rs 50 lakh.

The stunts involve jumping from a 17-storey building to performing dare-devil tasks, while spiders and cockroaches are crawling all over you.

So what led dainty these ladies to take on scary feats? Nethra Raghuraman, fashion model and a leading competitor on the show, says, “The show gives me an opportunity to perform tasks that I would otherwise shirk from. I wanted to experience how it would be to deal with creepy crawlies as I am petrified of them.” But this brave girl did put her fears to rest as she fished for a key in an aquarium full of cockroaches. “The show has helped me get over my phobias. I don’t know what came upon me and how I did it,” says Nethra.

There’s no room for chickening out. Tupur Chatterjee was shown the door when she refused to crawl down on a rope from a 17-storey building. The model says, “I have a phobia of heights and it was impossible for me to do the stunt.”

This reality game show has proved to be different from other reality shows in the conspicuous absence of bickerings, back-bitings and bitchiness. On the contrary, the show has helped the women bond better. Aditi Govtrikar, Mrs World 2001, says, “The show put me with my colleagues on an entirely different platform and this helped us develop a different kind of bond. We stood by each other.” Nethra agrees with Aditi on this account. “This show helped me understand my colleagues better, I got to know their strength and will power,” says Nethra. This bonhomie was the best part of the show according to Tupur. “There was no groupism or negativity,” she says.

All the ladies have been unanimously lavish in their praises for the host Akshay Kumar. “He has a great sense of humour and is very down to earth,” quips Nethra.

Iqbal averse to reality shows
 

An intense lover in Kaisa Ye Pyar Hai, a patriot in Choona Hai Aasman, and now actor Iqbal Khan is geared up to portray an underworld don in the serial Waaris on Zee TV.

So, what attracted him to a role like this? “I am a competent actor and doing something different is always good for one’s career. Moreover, there are a few characters that I think I can pull off nicely. The role of Shankar in Waaris is one such character,” said Iqbal.

And is it true that the serial is inspired from Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj and his character from that of Abhishek Bachchan’s?

“A daily soap can’t be inspired from a two-and-a-half hour movie. But it might be possible that there is some influence of the movie’s characters in our roles. Besides, working in a production house headed by Smriti Irani, who has successfully produced serials like Viruddh, is in itself reason enough to choose this role,” said Iqbal.

The actor, who recently quit Choona Hai Aasman despite having a strong character, thinks that the channel was not promoting the show well. “There’s no point sticking to a show that is not doing well among the audience. When I first read the script, it fascinated me, but things became worse with time,” he said.

So, isn’t he planning to participate in any reality show with his wife Sneha? “If you participate in a reality show, your personal life becomes public. I want my private life to be my own,” he said.

And does he want to do any saas-bahu drama? “First of all, I want to do only one serial at a time. Moreover, I’d really like to maintain distance from the regular family drama on television. Male actors rarely get to play meaty roles in these typical saas-bahu shows,” he said.

Shaan ready to play host
 
By A.L. Chougule

Well known playback singer and host of Star Voice of India Shaan feels talent hunts began with noble intentions but have become commercial properties. However, he still finds them as good platform for deserving singers

Eight months after he anchored the first season of Star Voice of India (SVOI), Shaan is back on television with the show’s second season which went on air recently. While post-SVOI Star Plus immediately launched Chhote Ustaad, Shaan preferred to stay away from the competition for kids and decided to enjoy his break with his family besides doing playback singing. “I don’t like to work like a robot. I am a singer first. Anchoring is just an extension of my singing talent and it comes and goes. So I decided to take a break,” he says.

While he has nothing against talent hunts for kids, Shaan doesn’t like shows that feature children on a competitive platform. “We are living in a commercial world. If channels want to do shows for kids to increase their business, so be it. But I find competition between children bit odd. It’s too early to expose them to pressure of competition and limelight. Kids need time to learn and grow,” he reasons. He adds, “They start seeing success and failure too early and if they are successful then parents also start expecting better results from them. I think it’s wrong to use children for the purpose of entertainment.”

Nevertheless he was impressed with the young talents on Chhote Ustaad. “Anvesha and Aishwarya are very good singers,” says Shaan who can also easily sit in the jury’s chair on talent hunts instead of only hosting them. After all, singers of his age and experience are doing precisely the same. But Shaan says he is comfortable hosting talent hunts. “I don’t think I can make a good judge because I am too conventional in my thinking and have a narrow perspective. I don’t understand today’s trend in music,” he says. He adds, “I know what is good but I can’t say who is better.”

He also doesn’t find any fault with the way contestants are judged on talent hunts. “There are no pre-set parameters for judging singing. It’s very subjective. Each one has his own perspective. There can be differences and arguments. My job is to keep things together,” he explains. He also doesn’t get emotionally attached to the participants. “I do help them. Before every performance I talk to them but I keep myself detached,” he says. According to him, talent hunts began with noble intentions of giving platform and opportunity to deserving talent. “But somewhere down the line the whole thing became commercial,” he regrets.

However, he feels talent hunts are still of great help for deserving singers. “If my son wants to become a singer he will have no problem in meeting the right people. But the same is not true for someone who lives in a far away small town or city. Talent hunts at least open doors for deserving talent. Some get break in playback singing while others get busy with stage shows,” he concludes.

Sajid-Riteish spat on show
 

Anything new always draws attention and the freshly launched channel Colours is no exception. They do have a pretty decent range of shows. In fact the serial Balika Vadhu is already quite popular with viewers as it deals with child marriage. While one might assume that child marriages are no longer prevalent in the post-modern world, the serial provides an eye-opener to a practice which continues to be prevalent in rural India. The story which is set in Rajasthan explores this age old tradition even as it tries to educate the viewer on the de-merits of child marriages. One hopes that the villages where this custom exists have access to this serial for it sure is a great way to educate the masses.

On the same channel, Sajid Khan hosts his rather pompously titled chat show, Sajid’s Superstars and the latest episode feature Riteish Deshmukh. Considering that Ritiesh career is nowhere close to that of SRK, wonder how he qualifies to be called a superstar? It’s obvious that his proximity to Sajid coupled with the fact that he is doing another film with the director after Hey Baby is responsible for his being there.

But to be fair to Sajid, the show is interesting and he also has the courage to ask uncomfortable questions on television. When Sajid asks Ritiesh whether he is gay, the actor looked upset and even attempted to walk out. Sajid apologised and placates him. But once Ritiesh is back on his seat, Sajid promptly asks him whether he is gay and both burst out laughing. So one is not quite sure whether the anger was stage managed. One thing’s for sure, this show seems to have filled a gap left behind by Koffee with Karan as Sajid has managed to rope all the top stars to make an appearance on the show.

Speaking of shows, yet another fun song and dance show is Zara Nachke Dikha which pits female TV actors opposite their male counterparts and is being judged by Chunky Pandey and Malaika Arora Khan. The actors are all having a blast as they perform to different Bollywood numbers and the whole atmosphere is healthy and non-political. Credit must go to both Chunky and Malaika who are both fun and have not allowed any politics to creep into the show. The recent episode featuring a Jeetu-Sridevi dance number performed by Delnaz (looking cute in her pattu pavade) and Ali Asghar was a riot. The two actors brought the house down with their splendid imitation of the original song. They are both good artists and Ali is known for his mimicry skills and one could sense that the entire set was having a blast. This is such a wonderful change from reality shows filled with negativity and an overdose of ‘crying’ sessions. Let’s have more fun on TV please!

‘Ram is the ideal man’
 

Q. How did you bag the role of Ram in Ramayan? The Sagars offered me the role after they saw me in Mayavi on Jaya TV. They had auditioned several actors but were not satisfied with the result. But when they saw me in Mayavi they asked me to give an audition. I am lucky that I got selected to play Ram because I am a staunch Ram devotee and it’s a dream-come-true for me.ῠῠῠ

Q. How did you bag the lead role in Mayavi? I was a stage actor and have done theatre for two years in Jabalpur before I got to play the lead role in Mayavi which I had to quit when I was selected to play Ram. I didn’t think twice before accepting the role.

Q. How did you prepare yourself? I had several meetings with the channel’s programming team and the Sagars. Anand Sagar who was involved in the making of Ramayan for DD is also part of this project. He made me understand the character and his mannerisms. It took me almost a month to prepare for the role.

Q. Don’t you see the danger of getting typecast in mythological shows? The days of typecasting are over. Arun Govil lived with the image of Ram for a long time because in those days there was only one channel. Today there are many channels and many shows. A good actor can easily come out of any image.

Q. Does the character give youῠ scope to prove your versatility? Yes, it does. Ram is called Maryada Purushotam. He was not only an ideal man and King but also a warrior. The range of the character is huge and has many shades.

Shilpa smitten by Raj
 

Raj Kundra is one lucky man. This UK-based NRI entrepreneur is currently dating the sexy Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty. After months of claiming that they are just good friends and share only a professional rapport, Shilpa recently admitted that she is indeed in a relationship with the London-based businessman.

The much-in-love Shilpa confirms that in Raj she has found a very supportive partner. “He is proud of my achievements and he encourages me in all my endeavours. In turn, I learn so much from him every day. I have grown as a person,” says Shilpa.

The actress, who will be soon starting her production house, says that she is in a state of bliss. “Professionally, this is a rewarding phase of my career and I am looking forward to upcoming ventures. Personally, also I am very happy with Raj,” she says with a smile.

Singh on a roll
 

Even before its release, the film, Singh Is Kinng, has caught the fancy of the nation. Be it for creating a positive impact or for attempts being made to sabotage the film, the movie has so far managed to be in news. Though his clean-shaven look created a controversy, Akshay Kumar’s pagdis have become quite a rage. Shopkeepers in Ludhiana have been busy selling the neon pagdis that Akshay wears in the film and especially in the song Ji Karda.ῠῠ But while the film seems to head towards a good opening, attempts are being made from certain quarters to sabotage it. Allegedly, senior executives of a music company, which was refused the music rights of this film, have been sending SMSes rubbishing the songs.

No more Sarkars for Ramu

Ram Gopal Verma will not make any further sequels of Sarkar. Putting rest to rumours that the next film will even have Jaya Bachchan, Ramu says that he has no plans of making a Sarkar 3.

“I am done with Sarkars and I am not making a Sarkar 3,” says Ramu. “Sarkar Raj is technically a better film than Sarkar and it was a thrilling experience to make the movie. But I am not doing any more sequels of this movie.”

But even as Sarkar Raj got rave reviews from critics and audiences, RGV’s latest film Contract fell flat. But Ramu does not regret making the movie. “Many people expected the film to be something like Company and Satya. But that was never the intention,” says Ramu. According to the director, he tried to make a film that would be both entertaining and realistic with a strong message. However, the film failed to connect with the audiences and Ramu agrees that there were flaws in the promotion of the movie too, that resulted in its poor show at the box office.

Though he accepts that Contract didn’t live up to the expectation of Sarkar Raj, Ramu is not the one to be put down. The filmmaker is now looking forward to Phoonk, his next venture, which falls in the ‘horror’ genre. After his movie Darling last year, did he feel it was time to make another horror movie? “I don’t make films deciding on a genre. It’s the story that is most important and I only make films when I want to tell its story,” he explains. He goes on to add that is the why he never made another Rangeela.

While Ramu has no doubt endeared himself to the audience with his versatility, his poor show lately at BO – barring a Sarkar Raj – is what is worrying the critics and movie buffs.

A proxy war?
 

Veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha is all set to star opposite Bollywood’s ultimate diva, Rekha in a film to be directed by Ramesh Talwar.

But trouble has brewed between these two experienced actors which has set tongues wagging in tinsel town that this cold war has impacted Sinha’s relationship with Amitabh Bachchan too.

If sources are to be believed, Big B’s ex-flame, Rekha didn’t turn up for the shooting of the film in which she is acting opposite our bihari babu. While Sinha has been shuttling between the shoots of a comedy-based reality show and this movie, Rekha has been absent from the sets, staying behind at her bungalow Basera.

This meant the unit had to wait endlessly at ND studios. Talwar, a former Yash Chopra associate, is close to many actresses including Rekha and Jaya Bachchan, but chose to cast Rekha in the film opposite Shotgun. Rumours have it that Bachchan’s recent problems with Sinha, where the latter has been going hammer and tongs at Big B, has something to do with Rekha troubling Sinha who in turn troubled the Bachchan senior. This sure is interesting.

Vivek Oberoi makes amends

While Salman Khan is still to be trying to get over his feelings for Aishwarya Rai and fought with Shah Rukh Khan over the issue recently, Vivek Oberoi seems to have learnt from his past mistake.

The actor admits that he has gone through some difficult times, but is content with his personal as well as professional life now. “I have overcome everything,” he says. The actor even agrees that his behaviour has been at fault in the past and he is doing his best to undo the wrongs. “I have apologised to everyone whom I have hurt in the past,” says the actor, who has publicly apologised to Salman Khan and also showed his support for the Bachchans when Teji Bachchan expired.

“My attitude towards my work has changed now,” says Vivek and also expressed a desire that his fans will give him a second chance too.

Modern day fairytale enchants audience
 

This film is a live-action story about a fairytale princess from the past who is thrust into present-day Manhattan by an evil queen. Soon after her arrival, Princess Giselle begins to change her views on life and love after meeting a handsome lawyer. Tale follows the beautiful princess Giselle as she is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land and finds herself in the gritty reality of the streets of modern-day Manhattan. Shocked by this strange new environment that doesn’t operate on a “happily ever after” basis, Giselle is now adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment.

But when Giselle begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who has come to her aid, even though she is already promised to a perfect fairy tale prince back home, she has to wonder: can a storybook view of romance survive in the real world?

One of those rare pieces of “all ages entertainment” that will actually work for all ages, Enchanted succeeds most of all as a showcase for its superb leading lady. This is the kind of movie that will be around for a while, and it just might earn a place of honour next to the fairy tales that inspired it. This is an out and out family entertainer. Don’t miss out on it.

The Enchanted Director: Kevin Lima Cast: Amy Admas, James Marsden Genre: Adventure/ action/ comedy

Big Boss 2 ropes in Sherlyn Chopra
 

Sherlyn Chopra and Shakti Kapoor will be a part of the second season of Big Boss 2. After fiery Rakhi Sawant in the first edition, they needed a similar character to spice up the second edition as well. The controversial actress, who acted in Vinod Pande’s Red Swastika seems to be the right choice. The subject of India TV’s sting operation Shakti Kapoor too has a very controversial record till date and we are sure that this sequel is going to be a humdinger with Shilpa Shetty being the host on the show.

Abhijeet stays, Kishen quitsῠ

It was rumoured that Abhijeet Bhattacharya,ῠῠ judge of Ek Se Badkar Ek, had decided to quit the show because he didn’t approve of Pakistani singer Mussarat participating inῠ the show. However, the channel claims otherwise. They say that Abhijeet was sacked after he raised an objection to Mussarat’s entry in the show. But, thanks to the contract and its legal implications, the playback singer is back on the show after apologising to Zee. However, host Ravi Kishen is quitting the show on mutual consent with the channel.

Column inpires Oolta Chashmah
 

The humorous column Duniya Ne Undha Chashma, written by eminent Gujarati writer Taarak Mehta in the popular Gujarati magazine Chitralekha, has been the inspiration behind Sab TV’s new show Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah.

The show, which was launched on Thursday, is about the fun side of life. Asit Modi, owner of Neela Telefilms, who has produced famous comedy shows like Hum Sab Ek Hain and Meri Biwi Wonderful is the brain behind this show. Modi remarks, “Forty years ago, a chawl came into your imagination from the pages of Chitralekha, now we are bringing it to your house through the television.”

The show revolves around Jethalal, who is an uneducated Gujarati businessman and Taarak Mehta is his neighbour, in whom Jethalal finds a friend.

Barkha turns tapori

Life has become a little tough for actor Barkha Bisht these days. The lead actress of Doli Saja Ke on Sahara One is struggling to learn the tapori language to portray her newly introduced double role in the serial.

“Portraying two characters at the same time and on the same show is great fun. I’ve been enacting the character of Anupama for a long time and suddenly adapting to this roadside character Tia is a bit difficult. The language she uses is the most difficult for me to learn,” says Barkha.

However, she enjoyed the scene where Tia, a character influenced from Sridevi’s role in Chaalbaaz, enters the serial. “I had to perform a dance sequence on a song from Chaalbaaz. I was too scared, but the energy of Aroona Irani, director and choreographer of the song, took away all my fears,” she says.

Reshmi walks into Kayamath
 

Reshmi Ghosh is well known for playing negative roles, thanks to her Bhumi act in her debut show Kyunki, which made her a household name. Keeping with her image, Reshmi is essaying yet another negative character in Kayamath. Her entry in the show as Mallika will cause some ripples in the relationship between Prachi and Milind. “Mallika is an ambitious and cunning business woman who achieves everything she sets her eyes on. Brimming with attitude, she is glamorous and uses her power and personality to lure Milind into a relationship,” says Reshmi. While she says Bhumi of Kyunki has shades of grey, Mallika is outright negative and self-centered. “Bhumi can differentiate between right and wrong but Mallika has no qualms about doing anything for her personal gain,” she adds.ῠ

Dance to win a dream wedding
 

Onscreen love birds Ronit Roy and Shweta Tiwari along with Apara Mehta will play love gurus on screen and help couples have a dream wedding in a new reality show Aaja Mahi Ve where they play judges.

There is no dearth of dance-based reality shows on television. But Star Plus believes that they can get it right with one more reality show because Aaja Mahi Vay is a dance show with a difference – it promises a fairy tale wedding to the winning couple.

The show offers real life couples with a penchant for dance, a golden opportunity to make their dream come true. The stage is set for 11 real life couples to battle it out on a dance floor week after week from August 1 onwards. “We believe in putting the best foot forward. We are quite confident about the show, it has good content and will provide wholesome entertainment,” says Star’s executive vice president Keertan Adyanthaya. According to Abhimanyu Singh of Contiloe Entertainment, lot of hard work went into finding the real life couples.

“We held auditions at several centers over a three-month period to showcase 11 unique love stories. They all are great dancers too and more importantly, each couple has an interesting story to tell. Viewers can look forward to some fabulous dancing, compatibility games and loads of emotional content, apart from lots of fun and tears too.”

ALC

Karnvir bares it all
 

He was Manoj Bohra before changing his name to Karnvir Bohra. Now once again he has got a new name for himself and this time it’s not him but his colleagues on the dance reality show Kabhi Kabhi Pyaar Kabhi Kabhi Yaar who have christened him. Karnvir’s costumes on the show have plunging necklines that reveal his well-toned body. Ever since judge Sameera Reddy paid him compliments on his well-toned chest, Karnvir’s co-contestants have nicknamed him ‘Cleavage Kumar’.ῠ Going by the blush he has on his face, we are sure Karnvir is certainly not complaining.

Jas in Singapore with new soap
 

After small roles in Monsoon Wedding and Chalte Chalte, former model and actor, Jas Arora, was appreciated for his acting in the television serial, Dharti Ka Veer Yodha – Prithviraj Chauhan. But, it has been quite some time now that he hasn’t been seen on the small screen.

So, what’s keeping him busy these days? “I’m doing a show for Singapore television titled Aachar. It’s a story of a Chinese girl married to an Indian guy and the trials and tribulations they face in that marriage. I’m really enjoying it and it has a refreshing theme and a great storyline,” said Jas. Does that mean he doesn’t have time for domestic projects? “Of course, I do. But it’s my commitment towards Singapore television that’s stopping me from taking up work anywhere else. It is a three-year commitment out of which I have completed two,” he smiled.

So, how does it feel to be a part of an international project? “It’s amazing. But more interesting is that I’ve been selected as the ‘Face of Singapore Television’. It’s a huge achievement for me. I feel like a conqueror when I see my face among so many Chinese faces,” he said.

Dhoni, Yuvi on Chak De
 

They didn’t win the IPL trophy for their respective teams but the swashbuckling and stylish big hitter Yuvraj Singh and poster boy of one-day and Twenty20 cricket Mahendra Singh Dhoni are all geared up to rock the stage on the concluding episode of Chak De Bachche this Saturday. The stage is set for a grand finale between the Metro Rockers Varun and Loria and Desi Dhuranders Deepak and Nishtha. As the two jodis battle it out in the three-hour final episode, the little kids will have the cricketers rooting for them. While Yuvraj will lend his support to the Metro Rockers, Dhoni will back Desi Dhuranders.ῠ

Ayub turns bhai on sets too

Ayub Khan who plays Bhai Raja in the afternoon show Rakhi takes his screen name quite seriously. Not only is he playing big brother act to the hilt to his onscreen sister Nupur but also to the entire production team as well. The unit members keep pestering him for sweets and Ayub obliges them by ordering ice cream on the sets. Says a unit member, “Ayub is a nice guy. Given his age, he is like an elder brother to everyone. All of us respect him and whenever he is in mood he treats us to ice cream.” However, the actor modestly says, “It’s not a big deal, just a small gesture for my team members.” Snippets by A.L.CHOUGULE

Snippets by ALC

Chowta loves to play jazz
 

For those who remember Satya, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and Dum, the thread that brings these films together is the music. And the man behind it is Sandeep Chowta, the Ghana-born, Nigeria raised and Chennai-based musician, who is making waves not just by composing music, but also with music videos and a short film. He was in the capital for a brief recording stint. In an interview he spoke on making music, the changing music scene in Bollywood and more.

In most of the films (Satya, Dum, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya), your compositions are quite unlike the run-of-the-mill potboilers in Bollywood. How did you determine the music for that?

Well, that’s the director’s call. He’s the one who decides what theme the music should be set to. Most of Ram Gopal Varma’s films have explored the darker aspects of life. So the music had to be somewhat on the same lines, although not entirely. Yes, you also need to break the monotony if there’s too much of emotion. The other thing is, in Bollywood, there’s a hierarchy you have to follow to determine what kind of music the film has. It has to be approved first by the director, then the producer, and now I think even some actors are trying to throw in their two cents. So you have all these factors working for or against you.

You draw your musical style from a smattering of genres. Which one is the closest to your heart?

I follow, play and love jazz. But that’s strictly a personal thing and if you’re about to ask me whether I incorporate it in the music I make for films, no.

You were planning on collaborating with FatBoy Slim. Will it be a experimental exercise, a meeting of jazz and African Rhythms with electronica?

This was a long time ago when I was in London. Yes, we discussed some projects and had plans of collaborating. But somehow it never took a concrete shape.

What do you think about the transition of music in Bollywood, from playback singing to OST-like scores?

Yes, playback singing days are over. I think it all started with Himesh Reshammiya, when suddenly the nation was obsessed about this nasal-singing chap with a cap. You don’t get to see lip-synced songs in any movie, it’s become more like a background score, not unlike Hollywood.

Don’t you think it’s easier to be a musician in Mumbai, owing to Bollywood as a potential buyer? What should bands in Delhi do to make it big?

Of course, which producer or director would want to fly back and forth to Delhi to use a band’s songs for a film? Even for the music composers, it doesn’t work like that. When you have a baby, you tend to be always around it. You can’t do long distance projects because of feasibility issues. And making it big can be a very ambiguous term.

Do you mean the money they make, or the success that comes when your work is recognised by the audience? If it’s money, I think there’s a market for every genre, every musician. You just have to keep at it and not worry about the outcome.

You’ve donned many hats as a music video director, short filmmaker and music composer. How do you find time for all that?

Whatever I’ve done is just an extension of music. Santosh, the choreographer once told me that if ever I was doing something for a long stretch, it pays to take a break and do something totally unrelated to it. So I thought of making a music video and a short film. I’ve found that this re-approach works wonders in boosting your creativity.

Reality shows fascinate Javed
 

Javed Ali may not a very well-known name in the music industry, but his songs Ek Din from the movie Naqaab, Nagada Nagada from Jab We Met and Jashne Bahara from Jodhaa Akbar speak highly of his talent. Javed who has made a niche in Bollywood with his amazing songs was in the capital recently to perform at the Kamani Auditorium.

Talking about his journey as a singer, he said, “I used to sing since the time I was a kid. My father is my mentor. Observing my keen interest in music, my parents enrolled me in a professional singing course. Later, my hard work and love for music made me who I am today.” And, how did his first interaction with Bollywood happen? “Kalyanji (of composers, Kalyan-Anand duo) noticed my singing a few years back and took me to Mumbai. My first song was for the movie Beti No.1,” said Javed.

Though Javed has sung for many movies, it is only recently that he got recognition. “I always wanted to be slow and steady. With every song, I tried to improve my performance. Though fame came to me a bit late, I never had a paucity of assignments,” he said.

And does he have a godfather in the industry? “Many people have appreciated my singing and I respect many of them, but whatever I’m today is because of my talent. I try to give my own touch to every song I sing. I don’t have any godfather in the industry,” he said.

Moreover, Javed thinks he is lucky that he has a different voice. “It’s an advantage for me that my voice is different, at least after listening to my songs, people can distinguish between me and the other singers,” he said. The trend of choosing singers from reality shows fascinates Javed. “I think it’s a good trend. At least, it gives a chance to talented people to show what they are best at. Moreover, no matter how well a person sings, it takes a lot of time to become a playback singer, and get recognition at the same time,” said Javed.

Has he ever thought of composing music? “No. And I even don’t intend to give it a try. Singing is my first love and I want to stick to it. I want to concentrate fully on my singing so that I can give my 100 per cent to each and every song,” he concluded.

On Song
 

Its Impossible Bul Its Possible῅ Its Impossible Bul Its Possible Its Impossible Bullshit῅.

Mission Mission Mission Istanbul ( 4)

Yeh Mission Nahin Aasaan Yeh Mission Istanbul Jaayegi Is Mein To Jaan Yeh Mission Istanbul Hai To Yeh Dariya Aag Ka To Par Karenge Isko Lekin They Say Its Impossible We’Ll Make It Possible Oh Ya We’Ll Make It Chaaho To Rok Na Yeh Sochna Bhi Hai Na Mumkin And That We Cant Do All We’Re Gonna Blow Some Balls And Turn In On Them

Its Impossible Bul Its Possible (3) Its Impossible Bullshit῅. Mission Mission Mission Istanbul (4) Now Its Getting Deeper With All These Secrets That I Keep On My Mind..What The Ffff (2)

Kar Le Tujhse Jo Ho Sake Aaj Nahin Bach Paayega Tu You Say There’S No Way Out Without A Doubt We’Re Gonna Bang Our Way Through Go Go Go We’Ll Surely Go We’Re Gonna Blow Your Heads And Then Right We’Ll Kick Ya Aaja Tum Saamna Zara Dekhne Hai Dum Kis Mein Kithna

“I ate ice cream Dosa”
 

My friends consider me a foodie (thankfully not a glutton). I take a lot of time savouring every dish that I order. So, often I am the last one to finish when it comes to dining out with friends.

I believe in the power of foods to alter mood, so when I feel dull and depressed, I munch on fruit and nut chocolates, garlic bread, pizza and dosa.

I also sometimes experiment with strange combos. For in-stance, I have tried curd rice mixed with mango juice and ate ice-cream dosa (dosa dipped in ice-cream).

I also experiment with cooking. Besides tomato-spinach dal, my mother makes the best alu fry and it inspired me to come up with carrot fry, (don’t be sceptical, it really tastes better than alu fry and healthy too).

I am also fond of sweets, especially rasgullas and Baskin Robin’s banana flavour ice cream with strawberry toppings. At Melting Moments, Jubilee Hills, I ate the yummiest chikoo flavour ice cream.

When it comes to eating out, I prefer going to Ohri’s at Raj Bhavan Road, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner and Chutneys. Chutneys prepares excellent varieties of dosa, like the fluffy oil-free Cheeranjeevi dosa, with different types of chutneys. At Quality Bliss, Nampally, I also ate a rare dish, geena lola brigitta, made of white wine and various herbs and vegetables.

I had also eaten a rare kind of samosa (stuffed with fresh vegetables, curry, tomato and cucumber on board a flight.

At Nellore, I ate dosa at hotel Padmavati. The dosa was laced with layers of masala made of mirchi powder and onion. I miss it dearly in Hyderabad.

Although our city has come up with global cuisine, it doesn’t have enough standard hotels catering to cuisine from other districts of AP.

Among other Indian states, I love traditional Rajasthani and Gujarati thali of Vaishali, in Ahmedabad. The dal makhani at Pappaji ka Dhaba in Bangalore, the rasam at Sangeeta restaurant in Chennai and the bisibele bath I ate at Mysore deserve special mention.

Our canteen caters to all taste buds
 

Hangout@the canteen of Marri Laxman Reddy Institute of Technology

Who all frequent: Students of MLRIT – Harika, Shalini, Neeraja, Sweta, Ravi, Rajsekhar and their friends.

Cost: Quite pocket-friendly – Rs 5-Rs 30 approx.

What’s the catch: From Chinese to South Indian, our canteen caters to a wide variety of taste buds. Whether it’s during tiffin break or at lunch, or evening snacks, there’s something new on the menu everyday.

The seating arrangement both inside as well as outside the canteen is quite comfortable. Healthy and tasty fruit salads, mixed fruit juice, grape juice, badam milk, Manchurian puffs and samosas are a big hit with students, says J.Shalini Mudiraj, a fourth year B.Tech student of the college.

Try This
 

Grilled paneer kebabs

By Seema Khandelwal, Businesswoman

Serves four, preparation time 20 minutes. Monsoon makes us crave for fried stuff. The health conscious can try this delicious paneer recipe, which uses just two drops of oil.

Ingredients 100 gms paneer (cut into small pieces) 50 gms thick curd (properly hung, water drained out) 1 capsicum 1 onion 1 tomato (The vegetables are cut in triangle shape 1 tsp cooking oil)ῠῠ Chaat masala to tasteῠῠῠῠῠῠῠ

Method Soak the paneer in hung curd for 10 minutes. Take the vegetables and cut them in small triangular shape. Put two drops of oil on a kadai and fry the vegetables for about five minutes till light brown.ῠ

Take a tawa. Put a little oil and place the paneer on the heated oil. Cook till it’s reddish brown in colour. Take a toothpick. Arrange capsicum, onion, tomato, paneer on it followed by the vegetables once again. Add a little chaat masala to the colourful kebabs to make them tastier.

Munch on yummy Italian brunch
 

If you believe in spending Sunday in a holiday mood, then make your way to the Deccan Pavilion at ITC Hotel, The Kakatiya. The brunch here starts at 12:30 pm.ῠ Tantalise your taste buds with a perfect symphony of foods grilled to your liking, ranging from Au bleu to Biencuit and fresh fruit cocktails.

One can try the most traditional dishes from world cuisine. Italian dishes like bruschetta, involtini with smoked chicken, gnochetti with pesto, marinated artichokes, North Indian cuisine like kebabs, dal makhni, with world’s best wines to complement the gourmet.

Besides, exotic and exciting flavours of ice creams and toppings make the brunch a truly memorable one. One can have desserts ranging from sugar free to eggless desserts and also fresh cut fruit platter with more than 30 such selection of desserts. Chocolate mousse and Gwalior kulfi are other must-have desserts. Round it up with pomegranate martini.

Raksha Bandhan
 

Rakhi, the celebration of the unconditional love and bond that a brother and sister share, is on August 16. If your brother is out of station its all the more reason to start shopping for it now so that your rakhi reaches him on time. City shops have a wide range of options.

Passionate on Kharkhana Road has rakhis for all age group. Rakhis with cartoon and fairytale characters are apt for your kid brother. These rakhis are reasonably priced in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 50. Heavily embellished rakhis made of silk threads and stones are also available. These rakhis priced at Rs 50 onwards.

Check out the rakhi stalls on Ma Kali Street. These small stalls sell rakhis of different hues and shapes. They are made of a variety of material like foam, wood, plastics etc. The prices start at Rs 5. Also on display are flower rakhis, made of mainly silk or plastic flowers. These rakhis come in different sizes.

Madan Fancy Emporium, near Charminar has some interesting rakhis in stock. Especially the lumba or the Rakhi for bhabhis. These rakhis symbolise the beautiful relationship that exists between a bhabhi and her sister-in-law. Prices start at Rs 20 onwards. Also on offer are minute pooja thalis and shagun items like small plastic coconuts that can be easily mailed to your brother staying at a distant place. These items are priced at Rs 10 and the thalis at Rs 45. Also take a look at the beautifully decorated rakhi thalis of different sizes to suit your needs.

If you want to pamper your brother on this day then do take a look at the silver rakhi studded with precious stones available at Dinesh Jewellers in Abids. There are exquisite rakhis to choose from.

Store with an EYE for fashion, comfort and style
 

There’s a bit of good news for people who shipped eyewear from elsewhere due to lack of enough options in the city. Odyssey India Ltd, owner of the retail brand Odyssey, has launched an end-to-end eye solutions store called the Eyewear Store. Not only does it take care of the fashion quotient but also offers the best in eye care facility.

The store offers a plethora of prescription frames and sunglasses; from popular brands to the some of the biggest names in fashion. The products on offer are suitable to every conceivable taste and budget.

The store also has a state-of-the-art eye testing machine, highly trained staff and advanced contact lenses clinic to take care of your needs.

You can pick and choose from over 600 designs from brands like Ray Ban, Fastrack, Poloroid; to the sporty range from Levis, CAT, Vogue; as well as the designer range from Ferrari, Versace, Mont Blanc, Bvlgari. Prices range between Rs1,500 and Rs 35,000.

The interiors of the shop have been designed by keeping in mind the comfort of the customer. There are strategically placed mirrors on the wall units, which allows a wearer of the frame two views of his face – one view from the mirror which is placed at the eye level and the other inclined at the top. This helps the customer decide which frame suits him/her better.

The customer friendly staff is well versed with the brands they handle and offer the right advice to the discerning customers.

The store also has a dedicated eyewear unit for kids. On offer are glasses in funky shades that would appeal to tiny tots. There are also a series of reading glasses by some of leading brands in the segment.

As part of the inaugural offer, the store is offering attractive discounts on brands like Ray-Ban, CAT, Speedo, Manish Arora, and Bausch & Lomb.

Eyewear Store 8-2-686/K/1/2, Kimtee Square, Near ICICI Bank, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.

Sales & Exhibitions
 

*ῠTake a look at the Assam cane and bamboo furniture exhibition at Lepakshi Show Room at R.T.C crossroads. Items on display include sofa sets, center tables , dining tables, baskets and lamp shades.

* Check out the end of season sale at Kappa store in Begumpet. Avail up to 60% off on the merchandise on display. Kappa shoes now start from an affordable price of Rs. 999

* Check out the Furniture fair in Hitex Exhibition ground Starting from August 8. Also on display are home accessories.

A Lazy Sunday brunch
 

Hot and cold – these are the words thatῠῠ well describes the ambience at the brunch held at Zenzi on Sunday. It was hot in the outdoor section with the flames from the stir-fry wok adding to the heat. Inside, it was a different story, with the AC on full blast. Holding a conversation was next to impossible with the trance music blaring so loud that one had to send out texts to communicate with friends.

Making their presence felt was the model brigade of Bhavna Sharma, Carol Gracias and sisters Pia and Binal Trivedi. The fashionable crowd also included Narendra Kumar Ahmed who was recounting his fond memories of a recent visit to a farm in Croatia where he chilled out and drank the local brew. Others spotted at this Sunday beer brunch were Sameer Malhotra in a hat and Zenzi’s Matan Schabracq back from opening a Zenzi in Mexico and Vivek Chhabra of Asia Pacific Breweries in Singapore. After the long beer brunch, a relaxing foot massage was the perfect way to end an indulgent afternoon before stepping out into the rain.

All for charity

The Indian Cancer Society completed 57 years of service to those afflicted with cancer and living below the poverty line. To gather support for its “Care To Cure” initiatives, it organised a mega charity dinner at a hotel on Sunday. Child cancer survivors showcased a special dance performance, which was followed by some splendid musical performances. Some of the guests present at the event included Sabina Chopra, Simone Tata, Vivan Bhatena, Divya Palat and Sikander Kher.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Amitabh – Selebriti Vegetarian Terseksi Asia

27 Jul

AMITABH BACHCHAN terpilih sebagai jejaka vegetarian terseksi Asia, dalam satu analisis pendapat yang dijalankan oleh People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Sementara itu, aktres penyanyi Hongkong, Faye Wong, terpilih sebagai wanita vegetarian terseksi Asia.

Antara artis Asia lain yang tersenarai termasuk bintang drama Taiwan Barbie Hsu, aktres Hong Kong Maggie Q, dan penyanyi Cantopop serta aktres Stephy Tang.

Menurut pengarah PETA Asia Pasifik, Jason Baker, menjadi vegetarian merupakan cara terbaik yang dapat dilakukan bagi menjamin kesihatan.

“Tak ada cara termudah untuk tetap ramping dan seksi. Lihat sahaja Amitabh sebagai buktinya,” tambahnya.

Utusan Malaysia

Arre O’ Samba!

31 Aug


Arre O’ Samba!

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

‘Aag’ hits the screens today, but without all of the immortal lines of ‘Sholay’. We take a look at dialogues that have outlived their films in the recent times – from Mumbaiyya one-liners to Urdu couplets.


Smart talk Stills from &#8216’Aag’

Aag, what Ram Gopal Varma calls as his “interpretation of Sholay,” releases today. When Amitabh Bachchan takes centre stage as Babban Singh, the audience will pitch him against late Amjad Khan’s character of Gabbar.

For many, watching Sholay is a karaoke experience. Having memorised the dialogues (Salim-Javed), the Sholay faithfuls would join Dharmendra in echoing “Kuttey mein tera koon peejaoonga,” or Amjad Khan in “Kitne Aadmi The?” Varma’s Aag, on the other hand, will tear away from the original and according to Varma, will not replicate all of the immortal lines. “My film is a tribute to Sholay and not a remake. Babban is an exotic looking, larger-than-life villain and is as dangerous as Gabbar. But the way he speaks will be different,” reasons Varma.


Don – the chase begins

Keep it short


Munna Bhai MBBS

“Which film’s dialogues have stayed in public memory in the last 15 years?” asks Amitabh Bachchan, talking to Friday Review. If Shah Rukh Khan as Don is widely heard on ringtones and ringback ton
es of mobile phone users declaring “Don ko pakhadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai,” that too cuts back to Amitabh Bachchan’s original Don (dialogues by Salim-Javed again) in 1978. Amitabh reasons t
hat the emphasis on dialogues has changed over the years. “This is the age of fast food; everything has to be precise and concise. If your laptop takes a few minutes to boot, you want to replace the hard disk. There’s no time for redundancy and rhetoric. We have to cater to this generation of youngsters. On the other hand, films in the 50s to the 80s emphasised on the written word,” he says.

The written word still rules, and blends to suit different contexts. Mumbaiyya language saw a revival thanks to Munna Bhai and Arshad Warsi. “Even today, many people on the streets call me ‘maamu.’ Mu
nna Bhai MBBS
and Lage Raho Munna Bhai spoke in a language that people could relate to. It’s needless to add that only when the story, the concept and the film succeed, people remember the dialogues,” points out actor
Bomman Irani.

A stark departure from Don, Aag and Munna Bhai are films like Fanaa and Rang De Basanti. An easy blend of Urdu and Hindi hooked the younger lot to Fanaa. An
d Rang De Basanti (dialogues by Prasoon Joshi and Rensi D’Silva) made both ‘masti ki pathshaala’ and ‘Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna’ anthems for many a revolution across colle
ges. “Before RDB, I had planned to make another film on freedom fighters who preferred the sword to the pen. We got groups of youngsters in Delhi and Mumbai and discussed at length about the freedom movement and what they thought of the country. It was clear that they weren’t interested. I understood that I had to juxtapose the old with the new. This reflects in every aspect of the film – from the screen play to the dialogues and lyrics in songs. We needed Sarfaroshi ki tamanna as much as Roobaroo and Masti ki paathshala,” says Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

In the film, Su, the Brit youngster, watches in dismay as Siddharth and his friends read lines from her script – Azadi meri dulhan hai – and chuckle “what’s his (Bhagat Singh) problem? Who speaks like this?” Of course, the brat pack undergoes a sea change and get into the spirit of the roles of the freedom fighters. Lines from the Bhagvad Gita echo in the background as the freedom fighters endure their days of torment in prison.


Rang De Basanti

Fanaa, meanwhile, is a throw back to the days of the shayari. Among the many quoted in the film, “Tere dil mein meri saason ko panaah mil jaye, tere ishq mein meri jaan fanaa ho jaye,”
remains the most popular. In Shaan’s voice, Subhanallah also became an anthem.

Lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar explains, “Don and Sholay captured the youngsters with smart one-liners. The other films presented couplets that were easy for the younger lot to understand. Many youngsters
cannot differentiate between Hindi and Urdu. They assume that what they can understand easily is Hindi and what takes them some time to decipher is Urdu. There is no clear boundary between spoken Urdu and Hindi. In many films and songs, what is used is neither pure Hindi nor Urdu. It’s Hindustani.”

And we’ll get to see more of this blend when Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Akbar-Jodha opens later this year with Hrithik and Aishwarya Rai.


Hindu On Net