Archive | Salman Khan RSS feed for this section

March Of The Bachelorette Brigade

3 Aug

March of the bachelorette brigade
 
By Narayani Basu

In just the last one decade, the Indian woman has come of age. She now toasts her freedom, revels in her sensuality, commands her finances, chooses her wines, lives life on her own terms, and flaunts her singlehood.ῠ When Sex and the City premiered on television back in the 90s, everyone sat up and took notice – particularly women. The series tackled topics like sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), safe sex, multiple partners and dozens of other issues that helped women emerge out of the shadows and into the light of changing societal traditions. And when the series came to India, it met with mixed reactions. There were groups who waved the flag of women’s independence and individuality. And yet, underneath it all, the old stereotypes were, and are, still alive and kicking.ῠ

There is, more so in Indian society, a tremendous pressure to find a man and settle down. Despite progress in nearly every sphere, there is still a belief that without a man, nothing can be achieved or accomplished. You’ve made it if you marry into a good family. However, a closer look shows that even though the change is slow, it is steady. The new Indian woman is all about exploring the various facets of her personality. She isn’t just able to afford holidays to London, or own designer clothes, but she’s able to actually make decisions about her life – when, what, and how – all without the help of a man. The change isn’t only restricted to the younger generation either. Women in their late 30s and early 40s are breaking out of the conventional mould into which they were so carefully sculpted – all with the support of the dreaded ‘traditional Indian family’.ῠ

As a result, men have had to force themselves to change as well. It’s no longer enough to be a man – you need to be proficient on both the professional, as well as the domestic front, especially if you’re married to today’s modern career woman. As a result, divorce rates all over the country are shooting up. According to the Tribune, there was a 150 percent rise in the divorce rates in conservative states like Punjab and Haryana in 2007, while in New Delhi there were 8000-9000 cases in the same year.ῠ

So it’s obvious that marriage is no longer the low-risk option that it once was for a daughter. Take the case of Anita Sahgal (name withheld on condition of anonymity). Sahgal, who was married for 15 years before she got a divorce, manages her own media consultancy. Though she started her company while she was married, Sahgal says that her job did not mean much to her husband. “I was working out of home initially, but as my job gained momentum and there was hardly any support from my husband, I had to think of a way out.”

The only way out was a divorce and Sahgal admits that it was the most painful decision she had to make. By this time she had two children and the going was hardly easy. Besides, at this time, Sahgal had entered what she calls a “professional plateau”. She was hardly paying attention to her work as a result of trying to manage her personal front and it was taking its toll on her. “It took me 15 years to come around to the decision,” she says, “but the kids were grown up by this time, and though it was very hard, I decided to go ahead with it.”

The good thing about it all? “Undoubtedly, my kids and my family. My kids were completely non-judgmental and my whole family gave their support unconditionally,” she says, “My work is now back on track and so is my life. In fact, I’m taking a break and going abroad for a holiday with my mother and daughter.”

However, being a single woman isn’t all happiness and light. Consider, for instance, the fact that you have bills and there isn’t anyone to settle them but yourself. Sunita Jain, 56, a former employee with the Bank of Tokyo, who now works as a freelance investment consultant-cum-lecturer, agrees, “Being single at any age for any woman in Indian society is difficult, but you need to accept the situation as you find it and adjust accordingly. If you can do that and take each day as it comes, you’ll be fine.”ῠ

Jain, who comes from an orthodox Jain family, was married and divorced at an early age. That, she says, surprisingly wasn’t a problem. “I, along with everyone else, was a critic of divorce back then, but it wasn’t something I could prevent, and surprisingly, when I told my family of my decision, they were behind me all the way,” she says. “I knew life would be better without him and no one in my family would have had me believe otherwise. A divorced woman used to be ill regarded and divorce was a stigma, but my family, especially my sister, showed me off as proudly as they would a single daughter. Whether it was at parties or family gatherings, I was never left alone for a minute. I can’t thank them enough for that.”

But what about financial support? Though Jain was working at the time of her marriage, her husband wanted her to give up the job. She remained adamant on the issue, but when the divorce came through, she was left to fend for herself. Here again, her family turned up trumps. “My father and my brother were more experienced than I was back then,” she admits, “and they guided me wonderfully. I began to learn more from the job I was in, and invested my savings wisely. Now I can stand on my feet, financially and otherwise.” The issue of companionship is another monster that often rears its head. Some women may worry about being alone for the rest of their lives. Jain says that that is just a question of one’s state of mind.

“I have plenty of friends, male and female,” she says, “Life doesn’t stop because you’re a single woman, nor should you expect it to. And if it boils down to the issue of sex, then it all depends on how you play.” Radhika Sachdev, 40, who works with a publishing house, quenched her need for companionship in another way. She adopted a child, Aarzoo. “I would have adopted even if I had been married,” she says, “It was a decision I had been working towards as I grew older. I don’t feel the need for a man, just to have kids. Kids aren’t the only basis of a relationship.”

Sachdev wasn’t worried about raising any eyebrows either. “All that mattered to me was that my parents would accept my decision and my child. Luckily for me, they did without any questions. They helped me set up the infrastructure that I needed to get Aarzoo into my life.” But hurdles presented themselves in the form of schools. “Most schools that I applied to were biased because I was a single mother and because she was adopted,” says Sachdev. “It was a very tough period for me, because I don’t believe that you discriminate against children who are adopted or women who are raising them single-handed. It’s not anyone’s fault,” she says. Innumerable rounds, and a letter from Sheila Dikshit later, Aarzoo was accepted into Somerville School. “I’m happy that they accepted her,” says Sachdev, “It’s a good school and she’s very happy there. That’s all I want.”

Being single isn’t exactly a joyride. There are ups and downs to every side of life, but that comes even if you are married or in a relationship. For now, most Indian women, be they young or old, are embracing a lifestyle that, while it is independent, in no way cramps their style. An online blog post says it all: “Then there’s the deep contentment of turning the key in your own front door on a Friday night, slamming it behind you, pouring a glass of wine and settling down to watch a favourite movie with no one else commandeering the remote control and channel-flicking during the breaks.”

Bipasha Basu When in a relationship for a long time, it feels like you are already married, because you are leading your lives as married couples would – sharing responsibilities and being together. What matters is whether you can maintain your identity even after marriage. There are couples who’ve been together for 10 years and then decided to tie the knot. And what happens? Soon after they get married, they split.ῠ They say, people’s expectations change.ῠ Although I do want to get married eventually, I would want to be independent.

Advaita Kala (writer) For me, per se, there is no set guideline. I think it’s really about being with someone who gives you the space to grow and evolve. I read once a long time back, and in fact used it in my book as well, that, “Marriage is like one long conversation.” I agree with that. To be with someone who mentally invigorates you and keeps you aware and invested is great. I think when and if I do decide to marry, it will hopefully be to someone who is not afraid of change, is kind and cares about the world we live in.

Sushmita Sen: The idea behind marriage is age-old – to find happiness, a sense of security given the norms of the society then. Of course society and the times have changed now. Is it then right to carry these age-old traditions and beliefs forward? Why is it so bad for a girl who is 30-something to not be married? I have girls writing to me saying families, usually distant family, get on their nerves, hounding them about marriage. Why can’t we just let people be? I want to know how many married people are truly happy? If marriage doesn’t guarantee happiness, is there even a point discussing this?

Brides who showed the door to grooms
 
By Amita Verma

Four young girls in Uttar Pradesh proved this month that it doesn’t take education or financial strength to stand up for women’s emancipation – it just takes mettle, and the strength to put one’s foot down. Meera, Soni, Raman and Renu are young semi-educated girls, belonging to the lower middle-class. They have never met each other, yet these girls created a furor this month when they stood up for their rights and refused to bow to social pressures.

Meera, who lives in Badaun district, sent her groom back because he did not bring a band with the wedding procession. “If the girl’s family is made to spend money in decorating the venue, why can’t the groom spend money on the band?” she demands. Soni, in Farukkhabad district, refused to marry when she learnt that the groom lisped and stammered. “The boy’s parents hid his speech disability and it was this that made me revolt,” she says in protest. In Mahoba district, Raman found that her groom was a middle-aged man and not the boy she had been shown earlier. She stormed out of the mandap and refused to go through the marriage rituals. In Maharajganj district, Renu found the groom groping around with his hands and discovered that he was partially blind. She stood up and told the elders in the family that she would not marry the groom. The baraat had to return without the bride.

Sway to the rhythm divine
 
By Neha Rathi

Letting your body sway to the rhythm of musical beats isn’t just pleasure. It also helps relieve physical ailments, fosters mental peace and gives rise to a feeling of contentment. Throughout the ages and across cultures, dance has been a medium to express a plethora of powerful emotions. Some dance in celebration, some to let go of bottled feelings, some for fun while some dance in devotion. Dance is energy in motion, and when infused with devotion, it becomes a way to reach out to God.

Indian mythology reserves a special place for dance. Shiva’s Tandava Nritya, the most famous dance in the pantheon of Hindu deities, is considered to be the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution. The dance of Krishna with gopis, known as Raas Leela, is symbolic of the harmony and bliss of love. The dervishes swirled and swayed in an ecstatic love of God. The bauls of Bengal strummed their dotara, tapped their feet and twirled in praise of the Almighty.

Besides expressing joy and devotion, dance can also bring the mind, body and soul in perfect harmony. Dance therapy is a treatment in which choreographed movements of body are used to treat social, emotional, cognitive and physical problems. With the premise that emotional anxiety results in muscle tension and constrained movement, the therapy works towards healing in a rhythmic manner. Conceived as a marriage of sorts between modern dance and psychiatry, the therapy was pioneered by Marian Chace, a dance instructor who established her own studio in the US in the 1930s. Since Chase’s dance classes provided unique opportunities for self-expression, communication and group interaction, psychiatrists began sending patients to her. Later she founded the American Dance Therapy Association and became its president.

Dance therapy treats patients suffering from diabetes, stress, hypertension, cervical spondylitis and migraine headache using the communion of the body-mind factor. Says A.V. Sathyanarayana, a Bangalore-based dance therapist who has founded the Shristi Institute of Dance Therapy, “Dance therapy is founded on the premise that the body and mind are interrelated entities and the state of the body affects the mental and emotional wellbeing of a person in diverse ways. It helps bring out the inner feelings of the participants and helps them develop a healthy personality. The joyful rhythm invokes positive emotions and visualisations of the beauty of nature.”

About the benefits of the therapy, he adds, “This therapy benefits performers without them even realising it. All types of classical and folk dances, right from Bharatnatyam to the Gujarati folk dance Dandiya, have body movements that can be used in this therapy.” The music is a blend of Carnatic, Hindustani, jazz and folk, focusing on specific beats. And the dance steps include Bharatnatyam steps, snake and peacock movements. “We try to show the participant the positive aspect of a creature or an object. He or she should be proud of enacting the creature, like the curvaceous body of a snake or the beauty of a peacock. The snake dance in particular helps in curing respiratory problems,” he says.

If you do something, go the whole way
 

Commitment brings energy. If one wants to live an intense life, full of energy and power, one needs deep commitment. If you are not committed, the energy is not challenged. Everything is just okay, so-so; one continues in a lukewarm way, and one lives just on the periphery. So make this insight a tacit understanding in you. Life is a commitment, because only those who commit themselves, live. Others simply drag. They are born and die but they never live. Only people of commitment rise to high peaks of energy, rise to their climaxes.ῠ

Each moment has to be a commitment Then the energy will flare up and will become a bigger and bigger flame everyday. The more you bring it out, the more it will become available to you, and deeper and higher will be the sources that are available to you. Man can have as much energy as he needs. But if you don’t need it, there is no point in having it. If you have decided to crawl on the earth, it is up to you. If you want to fly in the sky, that too is for you to decide. Your energy is already ready to do what you want to do, but the first thing is that you have to want to do it.

Experience everything fully Whenever you want to experience something, do something, go the whole way. Either it is useless and you understand it, or it is useful; then too you have an understanding of it. Either way you are profited, benefited. Make this a rule for everything; let it be a golden rule. If you love a woman, then love. Go all the way so that you can come to an understanding of whether love is worth-while or just foolishness. And whatsoever the conclusion, it will be good for you. If you come to realise that it is a very significant experience, then you can open many doors. There is no other way than experience.

Love unconditionally Ordinarily love is a relationship, and when love is a relationship you breathe only towards a certain person. You breathe him or her, but the passage is very narrow. The universe is so vast and love gives so much; why make it so narrow? Let it expand and be unconditional, because whenever there is a condition, love becomes ruined. When it is unconditional, it becomes divine. And love is never satisfied unless it becomes divine because that is the deepest urge in every human being: to be so full of love that whatsoever the condition, the love goes on showering.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

At home with ghosts
 
By Veenu Sandal

Critics cite instances of some so-called paranormal groups that mimic the methodology of a traditional ghost/demon hunting team. However, their primary goal is to frighten the homeowner/client into a belief that they are in danger and that immediate action to cleanse the home is imperative. These groups will act quickly to confuse the homeowner/client by pointing to certain items in the home as being “possessed” and will then offer to remove said items to make the home safe. Typically, these items are antiques, relics, or family heirlooms that will later be put on display in a paranormal museum hosted by the said group where a charge is incurred for admission to view such articles.

Yet, despite criticism, the fact remains that ghost-hunting groups around the world are swelling with members – their popularity fuelled by television shows, the Internet and the increasing availability of high-tech equipment and detailed books like Ghost Hunting: How to Investigate the Paranormal. A common sense approach toῠ investigating ghostly happenings, including apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists are avidly read by many ghost-hunters. This particular book, written by Loyd Auerbach, director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations, covers the investigative process from the initial call and assessment to the on-site investigative techniques and technology.

ῠIt explains how to come up with solutions and resolutions and ways to get rid of the phenomena and goes on to discuss fraudulent cases besides looking at other non-ghostly happenings with paranormal explanations. The book also includes use of technology and the use of psychics in paranormal investigations and explores if anyone can prove the existence of ghosts. Finally, the book covers information resources and organisations that the new ghost-hunter and the person who encounters a ghost can find to learn more about the subject and for help with cases they’re investigating or phenomena they’re experiencing. For obvious reasons, new ghost-hunters find this a very useful book.

According to encyclopeadic sources, individuals engaged in ghost-hunting and paranormal investigation have varying motives for their activities.ῠ

* Some ghost-hunters consider themselves hobbyists whose primary motivation is the excitement of the hunt and the thrill of possibly experiencing something supernatural. Many of these individuals enjoy spending significant time pursuing their hobby.

* Others consider themselves serious researchers who follow a number of scientific protocols and share documentation of their research with other groups in an effort to discover proof that ghosts exist. They often go about their pursuit in a prescribed manner in order to gather evidence of paranormal activity at a given location, or debunk false positive reports of hauntings. Many established groups fall into this category.

* Still others consider themselves to be providing a service, and focus their investigation on offering comfort and assistance to individuals who feel they are experiencing unexplained or paranormal activity at a home or other location. These investigators approach a location with the goal of alleviating the fear and discomfort of the occupants by listening to their experiences and providing advice and reassurance.

Generally, ghost-hunting groups are a mix of several differing outlooks and motives. These days, most advertise their services online, but the majority do not charge for investigations in hopes of finding new and interesting places to explore. Summarised by other groups, there are four basic classifications of ghost-hunters, though many groups can fall into one or more categories. 1. Scientific, generally out to either prove or disprove paranormal phenomena such as ghosts through the use of scientific protocols. 2. Interactive, using both science and practiced beliefs to form an answer about phenomena. This group can include students of crptozoology, UFOs and conspiracies. 3. Chasers/Busters, avid believers out to prove by any means that a phenomenon does exist, even regardless of evidence. 4. Religious/Spiritual believers who specialise in religious beliefs or occult beliefs and who fight against the practices of negative forces, such as demons and evil presences. There are other groups too such as those who have an open mind about the existence or non-existence of ghosts. The starting point for this group seems to be the innumerable ghost stories that have been published down the years and told by word of mouth “surely they can’t all be fiction”. Then there is the group of die-hard ghost believers who were once die-hard critics or skeptics and were converted by actual, first hand encounters with ghosts or ghostly happenings at haunted places or other very personal paranormal experiences. Read about their fascinating, gripping experiences in the next column.ῠ

Learning through seeing
 
By Ranjan Kamath

Whenever a student enrols for speech and drama training, I can anticipate the parent introduce the youngster saying, “My child just doesn’t read῅ it is cartoons, cartoons all the time!” The refrain has become so distressingly constant that it persuaded me to understand my own cultivation of the reading habit to suggest solutions.

The Calcutta I grew up in was a paradise for the poet, artist, book-lover and the cineaste. but in the ’70s, aged under ten, I was none of these and certainly no cineaste. The famous Metro Cinema held morning shows on Sunday, for which my father took me zealously. Whether it was 101 Dalmations, Cat Ballou, or Hatari – at the sound of the first bark or, gunshot I was under the seat, looking askance at a censored vertical frame from between Dad’s legs.

On Thursdays – our weekly school holiday -we were shown films at school. Tom and Jerry always preceded the main attraction, which included Flipper the Dolphin, John Wayne’s westerns, Lawrence of Arabia and Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace. During the scary bits, ‘under the seat’ was not an option in the company of peers, so eyes were kept shut.ῠ Pa never explained why he persisted in taking me to the movies when I made his life utterly miserable but with those faltering beginnings, my future transformation into a filmmaker confounded us both. To add to his misery I insisted he read the same fire-engine story at bedtime (ad nauseum). Every night a new ‘film’ premiered in my imagination, with the variations Pa brought to the story.

It took me four decades to realise that my dad and my school had unknowingly initiated me into visual literacy, expanding the visual vocabulary of my imagination. While reading 101 Great Lives, Enid Blyton, Conan Doyle and Alistair MacLean, my imagination was assisted by the visual imagery of the movies. I conveyed the movie contagion to my children, exciting them with films about flying like Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and Battle of Britain. Films aroused a curiosity about Montgolfier’s balloon and Supermarine Spitfires which hooked them onto reading.

Rounding off the story-telling experience, I had preserved my fire engine storybook that I read to my sons at bed-time. Inspired by Pa, I too adopted circuitous narrative routes to realise that they too were enthralled more by the story-telling than the story.

In retrospect, I had not realised the importance of visual imagery in encouraging reading, till I began teaching speech and drama. When reading poetry or prose, words remained text on a page; not triggering cinema in the imagination. Reading was associated with the tedium of studying rather than the enjoyment of learning.

If we want our children to read, we have to read stories to them; read with them. Television, cinema and the internet are resources that complement the reading habit, not marginalise it. To view programmes or a film together with our children fortifies them against the subliminal shock and awe of visual bombardment – creating the curiosity to ‘find out more’ through reading. Every weekend, my children and I travel across continents and centuries from the Rome of Ben Hur to the Japan of the Last Samurai; from Lawrence of Arabia to Saving Private Ryan on the Normandy beaches. In two hours a lesson in history, geography, art and culture has been accomplished offsetting a lacklustre school syllabus.

In a world abounding in knowledge resources, it is tragic to hear a young mind say, “I am bored!”ῠῠ Wouldn’t it be gratifying if we inspired the young mind to curl up in a bean bag at the library, consumed by the ‘cinema paradiso’ of his imagination, lost in a book?

ranjan.kamath@gmail.com

Sexual seduction comes back to haunt you
 
By Ayush Maheshwari

Iῠ want to thank all my readers for sharing their experiences with me. It has been an unbelievable learning process. Recently, one of you shared with me your experience of being sexually abused as a child repeatedly and the immensely negative impact it has had on your life. My heart goes out to you and I can completely relate with you: You are not alone. I was sexually abused as a child as well and till date, it haunts me.ῠ Hearing your story has given me the courage to talk about mine. I know while I am writing this week’s column, some child somewhere in this world is getting abused. and it just has to STOP.

Here is what happened: I was around 13 years old when I visited my aunt’s house during my summer vacation for two months. My aunt lived in a joint family. My uncle’s younger brother, Ravi, who was in his late 20s at that time, was always very friendly with me. Touching me, holding me, and making me feel very special. He gave me a lot of attention which I normally wasn’t used to. Being an overweight child people would often make fun of me. So here I am getting all this super star treatment from an adult. It felt nice. My aunt had a big house and we all had our own rooms to stay in. One weekend, however, she had some guests over and Ravi had to move into my room.

I remember every moment of that night. Talking about it till date (this was 18 years ago) shakes me up. It was the darkest night of my life. I was lying on the bed when Ravi came in. He closed the door and said that he does not want anyone to see the surprise gift he is going to give me. But before that I need to sing him a song. Ravi said, “Ayush, can you please sing Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko” (he knew I loved singing.) I started singing. Slowly he came closer to me and started kissing me. I immediately stopped singing. He said, “You are so sweet, keep going, don’t stop.” He said, “Everyone calls you fat and ugly but I think you are the most beautiful person I have ever seen. I just want to be close to you. Nobody loves you Ayush, but I love you.”

What followed is something I would rather not talk about right now῅ even thinking about it is very painful. This incident was not an exception. It happened over and over again in that trip. Since then for years to come, I would look for this false affirmation to know that I was ‘good enough.’

Then why didn’t I tell someone? Why didn’t I try to stop it? Didn’t I know that I was being wronged? Looking back, I did not understand what was going on. It was all very confusing. At that time, it made me feel wanted and cared for. But the reality is – it made almost permanent damages to my self-esteem. The closest I have come to understanding what was going on is when I heard Oprah talking about child abuse on some of her shows. She calls it ‘sexual seduction’ rather than sexual abuse. As a child, you don’t know any better. children who are abused are often seduced to believing that they are being ‘loved’.

The thought of this fact of my life is like a hen which keeps pecking at my soul. With time and a lot of healing, this pecking has become less frequent. Next week we will discuss more in detail the multiple techniques I adopted to start my healing process. It started with the realisation that even though I am not responsible for what happened, it’s my responsibility to heal my soul. I cannot help but wonder if there is anything more powerful than empowering the self.

You can email your experiences to ayush@bigindian.inῠῠ

Ayush Maheshwari, more popularly known as ‘Big Indian’. He is an IT wizard, motivational expert, pop singer, TV performer and a social worker.

‘Those 3 magic words’
 
By Samantha Brett

Je t’aime. Ti amo. Ani Ohev Otah. I love you.

When the famous Polish pianist Arthur Rubinstein mused that we should “love life and life will love you back… love people and they will love you back”, he was obviously unfamiliar with the modern dating game. Tell the object of your affection those three magic words and you run the risk of the quizzical stare, the nonchalant “er … thanks” (without any sign of reciprocation), or worse – them explaining to you that they’re enjoying the no-strings-attached casual liaison ‘wayyy’ too much to shift gears into mushy couple territory. “Why ruin a good thing?” they muse while your heart crumbles.ῠ Back in high school, I found myself making the crucial mistake of declaring my love a little too prematurely for comfort. “Love? Pfft! You don’t even know the meaning of the word,” scoffed my boyfriend at the time before giving me the flick – via a text message nonetheless.

“Love is complicated,”ῠ he wrote. “I just don’t think I’m ready for the words.” (He certainly seemed ready when I caught him canoodling with his ex-girlfriend the following weekend, but that’s a whole different column.)ῠ I suspect a similar gut-wrenching experience is to blame for the fact that so many of my fellow singletons stick to the mantra that the ‘L’ word is not something to be uttered unless the question has been popped, the rock’s been purchased and both parties are fully aware of each other’s bathroom, belching and belittling habits.

“Unless I know he’s right for me and that I’m prepared to accept his ways -foibles and all – only then will I proclaim I love him,” says one single femme, vociferously opposed to any lovespeak until there’s a ring, a white dress and a picket fence firmly in sight. “Even when he says it to me, I gush ‘thank you baby’ and then quickly change the subject. And I stick with ‘luv’ or ‘loving you’ in texts or emails.”

E! News presenter Giuliana Depandi (http://www.giulianadepandi.com) says she’s doing just the right thing to lure in a bloke for good. In tip #47 in her tome titled Think Like A Guy: How To Get A Guy By Thinking Like One, she jettisons the idea that women should never say the “L” word first, let alone initiate the kids, marriage and move-in-together conversation. (Oops!)

Male portal AskMen.com advises its male readers similarly, chastising any bloke who declares his true feelings for a woman. It says those three magic words are “evil words that have brought generations of clueless men worldwide to their demise”. Ouch!

But I wonder this: in a time of mass communication with more gadgets, gizmos and whiz-bang widgets that enable us to tell someone we love them in more ways than ever before, surely it’s time we were able to express our feelings freely? Be unafraid to open up our hearts?

Or are we simply too afraid of rejection to take the plunge… even if it means getting the “L” word in reply ῅

The writer is an author, columnist & dating expert

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

Vernacular rock on a roll
 
By Debarun Borthakur

If you are a die-hard rock music fan and are cribbing why Led Zeppelin didn’t sing in Hindi, don’t worry; the times are changing. Bridging the linguistic gap to popularise rock among desi music lovers are a bunch of rockers who swear by distorted guitar riffs, and are determined to express their thoughts in their mother tongue. Though “hind-rockers” (singing in Hindi) are common in the country, vernacular rock is what’s sweeping the Indian janta off their feet. Today one will find many Indian rock outfits singing in regional languages, and are slowly but steadily gaining ground in the contemporary Indian music scene.ῠ “If you ask me, music doesn’t have any language. Whether it is Tamil, Kannada, Bengali or any other language, the priority for a musician is to put across the right message, even if it is in some African language,” says singer Usha Uthup.

There are a number of names in contemporary Indian music scene who follow the same ideology. They believe music to be a universal unifier, and don’t consider language as a barrier in this context. “Just like any other college-goer, initially, I too started singing in English.

But eventually I realised how difficult it is to connect my people to it. Singing in one’sῠ mother language helps a singerῠ connect to his roots which I feel is a very important factor to put across the desired message to your audience,” says Raghu Dixit, who recently launched his multi-lingual debut album in English, Hindi and Kannada. So, why did he choose to sing in different languages, is that a rational decision or is it something that came naturally to him? “It was in Belgium where I first sang a few of my own compositions, and you won’t believe the audience there went crazy. Their overwhelming response instigated me to come back to India and be a musician. In fact, the whole experience changed me as a human being,” says Raghu, who has also composed for a Kannada movie Psycho.

Punjabi rocker Rabbi Shergill too believes that music doesn’t have any language. “Composers generally depend on what comes naturally to them. I think in Punjabi, so I prefer penningῠ my thoughts in the same language. It’s about presenting the right expressions to the audience,” adds Rabbi.ῠ

So, how do the record label companies respond to this? Do they consider promoting vernacular music a safe bet in Indian contemporary music scenario? Says Raghu, “Not really. I got lucky because Vishal (of the composer duo Vishal-Shekhar) appreciated my compositions and asked me to come up with an album under their banner. However, everybody is not that lucky. Market is the first priority for established record labels. They are hardly concerned about the sensitivity of music. Though I won’t name any label, many of them turned me down saying I am not good-looking enough for them to promote my music.” Rabbi, however, thinks vernacular music has a great future in India. Though he restrained from commenting anything on the record labels, he believes vernacular music will bring about a new wave in the Indian music market.

So, if you are trying to figure out which language you should choose to pen your thoughts in, don’t think. Just write down your thoughts in any language as it’s not the language that will make your music a hit, but the perfect blend of music and expression.

Unplugged
 
By Naresh Sadhwani and Deepak Jhangiani

A guide to what’s new in the audio, video world

The channel slugfest is on My programmes are better in quality, in content, in the stars that we attract, etc. These are the claims being bandied about by all the channels tom-tomming about their superiority over the other channels. The sad truth is that there is still no clear winner and the discerning Indian viewer is asking for more and the channels are scrambling to find that ‘new’ niche which will attract more eyeballs. From bigger and better the new claim is International, so while UTV World Movies features international movies with English subtitles, NDTV is working on their own world cinema channel, NDTV Lumiere. Now Indian viewers will be able to see cinema from as many as 160 countries. Now globalisation of the Indian viewer’s sensibilities.

Viacom18’s GEC Colors has been launched amidst much fanfare and controversy surrounding the much-heralded Khatron Ke Khiladi, the Indian version of the Fear Factor on AXN. The channel is eager to be unlike the others and is calling its content strategy “disruptive and differentiated”. Whether this will work or not, only the third “d” i.e. demand will tell. ῠ From Oil to Air? Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the country’s second largest oil marketing company, plans to diversify into the already crowded DTH business. With crude oil prices putting a dent in their bottom lines the company is now looking to the other avenues to make it good. BPCL has always been a distribution major. Earlier it was oil, now it will be TV programming.ῠ ῠ Question of the week Everyone is talking of 3G mobile phones. What is that?

Akshay

Presently wireless technology used in India and most other countries for mobile phones is GSM and CDMA which are still evolving. they fall under the 2G or 2nd generation technologies. however, newer technologies are now being employed which are faster and can add on more utilities. 3G therefore, is the generic term covering the range of these future technologies namely: cdma2000, UMTS, GPRS, WCDMA and EDGE. The new I-phone 3G from the Apple farm which has been creating sales history in the USA delivers the best of the 3G world namely these advanced technologies which in layman’s language this means faster speeds, wider bandwidths resulting in better reproduction of sound and picture.

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

My hasty decisions have been my failing: Zayed
 

As I watch Zayed Khan getting ready to play a rich, spoilt brat on the sets of Subhash Ghai’s Yuvraaj in Film City, I can’t help but think aloud, “You seem to slip into this character quite easily!” to which he laughs and says, “Yeah, I identify with the character, Danny Yuvraaj Singh. He’s like Main Hoon Na’s Lucky on steroids. His life is a big party, having everything money can buy. Danny’s got this whole vanity-insanity groove going on.” The young actor has worked with Shah Rukh Khan in Main Hoon Na earlier and now, with Salman Khan in Yuvraaj. His eyes light up as he says, “It was a dream come true to work with SRK so early in my career. He came across as an institution to me and I’ll never forget what he’s done for me. Salman is like an elder brother and I always knew I would have a great time working with him. He’s the ultimate cowboy and I admire his supreme confidence. Both of them are fantastic human beings.” Even though Mission Istaanbul, where he played the role of a journalist, hasn’t exactly set the bar for successes to come, his optimism is unfazed. “I’ve learnt over a period of time that you must take what’s yours. Never be too subservient because you never know when the rug might be pulled from under your feet. After Main Hoon Na, Mission Istaanbul was my big one. I worked very hard on it last year and I am very proud of the film,” says Zayed. Do you regret any career decisions? “I have taken hasty decisions in the past which has been my biggest mistake. Also, I have realised that working with good directors makes all the difference. I don’t really have regrets regarding what I have done. But I think my hastiness and inexperience has been my failing and that is something I have rectified now. I am going to be more careful from here on. A film’s success has got a lot to do with the right team, with people who can extract the best from you. Film is a director’s medium, you have to get along with the director to pull off the character – otherwise you can always be Zayed Khan. In fact, I have been partying more on screen than off screen now,” he says, but not before adding, “But parties follow me wherever I go. I reckon it’s my charm! But it’s my son Zidaan whom I like to spend most of my free time with. In fact my wife Malaika and he accompanied me to my Bahamas outdoor for my film Blue. It was such a joy to have him around.” The new daddy is going the whole hog – feeding and changing diapers and acting silly around his baby. “There are plenty of bloopers too like when he barfed all over my tee shirt at the airport and I got all messy. Zidaan can stare for hours without blinking, expressionless, and I find that amazing. I want to support his personality when he grows up rather than force mine on him,” he says. When asked about brother-in-law Hrithik Roshan, he says, “Hrithik is a perfectionist. When we get together, we work out as we both love to exercise. We talk about our kids. Sometimes he talks about my film performances and I talk about his. I share a warm relationship with him and I am proud to have this wonderful guy in my family,” he says.

Mads back to Mumbai soon
 
Film news

Madhuri Dixit who is a part of the Unforgettable Tour for the US leg, will soon be returning to India according to sources. No, she has not finally said ‘yes’ to another Yash Raj film that Yash Chopra has been insisting her to do. She will be in India to launch a clothing line for a major international brand that is coming to India. The brand will be catering to the working Indian woman and the styling is modeled over Mads’ jackets and pin striped pants wearing character in Aaja Nachle. Mads has also been busy with the designing team in the US, personally looking into the designs and giving inputs for clothes that she thinks would cater to an Indian market.

It is also said that she will stay in Mumbai for three months after the round of shows to promote the brand and she is putting her kids in a nursery school in Mumbai. With Mads all set, the city can’t wait to welcome its favourite aamchi mulgi, and needless to say neither can Bollywood.

Jiah Khan vs Aamir Khan

Jiah Khan is one unhappy lady. After having finished shooting for Aamir Khan’s remake of Ghajini, she isn’t too excited with the final cut. From what we hear, her role has been extensively chopped from the first narration of the film that she has seen and Jiah is feeling disillusioned about it and has addressed her grievances to Aamir. But what has got this sassy actress most upset is the fact that her voice has been dubbed for the film. Aamir wasn’t too happy with her heavily accented dialogue delivery and has dubbed it in spite of Jiah’s requests to let it remain. She defends that if her voice wasn’t a problem in Nishabd, why should it be now. But perfectionist Aamir is having none of it and asked Jiah to stay nishabd on the subject. But knowing fiery Jiah, she won’t keep mum and there could be another Khan vs. Khan battle on the cards. Shiney seeks divine help

Once touted as the next big superstar, Shiney Ahuja has found the going tough with no backing in the industry. He is currently banking on Har Pal with Preity Zinta and Hijack to bring him back into the horizon. And it looks like even Shiney knows he needs divine intervention to bail him out of his bad phase. Shiney is currently not signing films apparently at the behest of a family guru, who has asked him to go on a pilgrimage to seek blessings before taking up new work. Taking the guru’s word to heart, Shiney set out on a temple tourism expedition, a la the Bachchans. He has been seen hopping from one temple to another across the country. But Shiney has also managed to be discreet about the fact that he is fretting over his current box-office status. Even his wife Anu has kept away from the holy tour at the pretext that she’s looking after their baby daughter, but according to close friends, she doesn’t believe in all this and despite Shiney’s insistence, has preferred to stay at home. But the industry believes that if Shiney sorts out his attitude problems, it would be the answer to half his problems. Priyanka to turn producer

Priyanka Chopra is soon turning producer like many other actresses who are taking the baton in their hands. After Vidya Balan and Katrina Kaif, it is Priyanka’s turn to start producing films she believes in.ῠ Priyanka was apparently having long discussions with friend Karan Johar on the sets of soon-to-release Dostana about the nitty gritties of producing films and Karan has promised his complete support to her new ventures.

Although the thought is still in its nascent stages, Priyanka has started hunting for a suitable location for the office of her upcoming company. She is equally enthusiastic about a couple of scripts that were narrated to her but didn’t find any takers with producers in the past. She has summoned those young directors and writers to bring their projects out of the bins and start adding finishing touches to them.ῠ Her friends however, hope Priyanka is moving in the right direction, because post Love Story 2050, she sure needs damage control.

it’s all about work, chance and luck
 
By Vikram Bhatt

So Shah rukh Khan and Salman Khan have had a fight, well at least at the time of writing this piece and by the time you read it they might have even kissed and made up. but as I write this there is a war going on. The media loves it and the people love it.ῠ What better than two super stars slugging it out? One magazine even called me and asked me how this would affect the film industry. I thought for a moment and then could not think of one single way that it could.

They are not doing films together or are in business together. They have their own set of directors and banners. So where was the conflict? Sorry, no tragedy here and no loss to filmdom. It might be sad that they fought and all that but there is nothing that the collective will suffer for here.ῠ Tragedy is when great productive teams break up. That is a great loss.

Salman’s father Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar ruled the film industry with their gritty writing. They were the ones who put writers on a pedestal and rightfully so. Sholay, Deewar, Trishul to name just a few was surely part of cinema history and yet they parted ways. No one knows the real reason except for a few, I suppose, and yet this was a tragedy.

Not that they did not do good work after they parted ways. Salim Khan had Naam and Javed Akhtar had Betaab, Arjun and Dacait to name a few of their films but yet it was no Salim-Javed. More recently music composers Jatin and Lalit who I had worked with on my films Fareb and Ghulam parted ways.

Lalit worked with me on Life mein Kabhie Kabhiee and I did try to ask him once what went wrong between the brothers and what I got was a really lukewarm excuse of an answer, certainly not the true story but again such talent and such tragedy. This place is filled with such examples – people who do great work together and then go their separate ways for reasons best known to them or some that we may guess. I remember the time that Laxmikant-Pyarelal almost broke up their team. It was all over the media and the industry mourned and yet if I remember correctly it was Subhash Ghai who brought them together within days and did not allow the split. The industry owes him a huge one for that.

What makes these teams go their separate ways? It would be silly of me to guess because they might all have their reasons but the most common reason that I have seen is success.ῠ It might sound odd but success has one problem and the problem is called, a part of my homemade theory book, spotlight theory. The spotlight theory is that people feel that there is only place for one under the spotlight.

After the spotlight hits you, you want to elbow out the other person to be in that glow alone. I don’t mean to say that the teams I have mentioned here are a victim to this theory but I have seen enough here that are. I remember this one incident very clearly. I have mentioned Waman Bhonsle in a previous article. He was the most brilliant editor I have met. He was the editor to Gulzar, Boney Kapoor, Shekhar Kapur, Mukul Anand, Raj Khosla. The list is endless.

Prolific and brilliant, he worked in a team with his editor partner Guru Dutt Shirale and it was always Waman-Guru. Everyone in the industry saw Wamansaab, as I call him, toil away more than Guru.ῠ One day someone asked him if he felt like breaking away from Guru since he did all the work at which he smiled and said, “who knows, it might be my work and Guru’s luck!” I can never forget that because in a place where it is all about talent and chance, work and luck, we will never know who the top gun is really!

The Young Turks of cyberspace
 

ONCE YOU’RE LUCKY, TWICE YOU’RE GOOD:

The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 By Sarah Lacy, Gotham Books, $26, pp 294

The drumroll leading up to the publication of Sarah Lacy’s book about the 20-something entrepreneurs who brought us such familiar websites as Facebook was certainly impressive. For months, Lacy demurred when asked to reveal the title yet talked up her project at every opportunity, causing the prepublication buzz in Silicon Valley to build. By golly, it was as if the author herself had created the next YouTube.

With the stance of an insider given unparalleled access to her subjects, the starry-eyed Lacy tells the stories of a half-dozen or so young entrepreneurs who started websites like Facebook and YouTube, all driven by user-generated content. Together, those sites created a post-Google version of the “participatory” Web known as Web 2.0. Lacy has chosen to include, among others, Mark Zuckerberg, the 24-year-old founder of Facebook, the wildly popular social-networking site; and Max Levchin, 33, a co-founder of PayPal, the online payment system that eBay bought in 2002.

This disjointed grab bag of gossip has its elucidating moments, but as the definitive tale of the rise of Web 2.0, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good serves as a reminder that the latter-day equivalent of Tracy Kidder’s 1981 book, The Soul of a New Machine, the gold standard for technology nonfiction, has yet to be written. The title promises an incisive, illuminating examination of just what it is that engenders serial success. Indeed, Lacy delivers on that promise with her profile of Marc Andreessen, who helped build one of the first Web browsers and made millions with Netscape, the browser company. He then started a software company, which Hewlett-Packard bought last year for $1.6 billion. Now 37, he has Ning, a social-networking company for which he has high hopes. Lacy draws a fascinating portrait of Andreessen and his need not just to best himself but to equal the successes of his mentor, Jim Clark, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who financed Netscape.

Otherwise, the title seems to bear little relevance to the book. For Lacy’s other subjects, repeated success has yet to be determined. For example, it is unclear whether Levchin’s new company, Slide, which makes “widgets” – small, single-purpose applications for websites like Facebook and MySpace – will end up making him more millions. And Mark Zuckerberg is still firmly entrenched in his first company. Yet Lacy seems hesitant to dwell on these points.

The writing is, at best, informal. For instance, the last time I checked the American Heritage Dictionary, in spite of how computer trade journalists might choose to use the word, “architect” was not recognised as a verb, to say nothing of “rearchitect.” And Lacy’s fifth-grade teacher would no doubt wince at the profusion of incomplete sentences. (“Probably a good thing few women work there.” And “The time Jay and Marc were chatting when Sumner Redstone sauntered up.”) Then again, everything happens so quickly in Silicon Valley that perhaps there is no time to write a proper sentence.

Some of the reporting is impressive in its sheer detail. Lacy obviously spent a great deal of time with these celebrated entrepreneurs. Her descriptions of their business meetings come complete with snatches of you-are-there dialogue, † la Bob Woodward. The reader also learns who wears boxers, who cuts his hair in a hip style and who shucked his nerd-wear in favour of jeans and Pumas.

But the details don’t add up to much. The reader hears a great deal about Levchin’s fear of swimming but surprisingly little about what has driven Levchin, who is from the former Soviet Union, to start companies. And rather than following a straight narrative arc, Lacy jumps from one story to another, then doubles back again – to confusing effect. Paradoxically, it is when Lacy gets impersonal, and dispenses with her name-dropping tone (she refers to Zuckerberg throughout as merely “Zuck”), that she is at her best. Her explanation of how venture capital works is instructive and clear, perhaps one of the best yet written for a general readership.

And she skilfully describes a tension intrinsic to the Web 2.0 world: thanks to low start-up costs, the newest entrepreneurs don’t need venture capitalists, and even view them with disdain for the role they play in diluting individual wealth. Yet Lacy offers vivid descriptions of meetings between entrepreneurs who eventually wind up strapped for cash and of the venture capitalists with the means to help.

A columnist for BusinessWeek.com and a co-host of Tech Ticker on Yahoo Finance, Lacy has a tendency to throw out numbers in too cavalier a fashion. For instance, she describes “the mighty $195 billion Google juggernaut” that bought YouTube in 2006.

Lacy’s book is an outgrowth of an article she wrote for Business Week in 2006. The unfortunate headline on the cover – “How This Kid Made $60 Million in 18 Months” – proved an embarrassment to the magazine. The cover photograph was of a young man sporting headphones, a T-shirt and a 5 o’clock shadow, smiling broadly and giving two thumbs up to the camera. It was Kevin Rose, who would become one of Lacy’s principal subjects in this book. Rose, 31, is a co-founder of Digg, a website that allows its users to collectively decide which news accounts on the Internet deserve top billing.

As it turns out, the $60 million referred to the estimated value of Rose’s stake in the company. He didn’t make 60 million of anything, and until the company is sold or goes public, the $60 million in question is as good as Monopoly money. One of these days, perhaps by the time Kevin Rose does indeed become wealthy, someone will write a richly textured book that chronicles with insight and acumen the rise of the most recent crop of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Sarah Lacy’s Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good is not that book.

‘I prefer reading intellectual books’
 
By Milind Soman

I am not a very devoted reader, but I read whenever I have time. Though my reading habit is totally dependent on free time, I manage to read almost 600 pages a week. I like reading fantasies or science fiction. I also like to read historical stuff. But I prefer reading books that are intellectual and stimulate me from within. Reading gives me a lot of perspective and insight into various aspects of life. It also gives me a general perception about the people I meet and a certain vision to approach them. Sometimes an experience attained by reading a book helps me take major decisions as well.ῠ Though I don’t have any favourite book in particular, Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham is one of the books I like the most. It’s a fantastic book and very realistic in its approach.

My favourite authors are John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Iain Menzies Banks, Isaac Asimov and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I like their writing because of their unbridled imagination. They have a certain understanding of human emotions. They also have a deep knowledge of social psychology. Being humane and practical in their approach, they have written masterpieces of literature. Reading these authors gives me immense satisfaction.

Worthy additions you will cherish
 
By Sunil K. Poolani

Since talking and cribbing about the foggy world of publishing week after week, I thought I should take a break – and, yes, you readers, too, would get a respite. So, this week I thought it is better to discuss some good books that haveῠ hit Indian bookstores recently. So here they go:

With the Tiger One who grew up with classic storytellers like Somerset Maugham, this impressive volume leads you on a trip down nostalgia lanes. For, With the Tiger (Harper Collins; Rs 295) is a graceful retelling of Maugham’s classic The Razor’s Edge. Where Baranay succeeds is the way she intersperses Maugham’s characters in Indian context with such brave and unwavering way, without losing the girth and grip of the narrative, cogitative most of the times. Baranay, as she admits, has followed Maugham’s structure exactly and named her characters for his. Brief: The charming young Larry (along with a host of other characters) returns as Australians; his life-altering occurrence is not as an underage enlistee in WWI, but during a teenage backpacking trip to India, where he converts himself into a mysterious hermit. A racy read, this is a worthy addition to your literary vocabulary.

Guardian of the Dawn Unlike any other year, the last two years have seen a gamut of historical novels set in India. After Rimi B. Chatterjee’s The City of Love, here comes Richard Zimler’s Guardian of the Dawn (Penguin Books; Rs 350), equally rich in talking about the atrocities and vengeance of colonial India. Zimler, nevertheless, takes a daring turn: he vivifies the Catholic Inquisition in Goa (we Indians, fearfully, never discussed this before, to remain politically correct), and how Hindus or immigrant Jews were strangled by executioners or burnt alive in public. Zimler presents a wide canvas of devotion and discrimination, peppered with lots of historical research and passion.

A veritable treat (the beginning may put many readers off, but as the novel progresses it becomes unputdownable), this novel is an enchanting and authoritative retelling of Othello. Zimler, an internationally-acclaimed author, has absolute command over the language which drags the readers into the realms of a barbaric system that we conveniently try to forget. Impressive.

Devil May Care: A James Bond Novel After Ian Fleming’s death, and when Hollywood is still regurgitating the Bond movies to charm the secret agent’s aficionados, Sebastian Faulks comes as a saviour to millions of Bond admirers across the world. Faulks, you will realise, is the best person, as you savour Devil May Care (Penguin India; Rs 395), to recreate the magic created by Fleming. One may argue why Faulks set the story of the present-day Bond (in this post 9/11 terror attack days) in the former USSR days. In this page-turner’s case the plot unfolds in the Cold War days.

But, as you would know most of the old Bond stories were set in the fifties, sixties and seventies – and Faulks, too, follows suit. Hello, there is nothing wrong in it, as one should realise Bond is not an evergreen hero, let alone immortal. To be frank, after a long time Devil May Care is one book that hooked me from page one. Seriously. And I get a feeling that Faulks, if he hones his skills further, which I am sure he will, can be a better writer than Fleming. Blasphemous it may sound, but it is the truth.

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

Sun, wine and dance in Auckland
 
Celeb Travel: Saif Ali Khan

Iῠ think when you are young you want to travel to the more happening places, the ones your friends tell you about or where all the buzz is. And I also think the meaning of travel changes at different times. If it means exploring the worldῠ in your youth, as you start growing up you understand yourself better during travels. That’s what my recent travels have done for me, and although I do visit all the happening and trendy places for film shoots and shows, there is always a place that calls out to you because you find yourself there. And for me that place is Auckland, a dream holiday destination as it has everything for everybody and yet, it is underrated as far as tourists are concerned, which in a way helps preserve its natural charm, and untainted beauty.

Auckland is a one of its kind geographical miracle, as the city is situated around 50 volcanoes, which are of course extinct but lend character to the city. Most people go to Auckland only when they have relatives living there or if they are in Australia and go to Auckland for the weekend or something. But I like going there for at least a week at a stretch if I have time. I usually rent a car for that duration and that is the best way to see the city, because it is not really known for its public transport and most locals have their own cars. Also it is a vast city and if you want to walk to the important sites, you end up losing a lot of time. Instead of hiring cars from rental services, look for locals renting out their cars during the season as that works out cheaper.

Auckland is an interesting mix of the old and the new world. The ancient Maori culture is preserved by the locals – try saying, ‘Kia Ora’, which means good day to a local and see their face light up. They instantly warm up to you.ῠ Waitakere ranges are the hidden treasure of Auckland, you just don’t expect to visit such beautiful ranges with stunning waterfalls, rugged treks in the heart of a big city. Not very far is Potiki, the area where you can get a taste of the Maori traditions, the war dance you see the Black caps perform before rugby matches can be seen done by kids in the neighbourhood. But it is advisable to have a local or a guide with you when you get into this district because the locals here might tend to keep a distance from you. If you are an adventure lover, take a jump from the sky tower and feel the adrenaline rush.

Everyone talks about the wine that the French or the Italians make. But try wine made here and take a ferry to Waiheke island close by. Spend the day soaking in the sun, and walking through the wineries, tasting some of the best wines in the world. A good evening can also be spent at the Caluzzi bar, where you can have a seven course meal while you watch floorshow and award winning acrobats perform Of course no trip to Auckland is complete without a ride up the imposing sky tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. The view of the city from there is spectacular if you can be patient or beat the queues to get up there. If you are travelling with family, there are a few entertainment parks, which the kids will enjoy, or you could take them to the aquarium.

There are underwater tunnels, where you can see sharks swimming around you. If you have the time, take a trip to the museums, but do not miss the Saturday flea market. Also visit Made, the one of its kind supermall in the world that houses practically every clothing brand you can imagine, along with the couture of some of the local talents. The prices might be high but it’s worth every penny.ῠ But remember, do respect the traditions of the locals and don’t do or say anything inappropriate that might hurt someone.”

Echoes of Dharamsala
 
By Christine Pemberton

Last August, as I weepily counted down the days till my first fledgling flew the family nest, to go off to university in England, we received a message from a friend who works in Dharmsala. His Holiness the Dalai Lama would be in residence during the first three days of September. If we could be there during those exact days, we would be almost certain to get a few minutes alone with His Holiness.

There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. I stopped crying. Hari stopped excitedly packing, and the four of us drove all the way to Dharamsala through the fag end of the rains. As we drove up through the picturesque Kangra Valley, spirits soared, as we saw the famous railway, the picturesque station, and the ridiculously perfect views over lush valleys. Even the rains couldn’t dampen our spirits and we arrived in Dharamsala, feeling refreshed. The little town was damp and wreathed in cool mist, and crowded with Tibetans and foreigners alike, who had gathered to hear His Holiness preach.

We explored the main sights of Dharamsala, including the cemetery of St. John in the Wilderness, where the second British Viceroy, Lord Elgin, is buried. We wandered up and down the narrow, crowded streets, which were full of pilgrims who had come to attend the Dalai Lama’s sermons.

We went through several efficient, but extremely courteous and friendly security checks, and suddenly there we were, inside the compound. We would meet His Holiness just for a short time, we were told, when he walked from his home back to the hall where he was giving his discourses. Despite the friendliness of everyone around us, we all admitted later to feeling a little nervous. There were the four of us, two Singaporean Chinese and a young French man who was hitch-hiking around the world. Thrilled to hear us speaking French, the young man asked me to take a photo of him with His Holiness. Yes, I replied, just so long as you take ours. Avec plaisir, Ludovic agreed.

His Holiness’ ADC came to meet and brief us. We were to stand here, Ludovic was to stand there, and the two Singaporeans over there. His Holiness would stop and talk to us first, then Ludovic, and then the Singaporeans, who were busy lighting incense sticks. Suddenly there was a frisson of excitement, and a small group of people walked down the path towards us. First came armed policemen, looking rather incongruous amidst all the Buddhist robes; then a group of monks; then the tall, elegant ADC, and there was His Holiness, instantly recognisable and with his trademark beaming smile.

The Dalai Lama greeted us with the same huge smile that you see on every picture of him.ῠ The ADC explained who we were, and then we chatted for a few, precious moments. I told him I had just come back from Tibet and His Holiness asked what I had thought about his country. Beautiful, I replied, and was rewarded with another beaming smile. He then held my hand for the photo, and after a last smile, moved on down the receiving line.

We compared notes afterwards, and everyone – cynical teenagers included – said they were on a high, and we all agreed when my husband said that there was most definitely an aura surrounding His Holiness. The joy and euphoria of those few precious moments stayed with us during the long drive back to Delhi. Hours into the long wet drive back to Delhi, my daughter said “Mum, I still feel all happy and excited inside.”

Those few minutes of peace and blessing were beyond special. They were inspirational.ῠ And if you have to let your child fly the family nest, what better way than with the blessings of the Dalai Lama?

 

 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

Search On For The Next Prabhu Deva

26 Jul

Search on for the next Prabhu Deva
 

He ia said to be India’s answer to Michael Jackson, and for the first time ever, actor-choreographer-director Prabhu Deva will be taking part in a reality show titled Ungalil Yaar Adutha Prabhudeva.

When contacted, the extremely humble Prabhu Deva said it was an honour to be part of a show that is named after him, adding that he is overwhelmed by the response the show has generated. Does winning a show like this help in making dance a career? “It all depends on the individual. It is by no means easy but one has to be determined and keep trying. The participants should be aware of the competition, their own abilities and market themselves well. It is not about resting on one’s laurels and taking it easy by just expecting work to come one’s way.”

Prabhu Deva added that the large age group – 16 to 35 and the inclusion of both sexes will make the competition but more exciting.

Passion for the craft is a crucial ingredient said the dancing sensation. Recalling an incident in Mumbai he says: “Once we had stopped at a traffic signal. There was a man with only one arm and a leg. The moment he spotted me in the car, he gave me a broad smile and broke into a dance. It was so touching.”

As many as 23 participants have qualified from the first level of auditions held in Trichy. More than 500 people participated in the event which was judged by choreographers Sridhar and Gautham. Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai are the other places where auditions will be held. “We do not want to curb people’s enthusiasm so everyone who thinks he can dance is welcome. The rewards are attractive – a prize money of Rs ten lakhs and an international tour is hard to resist. Above all, one can realise their dancing talents,” says Prabhu Deva.

The show will be telecasted on Thursday and Friday from August 14 on Vijay TV. “This is the reality show that solely focusses solely on dancing skills,” says Pradeep Millroy Peter, head of programming. “Prabhu Deva’s presence has given a huge fillip to the show and there is a huge craze among the viewers for him. Chennai has the maximum number of dance schools so we have several talented youngsters who are using this platform to showcase their skills. Prabhu Deva will also help the contestants by giving them tips are suggestions.”

Star Voice of India 2 has more appeal
 
By A.L. Chougule

Within two weeks of the launch of Sa Re Ga Ma Challenge on Zee, Star Plus has begun the second season of its talent hunt show Star Voice of India (SVOI). With as many as 24 contestants from as many states, the second season has a bigger format and a larger appeal.

The pan-India representation is aimed at bringing in viewers from different regions and states as participants will make the show look like a kaleidoscope of different colours, traditions and singing styles.

A bi-weekly weekend property, the show will run for 23 weeks. Out of the 24 contestants, 12 will be eliminated in three weeks and subsequently the remaining contestants will compete for the SVOI title.

While well-known playback singer Shaan continues to be the show’s anchor, the jury for the second season comprises Ismail Darbar, Monty Sharma and Sukhwinder Singh.

According to Star’s senior creative director Anupama Mandloi, the sequel aims to showcase the biggest singing talent from India. “After the success of the first season, we promise to offer a combination of great singing talent and entertainment to our viewers with the show’s second season,” she adds.

Star had planned to hold auditions at 24 centres all over the country but because of uncertain political situation in certain regions and states, auditions were done only at 15 centres. Wide representation will ensure that the best talent wins. Also, in the run up to the finale, the show will create strong regional and state-level loyalty, thus generating interest and viewership.

Cyrus to host a game show
 

Cyrus Sahukar, the funny man who has always had the audience in splits, will now be seen hosting a game show, Hole in the Wall.

The programme, inspired by the Japanese format, is an innovative game show that will see six contestants – three each in two teams – gearing up to squeeze fast approaching walls. The walls will have holes in them – holes that will be of different shapes and sizes. The trick will be to squeeze through the holes in the walls, failing which the contestants will be thrown in a pool.

“This is a very exciting and refreshing game show. The contestants will have to display a quick presence of mind and flexibility as they manoeuvre themselves past the hole,” says Cyrus. “The format has been hugely popular in Japan, UK, Russia, Indonesia and many other parts of the world. I am sure in India also people will love the game.”

Even though reality television has been in India for sometime now, it’s mainly the drama packed dancing and singing shows that have got the audience hooked. But game shows are yet to take off in the country.

But Cyrus is hopeful that all this will change with this show. “The concept is fresh and the programme is high on energy. The best thing about this show is that though there is drama, there is no tears,” he says adding, ” Every single contestants will have fun as it is a stupidly funny game. There is no elimination, no harsh words from judges, no vote-outs. The worst thing that can happen if you

fail to perform your task is

that you will be thrown in the water.”

Few days in to the shoot, there have already been many memorable moments to cherish. “There have been many funny moments. A 45-year-old man tried to squeeze through the hole but he could only manage partially; thus half of his body was dangling outside. Then an aunty got stuck in the hole and we had to push her out. Many wives beat up their husband for losing and I enjoy that a lot,” laughs Cyrus.

But despite the fun, it is not bereft of the emotional part. “Yes, contestants do get emotional when they win. There are many mothers who participate for their children and they get very emotional when they win,” says Cyrus.

This show will see contestants from different walks of life participating. They have already shot few episodes which included one on struggling actors versus housewives and another featuring professional body builders pitted against overweight people. “And interestingly, the overweight people won!” says Cyrus.

Personally, Cyrus feels that hosting this show has been one of the best experience of his life. “This was such a break. There was not one unhappy contestant. Even though I have done many comic shows before, this has been really exhilarating and I am having a ball.”

The show will be aired on Pogo channel from this monday and will be telecast on weekdays from 6 pm.

Asha puts Himmesh in place
 

Star Voice of India (VOI) and Zee’s Sa Re Ga Ma are back once again. While the former has Shaan anchoring the show with Sukhwinder Singh, Ismail Darbar, the latter has Aadesh Shrivastav, Preetam, Himmesh Reshamaiah with Asha Bhosle as Maha Guru. Bhonsle truly proved that she is the Maha Guru when she firmly ticked off an irritating Himesh for promoting a contestant. When Himmesh kept requesting his colleagues to promise that they would sign the contestant for a song Asha bluntly asked him, “Why don’t you do so?” A sheepish Himmesh kept quiet after that.

Music director Ismail Darbar is another personality who is known for his histrionics. He took a dig at Zee by announcing that VOI is only for Indians and that’s why he chose to judge the show. Zee TV invites singers from other countries and therefore the dig. While it’s really too early to comment on the talent potential, the quality of singers has not been great so far. But off course, what one can look forward to is plenty of melodrama as contestants bare their soul in order to boost their popularity quotient. Interestingly, both the shows are aired on Friday/Saturday at 10 pm. It remains to be seen which show gets more popular.

Akshay Kumar’s much-talked about desi version of Fear Factor, Khatron Ke Khiladi, was finally aired on the newly launched channel Colors. However, this show is not for the faint hearted or the queasy sort. If you can’t bear the idea of spiders crawling over the contestant’s faces or someone dipping their head in a jar full of tiny snakes, then do avoid watching the show. It does make you wonder the desperate measures some people resort to in order to get their 15 minutes of fame. In this case though, given the fact that the contestants comprise models and TV stars, it sure must be the money. Or does Akshay’s magic have anything to do with these girls not just making an appearance but willing to resort to any dare devilry in order to please the star. But for avid action watchers, this show is racy and gripping.

Salman’s Dus Ka Dum saw his faithful buddies David Dhawan and Govinda make an appearance in order to boost TRPs.

In fact the much talked about SRK-Salman brawl on Katrina’s birthday bash at Olive in Mumbai stemmed from the fact that SRK had apparently refused to make an appearance on Sallu’s show and Sallu being Sallu had to fight it out on his girlfriend’s birthday. Now we don’t know how long this fight will last but the filmi TV channels analysing and re-analying reasons behind the big fight, there’s never a dull day on the small screen.

Katrina mad at Zayed
 

Katrina is not a happy woman these days. The pretty lady is irked by Zayed Khan, who is her co-star in Yuvraj. Zayed, known for his pranks and jokes, made life miserable for Kats during the shooting of their movie.

It’s not unknown that Zayed likes to create a lively atmosphere on the sets. He keeps joking and chatting with them to build a rapport. But when he tried to break the ice with Katrina, she turned into a glacier and snubbed Zayed into a hasty retreat. But he wasn’t going to give up. According to unit members, he started playing pranks on Katrina from the next day on and was all out to pull her legs on the sets.

The more she tried to be serious, the more notorious he became and this got on to her nerves. He would imitate her actions, mock her while she tried to get into her character before the scene and in short, make life hell. “It was all in good humour,” according to our source on the sets. What had Katrina fuming all the more was that even Salman Khan didn’t mind Zayed’s pranks and rather shared the actor’s sense of humour. Kats however, couldn’t see what was so funny.

Wedding bells ring for Urmila?

After years of saying no to matrimony, Urmila Matondkar seems to all ready to tie the knot. grapevine has it that she has met a finance consultant in the US on her last trip there and found in him the guy she was always looking for. The NRI in question happens to be a Mumbai-born Maharashtrian, now settled in the US. Rumours are that Urmila’s family has even visited his house in Mumbai and are happy with their daughter’s choice. Even though the actress and her family are keeping mum about the whole issue, her fans are eagerly waiting to hear this piece of good news from the actress herself.

Humourous adventure of a bee
 

Barry B. Benson is a graduate bee fresh out of college who is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a rare trip outside the hive, Barry’s life is saved by Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, he discovers humans are mass consumers of honey and decides to sue the human race for stealing bees’ honey.

It’s as if Barry were being reborn. The movie sticks, with thrilling precision, to a bee’s eye view, as Barry rises out of Central Park and buzzes down a midtown block. The images have a spangly clarity – they make New York look new again – yet there’s funky bug-world fragility to it all, as when Barry catches a flash of himself in a car mirror or, later, gets plastered onto a windshield, along with other mashed victims. (Chris Rock, as a lowly mosquito, makes each line zing.)

Bee Movie is about how Barry saves the world, and without giving more away, let me just say that the film is nutty, ecological, funny, and moving, all at the same time. It scores points by avoiding the hard sell and letting the humor grow out of the situations.

Bee movie Director: Stiphon Hickner, Simon J Smith Cast: Jerry Sienfileld, Rene Zewlleger Run Time: 90 mts.

Bharatiyar in comedy track
 

Kavithalaya Krishnan, known for his comic roles, will soon be seen in a new avatar. He will play the role of great Tamil poet Bharatiyar in the comedy serial Comedy.Com on Jaya TV. Kavithalaya Krishnan said he was privileged to play Bharathiyar in a serial produced under Kavithalaya banner and directed by his mentor K Balachander. “K Balachander sir is very fond of poet Bharathiyar and his teachings are invariably incorporated in most of his films. I was thrilled to be selected from the few he had short listed for the role. Despite being a comic track there will be an undercurrent of seriousness in the character,” says Krishnan. The story line revolves around the teachings of the great poet Bharathiyar depicted in a lighter vein besides the original comedy element. “It was good to play the character. I did a lot of homework and read extensively to make it look as authentic as possible,” he says.

Ramya plays a customs officer

The much-hyped serial Kalasam, in which Ramya Krishna plays a dual role is finally on air. Produced by Kutti Padmini, the serial is based on Sangarsh that was aired on DD-National network in the late 80s. While Kutti Padmini herself played the role of a customs officer, Amala and Heera Rajagopal played the roles of innocent victims. “The script is based on a true story. My daughter Keerthana is the producer of the serial. I am helping her with the necessary inputs,” says Padmini. Ramya will be playing the twin roles of a customs officer and an innocent girl.

Raadan goes back to tearjerkers
 
Telly talk

Looks like Radhika learnt her lessons the hard way. After the debacle of her mythological serial Thiruvilayadal, the talented actress-producer has gone back to her tried and tested formula of daily soaps. The latest from her production house Raadan is Senthoora Poove, a daily soap that revolves around the trials and tribulations of four sisters from a middle class family. It is based on the award-winning novel Malligaikal Niram Maaruvthilai. According to reliable sources, Raadan has also decided to abruptly end Thiruvilayadal and telecast Senthoora Poove, in the prime time slot.

Raj wants comic roles

Rajkant, the popular small screen hopes to do comedy for a change. “My serious face and the characters I have played with negative shades have given the impression that I can only do such roles.ῠ I am looking forward to some fun roles,” he says. Rajkant has recently signed for Bhuvaneswari. “I played a 65-year-old character in Nambikkai. I am also happy with the recognition I got in Mettioli, but as an artiste I don’t want to confine myself only to negative roles,” he says. Is anybody listening?

Ali shows his moves
 

Ali Asgar is doing something he’s never done before. After his serious role in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and his participation in Sony’s Comedy Circus, he is now shaking a leg on Star One’s Zara Nachke Dikha. The self-professed A.K. Hangal, Ali says that being the oldest competitor doesn’t intimidate him at all. “I am a good performer. I can do comedy, action and dance. I know how to entertain,” he says.

Zara Nachke Dikha is a completely new concept on the dance reality TV front, the simple reason being that it pitted boys against girls. The teams consist of actors from the television industry, who will be judged by Chunky Pandey and Malaika Arora Khan. The novel part is that there will be no eliminations.

Ali is very confident about his team and that stems from the fact that he has been enjoying it so far. “I’m enjoying the whole thing. I have eight friends here, some of them have participated in Nach Baliye. They will tell me if I’m going wrong,” he says. And in the spirit of competition, he says that there is no best team at this point. “It’s not that they (girls) are better or we are better. One mistake can make or break you. It all depends on the performance at that time. Ultimately we are all good friends and the only pressure is because it is ‘boys versus girls’,” he says.

Tulsi fails to rework magic with own shows
 

While Kyunki, which catapulted Smriti Irani to stardom, still continues to rake in decent ratings, her own shows as a producer haven’t been successful enough on TRP charts. Virrudh was appreciated quite a lot but got dismal ratings. As a result, the show was taken off air. Same is the case with her second production Mere Apne, which had yesteryear star Vinod Khanna in the lead.

The show hasn’t done well and is set to go off air. While Smriti continues to be a popular star, success eludes her as producer. But despite her shows not doing well, Smriti manages to produce one show a year. Will her new show Waaris, which starts on Zee next week break the jinx? Only time can tell.

Ramayan in top 50 list

Ramayan, which catapulted NDTV Imagine to the no. 3 slot in prime time not only continues to be the channel driver but has also entered the list of top 50 shows on GE channels. The Wednesday episode of week 24, 2008 (July 6 to 12), rated 3.2 TVR and occupied the 42nd spot. NDTV Imagine now has five spots in the top 100 shows on GECs with Jasuben Jayantilal Joshi Ki Joint Family also taking its place in the top 100 shows.

The success of the channel continues with a renewed growth in GRPs. Ramayan is not only recognised as the catalyst for the revival of mythological serials but its dubbed versions are creating waves in the south across the Sun Network on Sun TV in Tamil Nadu, Gemini TV in Andhra Pradesh and Surya TV in Kerala. Since its launch in January, the show has been watched by 88 million viewers.

This duo has comical responses for current affairs
 

Senthil and Ganesh of Aahaa FM believe that a conversation peppered with comedy keeps listeners hooked to the radio. The duo hosts Chinna Maapillai and Periya Maapillai daily from 10 am to 12 noon. “We along with two other RJs Rohini and Rajamani discuss current affairs in a light-hearted manner. Our conversation revolves around current issues and more be it politics, films, crime, or the recent fuel hike and power cuts in Chennai,” they say. Ganesh and Senthil are known for their witty one-liners on various issues. “We play melodious songs in between our discussions. The second half of the programme is Vettimandram in which we discuss current affairs again, but in a tongue- in-cheek style. The response is great and we often get some super ideas from listeners which we try and incorporate in our show.” says the duo.

Recreating the night MGR got shot
 

Come July 28, the first ever serial on matinee idol and former chief minister MGR will hit the small screen in the 8.30 pm slot on Makkal TV. Titled 1967 January 12, it will surely bring back memories of the black day in Tamil Nadu when actor M R Radha shot at his screen rival MGR. The director of the serial Kavitha Bharathi said that not many know that Radha shot at himself twice after pumping one bullet on MGR. They were both operated the same night.

“My friend Thirumavel gave me a wealth of information, and with such valuable inputs I could have easily written a book. Finding a look-alike of MGR was not a problem but I needed the expertise of a stage actor like Palani Siva to bring the mood.ῠ For Radha, I settled the dapper actor Madurai Kalaimani,” he said.

The serial is planned for a thirty-episode run. Bharathi said that the serial would unravel many points that are of great interest to the younger generation. “Due to political pressure the matter was hushed up when it happened, but my narrative will focus only on what actually happened, how and when. There will be no political overtones. It will also clear the air and rumours that the two were bitter enemies. The truth is that MGR and Radha were good friends but they disagreed vehemently on some issue that day. Radha went berserk and pulled the trigger,” he said.

Friends are like family for Teri Hatcher
 

What can fans expect this season? Well, I just love this season in general. All the characters have great things to deal with. As for Susan, people really wanted to see Mike (James Denton) and Susan together.

Last season saw Susan and Mike getting married. Where do they go from here? This season is a kind of jumping-off place for them. It’ll be interesting to see how they go through it for the second time. What I like about Susan is that she has good intentions at heart. Some characters are very selfish.

As a mother, do you share Susan’s parenting skills? I am not Susan. I don’t really compare my parenting skills in any way with her. But what I do like about Susan is that she’s a people-pleaser. She’s in a situation now where she’s trying to please her daughter and they’re trying to please her husband and she doesn’t realise that she’s creating a big mess because she’s trying to make everybody happy.ῠ

Your book, Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies on Life is being turned into a TV series. Can we expect some details about your life being played out? Let’s be clear about one thing. It is not about my life. There is a character in it that is a single mum, but she’s a writer living in Columbus, Ohio. It deals with the feelings of guilt career women face.

You have a say in the casting? Yes, as I’m the executive producer.

Susan has a great group of friends. Do you have a strong support network? Absolutely. Since I’m the only child, friends become family to me.

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 teri bahoon mein from the movie Naqaab, Nagada nagada from Jab We Met and Kehne ko jashne bahara hai 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.

So, how does he feel about it? “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. Most of the time, one remains confined to stage shows only. Reality shows on TV give an individual ample opportunities to prove himself, and also a chance to show their talent in front of a huge audience,” said Javed.

Following the recent trend, when singers are indulging in composing and vice versa, 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.

I want to be a veggie
 

Give me homemade food any day! It is the best. I love my mother’s sambar and rasam with some rice. You cannot call me a foodie because I rarely experiment with food. I am a vegetarian but when I lived in the US, I ate non-vegetarian food with my friends.

However, I have switched back to being a vegetarian again except for eggs, which I love. Mutta (egg) dosa is a favourite dish. I don’t mind having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I am generally not a fussy eater and will eat anything that is nutritious and tasty. I hate pavaka (bitter gourd) because it is too bitter and I cannot take it in any form. I also dislike sushi because it is raw and has a bad smell.

I am very health conscious and therefore careful about what goes into my mouth. I can proudly say that my looks and physique for the last 10 years have remained unchanged.

That is because I believe in watching the quantity of food I eat and I keep off oily food. I love American food. An ideal breakfast would be a cheese omelette, with mashed potatoes, French fries, muffins and orange juice. Not everything together of course! Sometimes my erratic work schedules plays havoc with my eating. I have had to skip breakfast altogether which is not good. Keeping to specific timings is difficult because of the nature of our work.

Since I stay alone, I often eat out. I mostly go to two places, Green Park and Saravana Bhavan. I like the rice and Kara Kozhumbu there; it is so good, that I don’t have anything else with it. At Saravana Bhavan, I like the traditional meals and Rava Kesar. Sometimes I also go to Cappuccino in Park Sheraton and Murugan Idli.

Pizzas at Nibbles are a great hit
 

If you are looking for a lip smacking, economical Nibbles is your best bet! This must-try foodie halt is located opposite Stella Maris and behind Gangotree. As this place is easy on one’s pocket, it is a hot favourite among the college goers. One can get a mouthwatering cold sandwich at Rs.18ῠ and a yummy non-oily burger at just Rs.20. Pizzas are very popular.

The special thing about this place is that it offers a unique variety of dishes like a pizza cup or a bread cheese, which is a bun filled of cheese, onion and chilies, having a truly home-made taste. And then there is a place called Shirdi Quick Bites, although this is a small place but this is just one of those places where the taste beats the ambience.

One can dig into mouth-watering aalo- gobi and many more varieties of parathas anywhere around Rs 20- Rs 30 along with asli Punjabi lassi giving you the true taste of Punjab. One also gets full-fledge meals in the afternoon which comprises a mix of both south Indian and north Indian cuisine about Rs. 40. I also frequent Coffee World in Alwarpet, which is one brilliant place for coffee freaks, pastries and patties to die for!

The right fits for big girls
 

Clothes for plus size women is a business these days. I have come across many women who are still not aware of stores which are overflowing with designs that have been cut on a larger bias. These stores have dedicated some space for the plus size. They carry clothes with flattery cuts and variations be it salwar kameez with rich work or comfortable kurtis. Now the women with generous proportions have a hitherto unimagined range of choice. You can now pick up from a never-before range of western clothing.

The best thing to do is to build your plus- sized wardrobe with care. Here are few tips on how to go about it:

Go For Good Quality Basics: The usual rules apply. You need well cut trousers, skirts and jackets in solid colours, with a few white shirts, and they all need to be of absolutely the best quality.

Go Undercover: Sometimes the underpinnings can make or break how you look. As a big girl you need all the heavy-duty support you can get, so pay for inners that give you the support you need.

Accessorise: Perfect accessories add a lot of beauty to the outfit. Do it your way, don’t let anyone tell you that big girls can’t wear delicate accents. If you like them, you wear them. Likewise if you like big signature pieces then just flaunt them with your lets-get-noticed attitude.

Don’t go too big: Don’t wear tent- like outfits. Keep in mind that most plus- sized women have one area larger than the other, if the rest of the garment fits well, most stores will be able to fix the too-tight bust or too fitted hips issue by opening that area out for you.

A few stores which are boon for the plus sized:

* Gia at Westside has mixed bag of offerings, it’s range of trousers are a must buy.

* All counters at Pantaloons stores also has a wide range to choose from. ῠ * For people who prefer designer tag we have the designer Tina Vincent’s store on Khader Nawaz Khan road is the place to visit. They specialise for the plus sized women. The store has wide range of tunics, skirts, trousers shirts to suit your style and pocket.

*ῠSo the new fashion funda should be to be stylish at any size. Buy well-fitting clothes, accessorise well and carry yourself with confidence.

Must have

Aishwarya, actress and daughter of renowned actress Lakshmi, one of the most well dressed plus-sized women in the city. She shares few tips when it comes to shopping for plus sized women.

*ῠ Your wardrobe should include the basics like trousers in solid colors, jeans and well-fitted tops.

*ῠ If you are heavy on top and have a lighter bottom invest in a-line or mermaid cut skirt.

*ῠ Don’t ever wear clothes with horizontal lines as they make you look broader. On the other hand, vertical and asymmetrical lines actually make you look slim.

*ῠ Wear heels only if you are totally comfortable. I prefer wedges because they provide complete support.

*ῠ If you are showing legs don’t wear top with a plunging neck line and vice-versa. So, basically don’t reveal too much skin.

*ῠ Naidu hall and Marks & Spencer’s have good inners for plus sized women. The skin coloured t-shirt bra from M&S is best suited for any outfit right from a T-shirt to a saree blouse.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Police Question Salman Khan

14 Dec


Police question Salman Khan

MUMBAI:

A police team on Wednesday questioned actor Salman Khan at his home in Bandra in connection with a case of alleged nexus between Bollywood and criminals.

— PTI


Hindu On Net