Archive | Shah Rukh Khan RSS feed for this section

Kenali Gaya: Palazo Sesuai Wanita Bekerjaya

5 Apr

Oleh Norakmah Mat Youb
norakmah@bharian.com.my

Seluar sangat senang dipadankan dengan pelbagai jenis pakaian selain memudahkan pergerakan

Soalan:
Saya berusia 30 tahun dan seorang wanita bekerja. Tugas saya memerlukan bertemu ramai pelanggan dan menghabiskan lebih banyak masa di luar berbanding di pejabat. Saya ingin mengetahui fesyen bersesuaian dengan ketinggian 159 sentimeter dan berat 59 kilogram.

Yati, Melaka

Jawapan:Kebanyakan wanita bekerjaya hari ini memilih baju kurung untuk digayakan ke pejabat. Kadangkala kita lihat mereka memilih corak yang tidak bersesuaian seperti bunga besar atau abstrak sehingga wanita berbadan besar kelihatan bertambah gempal.

Di sini, saya mencadangkan supaya sesekali menggayakan seluar yang berbentuk seakan-akan kain atau lebih dikenali sebagai palazo berwarna polos atau mempunyai corak berjalur sederhana.

Ia sangat senang dipadankan dengan pelbagai jenis pakaian selain memudahkan pergerakan anda ketika sedang bekerja. Bagaimanapun, saya cadangkan anda memilih kain polos bagi menjadikan ia lebih cantik ketika disarungkan.


Nazri Ahmad di samping hasil jahitannya.

Kenakan pakaian berwarna cerah di bahagian atas dan seimbangkan dengan warna agak gelap seperti kelabu, biru gelap dan hitam untuk bahagian bawah.

Jika memilih yang bercorak, elakkan corak jalur melintang atau motif bunga besar kerana ia menyebabkan anda tampak lebih besar daripada saiz sebenar.

Padanan warna tudung pula tidak terlalu berbeza dengan warna pakaian. Lebih anggun jika memilih tudung bercorak atau kosong tapi diikat kemas. Elakkan penggunaan lebih dari dua atau tiga warna kerana potongan tiga warna berbeza menyebabkan anda kelihatan bertambah rendah.

Ikatan tudung mampu mengubah gaya wanita seperti juga dandanan rambut, cara ikatan berbeza dengan tambahan aksesori khusus untuk wanita bertudung mampu memberikan kelainan pada wanita muslimah yang suka bergaya.

Bagi kelihatan lebih tinggi, cuba padankan bersama kasut bertumit yang bertutup atau kasut baji.

Profil: Nazri Ahmad

Nama Butik: Galeri Pengantin Sutera, Kompleks Bukit Jambul, Pulau Pinang

Pendidikan: Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) 1989 dan Akademy Of Fashion 1993.

Rekaannya pernah digayakan pelakon terkenal seperti Datuk Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Fasha Sanda dan Nanu Baharudin.

Untuk mendapatkan khidmat pereka ini, hubungi 012-4411886 atau emel: matahari70@hotmail.com

Berita Harian

Kenali Gaya: Pakaian Pengapit Tak Perlu Menonjol Berbanding Pengantin

29 Mar

Material lembut seperti sifon sesuai dijadikan pakaian pilihan kerana wujud gaya mewah dan feminin

Soalan:
Saya berusia 21 tahun dan diminta menjadi pengapit bulan depan. Saya buntu kerana tidak pernah menjadi pengapit. Boleh lakarkan satu fesyen pakaian yang bersesuaian dengan saya yang mempunyai ketinggian 165 sentimeter dan berat 65 kilogram. Apakah jenis material bersesuaian dan saya bercadang mengenakan pakaian berwarna krim.

Ingin tahu,
Selangor

Jawapan:Saudari sepatutnya tidak mempunyai masalah dalam berfesyen. Jangan menjadikan alasan badan berisi untuk tidak kelihatan cantik pada hari bersejarah itu nanti. Jika bercadang mengenakan pakaian berwarna cerah, dinasihatkan supaya mengadunkan ia dengan warna gelap seperti coklat dan hitam.

Bagaimanapun, saya ingin mengingatkan supaya saudari berpakaian sederhana dan tidak terlalu menonjol berbanding pengantin dikhuatiri ia akan mengecilkan hati pengantin jika pengapit yang lebih menjadi perhatian.

Di sini, saya mencadangkan supaya saudari mengenakan kurung moden polos dengan tampalan renda Perancis di hujung lengan, kaki baju dan di tengah-tengah lengan serta di kaki kain bagi menonjolkan imej mewah.


Nazri Ahmad

Material lembut seperti sifon sesuai untuk dijadikan material kerana ia mewujudkan gaya mewah.

Justeru, saya lakarkan jenis rekaan sesuai mengikut bentuk badan anda menggunakan fabrik sifon yang di alas (lining) warna gelap. Efek yang terhasil menampakkan saudari tampil lebih ayu dan feminin.

Bagaimanapun, potongan baju perlu diberi perhatian kerana mereka yang mempunyai tubuh seperti anda perlu mengelakkan daripada mengenakan baju yang terlalu besar atau terlalu longgar.

Tidak perlu saratkan penampilan dengan padanan aksesori. Cukup sekadar seurat gelang atau sebentuk cincin.

PROFIL: Nazri Ahmad
Nama Butik: Galeri Pengantin Sutera, Kompleks Bukit Jambul, Pulau Pinang
Pendidikan: Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) 1989 dan Akademy Of Fashion 1993.
Rekaannya digayakan: Pelakon Datuk Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Fasha Sanda dan Nanu Baharudin.
Hubungi 012-4411886
emel:matahari70@hotmail.com

Berita Harian

Tiga Jam Bersama Awani Pagi

18 Mar

Oleh Zul Husni Abdul Hamid
zhusni@bharian.com.my


ROZINA, dan Zaiful (duduk) bersama Bakhtiar, Dangsuria serta Faris sebagai teraju utama Awani Pagi.

Slot terbaru bermula 16 Mac papar berita dan maklumat terkini

PAGI yang baru di Awani – itu yang dijanjikan saluran informasi, Astro Awani (saluran Astro 501) yang memperkenalkan program bual bicara, Awani Pagi yang mula disiarkan sejak 16 Mac lalu.

Disiarkan secara langsung selama tiga jam bermula jam 7 pagi, slot Awani Pagi menyajikan penonton dengan berita dan maklumat terkini dan padat menerusi segmen tertentu setiap Isnin hingga Jumaat.

Pengurus Besar Astro Awani, Rozina Aziz berkata, Awani Pagi dipadatkan dengan berita ringkas dan maklumat terbaru yang disampaikan secara santai namun menyegarkan bersesuaian dengan suasana sibuk pada waktu puncak itu.

Slot Awani Pagi katanya, memperlihatkan satu lagi perubahan baru saluran itu selepas 18 bulan beroperasi untuk memenuhi keperluan pelanggan yang inginkan laporan seimbang, terperinci dan tidak memihak serta disampaikan dengan penuh tanggungjawab.

Rozina berkata, dalam usia masih mentah, saluran Awani berjaya mendapat kepercayaan dan pujian peminat atau penonton yang berpuas hati dengan laporan diberikan.

Ini dibuktikan pada laporan musim Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12, Mac tahun lalu yang mendorong kepada pengenalan program bual bicara khas, Analisis Awani bermula Julai lalu yang memfokus kepada politik dan isu negara.

“Awani Pagi memenuhi keperluan itu dengan menyediakan berita dan maklumat yang diperlukan kepada penonton menerusi laporan mendalam, telus, seimbang serta paparan perbincangan menyeluruh terhadap sesuatu isu,” katanya dalam satu temubual bersama wakil media, baru-baru ini.

Merangkumkan tiga jam siaran itu dengan paparan isu utama, berita terpilih serta tajuk utama akhbar, blog dan laman sesawang.

Penonton juga dilengkapi perkembangan terbaru dari Bilik Berita Awani dengan laporan padat berkaitan pasaran saham dan dunia niaga, sukan, hiburan, kesihatan dan kecantikan.

Tiga segmen istimewa

SEMENTARA itu, Pengarang Input Kanan Astro Awani, Zaiful Ariffin berkata, untuk kemudahan tontonan, Awani Pagi dibahagikan kepada tiga segmen dengan jam pertama siaran menyajikan berita penting dan isu utama untuk memulakan hari.

“Segmen pertama menyediakan lima hingga enam laporan berita tempatan serta antarabangsa, selain interaksi bersama media untuk mendapatkan pandangan mereka mengenai sesuatu isu pada hari siaran.

“Jam kedua pula membincang lebih mendalam serta analisis isu yang berkaitan politik, dunia perniagaan, sukan serta gaya hidup,” katanya.

Tambah Zaiful, jam ketiga pula merangkumkan paparan menarik mengenai isu wanita dan keluarga, kesihatan serta kecantikan selain meninjau prestasi saham seluruh dunia.

Membicarakan mengenai perbezaan Awani Pagi dengan program bual bicara pagi sedia ada, Rozina berkata, fokus mereka lebih terarah kepada berita dan maklumat yang mencetuskan dimensi baru dengan penyampaian santai serta menyegarkan.

“Format tiga perantara yang membawakan berita padat dan tepat, namun memberi keselesaan kepada penonton dengan tajuk berita ringkas dan utama disiarkan kerap kali supaya mereka sentiasa berpeluang mengikuti perkembangan semasa.

“Penonton juga berpeluang memperoleh maklumat mendalam mengenai isu utama yang dikupas, sekali gus pengisian Awani Pagi akan menentukan agenda liputan berita dan hal ehwal semasa sepanjang hari,” katanya.

Awani Pagi dijana gabungan tiga perantara berpengalaman dan baru menampilkan Zaiful disertai penerbit/pengacara, Dangsuria Zainurdin dan wajah baru, Faris Hamid.

“Menjadi tradisi Awani menyatukan nama baru dan berpengalaman sebagai pendedahan serta perkongsian pengalaman untuk memantapkan siaran,” katanya. Awani Pagi juga disertai Bakhtiar Affendi sebagai penyampai berita.

Kenali perantara Awani Pagi:

Zaiful Ariffin:

Pengarang Input Kanan yang bertanggungjawab menyelenggarakan Unit Buletin di Astro Awani. Zaiful juga ialah penyampai berita antarabangsa dan sukan.

Lulusan Pengurusan Perniagaan dari Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). Berpengalaman 13 tahun dalam bidang penyiaran dan percetakan, Zaiful juga pengacara Undi 2008 pada Mac tahun lalu serta Analisis Khas Awani semasa Pilihan Raya Kecil Permatang Pauh, Ogos lalu.

Dangsuria Zainurdin:

Perantara dan penerbit Wacana Wanita. Dang Suria berpengalaman lebih 10 tahun dalam industri penyiaran.

Berpengalaman menemubual pelbagai lapisan masyarakat dan pernah ditugaskan membuat laporan peperangan Lubnan-Hizbullah pada 2006 dan Kembara Ziarah di Afghanistan.

Menyimpan impian kembali ke Kabul dan Lubnan untuk melihat lebih dekat kehidupan masyarakat di sana.

Faris Hamid

Berusia 23 tahun ini ialah penolong penerbit dan pengacara. Pemegang Diploma Penyiaran dari Institut Integratif Media Malaysia (MIIM) ini pernah memerangi anugerah di Starlight Cinema Short Film Festival.

Turut terbabit dalam pembikinan dokumentari, Shah Rukh Khan: Di Mata Kita yang disiarkan Astro Awani, Februari lalu.

Antara pemegang watak utama dalam penerbitan realiti pelancongan, The Hoppers & Ahli Muzik.

Berita Harian

Tragedi Lesen Terbang

28 Feb

Oleh Fudzail

Ini Dubai, Bukan KL

“Mahalnya belanja untuk ambil lesen kereta!”

Mat Ju terpinga-pinga.

“Sampai empat ribu dirham?”

Mat Jar ketawa. Reaksi biasa daripada pendatang baru ke bumi Dubai. Memang sesuatu yang biasa untuk terkedu apabila mendengar jumlah besar sebegitu hanya untuk mendapatkan sekeping lesen memandu.

Mat Ju masih menggeleng-geleng kepala. Fikirannya berkecamuk. Dia baru seminggu tiba di Dubai dan masih tinggal di hotel yang disediakan majikan. Visa pemastautin pun belum dicop di pasport. Masih dalam proses di Jabatan Imigresen Dubai. Masih bertaraf pendatang asing tanpa izin.

“Lesen Malaysia tidak laku macam lesen Singapura di sini. Kalau lesen memandu Singapura terus boleh ditukar dengan lesen Dubai. Macam juga kalau kau rakyat UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand dan negara-negara orang putih yang dikatakan negara maju dan mempunyai lesen memandu negara-negara tersebut!”

“Kenapa lesen memandu Singapura boleh ditukar dan kenapa lesen memandu Malaysia tidak diterima? Bukankah kedua-duanya memandu di sebelah kanan dan mewarisi sistem British? Bukankah Singapura dulu pun di bawah Malaysia?”

Mat Ju terus bertanya untuk memuaskan hati yang masih panas dengan isu Batu Putih. Lagipun, dia sudah merancang mahu membeli sebuah kereta mewah sport yang lama diidamkan sejak di bangku sekolah. Sesuatu yang tidak mungkin kalau dia masih bekerja di tanah air melainkan dia menang loteri atau empat nombor ekor.

Harga kereta memang murah di Dubai. Harga petrol juga masih jauh lebih murah walau harga petrol dunia telah meningkat. Bertuah juga Mat Ju untuk datang bekerja di Dubai sebaik harga petrol naik sebanyak 40% di tanah air. Terlepas daripada krisis yang membuatkan ramai gelisah kerana terpaksa mengubah gaya hidup.

“Itu kena tanya Lembaga Jalan Raya dan Pengangkutan Dubai atau RTA. Kau juga kena tahu yang bukan mudah untuk lulus ujian memandu kenderaan di sini. Kau kena ambil dalam minimum 20 jam kelas latihan dan ramai yang kecundang buat kali pertama. Majoriti gagal sehingga ujian ketiga!”

Bertambah murung hati Mat Ju mendengar cerita Mat Jar yang sudah tiga tahun menjadi ekspatriat di Dubai. Bekerja sebagai jurutera komunikasi di sebuah syarikat multinasional. Sudah bertaraf otai di kalangan ramai ekspatriat baru dari Malaysia yang semakin bertambah ramai dengan peluang pekerjaan yang banyak. Pembangunan pesat Dubai terus pesat dan dengan 90 peratus tenaga kerja dari luar, rakyat Malaysia juga semakin ramai mencari rezeki dalam pelbagai bidang, terutama industri penerbangan, perhotelan dan pembinaan.

“Begitu susah mahu lulus?”

“Ya, susah sekali, aku pun kena ambil dua kali ujian. Kau tahu, ramai ekspatriat lain dari India, Pakistan, Filipina, Bangladesh, Afghanistan sampai berpuluh kali. Memang lebih susah daripada ambil Phd! Bertuah kalau kau boleh lulus dengan sekali ambil ujian, boleh buat kenduri!”

Mat Ju terdiam mendengar borak serius Mat Jar yang seakan berjenaka. Sambil melihat ke arah ramai ekspatriat lain Malaysia yang hadir pada majlis sambutan keputeraan ke bawah DYMM Yang Dipertuan Agung. Majlis anjuran pejabat konsulat bersama Persatuan Profesional Malaysia di UAE, yang dikenali sebagai myUAE Pro sahaja.

“Malah, lesen memandu antarabangsa Malaysia pun sebenarnya tidak diterima di sini sebab kita tiada perjanjian dua hala dengan UAE. Lesen antarabangsa yang kaubawa itu boleh dicampak dalam bakul sampah sahaja!”

Kata-kata Mat Jar itu seakan penutup besar yang terus menutup lubang dalam strategi Mat Ju untuk mencari cara lain bagi memudahkan urusan mendapatkan lesen memandu Dubai.

Mat Ju lemas sendiri memikirkan pelbagai perkara sebagai pendatang baru dalam suasana gamat di ruang foyer pejabat konsulat.

Ini sistem RTA Dubai, bukan sistem JPJ

“Buat masa ini kamu kena tunggu minimum tiga bulan sebelum boleh menduduki ujian memandu. Senarai mereka yang menanti memang panjang walau musim panas!”

Mat Ju tekun mendengar penerangan staf yang duduk di meja pendaftaran sebuah sekolah latihan memandu. Staf berasal dari negara India itu, menggeleng-geleng kepala sambil bercakap. Tidak tersenyum dan tidak nampak mesra pelanggan.

Mat Ju cuba memahami setiap patah perkataan yang keluar daripada staf tersebut. Slanga bahasa Inggerisnya memang agak pekat dengan dialek Malayalam. Kena mendengar dengan sepenuh perhatian.

“Bila boleh mulakan latihan pula?”

Tanya Mat Ju sambil sesekali berpaling ke arah pengunjung kompleks beli-belah Mall of Emirates. Terutama setiap ada wanita-wanita gebu, genit dan seksi lalu-lalang. Masih dalam kejutan budaya dengan suasana kosmopolitan Dubai yang tidak langsung menggambarkan suasana dunia Arab. Seakan berada di Eropah atau Amerika.

Apalagi isteri dan anak-anak masih belum tiba dari Malaysia. Bujang senang dan masih mencari rumah sesuai untuk disewa. Masih juga sibuk bertanya warga ekspatriat Malaysia lain melalui yahoogroup malaysian-uae.

Banyak maklumat dan tips yang didapati. Terlalu banyak sehingga kadang-kadang mengelirukan pula. Apalagi dengan bajet daripada elaun perumahan yang tidak begitu cukup berbanding dengan sewa rumah yang begitu mahal. Bantuan dan pertolongan dari komuniti ekspatriat Malaysia memang lebih daripada jangkaan. Sesuatu yang sinonim dengan budaya gotong-royong warga Malaysia.

“Kami akan telefon kamu dalam dua tiga hari ini!”

Staf tersebut seakan endah tidak endah menjawab. Mahu cepat sahaja kerana ramai juga yang beratur di belakang Mat Ju untuk dilayani. Dengan sistem dan proses latihan dan ujian memandu diserahkan kepada sekolah-sekolah latihan memandu swasta, sememangnya menjadi satu bisnes yang cukup menguntungkan.

Melihat layanan yang sedikit kurang memberangsangkan, Mat Jar yang berdiri berhampiran terus mendekati Mat Ju dan staf tersebut. Dengan wajah serius sekali.

“Hello, bila dia akan mula latihan?” Mat Jar bertanya garang.

“Kami akan telefon dalam dua tiga hari!” Ulang staf yang tidak pun memandang ke arah Mat Jar. Sambil tangan memegang henfon dan mata ke arah layar komputer. Terdengar muzik dari henfonnya.

Menyirap terus darah Mat Jar melihat biadabnya staf yang rambutnya ala Shah Rukh Khan.

“Hello, minta maaf, kami ini pelanggan dan telah membayar yuran latihan memandu seperti yang diminta. Yuran bukan murah. Kenapa tidak boleh beritahu terus jadual, supaya senang dia membuat perancangan! Bukankah kamu ada sistem, apa komputer depan muka hensem kamu itu hanya untuk chit-chat dan melayar internet sahajakah?”

Staf tersebut terperanjat dengan reaksi tiba-tiba Mat Jar yang sudah kuat bersuara. Menampakkan kegeramannya. Mata Mat Jar memandang dengan tajam. Beberapa orang yang beratur, sama terperanjat.

“Hello, kami dari Malaysia tahu dan kami ada lesen memandu dari UK dan USA, sudah berpuluh tahun memandu kereta serata dunia, kamu jangan ingat kami macam kawan-kawan kampung kamu kah!”

Terkejut juga Mat Ju melihat Mat Jar melatah. Suara berintonasi sombong. Emosional di tengah khalayak yang memerhati. Bukan tenang seperti biasa.

“Dia orang ini memang tidak boleh kasi muka. Kita kena tunjuk yang kita bukan dari negara dunia ketiga macam dia orang. Kita dari Malaysia, salah sebuah negara Islam yang maju dan kita bukan taraf buruh. Kita semua profesional yang ada ijazah!”

Mat Jar bercakap dalam bahasa Melayu sambil staf tersebut cepat-cepat mengetuk paparan kekunci. Nampak pengalaman Mat Jar dalam menangani kerenah staf kaunter yang begitu buruk, sesuatu yang cepat dipelajari oleh Mat Ju dalam kehidupan baru di Dubai.

Ini BMW, bukan Proton

“Murah benar kereta di sini, geram sungguh. Tidak sabar mahu membeli!”

Mat Jar memang cukup suka menatap lampiran iklan kereta terpakai dalam akhbar. Hatinya cukup geram memikirkan yang sekolah memandu masih belum menelefon walau setiap kali dihubungi akan berjanji untuk menetapkan tarikh latihan pertama.

“Jangan fikir lagi. Kalau sudah suka kaubeli sahaja!” Saran Mat Ju pendek.

Sekali lagi Mat Jar terkejut. Dia ternampak iklan kereta Proton Wira terpakai. Lebih murah daripada harga Kancil. Malah kereta Honda, Toyota, Nissan juga lebih murah daripada kereta Proton. Sesuatu yang menyebabkan dia jadi lebih teruja.

“Tetapi lesen memandu belum dapat!”

“Tidak perlu tunggu lesen memandu, kau boleh beli kereta, cuma kau tidak boleh memandu di jalan raya!”

“Betulkah begitu?”

Mat Jar mengangguk-angguk.

“Kalau begitu, boleh kaubawa aku ke kompleks kereta terpakai hujung minggu ini?

“Tentu sahaja. Kita pergi selepas main bola Jumaat petang, aku boleh bawa kau ke sana kerana aku pun mahu jual kereta lama itu!”

Mat Ju terasa cukup gembira. Terlupa seketika kemarahan meluap terhadap sekolah memandu dan sistem ujian memandu di Dubai.

Mendengar maklumat terkini daripada Mat Jar yang menceriakan, mata Mat Ju terus terpaku pada kereta sport BMW yang sudah lama diidami. Harganya separuh daripada harga jualan di Malaysia. Dan dia tidak perlu AP untuk membelinya.

Ini Polis Dubai, Bukan PDRM

“Kau boleh tolong aku?”

Suara Mat Ju agak gementar. Percakapan dengan Mat Jar pun agak kelam-kabut. Dia panik sekali dalam suasana sebegini. Sehingga ayat juga tidak tersusun dan tunggang terbalik.

“OK, jangan risau, aku datang sekarang ke situ!” Jawab Mat Jar di telefon. Lega Mat Ju dalam kepanasan tengah hari di kawasan perumahan Mirdiff. Memang Mat Jar tidak akan menghampakan permintaan kecemasan daripada seorang sahabat satu negeri. Sahabat akrab semenjak menjadi geng bujang di Dubai. Mat Jar memang masih bujang manakala Mat Ju masih belum membawa keluarga.

“Jangan panggil Polis dulu, sekejap lagi kawan saya datang!” Mat Ju memujuk lelaki Filipino yang memeriksa dengan teliti kesan geselan di keretanya. Calaran yang tidak begitu teruk, tetapi agak dalam dari sebelah tepi pintu pemandu. Kereta sport Mat Ju pula tidak mengalami apa-apa kerosakan. Kereta mahal katakan berbanding dengan kereta Korea yang digeselnya.

“Saya perlu tuntut insuran untuk memperbaiki kerosakan ini, jadi kena ada laporan pihak Polis!” Lelaki Filipino bernama Alex itu berkata perlahan. Seakan memahami gelora dan kerisauan dari wajah Mat Jar.

“Saya faham keperluan itu, tetapi saya tiada lesen memandu tempatan. Yang ada lesen memandu antarabangsa!”

“Lesen Malaysia tidak boleh ditukar ke lesen Dubai kah?” Tanya Alex yang nampak begitu ramah. Mat Jar menggeleng. Isu yang sudah tidak perlu diperkatakan kerana memang tidak akan menyelesaikan masalahnya sekarang.

Alex tersenyum melihat wajah Mat Jar yang panik. Pada mulanya Alex menyangka Mat Jar sama-sama datang dari kepulauan Filipina. Menegur dalam bahasa Tagalog. Memang kebanyakan warga Filipina ramah dan mesra. Cepat menegur kalau disangka sesiapa adalah sama warga Filipina.

“Jangan risau, saya faham dan kita tunggu kawan kamu datang, lagipun kerosakan ini kecil sahaja dan bukan kesalahan kamu. Kamu hanya mahu mengelak kereta pacuan empat roda yang tiba-tiba mencelah… biadap sungguh!”

Sejuk Mat Jar mendengar kata-kata daripada Alex. Kalau kereta yang dilanggarnya kepunyaan warga Emirati atau ekspatriat lain, sudah tentu ada pertengkaran. Boleh bawa bergaduh. Tetapi apa pun dia memang bersalah kerana memandu tanpa lesen sah Dubai.

Kereta pacuan empat roda mewah yang cuba dielakkan itu mungkin dipandu oleh seorang pemuda belasan tahun Emirati dan terus lesap ke arah lebuh raya Emiriyah. Tidak sempat mengambil nombor pendaftaran. Kalau sempat pun, mungkin tiada gunanya juga sebab mereka kadang-kala mengatasi undang-undang tempatan.

Peluh jantan yang menitik seluruh tubuh Mat Jar bukan sahaja kerana kepanasan musim panas, malah kepanasan daripada bayangan yang menghantui. Fikirannya tidak henti membayangkan kalau dia disaman polis. Bukan sahaja jumlah saman untuk dibayar, tetapi dia juga boleh ditahan dalam lokap kerana memandu tanpa lesen Dubai. Satu kesalahan besar.

Lebih daripada itu, dia baru mendapat rumah sewa dan baru selesai melihat rumah di kawasan berhampiran tempat kemalangan. Keluarganya akan sampai dua tiga hari lagi dan malam itu dia akan bersama-sama untuk makan malam dengan anak-anak Kelantan di sebuah villa di perumahan ekslusif Arabian Ranches. Sudah lama tidak merasa nasi kerabu dan kuih lompat tikam. Sudah lama juga tidak berborak ramai-ramai dalam loghat Kelantan.

Melihat kereta yang perlahan untuk melihat apa yang terjadi, Mat Jar kembali terasa panik. Terfikir kalau dia masuk lokap, boleh sahaja dia dibuang kerja. Dia baru dua bulan bekerja di Dubai. Baru mendapat visa pemastautin. Belum lagi menduduki ujian memandu. Belum juga mandi hadas di Dubai.

Masuk lokap bukan satu pilihan terbaik. Bayangan lokap dan banduan terus menambahkan kelajuan degupan jantung. Bersama-sama peluh jantan tidak henti membasahi seluruh tubuh yang nampak semakin gempal sejak mengenal nasi beriani kambing.

Lebih panik membayangkan kalau tiba-tiba polis singgah sebelum Mat Jar tiba!

Ini Cerita Benar, Bukan Fiksyen

“Rilekslah. Nampak kau risau sahaja untuk ambil ujian memandu, kenapa?’

Mat Jar bertanya sambil menghirup teh tarik di restoran makanan yang terletak di kawasan membeli-belah Naif. Isteri dan anak-anak Mat Ju masih sakan membeli-belah dengan pelbagai jualan hebat sempena Festival Musim Panas Dubai. Potongan harga dan tawaran cabutan bertuah dengan pelbagai hadiah menambahkan kemeriahan.

Naif terus sibuk dan gamat dengan pengunjung walau cuaca hampir melebihi 40 darjah Celcius. Pelancong dan orang tempatan bercampur-baur. Semuanya seronok menabur wang.

“Kalau gagal kali pertama pun tidak mengapa, ambil lagi. Biasalah kalau gagal kali pertama di Dubai. Majoriti seperti itu dengan sistem kuota dan untung rugi bisnes pelesenan!”

Sambung Mat Jar sambil membelek kamera digital canggih yang baru dibelinya. Dia sama-sama menyertai kelab fotografi ekspatriat Malaysia dan aktif mengambil foto landskap Dubai.

“Sebenarnya aku ada cerita benar mengenai lesen memandu yang kini menghantui aku di Dubai! Isteri aku sendiri pun tidak tahu mengenainya!” Perlahan Mat Ju bercakap, seakan tidak mahu orang lain mendengar. Walaupun mereka yang lain tidak memahami Bahasa Melayu yang dipertuturkan mereka berdua.

Mat Jar menoleh ke arah Mat Ju yang masih memegang akhbar dengan tajuk utama mengenai statistik kemalangan jalan raya yang semakin meruncing di Dubai. Fenomena yang membimbangkan pihak berkuasa kerana majoriti yang kehilangan nyawa daripada kemalangan jalan raya adalah orang Emirati, walau mereka hanya minoriti di negara sendiri.

Mat Ju menarik nafas sedalam-dalamnya. Kemudian melepaskannya dengan penuh perasaan.

“Aku memang takut untuk buat ujian memandu sebab…!”

Sekali lagi Mat Jar rasa saspens apabila Mat Ju terhenti. Seperti babak antiklimaks dalam suasana yang janggal dalam sebuah drama TV.

“Sebab lesen memandu Malaysia yang aku ada pun sebenarnya, lesen terbang!”

Biodata

FUDZAIL nama pena bagi Fudzail Mohd Nor, ekspatriat Malaysia yang bermastautin di Dubai sejak 2000. Berkelulusan sains komputer dari New Zealand. Pernah terbabit dalam pembangunan Dubai Internet City, Palm Jumeirah dan 15 projek mega lain untuk prasarana teknologi maklumat dan telekom Emiriyah Arab Bersatu. Kini menguruskan projek pembinaan prasarana utiliti di Palm Jabel Ali. Beliau boleh dihubungi melalui fudzail@yahoo.com dan kerjadubai.blogspot.com.

Berita Harian

Populariti Sepantas Kilat

14 Feb

Susunan Hartati Hassan Basri
hartati@hmetro.com.my

Rap

BERMULA sebagai model di tanah kelahirannya, Mumbai, India kini nama Freida Pinto mula menjadi tumpuan dunia. Populariti yang diraihnya datang sekelip mata hanya kerana filem sulung lakonannya, Slumdog Millionaire.

Filem arahan pengarah terkenal, Danny Boyle itu bukan saja memberi impak besar apabila ditayangkan di Amerika Syarikat akhir tahun lalu, malah mencatat kejayaan besar di festival filem dan majlis anugerah.

Filem sulungnya itu membawa Freida mengembara dari satu festival ke satu festival. Antaranya Festival Filem Antarabangsa Palm Springs, Anugerah Pilihan Pengkritik, Anugerah Golden Globe dan Anugerah British Academy Of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) di London.

Sehingga kini, Slumdog Millionaire menang lima anugerah Pilihan Pengkritik, empat Golden Globes dan tujuh di BAFTA. Malah kejayaan filem ini untuk Filem Terbaik di Golden Globe ke-66 pada 12 Januari lalu membuatkan banyak pihak buka mata dengan hasil karya Danny Boyle ini.

Untuk Anugerah Academy ke-81 yang bakal berlangsung di Kodak Theatre, Los Angeles pada 23 Februari ini, Slumdog Millionaire menerima 10 pencalonan. Antaranya Filem Terbaik, Pengarah Terbaik, Sinematografi Terbaik, Lakon Layar Adaptasi Terbaik, Skor Original Terbaik (AR Rahman) dan Lagu Original Terbaik (Jai Ho dan O Saaya).

Anak kedua pasangan Frederick dan Sylvia Pinto ini bertuah kerana bermula sebagai model di Mumbai terus berjaya memulakan kerjaya lakonan di Hollywood. Lebih membanggakan, Freida bekerja dengan pengarah terkenal, Boyle yang pernah menghasilkan filem Trainspotting dan The Beach Fame.

Turut menjayakan filem ini, Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor dan Mahesh Manjrekar. Watak dijayakan Anil pada mulanya ditawarkan kepada Shah Rukh Khan tetapi ditolak bintang terkenal Bollywood itu.

Freida mengakui, populariti yang diraihnya datang sepantas kilat malah tidak pernah menyangka semua itu akan hadir dalam hidupnya.

Katanya, selepas tamat pengajian di Kolej St Xavier, Mumbai, dia menjadi model selama dua tahun.

Pada waktu sama dia bercita-cita menjadi pelakon dan cuba menghadiri uji bakat untuk mencari peluang berlakon filem. Katanya, minat dalam dunia lakonan datang secara semula jadi kerana tinggal di kota yang menjadi tumpuan bintang Bollywood.

“Selepas enam bulan menghadiri satu demi satu uji bakat, suatu hari saya menerima panggilan telefon meminta hadir untuk uji bakat filem Slumdog Millionaire. Ketika itu saya sekadar ingin mencuba sebagaimana percubaan sebelum ini dan tidak berharap untuk diterima.

“Bagaimanapun, saya terkejut apabila nama saya berada dalam senarai pendek dan akhirnya dipilih. Ibu bapa saya turut memberi galakan kerana mereka tahu saya memang bercita-cita menjadi pelakon. Kakak saya yang bekerja dengan syarikat media juga banyak menyokong dan membantu saya,” katanya.

Pengalaman menjayakan Slumdog Millionaire disifatkannya sebagai satu pengalaman dan pendedahan yang cukup besar. Malah digandingkan dengan pelakon baru, Dev Patel membuatkan mereka berdua bersemangat dan saling membantu kerana sedar masing-masing tiada pengalaman.

“Berlakon dalam Slumdog Millionaire membawa saya ke satu tahap kerja yang cukup tinggi dan memberi pendedahan yang cukup besar. Ia juga satu pengalaman yang menakjubkan.

“Apa yang boleh saya katakan ialah bekerja dengan Danny Boyle umpama menghadiri kelas lakonan di sekolah terbaik di dunia. Apabila kami mula bekerja, dia beritahu saya kehidupan ini tidak selalunya sama. Lakukan satu asas kukuh untuk dunia.

“Saya terharu dan sangat menghargai semua tumpuan yang diberikan tapi saya masih belajar menyesuaikan diri.

Sebenarnya saya seorang yang agak pemalu,” katanya.

Walaupun namanya kini dikenali di Hollywood, Freida tidak bercadang meninggalkan Mumbai untuk berpindah ke Hollywood dalam waktu terdekat ini.

Katanya, buat masa ini dia selesa berulang-alik Mumbai-Los Angeles dan tidak bercadang berpindah kerana mempunyai ejen yang bagus.

Selepas Slumdog Millionaire, kata Freida, dia mahu mencuba sesuatu yang baru kerana suka melakukan sesuatu berbeza untuk menimba sebanyak mungkin pengalaman. Katanya, dia juga berpeluang belajar pelbagai bentuk tarian klasik India dan salsa.

“Saya tidak kisah berlakon apa pun tetapi saya lihat filem komedi agak berbeza dan ingin mencubanya. Itulah sebabnya saya memilih untuk menyertai bengkel lakonan bersama sifu teater, Barry John supaya dapat mendalami skil lakonan.

“Saya juga berharap diberi peluang bekerja dengan bintang legenda Hollywood, Clint Eastwood. Saya sangat teruja apabila berjumpa dengannya ketika menghadiri festival Palm Springs.

“Saya masih ingat lagi ketika menonton filem Million Dollar Baby arahannya, saya pernah berkata mahu berjumpa dengan Clint Eastwood. Ternyata akhirnya saya berpeluang bertemu dengannya tapi ketika itu lidah saya kelu untuk berkata-kata,” katanya.

Dalam limpahan populariti, Freida juga menerima kritikan mengenai penampilannya ketika menghadiri Anugerah Golden Globe. Penampilannya dengan gaun mendedahkan dada warna kuning ketika acara permaidani merah dikatakan tidak sesuai dengan majlis. Kata Freida, dia terima kritikan yang diberikan dengan hati terbuka.

“Ketika itu saya rasa ia satu pilihan yang tepat. Sudah tentu saya akan lebih berhati-hati pada masa akan datang,” katanya.

Slumdog Millionaire mengisahkan budak lelaki dari luar bandar, Jamal lakonan Dev Patel, muncul dalam program game show hingga menjadi tumpuan ramai termasuk gadis remaja. Freida menjadi Latika, gadis yang berjaya menawan hati Jamal. Semua babak membabitkan Freida dilakukan di Mumbai dan babak lain di Delhi dan Agra.

Freida dicalonkan Aktres Pembantu Terbaik di Bafta dan menang di Anugerah Screen Actors Guild (SAG) bersama barisan pelakon lainnya. Namanya juga diumumkan memenangi Aktres Terbaik di Elle Style Awards di London, baru-baru ini.

PROFIL

Nama sebenar: Freida Pinto

Tarikh lahir: 18 Oktober 1984

Tempat lahir: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Bintang: Libra

Kerjaya: Model, pelakon

Bapa: Frederick Pinto

Ibu: Sylvia Pinto

Adik beradik: Anak kedua daripada dua beradik’

Pendidikan: Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sastera (Inggeris) dari Kolej St. Xavier, Mumbai

Harian Metro

Bisa Raja Bollywood

4 Jan

PELUANG berlakon di samping aktor berkarisma, Shah Rukh Khan mampu menjadikan karier seorang pelakon baru bergemerlapan di Bollywood.

Tumpuan terhadap aktres itu sama seperti ketika filem baru James Bond diumum. Masyarakat pasti akan tertanya-tanya siapa gadis baru Bond. Senario sama turut berlaku apabila heroin muda diumum bergandingan dengan Shah Rukh.

Perbualan tertumpu terhadap isu sama ada gadis baru ini sangat cantik atau memiliki bakat besar untuk menyaingi karisma Shah Rukh dan akhirnya sama ada beliau mampu atau tidak menjadi bintang di Bollywood.

Model yang beralih ke dunia lakonan, Anushka Sharma, 21, adalah aktres muda yang meniti jalan untuk bergelar bintang Bollywood selepas muncul di samping Shah Rukh dalam filem yang dinantikan, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.

Karier Anushka akan ditentukan penerimaan masyarakat terhadap filem itu, selain tanggapan masyarakat terhadap mutu lakonannya. Apapun, beliau dianggap bernasib baik berpeluang berlakon di samping Shah Rukh.

Berikut adalah penilaian terhadap pelakon yang memulakan karier mereka berlakon di samping aktor pujaan Bollywood itu.

Shilpa Shetty

Gadis tinggi lampai yang memiliki tubuh seksi ini berlakon sebagai pelakon pembantu di samping Shah Rukh dalam filem Baazigar.

Filem itu diminati ramai dan Shilpa berpeluang berlakon dalam beberapa filem box office lain.

Shilpa melakukan pembedahan hidung dan mengekalkan kecantikannya yang menyebabkan beliau menjadi perbualan masyarakat, sekali gus membantunya ditawar berlakon dalam beberapa filem popular.

Namun tanpa disangka, beliau menjadi bintang antarabangsa dalam sekelip mata apabila muncul juara rancangan realiti, Celebrity Big Brother yang disiar rangkaian televisyen Britain.

Tahun lalu, mutu lakonannya dalam Life in a… Metro mendapat pujian dan kemudian berlakon di samping Shah Rukh dalam filem Om Shanti Om.

Khabar angin hangat mendakwa Shilpa akan berkahwin dengan ahli perniagaan, Raja Mundra dan berhenti berlakon, tapi apapun karier lakonannya sudahpun menarik.

Suchitra Krishnamurthy

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa yang menggandingkan Suchitra dengan Shah Rukh dianggap yang terbaik buat aktor itu daripada segi komersial mahupun kritik.

Bagaimanapun, beliau kemudian beralih angin ke bidang nyanyian dan mengahwini Shekar Kapur, pengarah filem yang dicalon untuk anugerah Oscar, Elizabeth.

Baru-baru ini, Suchitra berpisah dengan Shekar dan kembali berlakon di samping Anil Kapoor dalam filem My Wife’s Murder.

Selepas namanya dijulang, Suchitra tidak ambil peluang untuk mengorak langkah lebih jauh di Bollywood.

Mandira Bedi

Mandira berlakon sebagai pelakon pembantu dalam filem box office, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge. Meskipun tumpuan diberi kepada Shah Rukh dan Kajol, wajah Mandira yang comel dan lakonannya yang mantap memikat hati ramai peminat.

Namun, permulaan memberangsangkan itu tidak menjadi titik tolak karier yang lebih mantap, sebaliknya namanya semakin terkenal apabila menjadi pengacara sebuah rancangan ketika Piala Dunia Kriket 1999.

Seluruh negara terpikat dengan kecantikan dan ketrampilannya yang menawan. Meskipun namanya dalam dunia lakonan tetap sama, selepas itu beliau menjadi tumpuan umum.

Mahima Chaudhary

Nama Mahima dijulang hasil lakonan mantap dalam filem Pardes. Ramai percaya beliau memiliki potensi untuk menggantikan Madhuri Dixit sebagai ratu baru Bollywood.

Namun, dengan bakat, kecantikan dan filem besar, Mahima melakukan kesilapan apabila menjalin hubungan dengan pemain tenis, Leander Paes dan terlepas peluang berlakon dalam beberapa filem besar.

Selepas berpisah, Mahima cuba kembali tapi gagal. Beliau kemudian berkahwin dan menjadi ibu sepenuh masa. Kariernya bermula dengan cerah, tapi kesilapan dalam hidup peribadinya melenyapkan peluang di Bollywood.

Preity Zinta

Preity berlakon sebagai pelakon pembantu dalam filem Dil Se di samping Shah Rukh. Meskipun filem itu gagal, mutu lakonan dan ketrampilan segar Preity berjaya memikat penonton.

Beliau kemudian berlakon dalam beberapa filem box office dan menerima pelbagai anugerah hasil lakonan mantapnya.

Jalinan lakonan antara Preity dan Shah Rukh antara yang terbaik di kalangan pelakon baru yang pernah berlakon di samping aktor itu.

Kal Ho Na Ho, Veer-Zara dan Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna antara filem box office Preity dan dia aktres paling berjaya dalam senarai yang pernah berlakon disisi Shah Rukh.

Gayathri Joshi

Gayathri memulakan kariernya sebagai model iklan televisyen. Namanya menjadi sebutan hasil lakonan mantap dalam filem Swades arahan Ashutosh Gowariker.

Meskipun masih baru, lakonan mantap Gayathri dalam filem itu mengagumkan ramai peminat.

Umum menjangkakan beliau mampu pergi jauh dalam industri, tapi Gayathri sebaliknya memutuskan untuk meninggalkan dunia perfileman dan berkahwin.

Deepika Padukone

Filem debut, Om Shanti Om menjulang nama Deepika. Gadis tinggi lampai yang tegap ini berjaya membawa dua watak dalam filem ini dengan berkesan dan mencipta sejarah apabila kutipan tiket Om Shanti Om diumum yang tertinggi dalam sejarah Bollywood.

Tidak mengejutkan jika Deepika meraih semua anugerah Pelakon Baru Terbaik dalam semua majlis anugerah di India tahun ini.

Filem kedua, Bachna Ae Haseeno bersama teman lelakinya, Ranbir Kapoor turut mendapat sambutan dan beliau kini menjalani penggambaran di samping aktor Akshay Kumar dalam filem Chandni Chowk To China.

Deepika turut akan membintangi filem Biloo Barber di samping Shah Rukh dan beberapa projek mega lain. Hakikatnya, nama Deepika bakal lama di Bollywood.

Anushka Sharma

Seperti Deepika, Anushka adalah model yang bertugas di Bangalore. Tahun lalu, kemunculannya di Minggu Fesyen India Lakme membuatkan dirinya menjadi buah mulut umum.

Beliau terpilih membintangi Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi di samping Shah Rukh kerana penerbit percaya Anushka memiliki wajah cantik yang ringkas dan kualiti diperlukan untuk menjiwai watak itu.

“Saya kagum dengan keyakinan Anushka. Persembahannya menyebabkan saya bekerja lebih keras lagi,” kata Shah Rukh, memuji Anushka yang bakal menjadi titik tolak buat karier aktres muda itu.

Tidak mustahil beliau mampu mencuri tumpuan ramai terhadap Shah Rukh, tapi tidak dapat dipastikan lagi apakah keajaiban Shah Rukh akan kekal dan dapat melonjakkan nama pelakon muda yang jelita ini.

Harian Metro

758 Terima Anugerah, Pingat Kebesaran Melaka

10 Oct

Oleh Amirullah Andi Nur
arullah@bharian.com.my

MELAKA: Panglima Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM), Datuk Abdul Aziz Jaafar dan artis Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan adalah antara 758 penerima darjah, tauliah, bintang dan pingat kebesaran Melaka sempena Hari Jadi ke-70 Yang di-Pertua Negeri, Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob hari ini.

Abdul Aziz dianugerahkan Darjah Cemerlang Seri Melaka (DCSM) iaitu anugerah ketiga tertinggi membawa gelaran Datuk Wira. Dua lagi menerima anugerah itu ialah Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri Melaka, Datuk Omar Kaseh dan Presiden Kolej Teknologi Islam Antarabangsa Melaka, Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Md Yusop Hashim.

Shah Rukh Khan yang mempunyai ramai peminat di negara ini adalah antara 77 penerima anugerah bagi Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) iaitu anugerah keempat tertinggi membawa gelaran Datuk.

Penerima lain adalah Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong; Exco kerajaan negeri, Gan Tian Loo; Ketua Setiausaha Kementerian Perpaduan, Kebudayaan, Keseniaan dan Warisan, Dr Muzahet Masruri; Penasihat Perdana Menteri Thailand, Suthiphan Srisrikanon; Ketua Pengarah Lembaga Kemajuan Perindustrian Malaysia, Datuk Jalilah Baba; Pengarah Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam, Farida Mohd Ali.

Setiausaha Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia (SPA), Lamien Sawiyo; Setiausaha Bahagian Majlis Keselamatan Negara, Che Moin Umar; Setiausaha Bahagian Perbendaharaan, Shuib Md Yusop; Panglima Sistem Armada TLDM, Laksamana Pertama Yahya Hashim; Timbalan Ketua Bahagian Guaman Jabatan Peguam Negara, Datuk Kamaludin Md Said; Ketua Polis Melaka, Senior Asistem Komisioner 1 Mazlan Mansor; Penolong Pengarah E3 Cawangan Khas Polis Diraja Malaysia, Senior Asisten Komisioner Jalaludin Ibrahim.

Pegawai Kewangan Melaka, Naim Abu Bakar; Penasihat Undang-Undang Melaka, Siti Zainab Omar; Pegawai Protokol dan Istiadat Pejabat Yang di-Pertua Negeri Melaka, Abdullah Mohd Taha; Ahli Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia, Idris Abdullah @ Das Murthy.

Presiden Agrobank, Martini Osman; Timbalan Presiden Bank Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia Bhd, Md Diah Mohamad; Naib Presiden Maybank, Ibrahim Muhamad; Pengarah Urusan AmBank (M) Bhd, Mohamed Azmi Mahmood; Pengarah Urusan HSBC Bank, Lee Say Tshin dan Pegawai Khas Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Berhad, Noraiwi Md Zin.

Naib Presiden Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, Saroni Judi; Timbalan Naib Canselor Universiti Malaya, Prof Madya Dr Azarae Idris; Pengarah Kampus Universiti Teknologi Mara Melaka, Prof Madya Dr Mizan Hitam dan pensyarah Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Tamby Subahan Mohd Meera.

Pakar Bedah Hospital Angkatan Tentera, Brig Jen Dr Azlan Mohd Nor; Pakar Bius Putra Specialist Hospital Melaka, Dr Aiyaroo Palayah; Pakar Bedah Kardiotorasik Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail; Pakar Perunding Kanan Pediatrik, Dr Kuan Geok Lan; Pakar Perubatan Putra Specialist Hospital Melaka, Dr Mohamad Suhaimi Mohamad Uda Tenang; Pakar Bedah Jantung dan Paru-Paru Hospital Pakar Ampang, Dr Mohd Fikri Abdullah.

Pengerusi Eksekutif DK Composite Sdn Bhd, Khalilur Rahman Ebrahim; Pengerusi Eksekutif Zuffa Pharmacy Sdn Bhd, Mahamad Zubir Seeht Saad; Pengerusi Eksekutif Mesiniaga Bhd, Wan Mohamad Fusil; Pengerusi Indot Holdings Sdn Bhd, Isa Ahmat Indot.

Presiden dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Honda Motor Co Ltd, Tokeo Fukui; Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia, Abdul Karim Jalil; Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kompakar Inc Bhd, Dr Ahmad Fikri Hussien, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Globalnet Education Consultants Sdn Bhd, Azmi Said; Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Malaysia Biotechnology Corporation Sdn Bhd, Datuk Iskandar Mizal Mahmood.

Pengarah Urusan Seni Jaya Corporation Berhad, Anne Teo; Pengarah Urusan Tuong Aik Shipyard Sdn Bhd, Laun Nai Hoh; Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan Magna Prima Berhad, Lee Kian Seng; Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan OVD Group Companies, Mohamed Rozhan Mohd Ghazalli; Pengarah Urusan Yew Lee Industrial Brush Sdn Bhd, Tan Tian Teo; Pengarah Urusan Baiduri Marine & Supplies (M) Sdn Bhd, Zamani Ali.

Pengarah Urusan Alaf Anggun Sdn Bhd, Ng Kin Heng; Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan Harta Maintenance Sdn Bhd, Radzali Hassan; Pengarah Urusan ATK Communications Sdn Bhd, Atikah Adom; Pengarah Urusan Shukorbaljit &Partners, Baljit Singh Balwant Singh; Pengarah Urusan Kasha Holdings Sdn Bhd, Halim Yom; Pengarah Urusan Emerald Capital Development Sdn Bhd, James Ong Li-Ming; Pengarah Eksekutif Farm’s Best Berhad; Fong Kiah Yeow; Pengarah Eksekutif Axisjaya Group, Kok Kim Sang.

Pengarah Eksekutif Maruwa Company Limited Japan, Manimaran Anthony; Pengarah Eksekutif Kanan Pricewaterhousecoopers Malaysia, Mohd Anwar Yahya; Pengarah Eksekutif Mamee Double Decker (M) Bhd, Pang Tee Nam; Ketua Pegawai Operasi Universiti Antarabangsa Kewangan Islam Bank Negara, Razali Mahfar; Ketua Pegawai Operasi Alloy Consolidated Sdn Bhd, Mohd Dom Ahmad.

Pengarah Recron (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Anil Rajvanshi; Pengarah Pembangunan Perniagaan Redknee, Boi Mohamad; Pengurus Besar Yayasan Pembangunan Iktisad Islam Malaysia, Mohamed Ashaaree Mahmood; Pengurus Besar Tenaga Nasional Bhd Melaka, Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Amin; peguam, Mohd Hafarizam Harun; Senator Chiw Tiang Chai; Timbalan Pengerusi MIC Jasin, Karpan Kaliapan; Ketua Penerangan Persatuan Bekas Tentera, Komander (B) Mustapha Ahmad S Marican; Pengerusi Persatuan Pemaju Hartanah dan Perumahan, Gwee Yew Kiat; Presiden Persekutuan Pertubuhan India Muslim, Meera Mohideen Jamal Mohd.

Timbalan Yang Dipertua Persatuan Guru Semenanjung, Ali Hashim; Ahli Jawatankuasa Pekema DTC Motors Sdn Bhd, Husein Tamby Chik; Ahli Jawatankuasa Pusat Gerakan, Lau Yeng Peng; Duta Besar Malaysia ke Maghribi, Othman Samin dan Duta Malaysia ke Unesco, Kenneth J Luis.

Sementara itu, 46 menerima Darjah Seri Melaka (DSM) termasuk Setiausaha Akhbar Ketua Menteri Melaka, Mohd Daud Awang. Tujuh puluh tujuh menerima Jaksa Pendamai (JP); Bintang Cemerlang Melaka (BCM), 65; Bintang Khidmat Terpuji (BKT), 127; Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK), 225, Pingat Bakti Masyarakat (PBM), 145 dan Pingat Khidmat Lama (PKL), 43.

Majlis penyampaian bintang kebesaran oleh Yang di-Pertua Negeri diadakan di Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh, hari ini dan esok bermula jam 9 pagi.

Berita Harian

Gaga Over Yoga

24 Aug

Gaga over yoga
 

One of India’s greatest contributions to the world is yoga. And in this new age of fitness, the ancient science of yoga has kept pace with time with its new and unique avatars like Dance Yoga, Face Yoga, Power Yoga and, believe it or not, Naked Yoga.

Attempting to combine the best of both worlds, these variants are breathing new life into an otherwise commonplace and all-too-familiar milieu of the world’s oldest discipline.

Among the latest of entrants to the new age yoga scene is facial or Face Yoga, which has literally converted botox believers into yoga disciples. Face Yoga is now being touted as a way to attain the fountain of youth (at least when it comes to the face). The methodology involves specific exercises tailor-made for the face, which involves relaxation and stress busting routines. These procedures are said to be very helpful in fighting wrinkles and thereby defying age.

YogaLife at Defense Colony, New Delhi, is a place where one can undergo a specialised course in Facial Yoga. Apart from this, there are world-renowned practitioners like Madhavi Padhy, a former consultant in stress management and yoga for the United Nations, who conducts private classes both in India and Singapore. And devoted fans of this technique comprise big Hollywood names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham.

Speaking about Face Yoga, actress Shriya Saran says, “In today’s world, all you need to do is attach beauty to a product and you know it will sell. I personally don’t believe that you need to do Face Yoga in order to look beautiful. Even a normal session of yogasanas can help you achieve that inner glow.” She adds, “I have been practising yoga for quite some time now. I haven’t opted for any new age course, but I stick to my regular Surya Namaskar asana. I strongly believe that in these stressful times, one needs to have an outlet to relax and meditate and yoga helps in that. It’s also a health investment of sorts as it’s one exercise you can do at any age, unlike the gyms where you can’t pump iron after 70.”

While some forms are more popular in the western world, there are those whose seeds were sown in the very soil of the country. Consider the case of Dr Neelam Verma, a yoga practitioner based in New Delhi, who runs an institute called Cosmic Rhythms. Her speciality is Dance or Natya Yoga, which is basically an amalgamation of Kathak and Yoga. Elaborating on it, she says, “The breathing routines in the dance form are akin to those you would undergo in a fitness class. My style involves incorporating Sanskrit mantras and songs into Kathak dance moves.”

Bollywood starlet and Big Brother winner Shilpa Shetty, who arguably boasts of one of the most lithe and lean bodies in the Indian film industry, recently launched her yoga DVD in India. Titled Shilpa’s Yoga, the video is shot against the picturesque backdrop of Kerala where Shilpa demonstrates simple and easy to follow techniques that according to her can help one look beautiful from both inside and outside.

Speaking about the impact her DVD made in the overseas market, Shilpa says, “It was phenomenal the way Britons and foreigners lapped up the DVD on its international release. Due to the efforts of people like Baba Ramdev, millions in the western world have developed a respect for and an interest in yoga. In fact, I feel privileged to be in the legion of those who have actually helped yoga become a household name.”

Talking about the impact of yoga on her life, the actress said, “It’s a management system for life and it is the most holistic approach to life that I have ever come across. It works on body, mind and soul by strengthening, toning and curing from within. Yoga has had a spectacular impact on my life.”

Dr Ganesh Mohan, son of A.G. Mohan (who was a disciple of T. Krishnamacharya for 18 years) and a practitioner of traditional yoga exercises says, “In my opinion, the pervading trend these days is understanding the limitations of one’s discipline, seeing a potential strength or benefits in yoga and then combining them both to cater to a certain target group.” He adds, “One of the new variations in yoga is combining yoga with martial arts. It is similar to Tai Chi to the extent that both disciplines have breathing exercises done in a standing pose.”

Apart from this there is also Power Yoga, a rigorous workout routine modelled on the basics of Ashtanga Yoga. This routine is also known to have made yoga popular in gyms in the Western world. It’s also a favourite among celebs like Sameera Reddy and Madonna. However, unlike the original, Power Yoga is focused more on attaining strength and flexibility.

For those looking forward to indulging in a therapeutic retreat of sorts, there are places like Purple Valley Yoga Retreat in Goa. Similarly, Bharat Thakur, a celebrity guru in his own right and husband of actress Bhumika Chawla, runs a company called Artistic Yoga which conducts workshops, group and private classes for hi-profile corporate clients and high fliers. He conducts his sessions at yoga studios in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Moscow and Dubai, and his clients comprise actors Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.

From the time The Beatles took that one big step which embedded eastern spirituality in a typically western consciousness, the image of yoga changed forever; transforming its appeal from being merely a new-fangled, exotic form of meditation to the larger, multi-ethnic, culturally inclusive context of a different lifestyle altogether. With international proponents ranging from rockstars like Sting and Carlos Santana to Hollywood beauties like Eva Longoria and Nicole Kidman, yoga has found a voice that is echoed by millions across the world, choosing to take a road whose foundation stones were laid more than 2,000 years ago.

Of course, there are also controversial variations to the world’s oldest form of meditation, something that is now gaining popularity in the western world: Naked Yoga. It is believed that the form originated in New York City in the late 90’s when a US national who was rather conspicuously named Jayadev, founded a group called Midnight Yoga for Men. The speciality of this group was a ritualistic naked practice of yoga in the presence of the infinite, akin to the Naga sadhus of India. However, later imitators of the all-male naked yogis got unwillingly associated with the gay community. And many were only too eager to jump onto the yoga bandwagon.

Practitioner Neelam’s programmes are tailor-made to the requirement of an individual – from a basic two-day introductory programme to a three-month long course (which costs Rs 1,000 per class). Narrating her experiences about how she developed the discipline, Neelam says, “As part of my research in medicine, I came across several young professionals suffering from a similar set of ailments – heart diseases, blood pressure, sleep deprivation and hypertension. That’s when I was struck by an out-of-the-blue idea of combining my knowledge of dance with yoga to come up with a new concoction of therapy. I have a yoga studio where I conduct my classes and I have also come up with a Vedic Gram, which is built on an area of about 50 acres in Gurgaon. It’s a natural environment where people can come to get rejuvenated by dance yoga. It should be fully operational by October or so.”

Whenever an art is adapted for a different target group, changes are inevitable. Twenty years ago yoga belonged to the category of an ancient science, now it is considered trendy. And with its new avatars gaining popularity, yoga is on a roll.

FORMS OF YOGA, AND CELEBS WHO SWEAR BY THEM

Power Yoga: A series of poses in rapid succession. (Sameera Reddy, Sting, Madonna, Woody Harrelson, Willem DaFoe)

Facial Yoga: A series of exercise for your facial muscles to make your face look taut, radiant and beautiful. (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Victoria ‘Posh’ Beckham) Oneness Yoga: Based on the principal of oneness of the individual with the universe. (Shilpa Shetty, Richard Gere, Manisha Koirala Gerard Butler (of 300 fame), Uma Thurman)

Bikram Yoga: Known as Hot Yoga, practised in a heated room, to clean toxins. (Kareena Kapoor)

Ashtanga Yoga: Fast, intense, physically demanding, requires rapid movement from one asana to the other.

Small symbols hold big truths
 

The setting sun cast its orange hues across the sky as I strolled back from an evening walk. My steps moved forward, crushing the dried leaves under them as I soaked in the ambience of the evening, a beauty at once both peaceful and sombre. Awakened from the flight of thoughts by the beep of an SMS from my daughter, I found that the message was brief but explicit: a heart pierced by an arrow.

I found myself smiling at the intensity of feelings of my little one who was not so little anymore but a full fledged woman in her own right. Life seemed to have crashed to a dead end as a relationship headed towards its inevitable culmination. Was this her second? Or if you counted the crush in primary school, probably the third? And yet deep within I felt the pain of the soul thirsting for its own homing. The fleeting involvements of the youth may appear so superfluous, and yet reflect a yearning universal to the human heart – of discovering and uniting with its other half. As I turned the key to the front door of my house, the sun set signalling the end of one more day.

Life would be dreary and colourless if the material world with its kaleidoscopic images did not connect one to the profound insights of the soul. Dessicated would be a mind which on registering a fragilely beautiful butterfly did not remember the transience of life. The human individual has a range within which he perceives the outer world. However, there are higher truths the eyes cannot see nor the hands touch (normally that is).

Expression being our innate nature, the human psyche unravels and intelligently uses some signs, pictures, sounds which go beyond representing the surface truth to a deeper, sometimes difficult to logically grasp, reality. Such an instrument of consciousness is called a symbol and has continued

to fascinate the doctors of the mind and healers of the soul.

A symbol is a sign, picture or word which represents more than the obvious and literal meaning to suggest a connotation which is not so apparent. For instance, a plus sign signifies addition. Consciously it has been utilised by the mathematician, the physicist and the astrologer to convey scientific and mystical formulae.

Despite the rich diversity of human expression, stripped of externals the human heart is strangely universal. At its core is a longing for a love which embraces and an identity which includes all.

Religion the world over is the endeavour of the human heart to assuage its mortal loneliness and the human mind to make the ever exciting discovery of its true identity – Who really am I? Just a spark of life which will be extinguished one day, or a flame which will live forever? In this quest we have been aided by religious symbols, some shared and some specific.

A cross brings to mind the suffering of Christ which continues to redeem us. But a cross as a symbol is the amalgam of material and spiritual which entail unavoidable suffering. It is easier to renounce than to strive for perfection in the face of heartbreaks, bereavements and the ironical quirks of life we call injustice.

Similar is the significance of the lotus. The swamp that the lotus is anchored in is the strife and challenge of daily life. The lotus grows valiantly towards the sun and is the most beautiful flower despite its dirty abode. The lotus is exceptional since it is one flower which bears the fruit and the seed simultaneously, signifying that every cause has lurking in itself the inevitable effect and that every event vibrates with the energy of the original cause. (In fact, Mira Alfasa, the Mother of Pondicherry, has done a whole thesis on a wide variety of flowers and their deep and hidden significance.)

The swastika, an extension of the cross, has been used to denote the cardinal directions and solar power. In Sanskrit the word swastik is split into 2 parts: su meaning well, and asti meaning to be.

It is used as a symbol of elephant-headed Ganesha, each portion of whose resplendent form has a meaning. The huge head of Ganpati is for the complex cerebral cortex of the evolved human and his sharp intellect. The trunk represents our skill at the grossest to most subtle and refined tasks. The small eyes stand for penetrating insight and the large ears for being a good listener. The pendulous abdomen of Ganesha is for keeping confidences and successfully assimilating the good and sorrowful experiences of life. The one intact tooth (the other being broken and missing) causes him to be called Ekadanta (the single-toothed one), the meaning conveyed being one who is not swayed by the opposites – praise and censure, prosperity and decline, birth and death.

The swastika is an emblem of auspiciousness or kalyan, as also is Ganesha who represents the contemporary enlightened individual, the new-age sage who is simultaneously capable of upmarket strategies as well as diving within in meditation.

The parents of Ganesha are Shiva (symbolises Supreme Consciousness) and Shakti (Supreme Power) whose union creates Ganesha (the wisdom to overcome obstacles). The lingam, the most widely used symbol of the attributeless Absolute Shiva, is a word which itself translates as ‘sign’ or ‘symbol’. Worship of the lingam which has its lower portion fixed in the yoni (symbolic of the changing manifestations of the static eternal reality) is said to untie the knots of all accumulated causes and liberate one from samsara (never ending round of birth and death).

In fact the art and science of tantra (meaning expansion of the mind to liberate it) considers the human body as a temple of the divine, with the soul being Shiva or supreme awareness, Parvati being the buddhi (discriminatory intelligence), the vital life force and its divisions being the attendants of the cosmic couple. By adorning herself with the red bindi or dot on her forehead, the lady of the house carries a subtle reminder that she is a reflection of the Shakti she worships. On the other hand, a man wears a tripundara tilak which consists of three lines and a bindi/dot. The three lines are indicative of the three fundamental qualities of nature/a human being -tamas (that which veils the luminosity within), sattva (that which reveals it) and rajas (the force by which they act on each other).

Simple rituals at the time of worship are means for purifying the element represented, eg. offering sweets purifies and energises the earth within us, water serves to cleanse and raise emotions, the diya or lamp signifies our undying aspiration to journey from perfection to greater perfection, the sound of the conch connects us to the ether within and without, whereas the fragrance of the incense activates the air or vayu tattva. Bhasma or ash applied on the third eye serves as a reminder that one is not the body which ages, decays and dies but the unborn, perennial consciousness which dons one garment (body) after another.

A particular aspect of tantra is also the sensuality of the act of physicality becoming the object of dhyana for a man and a woman and an expedient means for their liberation.

Thus symbols are the keys to the mysteries of the unfathomable spirit, the beauty of the finer layers of the mind and powers of the multi-faceted energy of the universe. Rituals are symbols which bridge the gap between man and the perfection within, which he conceives of as God. If God is a concept or symbol created by the human mind to grasp the elusive Truth of existence, all that we see in the universe including the sun, the stars, the little creatures and the powerful giants are all symbols of That which caused it all!

A symbol can silence the human mind till it looks back to suddenly realise that it is that which it was looking for, all this while.

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

‘Vipassana set me free, made me fearless’
 

Few books had a tremendous impact on me and got me closer to the presence of divinity. Like the Autobiography of a Yogi, Living with the Himalayan Masters, Touched by Fire, the Vedanta Treatise, the Gita, and many other works and writings of Sri Aurobindo, The Mother, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Chinmayananda, to name a few. Spiritual discourses by learned teachers, directly or through the recorded audio route always leave me seeking for more.

But a 10-day Vipassana meditation course taught by my teacher Shri S.N. Goenkaji left a great impression on my mind. It was in 1999 when I was the joint commissioner, Police Training, in Delhi Police. I had seen a positive effect of these courses on prisoners and the staff when I was with the Tihar jail. Whoever did the course changed for the better in innumerable ways. All this while, I was only inspiring people to do the course, and this was the first time that I personally went for it.

I so wanted to go for it. And most of all, I wanted the cops to do it too. And without my doing it they would not have done it. It would have been one more forced order. And this one had to be voluntary. My doing it made them curious. Hence they followed. The 10 days of total silence, no reading, no writing, no talking, no viewing of the television, no visitors, no external communication was amazing and unbelievable.

It was all about self-observation during those 10 days. All the traffic of thoughts, which were constantly travelling in my mind, were controlled. All that I clung to was observed. All that angered me was realised. All that I thought I could never be without was experienced and observed. All the people I resented, surfaced and faded into oblivion.

I could get up by four in the morning absolutely fresh and sleep at night meditating, observing body sensations. The discourses given by my teacher were life altering. I learnt about the fundamentals of life and the inviolable laws of nature. I saw how we burn our energy wastefully clinging on to temporary issues, how we continue to live in the past and make the present also the past. This course made me move on. It truly set me free. It made me fearless. I completed the course with the clarity of thoughts. I could now regulate and direct my mental traffic. I was trained to observe its flow and channel it. Then, I started valuing silence. I learnt to listen to myself more. Even my silence spoke. I could see things more dispassionately. I became more forgiving. It raised my internal levels of peace. Most of all, it made me more detached.

As told to Shruti Badyal

Krishna is all for dancing, singing
 

Krishna is utterly incomparable, he is so unique. Firstly, his uniqueness lies in the fact that although Krishna happened in the ancient past he is really of the future. Man has yet to grow to that height where he can be a contemporary of Krishna’s. He is still beyond man’s understanding; he continues to puzzle and baffle us. In the background of serious and sad religions of the past it is Krishna alone who comes dancing, singing and laughing.

A religion accepting life is yet to be born

Religions of the past were all life-denying and masochistic, extolling sorrow and suffering as great virtues. A laughing religion, a religion that accepts life in its totality is yet to be born. Every religion, up to now, has divided life into two parts, and while they accept one part they deny the other, Krishna alone accepts the whole of life. That is why India held him to be a perfect incarnation of God, while all other incarnations were assessed as imperfect and incomplete. And there is a reason for saying so. The reason is that Krishna has accepted and absorbed everything that life is.

The juice of life is in the body

But it was unfortunate that we did not allow Krishna to influence our life in a broad way. He remains a lonely dancing island in the vast ocean of sorrow and misery that is our life.

Up to now, man’s mind has thought of and looked at life in fragments – and thought dialectically. The religious man denies the body and accepts the soul. And what is worse, he creates a conflict, a dichotomy between the body and spirit. He denies this world, he accepts the other world, and thus creates a state of hostility between the two. Naturally our life is going to be sad and miserable if we deny the body, because all our life’s juice – its health and vitality, its sensitivities and beauty, all its music – has its source in the body.

Krishna accepts total life

Krishna alone accepts the body in its totality. And he accepts it not in any selected dimension but in all its dimensions. Krishna has a great future. Krishna alone seems to be relevant to the new awareness, to the new understanding that came to man in the wake of Freud and his findings. After Freud the world of religion is not going to be the same as it was before him. It is so because in the whole history of the old humanity Krishna alone is against repression. He accepts life in all its facets, in all its climates and colours.

Courtesy Osho International Foundation/www.osho.com

Life with Kishore Kumar
 

More than 20 years have passed after legendary singer Kishore Kumar died. But his golden voice is still with us, reverberating down the corridors of time. A new generation has ecstatically rediscovered him. Recently, on the occasion of his 79th birth anniversary, his widow Leena Chandavarkar announced his biopic, to be directed by Shoojit Sarkar in collaboration with UTV. Later she shared vignettes of her life with the eccentric and lovable Kishoreda.

On Kishore’s marriages Well, he was like a child at heart. He always took life very easily. His only legal and planned marriage was to me. The rest were impulsive acts. When he got married to Ruma Guha, his brother Ashok Kumar asked him about it. Kishore quipped: “I just got it registered in the court.”

When he proposed to me, I was going through a hard time myself. My first husband had died and I was very depressed. Kishore was then making a movie called Ajnabee. He called me up and told me he wanted to cast me opposite him. I first said no. Then he told me in a poetic way – Hamaari yeh zid hai ki hum tumhe zaroor payenge (I am adamant that I will have you). I just laughed at this.

A month later, when I finally called him, he just picked the phone up and said, “Yes, Leena, tell me.” I was very surprised. I asked him how he knew it was me on the line and he said, “As soon as the phone rang my heart told me it was you.”

One fine day, I accepted his proposal. He forced me to come out of my depression, forget the past and move on with my life. I now realise that he was so right in the way he handled things. He didn’t waste his energy on things that didn’t matter. He always took life as it came.

His eccentricities

I remember one day our bungalow was raided by income tax officials. I was so worried. But Kishore was busy singing. He had a shower and went straight to the puja room. Then he came out of there and went looking for the IT officials. The officials were sitting outside. He told them, “Why don’t you check the third tile? Why don’t you dig here? I have hidden a treasure down here.” After some time he took them to the garden and started pointing at a tree and said, “Look there is a big hole in the tree. That is where I have hoarded loot. In fact, the winter birds made it their nest.” I wasn’t in a mood for jokes and so I yelled at him and asked him how he could make jokes at such a time. The worst part was that the IT officials took him seriously.

His confidence

I would sometimes jokingly tell him that he was not a good singer and would be forgotten as time passes. “Time and tide wait for no one,” I would say, “With new entrants in the music world you will be gone and forgotten.” Then he said, “Singers will come and go. But one thing I know is that my fans will always remember me and even the coming generations will know who I was. I will not be forgotten even after I am gone.”

How right he was! Whatever he did, he did with a clear conscience. He was so like a child – so simple and so appealing and charming. I wish he was still here with us.

On his divorces

Well, Ruma Guha didn’t ditch him as is generally believed. It was in his destiny to marry four women. No one person is ever at fault when a relationship fails. It takes two to tango.

The legendary miser

Kishore enjoyed spreading stories about himself. He would tell everyone, “I am a miser and I am mad too.” People took him seriously and started spreading these stories. But contrary to his image, he was actually a spendthrift. He liked to spend money on others. He couldn’t see anyone suffering. In his biopic, we will try to show his real self – good and bad

As told to Lipika Varma

A Sporting Life
 

Hearing the Indian national anthem in an Olympic stadium after 28 years, I was transported to a future Olympics, when I would be amongst many hundred Indian fathers applauding our children winning medals for India.

Growing up in a familial environment exposed to diverse sports, I too nurtured sporting dreams, but in a socialist India some decades ago such spirit was incongruent with opportunity, unless you were in the army or a government undertaking.

My earliest experiences of sport were watching my mother coach the erstwhile Mysore basketball team to victory from atop Dad’s shoulders, then aged 5 being dispatched into the depths of the Dhakuria Lakes in Calcutta – by a lifeguard, serving as my aquatic initiation.

Rishabh and Ahan, my sons now ten and nearly nine, enjoyed a comparatively benign baptism aged 18 months, cradled in my palms across a clear swimming pool. Aged four, they were cycling round the block and a year later collecting cardboard ‘golds’ for athletics at school.

Having learned more about teamwork, camaraderie, competition and failure from the sports arena than the classroom, I was resolute in sharing with my lads the experience of sport.

Discovering a new sport continues every summer. Rishabh’s overconfidence has met with comeuppance; playing with 40 aggressive children fighting for a football transformed his attitude when learning cricket. Ahan’s reticence while learning basketball conceded to brimming confidence under the guidance of a paternal hockey coach.

Some years earlier, touching 40, I embarked on a journey of mind and body, learning Kalaripayattu – the ancient martial art – that young boys in Kerala start at 7. During my first weeks of training, my bones crackled like a bamboo grove in a storm, and I discovered muscles and parts of the anatomy through aches and pains. Ofcourse I wanted to throw in the towel on a daily basis but the battlefield expertise of Kalaripayattu instilled a mental toughness.

Training under Nisha Millet converted swimming for fun into a passion for my sons. Simultaneously, they were introduced to Kalaripayattu – protesting in contrast – unable to understand the intangibles of the torturous learning curve. With practice is revealed the importance of focus to confront the challenges and solitude of competition.

The hunger to push the performance envelope in the swimming pool whetted by a voracious appetite for competition fuel their training at an aquatic centre of Olympic excellence in Basavangudi. A partnership of parents, government and the private sector makes striving for Olympics 2016 a dreamable dream.

What might seem an unorthodox approach is actually returning to the psycho-physiological regimen devised by the Dronacharyas of yore to produce Arjunas and Eklayvas.

The ‘spin off’ is in academics with more learning achieved in less time affording the boys more time for recreation. Term exams or not, they find time to swim, cycle and play a game of pool with each other, since their friends are quarantined in study.

For our national anthem to resonate alternately with China’s in every stadium by 2020, we have to rehabilitate our traditional psycho-physiological knowledge from obscurity into our education syllabus. Our children need parks not malls; we have to metamorphose from a country of crabs and forge a national character of impeccable quality to distil five hundred of the finest for Olympics 2020. Sport cannot be reduced to a means to obtain a college admission or access job quotas but considered a reputable profession.

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

Who talks more? Why men and women are lost in translation
 

She talks too much!” is apparently the reason George Clooney gave the world for dumping his waitress-turned-model girlfriend Sarah Larson. And while women are generally blamed for jabbering on too long and too loud about nothing much at all, apparently it’s not our fault either.

Instead it’s all in our DNA. If only we could keep our chit-chat under stricter control, perhaps the men wouldn’t be scared away faster, and we could tell them about our new diet or latest bout of bowel movements.

Scientists have often proved what we’ve long suspected – that women talk a whopping amount more than men chalking up 20,000 words a day, while men utter just 7000.

Yet, if we look at the facts, the consensus is out on who talks more as the numbers seem to differ everywhere you look. Dr Scott Haltzman says women use about 7000 words a day and men use about 2000. Ruth E. Masters reckons women use 25,000 words per day while men use 12,000. And James Dobson says that “God gives a woman 50,000 words a day, while her husband only gets 25,000”!

Either way, we speak more quickly, more animatedly and more nonsensically than the blokes. In order to discover why we love speaking so darn much, I decided to consult body language expert Allan Pease, author of Why Men Don’t Listen And Women Cant Read Maps, who says that it’s because our brains are hardwired differently to a man’s that makes us light up with the prospect of getting to jabber.

“At the end of a day full of problems, a man’s mono-tracking brain can file them all away,” Pease explains. The female brain does not store information in this way – the problems just keep going around and around in her head.”

Hence the only way to stop this buzzing in our brains is to spill it all out. When we do talk, a rush of serotonin fills our brains, giving us emotions akin to what a heroin addict would feel on a high. (No wonder we like to do it so much!) And yet, as Pease notes, when we do talk at the end of our day, it’s not to find solutions but it’s to discharge the problems. Hence making no sense to the men whatsoever. The trouble, as Christo, a radio presenter, so aptly puts it, is that we talk so much that men have stopped listening.

“Most men just say ‘yes’ and nod a whole lot to whatever you’re saying and pretend like they’re listening,” he says. “I call it being ‘mensitive’; sensitive in a manly way without actually being too sensitive. The best part is women are none the wiser; they just continue to talk.” But not listening to us is not the man’s fault either. Dr Louann Brizendine, author of The Female Brain, explains that testosterone reduces the size of the section of their brain involved in hearing – allowing men to become “deaf” to their wives and girlfriends. And while they’re busy nodding their heads without listening to a word we’re harping on about, they’re doing something far more important: thinking about sex. So what’s the solution? How do we get men to listen to us? By using the KISS principal. Of course actually kissing them, instead of talking, would solve all our woes, but the old “Keep It Simple Stupid” will do wonders. Keeping it simple, getting to the point and avoiding long-winded tales (unless we make it funny and visually pleasing) and not talking to him when he’s watching TV, playing X-Box or having beers with his best mate.

Oh, and never try to talk to him after sex either. Because while it might be the one time he’s not actually thinking about it, he’s going to be dozed off before you can ever get to the point of the story …

The writer is an author, columnist & dating expert (You can mail your responses to asksambrett@gmail.com)

Sexist, yet a must watch
 

We have all heard the phrase ‘Everything is fair in love and war’. But it seems like the popular music channel – MTV has taken it a bit too seriously with its new weekend soap Splitsvilla, where love is war. The name itself gives you an insight into the kind of show that it is. To explain it briefly, there are 20 girls who have to perform tasks to impress the two guys, so that they are not ‘dumped’ that week. The show started off with the intention of having two girls winning and getting the prize money of 2.5 lakhs each and the chance to host a show on MTv, as a couple, with the guy who picked them.

But due to the response that the extremely male chauvinist setting generated, the producers of Splitsvilla had no choice but to modify the rules to have only one winning girl who gets to choose which guy will win. This show has become a rage with the younger generation today. You love or you hate it – but you just can’t ignore it.

My first impression of the show was that it was the most sexist show on national television. I mean, whatever happened to the integrity and self respect of women? How could they reduce themselves to such a level? And how can any of the girls and guys actually fall in love in this setting of deception and plotting? But on the other hand, I must admit that after catching a few episodes of the show, I too found it hugely entertaining. The tasks that the girls have to perform, which could range from rock climbing to a sensuous dance, mud wrestling to a bikini photoshoot, whatever it is, they always manage to make it interesting.

The ‘Dumping Zone’ is where the weakest girls every week are put. They then get a ‘second chance’ to go on a date with the guys and convince them not to vote them out. And every week one girl or two girls are dumped (which I think is an extremely demeaning word to use) and leave the show, gradually reducing the number until only one girl is left.

As far as I can see, the girls don’t care about the love aspect of the show anymore. What started out as a fight for love has become a craze for money, lust and fame. But the extreme rivalry between the girls often takes the tasks to a new level all together, having them physically, emotionally and verbally stripping each other. And girls being girls, the plotting, groupism and bitchiness was bound to happen.

So all in all, the show is an entertainer, which has been successful in its mission to get us youngsters hooked on to it. Raghu Ram, the mastermind behind this show, certainly has his formula for a good show right. But what really needs to be questioned is that is this show having a bad influence on the youth of today, with its theme of disloyalty, mistrust, plotting, meanness and sometimes physical violence, the obvious answer is yes. This season of the show has almost come to an end with only three weeks of it left to air. But I am sure they will be back soon with the season two – bitchier, meaner and tougher. So finally, even though I do consider the show to be demeaning to women, I just can’t help but enjoy it.

(The writer is a teenager)

How to catch a confirmed bachelor
 

Confirmed bachelor: one who has sworn to remain free of the ball and chain of the “evil fiend” woman. By the time he had reached the age of 20, Raghava was sure he would remain single for life. In his mind, women were trouble and girlfriends the stuff of immature teenagers who could afford to waste their time fighting about forgotten birthdays and un-returned phone calls. Sour grapes?

So every time he met a girl, whether or not she might have been girlfriend material, Raghava relegated her to his ever-growing list of Rakhi sisters. The very first time I met Raghava, I was just about to start 9th grade, and I decided immediately after meeting him he was the type of guy that might some day make good boyfriend material for some girl (you might wonder whether I’m kicking myself now and wishing I had known better.)

Considering the awkwardness of most teenage boys, I was very impressed with the fact that he had actual social skills. Wow! Here was a boy my age who could talk to a girl, and that too, a strange girl, without mumbling, fumbling, or trying to act cool. Unfortunately for Raghava, when I met him later on in New York City, I decided that it was time for me to put his boyfriend-worthiness to the test.

Instinctively, I was sure I could catch this confirmed bachelor. I understood his psychology perfectly. I just needed to start slowly. You may wonder how I convinced Raghava that having a girlfriend was not the end of life as he knew it. I discovered that the trick was to make him so utterly dependent that he didn’t even know where his wallet and cellphone were. Unfortunately, I was so successful with my bright idea that I’m stuck with the job of being the money-carrier, cellphone carrier, passport carrier. No cute tiny purse for me. Bring on the backpacks and shoulder bags.

And so our adventure began. Somehow, I extracted a promise out of poor Raghava that he would spend as much time as possible in the US, literally move his base there, until I finished my undergraduate degree four years later. As a little treat, I promised that all holidays, no matter how short, would be spent in Bangalore. Lucky for him, I fell in love with the place in a matter of minutes.

The ultimate transformation had occurred. The confirmed bachelor was no longer a bachelor. In fact, he took to domestication beautifully – he was cooking, entertaining, and running one of the cleanest houses I’ve ever seen. In fact, he instituted mandatory spring-cleaning sessions every weekend throughout the fall, summer, and winter too and forced me to join him in drudging around with mop and broom.

He sometimes reminds me that he thought he’d be a bachelor his whole life. And I remind him how lucky he is that I snatched him from between the jaws of pathetic boredom.

Designer’s studio
 

Our best photoshoot was at Neemrana fort palace in Alwar, Rajasthan with model Simar Duggal. The reason we chose Neemrana fort was because it was very regal and at the same time showed the spirit of Rajasthan magnificently. Photographer Akhil Bakshi shot these pictures in 1997. The collection has Rajasthan as the theme. The garments we designed for this collection were very ethnic and celebrated the heritage of Rajasthan. The lehengas had beautiful threadwork with embellishments like pearls and mirrors. The dresses were very colourful and we teamed them up with beautiful Indian jewellery. The makeup was kept subtle and Simar looked pretty in the Indian dresses and posed exactly the way photographer asked her.

For this particular collection, we chose the vibrant colours of the desert and blended it with gold to give it a very royal look. We stayed there for two days and waited for sunset and sunrise to shoot the pictures. The photographer did a wonderful job and played with the natural light beautifully. All the pictures turned out very well and this collection was a big hit.

Woes of the AV Servicing Industry
 
By Naresh Sadhwani and Deepak Jhangiani

There was a time when the main USP of the consumer electronics manufacturers was the strength of their after-sales-service. Almost all major brands set up elaborate service centres in every potential market area and boasted same day service. This era spawned many independent techno-entrepreneurs with multi-service centres providing service to multi-national brands. The main products that required regular and frequent servicing were the amplifiers, spool tape recorders, cassette recorders, car stereos and black and white televisions. Soon came the era of the heavy duty VCRs sand colour televisions which further added to the work load of the service industry.

The downturn came with the advent of the Microprocessor based AV products with hardly gave any problems. Since these products had minimum movable parts and max ICs the failure rates were significantly reduced prompting companies to targetting 0 per cent failure during and after warranty periods. With lower failure rates and falling prices of electronic products and increasing overheads it soon became unviable for companies to maintain their own service centres, many resorted to shutting down these set ups to reduce costs. Others outsourced their service obligations to individual service operators.

More international brands/standard quality and price wars not only resulted in lesser demand for service but made replacing a better option than repairing, sounding the final death knells for the now widespread entrepreneur driven service set ups.

However, today heralds a new birth for the service technicians. Price wars and fierce competition have necessitated that even strong brands opt for the cheaper Chinese products to reduce price. Lower price means non-standard quality and frequently these low priced gadgets give way in their very first week of operation, ergo a new birth for the service technicians to fulfill warranty obligations. Has the AV service industry come a full circle? Only time will tell.

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

Good old DD days…
 

It might be raining new television shows and entertainment channels, but the present generation of actors still look back fondly at the early days of India’s soap culture. They recall the thrills and highs of watching the classic serials on Doordarshan.

The first among these shows were Ramayana and Mahabharata based on great epics of Hindu mythology. Many viewers started worshipping the actors portraying the roles of Ram and Krishna. But there was much more than this that attracted people towards the newly introduced 35mm shows. Serials like Buniyaad, Nukkad, Hum Log, Circus, Fauji and Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi are few names that can easily be remembered with delight.

For actor Rohit Roy serials like Buniyaad and Hum Log will always be cherished. Though he accepts that the entertainment industry has gone through a transformational phase over the years, he says that it’s always in quantitative terms rather than qualitative. Recalling the old series Hum Log, he says, “Earlier, the basic concept of the serial used to be to depict the real picture of our country. Can a middle-class woman relate to any of the characters they see in serials being telecast today? Unfortunately, the answer is no.” He adds that most of the serials are shot in huge houses, with actors adorning expensive clothes and in the name of plots what you get to see are the same cliched stories. “Most of these illusory things don’t exist in our real society at all. Hum Log was the story of a lower middle-class family and its trials and tribulations. Similar was the case with Buniyaad,” he says.

Actor and singer Karan Oberoi agrees. He appreciates the technological development in the industry, but feels the storyline of most of the shows have seen a drastic decline. According to him, there’s no zing in the present roles. Moreover, he thinks 10 years down the line no one will remember the serials that are being made today, but everyone who witnessed the initial days of TV would remember the classic series that appeared on Doordarshan. “Can any actor stand at par with the comic role that Satish Shah portrayed in Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi?” he says, comparing the quality of acting in both periods. “There’s no one,” he adds. However, Karan reacts positively about the initial shows on private channels. “The earlier shows that Zee TV came up with were good. Later, Sailaab and Saaya were among those few serials that can be considered as a benchmark before the rapid deterioration of the content in the serials,” he says.

Among the fresh bunch of actors, while many think the old industry was good, there are some who are happy with the present industry as well. Sharad Malhotra, who gained popularity through his serial Banoo Main Teri Dulhann and Rucha Gujrati of Bhabhi fame are happy with the way the industry is growing. Rucha believes that the present day industry is providing a wide platform to many youngsters.

“It is wrong to compare the periods of TV, every period has its own charm and relevance,” says Rucha. “Back in the 80s, we started from scratch. It had nothing that it could be compared with, but no one can deny the progress that the current industry is witnessing,” she adds. Sharad adds, “In the 80s, one of the reason that TV got so popular was the novelty factor. Now, it has grown massively both financially and technically.”

Though, these actors praise the existing industry, they can’t deny the popularity of classic shows. “Circus, Gul Gulshan Gulfam and Nukkad are some of the serials that come instantly to my mind when I think of the good old days of Doordarshan. Those were phenomenal days when people gathered in crowds to watch the telecast of these serials. The golden era can never come back,” says Sharad.

Interestingly, Rucha considers herself the “branch” of that tree whose seed was sown in the 80s. She says that the content of the shows during that era can’t be reinvented. “I feel that the same old magic can be revived if the plots are given utmost importance instead of the lavish sets and dizziness-arousing camera movements. The script-writers should try to experiment and present us with something innovative beyond the saas-bahu sagas that have ruled the television industry for so long,” says Rucha.

‘No question of a sabbatical’
 

Aishwarya Rai is on cloud nine. She married the most eligible bachelor in town and has been getting rave reviews for her performances in her recent movies. And in The Unforgettable Tour, the whole world is her stage. The most beautiful woman of the world cannot keep the excitement out of her voice when she talks about all this, especially her world tour with hubby Abhishek and pa Amitabh.

“No matter what anyone says, the response has been phenomenal,” she says, ridiculing detractors who have termed the show a flop. “But that was expected when pa is involved. He is an institution and people love him wherever we go. All of us might be standing on stage together, but the audiences just want more of him. He is bigger in stature than all of us put together.”

What about the talk that these shows are about the Bachchans trying to flex their muscles and show their clout in the industry. “Says who?” counters the bahu. “Come on, does Mr Amitabh Bachchan need to prove a point to anyone? All that’s been said is just ridiculous and unnecessary.”

If reports are to be believed, then audiences are enthusiastically responding to Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit dancing together to Dola Re on stage. The two had not hit it off well during the shooting of Devdas. Is it better now since both of them are married actresses? “That’s an interesting observation,” laughs Aishwarya. “It is not like we had a cold war during Devdas. I have always respected Madhuri as my senior and as an amazing actress. But we didn’t have a lot in common then to talk about and the media pitted us against each other. Today, as you say, we are both married and are actresses; we already have two things in common.”

And Ash and Mads have also been spending time together during the shows. “We also have a passion for dance and it is showing in our performances,” says Aishwarya.

But is Aishwarya also planning a sabbatical as Madhuri did after marriage? “Well, life changes after marriage and that’s an understatement,” she laughs. “But sabbatical? Hardly. I am in fact very busy after marriage. First, there was the shooting of Jodhaa Akbar and Pink Panther 2, and then Sarkar Raj. Then we started preparing for the tour. There’s been a whirlwind of activity and I can predict there’s more to come.”

If that is so, why are reports appearing that she is hesitating to do Shankar’s Robot with Rajnikant? “There’s no dilly dallying,” she says. “Rajnikant is an institution like Pa and I will be honored to finally work with him. We have come close to working together in the past, so let us not talk about it too soon.”

And as usual she fields questions about her marriage with aplomb. “No interview is complete without scribes wanting to know how things are between us,”she says. “Things are great. Abhi is amazing, and has been very supportive of me. We understand each other perfectly and that makes life so much simpler.”

“People are saying whatever they feel like,” she adds. “If we start denying each and every allegation, we will have nothing else to do. But no, I am not pregnant and neither are we fighting and pulling each other’s hair apart.”

But there must be some truth in the rumours that Abhishek has lost his female fans after he tied the knot with her. “Really?”asks Aishwarya. “You haven’t seen the girls screaming his name at the shows.”

Actors indulge in sadism, not stardom
 
By Vikram Bhatt

Elia Kazan once said that star tantrums did not bother him but what bothered him was their “genuine concerns”. This only means star tantrums dressed up as genuine concerns. I am angry as I write this piece and I am angry because for too long the mid-level stars have got their kicks on the poor hapless producer’s expense.

I read in the newspaper that Govinda had left a shooting schedule incomplete in London and returned. Apparently he had genuine concerns about some mid course corrections in the script and was not willing to do a dance sequence that showed him dancing in front of the Queen of England. He did not think it was politically right for him to do so. Probably not and I do agree that if it was a last minute change then he had all the right in the world to refuse to do it though I don’t think the Queen of England knows who Govinda is or gives a farthing for his dance sequence in her presence. We are talking about a Queen that has taken a movie by the same name based on her and her human conflicts on the chin and even went as far as appreciating it. So no, I don’t think she gives a damn about Govinda and his dance sequence but anyways Govinda thinks that she does and so we have a problem.

The solution – he leaves a crew in the lurch in England and comes back to India. I remember a line from Oliver Stones’ JFK. “Modern physics can prove that an elephant can hang from a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy.” Indeed, it is possible to find a reason for your most erratic behavior and if you are a star, people will keep quiet about it but how right is it? Here I am talking about the producer of the film. What was his fault? He has spent millions of rupees getting visas, permissions, airline tickets, hotels and so much more and suddenly it is all left incomplete. Is it fair to him?

The problem is that sometimes the film fraternity keeps quiet about these issues. They must get together and discipline the errant party. If the director is responsible, then he should be pulled up and if it is the star, he should be answerable too.

It is strange but this place is divided into two kinds of stars. The first, who will go to any extent to prove their stardom and the second, who will go to any extent to make their film a great film. The first kind is interested in being a star and the second kind is interested in acting. People come here for the love of fame and for the love of acting. Be careful of the one who seeks fame because he or she will be the self obsessed troublemaker and drive you out of your wits to prove their stardom.

I have worked with Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty to name a few stars that are professionalism personified.

They will report on time, go to any extent to make the film better for their presence and also dispel any doubts or concerns that they have in the most professional way.

The problem is that once the producer has invested a sizeable amount of money in a film, what choice does he have but to give in to any tantrum that anyone throws. He may swear to himself that he might never work with them again but apart from that kind of impotent rage, there is not much that he can do.

This is not stardom but sadism and I am sure everyone understands the difference between the two. If you are a star, then try and throw a tantrum with someone whose life does not depend on you and you will soon learn your place.

Akshay jumps to Katrina’s defence
 

Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar have proved to be the hit pair of the year. In fact, all of Katrina’s films opposite Akki have been hits. And this has set the rumour mongers wagging: Katrina is bagging all the roles because Akshay insists on it. “Keep Akshay out of this. He’s a married man,” said Katrina when asked whether it’s true that Akshay is smitten by her and is promoting her to all his producers.

When Akshay was asked the same, he, who has mastered the art of talking to the media now, says, “Why don’t you think it could be the other way around – Katrina has been recommending my name to the producers!”ῠ Getting defensive about his heroine, Akshay said, “Why are you guys picking on her? Nobody is behind anyone’s success. All credit goes to the individual alone. I am just a medium. It’s upon the other person to make the most of the situation.”

Shah Rukh Khan is Vidya’s lucky charm

Vidya Malavade’s career is on the upswing ever since she shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan in 2007’s biggest film, Chak De. “I have come to believe that SRK is destiny’s child and everyone who comes in contact with him gets a bit of his luck. I guess that’s true for me too! Things have never looked so bright. I am truly excited about my career,” says Vidya whose next release is Sanjay Gadhvi’s Kidnap with Sanjay Dutt and boy du jour Imran Khan.

It only gets better for the actress who made her debut in Vikram Bhatt’s forgettable Inteha followed by the incredible success of Chak De. “I guess it does, I react to my instincts and take up assignments that excite me῅ Sanjay Gadhvi had faith in me and I have tried to do my best. In Kidnap, the star power of Sanjay Dutt and Imran Khan is just the bonus because the script, written by Shibani Bathija, is so exciting. I call Sanjay a gentle giant as he looks so deadly, but is so sweet to talk to. We shot Kidnap for over a year and he went through so much during that time but he’s like the Rock of Gibraltar – unshakeable. He really inspires you. Imran on the other hand is such a cutie! And he’s amazing in the film. My character will surprise the audience. I had a blast doing it and that goes for Chandan Arora’s next film, Striker, too. It breaks stereotypical moulds as far as I am concerned and tells filmmakers I am capable of more than I am being offered right now,” says the actress.

For someone who started pretty late in the business, does she have any regrets of not getting into the Bollywood fray earlier? “Bollywood happened by chance and though it took me some time to make a mark, I have no regrets whatsoever. I am just happy with the opportunities coming my way now,” she reasons adding, “There is so much to learn from my co-stars. From SRK giving a 100 per cent and more every time to Sanjay Dutt who stands tall against all odds to learning how to be spontaneous from Govinda. I have learnt from Nana Patekar that one can never learn enough, especially in acting; he is such an inspiration. And Suniel Shetty is an example of humility and I am lucky to be working with such talented and extremely wonderful human beings.”

My Beautiful London
 

One of the most revealing insights into Britain’s recent social history comes early in My Son the Fanatic, Hanif Kureishi’s tender and darkly prescient 1997 film. It’s morning in an unnamed city in northern England, and Parvez, a secular Pakistani immigrant taxi driver brilliantly portrayed by Om Puri, watches Farid, his increasingly devout college-age son, sell his electric guitar. “Where is that going?” Parvez asks Farid as the buyer drives off. “You used to love making a terrible noise with these instruments.” Farid, played by Akbar Kurtha, looks at his father with irritation. “You always said there were more important things than Stairway to Heaven,” he says impatiently in his thick northern English accent. “You couldn’t have been more right.”

This seemingly casual exchange cuts to the heart of almost everything that has animated Kureishi in nearly three decades as a playwright, screenwriter, novelist and essayist. This is, after all, the man who co-edited The Faber Book of Pop and whose films and novels – including My Beautiful Laundrette and The Buddha of Suburbia – are filled with raucous sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But this is also the man who had the presence of mind to poke around in English mosques in the late 80s and early 90s, sensing that something might be stirring there, as indeed it was. Kureishi’s novel The Black Album, set in 1989 and named after a Prince album, explored the growing discontent, disenfranchisement and radicalism of some young British Muslims. Not so many people were paying attention back in 1995, when it first appeared, but 10 years later, when bombings rocked central London on July 7, the collective consciousness had begun to catch up. Now even the monarchy has taken notice.

This spring, Kureishi, who recently turned 53, paid a visit to Buckingham Palace, where the queen named him a Commander of the British Empire. (The same day, she also bestowed honours on the Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue and several dozen others.) Not bad for a boy who grew up watching sitcoms in Bromley, a middle-class London suburb, the son of a Pakistani father and an English mother at a time when mixed marriages were still rare. Kureishi was delighted by the honour; he and his three sons went to the palace dressed in morning suits, while his partner wore a splendid feathered hat. “Do you know what it says on the medal?” Kureishi asked in a phone conversation after the May 1 ceremony. “‘For God and the Empire.’ You can’t get better than that. The only causes are the lost causes – or the nonexistent ones.”

To many, Kureishi’s C.B.E. is a sign of needed change. His accolade, along with Salman Rushdie’s being knighted in June, indicates that these writers “aren’t voices from elsewhere, these are voices from here, these are our voices,” says Hannah Rothschild, a friend of both writers and a documentary filmmaker. “There’s no divide anymore. They are us, we are them.”

When Kureishi burst onto the scene in 1985 with My Beautiful Laundrette, his Oscar-nominated debut screenplay, few would have imagined that he would wind up with the initials C.B.E. after his name. The film, directed by Stephen Frears, detonated all kinds of cultural assumptions with its depictions of a gay skinhead (played by a wiry young Daniel Day-Lewis), various Thatcherite Pakistani businessmen and their wives and lovers. Today, Kureishi hasn’t quite mellowed, but he does seem to be enjoying his evolution to honoured eminence from angry young man – or from rebellious son to adoring father of three young boys, whom he talks about constantly.

Kureishi discussed his life with me and work with me not long ago as we sat in a cafe in Shepherd’s Bush, the now-gentrifying corner of West London where he has lived for years. “It was Blair, really, who started giving awards to trash,” he said, half-joking. “Rubbish entertainers, people from the arts. Before that writers didn’t get anything, really.” Then again, he added, “If it’s good enough for Kylie Minogue, it’s good enough for Hanif Kureishi, isn’t it?” With intent, dark eyes and spiky grey hair, Kureishi tends to look perpetually taken aback, as if he had just been struck by a cold blast of air. More reserved than standoffish, he’s often reluctant to discuss certain questions, preferring instead to deflect them with darkly comic self-deprecation. But when he seizes hold of an idea, the power of his insights is formidable.

Kureishi’s latest novel, Something to Tell You is his most ambitious book since The Black Album. A sprawling romp set in London, it centres on Jamal, an Anglo-Pakistani Freudian analyst confronting certain unresolved questions about his past. Along the way, his best friend, Henry, takes up with Jamal’s sister, Miriam, a petty drug dealer and distributor of porn videos and other items that fell off the back of a truck. Everyone is swept up in a wave of late-onset kinkiness. As in so much of Kureishi’s work, there’s a lot of sex here. Little is left to the imagination. At one point, Jamal goes to a basement sex club, its walls covered in whips and costumes, and asks a prostitute to dress like a British Airways hostess. While he waits for the Viagra and the painkillers to kick in, the prostitute tells him she’s working toward a master’s degree. “She was ‘doing’ decadence and apocalypse, always a turn-of-the-century preoccupation, along with calls for a ‘return to the family,'” Kureishi writes. “Unfortunately, this millennium, our fears had turned out to be realities. It had been worse than we imagined.”

In our conversation, Kureishi described the novel as “a critique of the notion of limitless pleasure,” a re-examination of the sexual revolution. “Is this what we thought we would be in the 60s when were dancing around with flowers in our hair wanting a more erotic and a more sexual life?” he said as he drank his peppermint tea. “If the society doesn’t install the values anymore,” he went on to say, “your happiness and your pleasure is entirely up to you; you have to work and earn it and install your own moral values”. This, he pointed out, accounts for a common “complaint of the West against radical Islam, ‘Why do they have to keep asking God? Why can’t they, as it were, make up their own minds?’ Well, it’s much harder to install your own moral values than to have them imposed by other people or by the system.” Things were “miserable” when he was growing up in the 60s before the sexual revolution, Kureishi said, but now, he added, “we’ve moved from repression to unrepression” – which comes with its own strictures.

Of raw life, math and show-off
 
By Sunil K. Poolani

Rereading Charles Bukowski’s Post Office after several years, one was remorseful to see the effort and pain our celebrity authors take to safeguard their feel-good reputation, to conveniently bury a “dubious” past, if any.

If Bukowski, that ever-so-iconoclastic writer, chose to meticulously demolish his own reputation in almost all his autobiographical books and fiction, our own trapeze artists hog the Page 3 circuit, putting on their best-ever smiles to conceal their bad divorces or past plagiarisms.

Born in Germany in 1920 to an American father and German mother, Bukowski grew up in Los Angeles, enduring a childhood and youth marked by bullying from other boys and regular beatings from his abusive father. If Bukowski smelled of cheap liquor, our ilk reeked of expensive French perfumes; if Bukowski chose to wear his jeans and T-shirt for more than a week, our tribe entered into designer suits five times a day; if῅

But Bukowski wrote much better than all our con artists put together. He won millions of admirers for his supremely visceral style; a style that is meant to be experienced more than read. Good writing is not about champagne and caviar, but local brew and boiled potatoes.

Math and fiction

I have just finished an interesting book. A Certain Ambiguity (Penguin Viking), by Gaurav Suri and Hartosh Singh Bal. Mathematics is like any other stream of arts, be it literature, performing arts or plastic arts. There is an infinity that is mind-boggling and there lies the beauty; a realisation that more you analyse and solve the mysteries of the game, the more the awareness that it is vastly and hugely endless. Galileo, Plato and our own Ramanujam realised it, so do most of the contemporary mathematical brains.

One reflective conclusion that can be drawn out of mathematics is how much ever ambiguous it might seem, the more you delve deep into it, with a pinch of modesty and decorum, and more are the chances of solving them and, in the process, enjoying them. It is true that mathematics, like any other art form, is losing its relevance; precisely for that reason this attempt to revive and regenerate interest in this stream of science should be welcomed.

Question ofῠ existence

There are people who publish books. There are people who sell books. And there are people who really read books. Finally, there are people who pretend to read books. You can see the last ilk all over around you: in malls, in snazzy coffee shops, in airports. Nothing worrisome, as long as the books are sold (see, I am a publisher).

What amuses me is the kind of books they carry with them these days. No, not Archer, Huntington, Sachs or even our desi Chetan Bhagat or Robin Sharma, but great classicists. I read a report sometime back which said George W. Bush has been advised by his spin doctors to carry Albert Camus’ The Outsider while on vacation so that he will look an intellectual.

A White House spokesman said Bush “found it an interesting book and a quick read,” and talked about it with aides. “I don’t want to go too deep into it, but we discussed the origins of existentialism.”

I haven’t stopped laughing since then. The French existentialist should be turning in his grave, crying why he wasted his life writing all those classics.

Tailpiece

An editor in a publishing house was fed up of a mercurial assistant editor. He summoned her into his cabin and told her, “Hello, the way things are going I don’t think we will be working together from now on.” The assistant’s response, “Congratulations, Sir, so where are you joining?”

The writer is the publisher and managing editor,

Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd, Mumbai. Write to him at poolani@gmail.com

‘I’m truly in love
 

Books are perfect stress busters for me. I read a lot regardless of whether I am travelling or not. I feel relaxed after reading. I love reading Salman Rushdie’s books. He is my favourite author and I’m truly in love with him. His writing style and imagination is simply superb. Midnight’s Children is one of the novels I enjoyed the most. Recently, I discovered another author Tom Robbin whose writing impressed me a lot. He has a brilliant way of presenting things. His writing seems like a love poem. Once you start reading him you will find yourself completely involved.

Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins is another book I cherish. It is a crazy book. A story about the love affair between an environmentalist princess and an outlaw, the book will take you to another world. It has all the aspects that an avid reader like me would like to read. From romance to consumerism, from aliens to animals, it has everything to hook you to it.

Another book that I liked was The Last Song of Dusk by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi. I liked it because it has a very practical approach towards love. If it has the pleasure of love then it has also exposed the pain in love.

Gregory David Robert’s Shantaram is one novel that I finished and immediately picked up to read once again. I fell in love with the book, the author and even the characters. Reading it was an amazing experience for me.

Whitby Town of voyagers
 
By Christine Pemberton

There’s something about the holiday places you went to regularly as a little child that makes a return visit special. It goes beyond memories. It’s as though you are re-living those childhood holidays, when the beach and the sea and a plastic bucket and spade were enough to fill your heart to the full.

It was in that kind of spirit and mindset that I recently went back to the little town on the English coast, where, as a small child, I used to spend two weeks every year, in what always seemed to be perfect English summer weather.

Whitby is a picturesque little fishing village on the Yorkshire coast, with all the ingredients for a perfect holiday – beach, sea, an ancient abbey, a quaint harbour, and lots of history.

Whitby has very strong connections to Captain Cook, the 18th century British explorer who was the first European to make contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands. The Yorkshire-born teenager was apprenticed as a grocer, but when that didn’t work out, he was taken to Whitby in 1746, re-apprenticed to local ship-owners, and literally from that day on, never looked back.

James Cook was a man of his times, eagerly learning new scientific skills, and setting forth in search of adventure and discovery. And he did lots of both. Captain Cook made the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand, and gave his name to the Cook Islands as well as Cook Inlet in Alaska.

He sailed the world on three major voyages of epic discovery, only to meet his end in the warm waters of Hawaii, stabbed to death by a local. He ended his days, as he had begun them, by the ocean, but a warm ocean as far away from windswept Yorkshire as can be imagined. There is a statue of him on the cliff head, forever gazing out to sea, from the little town that nurtured him.

Captain Cook named Botany Bay and the Sandwich Islands, he ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef, he charted most of the North West American coastline – more than enough to make him a hero.

Apparently, he was regarded as such a hero that the very Hawaiians who had killed him, kept his body, and, it was rumoured (but never proven), they roasted and ate some of his flesh.

You can see why this kind of history appealed to us as children, even when on holiday. Nothing like the “yuck” factor to make children remember history.

From the mid-18th century till the mid 1830s, Whitby was a major whaling port, and the giant whale bones on the cliff opposite the Abbey serve as a reminder of those days.

The whaling ships would sail to Greenland, and un-PC as it is now to glorify the whaling industry, there are some extraordinary sepia photos to be seen in Whitby galleries, of crews who braved harsh seas in search of a living. Whitby-built boats were strong – Captain Cook used them – and eminently suitable for the unforgiving North Sea.

The documented religious history of Whitby can be traced back to 657 and is much more sedate. Dominating the town, high on the steep cliff, are the spectacular ruins of Whitby Abbey, reached by a punishing 199 steep steps that lead up through the town and onto the cliff, with its views out to sea and down to the harbour far below.

I had remembered the steps, ritually counting them as children, each year, as we puffed up the hill. They were just as steep this time round. Memory doesn’t always play tricks.

Whitby beach, giving on to the North Sea, is not the place for sun-loungers and sun-worshippers, but, as compensation, it is the place for ammonites.

I distinctly remember walking along the shore-line as a child, and one day finding an ammonite.

I was thrilled and awed at the idea of finding a pre-historic fossil. Now, with cynical hindsight, I wonder if perhaps my parents bought it at one of the local souvenir shops and left it on the beach for me to “find”. But whatever the truth, I can still remember the feel of the cool, dark, smooth stone, and the thrill of being a small part of living history.

As a child, I always hoped to find a piece of the black jet for which Whitby is famous, but was never lucky.

Jet is found in the cliffs around town, and has been used since the Bronze Age to make beads. Whitby jet was especially popular in the mid-19th century, after it was favoured as mourning jewellery by Queen Victoria. Jet jewellery is still sold in the local shops, elegant and expensive

As if whales and shipwrecks and Captain Cook were not enough to fascinate holiday-makers, to round things off, there is even a Dracula connection, since a large portion of Bram Stoker’s famous novel was set in Whitby.

Greece beckons history lovers
 

I knew Athens is the birthplace of Olympics and the Greek Gods, and all that great history that goes with it, but I’ve to admit I was intrigued by the place after I saw the Hollywood blockbuster My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I found a lot of similarities between our culture and theirs, obviously the big families and weddings. It also helped that my sister Meghna was just about to move to Greece around the same time, and I took it as a sign to travel there. In fact, Meghna and I took a road trip across Greece, and bonded a lot when we traveled across the length of the country. Since Meghna had moved abroad when I was still in school, I really think of our trip as special because in many ways we got to know each other better. And if travelling can do that, when your nerves and energies are raw, tempers flared, then there’s nothing like it. Meghs and I had a ball on this trip, and Athens was our favourite spot on the travel map.

First suggestion, when you go to Athens is to drop all your baggage and pre-conceived notions you might have about the place, and enjoy it for what it is. And secondly, be careful of pickpockets, touts and hustlers, especially found in tourist areas. Meghna used to speak a few words in Greek, and that helps because they don’t think you are another dumb tourist who they can take for a ride. All the major tourist sites are in the small area called the city centre and you can walk around the place with ease.

If you have rented cars, like we did, it makes sense to park way out of the city because it’s very rare that you might find a parking spot in the city limits, and if you do, you will be paying exorbitant rates for that.

There are around a dozen hills within the city, which give the place a structure and the sense of ancient history. The famous Acropolis that has the beautiful marble temple of Goddess Athena is here. The city was as can be seen, named after the Goddess and Acropolis was really the ancient city. Then there are Plaka and Thissio districts at the base of Acropolis, which have the picturesque ruins of the Roman era. From there you can walk up to the main Syntagma square which has the Parliament building, which is a delightful mix of ancient and modern architecture.

In every nook and corner of the city you will find ruins of palaces and temples dating way back to hundreds of years BC. So make sure you keep your camera handy because I don’t know of any other place that gives so many photo ops. There’s the temple of Zeus nearby, and right next to it is the Olympics stadium, the birthplace of modern Olympics. With the Beijing Olympics, there are a lot of cultural events and fairs happening in Athens and I would have loved to be there now, but I can’t.

The travel industry is the biggest contributor to the Greek economy, so the government does a lot to encourage tourists. There are free bike tours on the weekends through the old parts of the city with your biker, who is a volunteer, shows you around and gives you a detailed history of the place. Athens is the focal point of travel to Greece, and you can always travel to the famous islands from there. Mykanos is not to be missed if you love partying and great music.

Also sample the exquisite Greek cuisine and be a little adventurous and flush it down with a sip of Ouzo, the traditions Greek drink made of aniseeds. If not, try the frappes they serve at stalls by the road and quench your thirst. One last thing, it’s important to remember that Greece, unlike the rest of Europe, gets extremely hot in summers, hot even for us. So, it would be wiser to plan your trip in spring when the weather is nicer.

As told to Chhaya S.

Fundamentals
 
By Senjam Raj Sekhar

In this Olympics, Michael Phelps has brought the focus back on swimming. In this week’s theme, we take a look at Olympic swimming champions over the years. Write with your suggestions, questions (with answers) to D4/11 (GF), Exclusive Floors, DLF Phase- V, Gurgaon – 122002 or email senjam@gmail.com

Aqua Warriors

1. Let me start with some Michael Phelps trivia. Phelps has two tattoos on his lower abs. One of them is the letter M. What is the other? 2. Which Jewish swimmer created waves for swimming with a moustache when the rest of the swimmers shaved all their body hair? 3. Johnny Weissmuller andῠ Buster Crabbe bothῠ were Olympic swimming champions, who followed similar career paths after the Olympics. What? 4. Which swimmer was nicknamed “Madam Butterfly” for her dominance of butterfly race? 5. Which swimmer nicknamed ‘Gomer’ was once arrested for driving under influence of alcohol and ordered toῠ serve 18 months probation? 6. Identify this swimmer: He went to secondary school at East Hills Boys School in Sydney, the same as Steve and Mark Waugh. His father, Ken, was an outstanding cricketer who, as a 16-year-old, played in a side with Jeff Thomson and Len Pascoe. In fact, he beat both of them into the Bankstown first-grade side in Sydney. 7. Who is the first black athelete to win a gold medal in swimming? 8. At 15,ῠ this schoolgirl, she won three individual swimming gold medals inῠ Munich, 1972. A year later, she retired from competition at the age of sixteen and disappeared completely from public life for 25 years. Name her? 9. Which Olympic swimming champion from Hawaii is better known as the person who popularized the modern sport of surfing? 10. Michael Phelps won eight goldsῠ in one Olympics – the only athlete to do so. He beat the record of Mark Spitz. who is the only other person to win seven medals in one Olympics?

Anything Goes

1. “It was Wang Lung’s marriage day” is the opening sentence of which classic? (Abhijit Basak, Dum Dum) 2. What was John Sholto Douglas’ contribution to boxing? (Rajesh Dubey, Mumbai) 3. Which is the only non Muslim nation that is a member of the OPEC? (Anurag Mehrotra, Hyderabad) 4. Which was the first eight-cylinder motor car? (U.Narasimha Murthy, Secunderabad) 5. Which fashion designer designed the uniforms of cricketers for the World Cup 1996? (Selim Ahmed, Barasat) 6. Which bird lives on the ground, is almost blind, lays only one egg each year and cant fly. Yet is survived for more than 70 million years? (Sushil Kumar Poddar, Kolkata) 7. This practise was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin to “save time”, and was first adopted by the USA during World War I to save electricity. It is now practised in several parts of the world? (Ashutosh Sharma, Bangalore) 8. Alan Mills autobiography titled “Lifting the Covers” is a fascinating account of tennis. What is his claim to fame in the tennis world? (Dr. Ravi Bhatia, Udaipur) 9. Where in India would you find the Royal Connaught Boat Club? (Raza Khan, Delhi)

Answers

Aqua Warriors

1. He has the Olympic rings tattooed 2. Mark Spitz 3. Both became actors and played Tarzan on screen 4. Mary Meagher 5. Michael Phelps 6. Ian Thorpe 7. Anthony Nesty, who incidentally won the first gold medal for his country Surinam 8. Shane Gould 9. Duke Kahanamoku 10 Matt Biondi (In Seoul Olympics, he won five gold, one silver and one bronze)

Anything Goes

1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 2. He was the Marquess of Queensbury who lent his name to the rules of boxing. (Queensbury Rules) 3. Venezuela 4. The 1929 Mercedes. 5. Sunit Verma. 6. Kiwi 7. Daylight Saving Time 8. He was the chief referee at Wimbeldon for many years 9. Pune

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

Food For TRPs

23 Aug

Food for TRPs
 

Food is close to Indian hearts and many have tried to cash in on this. Earlier, food related shows were restricted to cookery shows where a chef or a housewife shared recipes. But now, the trend has undergone a facelift. In recent months, there has been a profusion of food shows on TV and these shows are not just about cooking, but about travelling to exotic places, sampling different cuisines, discovering interesting food facts and, at the end of the day, having fun.

Shows like Highway on My Plate, Chakh Le India!, Around the World in 85 Plates, Cooking isn’t Rocket Science, Italian Khana, Zaika India and Indian Food Made Easy have audiences glued to their television sets.

“Earlier, food shows were in a juvenile stage, people thought food shows should teach us how to cook, but now the mindset is opening up, and food represents passion, creativity, tastes of different parts of the world and liberation,” says Rocky of Highway on My Plate. This show is about two men who share their fun-filled experiences of scouting for food on the highway.

Mayur agrees with him, “The whole idea of a food show has moved on. People now have more money to play with, so they want to experiment and enjoy. It’s not a simple meal at home that appeals to them, they want to eat out and travel. They live and enjoy through us, and that makes our show popular.”

Ritu Dalmia, whose Italian Khana has taken audiences on trips to exotic locations abroad says, “An average young urban Indian likes to travel. And if he cannot travel, he aspires to travel, he is curious about international food, and will definitely give it a try. So that is the reason why the show has done so well.”

It is really surprising that these shows are popular among a wide range of people starting from nine-year olds to octogenarians. Aditya Bal, who travels to far flung places and checks out the eateries there in his Chakh Le India!, says, “My show is like a food guide. We cover varied menus and subjects, talk about the history of the place, the local culture and craft. It’s an informative, travel oriented reality show.”

Barring a few shows, many do not have celebrity chefs or guests. This, according to Mayur, is a healthy trend. “Our show is all about normal people telling you about places to find good food, you too can eat at the same palce and enjoy the same way. There is no pretension and perceived barrier between us and our viewers.” Shivani Sharma Khanna, channel head NDTV Good Times, says, “Fresh faces give a fresh feel to the show. We wanted indistinct people to highlight the idea.”

Food shows have received overwhelming response so far and are the future of Indian television. Aditya says, “Food is a never-ending aspect of life. People will continue to be interested in the little secrets and pleasures of food. There is bound to be a profusion of such shows.”

Shivani feels that the shows are doing so well that may be in a year or two, niche channels on food may come up.

Shilpa sizzles in Bigg Boss season 2
 

The much awaited Bigg Boss series was finally aired on Sunday night on Colors. Shilpa Shetty, who was the obvious choice for hosting this show after her Big Brother victory, looked smashing. Her perfect hour-glass figure with not an inch of flab proved that the Shetty lass could give the younger actresses like Deepika and Kareena a huge complex.

Shetty was in great spirits as she introduced the format and took the audience through the Bigg Boss house.

The choice of participants, however, came as a huge surprise. Wonder what made Rahul Mahajan and Sanjay Nirupam agree to participating in the show. Even if they have been paid big bucks, one can’t really imagine these guys willing to share a room and bathroom with the other inmates for the duration of the show. Of course, many of the other participants are basically down and out actors and performers who could do with the moolah and publicity.

From a Rakhi Vijayan, who has bloated beyond recognition, to Monica Bedi – perhaps she likes the idea of being under ‘house arrest’ to ara ra ra.. Ketaki Dave, to a sad looking Raja Chowdhury (for those wondering who he is – he’s TV actress Shwetha Tiwari’s estranged husband), this show promises to provide non-stop drama every single night.

Speaking of drama, those expecting fireworks from Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan when the former appeared on Dus Ka Dum were in for a disappointment. Contrary to all the speculation, the stars bonded like long-lost buddies, the only time one saw a flicker of annoyance on Salman’s visage was when Akshay wickedly asked him when he was planning to get married. Katrina, who was also part of the show played the coy, dumb doll to the hilt and even sulked when she lost the game to Akshay. Sallu, unfortunately for him looks utterly besotted by Kats while the latter simply preened and smiled and remained non-committal. Only a miracle would make her marry Salman.

The actor was once again roped in for a quick on the couch session with Koel Purie on Headlines Today. He looked rather funny with his surma laden eyes and heavy eye shadow on the sets of Veer where Koel had met him. Towards the end of the show, it seemed like a rapid-fire session was in progress. One hilarious answer though in response to who he disliked was unwittingly funny. Sallu replied that he didn’t dislike anyone that much for if he did, that person wouldn’t be alive. How typically brattish! But what else can you expect from this overgrown kid?

Real life has more drama then reality shows
 
By A.L. Chougule

Q How was the experience of anchoring Waar Pariwaar?

On the whole, it was fun and exciting as well as tiring and pulsating. As a judge on Jhalak, I was the third party marking performances. But here I was running the show. As an anchor, my job was to keep things together and act as a link between the contesting families and jury.

Q Did you follow any written script or was most of your anchoring extempore?

I didn’t have a proper script. This is why the pressure was more. Since I had to speak only in Hindi, it was a taxing job for me.

Q It means anchoring is more difficult than judging?

Definitely. As a judge, your involvement in the show is quite limited.

Q Do you think the best two families have made it to the finale? Who do you think deserves to win?

There can’t be one opinion on that. Different people will speak differently. When public voting is involved, some of the best contestants are eliminated early in the competition. That’s what happened in Jhalak and it happened here too. Whoever gets higher votes will win.

Q Don’t you think even judges have their own favourites? So why blame viewers alone?

I don’t know about others, but I was quite fair and straight as judge in Jhalak. Even the contestants said so. Personal likes and dislikes shouldn’t impact judging.

Q There were a lot of verbal duels between judges and families as well as between the families. Was it real or scripted?

I have been part of two reality shows, and I can say for sure that all the drama, arguments and tears that were seen in Waar Pariwaar and Jhalak were real and not scripted. The camera cannot lie, and if anything is scripted, people can see it easily. You can’t deceive the camera. There is far more intense drama in real life than in reality shows.

Q Do you think reality shows have a lot of drama?

Absolutely. Life has become so competitive that the competitive spirit is at its peak. People have become very pushy and they try hard to succeed. The contestants in Waar Pariwaar were families. So there were bound to be differences in each family too, besides difference of opinion with the judges.

Q Are you looking at doing another reality show in coming months?

Right now I need a break from television. I didn’t expect to do another show after Jhalak. But this show came my way and I agreed to host it because I liked the concept. It was exciting but the schedule was very demanding.

Q Aren’t you going to judge Jhalak’s third season?

I have not been approached so far. I will take a call when the offer comes my way.

Q Which are your forthcoming films?

I shot for two films while I did Waar Pariwaar. EMI is a light-hearted film with Sanjay Dutt and Sunil Shetty and is almost ready for release. The other film is Karz which needs some couple of days more to wind up shooting.

Lack of innovation fails reality shows
 

Since 2008, reality television has not been doing well. Reality shows of different genres, be it singing, dancing, quizzing or stand-up comedy, have evoked poor response from viewers. While fiction is still delivering average ratings, reality TV is struggling.

Why is reality TV not putting up a good show? “The last nine months have been the toughest period for general entertainment channels because of the entry of new GE channels besides higher growth in regional channels which are giving tough competition to GE channels. It is why no show has got double digit ratings during this period,” says Anita Basu of Synergy Adlabs which produces both Paanchvi Paas and 10 Ka Dum. According to Anita, today neither quizzing nor song and dance shows are working. “People are craving for change and everyone is in search of a new ideas that will create high level of interest a la KBC,” she adds.

Consensus among media experts is that reality TV is unsuccessful because of lack of imagination.

“Till about a year ago, there were only a couple of reality shows. But now weekends are packed with reality shows of the same genres on all channels. There is no innovation and variety which is the essence of reality TV,” says Sony’s executive vice president and marketing head Danish Khan.

“As a result the time spent on reality TV is coming down considerably because viewers switch from one channel to another to sample other shows,” Khan adds

Shailja Kejriwal who heads the creative and programming division of NDTV Imagine thinks poor content is responsible for the downslide. “Take the case of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. There was no star in it but only unknown stand up comedians. But the content was so good that the show turned out to be a huge hit. Then came it clones and ratings went down. Shah Rukh and Salman can’t be blamed if their shows are not doing well. It is the content that has failed their shows,” she reasons. Why is fiction getting better ratings than reality TV? “People watch fiction because they follow the story and characters. Reality TV doesn’t have a story,” explains Danish.

So reality TV will continue and ratings will not improve as long as there is no innovation.

A. L. C

Shah Rukh in a double role?
 

Rumours are rife that Shah Rukh Khan is playing a double role in Yash Raj Films’ Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. For quite sometime now, there have speculations about how SRK will be doing a double role in the film and now sources have revealed that the star will be seen in definitely more than one avataar in the movie. However, we are not yet sure if this means SRK will be seen donning different roles in a story spanning over a period of time or if he is actually playing a double role after Duplicate and Om Shanti Om.

While no one is willing to talk about his roles as yet, people on his sets confirmed that Shah Rukh has been working hard on this romantic ballad and spending a lot of time in the make up room as well.ῠ Well, we are not complaining. After all, two Shah Rukhs for the price of one is always welcome both for the producer and the audience.

Saif keen to host TV show

Here is one more Bollywood actor who wants to be seen on the small screen. Saif Ali Khan wants to do television shows but says that he hasn’t got any good offers as yet. There have been rumors that he had been approached to anchor Kaun Banega Crorepati when SRK wasn’t keen on hosting the fourth part of the show.

But Saif brushed off the rumours saying that he has not got any interesting TV offer till now. But would he find it exciting to interact with fans through a talk show or a game show? “Yes, it would be interesting to be involved with a reality show sometime in the future. Maybe I would like to host a talk show; a game show also might not be a bad idea.”

According to Saif, actors should experiment with different mediums and roles. “But I will have to see if I’ll be able to perform well on the small screen and if the medium suits me. But I have an inkling that I might just enjoy hosting a show,” says Saif.

A unique, gripping tale of friendship
 

Four lifelong friends share one very special summer. Introduced as babies who were born to mothers who met in a prenatal aerobics class, the four grew up together and developed an enduring bond despite their distinctly different emerging personalities. Now, after years of sharing every little thing, these four young women couldn’t be closer -except that they’re about to be separated as their lives take them in different directions for the first time.

Introspective and occasionally volatile Carmen is looking forward to spending quality time with her out-of-state dad, who she hasn’t seen much of since he divorced her mother years ago; super-confident star athlete Bridget is heading for a soccer camp in Mexico; soft-spoken Lena, a gifted artist as beautiful as her drawings, is set to discover her heritage – and an unexpected romance – on a trip to her grandparents’ home in Greece; and sharp-witted rebel Tibby will reluctantly remain in town, stocking shelves at the local discount store while working on a video “documentary” to expose what she sees as the banality of everyday life.

On a shopping trip together the day before their paths diverge, the friends find a pair of thrift-shop jeans that amazingly fits and flatters each one of them perfectly, even though they are all different shapes and sizes. These pants are meant for sharing, and that gives the girls a wonderful idea. They decide to use the pants as a way of keeping in touch, each one wearing them for a week to see what luck they bring before mailing them to the next girl. In this unique way, the four still experience the challenges and surprises of life together in an unforgettable summer. Don’t miss this touching film.

Sisterhood of the traveling pants Director: Ken Kwapis Cast: Amber Tamblyn, Jenna Boyd, Blake Lively, Alexis Bledel

Sanober flees from show
 

Threat of getting eliminated is developing into a major fear for many participants of Ek Se Badhkar Ek. Rajshree Thakur, who had displayed a bad temper and a couldn’t-care-less attitude, quit the show two weeks ago when she realised that her elimination was certain.

This week, things were different, Sanober Kabir didn’t turn up for the shoot at all. Apparently, she was miffed with the jury’s harsh comments, especially Abhijeet’s, since he had told Sanober that her ego would become the cause of her elimination. According to sources she backed out due to fear of elimination.

Zee’s programming head Ajay Bhalwankar says the past three weeks have been quite unpredictable, “Rajshree had minor health issues since the beginning of the show. But we never thought she would back out. And Sanober not turning up for the shoot was a big surprise because when Abhijeet had issues about judging Mussarrat, who is from Pakistan, she was the first one to stand against the judge.”

Monsoon blues hit actors

During Mumbai’s rainy season, hygiene is a major concern on the sets of most serials. Mosquitoes are a major health issue.ῠ Take the case of Tulika Upadhyay who plays Leeza in Saath Saath. She collapsed on the sets and the doctor diagnosed it as a case of low haemoglobin level. On not responding to treatment, Tulika was admitted to aῠ hospital where she was diagnosed with malaria. Even the food that is served on the sets is said to be a cause of health problem for actors and production people. This is why most actors carry lunch boxes from home. As Reshmi Ghosh says, “The quality of food served on the sets is not at all good.”

Telly rivalry moves to films
 

Prachi Desai and Roshni Chopra played sisters in Kasamh Se. Prachi as Bani was more popular than Roshni who played Pia. Not only were they rivals in the show but the duo were not on best of terms in real life either.

While Roshni took a break from Kasamh Se and has not returned to the daily, post-Jhalak Prachi quit the show for her big screen debut in Rock On opposite Farhan Akhtar. Now Roshni too has followed in her reel life sister’s footsteps. Roshni however, had played one of the leads in Let’s Enjoy, a serious-comic off-beat film that revolved around a party where different people meet to have some good time before she started doing television serials.

But Vikram Bhatt’s Phir is a big film for Roshni and it is almost on par with Prachi’s Rock on. It seems the rivalry that started on the small screen will now spill over on to the big screen too. While Prachi scored over Roshni on television, it remains to be seen who will score better on the big screen.

Namrata turns to television
 

She started off with fashion shows and modeling and has been doing Oriya and Bengali films. But Namrata Thapa finds television more interesting. She has done shows like Kya Hadsa Kya Haqeeqat, Vaidehi, CID, Ravan and Naagin and is currently playing the central character of Rani Madanlekha, wife of King Vikramaditya, in Mahima Shani Dev Ki.

“The King is under the spell of Shanidev and Rani Madanlekha stands by him in difficult times. The range of my role is interesting as I get to play a queen as well as a pauper,” says Namrata, who is looking forward to playing a mentally challenged girl in an upcoming daily soap.

She is also game for regular family dramas provided she gets to play the lead role. As for Hindi films, she is hoping that something interesting comes her way. “Otherwise I am happy doing television because it offers a variety of roles,” she adds.

Onscreen chemistry may not be real
 

They are good on screen but off-screen, we see them engaged in vociferous battles. Couples who share wonderful chemistry on reality shows do not depict a similar picture when it comes to reality. Recently we heard about a spat between the winners of Comedy Circus 2. It was heard that Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar popularly known as VIP and Juhi Parmar, who were the champions of Comedy Circus 2 were quite uncomfortable working with each other.

Kaate ki Takkar, which is the contest following Comedy Circus 2 will not have Vijay and Juhi working together as a couple.ῠ Vijay was apparently angered by Juhi’s habit of being unpunctual and making frequent changes to the script.

Smriti plans Gandhi series

UTV Television which gave India its first Hindi daily soap Shanti has joined hands with Smriti Irani Production for a series on Mahatma Gandhi. The series will be based on the life of Gandhi and his incessant search for Truth. The project is meant for a global audience as discussions with the US and UK broadcasters are underway. This series is Smriti’s idea. “Though Gandhi’s sacrifices have been chronicled on screen before, we would also like to highlight the sacrifices made by his family,” says Smriti.

Salman Khan gets TV offers from Abroad
 

Salman Khan has been receiving many offers for new projects. The latest is for a TV show along the lines of Donald Trump’s Apprentice, which is currently being aired on a Dubai channel called Hydra Executive. While the details of Salman’s role -whether he would act as host or a celebrity guest on the show – are unclear, we know that he visited UAE and had some serious negotiations with the team there. “Yes, I did meet the guys there. But nothing has been finalised yet. I am still exploring some aspects of the same,” says Salman. Currently, Salman is doing well on his show Dus Ka Dum, for which he is drawing a hefty remuneration. Apart from regular participants, the show has also had some celebrity guests.

Mouli’s back with Aathwan Vachan
 

Mouli Ganguly is back on the tube after a year-long break with Aathwan Vachan. “I badly needed a break from TV because I had stopped enjoying work. It had become monotonous,” says Mouli who is best remembered for her role in Kahin Kissi Roz.

About her new show she says, “Aathwan Vachan is a story of bonding two sisters and I find it quite interesting.”

However, she reveals, “My character is a cameo. I am not going to be there after about two months.”

She accepted the role because it sounded interesting. “I know the character’s graph and it’s definitely a special appearance. The rest depends on ratings and the call that channel will take,” she avers. Does it mean that she will be back in the show some time later? “I really don’t know. Nothing is certain about dailies where story changes, characters are bumped off and new ones are brought in. In television actors are like puppets,” she avers.

(Snippets by A.L.Chougule)

‘I like to shop abroad’
 

If you thought that film stars were the only ones who were a lot too specific about what they wanted in life, here’s news. Not that Anita Hasnandani throws tantrums. But the petite girl who has done a few odd roles in movies before realising that TV is where she belongs, says that she would rather shop abroad rather than in Mumbai. Though she frequents Atria Mall a tad too often and the Linking Road at suburban Bandra at times, Anita would still prefer branded stores abroad. “It is about the perfect fit,” says the actress.

“I like the variety of clothes available abroad, they also fit perfectly,” says the actress also known for her proximity to Ekta Kapoor. This pretty lady loves the clothes designed by Manish Malhotra and Reza, who creates all the ensembles that she wears on TV.

Shabana’s presence intimidates participants

Kritika Singhal is a popular participant on Ekta Kapoor’s Bollywood Ka Ticket. Singhal, who has become a household name, thanks to Kasautii Zindagi Kay, has now made it to the seventh round of the TV show. However, the comments of the judges on show makes her nervous. “When people like Shabana Azmi and Amrita Singh are about to comment on my performance, I feel jittery. Shabanaji is such a fine actress that one does not know how she is going to react to any performance, as it will definitely be nowhere close to what she has performed,” says Singhal. Shabana though puts on her best behaviour on the show and hardly tries to intimidate anyone. However, her sheer presence makes participants like Kritika uncomfortable.

Young talent hit the right notes
 

Everybody was there. From Megadeth, Slipknot, Cannibal Corpse to well-known names like The Doors, Bob Marley, Nirvana, but on T-shirts as emblems. A 360 degree panoramic spin gave us more names to add on to our list, and made us realise why Hamsadhwani theatre at Pragati Maidan was packed with black T-shirts on Sunday.

The occasion was Independence Rock’s North zone final. For the second time in the capital, Independence Rock (a 23-year-old venture), with an aim to promote budding talent in rock music, adjudged four bands to compete for the best rock act from the North zone (the final will be in Mumbai with the winners from all the four zones). The atmosphere was electrifying, provided your expectations were high. As the stands in the gallery slowly got occupied with rock lovers, the recorded music from the huge speakers set the right mood for an “action-packed” rock concert.

However, many didn’t like the public interaction before the concert (especially, the host’s choice of words). Finally, Farhad Wadia, the founder of Independence Rock (you can’t miss him standing behind the mixing console), announced the first band of the evening – Rampage. They did a neat job. Though the twin solo on the first track sounded a bit off the tune, they made everybody come alive with their “disciplined” 80s hard rock sound.

One characteristic of the band that might appeal to critics was that at a time when new-age sound is creating a buzz, these four guys from the North East offered the almost “forgotten” 80s hard rock sound (resembling bands like Rainbow and Dio).

Another Vertigo Rush was the next band on the stage. With their trademark numbers (Vibe, Conclave), AVR offered some “Tool-like” progressive sound to the audience (later Akhilesh, the guitarist of the band, confirmed Tool as one of their inspirations). Except the vocals (Viraj’s vocals sounded ordinary), AVR did “everything” right (as they had Nihkil Rufuzz from Superfuzz on bass and Akhilesh utilised the wah-wah to the fullest and his slide guitar solos did impress a few guitar aspirants). Later in the evening, AVR was chosen as the winner of the competition. After AVR, a new sound filled the ears of those who were present that evening at Hamsadhwani. It was Frequency. Armed with new-age metal sound, who did whatever they could.

From covering (or should we say improvising) Michael Jackson’s Beat it (to which they gave a electro new-age avatar) to AC/DC’s Highway To Hell, this five-membered band wasted no time to get into their act of presentation. Ruben, the drummer, showed some professionalism and wore his monitors on his ears.

The vocalist did his best to throw some power with his growls, but often sounded stressed while doing it. By the time Tear Cube came on to the stage, the crowd looked frustrated trying to find their “sound”.

They kicked off with Coal Chamber’s Loco. We overheard someone saying, “They could not even maintain the original tempo of the song.”

However, after half an hour of performance (which included covers by bands like Killswith Engaged), Tear Cube gave way to Superfuzz, the headlining act for the evening.

Considering Superfuzz’s disqualification from I-Rock last year, they looked happy to perform as headliners this year. Chanchal and his power-trio sprinkled their usual grungy-punk flavour and came as a relief for those who were waiting to hear some mature sound.

On Song
 

Film: Bachna Ae Haseeno

Khuda Jaane

Sajde mein yun hi jhukta hoon Tum pe hi aa ke rukta hoon Kya yeh sab ko hota hai

Hum ko kya lena hai sab se Tum se hi sab batein ab se Ban gaye ho tum meri dua

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

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

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

Dil kahe ki sambhal zara khushi ko Na nazar laga Ke darr hai mein tho ro dunga

Mom’s mutton chops are the best
 

I have traveled across the world and love to try out cuisines of countries that I visit. Though many try to look for Indian restaurants abroad, I don’t. Instead, I enjoy the local cuisine. However, I do miss homemade food. So, as soon as I come back from a trip, I ask my mom to prepare jeera rice, Kashmiri chicken and mutton curry. Her mutton chops also act as a comfort food for me in times of hunger or stress.

Being a foodie, I also experiment with strange combos such as eating namkeen with sweet yogurt. I also prepare namkeen sandwich by applying layers of aam ka aachar (instead of cheese or butter) on bread and then topping the bread with namkeen. It tastes quite unique and good.

Though I am not as good a cook as my mom, I can prepare various dishes – from biryani to baked delicacies and even pastas, baked corn and spinach – I have progressed quite a lot as a cook.

While dining out, I frequent Grand Kakatiya’s Peshawari, Zaffron Exotica for Indian, Ohri’s for Chinese, Lagoona for their thin crust pizza, and Krishna for their unique prawn biryani. For chicken 65 and roomali roti, which both my husband and I are extremely fond of, we go to Bawarchi. Narmada, a small take-away joint near Cafe bar, prepares excellent brain fry and chicken pakodas.

Besides biryani, Hyderabad can indeed boast of chicken 65, rasam, fried fish, Nizami kebabs, little fried idlis and gobi manchurian.

Apart from Hyderabad, Mumbai is also ‘the’ place for foodies. Mumbai ka ragda samosas and pattis, vada pao and custard ice cream are simply unbeatable. The sea food in Kerala and Goa are also great.

But when it comes to sweet dishes, I miss the gulab jamun and jablebis of Delhi. I have my favourite shops from where I buy these sweets, chaat and golgappas whenever I visit the capital. Also, Chennai’s Grand sweets deserve a special mention for halwa, Mysore pak and bisibele bhath.

Abroad, I ate the best pizzas in Brazil. There’s a restaurant in Rio de Janeiro called Kilos. Strangely, it charges according to the weight of the food you are consuming. They indeed weigh your plate!

In USA, I ate the yummiest chilli fries, without knowing that they contained beef.

In Malaysia I had the best exotic Chinese dinner.

I enjoyed the dry fruit desserts and sawarma of Middle East. The coffee shops in Paris are really interesting. I am fond of cheese cakes and in USA, I ate the tastiest dulce delache at their Cheese Cake Factory. However, I found the pastries at star hotels here are better than those of USA.

Twice or thrice a week, I dine out. However, dance serves as an intense workout and prevents me from putting on weight. Whatever I order, I make sure to eat in moderate quantities. So, I would advise foodies to follow my path as well.

Bift canteen puffs a hit
 

Hangout@canteen and campus of Badruka Institute of Foreign Trade, Kacheguda.

Who all frequent: Arunark, Muzammil, Praveen, Aparna, Alekhya, Priyanka, Vishnu and friends. Cost: Rs 5-Rs 30.

What’s hot: Samosa, pav bhaji, vada pao, fried rice, pulao, chips, tea, coffee, cool drinks and fruit juice.

What’s the catch: “The veg and non-veg puffs and pav bhaji are favourites. The food is very tasty. Usually, we take the food and sit on the steps nearby or on the grounds. The greenery around is soothing. Our canteen and campus is an ideal place to chill out after class,” says Praveen Kumar N., a second year student of Bift.

Monsoon Delights
 

The rain clouds may be painting the town grey but don’t let it dampen your mood. Splash on some colour and step out in style.

Slip into Nike’s new Air Rejuven8 range of sneakers. Not only do they look trendy but are also designed to help rejuvenate, repair, rebuild, refresh and restore the foot. They are waterproof and colourful. They are a must for the monsoons. These are available at all Nike showrooms in the city. If Sneakers are not your style then try out the colourful and convenient floaters available at Inc.5. Prices start at Rs1490.

Spruce up your wardrobe with a pretty military textured pleated trendy dress by W that embodies the free spirit of monsoon. This is available at W store in Banjara Hills.

Sling on a bag from the new range of Baggit bags, which are waterproof and available in bright colours. These are available at Lifestyle.

Jazz up dreary monsoon days with colourful raincoats from Westside. Their new rain gear will take the fashion quotient up by several notches while keeping your clothes protected from the downpour. The prices start from Rs 699 onwards.

This is also the time to get under a romantic and uber cool umbrella. Take your pick from the myriad colours and shapes. They are available at Lifestyle, Central and City centre. Prices range from Rs 150 to Rs 600.

For added protection from the rains, pick a trench coat from the label Adventure available at all leading stores and shopping malls. Prices start from Rs 3,500 onwards.

Keep your house spick and span with reversible doormats specially made for the rainy season. These mats are quick-drying, dust-resistant and are made of durable, washable, colorfast polypropylene material. These mats are available at Wellhome stores in the city.

Starry night
 

The 11th Annual Rajiv Gandhi Awards-2008ῠ witnessed the presence of many w ell-known personalities like Kripa Shankar Singh, Digvijay Singh, Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Geeta Basra, and the sensational Baichung Bhutia.

Anchors Tisca Chopra and Sajid Khan added spice to the event. The best part was Salman Khan, who performed on some popular songs from his films. Among other performers were Rakhi Sawant, Kamya and Rajiv, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Navin Prabhakar.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle

A Smile Just Got Dearer

17 Aug

A smile just got dearer
 

A good smile is a great asset. It comes to play when you are proffering a lame excuse to the boss or when you are trying to woo the hard-to-get beauty. It can even get you a discount from an otherwise dour trader.ῠ Not everybody can have the 1,000-watt smile of Madhuri Dixit or the dimpled smile of Shah Rukh Khan, but you can get close enough if you have the money.ῠ And on Smile week, experts agree that acquiring a great smile tops the priority list of youngsters.

“They are very conscious about the way they look and smile,” says Dr Venkateswara Reddy, a maxillo facial prosthodontist of Dental Avenue. He adds that in the past five years there has been almost a 100 per cent increase in the number of people visiting clinics to get the perfect smile.ῠ Of course, most people want to “smile like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen, Shah Rukh Khan or Tom Cruise”.ῠ “They are the brand ambassadors of the smile, so to say,” says Dr Kishore Moturi, consultant maxillo facial surgeon of Poulomi Hospital. “Youngsters tell us that they want to smile like these actors. They are not hesitant to spend money or go for dental procedures, including surgeries.”

The most common request that doctors face, is the one for a ‘white smile’. “People believe that a perfect smile is a white smile,” says Dr Reddy. “There are two methods for this. One is the non-invasive method where teeth are polished in the routine manner. The second one is an invasive method, which makes use of chemical substances to bleach the teeth.”ῠ The latter procedure costs almost five times more than the former, but many people want to go for it. “I would recommend the non-invasive method,” says Dr Reddy.ῠ People are also willing to undergo surgery for the right smile. “A gummy smile doesn’t look too good, so people undergo orthognathic surgery to ensure that the gums are not too visible,” says Dr Ranjit Manne of Gums and Teeth Dental Hospital.

Some also opt for lip surgery to enhance their smile. “The common procedures are shortening and thinning of the lower lip and a jaw surgery to lengthen the upper lip,” says Dr Moturi.ῠ It is mostly young people aged from 18 to 29 who visit dentists to get a great smile. They do not mind spending Rs 50,000 or Rs 80,000 to get the smile they want.ῠ But the battle is only half won if you get the best teeth and facial structure. You should also know when to smile and how to smile.ῠ “Every situation demands a different type of smile,” says grooming expert, Ms Naina Chandani. “In an interview, don’t smile showing all your teeth. It should be a formal smile but convey warmth. Also, eye-contact and smiles should go hand in hand.”

BAH gets a good opening
 

After seven flops, Yash Raj Movies is finally breaking the jinx and hoping for a hit. Their latest production Bachna Ae haseeno, has reportedly had a better opening than Chak De. The Shah Rukh Khan starrer was the last hit movie from Yash Raj stable, making people wonder if the production house should only bank on Shah Rukh’s magic for a hit.

But Ranbir Kapoor seems to be their new saviour. shaking a leg to his dad Rishi’s all time hit number Bachna Ae Haseeno, this Kapoor scion’s simple charms seem to have gone down well with the audience, especially the younger lot.

The movie is running to a full house in the city. The long weekend coupled with a dearth of good movies has augured well for Yash Raj banner.

Theatres were booked in advance for the weekend. Krishnamoorthy Kishan, manager marketing and PR of Imax, says, “The opening has been very good. It was a well hyped movie and the fact that it’s the second movie of both Ranbir and Deepike has worked in favour of the movie. We are expecting the success of the movie to continue in the coming weeks.”

Multiplexes have been pretty impressed with the response so far. Ranjan Singh, general manager, marketing and sales, PVR Cinemas, says, “The movie has had a very promising first day. The holiday weekend has been one of the reasons behind the movie running houseful. The music has done very well too and is drawing a large audience to the theatres. Apart from that, the chemistry between Ranbir and Deepika has also managed to touch the right note with fans.”

However, Taran Adarsh, trade analyst, feels it’s too early to assume that Bachna will be a runaway hit. “The movie has a great cast, great chemistry amongst actors, great locations and some great moments. But all these factors combined together don’t make a great film. The script has been a let down,” says Adarsh.

According to Adarsh, the hype built around the movie has got the film a good opening but beyond that it will not be able to sustain the initial brush with success. It will peter out.

Kids go on high-end breaks
 

Every summer, a handful of students from Hyderabad pack their bags and head off to another country – usually Switzerland or Australia. They come back richer in experiences and in friends from across the world. That’s not all, some even pick up a new sport or a foreign language. These high-end holidays have become a hot favourite with city kids.

The most popular location with locals is Switzerland, but there are many other trips as well – ranging in location from Australia to Germany, England, Spain, Paris, and Italy.

Each place has its own perks. In Switzerland, the children learn many new sports. “We went bridge swinging, skiing, paragliding, mountain biking and mountain hiking. That’s not all, we went to a water park too,” explained 13-year-old Amit Yerramilli, who went on the trip to Switzerland last summer and hit Australia the summer before that.

Since the camp organises sports that Indian students would not otherwise be able to participate in, they get an opportunity to widen their horizons. “I liked the skiing part of it the most. It’s not an activity we’d get to do in India,” explains Hari Chandana, a 12-year-old who went on the trip to Switzerland.

During the trips, the students live with other children from across the country. “There were only seven of us from Hyderabad, but from other places, there were more people. The best part was to meet many other people from India and to make so many new friends,” says Hari. Amit agrees that living with people from all over the country was very exciting. “It was really nice, I stayed with people from Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, Kolkata,” he says.

sports aren’t all. They can learn basic phrases in a language French, German, or Spanish -and try out their skills when they’re out shopping. Additionally, they are taken sightseeing to add to the cross-cultural experience.

Politics gets glamorous
 

Many top actresses of yesteryear are trying to test their luck in the political arena. Rumours are that superstar Chiranjeevi is trying to persuade Suhasini Maniratnam to lead the women’s wing of his party.

Jayasudha recently met the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, and is believed to have discussed politics. In other words showed interest in joining the Congress party. It may happen anytime from now. “What’s wrong if actresses want to join politics. We are as efficient as any other politician,” she said when asked if actresses were aware about politics at all.

It is a win-win proposition for them. Political parties can give a touch of glamour to their meetings and the actresses, who have lost out to younger rivals in films, can launch another promising career.

Roja, who was once a top star in Telugu and Tamil movies, is heading the women’s wing of the Telugu Desam now. Jeevitha Rajasekhar recently joined the Congress along with her husband.

It is rumoured that Vijayashanti, who started her own party, is planning to disband it and rejoin the BJP.

Political parties are enthusiastic about female stars campaigning for them. This takes care of the aspect of crowd pulling – the audience delighted at seeing a screen goddess, may even stay back to hear a politician’s speech.

Jayaprada, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan, Nagma, Rambha have all managed to be crowd pullers at public meets. The actresses say because the people easily identify with them and listen to them, political parties give them key posts.

“People have been watching us on screen and we can have a big impact on them,” says Jeevitha.

And, what’s amazing is that many of these actresses want to continue their film career parallel to their political life. “Cinema is our profession,” says Jeevitha. “I have no plans to leave it completely for politics.”

Though Roja is in the thick of action, she also keeps her options open. “After the elections if I am offered good roles, I would love to act in one or two movies” says she, adding, that other political parties were trying to rope in actresses since they are wary of her charisma.

She has a point. Political observers too say that if one party appoints an actress as head of the women’s wing, others have to do the same.

“Most political parties consider the women’s wing not as a movement but as vote bank, and they make the best use of actresses on their side,” says Mr K. Nageshwar, a political analyst. “It seems we are going to see a glamour war in the next polls.

It Took a Villain to Save Our Marriage
 

Here are three truths: Intimacy isn’t always sweet. The suburbs can be lonely. And, as the writer Mary Cantwell said: “Marriages, at least in the beginning, take three people. The third provides the glue.”

Anthony and I were in year six of our marriage, not the beginning, but we needed glue. We lived in a suburb, the kind where everyone is friendly but no one seems to be a friend. Our house was on a short street at the top of a hill. We lived at one end of a cul-de-sac, and a man named Gary lived at the other end, six houses down.

Everyone on our street had big, heavy doors; who knows what happened behind them? What happened behind ours was erosion. There was trouble, but we pretended there wasn’t. We didn’t talk. As a result we were angry, and our anger was mounting.

We needed an outlet, and we picked Gary but didn’t use his name. We called him “Sidewalk Blocker” instead, and then just “Blocker”. He parked his car on the sidewalk – big deal. But minor drama is the lifeblood of suburbs. He was an opportunity, and Anthony and I seized it; we needed glue desperately that year.

Blocker had a two-car garage and full driveway but preferred to park his black SUV across the sidewalk. Anyone who wanted to use the sidewalk in front of Gary’s house had to walk into the street to get by. The other thing, though, was that Blocker wasn’t one of us. He lived among us without children or a wife.

That Gary had the audacity to live in our neighborhood was enough to irk some, and besides, it was illegal to park on the sidewalk. We had the law on our side.

I had already profiled him, deemed him a jerk, and here he was without charm (never mind the lack of my own).

Anthony explained the situation. He can be diplomatic. He told Blocker how we all walked down the hill, and that if he would just pull into his driveway a little, we would all appreciate it, thanks.

“No,” Blocker said, flat but with menace. “I have to park where it’s level or my dog can’t get out.” Saul Bellow, in “Herzog,” wrote that there’s joy in indignation, and it’s true. The sidewalk became our obsession. Who did this guy think he was? Anthony called the city to complain, and an officer wrote a ticket for Blocker. It was the start of our dance.

Blocker’s response was prompt. He banged on our door, and I answered. He didn’t bother with pleasantries. “If you have a problem,” he said, “deal with it to my face.” This was the year I felt trapped like Rapunzel at the top of the hill, lonely and invisible, until a man came to the door, looked me right in the eyes and called me a name. And Anthony rose up, strong and fierce, to my defense.

There was a perverse comfort in it. Anthony and I had something to share again; we were united in battle. We had passion in our lives, if not quite the conventional kind. Some couples take out personal ads and bring home swingers; we provoked the nut down the road. I craved the attention and Anthony craved the release. It improved things between us, briefly.

This went on for months, then toward the end of the year we bought a house in another town. We wondered aloud what Blocker thought when our “For Sale” sign went up. Would he think it was because of him? So when the “Open House” signs we had posted around the neighbourhood began to disappear, Anthony and I assumed Blocker had taken them. One night during this time Anthony went silently to bed. We were in the worst kind of fight, the kind you walk away from seething. I fumed and drank too much wine. I stomped down the street in the dark to Blocker’s house and pounded on his door.

He opened it, shirtless and calm; it unnerved me. I’m sure I looked crazed. I felt my face puff up. “Stop taking our signs!” I said.

But Blocker didn’t say anything mean. He didn’t seem angry, as he should have been, that I had bothered him late at night; he didn’t threaten to call the police. We stood close, inches away. There was an intimacy in our strange hate.

“I didn’t take them,” he said. “Seriously. The city picks them up sometimes. I know where they put them. I could check if you want.”

No, I didn’t want. But I thanked him, and walked home both shaken and comforted, and thinking Anthony would kill me if he knew I had crossed enemy lines like that, alone. I didn’t tell him.

There was one more encounter. Blocker drove by me in his car. He slowed and rolled down his window, and instead of grunting or sneering, he said, “Did you find your signs?” “No. I didn’t look.”

We exchanged a few more words – about the weather, his dogs – but it was quick. He drove off, and a few weeks later we moved.

Afterward I heard stories about him. Some were awful: an accident he had caused taunting a woman on a bike, yelling matches with neighbors, loud parties, police cars. Anthony and I wondered if he ever thought of us. We thought of him frequently; he haunted us.

Anthony and I moved without saying anything, and a year later I got a phone call from an old friend, Julie. “I have kind of weird news,” she said, and paused. Pauses are never good. “Gary’s dead. He hung himself.” My heart seemed to stop, and I couldn’t breathe. It was impossible – Blocker wouldn’t do that. He was Teflon. He was something that couldn’t break; he was stronger than all of us.

I struggled to sound calm, but not shattered. After all, I wasn’t supposed to care about him; we were enemies.

Then I remembered his face that first time at our door. How it was dripping with hate and anger, and I thought maybe that was the only thing he could do. It was a violent, profane tirade against all of us – against life, as it turned out. And it broke my heart.

3 ways to Fight Civilly
 

Fighting is a normal and natural part of any relationship, but the truth is that the faster a fight is over with, the better it is for everyone. There are some ways to keep arguments short – if not sweet – while still dealing with the issue at hand.ῠ If you tend to get into fights that drag on and on, making your life miserable all the while, read on to find out how to patch things up. ῠ See her side: Listen to what she has to say because, as they say, there are two sides to every story. You don’t need to bow down in order to hear what she has to say; just make sure that while you’re making your point, you’re also hearing hers. If you don’t, she might give in because she sees she’s not getting anywhere, but she’ll still be angry and the issue won’t be resolved. Don’t let your anger cloud your hearing, and when she says something, respond to it.

Don’t blame unnecessarily: No matter what your conflict is about, it is easy to justify your part in it so that you feel entirely innocent. This is dangerous because a high-and-mighty mindset can cause you to be more insulting than you should be. Just remember that, regardless of how a fight started, it usually takes more than one person to keep it going. This means that you’re not entirely innocent. Some things are nobody’s fault, and some things are your fault. Assigning or accepting blame usually won’t get you any closer to a resolution. Instead, talk about what’s wrong and what can be done to fix it.

Swallow your pride: Fights can sometimes go on and on because neither person will back down. Nobody wants a fight to continue, but in the heat of the moment, many people don’t realise that just making a nice, understanding comment or gesture can sometimes be the answer. This doesn’t mean giving in to the other’s point of view; it simply means that one person needs to be the one to take it down a notch. This can require apologising. Chances are that if you chill out, the whole fight will take on a new tone and it will be easier to fix things up.

‘Money is not everything’
 

How often have you heard of a practising advocate who is also an author and public speaker? Meet 33-year-old Aditya Sondhi, an alumnus of Bishop Cottons Boys’ School, Bengaluru and National Law School of India University, who also holds a Master’s degree in Political Science. He is the Secretary of the Karnataka State Unit of the Indian Law Institute and Convenor of the General Thimayya Memorial Lectures.

After passing out of law school, Aditya enrolled as an advocate with the Karnataka State Bar Council and joined the Chambers of Mr Udaya Holla (present Advocate General of Karnataka) where he worked for six years. Side by side, he also authored Unfinished Symphony which was published by Penguin in 2003. Sheer love for his 143-year-old school and the fact that not enough had been done to document the history of its distinguished alumni, some of whom are Dr Raja Ramanna, Nandan Nilekani, General K. S. Thimayya and Colin Cowdrey, inspired Aditya to write the book. “It took me two whole years to put the book together. The title Unfinished Symphony is because the tradition of students’ achievements will continue through the years and will require to be documented from time to time” says Aditya, who was school captain in 1993 and among the top achievers in academics throughout.

At a time when most law students prefer corporate jobs as they are initially high-paying, Aditya decided to set up an independent law practice in 2004 in Corporate and Constitutional law. As a first generation lawyer he had to struggle to build a clientele and generate a steady stream of revenue, but has several high profile corporate and individual clients today. He also represents many welfare/civic groups in public interest matters relating to roads, town planning and other public interest litigation.

“Setting up an independent practice from scratch without any backing requires one to be well informed, well prepared and a risk-taker. It comes from a vision of achieving a greater objective than just providing for one’s immediate needs” says Aditya.

He maintains a rigorous 9 am to 9 pm schedule daily and often works seven days a week along with three other lawyers and three support staff who work for him. He hopes to build up his practice in the Supreme Court in the near future.

How does he manage to pack in so much everyday? “It’s all about prioritising one’s work and working fast, that makes the difference in how much one can accomplish in 24 hours” said Aditya. Why did he not join his father’s retail business? “I was always encouraged to do what I loved most and there was absolutely no pressure for me to join Dad’s business” said Aditya.

To unwind, he reads biographies and military history, attends talks on eclectic topics unrelated to law, teaches Constitutional Law and Arbitration at National Law School, and speaks at forums.

His mantra for success is: Compete with yourself alone and let your conscience be your judge. “I am especially grateful to Dr Iqbal Ahmed, my Hindi Master from school for teaching me the meaning of integrity and encouraging the spirit of knowledge and sacrifice in me” he said.

His advice to Gen Y: Seek a career that challenges your faculties and helps you realise your full potential. As far as possible, lean towards public life and try and serve the national interest. Money is not everything, it is ancillary.

Insure and be secure
 

I don’t need insurance. I don’t think anything will happen to me. Isn’t this what one feels when that irritating insurance advisor contacts one with offers for products ranging from life insurance to medical insurance to insuring one’s homes? The insurance company will probably come up with an insurance solution for anything you hold dear.

Let’s talk of life and medical and travel insurance here. Many financial experts consider insurance as a cornerstone of sound financial planning citing some of the following reasons for purchasing life insurance – (1) Insurance creates a source of savings. (2) It replaces income for dependents if the main bread-winner dies. (3) Life insurance can pay the insured person’s funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance. (4) Insurance helps create an inheritance for heirs. (5) It can help make charitable contributions by making a charitable organisation a beneficiary of the life insurance policy/ies.(6) Most life insurance policies help in tax planning within certain limits and conditions, and (7) in case of a ‘quasi-government’ company such as LIC, the premiums that one pays help in nation building – LIC lends the money to companies and national and state governments.

In India, healthcare is expensive, medical insurance can help in reducing the financial burden. Tax benefits are also available within specified limits and conditions for premiums paid. Medical expenses are higher if one falls sick abroad – travel insurance can be availed of at very low cost – a few hundred rupees for periods as low 14 days and sum insured (SI) amounts of US $100,000 and more. Consult your insurance advisor.

-The writer is a qualified insurance and financial advisor. Reach him at tarachand.w@gmail.com

Megamart finds a fine fit
 

Behind the swish of the skirt or the rustle of the silk, there is a lot of technology. Not just in design, but also in helping garments reach the stores on time, predicting trends and streamlining other business processes.

So when textile maker Arvind’s retail venture Megamart wanted to expand its value apparel stores, it needed an enterprise resource planning solution that could provide it with a backbone – a scalable platform to manage its processes, from supply-chain to stores. There were several vendors to choose from. After evaluations, the firm gave the thumbs up to Oracle Retail. This solution, Megamart believes, can support its plans to establish more than 250 large and small format stores across the country over the next four years. The solution has cost the company Rs 15 crore and will be implemented in several phases over the next 24 months.

In a way, the partnership is a big deal for both the firms. While the solution will ensure that Megamart’s customers ultimately find the right brand, style and size in time, perhaps makes the firm more profitable, Oracle also gains a big Indian name in the retail space – globally, the firm is already big in the sector – it counts the world’s top 20 retailers as its customers.The retail chain found Oracle attractive on many counts. First was its merchandise management module that would now allow Megamart to spot trends in customer behaviour, price points, buying habits and any regional bias among other trends.

Second was a pricing module that helps in tracking profitability and an inventory module that would aid the retailer in gaining stock visibility, besides efficient warehouse management. The chain’s officials were impressed by an in-store unit meant for better customer experience as well as a planning suite for demand forecasting. In short, with this deployment, Megamart may now increase its inventory turns, improve forecast accuracy, enable shorter replenishment lead times while boosting service levels.

Outsourcing educated pardesis
 

The education system in the city is gaining a lot of attention with many colleges being granted autonomous, even deemed university status. The city has attracted a huge number of foreign students in the past and the numbers are rising every year. So what makes the city stand out amongst the other cities in the country as far as education is concerned? Why do expats prefer Bengaluru for higher education?

According to Rinzin Lhan, a Bhutanese Management student from CMR College, “The simplistic and disciplined education system along with the moderate climate of the city blends well for expats. This makes Garden City a hot destination for higher education. Also, some of the best colleges in India are located here.”

The city’s education system is considered to be one of the best in the country. This is an important factor which attracts expats to the Silicon Valley of India for higher education.

“We have highly educated teachers and lots of facilities are provided in our college to help students excel in studies. We don’t have these luxuries back in Bhutan,” adds Rinzin

Some expats prefer the tutelage in the city because quality education is much cheaper here when compared to their own countries. The education standard too has remained consistent over the years, says students.

Kato Keneth Lukaija, a Tanzanian student in the city says, “Quality education in Bengaluru costs much less than in Tanzania. I pay $ US 800 as the fee for my entire course here, where as the same education back home would cost me more than $ US 1200. Also, the Indian education system is much more advanced than the one followed in Africa.”

One of the major reasons foreign students come to the city is their zeal to learn English. Also, Bengaluru’s education system holds an edge over the others in terms of interactive studies and discipline. “Many Africans including me, prefer to study in Bengaluru because we are well exposed to English language here. Also, the education system follows the interactive classroom mode which is very important for overall development of the student,” adds Kato, who is presently completing his BA, Psychology course from Christ College.

For many, Bengaluru is also the place where one can get quality education without missing out on socialising and partying.

“When I came to the city two years ago, the social life in the city was great. There were lots of options for clubbing and partying, which appealed to me greatly. I also found the city relatively safer than other cities and was amazed by the fact that some of the top colleges in the country are located here. This was the main reason why I choose Bengaluru for my higher education,” says Thousif Yaseem, a student in the city who hails from Muscat, Oman.

Namma Bengaluru attracts a huge number of foreign students every year. But, now after the serial blasts and ban on live music and partying in the city, will the scenario remain the same? We will simply have to wait and see.

Alone in India
 

To say I traveled alone is not accurate. One is rarely alone in India, a nation with a population that tops 1 billion. Travelling around the nation’s southern horn, with stops at Mysore, Kochi, Alleppey, Kottayam, Madurai, Mahabalipuram, Chennai and Pondicherry, I was a magnet not only for the ubiquitous hawkers and “guides”, but also for students who wanted to practice their English, mothers who wanted me to take pictures of their babies and flocks of school children. At times I felt like the pied piper, but never was I lonely.

The homestay arrangements turned out to be a good way to meet Indian families and fellow travellers. The hosts equip rooms in their homes for tourists and provide meals. The ones in which I stayed were comfortable and welcoming. The homestay hosts also arrange group activities for guests.

In Kochi, I took a sunset backwater tour in shrimp-fishing waters with a British couple. A group of us took a guided hike through a spice forest in the spectacular region of the Western Ghats. In Alleppey, our host introduced me and a German tourist to a toddy shop; we agreed that fermented coconut juice was not our drink of choice.

To travel an Indian highway is to watch an endless pageant. I saw funeral processions, friendships and fist fights. Women spread laundry alongside the road, and people sold mats, potatoes, shoes, beverages and bananas. I learned that, when we drove over branches spread along the roads, we were helping to harvest mustard seeds by knocking them out of their pods.

People feel free to strike up conversations anywhere. An Indian clergywoman who had studied in Ohio stopped by to talk on the overnight train. A Muslim man, who sold jewellery at a seaside resort, offered tea and talked on and on about his dream of going to Iraq and fighting Americans. A smiling woman at a temple told me proudly about her nursing studies.

India receives more European tourists than Americans. The people I met were pleased to have a guest from the US and delighted to talk about their country, their families, their education, their hopes and dreams.

At night, I tried to recapture the conversations and experiences in my notebook. But travel is about encounters and surprises, and going it alone encourages a good deal of both. Not once did I regret bashing on.

fun at fusion lounge
 

Namgay Tenzin Student

I love to spend my free time on Brigade Road. It’s the happening place in the city.ῠ We often go to the Fusion Lounge in Wednesdays, especially when they organise Bhutanese nights. We get to meet a lot of fellow Bhutanese students and professionals. Though these days, because of the ban on dancing, we don’t have as much fun as we used to, but still we get to interact a lot with others. I also love the oriental nights at the Fusion Lounge. I often go shopping in Brigade Road. My favourite shopping destinations are Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Levi’s, Lee and Benetton.

Charity dos are a rage now
 

Trushna and Ashwin Tibrewala organised a special charity screening of Bachna Aye Haseeno at PVR. The entire P3 crowd was spotted at the event. What better way to celebrate Independence Day, people were heard quipping, though not many were sure what charity they were supporting. Those who were not invited were left to sit sulking at home, as Friday was a dry day are all the pubs were shut.

Another party everyone hopes to get invited to is Bisket Srikant’s b’day bash at FBar on Monday. Last year the man made news when Salman Khan wished him and partied with him at Touch. The special star guest this year is a close guardedῠ secret, sources reveal.

Ladies in the news

DJ Sharon has been missing in action in the city for sometime now. She is on an India Tour, hopping from one city to another and has just completed the North India belt. Her current favourite though is the Waltair Club at Vizag, where over 700 loyal patrons gather to make any bash a huge success.

Another girl who is in news in the party circuit is ITC PRO Nitya Iyengar. A pleasant face, Nitya adds life to any party with her charming demeanour. However, it’s the grace with which she slips into mini skirts and saris with equal ease is what leaves everyone stunned.

 

 Features of the Week

 

 

Deccan Chronicle