Daily Archives: Feb 7, 2014
Everyone talked about Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale and Jared Leto who shape shifted for movies, but these actors are not far behind with their special roles
Most actors make an effort to transform their body only for movies. But now we have Daniel Radcliff who is losing a lot of weight for his Broadway comeback. Radcliff no longer looks like the Harry Potter boy — the new pale and gaunt version comes in preparation for his role in the stage production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, in which he plays a malnourished orphan with a weakened left arm and permanently stiff leg. He also has a couple of movies coming up this year like The F Word, Tokyo Vice and Frankenstein.
Sailor on duty
Can you imagine putting on 30 pounds and then ripping it off in 12 months? That is what Chris Hemsworth is capable of. He put on 30 pounds for his role in Thor, ripped it off for Rush, and is now working on losing more weight for the role of a starving sailor in Heart of the Sea. Based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 bestselling book, In The Heart Of The Sea, it tells the true story of the whaleship Essex, which set sail from New England in 1820, but was struck by a large bull sperm whale in open water. Hemsworth told Jimmy Kimmel that he’s only eating 500 to 600 calories a day to really live the part.
Remember the movie Prince of Persia, where Jake Gyllenhaal has bulging biceps and a chiseled body? Those days are gone. Some of the pictures taken during the shoot of the upcoming crime drama Nightcrawler, reveal that the actor has lost more than 25 pounds for the movie. ‘‘I’m playing a character who’s hungry, figuratively and literally… so I wanted to get there mentally and then have it transform me physically, because I am not one to rely on science as much as I am on just sort of instinct,’’ Gyllenhaal told E!, a movie website, recently.
A recently taken picture of Chris Pratt on Instagram, focusses on the intense body transformation he has gone through for his upcoming movie, The Guardians of Galaxy. Pratt attributed the transformation to six months without beer, hashtagging ‘GOTG’ to confirm that the makeover is for the superhero film. This is not the first time the actor is going through physical transformation for a movie. Pratt sported a toned physique while playing a member of Seal Team Six in Zero Dark Thirty last year.
For a purpose
Looks like Ben Affleck has already started preparing for his new role as Batman, sporting a noticeably buff body. The Argo actor’s unmissable transformation was spotted in Brentwood County when he was picking up his eldest daughter Violet, from school. Wearing a fitted white top, showcasing muscled shoulders and abs, Ben has been working hard. According to some sources, he has been hitting the gym for two hours every day.
— Compiled by Mrinalini Sundar
This weekend is all about building intellectual power and having some fun
Do the salsa
Auroville is organising a workshop on Salsa Cubana. Planned as a series of workshops, it will teach participants high level techniques in the dance form and hand movement (cues). At Eluciole Circus School, Miracle Community, Auroville, on Sunday, from 2 pm to 4 pm. The workshop is priced at Rs 350. Details: 9159180875
In this ongoing free workshop held by Auroville, learn about child development, the different stages of growth in kids, how to relate your own childhood experiences to the children of today and more. At the new SAIIER Building, Auroville, every Wednesday, from 3.30 pm onwards. Details: 0413 2622210
Light and tasty
Bidisha Samantaray is hosting Tapas Nights at her restaurant, Umami. The menu includes a beef burger, pan fried pork momos, chicken satay, fried beef balls, vegetarian tempura with dip, a cheese platter and vegetarian crostini platter. Available only tomorrow, the starters are priced from Rs 250 onwards. Details: 9787748481
Ready to compute
The department of Electronics and Communication in Pondicherry Engineering College is organising a workshop on cloud computing. Participants will learn business value, technical perspective and steps to successfully adopt cloud computing. The workshop will be conducted by i3indya Technologies from Delhi, a workshop giant at the IITs. At the college, today. Registration fee is Rs 700. Details: 0413 2655281
Alliance Francaise is showcasing the movie, Ne Le Dis A Personne, by Guillaume Canet. About Alex (François Cluzet) and Margot
(Marie-Josée Croze) a happy couple, whose life changes when Margot is kidnapped and brutally murdered. At Maison Colombani, tomorrow, from 6.30 pm onwards. Details: 0413 2334351
The fabric wall
DakshinaChitra is organising a workshop for adults on macrame wall hangings. Participants will learn to make wall hangings using thick thread in different colours and a range of traditional macrame knots. At DakshinaChitra, on Saturday and Sunday. The workshop is priced at Rs 1,500. Details: 27472603
– Team Indulge (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Don’t miss The Pondicherry Equestrian Challenge, with 146 horses and some fashion
Look forward to some equestrian sports, music, food and some fun cultural activities, courtesy The Pondicherry Equestrian Challenge 2014 (PEC). Hosted by Red Earth Riding School and Equestrian Promotion Private Ltd (EPP), it will be held over two weekends, starting today. You can expect high caliber international and national riders from the army and civilian riding schools who will compete in different competitions like dressage, show jumping and the derby.
Besides Pondicherry, the competing teams will come from Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Pollachi, Tuticorin, Ambur and as far away as Kolkata. Over 14 horse riding clubs are taking part in the competition, and Jacqueline Kapur, the owner of Red Earth Riding School, is happy to share the details. “There will be 120 horses coming from all over India and Red Earth Riding School has an additional 26 horses in its own stable. “The winners will receive a cash prize. The dressage event will be judged by Maria Schwennesen, who is specially flying down from Australia. She is one of the highest ranked judges in the FEI, which is the international Federation of the Equestrian Sport,” says Kapur. And for those hoping to see Ayesha Kapur, the child actor from Black, and Kapur’s daugher, be there next weekend.
In addition to the riding competitions, there will be a fashion show featuring designer, Chaitanya Rao, Ayesha Accessories and Indian fusion wear from Upasana, the Pondicherry-based designer. The fashion show will be choreographed by Jesse Fox Allen, a choreographer from Australia. “We also have violinist and saxophonist, David Wacheux, and vocalist, Suryan Stettner, performing live at the event,” says the Pondichery native. Look out for Ouvrier, a well-known street and performance artist, from Paris, who will showcase his paintings, stencils and graffiti at the event. Pankaj Mistry, photographer from Mumbai, will film the show, and there will be an art video installation at the end of the show. “ We are including the other events like the live shows and the fashion show to increase the lifestyle factor. The equestrian sport is still relatively unknown in the country and this, hopefully, will draw some attention to the show and, hence, create awareness for the sport,” says Kapur.
At the Red Earth Riding School, from February 7 till February 16. Details: 9566194586
— Mrinalini Sundar
Soak up some Mozart and Beethoven, together with insights into Kafka and Beckett, at Gratitude
NOW head to Gratitude Heritage Home, the French colonial house in Pondicherry, not only for theirhome stay but also to sample their cultural events. Soon after opening the resort in 2010, the owners Jyoti and Kakoli, set up a cozy inner courtyard for artists and authors. This week, they have a concert by Chloe, Holger and Nandaprem and two monologues by Nikolaus Deutsch, from Germany. The show, today and tomorrow, is being managed by Anungla, a writer and song writer.
According to Holger, 55, a German, the three musicians will be presenting compositions by Beethoven and Mozart. “In western classical music, and in jazz, a collaboration of musicians is usually sporadic and limited to a particular project. Often musicians meet for a project and if it is successful in any way, they may meet later. But we worked relentlessly on this programme for about six weeks.” As for the performance that will go on for an hour and 20 minutes, “I expect that it will help us dive deeper into Beethoven’s, Telemann’s and C P E Bach’s psychologies,” says Chloe, 29, from Canada.
The three are influenced by various artistes— right from the famous J S Bach, W A Mozart, Richard Strauss, Yes, Gentle Giant, Keith Jarret, Steve Reich, Maarten Visser to Hariprasad Chaurasia and Emmanuel Pahud. Coming to the two monologues, Deutsch, 70, tells us that the performance is based on literature and he chose the two European writers – Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett for the reason that both of them have contributed to the art of storytelling, with unusual dimensions.
“It is tempting for a performer to use such material as it challenges the actor to serve or to proceed towards more dimensions,” says the actor and director of the monologue, who has named his performance a Philosophical Divertimento. “ The performance will allow the audience to endow the presentation with their own imagination,” says Deutsch, a regular to Pondicherry since the 70s. Commenting on Indian theatre, he says, “I have seen beautiful theatre here and, besides the immense mythological and folklore performances, I favour the National School of Drama and the companies from Delhi.”
At Gratitude, today and tomorrow, from 7 pm onwards. Free entry. Details: 0413 2225029
— Mrinalini Sundar
Playing a soldier yet again (he debuted as Hoot in Black Hawk Down), Eric Bana wanted to be a part of Lone Survivor at any cost, no matter the role. The film, directed by Peter Berg, is an adaptation of the non-fiction book by the same name written by Marcus Luttrell. The brooding Australian gets candid about his role of Lieutenant Commander Erik S Kristensen, the leader of a SEAL team’s quick reaction force (QRF), the emotional impact of the film, why he chooses directors with intense passion and the experience of having Navy SEALS on set:
What made you agree to this film?
I was a really big fan of Marcus’ book. When I heard that Pete (Peter Berg) was adapting it, and he called me up to see if I would consider playing Commander Kristensen, I jumped at the chance. I said ‘yes’ right a away not only because I love the book and Pete’s work over the years, but I also have a bit of a fascination with the Special Forces community.
What makes Lone Survivor stand out?
We make different kinds of films all the time. I knew going into this, that this is one that would feel very different to make and feel very different 10 years from now from the other films we make. That doesn’t come along every day.
What was it like having SEALS on the sets?
For me, it feels like an acrobat having a safety net. It gave you the confidence to tackle what was put in front of you, knowing that if there was a mistake or something that wasn’t right or inaccurate, it would be picked up. There’s a degree of
comfort to that, even though we were shooting very fast. Pete was quick on his feet in terms of interpreting various pieces of information that would come flying in from the guys onthe set.
The responsibility of portraying a real-life incident.
There is the danger of it being a little overwhelming. I always thought that the only way that we were going to be honouring these people was by making a great film; that if all our intentions to honor them were going to amount to a film that was super accurate, but not a great film, then we would have failed. Pete had to strike that balance to be respectful to that memory, but at the same time it has to work as a movie. It’s not a documentary.
Preparing for the role.
Marcus (Luttrell) was very involved. I was at home in Australia when I got the call, and I did my prep from afar. I missed meeting Erik Kristensen and arrived at the shoot half-way into filming. So my job was to really concentrate on what Erik’s role was within the story, and just the processes of the chain of command and ranking and the logistics of the operation.
Working with Peter Berg.
Obviously, Pete’s been a huge influence from Day 1 with Friday Night Lights to Battleship to this, so hopefully I’ll work with him again. I just love the way he tells stories and with Lone Survivor it is just exemplified. I think this is his legacy and I think it is just going to be an amazing thing for him. I’m so proud and pumped for him that I hope I can be a part of something else in his future.
Lone Survivor is scheduled to release today.
— Team Indulge
Vikas Bahl on his Queen heroine, Kangana Ranaut, and why not everyone can play an ordinary girl
In the midst of headline-hogging celebrities, Bollywood also has members—like producer-director Vikas Bahl—who rarely come into the spotlight. Bahl, who debuted with Chillar Party (which won the National Award for Best Children’s Film in 2011), has produced interesting films like 7 Khoon Maaf, No One Killed Jessica, Udaan, Hasee Toh Phasee and the upcoming Bombay Velvet. This month, however, is his time to shine as director. Bahl’s movie, Queen—starring Kangana Ranaut, Rajkummar Rao and Lisa Hayden—will release on February 28 and Karan Johar has already gone to town about how he “loves the energy” of its song, London Thumkda—a selling point if there’s any.
More from the director:
Queen is about this shy Punjabi girl, Rani. She goes on her honeymoon alone and, during that journey, learns a lot about herself and the world. Why the bridegroom cancels the wedding and why she takes off alone is part of the story. The script was ready over two years ago, but I was busy with other projects. The movie was shot on a low budget and was completed in 45 days.
Kangna Ranaut worked very hard for this movie and she was perfect for the role. She is familiar with roles where the character goes through a lot of stress in life. Moreover, several of the small situations and gestures in the film suited her perfectly. She is a girl who is ready to take on anything.
It is very easy to play a hero who gets noticed, who fights villains and triumphs ultimately. Such roles are simple. But to do an ordinary man and to step out of your comfort zone is difficult. The role that Ranaut plays is not caricaturish.
This year I am working on movies like Bombay Velvet, NH10, Bhavesh Joshi and Hasee Toh Phasee. I generally work closely with my directors so we don’t have a difference of opinion later. A lot of directors like Vikramaditya Motwane and Vinil Mathew are good friends. Many a time, I am part of the project from day one, so creative differences are reduced.
Independent films are fantastic. Sometimes the studios do not understand the director’s vision. I think one should make more of such films and make the studios produce them. Some of the independent movies are path breaking and not all need two hours. Some can be shorter.
The movie is scheduled to release on February 28.
— Mrinalini Sundar
After being part of the industry for 35 years, Sivamani turns music director
SIVAMANI is renowned for making music with just about anything—from pots and pans to a myriad range of musical instruments. Having worked with music directors like M S Viswanathan, Ilaiyaraaja and A R Rahman, the percussionist is now ready to compose music himself. While he will make his debut with Arima Nambi, he has already finished work on his second film, Kanidhan. “Arima Nambi has five songs, mostly romantic. I could not really put my drums to good use in it. However, in Kanidhan, which has four songs with fast beats, I have utilised my drums. In both movies, the music is situational,” says Sivamani, who learned to play the violin before he mastered the drums. “My father, S M Anandan, is a percussionist and he taught me to play the violin and then I learned the harmonium. Later, I jumped to drums because I love the instrument. I know all the raagas and I have helped several music directors finish tunes,” he adds.
Before venturing into music direction, Sivamani attended the Kodambakkam University—his name for the Tamil film industry. “Whatever I have learned is from this industry. So, before starting off, I met Ilaiyaraaja and the others to take their blessings. I must have worked on more than 100 songs in this industry already,” says the composer, who gets nostalgic about his best moment in life. “It was A R Rahman’s first concert and I was performing with him. I met Rishi Kapoor in a restaurant. He came and hugged me and said I should work with RK Productions. He also gave me cash, saying, ‘let that be your advance’,” says Sivamani. The newly-minted music director is also simultaneously working on opening his ‘ashram’ in Pollachi. “It will be a school for the underprivileged and I will teach music there. The school will follow the gurukulam format,” he says, adding, “I will continue to perform and work with music directors. I am a free bird, who needs no home, just music.”
— Mrinalini Sundar
(From left) Stills from 'One by Two, 'Rummy' and 'Twelve Years a slave'.
One by Two
Director: Devika Bhagat
Cast: Abhay Deol, Preeti Desai
Amit is a software professional whose life turns upside down when his girlfriend dumps him. Samara lives with her alcoholic mother and dreams of becoming the best dancer in the world. The movie drags in the first half with an overdose of whines. Abhay Deol, who is capable of such great acting, could have done better.
12 Years A Slave
Director: Steve McQueen
Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt
This movie is a brutal and honest telling of American slavery. It follows Solomon Northup, a free black man, who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the 1840s. Unlike Quentin Tarantino’s over the top Django Unchained, this one’s a truer take on the topic. With exemplary acting, unflinching direction and superb storytelling, it’s a must-watch.
Director: K Balakrishnan
Cast: Vijay Sethupathy, Inigo, Gayatri, Aishwaria
Set in a rustic milieu, it centres on two college friends and the unfortunate turn their lives take when they fall in love. It has an insipid screenplay, lacklustre narration, weak characterisation and a bad climax. Marketed as a Vijay Sethupathy film, the actor neither gets enough screen space nor a role of substance. Inigo, the other hero, gets a better deal. A disappointment.
School fairs get a makeover with parents pitching in. A case in point: the air show at Lady Andal
After the recently-concluded carnivals of the American International School (during Pongal) and Don Bosco (January 26), it’s the turn of Lady Andal to put up their carnival best. The Moms Club of Lady Andal School is back for the task and their line up seems to be getting bigger and better. After dabbling with themes like Mamagascar and Angry Birds, this year they have chosen to ‘Go Green’. “We wanted to educate the kids on the importance of saving the earth and have roped in Atom Events, who will be decorating the whole place with recycled and reused items,” says Vandana Anand, the vice chaiperson of the Moms Club. The carnival, expected to draw around 2,000, takes place tomorrow at the school premises, and Anand promises that there’s a couple of first time events to look out for.
Taking to the air
The Moms Club have put together a planetarium that will be screening a 15-minute show about the galaxy. But if gazing at a bunch of stars does not seem too appealing, then perhaps watching remote controlled copters will. In a first, the carnival will feature a radiocontrolled air show courtesy city-based Barath Gupta and team. They will be putting up five shows every half hour, starting from 5.30 pm, and needless to say, this one will be a hit among the kids.
Don your apron
The club, together with food and beverage giant Nestle, will be conducting a cooking competition. Titled — yes, you guessed right — Masterchef, it is open to anyone above 13 years of age. Teams of two each will be chosen for a live cookoff that will require them to cook without fire. And for those who are happy to buy their food, we hear that Cookie Man and Spoonbill, will be setting up shop.
Entry: Rs 50. Details: 9940167272
— Ryan Peppin
Baker brothers Tom and Henry Herbert on ‘get-out-of-trouble’ cakes and more
Whether you’re baking bread or breaking bread, it has an uncanny way of bringing people together. And that is the real reason why Tom and Henry Herbert, who host the show The Fabulous Baker Brothers, love what they do. Gearing up for their desi debut on TLC India later this month, Tom tells us with a laugh, “Of course, food plays a big role as well. At our house, the challenge is not getting fat.”
On the show
These brothers have had their fair share of tropical climates and Indian food. In fact, the two who “just got back from shooting in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia”, did the research for their Indian show five years earlier on a trip here. So will the show be British cooking with an Asian twist? “Well, it’s been shot at our bakery in Gloucesterchire, England,” says Tom, the elder of the two. “So it’s more British. However, the recipes we’ve chosen are multi-cultural,” he adds. Keep an eye out for a speedy chappati and fish curry, to be featured on one of the episodes, and a recipe for the hot cross buns Tom wooed his wife Anna with.
When Henry Herbert senses trouble brewing with his wife, he bakes her a knockout chocolate cake. He’s now introduced it to fans as his ‘get-out-of-trouble cake’. “Sometimes I put it together in anticipation of bad behaviour,” he says unabashedly. Now if you think this too easy a remedy, consider the next part. Fight or not, courtesy her dashing husband/chef, this wife never has to cook!
Meet the family
“She walked into our bakery and I gave her a bun with ‘I Heart You’ on it,” laughs Tom. One has to wonder how they keep it all together—between wives, kids, a five-generation-old family bakery and shooting schedules, it’s one heck of a plateful. But Tom responds, “Luckily we have a great family at home that keeps it all running smoothly.” Did we mention they have 36 cousins who help out?
The Fabulous Baker Brothers premiers on February 17 on TLC at 8.30 pm.
— Sonali Shenoy
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