Home Archives 2014 March 14

Daily Archives: Mar 14, 2014

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    From great flight offers to Indiaa��s first ski school, therea��s plenty here for the holiday junkie

    Slope specialists
    Skiing is not everyonea��s go-to sport. Trying to change that is Snow Daddy, Indiaa��s first and only professional ski and snowboard school, in Gulmarg, Kashmir. Launched this year by entrepreneurs Milind Doshi and Devina Lason, the school, located on Mt Apharwat, has imported gear and internationally certified instructors. With small batchesa��ranging from two to six peoplea��their multiple courses (four, five and seven days) promise individual attention to everyone. They also have great offers. Details: snowdaddy.org

    The best hand
    Tickets, check. Luggage, check. But what about something to keep you occupied while you wait for that train or flight? Take along the new Borneo playing card box. This handmade lacquer box (in black) comes with two card decks insidea��inspired by the Indian Ocean. And if youa��re not the lucky one taking a break, give it to someone special who is. At `2,400. Details: goodearth.in

    Luxury on wheels
    To celebrate its 80th anniversary, American Tourister has launched its best-selling hard-side luggage collection, HS MV+, in festive colours. Available in chilli red and turquoise, the limited edition has an exuberant design with iconic landmarks and city names from around the world. The bags come in three sizes: cabin (`7,490), medium (`9,190) and large (`10,690). Available at all American Tourister stores. Details: americantourister.com

    Party pit stop
    Now therea��s one more reason to head to Goa. SinQ Hospitality, the hospitality arm of Goa-based real estate company Adwalpalkar Constructions, has launched Indiaa��s first party resorta��the SinQ Beach Club. With a nightclub, open discotheque, Goan-style restaurant, poolside cabanas and open-air lounge, the club can host anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 guests. Besides eventsa��like the Holi Party (on Monday) and others like the Foam Party, Beer Fest, Wine Fest and Christmas Party in the months to comea��the club will also be bringing down top names from the national and international DJ scene. Details: facebook.com/SinQGoa

    -Team Indulge

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    Choose what you want to do this weeka��watch a Bengali movie, paint a rock or enroll in a bicycle tour

    -Team Indulge

    Rock on

    Picture 1 of 6

    Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, along with Auro Progress Stone Crafts, is organising a rock workshop. You will learn to transform a rock or pebble into an aesthetic piece of art using water colour and oil paint. At Gandhi Thidal, Beach Road, Pondicherry. Till tomorrow at 11 am and 3 pm. Details: 0413 2358570

     

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    Worktreea��s, Luv Gastmans offers wooden toys, bowls and chopsticks, and believes wood will outdo plastic soon

    Those who are into sustainable furniture and home accessories must visit Worktree in AurovilleA�a��a store that specialises in toys, crockery and other interior dA�cor products made from wood. Started last November by Luk Gastmans, Worktree wants to support the local forests and sources their material from Auroville. Gastmans chose wood because he believes it is important to promote natural goods. a�?Wood, unlike plastic, requires maintenance. We apply a non-toxic oil to our products to give them a natural finish and recommendA� thatA� our customers re-apply the oil once a year. But woodA� will outlive plastic products,a�? says Gastmans.

    In 2011, when cyclone Thane hit the Tamil Nadu coast, he and his wife Shanti had helped clean up the forest in Auroville. a�?Instead of selling the wood, we decided to use it. My wife, who works at the Auroville Kindergarten, gave me the idea of making wooden blocks, a toy that is creative and educational. Now we design all our products,a�? he says.

    After toys, Gastmans decided to diversify into dinnerware and came out with a range that includes bowls, plates, mugs and chopsticks. They also have educational toys like tower rings and puzzles. a�?We make wooden ducks, dogs and tops,a�? says Gastmans, who came to India in 1978 with his parents from Belgium. Gastma-nsa��s love for nature runs in his bloodA�a��his father re-afforested 32 acres of barren land in Auroville. a�?I still have vivid memories of planting trees. Today, my father and I maintain this indigenous forest,a�? he says.

    Worktreea��s products are nowA� exported to Luxemburg and Bali, and soon to Goa, Bangalore and Delhi. In Chennai, spot their products at Pappadum.

    In Auroville, check out La Boutique da��Auroville and Chez Nous in Pondicherry. Products range between Rs. 150 and Rs. 3,000. Details:auroville.com

    -Mrinalini Sundar

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    Manreet Deola��s new line will get you to treat brass and aluminium with a newfound sense of respect

    RIGHT from the beginning of her career with acclaimed designer Michael Aram (known for his hand finished metal-based home dA�cor line) Manreet Deol, 37, loved the creativity of being a designer. a�?I have always been creative. In high school, I started fashioning jewellery out of recycled materials. I think this sowed the seeds of a future design career,a�? says Deol, whose new project is a line of sculptural contemporary jewellery called Manifest Destiny (MD) that was created last summer in collaboration with her brother, Samraat Deol.

    Though from Punjab, the designer spent many years in Delhi,A� where she studied accessory design at NIFT. a�?The Inlaks Scholarship in 2001 took me to New York to study at the prestigious Parsons School of Design where I got a degree in design marketing. After an expansive career in NYC, designing for brands such as Aram, Jay Strongwater, Waterworks, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Judith Leiber, I decided to move back to India in 2009,a�? Deol informs.

    Origin in eccentricity
    Her richly textured bracelets and bold pendants are created using unique methods. a�?Just like the great masters, every MD piece begins as a clay sculpture that I create. It is then cast in various metals using the ancient artisan technique of sand casting,a�? Deol elaborates. a�?Our creative process and technique perfectly reflects the handcrafted ideology that we want our brand to reflect globally,a�? she adds. Despite its bold accents, Deol assures that her pieces fall under the category of a�?everyday wearable arta�? and she insists,a�?Our inspirations are varied and eccentric a��gnarled corals, sensuous vines, bold rock sculptures, tribal and urban art, music, street food, all somehow influence a unique visual vocabulary that is at once familiar and also unexpected.a�? How often does one see aluminum jewellery , she asks. a�?a�?Ita��s lightweight, has a beautiful shimmery silver colour and does not tarnish. It works beautifully with our large pieces. a��a��

    Pondy connect
    For now,the collection only features pendants and bracelets, but Deol plans to add earrings along with other fashion accessories such as scarves. Popular among expats,A� Deol takes inspiration fromA� various artists and says, a�?Everything from minimal mid-century art to the iconic sculptures of Richard Serra and the beautiful lyrical paintings of Georgia Oa��Keeffe are awe inspiring. I also love the work of jewellers like JAR and the classics created by Verdura.a�? Why Pondy? a�?The first time I visited Pondicherry was in 2001, just before I was moving to the US. I was instantly smitten and could think of no better place when I shifted back to India a few years ago. What began as frequent trips led to me moving here full time in 2011,a�? says Deol, who has just had her first trunk show in Mumbai.

    Her productsA� range from Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 5,500. She will have a trunk show at The Amethyst Room at Chamiers from March 21 to 26. Details: manifestdestin.in

    A�-Mrinalini Sundar

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      Director Janaki Vishwanathan on her latest, Yeh Hai Bakrapur, with a four-legged protagonist named Shahrukh

      Janaki Vishwanathana��s next film, Yeh Hai Bakrapur, has a goat as its protagonist. Yes, you read that right. Vishwanathan, who baggedA� two National Awards for her 2001 debut, Kutty, also has two Tamil filmsA� (Kanavu Mei Pada Vaendum, 2004, and Om Obama, 2011) and several documentaries to her credit. With Yeh Hai Bakrapur, her first Bollywood movie, the former journalist insists on being true to her style of filmmakinga��which highlights social issues.More from her:

      Yeh Hai Bakrapur is a socio-political satire.
      The goat is the superstar, along with a little boy, a barber and the boya��s family. The movie was shot on a mountain range between Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is a Hindi film and though I cannot read and write Hindi very well, I can speak it well. I have a Tamil film coming up, which will also release this year.

      I would like to try a thriller, with action, drama and comedya��but in my style.
      I have tried a serious film and a light-hearted film (Yeh Hai Bakrapur). Next up, a romantic movie.

      I divide cinema into formula and non-formula.
      All movies are commercial because people invest money to get the audience to watch it. Even if I take up a topic thata��s been attempted earlier, Ia��d do it differently. I think Yeh Hai Bakrapur is mainstream.

      Every movie addresses an issue.
      Every story has something to do with your surroundings or personal experience. It is up to a director whether he wants to dilute the subject or stay focussed. As a director, I like to retain my focus so the audience takes away something. I like movies like Peepli Live and Welcome to Sajjanpur.

      Film festivals are when your peers appreciate you and a�?box officea�� is when the audience enjoys your movies.
      For me, I want appreciation from both.

      Ia��d like to work with Irrfan Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. I also admire Tabu a lot.

      I love filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron, Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino. I think they make movies that are a combination of style and philosophy.A� I enjoyed the work of Satyajit Ray.

      Yeh Hai Bakrapur is scheduled to release on April 25.

      a�� Mrinalini Sundar

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        Documentary filmmaker, Gautam Singh, on why some of the countrya��s best films are made outside Bollywood

        DOHA-based Indian filmmaker, Gautam Singh, is ready with Indian Hospital Revisiteda��a sequel to Indian Hospital, a six-episode series he made for Al Jazeera in 2011. The original had Singh spending four months at the Narayana Health hospital in Bangalore, in an attempt to bring out the complexities of modern India. He studied the lives of its patients and medical staff. a�?I wanted to tell the story of an India that belongs to each and every one of its 1.2 billion citizens. We chose Narayana Health because it is one of those Indian stories that brings the countrya��s differences together in one place. It is a microcosm and, for me, the hospital became not only my film set, but also a character in itself,a�? says Singh.

        News reel
        Singh is planning a documentary film on Indiaa��s open nuclear mines and is researching the a�?Baulsa�� of Bengal. But he is not ready to enter Bollywood. a�?I might do feature films in the future, but they will be very close to reality, which might not be a perfect fit for Bollywood,a�? he says, having previously made two documentaries, Daughters of the Brothel and My Sister Laxmi, which follows a 12-year-old homeless boy in Bangalore.

        Born in Jharkand, Singh grew up in an environement where watching films was frowned upon. a�?I had to travel 2,000 kms to Mumbai to learn filmmaking,a�? concludes the director who spends at least a month every year in India.

        Indian Hospital Revisited will be telecasted on March 20, at 8 pm. Details: aljazeera.com/indianhospital

        -Mrinalini Sundar

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          Ashvini Yardi talks about her famous business partner, Fugli and where regional cinema is headed

          After working in television for 20 years, it takes guts to leave a highly-paid job as a channel head and venture into film production. But Ashvini Yardi seems to have lots of it, along with passion and drive. Following an idea that germinated on the sets of Khatron Ke Khiladi in 2011, Yardi teamed up with actor Akshay Kumar to start Grazing Goat Pictures. The duoa��s first release, Oh My God!, was a box office success. Now, besides Bollywood, the company is also focussing on creative films and regional cinema.
          Yardi shares her challenges, inspiration and what makes a�?Akkia�� and her a team:

          Tell us about your upcoming movie, Fugli.
          Directed by Kabir Sadanand, Fugli is about four friends who, because of an a�?incidenta��, get sucked into a world of corruption and politics. The central characters are played by fresh faces: Anil Kapoora��s nephew Mohit Marwah, Olympic medal-winning boxer Vijender Singh, Sayed Jafferya��s grandniece Kiara Advani and Slumdog Millionaire actor Arfi Lamba.

          What is your companya��s business strategy?
          We want to make Grazing Goat Pictures a global player. We not only want to produce regional cinema and world cinema, but are also encouraging our creative team to come up with TV formats and events. Furthermore, we have launched a digital arm. Its first offering is a YouTube channel, FOMO (Fashion on My Own), which caters to both Hindi and English audiences.

          How did you survive the transition from TV to movies?
          I took a big risk when I quit Colors for the challenge of film production. I have always had the drive to create and promote content with great public appeal. Akshay Kumar was also very keen about this synergy.

          How is Akshay to work with?
          Akshay and I have been working together for more than five yearsa��on Fear Factor and various award shows. We relate to each other because we have similar working styles. But the main factor that brought us together was the love for content-driven subjects and our efforts to give regional cinema a platform. I think we complement each othera��he has A�fabulous business sense and I have the knowledge of scripts and content.

          Why regional cinema?
          Regional cinema is growing by leaps and bounds. Wea��ve already released a couple of regional filmsa��72 Miles Ek Pravas (Marathi) and Bhaji in Problem (Punjabi)a��and have announced our next, a film called Anntar (Marathi) that is being filmed in London. In my opinion, regional films are simple yet impactful because they arena��t flashy or trashy. Also, the audience can relate to the performances and the cinematography.

          What are the challenges you face as a producer?
          The biggest challenge, and the biggest drive, is the need to constantly re-invent. People get bored easily.

          The genres you prefer?
          Cinema, I believe, is a mode of escapism. Ita��s a prerequisite of the industry that films with various themes and genres be made.

          Who is your inspiration?
          Oprah Winfrey. I like the fact that she has come up in life with just hard work and a lot of dedication. I also love her strong connection with people and the fact that she is so genuine.

          Fulgi is scheduled to release in the second half of the year.

          -Mrinalini Sundar

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          Get a slice of Rachel Allena��s everyday life, her favourite ingredients and an indulgence she holds close to her heart

          Herea��s a chance observe celebrated chef Rachel Allena��s life in Ireland a�� right from dealing with her suppliers at work to reactions to her cooking from friends and family. The new show, Rachel Allena��s Easy Meals, is being telecast for the first time in India, on TLC. Renowned for her baking, the Irish TV chef takes us through easy, fuss-free cooking that covers everything from easy bakes and lazy-SundayA�mornings to cooking for a crowd. Some of Allena��s signature dishes have five ingredients or less and can be made in one pot. Hassle-free cooking for her means putting a delicious meal together even when the pantry is nearly empty.

          The cookbook author tells us about must-have ingredients and her indulgences:

          What inspired you to take up cooking?
          Ia��ve always loved cooking. ButA� only realised it when I lost my mother. I was very young and spent my first five days making biscuits and cakes. And then I thought of doing a little bit more.

          Whata��s next for Rachel Allen?
          Ita��s more of travelling and writing for me. I also wonder when I will retire.

          What ingredients are we likely to find in your kitchen?
          Cumin seeds and green cardamom pods and of course garlic.A�I prefer to buy spices fresh. And I just love butter; wea��veA� got really good butter in Ireland.

          One indulgence you allow yourself?
          My moma��s breast chicken. She would make the bread crumbs stuffing with the chicken and shea��d cook them with a little bit of lemon. It always reminds me of how much I used to love eating that.

          Easy Meals by Rachel Allen is on TLC, Monday to Friday at 8 pm.

          A�-Sumitra Nair

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          David Roccoa��s Dolce India sees the celebrity chef adding a touch of Italy to our local cuisine

          Hea��s experimental, self-taught and hates liver. The Canadian-born Italian has donned the role of author, chef and even his kidsa�� soccer team coacha��but you would know him better as the host of David Roccoa��s Dolce Vita, whereA� he explores the Italian way of life and food. After about 10 weeks of filming in India (Mumbai, Jaipur, Chennai and New Delhi), his upcoming series, David Roccoa��s Dolce India, is just days away from being aired on Fox Traveller, and Rocco says that he spent countless hours cooking. a�?When I wasna��t cooking, I was eating. Ita��s a tough life, but someonea��s gotta do it,a�? he begins, adding that all his research was done post the filming of each episode. a�?I like going in with an open mind, open heart and just exploring… trying the different spices and ingredients first hand instead of just reading about them.a�?

          Best of both
          On the show, Rocco explores Indian food, coming up with an exciting fusion of Italian and Indian recipes along the way. a�?In Jaipur, I made mutton Bolognese. We started with Indian style minced mutton, cooked with garam masala and spices, and then added extra tomato sauce and served it over pasta,a�? says the celebrity chef who has fallen in love with mustard oil. a�?Ita��s now my second favourite oil! Ia��m still using it now, at home, for some of my dishes,a�? says Rocco, who enjoyed the chutneys and the fish markets that Chennai had to offer. a�?It was an amazing experience. Being there at 5 am and seeing all the fish come in. Except, I didna��t realise I was seasick until it was too late. I made the chutneys and dosas my morning ritual.a�?

          Al dente, please
          After having tried the likes of lamb eyeballs in Jordan, one would think that Rocco would have a stomach of steel, but he admits to being shaken at what he saw in a slaughter house. a�?I love goat, but watching one slaughtered before we cooked it gave me a lot to think about,a�? says Rocco. And as far as fusing two cuisines goes, he admits, a�?In reality, the cuisines are so similar that it was hard to go wrong when combining them. The biggest difference is that Italians like their rice and pasta al dente.a�?

          Premiers on March 20 on Fox Traveller, and airs on Thursday and Friday at 9.30 pm

          -Ryan Peppin

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            SPI Cinemasa�� VP, Richard Musa, talks about luxe movie-watching experiences, traffic and spice

            come April, and Richard Musa will be celebrating a year at SPI Cinemas as their executive VP operations, and a year in Chennai. In hospitality for 30 years, Cheshire-born Musa has travelled the world and calls his stint at Yemen a�?a surreal experience,a�? among all the launches of star properties he has overseen. He opened the Al Qasr in Yemen, back in 2010, and if you brush up on your history, youa��ll know why he chose to leave as soon as he could. a�?I was surrounded by Al-Qaeda and Somali pirates,a�? he exclaims, as he tells us about terror attacks and armed security personnel on watch at the hotel. a�?Youa��re usually provided with a laptop on the job, but there, my head of security gave me a taser.a�?

            Matinee happy
            Musaa��s next move was to Pune, where, after a brief stint, he joined the SPI group and switched base to Chennai. a�?This is a boutique cinema group,a�? he says with some pride, pointing out why the business of hospitality plays a role here. a�?We deal with a wide spectrum of public and provide a five-star product at a bargain price,a�? he shares, adding that a similar movie experience in the UK would cost at least GBP10. Speaking of premium experiences, he chooses not to comment on when Luxe (the uber-luxury theatre by the group) is scheduled to open, but hints that the group plans to expand to more cities. Clearly amused by the movie watching experience here, Musa shares, a�?This is the only place in the world where you can shout and clap at the screen. The first time I heard it, I thought there was a riot going on in there,a�? he laughs.

            Nellore calling
            While he misses the stand-alone bars in Pune, Musa is enjoying his culinary experiences in Chennai. He lights up with an a�?I like going out,a�? before listing some of his favourite restaurants in town. Not surprisingly, Musa also has a collection of about 500 cookbooks back home. a�?I love to try different cuisines,a�? he says, going on to share, a�?I had a kara dosa in Nellore with a chilli paste. It nearly blew my head off!a�? But that has not stopped him from being part of all the tasting sessions at Spice Kitchen, the restaurant in the groups theatre in Nellore. He finds it puzzling when people a�?reach for the pepper and chilli flakes, without even tasting whata��s served.a�? But though he is adventurous with food, he is certain he will not touch a steering wheel in Chennai. a�?I felt safer in Yemen than in the traffic here,a�? he concludes on a light note.

            -Ryan Peppin

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