Monthly Archives: April 2014
Enroll in Capoeira classes and a French cuisine workshop. Plus, squeeze in a momo festival and a walk around Auroville
Sign up for Capoeira classes and learn to defend yourself. The martial art, first developed in Brazil, combines dance, acrobatics and music. Often practised as a game, it involves elements of dance, acrobatics and music. Register with instructor Camaleao, a Capoeira expert, and perfect your moves. At Deepanam School, on all Tuesdays between 6.30 pm and 8 pm, for adults and teenagers. From Rs. 100 onwards. Details: 9488328435
Give your kids a chance to get creative with clay, as DakshinaChitra presents a four-day workshop on studio pottery. Children will learn how to mix and mould clay, along with various pottery techniques, including wheel pottery, coil pottery, slab pottery, clay modelling and more. At Rs. 2,000, the workshop is for children aged between four and eight. At DakshinaChitra. From May 1 to May 4, 10.30 am to 5 pm. Details: 24462435
This Sunday, catch a 1998 French psychological drama by André Téchiné at Alliance Francaise. Alice et Martin, a 120-minute movie is about Martin who flees his home and finds shelter in his brother’s apartment in Paris, but cannot escape his mysterious past. At Alliance Francaise auditorium, on Sunday, from 6 pm onwards. Details: alliancefrancaisepondichery.com
Syncing with nature
Enjoy the sunset and discover unexplored areas of Auroville with the BioRegion tour. Organised by the Mohanam Cultural Centre, this walk is open to Aurovillians and the public. Registrations at Rs. 750. Meeting point at Lively Boutique, Kotakkarai Plaza. Tomorrow, from 12 pm to 7.30 pm. Details: 0413 2623806
The momo addiction
Taste five varieties of authentic momos at the Momo Festival at Eden Park. Choose between vegan, potato and cheese, spinach and paneer, chicken and sweet for fillings. Relish the dumplings with sauces like garlic curd, chilli tomato
and chilli garlic. At Eden Park. Till April 27. Starts from Rs. 188 onwards.
Unveil the secrets of French cuisine with a cooking class. This one-day class organised by the Sita Cultural Center will help you learn how to prepare dishes like apple compote with spice crumble, spinach salad with chicken liver and balsamic dressing and pannacotta with seasonal fruits. At Rs. 1,500, the second batch starts tomorrow. From 10 am to 2 pm. At Sita Cultural Center. Details: 9944016128
As a tribute to Toronto urbanist Jane Jacob, three outfits join up and present photo walks and bicycle tours in Pondicherry next month
CATCH an art show, take a cycle tour and get a guided walk around the Pondy neighbourhood next month, as the city celebrates the life and work of Jane Jacob, the late Toronto-based urbanist. Vidhya Mohankumar, the owner at Urban Design (an NGO that works to promote liveable and sustainable cities through community engagement) and the organisers of Jane’s Walk in Pondicherry, says, “Jane’s Walk hopes to knit people together into strong and resourceful communities, and cultivates a broad understanding of how cities develop, function and thrive.” The event invites residents of Pondicherry to sign up for a photo walk in the interesting Muslim Quarter, an arty bicycle tour, and the community-building ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ walk. The aim of the event is to provide participants with an opportunity to see their city and neighbourhood through new eyes—engage in conversa tions about its history, the changes they see today, and the future they envision for the places they live and work in.
Well known for her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jacob was an influential writer who suggested radical ideas in terms of urban planning. Jane’s Walk was started in Toronto in 2007, a year after Jacob died, and has since become a global event. According to Devangi Ramakrishnan, the trustee at Urban Design, over 100 cities participate in Jane’s Walk now and get people to explore their cities and connect with neighbours. The annual series of free, volunteer-led urban walks has grown from 27 to over 600 walks—from Calgary to Calcutta and London to Ljubljana. Well into its seventh year, Jane’s Walk is taking place internationally on May 2, 3 and 4 across Canada and in cities around the world. This year, for the Jane’s Walk Festival in India, a series of commemorativ walks are being planned in Bangalore and Chennai, too.
Walk for a cause
Rajbhavan Neighbourhood Association (RNA) is offering the ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ walk, lead by Ramakrishnan and Ashok Panda, co-convener of Intach Pondicherry. Panda, along with the residents, will share insights on the evolution of the neighbourhood over the years they’ve lived there, while Ramakrishnan will engage residents and business owners in discussions on what makes a city liveable. Together, they plan to hopefully generate specific intervention ideas for street and public space improvement in the Rajbhavan area.
The other section
‘Walk the Muslim Quarter’ is a photo walk that will capture street scenes on camera. The walk will focus on key concepts from Jacob’s book such as ‘sidewalk ballet’ and ‘eyes upon the street’. Participants will be given themes at the start of the walk and encouraged to
capture them through their photographs. “We will also stop to meet some community voices who will share their memories of the Pondicherry that was, and their aspirations for its future,’’ says Ramakrishnan, promising a chai break during the walk.
Art in the City, the bicycle tour, is being organised by My Vintage Bicyclette (MVB) and Sita Cultural Center (SCC). According to Fleur from SCC, the tour will start from the centre at 7.30 am and will cross City Centre, Vaithikuppam, Kuruchikuppam, Beach Road, and the French Quarter. “The tour will focus on old and new kinds of arts. So it will go from ancient traditions of kolam to advertisements, paintings, and foreign artists coming to Pondicherry to take over public walls to express their art: graffiti, stencils, painting,”sharesFleur Soumer from SCC.For refreshments,
there will be a tea break at SCC.
All the walks are free and last 90 minutes. Art in the City is tomorrow, at 7.30 am, from Sita Cultural Center. Meet Your Neighbours is at 4.30 pm, from La Closerie. Walk the Muslim Quarter is on Sunday, at 7. 30 am, from Porte de Goudelour. Details: janeswalk.org/india/pondicherry
French actor and parkour inventor, David Belle, talks about Brick Mansions, working with Paul Walker and bringing his academy to India
David Belle introduced moviegoers to the art of parkour—a training discipline that uses body movement—with his 2004 French movie, District B13 and its sequel District 13: Ultimatum. Since then, action and chase sequences in movies have undergone transformation. Now, the French actor will recapture the sequences in the American adaptation of the movie, Brick Mansions, which also stars the late Paul Walker. A stunt co-ordinator and international movie star, Belle had, in a recent interview, shared plans to visit India to promote the movie, meet fans and possibly open a parkour academy here. More from the actor:
Given that Brick Mansions is the American adaptation of the French District 13, your experience?
It sometimes takes me a while to get into a film that I am working on and this was a new thing for me— to speak in English, to work with American actors. But they were really cool, they made me feel at ease, so I was able to express myself the way I wanted.
How was it working with Paul Walker?
He was a little crazy, like me. His friends used to call him Peter Pan because he had the spirit of a child. When we met (Walker) said to me, ‘I think I found someone with a more youthful spirit than myself.’ The set was like a playground for him.
Did you ever get hurt while shooting?
We got hurt all the time. One injury would disappear, and another would appear somewhere else.
Any challenges while shooting the action scenes?
In one particular scene, it was very hot and we fell a lot on gravel. It was very tiring and we had to be extra careful. Because we (me and Walker) wanted it to be realistic, our first tendency was to really go for it. So we had to establish boundaries.
You don’t talk much, but we see you a lot, especially on Dailymotion, with all the parkour stuff.
Parkour is to move with the sensation that your spirit is controlling where you are going and the body is only following. Before, I moved to stay fit, without really knowing how it could be useful. When my father told me about “parcours” (French army training) and what it did to him, I understood why we have arms and legs.
What does one have to keep in mind in parkour?
Everyone likes playing in water, diving, and jumping from rocks to do flips. But the base is to learn to swim. The same is true with parkour.
Brick Mansions releases today.
Mervin Solomon and Vivek Siva make their music debut with the movie Vadacurry
At 23, Mervin Solomon and Vivek Siva have snapped up their first feature film, Vadacurry. The Jai-Swati starrer came their way after Yuvan Shankar Raja walked out of the project—after composing just one song. However, the two friends-cum-composers are thrilled. “I am a huge fan of Yuvan. He was at his peak when we were in school. To share an album name with him is an honour,” says Solomon, who is also a fan of A R Rahman and dreams of working with the composer.
The film’s producer, Dhayanidhi Azhagiri, roped in the duo inon the recommendation of composer Anirudh Ravichander (who used to be in a band with them, called Zinx). “We had two days to compose songs. The first was Sunny,” says Solomon. Siva insists that the song will be a big hit. “It features Sunny Leone. I saw the song sequence and it is a treat. We have tried to give variety in all our songs. We also have songs by Siddharth Mahadevan and Gana Bala, who is the find of the year,” he says.
Following the tune
Solomon and Siva have been musically-inclined since childhood. While Solomon grew up playing the keyboard at church (which he does even today), Siva’s parents encouraged him to pursue music while at school, at Padma Sheshadri Bala Bhavan.
The duo aren’t too nervous about their first project, but they made sure that Ravichander listened to all their songs. “We are all friends and have worked with each other for a long time. In fact, I worked with Ani on the film 3 (Siva was the music programmer). He always listens to our songs and gives us feedback.”
Vadacurry is scheduled to release in May. It has five songs, including one composed by Raja.
41 days of competiveness, bonhomie and close-ups on TV. Why you should get a sports luxe wardrobe for the IPL season
An IPL match can be a complete party with DJ music, a cheering crowd, painted face, the pom poms and the mandatory IPL horn. And while most of the matches are taking place in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, the last leg of the tournament will see the action coming to the country. Here are some tips from the experts on ways to look stylish yet stay cool while rooting for your favourite amidst the heat and the dust. As Mumbai-based celebrity stylist Nisha Kundnani puts it, “The IPL is a perfect time to play up the ‘Sports Luxe’ trend as seen on the international and Indian runways.”
Keep your cool
Delhi-based designer Shweta Kapur, who is known for luxury sportswear, says, “Sportswear essentials like bomber/varsity jackets and ribbed track pants in a luxe fabric are a perfect fit.”
Kundnani suggests “breathable fabrics, smart cuts, stylish patterns and modern labels.”
For chic, sporty women, Mumbai designer Nikhil Thampi picks “shorts in a soft fabric with boyfriend shirt, styled with a stunning neck piece; or a good pair of denims and ganji, a maxi dress or an A-line chiffon dress with a crop top teamed with a pair of good sunglasses.”
“Go loud and add a bit of print to your wardrobe. For the less experimental, pair a printed separate with something solid to create an impact,” says Delhi-based designer Yogesh Chaudhary. “Stick to reds, pinks, yellows and greens —they all make a statement,” says Kapur.
Thampi’s tip? “Soothing tones like whites, beige, pale yellow and powder blue work. ”
The add ons
Heading to an after-match party? Carry a light blazer to throw over your crop top or dress. And accessorise smart.
“Leather is a go-to accessory this season. Replace wristbands with fun leather cuffs in monotone hues. Ditch that clutch for a more sporty duffel or backpack,” Kapur says.
Chennai-based make up artist, Akriti Sachdev says, “Keep a pack of blotting tissues handy, as these will help absorb excess oil.” She also suggests using a good oil-free primer along with a long wear lipstick and a water proof eye liner, so your make-up looks fresh.
Checking into the Park Hyatt’s new presidential suite is all about customised food and luxe details
A brand known for offering understated luxury, Park Hyatt recently opened its presidential suite — the last surprise in store at the property. “This is a chic 180 sq mt urban loft designed by Manhattan-based designer boutique George Wong Designs. We are extremely proud to have had world renowned pianist Yanni inaugurate and stay in this suite, besides also appreciating it greatly,” says Christian Wurm, general manager of the hotel.
Located on the eighth floor of the hotel, this suite offers a beautiful view of the greener side of the city. Step in and you are welcomed by beautiful 3D art, leading in to the living area, which is streaked with silver travertine, accents of royal blue and deep purple. The suite is more like an apartment, with a separate living area, a dining area that doubles as a meeting room, complete with a separate entrance for butlers. Given Park Hyatt’s strong leaning towards art, ther is a lot of it on the walls. The living area has a huge painting of what looks like a fish from a distance, but turns out to be a collage of symbols. This is part of Baiju Parthan’s collections.
“The whole idea of this suite is that you enjoy all luxuries within this place — from delectable cuisine, to meetings, to a relaxing massage — you just don’t need to step out for anything. We have televisions in both the bedroom and in the spa. The guest can enjoy watching a show even while soaking in the stone plunge,” Wurm informs.
Yanni, the first guest to use this suite, which is priced at Rs. 1 lakh a day, gave it a big thumbs up when checking out. After an hour spent in admiration, we’d say he was in the right place.
What to expect
All luxe: The bath sees contemporary stainless steel sanitaryware, complemented by the luxe Miller Harris range of amenities.
On call: Your wish is their command. Yanni, we learn, had asked for biryani, and executive chef Balaji had pulled out all the stops to make it memorable. That said, the team, including a dedicated butler, is ready to cater to every culinary requirement. And everything in the well-stocked mini bar is complimentary.
A tub with a view: The 42 sq m in-room, spa completes the experience with steam shower, massage plinth and oversized stone plunge. Guests can soak in a therapeutic bath as they ruminate over the green canopy of Guindy National Forest pleasantly visible across the oversized windows.
Lynder Onyango says running has been her key to getting to know the city
For someone who had never stepped out of Kenya for 30 years, Lynder Adhiambo Onyango was taken by surprise when Maersk Line, her employer, gave her a three year contract to Chennai in 2012. “I had no plans of coming to India. It just happened that the company wanted me to take care of things here,” says Onyango, 33. In the city for almost two years now, she takes care of the import and transactions with all Eastern African nations for the shipping giant.
While most of her time is spent at her office in OMR, Onyango takes time off to unwind every weekend. “I go running with a group called Hash, who meet every week. We walk about five to six kilometres in and around Chennai,” says Onyango, about the activity that has taught her much about the city. Anna Nagar, Mount Round, outskirts like Mahabalipuram, Ecr/Uthandi – these are some of the places where they run and sometimes, they even head out of station for their running sessions. “My best run so far was in Kerala, where we did a trail along the backwaters in Allapey and through tea plantations in Munnar,” she recalls.
The running aside, Onyango also makes it a point to pick up a few words in Tamil from her colleagues and friends. “Language has never been a barrier to me,” she says confidently, adding that she feels that one could get by even without knowing the local language in India, because most of the people she interacted with either knew or understood English. “For those that are not fluent I would rely more on their body language and facial expression to read what they are talking about; which can be quite hilarious at times though,” laughs Onyango, who, because of her tight schedule hasn’t had the chance to travel much apart from her brief visits to Sri Lanka and Kerala. But as her three-year stint in Chennai comes to its end, she says that visits to the Himalayas, Goa, parts of North India and Delhi are on the cards.
The comedian and TV anchor walks us through the new online show, Beauty and the Blogger
ome May, and you can catch the all-new online talent reality show Beauty and the Blogger, by the Famebox network. Hosted by actor and ex-VJ, Cyrus Sahukar, it will see bloggers teaming up with models to perform tasks like writing slogans and promoting themselves on social media to win the three-episode show. Besides a cash prize, the winning model will also become the ambassador for clothing brand American Swan, and the blogger will be designated the social media brand ambassador for the same.
The show will be highly interactive, promises Sahukar. “The beauties (models) and the bloggers will attempt something that takes them out of their comfort zone. And I can promise you, it doesn’t involve showcasing talents like singing or dancing,” he assures us. According to him, the show is made more for digital viewing and will involve the use of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. “Bloggers are known for promoting themselves online and the outcome of the show will also depend on how much they take it forward with social media,” says Sahukar, who is planning to launch content online for his company Humble Pie Productions, that plans to make exclusive content for the internet in the form of short films and videos. “Airing shows digitally excites me. YouTube has made viewing shows online big. Look at Netflix. It created House of Cards as an online show, that is now being shown on television,” he adds.
As for Indian television, Sahukar hopes to see more Indianised versions of international shows, like 24 did recently with Anil Kapoor. He also expects to see more variety. “Though I don’t watch anything on a regular basis, I try tuning into Comedy Nights with Kapil,” he says. As for Indian comedians not receiving their due on TV, he feels it is because of the lack of good writers. “If you look at shows abroad, like the Jay Leno Show, there is a team of six to eight writers coming up with good content. Also, comedy is different. It is tough to write, while keeping in mind the commercial aspect that appeals to a lot of people,” he adds.
Sahukar, who likes spending time on the internet (he usually logs on to funnyordie.com and topdocumentaries.com), feels more online shows are the way to go. Currently shooting for Sab Khelo, Sab Jeeto, a show on Sab TV, Sahukar will soon be busy launching content for Humble Pie, which he promises will feature ‘strange’ comedy.
Log on to youtube.com/fameboxfashion for updates on Famebox’s Beauty and the Blogger. Uploading of videos, posts and blogs will start from the second week of May. Details: facebook.com/fameboxnetwork
Tatiana Maslany on playing different characters and the challenges that come with it
Having stirred viewers’ imaginations with the implications of rampant human cloning, season two of the sci-fi series Orphan Black, will premiere today on AXN. As the protagonist, actor Tatiana Maslany has her work cut out—she has to don seven starkly contrasting characters, including the likes of an Ukranian religious cult survivor, an accented German and a lesbian scientist. Maslany talks about playing the different roles, developments in the new season and guest stars on show.
How important is your acting double, Kathryn Alexandre?
She’s so incredible. She’s the most generous actor because, though we don’t see her on screen, she comes to set having memorised all the lines so she can prompt me. Half the time I’m talking to a tennis ball or an ‘x’ on the wall so when I get Kathryn, it’s a total dream.
A lot of fans are in denial and think Helena (a clone) is still alive. Is she really dead?
The writers don’t make it easy for us. They take away characters we care about. People will die and that’s just the nature of the show.
There are a lot of cool new guest stars. Anyone you were excited to work with?
I was excited about everybody. Michael Huisman came on and he’s an amazing actor. Patrick J Adams and Michelle Forbes were incredible, too.
Your most physically-challenging clone and your most difficult accent.
I think the London accent was the most difficult. It’s so specific to a neighbourhood. As far as physicality, I’ve been playing a lot with Rachel, the clone we meet at the end of season one. She’s quite difficult to maintain as her posture is impeccable.
On AXN, today at 9 pm.
Arjun Vijayaraghavan got recognition with Unnodu Oru Naal. Now the actor, who recently completed his third project, Andhadhi, is awaiting the release of Kalyanam Ennum Nikah, in which he plays a crucial role. “I play an honest cop who struggles to adapt to circumstances,” he says. The film is produced and directed by debutant Ramesh Venkatraman, an alumnus of Rajeev Menon’s film institute.
More than words
Director Balaji Mohan’s Vaayai Moodi Pesavum, starring Dulquer Salmaan and Nazriya Nazim, hits theatres today. His second venture after the engaging Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, the bilingual is highly anticipated. Mohan has even roped in Madhoo—of Roja fame—to play a key role. The actress returns to Tamil screens after a hiatus of more than a decade.
Also hitting cinemas today is Gautham Karthik’s Ennamo Edho, where he shares frames with Rakul Preeth Singh and Nikesha Patel. Karthik’s debut film, Kadal, may not have been a commercial success, but the actor did manage to leave his mark. A remake
of Nani’s Telugu film, Ala Modalaindi, the rom-com is directed by debutant Ravi Thiagarajan, one of Priyadarshan’s former assistants.
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