Daily Archives: May 16, 2014
Sign up for classes that appeal to both cultural and culinary tastebuds. Plus, a jewellery workshop
Have fun learning to make your own baubles. DakshinaChitra is organising a terracotta jewellery-making workshop for adults. Known for its ethnic style, bright colours and intricate designs, these pieces are crafted from clay. The workshop, inclusive of materials and transportation, costs Rs. 2,000. Till tomorrow. The cultural museum is also hosting a Miniature Heritage House Models workshop for kids on Saturday, at Rs. 500 (10.30 am to 4 pm), and a paper quilling workshop for adults, at Rs. 1,000, on May 31. Details: 24462435
Slice of pie
Sink your teeth into some delectable flans and pastries at Sugar Lips, a five-month-old cake shop. The store boasts homemade chocolates, varieties of desserts like tiramisu and eclairs, and munchies like sandwiches and burgers. Cupcake lovers must check out their customised fondant and red velvet cakes. Pastries start from Rs. 45, while a one kilogram cake is Rs. 650. At Mission Street, Pondicherry. Details: 9840889001
Watch the American mystery-thriller, Gaslight, at Auroville today. Directed by George Cukor, the 1944 film is based on Patrick Hamiltona��s play by the same name. The story revolves around Paula who is sent away to school after her aunt, with whom she has been living, is mysteriously murdered. When she moves back to the same house 10 years later, with her new husband, and strange events occur. At Bharath Nivas, Auroville. From 7.30 pm onwards. Details: zoompondy.com
Indian journalist and corporate trainer, Anupama Raju, and French photographer, Pascal Bernard, are collaborating and hosting a poetry and photography exhibition. Called Surfaces et Profondeurs (Surfaces and Depths), the exhibition explores the heritage and culture of the French city, La Rochelle. At Maison Colombani. Till May 17, 9 am to 7 pm. Details: 0413 2334351
To nail your curries, head over to the Sita Cultural Center and take part in their Indian cooking class. Headed by Pondicherry-based chef Manisha, the workshop will teach you how to cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like Chettinad chicken, biryani, palak panner, different varieties of sambar, rasam and more. If you are an early bird, the ingredients will be provided by them. At Rs. 1,000. Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 am to 2 pm. Details: 0413 4200718
Digging deep into the history of the French town, J B P More turns tour guide
Did you know that Arab navigator Sulaiman al Mahri called Pondicherry Bandikari in the late 15th century? J B P Morea��s book, From Arikamedu to the Foundation of Modern Pondicherry, has nuggetsA� like thisA� on the French town. TheA� Paris-basedA�A� historian explains that this was after the Nayak of Senji, Muthu Krishnappa, allowed the Portuguese to set up a godown for trade. Goods were transported by bullock carts, known as a�?vandia�� in Tamil. As a result, a chery or market had come up in the area, which became known as Vandichery. In Telugu, it became a�?bandia�� and therefore a�?Bandicheria��. Over the course of time, Vandicherry and Bandicheri became Pandichery, for the Tamils who were predominant in the area. The historian and teacher, who moved to France for his higher education, is working on the sequel to the book. Last week, he also launched another book, Origin and Foundation of Madras. He has others, Rise and Fall of the Dravidian Justice Party and a biography of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, coming up. We got him to highlight four heritage spots in Pondicherry.
100 and beyond
No matter the name change, even 100 years later, Pondicherry will be known for its Ashram in the name Sri Aurobindo, and the enduring French presence in some form or the other. To soak up some heritage flavour, More suggests the coastal and seasonal
market of Arikamedu, the Villianur temple and the Kakayanthope Buddha statue.
Dive into the Bay of Bengal for some art appreciation, thanks to Pondicherry-based Temple Adventures
Art in storefronts, windows, and mobile galleries, anyone? While the world has been experimenting with art in unusual spaces, we are not far behind. We have Hyatt Regency Chennai, well known for their art installations. There is The Park, popular for their Triptych made by Bikash Bhattacharya. a�?The stretch from Madhya Kailash to Tidel Park has paintings on the wall by eight city-based artists and the sculpture opposite Tidel Park, by Dashrath Patel, depicts fire,a�? says art critic and professor Sadanand Menon. So what is new? Well, you could dive into the Bay of Bengal for your next art appreciation class. Temple Adventures, a scuba diving centre in Pondicherry, is creating a a�?marine parka��a�� six kilometres away from shore, 23 metres deep, and spread across 50 meters, with rock structures and other art installations. For those who cana��t imagine the concept of underwater installations, google The Silent Evolution by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. Created in 2010, in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, the artist installed 400 life-size sculptures, forming a monumental artificial reef. Aravind Thaunsri, MD of Temple Adventures and a diver himself, has similar ideas for the marine park. a�?Wea��ve been at this for 10 years. We had some installations placed but trawlers accidentally took some away,a�? he begins.
Currently, the marine park has an artificial temple. a�?Do not expect the traditional version,a�? Thaunsri clarifies. Made of iron rods, the installation is a cast iron framework on the sea floor. It looks like a tomb tied to a thick rope. a�?The rope is to ensure it is not carried away. Wea��ve already lost bikes and smaller art pieces,a�? he says. For now, there are 10 rocks forming an installation, but soon they plan to install cars and bikes too.
Life at sea
a�?Underwater art installations are a popular concept. I went diving in Thailand and they had an artificial shipwreck,a�? says
Thaunsri. These installations also help conserve aquatic life. a�?They are like homes for the fish. They create more homes for reproduction and increased diversity/spawning,a�? he says. The entire project requires around `10 lakhs, soA�A�A� theA� teamA� go t helpA� from the Pondicherry government and kickstarter.com, which funds projects. They are also open to artists contributing. Specialised divers will be selected from the core team to place the installations under water. According to Thaunsri, weekends are extremely busy at Temple Adventures. a�? We have a large population of expats. But from last year, the number of divers in Chennai and Pondicherry has doubled,a�? he concludes, hoping to have the project ready by the end of the year.
One dive for a first timer costs Rs. 6,500. ForA� qualified divers, it is Rs. 5,000 for two dives.A� Details: templeadventures.com
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Ian McKellen, on returning to X Men, meeting old friends and why filming was one big party
Ian McKellen returns to the X-Men series (after The Last Stand), playing the powerful mutant dedicated to protecting his kind, no matter the cost. For the actor, it was a chance to inhabit one of his famous roles again and to spend time with his colleagues from the original three films. a�?a�?As long as the people making the film are the same, as long it is the same team, then I hope I would be invited to join along,a��a�� the star who plays MagnetoA� said recently. McKellen opens up on how Magneto has changed and what the films say to the world:
Was the role easy to reclaim?
Yes, although Magnetoa��s a bit more temperate in this film. Hea��s come to a point where he has to do whata��s right for everyone, and he realises he needs his allies. But it was easy to get back to playing hima��climbing into those clothes and those boots. Bryan Singer was back with us, so that was great, plus some of his old colleagues. It was a bit like going to see family you havena��t seen for a while.
With Bryan returning, it musta��ve made it easier?
Ia��ve done four films with Bryan and he has grown as a director. Ia��ve always been very happy working with him. Hea��s a director who knows what he wants and once he sees it on screen, he lets you know hea��s got it.
Anything different since the last X-Men film?
The costumes have changed a bit and therea��s a new element to the helmeta��fans will be able to work out why. But on the whole, no, it felt like just another episode.
X-Men films always have subtext. What does Days of Future Past bring?
X-Men is not just a story about humans with superhuman power that can control the world around them. Ita��s focussed on people who are cast out by society for what they are. Thata��s an early thing Bryan said to me, way back in the last century! I think Days of Future Past continues that.
You went to Comic-Con last year. Was it fun?
It was very fast and it can be hard work because they get you tied up with promoting the film, so ita��s not really a relaxing time with friends. But it was enjoyable sitting with all those famous faces and, fortunately, we all got on. But making the film was more of a party. And, of course, the reaction from fans was overwhelming.
The movie is scheduled to release on May 23
a�� Team indulge
Scootera��s reception at the New York Indian Film Festival proves debutant filmmaker Shiladitya Moulik is headed in the right direction
When Shiladitya Moulik decided to switch from advertising to filmmaking a year ago, he thought about what his cricket coach had told him in schoola��if exercise makes your body ache, know ita��s working. a�?Similarly, filmmaking can be painful too. But I remember those words and go to bed smiling,a�? begins Moulik, who directed Mrs Scooter, which is riding into the New York Indian Film Festival and the NFDC Film Bazaar in Goa. Set in a town in Uttar Pradesh, the movie, starring Anjali Patil and Satyakam Anand, speaks of the love between a woman and a scooter, which develops after the husband abandons the two.
The big leap
Tired of his job at an advertising firm, Moulik decided to take the plunge with three of his friends. a�?Deepak Nagar, Saarthak Juneja and Anamika Roy Choudhary were in my team. Back then, people told us how unprofessional it was to quit as a team. Now that the film is going to international festivals, they praise us for taking a bold step,a�? says Moulik, describing how Nagar came up with the idea when he spotted a scooter, with a sticker that read, a�?Someone somewhere is made for me.a�?
Moulika��s favourite genres are sci-fi, rom-com and thrillers. He is currently working on a horror comedy and a drama, both a�?tough genres to work on simultaneously.a�? The MBA graduate offers three tips for aspiring filmmakers: a�?Be honest to the story. Be open to people,A� even a spot boy can add value to your film. And dona��t second guess your audience. They might love what you never expected.a�?
Mrs Scooter is scheduled to release in India in three months.
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Still from Pinky
The first Chennai Womena��s International Film Festival sees 177 films from 26 countries
After a short film festival and several international film festivals, we now have the Chennai Womena��s International Film Festival (CWIFF) making its debut here. With over 177 films in Hindi, English and Tamil, it will see directors from cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai, and countries like Egypt, Spain, Mexico and Germany. According to Uday Kumar, the festival director, CWIFF is an initiative to promote films made by or about women. a�?Eighty per cent of the films will focus on topics related to women. The other 20 per cent will be the general category,a�? he says.
Still from Pinky
Filmmaker Lakshmy Ramakris-hnan observes that there are very few women filmmakers in the city. a�?We are conditioned to be a certain way, and to break that and come out is a challenge,a�? she says, adding that CWIFF will be a platform for them to translate their passion into reality. But this doesna��t mean the men will be left out. a�?The film festival will bring together cinema enthusiasts, filmmakers and artists,a�? she adds.
The filmsa��divided into four categories: short films, ad films, documentary and feature filmsa��will be judged by a panel that includes cartoonist-film critic Madhan, directors V Priya and Nandhini, and film critic Sathish Kumar. And offering a breather from movies will be a concert by Andrea Jeremiah.
We got talking to three directorsA� about their films. Mumbai-based Nabh Kumar is presentingA� Nabe, a thriller. a�?Ita��s about the Mumbai police who has 90 minutes to catch two terrorists,a�? he says. In the ad category, city-based director Nattu Dev is showing Think and Ink, about an old lady struggling to make a living. a�? I am also working on Ameba, a short film that deals with the changing human conscious.a�? And then therea��s Aarthi J M, whoa��s presenting two of her short films, Pinky and Inivendam.com, but is looking forward to meeting a�?other women who make movies.a�?
Registration at Rs. 5,000 for women and Rs. 7,500 for men. Free entry. Details: cwiff.com
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Bringing you up to speed on the desi connect in the much-hyped Game of Thrones
With fans across the world addicted to the fourth season of the television adaptation of George RR Martina��s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, we scan through the series for actors who share an ethnic link with us. Playing significant roles on the show, they truly bring the popularity home.
Indira Varma: Ellaria Sand
Playing the part of the dangerous Dornish prince Oberyn Martella��s partner, Indira Varma is introduced in the fourth season of the series as the sensuous and caustic Ellaria Sand. The half-Indian, half-Swiss Varma, who was born and raised in England, has played significant roles in television series like The Canterbury Tales, Rome, Luther and Human Target as well as the lead role in Mira Naira��s controversial film, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. This is, however, the meatiest avatar of the actress, whose character goes on to be the mother of Oberyna��s bastard children, also known as the Sand Snakes. She appears multiple times in the season and is a character featured in the books that follow. a�?I was really keen to be a part of such a hugely creative and diverse project. It has dragons, for goodness sake!a�? said the 40-year-old mother of one in an interview.
Amrita Acharia: Irri
Amrita Acharia portrays a young Dothraki woman, Irri, who is given to Daenerys Targaryen as a handmaiden. She is fiercely loyal and teaches Daenerys the Dothraki language and customs. Part Ukrainian and part Nepalese, Acharia grew up in Kathmandu, and later moved to London where she lived for a brief while before moving with her family to Norway, at the age of 13. At 19, Acharia moved back to London to pursue acting. She has also been associated with British drama series Casualty and the biographical film, The Devila��s Double.
Ramon Tikaram: Prendahl na Ghezn
Of Indo-Fijian and Malaysian descent, Ramon Tikaram plays Prendahl na Ghezn, a warrior of Ghiscari origin. Alongside Mero, hea��s one of the captains of the Second Sons, an army of mercenaries. Tikaram was born in Singapore to a Fijian-Indian father, Pramod Tikaram, and a Sarawakian mother, Fatima Rohani. As a child, he travelled all over the world thanks to his dada��s job and attended primary schools in the UK and Germany before being sent to the Duke of Yorka��s Royal Military School in Dover, in 1978. Although Tikarama��s character only briefly appeared on the show, he made his mark when he tried to fight the Mother of Dragons, before being beheaded by one of his a�?brothersa��, Daario.
Game of Thrones season four airs on HBO Define on Sundays at 9 pm.
Culture, security and the moustache make Chennai men desirable a�� claims a survey by Axe
You poor sod. All these days youa��ve been hitting on firang a�?chicksa�� and you never knew why they kept rejecting you? You need a survey. So South Indiaa��s eighth most popular deo brand, Axe, surveyed 1,100 a�?foreigna�� women asking them something along those lines and of course now all the men know what to do and the women know who not to. Guys, we stink. Apparently. (And every woman you have ever been with has a cold.) But dona��t be disappointed, because while we are not the most confident lovers in bed (talk about wielding an axe), wea��re very successful when we use our mouth! Yup, courtesy and culture talk works with the firangi femmes. That makes sense. All we need to do is buy some deo (of course) and become a guide at Mahabalipuram. a�?Check out my five rathas, baby!a�?
Ridiculous! But then again, Chennai once had the dubious distinction of being the highest consumer of fairness creams and they made us all suffer for that trend by subjecting us to those a�?Be Fair and Handsomea�� type products and ads. Now they feel we really need the opinion of 1,100 women of dubious foreignness to tell us how to do it right. But thata��s ok. Wea��re Chennai guys. Wea��re well behaved and moustached and wea��ll take this like the gentlemen we are. The comments will stay in the back rows while we run to open doors and seduce foreign women over deep discussions on kalachaaram. And dark rum. So wea��re going to embrace this study. Wea��re gonna share it on Facebook. Bring it up in conversations. Use it as an excuse when we cana��t bring it up. But one thing we wona��t do is change our deo.
This piece is a response to a survey conducted by Axe deodorant which stated that Chennai men score high on stability and responsibility while falling behind on fashion sense and hygiene
a�� Kishore Manohar
Brand consultant and founding partner of Incite and creator of the Facebook page Man Vs Tasmac a�� a light-hearted take on the woes of tipplers in Chennai
Age is no bar tolearn the sport, says national coach and shooting gold medallist Sumeet H Sanghavi
Ita��s close to 8 pm on a Monday evening and Sumeet H Sanghavi has just wound up his classes for the day. We are at his shooting range on Vasu Street in Kilpauk, and our conversation is broken by occasional gunfire, as Shree Nivetha, a Coimbatore lass, practices for the upcoming international meet in Germany, on May 25. a�?Shooting is the only sport in which you can represent the National level within a year,a�? says Sanghavi, pointing to Nivetha, who started shooting just four years ago, as an example. Sanghavi, an international gold medallist who started shooting when he was 10, set up his fully-electronic shooting range for private practice, but decided to give back to the sport when he turned coach (certified by the National Rifle Association of India) and found time on his hands. Sumeeta��s Air Gun Sports Academy is one of the few electronic ranges in the country, equipped with Olympics-grade Steyr guns imported from Austria, and Olympics-approved Sius Ascor (Swiss made) electronic targets, in four lanes.
While you could even be in your 60s and still learn to shoot, children will have to be at least 11 to start. Sanghavia��s training begins with a 15-minute exercise routine to work on hand-eye coordination, oxygen levels and the stability of your arm. Besides having to hold up the one-and-a-half kilo air gun steadily, therea��s no other physical demands in the sport, Sanghavi tells us. a�?Shooting is 90 per cent a mental sport,a�? he says, pointing out that it helps develop concentration. It is not as simple as pointing at an object and shooting, as shown in the movies, he says, a�?The secret to shooting is a subconscious release of the trigger and maintaining a good sight picture. Without that, it is not possible to hit a target.a�? It takes 10 days of preparation before one can actually stand and shoot.
16 and growing
Sanghavi takes classes on alternate evenings (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) during the week and in the mornings on Saturday and Sunday. He concentrates on batches of four at a time and is confident that students can sign up to represent Chennai at the state level after three months of coaching. In fact, it was after many requests from friends who wanted their children to learn the sport, that Sanghavi decided to turn coach. a�?Shooting is giving India its maximum Olympic medals. We need more youngsters to take it up,a�? he says. The academy, now two months old, has around 16 students (a majority of them in their teens), and Sanghavi is confident that more will pour in once his first batch makes it to the state level in August.
The coaching fee is `500 an hour, inclusive of all equipment. Details: 9840249157
a�� Ryan Peppin
With his latest release, Yaamirukka Bayamey, garnering favourable response, Kreshna is on cloud nine. a�?It was a different genre that we tried and it worked,a�? says the actor, adding that a�?it feels good when hard work pays off.a�? Kreshna recently completed a shooting stint for Vanmam in Nagercoil, where he shared frames with Vijay Sethupathi and Sunaina. The career graph of this actor, who made his debut six years back, seems to be on the rise now.
Thirumanam Yenum Nikah is scheduled to release shortly. The film, directed by Anees, stars Jai, Nazriya and Arjun Raghavendra, among others. It is about two youngsters from traditional families who, after they fall in love, hide their real identities and carry on a game of pretense. A breezy rom-com, it is touted as a wholesome family entertainer.
Directors Bala and Mysskin have teamed up for a new project, Pisaasu. While Bala is producing the film, Mysskin wields the megaphone. A psychological thriller centred on the paranormal, Mysskin did extensive research at several US universities for it. If the product turns out to be as interesting and engaging as Mysskina��s last release, Onaayum Aatukuttiyum, the audience will be in
for a treat.
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