Daily Archives: May 23, 2014
Hidehiro Ishiura, the director general of JETRO, says getting us to sample a variety of Japanese noodles is a priority
Hidehiro Ishiura is blessed with a curious palate. Ia��m told he was the most animated participant at a recent culinary showcase at Taj Coromandela��s Prego, where French perfumer Nicolas De Barry paired food with fine scents. A few minutes into our conversation, the director general of JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization) is busy jotting down my restaurant recommendations for local flavours. Food, he agrees, is one of the prime aspects in any cultural exchange. And with his recently-concluded sushi seminar at The Leela Palace being such a hit, he plans to follow up with more. Ishiura, who has been in the city for close to a year now, points out that the food industry here has a lot of potential, second only to the automobile sector. That is why food export from Japan (from instant noodles to condiments) ranks third on the list of objectives for the front man of JETRO, the others being FDI to Japan and promoting tourism.
Port to port
Previously working at the Mumbai operations of JETRO, Ishiura feels that the financial capital has a merged culture. a�?I think the official language of Mumbai is English,a�? he smiles, adding that it is a lot like Tokyo. a�?Chennai is a bit different,a�? he agrees, adding, a�?it is also a port city, but you dona��t get the feeling of too much stress here.a�? Ishiura finds it disciplined, with a lot of enthusiasm towards education. He predicts that the auto sector will only grow, and along with it, the support industries, making Chennai the auto hub for South Asia.
On the downside, he feels that our infrastructure could do with a boost. Power and water are the primary concerns, he says. And while he agrees that the Chennai Metro Rail is a good concept, he offers that the roads and the capacity of the port could also do with a bit of improvement. Speaking of roads, the Old Mahabalipuram Road is Ishiuraa��s favourite stretch and he does not miss his weekly bicycle trip from Nungambakkam to Vivanta by Taj a�� Fishermana��s Cove on Sundays. Soon, he shares, he will attempt to pedal all the way to Pondicherry.
a�� Ryan Peppin
Give the cookery and art lessons a miss and try befriending a four-legged beast on the beach instead
Ita��s 7 am on a Tuesday morning and Mr Nice and Laila are being led to Marina beach from their humble stable behind Vivekananda House. They will soon be subject to a bit of petting and a lot of questions from a group of youngsters who cana��t wait to get on their backs and hold the reins. The trained Marwaris that they are, this is nothing new to them. Along with their master Shariq Joshy, they have successfully taught 40 students the art of horse riding. a�?They are part of a group of 12 horses and two ponies,a�? says Joshy, who bought his horses in 2000, soon after he finished his equestrian training in Bangalore and Yercaud.
Horses were always a passion for him, and he did not agree that the sport was limited to the elite. a�?I think horse riding should be accessible to everyone,a�? he says, explaining why Saddle and Stirrups, an outfit started by him in 2011, does not demand a deposit or membership fees. a�?Horse riding is a lifetime sport. No one can claim that they know everything. A short term course can only give you a taste of it,a�? Anita Ojha, a trainer at Madras Riding School, points out.But if you are looking for a quick summer lesson, Joshya��s classes, that are usually only on weekends, are now right through the week, making the course more accessible to school children on holiday.
a�?In the first 15 sessions, we teach the basics, and the next 15 are advanced classes,a�? he says, elaborating that you start with learning about the horse (from what it eats to reading the animala��s body language) and move on to walking and saddling it, before you are ready to climb on.
The basics end with learning to trot, while the advanced sessions cover cantering, galloping and polo and tent pegging too. While age is no bar to learn horse riding, children will have to be at least five years old (they get to train with the ponies).A� And if you already know the basics of riding, you can sign up for the advanced classes after a quick test. The basic lessons will cost you Rs. 9,000, while the advanced lessons cost Rs. 11,000. And after completing the course, you can practise for Rs. 4,500 a month. The next batch starts on Monday, May 26. Details: 9840423261
a�� Ryan Peppin
As the EDM scene moves closer home, two DJs talk to us about what they will offer at the fest
All set to get the party crowd to its shores, ChennaiA� has its first edition of Asiaa��s largest EDM extravaganza, Sunburn Reload, by Global Sound on June 14. Boasting a state-of-the-art setup with visual soundscapes, fireworks and laser graphics, the brand plans to bring with it its signature Goa touch, with a VIP lounge.A�A� Headlining the festival is Canadian DJ and producer DJ Arnej, with Chennai-based Vijay Chawla and Ahmedabad-based Kash Trivedi playing sets as well.
StartingA� outA� asA� aA� residentA� DJ at Ahmedabada��s Slang, Kash Trivedia��s work in progressive house has travelled across the country. a�?I plan to give Chennai a taste of my original work in a one-hour set,a�? he says. Trivedi has been an ardent fan of Chennaia��s nightlife crowd ever since he played at Blend, but feels nothing can compare to the refreshing vibe of Shillonga��s scene.
At VGP Resort, on June 14, from 4 pm onwards. From Rs. 1,500. Details: 28281000
DJ Vijay Chawla
Having played at various spots across the city since 2003, one can credit Chawla with the enthusiastic electronic music following in the city. a�?This is my second Sunburn show, and Ia��m ecstatic to see the brand recognising the Chennai fan-base,a�? shares Chawla. His favourite gig spot is Blend at Taj Club House, and he hopes to deliver four and a half hours of great music at Chennaia��s first Sunburn edition.
Pondicherrya��s popular food blogger uncovers the citya��s little secrets and has options for those with dietary restrictions
With over 8,000 followers and about 300 visits per day, Pondicherry-based Pallavi Guptaa��s blog, Veggie Zest, gives you an insight into vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world. a�?I make vegetarian recipes from different parts of the world and try to add an Indian twist to it by using complementary ingredients and flavours (herbs, spices, extracts etc) from my Indian pantry,a�? she says. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian (eats dairy and eggs), she also makes recipes that are vegan, gluten free and eggless. a�?I sometimes do a vegetarian spin on classic recipes like spaghetti with meatless meatballs, vegetarian gumbo and cauliflower manchurian in BBQ sauce as a substitute for chicken wings and patates au vin (her interpretation of coq au vin) to name a few,a�? she says.
Under the radar
Banana Cafe: A simple cafe with only Indian cooks that serves reasonably flavourful European food.
Rajasthani Pakore Wala: This street vendor stands in front of Mahavir Computers on Chetty Street. He makes authentic and delicious aloo kachoris and mirchi pakoras.
Cool Cat: A humble street side coffee shop, Cool Cat makes the best filter coffee this side of town. It is located at the intersection of Ambalathadayar Madam Street and MG Road.
Director Sabbir Khan oIn 2009, director Sabbir Khan debuted in Bollywood with a dud called Kambakkht Ishq. The filmmaker recalls how, during those days hea��d felt like a lost child in a candy shopa��until Akshay Kumar and Sajid Nadia-dwala took him under their wings and taught him everything. Five years later, Khan is back with his second attempt, Heropanti, featuring two new actors: Tiger Shroff (Jackie Shroffa��s son) and Kriti Sanon. And this time around, Khan is confident. He believes the film will prove a great start for the two young actors. Read on:
Heropanti is a love story with a few social messages. The story is set in todaya��s India, where a forward-thinking society coexists with people who are orthodox and believe in archaic traditions. I have also tried to highlight relevant topics like honour killing and education for the girl child.
Both Tiger and Kriti are fresh and full of energy. While Tiger is a shy and quiet boy off-screen, he is a firebrand on screen. When the cameras roll, he gets this boost of energy and completely transforms into someone else. Kriti, who is trying to finish her engineering, is spontaneous and bubbly. I wanted a girl from the North with a slang, and she has that.
The stunts in the movie are the highlight. We got stunt master Anil Arasu from Chennai to do our stunts. He gave the action a larger-than-life look. Plus, Tiger is a state-level gymnast. So getting him to do stunts was simple.
Expect anything from me except a spastic comedy. My first film had to cater to Akshaya��s fans, so it rolled into an action-comedy. I am going to try my hand at a thriller next. I also love drama. In these five years, I took time off to understand filmmaking and have also worked on a few scripts.
Heropanti is releasing today.
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Ram Kumar tells us why his directorial debut, Mundasupatti, deserves to be watched
Director Ram Kumar is thrilled about the rave reviews the trailer of his directorial debut, Mundas-upatti, is receiving. A rom-com set in the a��80s, the film stars Vishnu and Nandita. a�?It is based in a fictional village called Mundasupatti, where people believe bad luck will befall them if they are photographed. The story is about what happens when two photographers visit them,a�? explains Kumar, who calls the movie a no-holds-barred entertainer. In fact, Kumar initially shot it in 2011 as a short film for the TV show, Naalaya Iyakunar. a�?Ia��d made around 10 short films and this was selected. It was the time when Kadhalil Sodhappu-vadhu Yeppadi had released (a film developed from a short film) and it inspired me to make my own movie,a�? he says, talking about taking a year off to work on the script and to select his actors. a�?It was a challenge to convert the script for a short film into a full-length one. I worked on it for a while and I also added new characters,a�? he says.
The director calls his movie subtle and says the actors are perfect for their roles. a�?I wanted someone who is funny, but very subtly so. In his earlier movies, Vishnu did comedy but wasna��t in your facea��which was perfect for the film. Also, Nandita, who plays a village girl called Kalaivaani, is a perfect match. I wanted someone who is dusky, and she had done a phenomenal job in Attakathi,a�? he says. Where did Kumar find his Mundasupatti? a�?We shot in Sakkimangalam, which has houses that are over a A�100 years old,a�? says Kumar who wishes to work with Kamal Haasan one day.
Mundasupatti is scheduled to release on June 13.
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Actor Mohit Marwah on what the word a�?Fuglya�� means to him and his hard-to-ignore Bollywood connection
With his lineage, ita��s no surprise that Sonam Kapoora��s cousin, Mohit Marwah, is also hitching his wagon to the Bollywood star. Having made his acting debut in Karan Johara��s first short film, Strangers in the Night, the Delhi lad will be soon seen playing Dev in Kabir Sadananda��s Fugly, along with Jimmy Shergill, Vijender Singh and Kiara Advani. The 27-year-old, who honed his acting chops at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York, has also done a filmmaking course at Delhia��s Asian Academy of Film and TV. Marwah talks to us about his famous cousins and his movie.
What does Fugly mean to you?
Fugly is going to be the new anthem for the youth! Fugly for me is about friendship, fun and togetherness. Ita��s a term we can use every day, depending on how we feel and what the situation isa��you can be as creative as you want with the F. My first reaction when I heard the word was that it is very different and quirky.
Was there a lot of pressure when you entered this profession, considering your illustrious family?
The pressure was more from my end because I wanted to do well. I had to go through the grind, audition for the role and wait for my screen test. Only then was I chosen to play the part of Dev.
How close are you and your cousins. Did they give you aA�lot of advice?
Arjun and I grew up together. We cousins (Sonam, Rhea, Arjun and Anshula) hang out as a close group of friends. When we meet, we only discuss movies. I watch all of Arjuna��s films and I think I am more a critic than a fan. If therea��s something I dona��t like, I tell him honestly. But you cana��t take tips from anyone. Thata��s the funa��doing things individually.
Fugly is scheduled to release on June 13.
a�� Mrinalini Sundar
Man of the moment
When he takes time off from his Malayalam assignments, Kalabhavan Mani occasionally makes his presence felt on the Tamil screen. The actor will soon be seen in Reengaram, a film that depicts a daya��s happenings in the lives of four characters. Starring debutantes in the lead, Mani has been roped in to play a crucial character. The film is directed by first-timer Sivakarthik who has apprenticed with various directors like K Balachander and Samuthirakani.
After doing a course in Rajeev Menona��s film school and working in a few ads, Ramesh Venkatraman is directing-producing his first film, Andhadhi. The film stars Arjun Vijayraghavan and debutantes Bhargav Chakravarthy and Anjana Keerthi. a�?Ita��s the journey of two men whose lives get interlinked. One is an honest cop and the other an NRI who wants to set up a solar project,a�? says the director. Sounds like an interesting premise for an
Sarath Kumara��s fans dona��t get to see as much of him on screen as they would like toa��busy as he is with his political commitments. But now he is back with a new line-up of films. There is Velachery, where he plays an encounter specialist. Directed by Vendhan, the film has Kumar sharing frames with Iniya. Also on the floors is Sandamaarutham, directed by A Venkatesh. Apart from penning the story and playing dual characters, Kumar is also co-producing it. Now thata��s making up for lost time.
The actor is back doing what she does best, with a live concert
THIS multi-talented performer started out as a singer, and though she has set the silver screen ablaze, her first love is still music. Well known singer and actor, Andrea Jeremiah will perform today as part of the Chennai Women International Film Festival, at the Music Academy. a�?Ia��ve been onstage ever since I can remember. Ia��ve done solo music shows long before I became an actress. And quite a few actors, including myself, have performed at award shows, corporate shows etc. But yes, this will be my first public solo music show after entering the film industry as an actress,a�? she says.
The actress promises her movie hits and also her interpretations of other chart toppers. a�?I have worked on making it an interesting mix,a�? Jeremiah says. As for her movies, we will get to see her a lot more this year, in radically different roles. a�?First up is Aranmanai which will release soon. Ia��m almost done with Utthama Villain which should release in the latter half of 2014 and Ia��m halfway through Taramani. I have just started my untitled film with Jai, which is being directed by Saravanan. And then, of course there is Vishwaroopam 2,a�? she says.
With new singers cropping up, Jeremiah tells us Shaktisree Gopalan is one of the best new voices in the industry. a�?a�?Her Enga Pona Raasa is one of my favourites,a�? says the singer. At Music Academy, today, 6 pm onwards. From `300 onwards.Details: eventjini.com
With a new team Nicholas Productions is back after a year with a host of shows
Theatre is his first love and director Denver Anthony Nicholas,A�A� 36, can never stay away from it for too long. Having taken a yeara��s sabbatical, he returned to the stage two weeks ago with Curtain Raiser, . a�?The production was a mix of live music, singing, four original 10-minute short plays and dance,a�? begins Nicholas, who has a host of shows planned for the year under his banner, Nicholas Productions, which he started in 2009. First up is a music concert, Mixa��d Tape. To be held every Saturday, the team will perform music from the 60s to the 90s, covering artistes such as Cliff Richards, The Doors and others. Sundays will be for swing music, covering artistes such as Dean Martin and Michael Buble. a�?In August, we will showcase snippets from classic to contemporary Tony Award winning musicals. In October we have a full length play, and in December, a Disney musical and Christmas concert,a�? says an excited Nicholas, whose first production wasA� Moulin Rouge in 2009.
a�?Working would not be as much fun if not for the team,a�? says the director. The team currently consists of music director Shaun Roberts, vocal conductor Maria Roe Vincent, production managers Tarun Joseph Da��Souza, Natasha Barwell and Joslin Julius and scriptwriter Subramaniam Venkat-arama. Highlighting the spotlight on the lack of financial support for theatre, they are a�?working on a film documentary that talks about the issue. More investors should come forward or we will never be a Broadway or West End,a�? he concludes.
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