Monthly Archives: October 2014
From astrology sessions to tasty new offerings along the coast, this season is all about doing something different
Visit The New Blue Line restaurant at Promenade, where the new menu offers cheese and sushi platters as starters. For the mains, choose from braised lamb shanks, served with garlic mashed potatoes and caramelised shallots, or slipper lobster, served with pomegranate cous cous, grilled cherry tomatoes and saffron butter sauce.Vegetarians have stuffed cottage cheese steak, served with sautéed broccoli and coconut basil rice and tomato sauce. They also have sizzlers, pastas, salads, pizzas and more. Starters from Rs.250. Details: 0413 2227750
Slice of pizza
If you are a fan of Tuscana Pizzeria, owner Vipin Sachdev has just opened a new branch on East Coast Road. The pizza address is part of Chaitanya Builders’ Shop in the Park project, where Tuscana shares space with Wrapsody and other retail stores. Details: 65758005
This week, DakshinaChitra is hosting a panel discussion on Flatland: This World/ Other Worlds, in collaboration with the US Consulate General Chennai. At Asian College of Journalism, on November 3. There will also be a talk by K G Subramanyan on the book The Tale of the Talking Faces. On November 5. Details: 24462435
From Italy, with more than three years of experience, maestro Enrico Euron—who specialises in harp, viola da gamba and percussion—will perform with Anne-Gaelle Cuif, a vocalist and specialist in harp and salterio ad arco. Organised by The Italian Pavilion, the Harp and Voice Duo Concert will be held at Pitanga Cultural Centre. Today, from 8 pm onwards.
Details: 0413 2622403
Ready, stead, move
For fitness enthusiasts, La Casita has an open level Zumba fitness class, conducted by certified Cuban salsa and Bollywood dance instructor, Kash Dolma. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, `1,600 for eight classes a month. You can also enroll for hormonal yoga, a combination of Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and the Tibetan technique of channeling energy. Details: 9159180875
Astrology enthusiasts can bone up on the basic tenets of astrology—including signs, houses, planets and more—for free, at the Saracon, this Saturday and Sunday. The workshop will end with an evening of star gazing to identify zodiac signs and planets, and will help lay the foundation for further study. Details: 8940219725
— Team Indulge
At the Scandinavian designer’s new store, find unique clothes and other free-spirited brands
Known for her distinctive style in dressing and a reputation for wearing black, Disa Gudmun-dsdottir is excited as her new store, DisDis&Co Boutique and Café, is now open at 45B Romain Rolland Street. “I decided to add Co to my fashion brand’s name to present more designers. There will be Scandi-navian designers like Uffe Frank from Denmark and Heba Hallgrims from Iceland besides Indian designers,” begins the designer from Iceland. Catering to men and women, the store has bags, jackets, dresses and more.
All things black
Unlike her previous collections under her brand DisDis, which featured a lot of black, Gudmundsdottir promises to have a good mix. Starting with rustic red, curry yellow, green and navy blue, there will be a lot of white this time. “But black will always be my main color, It’s in my genes,” she laughs. Besides leather products, expect sand-washed silk with leather details. “We try to use vegetable tanned leather and most of it come from Italy,” she assures. Having worked as a designer in Pondicherry for the past seven years, Disa says her brand has evolved from a small stitching unit in to a boutique. Her cafe (scheduled to launch in two weeks) will have organic food with a twist. She recently showcased at the Kingfisher Fashion Show, in Pondicherry, and made a mark at the Reykjavik Fashion Festival and Berlin Fashion Week. She also styled a model who participated in the reality show, Holland’s Next Top Model.
Talking about current trends in bags, she suggests we pick either clutches or mini bags. And as for Indian designers, the Pondicherry-based designer says, “I absolutely love Indian embroidery. It’s royal according to me. Two designers we follow are Manish Malhotra and Rina Dhaka.”
At 45B Romain Rolland street. Starting price from Rs.1,500. Details: email@example.com, 0413 2237444
— Mrinalini Sundar
With his latest work at The Promenade creating a buzz, Auroville-based Henk Van Putten talks divine inspiration and mathematics
Pondicherry-based Henk Van Putten creates an interesting liaison between art and mathematics with his recent stainless steel installation, Hardly Touching, at the Promenade hotel. Commenting on the two-and-a-half-metre tall work of art, Putten says, “It is abstract, as is all my work. The work consists of five circular segments. The composition is like a movement where the elements meet each other but do not touch. This type of mathematical play is part of all my work.” The artist uses different kinds of material like steel, wood, copper, brass, bronze, concrete, aluminum and granite.
The shape shifter
The 78-year-old is passionate about geometry and shares, “It is my belief that I am an instrument in higher hands. Geometry—circles, squares, triangles and so on—are divine phenomena. I just use them and try to make something which is interesting in my opinion.” Putten’s tryst with art began in the 50s, when he was attending technical school in Amsterdam, while also working in an atelier for window dressing and decoration. By 1965 he had set up his own consultancy in Amsterdam, though by the 70s he wanted to explore more options and moved to Ibiza as a freelance artiste. An Aurovillian since 2000, he has done commissions for big firms like SAP, Herman Miller and Wolters Samson.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Putten is also known for his wall art and paintings. “There are periods when I paint or make reliefs and drawings. The wall works are always related to my sculptures. I make these two-dimensional works as a kind of study for the three dimensional. The paintings are mostly made on plywood cut-outs,” adds the artist whose first solo exhibition was at the Museum Fodor Amsterdam. Since then he has displayed his work at several exhibitions across Europe, from Basel, Cologne and Frankfurt art fairs, to the Indian Harmony Art Show organised by Tina Ambani in 2007. Up next, Putten will be busy in Peking, China, as he will be installing a five metre tall work of art titled, Stretching. It has won him the Liu Kaiqu Excellent Award 2014, which is considered to be the most prestigious award for sculpture in China.
— Mrinalini Sundar
Director: David Dobkin
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall
Hank (Downey Jr) is forced to defend his estranged father, Joseph (Duvall), who becomes entangled in a murder/manslaughter case, after attending his wife’s funeral. Although a bit flaky, the actors make it worth the watch with compelling scenes together.
— Team Indulge
Happy New Year
Director: Farah Khan
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone
Farah Khan does it again, with her glitzy, star-studded film raking in the moolah from day one. Charlie (Khan) wants to take revenge on Charan Grover (Shroff) whose betrayal leads to his father dying in jail. Padukone plays a dancer, Mohini. Watch it for the glamour quotient, but don’t expect a story of any substance.
Cast: Vishal, Shruti Haasan
There may not be any novelty in its plotting, but the ingredients are cleverly blended and represented. Vishal strikes the right chord and Shruti looks gorgeous. It centres on family bonding, separations and reunion, and a common villain. The pace is fast and furious, high on emotions,with adrenaline -pumping chases and fights. But the second half slackens a tad. The film could have been trimmed. An unpretentious family entertainer, it’s ideal festival fare.
Backed by his advertising experience, Sabal Singh Shekhawat promises a realistic outing with Fireflies
Not one to follow rules, Sabal Singh Shekhawat, even when in college, had refused to complete his degree. Now with his film, Fireflies, the director, producer and script writer has rejected formulaic racy action sequences and raunchy romances, to go the realistic and meaningful way. From Assam, Shekhawat came to Mumbai in 1990 and after four years as an assistant to ad filmmaker Shantanu Sheorey, he set out on his own with the production house The Big Picture Company and bagged accounts like Xylo, Hero Maestro Scooty, Jeevansathi.com and Kellog’s Cornflakes among others. About his journey since, Shekhawat says, “I have been making ad-films for 18 years now and I think ad-filming is the best place to learn your craft.” While his first feature film, Kafan (written before Fireflies) was shelved due to budget constraints, Fireflies is an independent film—produced by Wild Geese Pictures, a division of The Big Picture Company.
The epiphany for Fireflies happened in 2005, New York, when Shekhawat was violently mugged. “That’s when I started writing the initial story. I basically wanted it out of my system—on why there is so much anger in people,” shares the scriptwriter. As for the name, the 47-year-old compares fireflies to human beings. “Fireflies come out in the darkness without warning, and illuminate the forest and then vanish. Some people come into your life for some reason, some stay longer and some go,” he shares. A serious film, Fireflies is about two brothers based in urban India, “which is why most of the conversation is in English. It would be pretentious to try and do it in Hindi.” The filmmaker visited New York recently for the premiere of his movie at the New York Indian Film Festival.
Moving on to the cast of the film, Shekhawat zeroed in on Rahul Khanna, Monica Dongre and Arjun Mathur. “I was sure that I wanted all the actors to be accessible, I wanted their time, space and wanted them to understand what is going on. I wanted people who wanted to be part of a different kind of cinema—not art, boring, festival kind of cinema—but realistic, something that everyone can relate to,” he says. Talking about the camaraderie on the sets, the director adds, “It has a lyrical quality to it that shows you that everybody is working in synergy.”
Not a fan of the box office, the filmmaker says, “I was reading reviews of Happy New Year and it must have been embarrassing to read reviews of this sort about your film, though it has made a lot of money.’’ He adds, “Making films is not Bollywood. It is more open ended. Be it Iraq, Iran and Korea, they have good content coming out and this country had it 20-25 years ago. Let Bollywood be there, but there has to be space for more compelling movies,” concludes Shekhawat, who has never regretted not completing his degree.
Fireflies is scheduled to release today
World cinema: Dallas
Buyers Club and The
Grand Budapest Hotel.
Inspiration: I grew up in a time before cell phones existed. Inspiration could include anything from just living, music, drama, literature or old classics. What sustains through history is human behaviour.
— Mrinalini Sundar
Chennai-based Srinath Ramalingam tells us why we should watch Daisy
A TAMIL offering that is as scary as the popular English film, The Conjuring—that is what Chennai-based Srinath Ramalingam aims to do with his horror film, Daisy. “The movie is about an eight-year-old girl who is possessed. The story carries a strong message,” begins the 27-year-old, who is also a big fan of romantic films made by Gautham Menon and Mani Ratnam. Ramalingam is not new to films or for that matter, horror. His tryst with the genrestarted when he made his first short film in school, called Thrill. Later he also directed an independent Hollywood feature named Trapped In Abyss, which was sent out to film festivals in Europe and the US. ‘‘I love other genres too but it is like I am cursed with horror. I am always doing something spooky,’’ says the Chennaiite. Daisy is based on true incidents and will have elements of black magic, possession and hypnotherapy. “I went for a two month course in hypnotherapy to understand it better. I know of an incident that took place to an Indian couple in New Jersey and also heard supernatural stories from my friends in Madurai. I have taken all these incidents and used it in my film,” he says.
Availing the state government’s order, offering full waiver of entertainment tax for films with Tamil titles, Ramalingam, along with his Singapore-based producers Shanmuga Sundaram and Mohammed Yazim have just, released posters and teasers written in Tamil. As for the cast of the film, there is Deepak Parmesh, who is well known in the short film circle along with Jacqueline Prakash, who is a dancer and presenter on Vijay TV. Also look out for Mime Gopi who was recently seen as Perumal in the movie, Madras.
A passionate filmmaker, Ramalingam graduated from Full Sail University in Florida where he worked as an editor at Adrenaline Films Production Company. Drawn to Hollywood, he moved to California in 2010, where he worked as the art director for independent feature films like M.I.L.F and Moby Dick. An offer as the assistant director at a Singapore-based company, Tantra Inc compelled him to move to Singapore in 2011. He directed a 14-episode TV series called Thee in Tamil and also did a travel show called, Uncle Taxi.
Daisy is scheduled to release by the end of the year.
— Mrinalini Sundar
From being a comical hero to playing a villain in Kill Dil, actor Govinda talks about his home production and reinventing himself
hIS career has spanned more than 150 films, many of which catapulted him to superstar status. Govinda, hero of the late 80s and 90s, seen in films such as Shola Aur Shabnam, Coolie No 1, Hero No 1, etc, was a star despite his portly frame, outlandish costumes and over-the-top dance moves. The youngest of six children, life has been no bed of roses for the 50-year-old actor. On the eve of the release of two films, a slimmer, calmer Govinda is excited about a new phase in his career.
How difficult has it been to reinvent and stay relevant?
I have had to work hard, but it was interesting. I have always had my mom’s blessings and god has guided me through a great many trials. After I became a hero I had to look after my home and extended family. Anyway, I found success till around 1991-92. Politics followed in the mid 2000s and even when I did films, they did not release or if they did release, they were not very successful. But now the reactions and praises for Kill Dil and Happy Ending are encouraging. I enjoyed playing the villain in Kill Dil, even though at first I was not sure I would be able to pull it off!
In the current filmmaking scenario, have you had to work on your punctuality?
When I used to reach Mani Ratnam’s set (Raavan) at 4 am, how come no one wrote about it? I would reach at 4 am even though my shot would not be till 11 am. And now that I am also a producer, I do have to be on time to lead by example. Today’s actors and directors are all very good, very hard working and well planned.
Tell us about your home production.
When I started Abhinay Chakra, it was a very small budget film. I play an inspector in it. But when I saw the rushes, I thought it has turned out well why not make it bigger. For me, it’s not about good or bad cinema—the film must work and make money. So I decided to shoot some more. I think it has shaped up well and people are wishing to see Govinda like this. But then again, you don’t know what people want. Look at Kill Dil —I didn’t expect such overwhelming response. I am not competing with, but complementing youngsters, like Saif Ali Khan in Happy Ending. I am there for a short time, but people laugh and enjoy it and that works for me. Kill Dil is scheduled to release on November 14.
— Udita Jhunjhunwala
Through an upcoming carnival, Raghunath Krishna hopes to spread the message about the disappearing raptor
Come December and children and elders alike, will get a chance to learn about the scavenger commonly known as the vulture. And no, there will be no classrooms or seminars or notes handed out. Raghunath Krishna, founder of Pencilsrock Academy, and his team of volunteers will teach through games, art, tattoos and more. An initiative by Pencilsrock Academy and the Madras Naturalists’ Society, the carnival is being conducted for the Coimbatore-based NGO Arulagam, whose mission is to spread awareness about the bird.
“When you draw an elephant, do you know why you are drawing its legs straight instead of at an angle, like you would for other animals?” asks Krishna, hinting at how children tend to ask questions when they draw, thereby making art an effective means to teach. “You cannot ‘tell’ children something and expect their attention,” he says, adding “you have to explain and satisfy their curiosity.” The artist and animator found himself drawn to wildlife as a boy and joined wildlife census projects to learn about them.
But this carnival is not just about getting children to learn about the vulture and its role in the ecosystem. In addition to roping in aeronautical engineers to demonstrate how thermal columns (rising columns of warm air; vultures use these while gliding) work, day one of the three-day carnival will feature a drawing competition for different age groups. The winners of this competition will get to travel to the Niligiri biosphere and educate the tribal children there, while getting to learn about their way of life as well. After all, conservation is for the benefit of the next generations.
The carnival, which will be conducted in Coimbatore next, is tentatively scheduled for the end of December. Details: 8870643761
— Ryan Peppin
The country’s first national-level federation to promote basketball for the differently-abled, has a tight schedule ahead this December
Anyone who has tried their hand at basketball knows that shooting a hoop is not as simple as it looks. Try the same while sitting in a chair and you will develop a respect like no other for the differently-abled who play the sport. Much like the group of corporates and sports coaches did, when they participated in exhibition wheelchair basketball matches organised by Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI). The country’s first, the national-level federation was registered this October by YWTC Charitable Trust, started by Madhavi Latha in 2011.
“Being a differently-abled person myself, I know how parents tend to be protective of such children. But the purpose of the YWTC and WBFI is to show these children that they too can take part in physical activities,” says Latha, 44, who was 38 when she took up sports for the first time. “It started with a hydro-therapy session, after which I learnt swimming and decided to try other sports,” says the paralympics swimming gold medalist in 2011. Since last December, YWTC has partnered with Choice International, London, to conduct seminars and coaching camps in wheelchair basketball. In addition to benefiting the differently-abled, these camps are also open to coaches and other basketball players. “We cannot forever depend on coaches from abroad,” Latha reasons, adding that the federation will be holding their first workshops outside Tamil Nadu, this December, in Bangalore, Trivandrum, Pune and New Delhi, besides Chennai.
Join the club
The bigger picture that the WBFI is looking at involves each state having its own association and club (like the Chennai Eagles, here), thereby enabling more competitions and tournaments on a national scale. “Anyone interested in starting a club or association in their state can approach us and we will guide them,” says Latha, who is also the associate vice president at Scope International, Chennai. They handle back end operations for Standard Chartered Bank.
Chennai’s wheelchair basketball club, Chennai Eagles, is a 20-players strong, with members from different walks of life (students, corporate employees, etc) and as young as 18 years taking up the sport. Many of these players are also swimmers and are currently practising for the paralympics set to take place in November. “Our swimming classes are held at the Velachery swimming pool, and the basketball sessions at Jawaharlal Indoor Stadium,” Latha says, adding that they encourage mixed games with the ladies in the club also participating.
Taking place between December 5 and December 23, the workshops will culminate in a tournament at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, on December 22-23. Details: 9841098056
The WBFI’s workshops in December will feature international coaches roped in specially for the event — Mark Walker from Australia, Jess from US, Mike from Nepal and Manoj Soma from UK. In the past, coaches like Troy Justice, the senior director of the National Basketball Association (NBA) USA, have taken seminars and wheelchair basketball coaching
camps in Chennai.
— Ryan Peppin
Sip in style
Inspired by the Art Deco architecture of Hermès’ Parisian stores, Hermes’ new crockery collection will add a touch of glamour to your tea or coffee break. Featuring ironwork designs and interlaced friezes in its 16-piece offering, the collection comes with coordinating lacquer boxes and accessories like a measuring caddy spoon, a tray and more. Priced from Rs.5,250. Details: 42974300
The founders of city-based I K Jewellers have ventured into a new arena with a building and interior store, Classiva. In Kilpauk, the store has tie-ups with brands like Philips and Hindware to provide lights, fans, sanitaryware and bathroom fittings for your home. Priced from Rs.1,000. Details: 45588845
Keep a check on your calories and cholesterol levels by bringing home Kenstar’s new Oxy Fryer. It’s ‘oil free frying’ mechanism helps fry food with the fast circulation of hot air. This helps retain most of the nutrients in the food, thus keeping you fit and healthy. Priced at Rs.7,990. Details: flipkart.com
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