Home Archives 2014 October 24

Daily Archives: Oct 24, 2014

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    With refurbished cottages, a honeymoon suite and unique spa services, Niraamaya Retreatsa�� Surya Samudra gets a makeover

    ta��s 6 am and Ia��m sitting on my bed, watching a brilliant blue sky leak into an equally blue sea, as I debate whether I should head out for a spot of beginnera��s yoga by the beach or accompany the chef to the local fish market to buy fish fresh off the fishermena��s boats. I choose instead to snuggle back into my four poster bed, just managing to surface after three hours for a late breakfast at Cafe Samsara. Such a�?unfrowneda�� upon laziness, along with a picnic on the beach (wineA� glass in hand) and platefuls of decadent ragi brownies, are just some of the luxuries that make up my two-day break at Niraamaya Retreatsa�� Surya Samudra property in Kovalam.

    _DSC8062Picture perfect
    Set in the middle of 32 lush acres, the property is well designed. Stone paths run down the terraced hillside, winding between coconut palms and traditional wooden cottages, down to an infinity pool that was once a natural creek. Now, lined with slate and with water thata��s copper-filtered (no chlorine here), the pool overlooks the rolling waves. Steps lead down to two pristine beaches (the private cove manned by lifeguards), where you can enjoy a candle lit dinner or a pre-dawn tea.

    Heritage-Premium-1One for the couples
    But my favourite has to be my cottage with picture windows looking on to the Arabian sea. One of 31 on the property, recently refurbished with soft furnishings in bright colours, the space has quaint touches like stone washbasins in their open-air bathrooms and wooden doors with sliding latches juxtaposed with flat screen TVs and wifi. Renjith Menon, the operations manager, tells me there is more to look forward to. a�?We plan to open a honeymoon suite (latest by December) with perks like a champagne breakfast in bed, a private sound system, mood lighting, a small kitchenette and a spectacular view of the Arabian sea,a�? he says.
    At the end of my staya��a blur of sampling local mutton pepper fry and Thai grilled fish in banana leaf at its restaurants, Cafe Samsara and Essence; sipping fresh watermelon martinis at their sea-facing bar, Madira; and relaxing abhyanga snana massagesa��I know Ia��ll be back, if for nothing more than falling asleep to the sound of pounding waves.
    Rooms from Rs.9,000 (inclusive of breakfast and taxes). Details: niraamaya.in

    SpaFrom oils to jams
    ? Niraamaya Spa retails Ayurvastraa��made from hand-woven organic cotton and treated with medicinal decoctionsa��which is said to be good for people with skin ailments like eczema. From `950. Also pick up specially-created Ayurvedic oilsa��like nilibringadi and dhanwanthram. From Rs.500 for 225 ml.
    ? There is a new line of organic pickles and jams. Made from produce grown in their organic gardens, you can choose from varieties like gooseberry and snake gourd jams or papaya and pineapple preserves. Or get the chef to customise a special fish/prawn pickle for you. From Rs.300 onwards.

    Beyond massages
    The Niraamaya Spa has long attracted guests for its Ayurvedic massages and programmes like weight loss and detoxification. Now theya��ve started two new services: post chemotherapy cancer rehabilitation and corporate stress management. a�?Chemotherapy destroys normal and cancerous cells, leading to a lot of side effects. We offer rasayana therapya��which includes medicated oil massages, dhara treatments and herbal medicationa��which will boost the bodya��s resistance power, enhance functioning of organs and improve a patienta��s quality of life,a�? says Dr Arun Aravind, of the one-month-old service. To combat stress, their treatment combines panchakarma and rasayana, along with yoga, pranayama and meditationa��which promises to balance the energies. Seven to 14 days of treatment is recommended. Post chemo rehab from Rs.24,302 and stress management from Rs.25,905 a night on single occupancy (inclusive of stay and meals).

    Quick tours
    Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Recently in the news for treasure discovered under the temple.The Napier Museum and Art Gallery: Houses art and artefacts sourced from the rajasa�� private collections.Poovar: Meander down the backwatersa��spotting egrets, kingfishers and kitesa��and finish off with a picnic on the Golden Sands beach.

    Back in time
    It all began in 1982, when Klaus Schleusener, a professor with IIT Madras, invested in 8.5 acres of land on a hillside. Struck by the destruction of the traditional tharavdu houses, he bought as many as he could, then dismantled and rebuilt them on his propertya��for his use and as guest houses for his friends. In 1999, he sold the property to investment company Jupiter Capital, whose chairman, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, and his wife, Anju, then upgraded the property with the help of Bangalore-based architect Gayathri Shetty, German architect Karl Damschen and Bali-based landscape designer John Pettigrew.

    a��Surya Praphulla Kumar
    The writer was invited by Niraamaya Retreats Surya Samudra.

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    Rediscover the heritage town on a cycle or sign up for nature walks. Also, there are movie screenings and a new pub along the coast

    Movie marathon
    If you are up for more movies this week, head to Sadhana Forest (October 24) where they are screening Wild Brazil, which spotlights inmates of the forests like capuchin monkeys, giant otters, and jaguars. At Alliance FranA�aise de PondichA�ry, watch the 1996 French film, Capitaine Conan, based on a World War I military raid. On October 26. Details: 0413 2334351

    Mapping Pondy
    Learn all you can about the heritage city courtesy a cycle tour organised by Trip2Pondicherry.com. The tour will cover streets like Rue Mulla, Rue Cazya��s Muslim quarters, Rue Suffren, Rue Romain Rolland, Rue Dumasa�� White Town area and more. Tourists will be given protective head gear, filter coffee /coconut water, and a map of Pondicherry boulevards, with cycle routes. Trip for two will cost Rs1,300. Details: 0413 4200525

    Time out
    For Diwali, Atithi Hotel has special discounts on their rooms. Their weekend rates are Rs.4,750 for 1N/2D and Rs.8,999 for 2N/3D. This includes complimentary breakfast buffet at Le Boulevard, fruit platter, stress buster massage and two drinks on the house. Details: 9003043215

    Mixed yoga
    Want to be an expert in yoga? Qi Yo Multiversal Yogaa��a mix of Chinese Qi Gong, traditional Indian yoga and ancient Balinese healinga��returns to Auroville. Learn this unconventional discipline with 200-hour International Yoga Alliance classes, taught by an approved yoga teacher.A� At Auroville, starting this Sunday. Details: 0413 2622045

    Party all night
    Giving ECR a new party address, popular restaurant Drizzle now has its own night club. Begin the week with a rock night, followed by karaoke on Tuesday and salsa on Wednesday. Come Thursday, they have live gigs, while Friday is for the ladies. Saturday and Sunday are dedicated to club night and retro respectively. Besides offering a wide range of food and beverage options, the pub also has a dance floor. Details: 098405 01091

    Road less travelled
    For those who like road movies, do not miss the screening of German film, Alice in den StA�dten. The story tracks Phillip Winter, a German reporter who, after a chance encounter with an elusive American woman, reluctantly accepts temporary custody of her young daughter, Alice. When it becomes apparent that Alice will be his responsibility for longer than he expected, Phillip takes her on a trek across Germany to locate the girla��s grandmother. At Sri Aurobindo Auditorium, today, from 7.40 pm. Details: auroville.org

    Paint your mood
    For those wanting to explore their talents, the open art event, Art Chakra, is a great option. Participants can draw, sketch or paint any subject of their choice. Register soon through SMS or email. At Kala Kendra, Auroville, on Sunday. Details: tinyurl.com/ArtChakra

    Play chapter
    For theatre enthusiasts, Indianostrum Theatre is hosting a workshop called The Musical Body. Conducted by Jean-Jacques LemA?tre of ThA�A?tre du Soleil from Paris, it is open to actors, dancers,A� singers and musicians. Both individual and collective exercises will be conducted, which will draw on LemA?trea��s creative experience with the ThA�A?tre du Soleil. Rs.5,000. From November 7 to 11. Last day for registration is November 1. At Indianostrum ThA�A?tre. Details: 0413 2341475, 9578302087

    Metal high
    Alliance FranA�aise de Pondicherry is bringing down French black metal band, Plebeian Grandstand. With Simon Chaubard on guitar, Adrien BrouA� on vocals, electronics by Olivier LolmA?de and bass by Ivo Kaltchev, they will perform at the auditorium, tomorrow, from 7pm. Details: 0413 2334351

    Nature therapy
    Green lovers should join the Bio-Region Tour organised by Auroville every Saturday. Kicking off at a small
    towna��Munnur, youa��ll get to enjoyA� lunch at a village home and discover local churches and ancient temples. Pottery demonstration by a traditional family of potters and rock climbing are also in store for participants. Details: 0413 2623806

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      Charcoal Kitchen on ECR offers unusuals, from joojeh kebab to fatayer

      You cana��t miss Charcoal Kitchen on East Coast Road as it is located next to the popular Malaysian address, New Town. Enter this few-weeks-old multi-cuisine restaurant and you see a huge Buddha statue which, manager Sajith Kumar, reveals, is imported and made from a single treea��s root. Started by Kamal Babbar of Bay View Hotels and Restaurants, this property has 22 roomsa��divided into single, double, club suites and global rooms.

      RGRILL19The current menu offers a variety, from murg lababdar to burgers. With black bean mushroom, tempura prawns and Andhra chilli chicken, their starters are promising. Their tempura lotus stem and spinach fatayer (Arabian samosa) is fast moving. Though we are keen to sample joojeh kebab, the Iranian national disha��succulent chicken marinated with butter, cheese and saffrona��what impresses us is their tandoori broccoli (marinated with cheese, cashewA� and cream). Then we try the minestrone soup, an Italian delicacy that reminds my companion of home-made tomato soup.RGRILL4

      While their mains include Oriental fish, BBQ chicken, baked lasagna, vegetable makhanwala and kai kari khorma, we choose their mixed green mushroom, which is pleasantly aromatic. Their penne pasta in creamy white sauce with crisp veggies is just as addictive. The perfect end to the meal is their decadent chocolate brownie and butterscotch ice cream. While their grill station is in place with popular offerings like paneer, chicken, mushrooms and potatoes, Kumar shares, a�?We are also working on a coffee shop that will be open in a few months. We are waiting for our liquor license to open the bar on the first floor.a��a��

      A meal for two costs over Rs.1,000. Rooms cost from Rs.3,500 onwards. Details: 9789000396

      a�� Mrinalini Sundar

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        Offering anything from a dosa pizza to masala chai, the new roof-top restaurant at Accord Puducherry, is kind to vegetarians

        With new options for seafood cropping up ever so often, vegetarians in Pondicherry have often felt left out. Not anymore. Accord Puducherrya��s new rooftop restaurant, Legumes, serves up vegetarian fare to satisfy varied palates. Offering everything from South Indian to North Indian, Chinese, Continental and tandoor, they currently do only buffets.

        accord3Spicy opening
        We are welcomed with a paanakam (spiced jaggery water) drink, followed by an appetiser, a homely dahi bhalla. Next, we dip our spoons into the soup of the daya��a tomato dhaniya shorba that is light and tangy. According to head chef R Kumara Krishnan, the starters are the stars of the menu, and have to be savoured as such. Following through on that promise we are served eight varieties of innovative starters (unlimited). Among these, the dosa pizza stands out, while the vazhaipoo kozhukattai and mushroom fantasy do not disappoint. Biting into the cajun spiced potatoes and crispy potato, I find that the well-spiced spuds are a tad under done. But the mango and tamarind chutneys complement the spicy starters perfectly. The menu lists almost 240 startersa��all signature dishes of the restaurant, assures Krishnan. The main course includes the salad bara��with a variety of eight-10 saladsa��along with standard buffet fare like vegetable casapicola, mirapakaya pattani curry, bhindi masala, melon tarkari and paneer tawa masala. For those who love South Indian, there is vatha kuzhambu and potato podimass. The freshly baked breads on the buffet are exceptionally soft.accord18

        Sweet nothings
        The dessert counter offers an overwhelming spread that includes mousses, brownies, tarts, burfis, eggless gateaux, pastries, traditional Indian sweets and ice-creams. But they are all a notch below expectations. The chocolate pastry and strawberry mousse can do with a little more flavour. And the dessert that passed mustera��an addictive honey and date tarta��needed a refill. However, the after-meal drinka��choose between ginger coriander coffee, coconut ginger coffee, green tea and masala chaia��definitely hits the spot.

        Priced at Rs.449 plus taxes for lunch and Rs.499 plus taxes for dinner. Details: 0413 2299000, 8489916523

        a�� Archith K Sridhar

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          Hundred Foot Journey

          Indian boy Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) opens a restaurantA� in the South of France. But Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) who runs the French restaurant , Le Saule Pleureur, opposite the Indian establishment, soon protests. The Blu-Ray combo pack has a discussion with the producers, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. It also contains segments called The Recipe, The Ingredients, The Journeya��an enchanting world of the comedy-drama on set with director Lasse HallstrA�m a��and a special segment where you can learn to make coconut chicken with chef Anil Sharma.

          Half of a Yellow Sun

          Twin sisters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) have to make drastic decisions after completing their education in England. While one moves in with her lover, the revolutionary professor Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the other becomes a successful businesswoman and falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer. In this adaptation of the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (of the same name), the two sisters face betrayal and get caught up in the Nigerian Civil War. The DVD pack has an interview with the cast and crew, a short film, called The Kiss, and documentaries from the location.

          The Railway Man

          Based on the best-selling autobiography by Eric Lomax, Jonathan Teplitzkya��s The Railway Man showcases Lomaxa��s experiences in a Japanese labour camp during World War II. This beautiful short film sees Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman playing the lead roles. The special features on the DVD are in-depth interviews with most of the cast and key crew membersa��such as the director and producer of the film. The actors also talk about their different approaches to portray the older and younger versions of their characters. In fact, Firth also workshopped ideas for the character.
          a�� Team Indulge

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            The Judge
            Director: David Dobkin
            Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall
            Hank (Downey Jr) is forced to defend his estranged father, Joseph (Duvall) who is involved in a murder/manslaughter case following his wifea��s funeral. Although a bit flaky, the actors make it worth a watch with compelling scenes together.

            a�� Team Indulge

            Annabelle
            Director: John R Leonetti
            Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton
            A young couple expecting their first child finds a doll that they have been looking for. But things change soon after the doll is brought home. Strange supernatural occurrences take over their lives, suspiciously linking back to the doll. A frightful treat for all horror-movie buffs.
            a��Team Indulge

            Jeeva
            Director: Suseenthiran
            Cast: Vishnu, Sri Divya
            Blending the elements of romance and sports (cricket) beautifully, Suseenthiran weaves an engaging tale around the journey of a youngster as he fights against various odds to achieve his goal. It has an uncomplicated screenplay, a simple narrative style, and characters and incidents one can relate to. Vishnua��s splendid take on his character is a key strength of the film. Ita��s a sweet, simple, heartwarming tale of hope and positivity.

            a��Malini Mannath

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              If you havena��t seen them yet, this is your cue to catch up on five path- breaking movies in Tamil cinema

              A collection of film and musicA� reviews, Dispatches From The Wall Corner: A Journey through Indian Cinema, by critic Baradwaj Rangan, is among other things, the summation of a decade-long career analysing cinema. a�?Ita��s not a compilation of my reviews,a�? insists the author about his second book (the first being Conversations with Mani Ratnam). a�?Ita��s a panoramic view of Indian cinema.a�? He adds that his book, with a foreword by director Karan Johar, is not an encyclopaedia either. Here he lists some path-breakers in Tamil cinema:

              K Balachander with Aval Oru Thodar Kadhai: It kick-started a phase which saw him crafting stories centred on female characters. And more importantly, it saw him breaking from his earlier theatrical films and adopting a cinematic style.
              Bharathirajaa��s 16 Vayathinile: This was a revolutionary filma��in a real village setting, peopled by real villagers. It was the first authentic rural Tamil film.

              Mani Ratnam with Mouna Ragam: It was an unexaggerated look at middle class urbanites. Of course, Tamil films had portrayed these before, but only in quotation marks, so to speak.

              Selvaraghavan with Pudhupettai: There was a rawness to it. Not many directors have the guts to tell a story about such an unlovable protagonist.

              Bala with Sethu. It was a defining tragedy. It pushed the limits of what could be shown on screen. The performances were great.
              The book, Rs.2,261 approximately, is scheduled to launch by the end of October.

              A�a�� Krishna Trilok

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                Hindi movie expert Diptakirti Chaudhuria��s tome has enough trivia to fuel the festive days ahead

                WHAT does marketing professional and freelance writer Diptakirti Chaudhuri know about Hindi cinema that we dona��t? Well, read his big book of trivia and youa��ll agree that the man has supplied the perfect accessory for the heady days ahead, from Diwali onwards. After all, we Indians have an endless passion for all things Bollywood and cricket. Incidentally, Chaudhuri had a book on cricket before this, as well as a smaller book of filmi trivia. The discussions that ensued online sparked Bollybook, which was launched earlier this month. Chaudhuri, 40, a marketing professional by day, says he is fortunate to count quizzers and quizmasters as his friends. That, together with his mothera��s collection of old film magazines, and hours spent on YouTube revisiting a movie, resulted in this book.

                Bold and the silent
                With 19 sections devoted to topics like filmi pets, phones, ghosts in non-horror movies, and half-time heroes a�� appearances at the interval point, for the curious a�� there are speedy quizzes too. Like the one on quirky credits or star names or popular films featuring a hero named Vijay! Skirting past the obvious like a�?heroes playing police officersa�� he goes with women police officers, spies and bodyguards in leading roles instead. Obsessed with lists, Chaudhuri says they make it easier to spark a debate. For instance, how often will you find two people agreeing on Amitabh Bachchana��s top five movies? Talking about Big B, the writer chooses to give the famed baritone a rest and focus on his silent scenes for a change a�� from Anand to Deewar, Don, Kaala Patthar and Sholay. And in case you think it all sweetness and light, he presents a nice selection of thieves, a�?lady villains,a�� politicians and diseases. There are 35 iconic Amul ad campaigns featuring Bollywood a�� from new releases like a�?Utterly butterly de de. Humula�� referring to Bachchana��s Hum, and the song, Jumma chumma de de, which burrowed into our heads years ago, to obituaries like a�?Mogambo…dukh huaa�� when Amrish Puri died, borrowing from his famous line in Mr India.

                No movie spared
                Chaudhuri, who admits to being a fan of Mithun Chakrabortya��s early films like Disco Dancer, has managed to squeeze in references to movies in the 40s, right up to the recent Humshakals. And just in case you think he left out the sleaze, well there are top a�?towel and swimsuita�� scenes. The book is likely to be a guilty pleasure for us moviegoers and the good news is, a game is being planned as well.

                a�� Published by Penguin Book, available at leading stores for `499

                a�� Team Indulge

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                  Ditch the predictable kurtas and saris in favour of these transformative lehenga gowns

                  Orange passion

                  Picture 1 of 8

                  Malini Ramani crafts this piece specially for the festive season from silk and cotton jersey. Gold accents, sequins and mirrors give the ensemble a festive edge. A chunky statement cuff in a metallic tone will round off the look beautifully. Rs.12,000. At Evoluzione, Vittal Mallya Road. Details: 41121088

                  Ditch the predictable kurtas and saris in favour of these transformative lehenga gowns Literally flow from one party to the other this season, with our pick of desi gowns from fashion houses like Manish Malhotra, Ekru and Malani Ramani. And strike that fine, elusive balance, of festive floor kissing numbers, without losing the traditional touch.

                  Text: Aakanksha Devi & Rashmi Rajagopal

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                    Furniture update
                    Furniture store, Seating World, in Kilpauk Garden Road, has introduced a new collection of L-shaped sofas in pastel colours, wooden coffee tables and chairs. Also, check out their manual and motorised recliners, perfect for relaxation, in colours like blue and black. Details: 26444005

                    Shine and dine
                    For this festive and wedding season, add some spark to your cutlery. Bracialeto and Beyond is offering bespoke cutlery which can be custom made with natural stones, wood and glass beads to create personalized cutlery sets. Perfect for
                    gifting as well, they are priced fromA� Rs.1,500. Details: bracialeto.com

                    Pocket friendly
                    Renovating homes just got easier on pockets with Stylespaa��s cash back offers. For every purchase of Rs.1 Lakh and above, you can avail a cash back of Rs.40,000 and on the purchase of furniture worth Rs.65,000, get a cash back of Rs.25,000. Also on offer are gift vouchers worth Rs.15,000 for every walk-in customer, irrespective of whether they make a purchase or not. Details: 28528731

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