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Monthly Archives: March 2015

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    With big money riding on their careers, these celebrities take serious precautions to protect their most valued assets

    LAST week, Taylor Swift reportedly insured her slim pins for $40 million. While Van Halen frontman, David Lee Roth insured his sperm and tea taster Sebastian Michaelis has insured his picky tastebuds for £1 million, we think these celebrities pay the price for being in the limelight. Swift may have skipped out of a policy, but others signed on the dotted line, ensuring they’ll laugh all the way to the bank even if tragedy strikes.

    Sealed assests
    When you are a model, showgirl and television personality in shows that involve taking your top off regularly, you best cover those assets with a legal bond. Like reality star Holly Madison did. She took out a $1 million insurance policy on her breasts with Lloyd’s when she realised that they’d be on full display in her burlesque programme, Peepshow, at Planet Hollywood. “I’ve heard about people getting body parts insured and I thought, ‘why not?’ because if anything happened to my b***s, I’d be out for a few months and I’d probably be out a million dollars!” she explains. Her memoir, titled Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, releases in June this year.

    Locked in
    Joey Essex was quite the favourite on the British scripted reality show The Only Way Is Essex, and while he recently won The Jump, an adventure reality show, he hasn’t insured his limbs but his hair. Apparently he was prompted to do this when he was advised to cut it off while filming an episode of Educating Joey Essex in USA. Only last year, he signed a six-figure hair care contract with Tesco for the ‘D’Reem Hair’ range of products. But when the suggestion came a second time to cut his hair, he was having none of it and trooped across the pond to Lloyd’s to have it protected. Speaking of what pushed him to get a policy on his locks, the 25-year-old says, “When we were in Brazil filming the football episode, and I thought these Brazilian hair-dressers were going to bleach my hair. I was so scared.”

    Expensive chords
    While singers need to protect their vocal
    chords in an age of endless tours, American Idol runner-up, Glee star and current Queen front-man, Adam Lambert. has done exactly that. Following in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen and Rod Stewart, the If I Had You singer got his voice insured for a cool £30 million. A bit optimistic since he’s only had two albums with only a few real hits. Apparently though, he says, “It’s an important commodity. My voice is my money-maker.” And we think he’s right, especially since he has to fill in for the great Freddie Mercury.

    Pearly whites
    While America Ferrera’s cheery smile was mostly hidden under braces in Ugly Betty, it is exactly that feature that she can happily cash in on. As part of a publicity stunt, Aquafresh took out a $10 million policy on her smile which the actor found flattering. “It’s not something that I ever imagined happening,” she said, while the policy makers, Lloyd’s of London, said they were not surprised by the request from Aquafresh. Lloyd’s, one of the world’s foremost insurance companies, are also in charge of Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richard’s middle finger with which he strums.

    ‘Klum’sy protection
    As a supermodel, Heidi Klum’s career is solely reliant on her legs and there is no doubt that she’s got a perfect pair. So when the time was right, her limbs were insured for a paltry £1.5 million in comparison to David Beckham’s £40 million. “I didn’t personally have them insured, but a client of mine did,” she reveals. Apparently, her legs are not equally priced though. Her left one is of lesser value by £1,30,000. “When I was in London and went to have my legs valued, they looked at them and I had one scar from when I fell on glass. So the left leg isn’t as pricey as the right one,” the model explains. But from where we watch Miss Klum, they look mighty flawless and worth every penny.

    Aakanksha Devi

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      Sign up for a flash-mob dance workout, acroyoga and a sunset party this weekend

      Hit the streets1
      Create an impact with an international Rueda De Casino multi-flash mob workshop. Practice sessions begin tomorrow and the classes will be on for a month. Participants will get to learn new salsa and dance steps to exciting tracks. Starting tomorrow, from 4 pm onwards. On Beach Road. Details: flashmob.dileque.si

      The alpha woman
      After presenting her book, The Emerging Feminine (2014), about strong feamle characters from our mythology, author Rashna Imhasly will discuss the book with two special guests—Rajkala Partha, a social worker and founder of the NGO Sharana, and Moghan Jean-Luc Mehlem, a French psychologist. The event will be moderated by Maurice Shukla, an author and a professor at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Tomorrow, from 10.30 am onwards. Details: 0413 4210806

      Lady on board
      Dasha Latsenko from Auroville is usually busy designing bikinis. But in her free time, she also paints surfboards. Using mostly acrylic colours, she paints directly on the foam. ‘‘I painted this lady for my friend Nico Erni. It is a result of 20 hours of work  done over a week and half,’’ she says. From Rs 8,000 onwards. Details: indishapingbay@gmail.com

      Bend it like Giror2
      Fitness enthusiasts can sign up for a workshop on acroyoga. Specifically designed for beginners, to learn about a form that combines the spiritual wisdom of yoga , the energy of acrobatics and the technique of a Thai massage. Helena Giror from France, will be conducting the classes. At La Casita, on April 2, from 7 pm onwards. Rs 1,200 for 6 hours. Details: 9159180875

      On the sets This is a shout-out to all aspiring actors. Golden Glory Movies is conducting auditions for actors. Their untitled film will be directed by A J Sujith, with Srikanth Deva of E fame composing music. Auditions to be held this weekend.
      Details: 9894314473

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        Catch ’em all
        How about learning a new skill? At the Thiruporur Game Fishing camp, learn the nuances of fishing as you catch Tilapia and Seabass. Children can also take part in air rifle shooting or archery and look forward to lunches featuring Continental, Indian and Chinese cuisines. At Rs.13,800 for 12 days. Ages 8-15. Details: 8056022098

        Dance and drama
        If your tot is keen on learning to dance, sign him/her up for the camp by High Kicks. Called The Big Top Festival (to celebrate World Dance day) the four-day camp has workshops on dance, theatre and mime. From April 25-29. Rs.3,500 per child. High Kicks’ brand new fantasy-based dance theatre production, Goya, will be performed on International Dance Day (April 29) featuring participants from the camp.
        Ages 8-18. Details: 9940087710

        Art of creation2
        If your child can’t get enough of science fiction, Stem Center India’s robotics camp might be the right choice. Kids can learn to design and build robots in various shapes and sizes. From April 13-17. Priced at Rs.5,000 per child. Ages 5-15. Details: 9940119524

        Junior chefs
        u For budding chefs, Kid’s Can Cook by mother and daughter duo Shraddha and Lalitha Lulla, teaches salads, dips and desserts. `2,000 per child. Ages 5-10. Details: 9884087089
        u For something more elaborate, try the camp at Foodology, where kids will learn to cook Mexican and Mediterranean dishes, besides desserts. From May 4-8. At `5,000 per child. Ages four and above. Details: 24454885

        Thrice the fun
        This one is for kids who love adventure. Dairiyam’s seven-day camp offers several activities guaranteed to excite. Their rock climbing session teaches you the basics and concludes with an overnight expedition to the Eastern Ghats. If your child enjoys the water, their sailing course is a great option, as children will get to learn how to handle a boat independently. They also organise tandem flights with a licensed pilot and trainer in two seater microlight trikes. `9,000 for the combo that includes all three activities. You can choose individual activities as well. Details: 9940355521

        Mixed bag1
        Madhuri Rao, Joanne Saldanha and Maria Vivish let your kids choose between yoga, storytelling and environmental awareness. Rao, a qualified yoga instructor from Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, will teach basics like breathing exercises and meditation, while Vivish will teach kids the importance of protecting the environment and Saldanha will help enhance their writing, listening and communication skills through storytelling. From April 27 to May 1. Ages 7-11. Details: 9444394441

        Read out
        The reading workshop by Hippocampus (April 20-24) includes sessions for different age groups. Children from three to five years will be reading stories themed on sea adventures; ages six to eight will focus on stories from all over the world; and kids from nine to 12 years old will learn the nuances of storytelling. Rs.2,600 per child in any age group. Post these, Hippocampus will be organising other workshops on subjects like science and cooking. Details: 9840236367

        Strike a chord
        For the musically inclined. Amaranta Entertainment’s music camp focuses on vocals and instruments like the guitar and keyboard. Sharanya Gopinath from Chrome.o.Soul will teach voice exercises and accents. Young keyboard players will learn chords and notes from Jerard Felix, while Chris Jenson will teach your child how to play a guitar. From April 13 to May 1. Ages 5-15. Details: 09176339340

         

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          Dragon Blade
          Director: Daniel Lee
          Cast:  Jackie Chan, John Cusack, Adrien Brody, Lin Peng
          The story is about a lost Roman army that flees to the East and faces the Chinese army.
          Did you know? In an interview, John Cucask said, ‘‘I think the film is an epic, sweeping slice of Chinese history, and  the Silk Road. But it’s also about the need to build peace. Sometimes empires may be at war with each other, but that’s never the desire of the people. In their hearts, people want peace and justice. So I think that’s what the movie is about.’’

          The Gunman
          Director: Pierre Morel
          Cast:  Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Jasmine Trinca
          A sniper kills Congo’s minister of mines. Circumstances then force him to return to the area, where he becomes the target of a hit squad.
          Did you know? “We are not seeing enough of real violence. We are seeing anaesthetised versions, where you don’t see the horrors of war. In the 60s, we grew up with the horror of Vietnam on our TV screens. Today we have become anaesthetised by political correctness,’’ Penn said recently.

          Body of art
          The Friday Movie Club at Cholamandal presents a documentary on artist Simon Hantaï. Born in Hungary, Hantaï moved to France in 1949 and quickly became known throughout Europe for his large, abstract canvases of profound, saturated colour. The artist devoted his life to developing new techniques. The film has extensive footage of him at work, along with interviews with Hantaï. At Cholamandal Artists’ Village, today, from 7 pm onwards. Details: 24490092

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            She may be Kamal Haasan’s co-star and a busy singer, but there is a lot you don’t know about actress Andrea Jeremiah

            The movie Thupakki wouldn’t have been the same without the peppy Girlfriend, making us glad Andrea Jeremiah never went ahead with her initial plan of becoming a psychiatrist. The 29-year-old has come a long way from starring in Girish Karnad’s Nagamandala to becoming a playback singer— starting with Kannum Kannum Nokia, Karka Karka, Um Mella Asanthan—and now sharing screen space with the legendary Kamal Haasan. ‘‘I have the soul of a gypsy, always wanting to be on the move. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an air-hostess, and even now, I envy travel show hosts,’’ says the sexy diva, whose Malai Neram (2010) continues to be on demand on radio. Her entry into the  Malayalam film industry was made memorable with Annayum Rasoolum, where she played Anna, an strong working girl. Now, the singer is upbeat about her acting roles in five films—Uttama Villain, Vishwaroopam II, Puthiya Thiruppangal, Taramani and a cameo in Idhu Namma Aalu. On the Malayalam front, there is Loham with Mohanlal. More from her:

            Your third with Kamal Haasan. What have you learnt?
            At a time when mediocre people are celebrated, he is someone who is the gold standard for what talent, passion and single-minded dedication can accomplish. As for a little secret about him, I do know that he likes his coffee black and super strong. In fact, it’s the one thing he likes to offer every new actor on set. But nobody can drink it except for him, it’s so potent. One day, however, while doing a look test for Uttama Villain, I was desperately looking for a good cup of coffee. So he went into his office kitchen and voila—one of the best coffees I’ve had, just the way I like it, semi-strong with a tiny bit of milk and sugar.

            What about Valiyavan?
            Stylist Sarala and director Saravanan have worked very hard on both Jai’s and my look in the film. It’s a slick, well-made commercial entertainer.
            Who do you play in Idhu Namma Aalu?
            I had decided to stop doing anymore guest roles. I initially said no to it, but the director of photography, Balu, personally requested me to do it. It is an adorable story. I’ve never been cast as the cute girl-next-door before and that’s precisely why I accepted this film.

            How do you manage films and write music?
            Last week, I shot for the last song in Valiyavan. Then I shot a couple of nights on the road for my film Taramani, directed by Ram. I had a photo shoot for a magazine the night before I left Chennai. I also quickly recorded a new song that I wrote for Krem Brûlée. This week, I’m in Kochi, working on a Malayalam film. If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.

            Tell us about Krem Brûlée.
            Prithvi Chandrasekhar and I waited for more than a year to release Flavours and this is our second song, which is  different from our first (Never Let You Go). We have another song releasing soon and we are working on a new ballad. It’s so refreshing for me to sing my own songs and put forth my musical ideas.

            Are you a musician first?
            Both chronologically and preferentially, I am first and foremost a musician. It keeps me grounded and slightly detached in the film world, which is very important to keep one’s sanity.

            Director wish list?
            When I entered this industry, I told myself that if only I worked with AR Rahman and Mani Ratnam, I could retire happily. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet.
            Valiyavan is scheduled to release today.

            — Mrinalini Sundar

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              Singer Sharanya Gopinath gets her big break in Uttama Villain

              Were you one among many who thought the song Lovea Lovea from Uttama Villain was sung by either Shruti Haasan or Andrea Jeremiah? A hit on all the radio stations, the song from Kamal Haasan’s next, is actually sung by a 22-year-old. The forceful and robust voice belongs to singer Sharanya Gopinath. “I got a lot of ‘did you actually sing that song’? My neighbours and friends said the voice is too powerful. It is more than a dream come true for me to sing in a movie which has such huge stars,” begins Gopinath, who is also active in the punk-pop band, Chrome O Soul.
              Gopinath had almost missed the chance to sing the song. Last year, music director Ghibran’s assitant spotted her while she was performing at Madras Market. “When they were recording, I was performing at the Hornbill Festival, so I missed my chance. However, they called me again to sing a Telugu song for the movie, Jil. Ghibran then insisted I give Lovea Lovea a try. Surprisingly, they went with my version,” says Gopinath, who met Haasan for the first time at the audio launch. Apparently, the stalwart had recorded his version separately. But when they met, “he told me it was a great song,” says the graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Till last year, the singer was a fashion writer at Myntra in Bangalore. “I used to come down every weekend for shows. I started missing a lot of action. So I decided to return and enter music full time,” she says. Her band is currently working on an album, managed by Amaranta Entertainment, where Gopinath works.The album will include their popular track, Beef Biryani, which has catchy lyrics and has helped the band win several competitions.
              Uttama Villain is scheduled to release in April.

              Mrinalini Sundar

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                Everybody wants to be a star. Jack Prabhu knows this all too well, with his free acting classes at Elliot’s Beach

                MORNINGS at the bustling Elliot’s Beach see joggers, walkers, yoga enthusiasts and marathon runners going about their routines. But have you ever noticed a group of 40 gesticulating members outside  the restaurant, Planet Yumm? Well, they are aspiring actors who assemble every Sunday morning for classes from Jack Prabhu, who started the Raging Bull Actors Studio in 2007. “I’m a great fan of the movie Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese. Robert de Niro’s performance as Jake LaMotta is the best ever and the reason why I selected the name,” smiles Prabhu, an has acted in lesser known Tamil film, Ego. While Raging Bull was initially just a club for acting enthusiasts, he has now given it legitimacy by opening a studio in Royapettah.

                Bigger platform1
                Some of the members of the studio have gone on to act in films—Pranav Dev in O Kadhal Kanmani, Karthik Nagarajan in Ahaa Kalyanam, Sanjay Saravanan in Meaghamann and Boologam, and Vicky in Vadacurry. “Each participant has to attend classes regularly for a month to be chosen for more in-depth classes that go on for three months,” says Prabhu, who also arranges for auditions once the course is over. These classes are aimed at those who are passionate about acting, but don’t have the means or the contacts to take the leap. “I always promote my actors either in films or television serials. We teach only acting, there is no script writing or camera experience,” he says.

                Theatre vs films
                “When I started my journey in acting, I took theatre lessons under Kaladhar from the film union (Nadigar Sangam). I had by then done some small roles and short films. But I soon realised theatre lessons weren’t enough to be an actor,” shares Prabhu, explaining how he started researching and stumbled upon method acting. “(Yesteryear actress) Stella Adler introduced method acting to Niro and Marlon Brando, and that is what we follow at Raging Bull. I conduct  games and other exercises that will help my students understand the process better. We also have sessions in story telling, voice control, besides memory games,” he explains. Having said that, he admits that theatre is essential as it forms the base for actors. “Movies came from theatre. Like how Bharatnatyam is the base for any dance, theatre helps you understand voice, body movement and psychological control,” says Prabhu. Fortunately, he insists that you don’t have to be a natural. “Acting is not inborn. It can be developed. It is a mixture of creativity, skill and technology,” he says.
                The Sunday classes are free. Regular classes for three months at Rs 25,000. Details: 43358422

                Mrinalini Sundar

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                  With fluorescent interiors, a smoke machine, cafe and enough room for 12, Chennai gets its third laser tag arena

                  Barely three weeks since they opened shop on Khader Nawaz Khan Road, G Sector, the city’s third laser tag arena, is already attracting nearly 60 gamers a day, and that too in its testing phase. “Unlike paintball where you can get hurt, laser tag is a game that can be enjoyed even by children. We have set our age limit to 12, only because the equipment is too big for smaller kids,” says Girish Subash, the founder (and doctor by qualification), who has worked on the layout and theme of his arena with his friends. As we suit up for a game, we find groups of friends and even a family of four waiting for a go in the approximately 2,000 sq ft Star Wars-themed arena, that Subash says will be changed every year. “It takes close to a month and a half to redesign the arena,” he points out.
                  Inside the arena
                  The game is ideal for two teams of five each, we’re informed, and the objective is to shoot your opponents and score maximum points within your time frame. “If your group is small, you can opt for a death match, where you compete as individuals,” Subash clarifies. As we take cover behind neon obstacles in an otherwise pitch dark room, an active smoke machine and a racy soundtrack from a James Bond movie, do their bit to get our adrenalin pumping. By the end of the 10 minutes, we stagger out, some even breathless, but everyone thoroughly excited. “10 minutes is the perfect duration, but we also have a 15-minute option that will completely exhaust you,” shares Subash, adding that their in-house cafe provides much needed snacks (think sandwiches, burgers, milkshakes, etc) after the express work out.
                  Beyond the game
                  Scheduled to launch on March 29, G Sector will soon be coming up with membership cards (even a list of top players) providing special perks and discounts that will help lighten the Rs 250 (per person for 10 minutes) price tag. Other benefits here include PlayStation consoles (Rs 100 per hour) to keep you busy while you wait for your session. Of course, there are packages and discounts on bookings for large groups — something the corporate crowd (who already look to games like paintball for team building sessions) will make use of. But what we’re really looking forward to, are the tournaments that Subash assures us will be conducted on a regular basis (at least once a month, he hopes).
                  Open from 10 am to 10 pm. Details: 9003200099

                  Ryan Peppin

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                    This season, let your home glow with semi-precious stones

                    You have seen semblances of it (made of acrylic) at SPI Cinemas and the real deal at The Yellow Chilli restaurant. Now you can pick up slabs of imported agate and quartz for your home, right here in the city. The only store to offe1r naturally-occurring semi-precious stones for interior solutions, the year-old Eartheque Exquisite Elements promises to give your rooms an organic but luxe edge.  “Natural stone is not similar to ceramic and porcelain tiles, and offers a gradation of colours,” explains Shilpa Darshan Kumar, the co-founder, who started out as a bank manger but quit to explore more creative outlets. Commenting on the increasing demand for semi-precious stones, Pranita Varma, the founder of interior design firm D’Studio, says, “Earlier, it was quite small-scale, used in things like wash basins and lamps, but now the trend is on a much larger scale—like dining table tops, bed heads, bed sides and more.” Meanwhile, Kumar adds, “The beauty of the stone is the explosion of colours and its translucent nature. And when back-lit, it gives a warm glow.” With 18 types of semi-precious stones sourced from Belgium and Zambia, also expect a variety of hues—like the agate that comes in shades of blue and green.

                    Details: 9962404000

                    Team Indulge

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                      Quiet luxury, great textures and no bling – Sussanne Khan shares her brief for her collaboration with the design leader

                      IF YOU can imagine it, then you can design it. That’s been Sussanne Khan’s working philosophy and what got her noticed by one of the world’s premier design firms, YOO. When Khan recreated the look of a vintage library (“using suave velvet and leather furnishings”) at one of their projects in Pune, YOOpune, it got her a call for a meet-up in 2013 and then an offer to join the London-based group as one of their creative directors. “My design sensibility is eclectic, breezy, casual luxury. It’s quite laid-back, but with a very strong blend of the masculine and feminine. They appreciated my vision of how you can create a balance between the two,” begins Khan, who also runs The Charcoal Project, a concept home décor store in Mumbai, and curates the online store, Home Label.1
                      YOO co-founder, John Hitchcock, agrees. “Everything we do is underpinned by good design, which we believe has the power to help you live, love and work better. And Sussanne fits into our pantheon of design seamlessly with her commitment to aesthetics and unique style,” he says.
                      Textured love
                      Currently finalising four unique design styles to be added to the YOO portfolio, Khan explains she will be bringing a lot of “new-age India” into her signature style, which will be geared towards quiet luxury. “I plan to blend different Indian architectural influences and patterns, and modernise it to my sensibility of shabby chic,” she says, adding that trends are moving away from bling to cleaner lines, great materials and richer textures. “Metal is a material I love to use, besides wood and natural fibres. They bring a lot of detail and beautiful colour palettes,” says Khan, who will also be concentrating on innovating patterns for function and not just beauty.
                      India speak
                      Another main focus for the designer, with an associate degree in interior design from Brooks College, California, is sourcing locally. “We have such great talent in our country—from the best lighting companies to blown glass makers, metal workers and artisans—who are now using technology to widen their sensibilities. I am in the process of finding the ‘cream’, identifying great textures and weaves from different states of India, and then using technology like 3D pyramid imagery and 3D patterns, to use the handicrafts on a much larger platform,” explains Khan, naming AJSK (Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla), Klove (a boutique lighting studio) and Vikram Goyal (“I love his design sensibility with brass furniture”) as some of the companies and designers she’d love to work with.

                      Surya Praphulla Kumar

                      CAR & BIKE

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                      Reasons why some Yamaha YZF-R3 owners may have to take their bikes back to the workshop Launched in India back in September 2015, the Yamaha...

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                      The legendary Martin Scorsese opens up about his latest film, future projects and more in an exclusive interaction with Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo It was the...

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