From movies to a Baul workshop, this week has a lot in store
Herea��s a chance to detox. The Auroville Retreat is organising a three-day juice-diet programme. Participants will be served fresh, organic fruit and vegetable juices nine to 10 times a day, at an interval of every two hours, starting at 7.30 am. Anandi Vaithialingam, naturopathy practitioner from Auroville, will be available at the venue for personal consultations. Rs 4750. Details: 9843948288
This weekend, master Pranayama (breathing) techniques at Unity Pavilion. At the three-day free workshop, Aurovilian JV Avadhanulu will also teach you simple exercises to tone your muscles. Breakfast is advised only after the workshop. From today to Sunday, between 6.45 am and 8 am. Details: 0413 2623576
The chase begins
Therea��s something for thrill seekers.BenoA�t Jacquota��s A Toute de Suite will be screened at Alliance FranA�aise de PondichA�ry. In the movie, Lili (Isild Le Besco), an art student from a wealthy family, falls for the mysterious Moroccan guy Bada (Ouassini Embarek), at a night club. The next day she learns that he is a robber, when he calls her requesting for help, in the middle of a botched-up robbery. On October 4, at 6 pm. Free entry. Details: 0413 2338146
Sound of music
Baul Retreat presents Parvathy
Baul and Shahjahan Munshi among others at the music festival in Aurodhan. The six-day residential fest will also see lectures and workshops (on techniques of breath control for the Baul performance).
At Aurodhan, between October 13 and 18, in association with Ekathara Kalari. Registration fees is Rs 20,000, inclusive of food and accommodation.
Details: 0413 2222795
Catch a Somana Kunitha performance (a Karnataka-based folk dance), by Shri Gangadhara Gowda and troupe, as a part of Dusshera celebrations organised by DakshinaChitra. There will also be an exhibition of Lambadi crafts. From October 7 to 11, at DakshinaChitra, between 10 am and 6 pm.
Attention aspiring film makers. Kameleon International Film Festival, organised by Indianostrum Theatre in partnership with Puducherry Tourism and Alliance Francaise de PondichA�ry, invites entries from the world over to send to email@example.com Details: 9578302087
Pondicherrya��s favourite restaurant returns with contemporary dA�cor and a menu featuring both old favourites and new experiments
Ask anyone about the early days of eating out in Pondicherry, and theya��ll tell you about Rendezvous CafA�. At a time when going out to dinner mostly meant visiting either established hotels or small, nondescript establishments dishing out regional Indian fare, Vincent Mathias and his wife Jessica took over a little white-town restaurant and turned it into a culinary adventure, a Lonely Planet pick, and a Pondicherry institution. a�?My fathera��s menu had upwards of 200 items with French, Konkan, and Mangalorean dishes; my mother was the backbone of the place, and we had many regulars,a�? Vincent Mathiasa�� daughter Valerie tells me, recalling with admiration what her parents had together built. After her fathera��s passing in 2010, the restaurant closed, then moved downstairs briefly, and closed again for a more extensive rebuilding. Some twenty years on, it was time for a reinvention.
Meet the crew
Rendezvous is scheduled to re-open again on October 9. This time, it is Valerie Mathias Johnson and her husband, Chef Leevin Johnson who are running the show. Valerie was formerly in sales and management with Hilton and Lavasa, and Leevin with Taj Hotels; both are now established hoteliers with a special passion for food. Theya��ve moved the restaurant space up to a fully renovated third floor terrace with views of the Church dome, the sea, and the old lighthouse tethering it in three directions. The old keeth thatched roof is gone, as are the checkered table cloths and white-painted cane chairs. In their place are polished white concrete tables, a swirly floor design, whimsical dA�cor, a show bar, and a space for musicians to perform live.
The new menu is both more modest and more focused. It showcases Rendezvousa�� old fondness for seafood, but presents French fare with Asian twists to keep things exciting. Some signature Goan and other dishes are preserved for those nostalgia-seeking guests who would want none other. a�?The point is not to convert people to any singular kind of food,a�? Chef Johnson insists, a�?but to give everyone food they are comfortable eating.a�? Each new table detail has been thought through to add interest and allow guests to interact with food as they wish, a�?adding balsamic or chilli flakes if they like!a�? Lunch will be lighter tapas-style mix-and-match eats. Dinner guests can linger over multiple courses, finishing with tarte tartins and shots paired with just the right tastes of chocolate. In all, the re-done Rendezvous promises a refreshed gastronomical experience with all the old commitments to good food presented anew. We cana��t wait for a taste of how the story of Pondicherry food is to be re-written all over again.
Details: 0413 2227677
Deepa S Reddy
(The writer is a Pondicherry-based blogger and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jyoti Naoki Eri talks about his cultural initiative One Asia Project and collaborations with local artisans
Jyoti Naoki Eri has a way with the arts, with both his grandfather Sohei Eri and father Kokei Eri known for their sculptures in Japan. He has explored mediums like painting, photography, calligraphy and ceramic art. Back in 2010, inspired by Sri Aurobindoa��s teaching that encouraged Asiaa��s oneness, he started the non-profit organisation One Asia Project in 2010. It invites musicians, dancers, painters and craftsmen from India and other Asian countries like Japan and Korea for performances, exhibitions, workshops and lectures, in Auroville and in other places like New Delhi and Pune. a�?I realised art and culture always transcended boundaries,a�? he says. Eri feels that a way to achieve a�?onenessa�? would be to know and understand each othera��s culture. Besides organising the chakai (informal tea ceremony) and the more formal version for those interested, which Eri explains a�?is a Japanese culture and must be enjoyed in a relaxed mooda��a��, the 49-year old Japanese artist has also learnt ajrakh (a Rajasthani block print) in Udaipur and fabric dyeing from artisans in Bhuj, besidesA� pottery in Auroville. He has posted pictures of unusual block-printed shirts on his website (oneasiaproject.org) but insists that sales may take place, if at all, next year. Among his friends who appreciate these fabrics is the Taiwanese fashion designer Sophie Hong. Up next is a photo exhibition by the Japanese photographer Kazuyoshi Miyoshi, organised by Eria��s One Asia Project, with The Japan Foundation at Varanasi. Details: 0413 2622192
Ben Kingsley talks about his admiration for Robert ZemeckisA� and what it means to start from zero
ONE cannot refer to Sir Ben Kingsley (71) without bringing up his debut leading role in 1982a��s Gandhi when he won two Golden Globes, two Baftas and one Academy award. In fact, the versatile actor has credited the movie for the ease with which he fitted into the character of a Sikh driving instructor in Learning To Drive, which will premiere at this yeara��s Toronto Film Festival. While the star has been noted in movies ranging from the Schindlera��s List to Sexy Beast and Iron Man 3, his latest release sees him in Robert Zemeckisa�� The Walk, based on a true story, where he plays the role of a mentor, Papa Rudy, who trains Joseph Gordon-Levitta��s character in the movie. More from him.
What initially attracted you to The Walk?
I was invited for this role by director, Robert Zemeckis. He has a great body of work for which hea��s celebrated and will continue to be celebrated. Ia��ve always admired him, but had never worked with him. In conjunction with that, having read the script, I found it extremely well-written, unsentimental and strong. Ita��s always great to be asked to join these wonderful projects. I always feel secure when I can understand what my dramatic function is for the director.
Tell us about the character you play, Papa Rudy.
A lot of imagination goes into creating a character. The script is a wonderful start, because it gives you parameters and it gives the character a function. Rudy worked in the circus; I work as an actor. So this portrait had a lot to do with my imagination and a very good script.
You wanted to be an actor from the age of five. How did you know from such a young age?
I was very impressed a�� maybe thata��s the right word to use for a child that young. I was deeply impressed and moved by a film I saw. Suddenly there was nobody else in the world, except myself and a child on the screen, who was a little boy about my age. When it did end I was in floods of tears. Somehow there was a connection between me and the screen. I couldna��t decipher it. The film was Never Take No for an Answer.
The WalkA�suggests that an artist will risk everything for the sake of his art. Is that something you can relate to yourself?
To a lesser extent, I think every day I do. I hope I risk everything, in that I hope I start from nothing. That nothing is accumulated. That there is no comment, no judgement, no assessment, no accolade, nothing. I have to start from zero. I have to put my foot on that tightrope for the first time every day I walk onto a film set.
Did you do anything special to
prepare for this film?
This may sound mundane, but ita��s honest to any young actor who may come across this interview. I learn my lines until I know them so thoroughly that I will never let anybody down on the set. And in that process of learning what that man has to say, how that man meets the world with words, specifically how Papa Rudy teaches, is a huge indication to who he is and what he is. So I study the script for hours and hours and hours.
The movie is based on the infamous 2008 Noida double murder case. On a March night, a 14-year-old Shruti Tandon (Ayeesha Parveen) is found dead in her home. Initially, the domestic help is suspected of the murder, but after a police inquiry the parents are suspected as the murderers. CBI officer Ashwin Kumar (Irrfan Khan) steps in to attempt to solve the murky murder mystery.
Did you know: The film premiered as Guilty at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Singh is Bliing
Director: Prabhu Deva
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Kay Kay Menon
The movie follows the adventures and misadventures of the clumsy hero Raftaar Singh (Kumar). He falls in love with Sara (Jackson), who also reciprocates his feelings. But unfortunately a don, Mark (Menon) insists on marrying Sara, against her will. Singh will have to fight him to marry her.
Did you know: Akshay Kumar and Kay Kay Menon will be again seen together in this movie, after Neeraj Pandeya��s Baby,
Director: Chimbu Deven
Cast: Vijay, Sridevi, Shruti Haasan
The fantasy-drama, with Vijay in a dual role, is about the rivalry between an evil king and a brave warrior. The hero will have to battle one-eyed monsters and giant panthers before meeting his enemy for the final battle.
Did you know: Sridevi will be seen in a Tamil movie, after almost two decades.
Director Kanu Behl on the importance of social media and how the new Titli trailer goes back to the core of family
THERE is no time like now for movie trailers. The buzzing response to the teasers for Titli, the gritty drama about a family of rogues, is the most recent example of the rise of the trailer. Titli is director Kanu Behla��s first feature and is an Indian indie film, but not of The Lunchbox variety. To begin with, this is a portrait of a young man in Delhi who is trying to escape his two car-jacking brothers and conniving father. Then he is saddled with a truculent new wife. When the film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the trailer that accompanied it was suitably grim. That has changed now, for what a lot of cinephiles and social media addicts are viewing on their phones and laptops over the last few days conveys a sense of dark humour and background music that is in sync with the India story. a�?a�?This is not an intellectual film and it is not trying to be on a pedestal. It is an intense human drama with dark irony. It references the life around us,a��a�� insists Behl, 35, who has written the script and directed the film produced by mentor Dibakar Banerjee and Yash Raj Films.
a�?a�?There is the power equation in the film, of how we deal with our father, mother, marriage. Everyone who has seen it has been able to connect with at least one of the five main characters. Life doesna��t really have any villains,a��a�� he observes, admitting that Titli is a�?a�?at the core about a violent family, both within and without, and noir is just a setting.a��a�� Behl, who has previous experience with gems like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye (2008) and Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010), says he does not endorse violence for the sake of it. a�?a�?’It cannot be exploitative. There is only one strong burst of it in the beginning. A bit like nudity in a film, it tells you what the character is capable of,a��a�� he continues.
Trailers for small budget movies like his would have been lost without social media, Behl agrees. a�?a�?The stimulus we are exposed to has increased exponentially. I am part of the generation that has seen this transition. So you must sharpen your message.a��a�� The film stars Ranvir Shorey and Amit Sial as the elder brothers to the protagonist, Titli (newcomer Shashank Arora).With the movie seeing 60,000 admissions in nine weeks in France alone, we are certain the Indian numbers are likely to make for another news story.
Titli is scheduled to release on October 30
Auroville gets the ball rolling on their five-day biennial film festival today
Exploring a theme that resonates with the ideology of Auroville, the film festival, Human Unity, will feature 155 films made by Aurovillians and othersA�from across the globe.A�A�Aiming at connecting with people and cultures within and beyond Auroville, the evenings will begin with interesting food and music before the screening of the films.A�A�Tom Mo, co-director of the festival, says, a�?We have introduced a new format where round table discussions will be held every day with judges and filmmakers, who will engage in live Q&A that others can also participate in. Film historian and visual artist Suresh Chatterjee from Bengaluru will also be joining us. Ia��m waiting to watch the documentaries that will be showcased.a�? The festival begins with La��Urgence De Ralentir (The Invisible (R)Evolutions), by French director Philippe Borrel, who will be present at the screening. With indoor and outdoor venues, the organisers are looking forward to screening the stock motion and animation movies created by the students at Auroville.A�The township has also been organising workshops all year round, in schools in and around the community, and the films that have been made through this will beA�screened in the third category of the festival.A�To add toA�the merriment, you will also be treated to cultural shows featuring music and dance, and some inspired installation art (pictured far left).A�The festival promises to showcase the impact Auroville is trying to create in manifesting the ideal of human unity through these films.
Cast: Kathir, Reshmi Menon
THE movie revolves around police informers who face the backlash when their mentors discard them as redundant. Anucharan has managed to weave a realistic thread throughout the narration, without losing sight of the entertainment quotient. Kathir infuses life into his role, the rest of the cast fitting in suitably. Smartly written (Anucharan- Kaakka Muttai Manikandan) and deftly narrated, the film offers enough action and suspense to engage an audience for its entire 105 minutes of viewing time.
Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Akanksha Puri, Avani Modi
Madhur Bhandarkar is back with his brand of women-centric cinema. This time around, he takes on the world of calendar girls. The film traces the rise and fall of five girls who are shortlisted for a coveted annual calendar shoot. Yes, it follows almost the same graph as his Fashion. This is the fundamental failure of Bhandarkara��s latest. There is almost nothing shocking that the audience has not seen in his earlier films, or read in tabloids. The dialogues are outright tacky. Watch Page 3 or Fashion instead. This one is dated.
Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway
Bored with retirement, 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (De Niro) applies for an internship at an online fashion store. And he gets accepted. His boss, CEO Jules Ostin (Hathaway), is many years younger and has no time for herself or her family. In the course of events, Ostin warms up to the older intern and starts taking his advice on life and relationships. What works for The Intern is that it explores relationships, age gaps and gender
roles, without being preachy about it. Needless to say, De Niro and Hathaway do their job well.