a�?Most of our Indian films are a mixture of various genres. My film Masala Padam is a light-hearted take on what this a�?masalaa�� genre is,a�? says Lakshman. Donning the directora��s hat now, he was the cinematographer for Vennila Kabaddi Kuzhu. The film
(releasing today) stars Shiva, Bobby Simha and Gaurav. Lakshmi Devi, who essays the female lead, is the filma��s script writer too. A satirical take on our films, it should be an interesting watch.
One for the team
Arjun Vijayaraghavana��s third release, Andhadhi, is set to hit theatres today, and the actor has his fingers crossed. This might well boost his career. a�?It was one-of-a-kind of experience for me. The director was very flexible, giving space to the actors, and ita��s a perfect example of what good team work can deliver,a�? he says. The cast includes Bhargav, Karthik Nagarajan and Anjana Keerthi. Incidentally, debutant director Ramesh Venkatraman is an alumnus of Rajeev Menona��s Mind Screen Institute.
Mansur Ali Khan is relieved. He has wrapped up his new film, Adhiradi, and it is set to hit theatres next week. Khan has acted in, produced, scripted, penned the lyrics, and composed the music for the film. Directed by Balu Anand, Khan essays the role of a martial arts trainer whoa��s chosen to play the hero in a film. Ita��s about how he completes the film despite several hurdles. a�?Ita��s an action comedy with a theme relevant to the times,a�? says Khan.
The American retailer comes closer, with a Bengaluru address
Therea��s always room for retail. Case in point, the sprawling 8,000 square feet Gap store at Bengalurua��s Orion Mall. The brand predictably enough created quite a stir after its launch two weeks ago, especially since actress Shruti Haasan was roped in for the opening. In a quick interview with Oliver Kaye, business head for Gap India, we discover that this casual fashion brand has serious plans for India.
With so many international brands in India, isna��t Gap late on the scene?
No, I think the timing is just right. The Indian retail market has grown exponentially in the past five years. And wea��re talking at least 400 million people in the wealth bracket, including the Tier 2 cities. Many other brands, like H&M and Topshop, are choosing this moment to launch, too.
How different are the collections in Bengaluru, from Delhi?
Gap clothes are pretty much the same all over the world. The few differences one might experience are the weight of the fabrics (owing to climatic conditions) and a few changes that are dependant on the shopping patterns of a specific city.
What are the key products at Gap?
We are all about casual fashion. So our denims, basic tees and shirts are the most popular. We arena��t a fashion forward label, but all about adhering to what is classic.
How seamless will your brand operations be?
Apart from being available online, we are also looking at in-store pickups. So if someone cana��t find a product at the store, they can buy it online and have it delivered to the store.
From Rs 799. Details: 22682282 Priyadarshini Nandy
What really works for the medium? This is still an unanswered question for many stations that are quite comfortable shooting in the dark. You often hear of stations going to town about the a�?new book of radio religiona�� that we listeners must follow. But what happens next is often a disappointment. The reason for this is that nothing is home grown. Many stations believe that this is a cut-and-paste industry, which is not the case as what works for a successful radio unit in one area might not be applicable for its counterpart.
When you look at the countless regional stations that have lit up the radio skyline all over the country, you will observe that there is very little that differentiates them. However, radio units will deny it and come up with incredible stories: for example, a�?the entire Mumbai city listens to our breakfast showa�? or a�?our listeners weep when they dona��t hear their evening hosta�? and sometimes a�?our station provides 3D entertainment like none othera�?. When you are confronted with such theories you obviously start feeling like a fifth grader in a Stephen Hawkinga��s class.
I took a look at the money that companies have put in to buy a radio license. It gives us the false hope that if a radio station has spent `250 crore to buy themselves a frequency, then obviously some path-breaking ideas and sounds will reach our ears. That said, the stations that have already made their presence felt are far from path breaking. Just in case history repeats itself, buying a license thata��s reached a bid this expensive would be like buying an old Premier Padmini for the cost of a Rolls Royce Phantom.
Why do radio stations sound awesome when they are on test transmission? Simple. Ita��s uninterrupted back-to-back music. You like it because you are not forced to hear programming ideas that are a figment of onea��s imagination or be put through marketing initiatives, not to forget voices that lack the personality. One thing every station should learn: keep it simple and dona��t try too hard. See you next week.
The writera��s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.
Topshop finds space in the Indian market, at Jabong.com
With an extensive range from its fall linea��including dresses, jumpsuits, footwear and bagsa��UK brand Topshopa��s entry into India through Jabong.com has been one of the many fashion highlights of the year. Though some might say the collection is a bit of a let down when compared to their stores abroad, therea��s no denying it is an exciting development.
We talk to their global design director, Jacqui Markham, who tells us more.
Who has curated the collection?
The collection has been collaboratively curated. Topshop offered advice on the fashion items that work well for a global customer and Jabong gave invaluable insights into the Indian market.
We always consider the customer and look at factors such as climate, local customs and the receptiveness of the market to global trends. To ensure a well-rounded collection, we have looked at delivering a combination of wardrobe essentials such as denim, with seasonal high-fashion trend pieces.
On the collection.
The Autumn-Winter a��15 collection is an update of the 90sa�� trend that has been prevalent for the last few seasons. Washed out prints and sportswear details have been integrated with logos to complete the look. The denim is distressed and the shapes are skinny, with raw selvedge and indigo washes. Formal wear retains its universal appeal while updating familiar styles with a new colour palette and accessories.
How is Topshop suited to the
Our research suggests that Indian shoppers are incredibly receptive to trends and take inspiration from international influencers. Our brand is built on being design-led and first-to-market; attributes we believe will set us apart here too.
What does the future hold?
As a business, we are always looking at opportunities to extend our global reach. Our partnership with Jabong provides us with unique insight into how the Indian customer is shopping. We will continue to assess the market for further opportunities. However, we have no immediate plans for a brick-and-mortar store in India.
From Rs 690. Details: jabong.com
Offering handcrafted leather bags with quirky detail to anti-fits, meet the newcomers rocking at the Amazon India Fashion Week in Delhi
Fashion Design Council of India hasA� shortlisted a fresh crop of young designers under the title, First Cut Designers for 2015. With the six designers debuting at the Amazon India Fashion Week on Saturday, we find out what they have in store. Text: Rashmi Rajagopal
Dvibhumi by Vyshnavi is an independent jewellery label based in
India and Singapore. Sanskrit for a�?two worldsa��, the name reflects the coming together of designer Vyshnavia��s Indian roots and her current region of residence a�� Southeast Asia. Rooted in Asian heritage, her signature aesthetic employs clean lines, and surfaces in combination with textures and motifs a�� more matte finishes and monochrome than bling. At AIFW, the designer will showcase Rhythm-Rawa-Riyaz, an ode to the rigour and aesthetics of Indian classical music, which she has expressed through granulation or rawa, clean lines, repetitive patterns and visual rhythm. Made in collaboration with artisans in Jaipur, the metals used are mainly 925 silver, brass and gold plating. Details: dvibhumi.com
Lola by Suman B
From dressing the likes of Malaika Arora Khan to Athiya Shetty, Lola by Suman B has created quite a stir. Panjim-based Suman Bhat takes her inspiration from simplicity and minimalism. Priding itself on wearability, Lolaa��s designs often feature a single solid colour and hints of contrasting notes, to keep things interesting, and dramatic silhouettes. For Spring Summer 2016, Bhat has decided to take an unusual route, with her inspiration being a dark, summer love affair a�?that promises electricity and passion,a�? she tells us, adding, a�?Ia��m interested to see how people react to that kind of collection for summer.a�? Expect a colour palette of flesh tone, dusty rose, maroon, taupe and ash gold. The line-up includes jumpsuits, strapless dresses, maxis and trousers in fabrics such as linen, satin velvet and crepe. Details: facebook.com/lolabysuman
Founded by Aditi Dhar, Vitasta, a handcrafted leather
accessories label, is based on the idea of everyday luxury. Craftsmanship and simplicity are key, making its products functional and beautiful. a�?Our sensibility has evolved from the confluence of Indian colours and craftsmanship on modern functional shapes, and a respect for materials,a�? explains Dhar. Based in Delhi, her Spring Summer line explores the effect of things that are a�?desafinadoa�� (a Portuguese term for something that is off centre). Look out for details like hand-cut leather fringes and asymmetric seams, used to break conventional proportions. Handles come with woven details and straps are intentionally not centered, while a punch work pattern has been used in a series of waves. The silhouettes are inspired by binocular bags, equestrian saddle bags and everyday totes, and are crafted in thick calf leather with a neutral palette of tan, nude and black. Details: vitastadesign.com
Focussing on comfort clothes, ASA is known for its practical, minimal outlook, with garments that are not defined by gender. a�?Our aim is to create rational fashion using handloom fabrics and natural dyes,a�? shares designer Shreya Oza, who is based in Ahmedabad. This is strongly felt in the collection to be showcased at AIFW. Silhouettes are easy and modern, while the colour story is a mix of classic shades of grey, black and off-white. Made with cotton grown in Gujarat, the designs are wearable yet edgy, and employ manual techniques such as hand block printing. Details: facebook.com/asalimited
Based in New Delhi, Example was started by Moutushi Sarkar and Rituraj Singh. A resort wear label, it is also a promoter of slow fashion, with special attention to handmade techniques and natural fabrics and dyes. Their collection for Spring Summer 2016 is inspired from their travels across southern India and Turkey. a�?We observed many common motifs and patterns in the practices of faith and religion, and how many symbolsa��like the star and golden yarna��have stood the test of time within civilisations that have always been at the crossroads of foreign influence,a�? says Sarkar. This theme, they found could be easily translated into their format of shibori dyeing and their aesthetic of street style. The fabrics are cotton, handwoven Kerala saris and soft silks, featuring clamp dyed shibori techniques and hand-stitched details. Details: weareexample.com
The Meraki Project
Greek for a�?soul, creativity or the love put into somethinga��, Meraki was started by Sonali Pamnani to modernise Indian handwoven textiles by making them fuss-free, contemporary, eclectic and fun. a�?We use a lot of organic cotton, ikat textiles, linen and pure silks that are handwoven in different parts of India. Each piece is curated keeping the fabric in mind,a�? shares Pamnani. Their Spring Summer 2016 collection is a�?about embracing the weird in you and having fun with it,a�? she explains. Handwoven ikat textiles and linens in mustard, blues, whites, grays, checks and stripes feature heavily. Therea��s also a mix of different fabrics, textures and patterns layered together, fashioned into dresses, tops, tunics and more. Details: facebook.com/merakiproject
This weekend, hop on a cycle, drop into galleries and sit down to enjoy some Malabar cuisine
Pondicherry is already in a festive mood. Shop for silk, cotton and designer saris, silver jewellery, colourful quiltsA� and bed linen at Utsav, the pre-Diwali sale organised by homemakers Munira Lal and Akila Srikanth, in association with Twinkle Guptaa��s Bling, a city-based events management company. Today and tomorrow, from 10 am, at Centre Point Hall, Hotel Atithi. Products from Rs 15 onwards. Details: 9843331098
Head to Shopping Sorgum organised by the Rotary Club of Pondicherry Eves, to pick up homemade savouries, clothes, jewellery and more. Besides city-based participants, the fest will also host stalls by women entrepreneurs from places like Coimbatore and Madurai. While there, sign up for some games or get intricate mehendi patterns painted on your hands. From today (4 pm onwards) till Sunday, between 10 am and 10 pm, at Jayaram Thirumana Nilayam. Products from Rs 10 onwards. Details: 9843577296
Hit the road
If you want to know more about Pondicherry, hop on a cycle and be a part of the Wake Up Pondy Tour. Organised by Sita Cultural Centre, the guided cycle tour will cover various places like Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the fishermena��s haunt, Kuruchikuppam. All through the week, starting this Sunday, from 7 am to 9 am. Rs 1,200 inclusive of breakfast.
Details: 0413 4200718
For art lovers, Pondicherry-based painter Radja Peroumal is showcasing his charcoal drawings and acrylic paintings at Kalinka Art Gallery. a�?Nature always offers amazing experiences to those who interact with it,a�? says the 31-year old, who has translated his passionA� on to the canvas. Titled Natural Elements, the exhibition opens this Sunday, and will go on till December 11.
Details: 0413 2336976
Edward Chinniah, former assistant to cinematographer Arthur A Wilson (of Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi and Anbe Sivan fame) is exhibiting his photographs at Pitanga Cultural Centre in Auroville. Titled Life in Focus, the Chennai-based photographer features people, sceneries, birds and animals.
Till October 17. Details: 0413 2622403
Savour spicy Thalassery biryani, pazham pori (banana fritters) or piping hot puttu at the month-old restaurant, Malabar Cuisine. The Kerala staples are made with spices and ingredients (like kodampuli) sourced from Wayanad. Home delivery is also available. At Aurobindo Street, from 12.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Rs 15 onwards.A� Details: 7708733389
The latest city-based eateries to set up shop along the shore
Therea��s no dearth of places to eat along the coast. From spots like Lydiea��s that warrant a detour, to global chains like KFC and Dominoa��s Pizza that are ideal to grab and go, therea��s plenty of choice. Now, city restaurants are cashing in on the stretch that boasts a concentration of expats, international schools and the ever-growing IT tribe. Read on:
Double Roti, Neelankarai
Six months after their launch in the city, Double Roti opened their second outlet in Neelankarai, in the same premises as Gormei Market. a�?We had a lot of people from this stretch coming to our outlet in Teynampet. Plus, therea��s a huge expat crowd here,a�? says owner Japtej Ahluwalia, adding that the young families have been enjoying his range of burgers and fries. Dona��t leave without trying the Area 69 (beef and bacon) or the Mexican Wave (vegetarian) burgers. A menu reboot is expected across outlets in December or January.
Meal for two at approximately Rs 800. Details: 42874587
The Kati Roll Shop, Okkiyampet
Ita��s been a year since Arnav Bajoria introduced the city to his brand of chunky kati rolls in The Kati Roll Shop. After Gopalapuram and Besant Nagar, this young entrepreneur expanded to OMR just weeks ago, with the same take-away format that he follows at his other outlets. a�?This was a good choice primarily because of the IT crowd. Therea��s also a large North Indian crowd along this stretch,a�? says Bajoria, who recently introduced kebabs on his menu and promises Indo-Chinese rolls like Szechuan chicken and chilli paneer in the future.
From Rs 50 onwards. Details: 7299245500
? Barbeque Nation opened its third branch in the city in the last week of March, in Thoraipakkam, on the OMR. The buffet restaurant, whose live grill concept has a following across the country, has included a few specials like the Nellore fish curry during lunch hours, for the benefit of the IT crowd that frequently eats out at lunch time. Details: 30205538
? Even ice cream chains seem to be cashing in on the stretch, with Amadora having opened at Akkarai in the first week of March.A� Offering close to 20 flavours like salted caramel and filter kaapi, they charge from Rs 200 onwards a scoop. Details: 9940463512 Team Indulge Pics: A Raja Chidambaram
From organic farming to water management, learn sustainability at the four-day workshop in Auroville
Sustainablity seems to be the need of the hour. While various experiments in sustainable living have been conducted in Auroville in the past, here is a workshop that aims at integrating the quest for personal change with techniques of living that are less environmentally destructive, more socially responsible, and economically transformative. Last held in March this year, this is the second edition of the four-day workshop. a�?We live in a time when our environment, our economic systems, our social lives and our personal growth are dysfunctional,a�? says Alan Herbert, founder of Auroville Today and long-time facilitator of workshops on sustainable future. These intensiveA� residentialA� engagementsa��from water and waste management to organic farming techniques and green building designa��have touched lives in other cities, too, via alumni who are from across the country. Some have spearheaded waste collection initiatives, while others have established alternative living communities.
Team of three
This year, Herbert has begun working with two other facilitators, Aurovillians Sheba Maini and Leena De Chakravartya��each with years of experience running leadership training programmes across different sectors like corporate, health and education. Explaining how the workshop is targeted at professionals, Maini says, a�?Many cannot afford to take a whole week off. So we decided to offer a shorter, stand-alone workshop that introduces the important themes.a�? Mornings will be devoted to exploring ideas conceptually, and afternoons to field visits, like a trip to Solitude Farm to learn about community-supported agriculture and food security, or to Auroville Electrical Services to understand solar energy solutions and, elsewhere, to AuroRe, which promotes the use of renewable energy under the guidance of Toine van Megen, one of its founders.
Trace the link
a�?It is not possible to separate the work of personal transformation and learning to live consciously, from the work of living sustainably,a�? says Martin Scherfler of Auroville Green Practices, which is organising the workshop, and Herbert concurs. Both speak of the ways in which personal sustainability and self-transformation are interwoven with economic, environmental and social sustainability.
At Center Guesthouse, October 28-31. Rs 25,000. To register, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Deepa S Reddy
(The writer is a Pondicherry-based blogger and can be reached at email@example.com)
Great Indian Hotels, Travelxp HD, Friday, 10 pm
In the latest episode of the show that identifies the best hotels in the country, we are whisked away to a tree house in Jaipur. Away from the hustle bustle of the city, The Tree House Resort has wooden cottages kissing the treeline. From getting pampered at its aviary spa to enjoying its international cuisine, discover how one can unwindA� several feet off the ground.
Go Style,A� Fox Life, Friday, 8 pm
The week-old series looks into celebrity image makeovers, fashion designers who work with stars and other interesting tidbits of fashion and style. This week, get a sneak peek into what happened at the recently-concluded Lakme India Fashion Week, and also meet fashion designers Kunal Rawal and Suneet Varma.
Mariona��s Thailand, TLC, Saturday, 9 pm
Australian chef and author Marion Grasby is on a culinary tour of Thailand. In this episode, she shows us how to make roast chicken and pineapple curry and also reveals how to make the perfect fish cake. One of the highlights is a visit to a coconut plantation in Pranburi, where a monkey gathers coconuts.
Doctor Who, FX, Sunday, 11 pm
In episode two of season nine, The Witcha��s Familiar, the Doctor is trapped in Dalek City, the heart of his enemya��s empire. When his archenemy Davros, who is losing his powers, expresses a last wish to see the sun rise on his planet, the Doctor takes pity on him and tries to give him some of his energy. But he soon realises it is a trap. He now needs to quickly find the time machine and escape.
Look Whoa��s Talking with Niranjan, Zee CafA�, Sunday, 9 pm
This week, screenwriter-host Niranjan Iyengar interviews Fawad Khan, the Pakistani actor who recently caught everyonea��s attention with his Bollywood debut, Khoobsoorat. In the eighth episode of season two, the shy actor confesses that women make him nervous. He also gets chatty about his childhood, career and his love life.
Dr Ken, Comedy Central, Sunday, 8 pm
The series revolves around the life of Dr Ken, a brilliant doctor who is trying hard to balance his work and personal life, but with little success. Ken Jeong, who played Leslie Chow in the Hangover series has written and directed the series, besides starring in the titular role.
Emily Blunt on playing a dark role and how Sicario has taught her to view law enforcement differently
EMILY Blunt might not be a proud American, in view of her recent controversial comments after getting her citizenship, but the British actress has come a long way in her career. From being a stutterer as a child to playing a mean assistant in The Devil Wears Prada to fighting the big bad aliens in the Edge of Tomorrow, Blunt, 32, is back as an FBI agent in Sicario. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the movie sees her setting out on a mission to assist the drug-war operation on the US-Mexico border. More from the actress.
The character you play is a dark one. What attracted you to it?
I liked that I was playing a character with a big moral dilemma. She knows that doing things by the book is the right waya��but is it actually making a difference? So you have a character whoa��s caught up in this rather incoherent world of the CIA and the cartel, and their way of doing things, which is totally out of bounds and illegal. Yet she knows shea��s not scratching the surface doing what shea��s doing.
Youa��ve played a lot of women who are very good with guns recently a�� Looper, Edge ofA�Tomorrow, Into the Woods. Do you enjoy it?
Ia��ve always been drawn to strong female roles, but I think people make the mistake of thinking that the strong ones are the ones with a gun. The character I played in Into the Woods is someone whoa��s a bit scatty and a bit crazed, but she is somebody who ultimately is desperate for a child and shea��ll do anything in her power to get what she wants.
Do you think therea��s a shift in Hollywood in terms of roles that are typically more male but are now played by women, like action heroes?
I do feel that therea��s a turn happening. Hollywood seems to be a more positive place for women than it was five years ago. Movies like Bridesmaids made a gazillion dollars and it was all womena��and the men went to see it, too. But you still have to sift through a lot to find a great female character and theya��re often in independent movies, which is why I’ve ended up doing a lot of those.
Did you spend any time with the FBI to research your role?
I spoke to a lot of FBI girls and theya��re very matter-of-fact. None of them, out of the five I spoke to, have relationships, which I thought was really interesting. I asked if it worked that way for the men as well. And they said no, because they have wives who stay at home usually and take care of the kids. But the women either had bad relationships or tried to be with someone in law enforcement. I asked what they did to decompress, what they did after they raided a house or someonea��s been shot or a kid has died. And a lot of them said they just go home or go for a drink with a friend whoa��s not in the industry. One woman said she goes home and watches Game of Thrones and The Office. I said Ia��ll tell my husband (John Krasinski); hea��ll be really happy to know that hea��s your outlet.
Has it given you a new respect for law enforcement?
Definitely. The FBI girls said the most frightening thing they deal with is the moment before they walk through the door because they dona��t know whata��s on the other side. That takes a huge amount of courage.
Did Tom Cruise ever give you any advice for your action roles?
He was incredibly encouraging when it came to the stunts in Edge ofA�Tomorrow. I did learn a few moves on this one as well. I could probably take a person down.
Sicario releases today.