Monthly Archives: February 2016
Whether it’s the Lean On video or actor Chris Hemsworth’s recent visit to India, we’ve seen many Indophiles in Hollywood. Here are a few more
Elizabeth Hurley’s Twitter timeline last month was filled with kiss emoticons and hashtags like ‘bliss’, for our country. The stunning British actress-model was visiting Mumbai to attend a wedding and was seen partying with the likes of Bollywood celebrities Seema Khan and Dino Morea. While the love connect might not be her
former husband, textile king Arun Nayar, whom she split with in 2011, last year saw the 50-year-old posing for the Harper’s Bazaar cover in a green-sequined Sabyasachi dress. In the past, she has been spotted in saris and even convinced her 13-year-old son, Damian, to wear a sherwani.
One of the fastest bowlers in the world, Lee has been associated with India and projects here for a long time; whether it was back in 2004 when he presented the IIFA award to Priety Zinta or the more recent Indo-Australian film, UnIndian, which released in October last year. Directed by Anupam Sharma, the romantic comedy had Lee playing the male lead opposite Tannishtha Chatterjee, of Shadows of Time fame. A self-confessed butter chicken fan, this 39-year-old Australian had said earlier that “India looks after (him) like a son”.
Just last week, Dame Judi Dench had attended the world premiere of her latest, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, at Odeon in Leicester Square, London, wearing a colourful flower garland around her neck. For the 81-year-old, coming to India was not a culture shock, it was a ‘love affair’ to which she says she is now ‘addicted’. The actress — best known for her role as M in the James Bond series — hopes that the comedy-drama, which is a sequel to the 2012 The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is successful in showcasing the beauty of Indians.
As a teenager, bitten by wanderlust, Nicole Kidman had visited the country. And she hasn’t stopped since. During her most recent visit last December, the 48-year-old Australian admitted that our culture and food has always attracted her and she felt ‘incredibly comfortable’ here. She also shared that she drew inspiration from Bollywood while shooting for her 2011 Oscar-nominated role in the movie Moulin Rouge. Her next movie, Lion, is with Dev Patel for which she is rumoured to be shooting in Kolkata.
Coldplay star Chris Martin surprised Delhi last year. The 38-year-old turned up to perform an impromptu gig at the Summer House Cafe in Hauz Khas village. While his acoustic set blew minds, little did we know that he was in the country to shoot for his recently-released and much-talked about video, Hymn for the Weekend. And if you look closely at their Superbowl performance this year, the instruments have the band’s name inscribed in Hindi — if that isn’t a declaration of love, we don’t know what is.
Seed, Comedy Central
Wednesday, 10 pm
One day, a boy named Billy walks up to Harry Dacosta, a young bartender, and claims to be his son. Next, a girl named Anastasia claims to be his daughter. The series follows how Dacosta’s life gets complicated after children—from his foray into sperm donation—show up. How will he deal with his new-found family?
Man vs Wild, Discovery
Sunday, 10 pm
This time, Bear Grylls finds himself stranded in America’s greatest mountain range, the Sierra Nevada. It’s a place where hundreds of people get lost every year. He will show you how to survive in its three major mountainous regions: alpine, woodlands and chaparral. He will also parachute into an alpine lake, free-climb down steep cliffs, and raft down white-water rapids.
Togetherness, Star World HD
In this comedy-drama, after nearly
reaching breaking point last season, sound composer Brett Pierson and his wife Michelle struggle to make sense of where their marriage is heading. Meanwhile, Pierson’s best friend, Alex, returns, reinvigorated, from New Orleans, following his big acting break. But his newfound success threatens to disrupt
his relationships back home.
Chat rooms, hangouts and campus events are the new places to talk about movies these days
I came to know recently that the next big thing is all about starting a movie promotion company. Exciting, especially if you have out-of-the-box ideas. Well, call it competition or creative genius but it is getting more and more edgy and uncommon by the day. Some stars walk into malls, studios, inaugurating shops and more while others generate controversies. In fact, the production houses reach out to some websites which can put a rather hot spin to the news about the star cast to generate more interest in the movie. The headline is invariably about the star’s love life – from why they are single to when they may mingle! That definitely draws attention because we all love to peek into others’ lives. The cast and then the movie manages free promotion.
Now with the digital media picking up, the promotions are all over internet too. From special trailers to chat rooms and hangouts, cinema occupies a major chunk of the cyber space. Did I mention FM radio bits and events like ‘SaveWater’ campaigns during the film release? Not that nobody means what they say in the campaign, but more about the timing with the movie release.
The reason is simple. We have at least 4-5 small and mid-budget movies releasing at any given time. Now unless it is a Bahubali or an SRK starrer why and how would movie-goers register, recall and actually watch a movie? Besides, instead of just doing a staid studio interview blah blahing, it is certainly more fun and interesting to be in the news at other events and be recalled during film release. It is also increasingly challenging to remember unfamiliar, non-local beauties who resemble each other. I am talking about the new entrants who may take a while to register their presence here!
I was recently at a college fest. I saw many stars walk onto the stage to ‘inspire’ while of course promoting their trailers as well. What an idea! It was the perfect place to get a captive target audience. And why not? It worked. I would not know some of the actors in the movie had I not attended the event. They all had, unfamiliar and complicated names. How would the rest of them remember? It is challenging enough for the students to mug up chemistry formulae.
The best thing about these harmless publicity gigs is that we all seem to enjoy them! With the large appetite our city has for such happenings- whether it is a book fair or a health run, actors and filmmakers too find it natural to be out there doing something or the other during their release. Says director Nandini Reddy of Ala Modalaindi fame in a recent conversation, “After much delay in finding theatres, we are finally set to release our film Kalyana Vaibhogame. But we still have four other films releasing on the same day. The best way to get attention is to have an out-of-the-box promotion. You will see it soon,” she says.
The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)
From adventure of the planetary kind to a peaceful swim with turtles, we give you eight ways to spend those extra 24 hours
Well, by now as an environment friendly person, you must have been enjoying car-free Thursdays and feeling the joy to help the environment remain pollution-free, at least just for one day a week. How about doing it on February 29 – a Monday? You will remember it and perhaps add a car-free Monday too to your calender. Choose between walking or taking the public transport to work. Or try hiring a bicycle for that day through Cyckul. Details: www.cykul.com/C2W
This May, Earth and Mars are headed for their closest encounter in a decade—in a phenomenon called opposition. And February 29 night to the wee hours of March 1 is the ideal window for stargazers to start following the celestial phenomenon, says Raghunandan Kumar of Planetary Society of India. Week after week, Mars will get closer and brighter. So head to your rooftops, with binoculars and telescopes in tow, and spot the non-twinkling object next to the moon—that’s Mars. Details: ournewplanets.info
Love in mid air
Girls, take a cue from the Amy Adams-starrer Leap Day, and propose to your Mr Right. Well, according to Irish tradition, a man can’t refuse a woman’s proposal of marriage on February 29. Tradition or not, it’s still a good idea for you take charge. You can make the moment memorable by popping the question mid-air. Heli Tours India offers private helicopter rides in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Fights subject to availability. Rs 85,000 for 30 min, Rs 1,25,000 for an hour.
On this extra day in the year, take time out to visit Ashray Akruti, a non-profit organisation at Srinagar Colony which works with the hearing impaired children in the city. You can volunteer a few hours to help them in their daily chores, teach them handwriting, play cricket or cook a hot meal for them. Details: 40042250
Looking for excuses to do some shopping? Shoppers Stop has announced 29 offers scheme for the leap day. Online shoppers can avail a minimum of 29 percent discount on 29 brands from home decors, shirts, kids wear, sunglasses and accessories. Formal shirts from Arrow, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, casual wear from UCB, Park Avenue, Jack and Jones and women’s wear from Gipsy, Aurelia are some of the brands that could be grabbed for a steal. Jack and Jones shirts from `1,200 onwards. Details: shoppersstop.com
Take the special luxury double decker train from Hyderabad to Guntur for a fun packed journey of six hours. Board the train at 11:30 pm from Hyderabad Kacheguda station and reach your destination Guntur Junction at 5:50 am. The train number 02118 also stops at Warangal and Vijayawada Junction.
Tickets: Rs 465 one way.
Swim with the turtles
How about making the best of our proximity to Sri Lanka, with a night at Owl and the Pussycat in Thalpe. Fans of the Edward Lear poem will love the island’s newest boutique hotel, owned by property developers Reita Gadkari and Shane Thantirimudalige. A short drive from Galle, it has 17 rooms outfitted with handmade pieces by artists, both local and from as far off as Argentina. Learn to fish with stilt fishermen or make a date with the turtles that live off shore. From approximately `13,000.
Flights begin at Rs 7,125 onwards.
Want to spend the extra day at your own theatre? Head to Leonia Holistic Destinations at Bommaraspet to enjoy a fun time with your friends, family and relatives at your own box office. Big Cinemas at Leonia lets you hire the theatre for one show. Watch any movie of that’s currently running and relax in the resort with your whole gang. Price: Rs 1,46,475 (inclusive of food for 465 seats) Details: 66400000
— Team Indulge
Actor, producer, TV show host and family man Nagarjuna Akkineni’s secret to success is his ability to juggle it all effortlessly and still stay on top of everything
By Manju Latha Kalanidhi
Perhaps it’s not just a coincidence that Nagarjuna Akkineni’s next movie,w the Telugu-Tamil bilingual Oopiri (Tozhan in Tamil) shows him sitting blissfully on a chair and laughing out loud as the tagline says ‘Celebration of life’. The 56-year-old-actor is enjoying one of the best times of his life and work.
His Pongal release Soggade Chinni Naayana became the second biggest grosser in his career after Manam (2014) raking him 638.8 million according to trade figures; his TV show Meelo Evaru Koteeshwarudu which he has been hosting since June 2014 is already into its successful season three and the broadcast was increased to four days a week from three thanks to its increasing TRP ratings. His son Akhil debuted in 2015 and he himself is busy with a couple of movies including Oopiri that will release in March. As a businessman, he runs a convention centre and a restaurant and has always been considered among the top three stars of Tollywood. Interestingly, he also enjoys an unusual camaraderie with Big B, not to mention a handful of prestigious endorsements. So what’s next for the complete man who has been in the industry for 30 years now and is on to his 93rd movie now?
“Some time off for myself. I just want to ease out a bit and have nothing on my agenda for a few weeks or months. That’s the dire need of the hour,” says the Virgo who talks of a break, but is already preparing for his next movie based on the 18th century saint poet Hadhiram Baba. Ask him what he wants to do in his time off and he says, “Produce a movie with both my sons, what else?”
Sonny side up
As ‘Daddy Cool’ works out the nitty-gritties for the big bang movie, we ask him what he tells his sons and actors Naga Chaitanya, 29, and Akhil, 21, not to do, in life and in the industry? “I will tell them not to stop themselves from doing anything. Nobody really prevented me from trying out stuff and I think I turned out alright. So, I will tell them to give everything that is legal and permissible a shot,” he chuckles. The romantic hero known for his feel-good movies and lover boy image says it is in good sense to give children a sound upbringing and then trust them to turn out well. He says his infinitely better half, Amala, has been the reason why his sons turned out to be perfect gentlemen.
Amala is one word that lights up his face, just as it did when he was making news for dating this actress in the early 90’s and married her in 1992. What keeps him in awe of her?
“Amala inspires me. Excites me. Completes me. She is 24×7 pleasant. If something is wrong, she doesn’t crib. She smiles, finds a solution. If there is no solution, she endures it. I can’t but help stay inspired when she is around. In all these years, I have never seen her frown or scowl. If there is no salt in the food, she simply asks for the salt to be passed around or just finishes her meal without it. If there is a traffic jam, she simply opens up her book and reads or listens to music. No sighs, refrains or unnecessary chatter there. She has taught me to just smile at everything, not complain. It’s tough for me to kick up a fuss when she is so sweet,” he adds about his wife who is passionate about animals and runs the BlueCross in Hyderabad for abandoned ones.
Positivity all around him at home, but how does he insulate himself with the negativity outside? Nagarjuna says it has been seven years since he read the newspaper or has watched TV for news. “Bad news has the uncanny ability to give you a taste of it and before you know it, it consumes and engulfs you. Crime, cast and communal issues etc simply heat up your brain. I feel out of control in such situations and hence deliberately keep out of it,” says the actor who is surprisingly very approachable to the media. So how does he keep a tab on his own movie news? “I have my team that censors it all for me,” he laughs. So after a week of intense media activity as part of his movie or TV show promotions, he gets urls of his interviews, photo shoots, film reviews or trade news.
Like him, every online identity of him should be happy and positive. “I use Twitter essentially to update my fans about my work. I rarely post or discuss things that may have multiple viewpoints or is mired in controversies. When my film teaser or trailer is releasing, I let my 1.35 million fans know about it.”
Not surprisingly, Nag’s timeline is all about a good book he picked up at the airport recently on the way to a shoot, a nice short film he watched last weekend or how a female fan has engraved his name and his latest release on her mehendi or male fans put on his facemasks at a mela in a small town…
“But if there’s a burning topic and is keeping divided base on which side of the issue they are, I stay out. I am here to spread positivity, not controversies. I have a life beyond the hashtags,” he says.
While he doesn’t really dig gossip news either about the industry or outside, he realises it is a necessary evil.
“Indians love gossip. The media needs gossip. So the two feed off on each other merrily in a synergetic way. I understood early enough in my career. I am happy I find space in the gossip columns because it means I am still in circulation. The day they stop talking about me, I cease to be a star and that is bad news for me,” says the actor.
The best part of the day, he says, is when he gets little insights into the lives of those who take part in his show. “Before I have my guest on the hotseat, I do my homework by watching videos that give me a snapshot of their lives, dreams and aspirations. There is always a heart-touching moment and that is usually the high point of the episode and my day too,” he observes.
“I know that the current generation is obsessed with staying online every second and constantly checking notifications on social media, WhatsApp and SnapChat. Let us say I am bit old fashioned that way. I keep my phone switched off when I work. Like in a corporate set up, after the pack up, I turn it on to check my calls and answer my emails. Once that’s done, I am out of the network into the real world,” says the actor who was an early entrant to Twitter – since 2010 – much before his contemporaries.
“My days are dotted with a lot of meaningful and purposeful things. I start my day with a 45-minute intensive work out with weights. Nothing lightweight for me. Then I have my meetings, story sitting, shoot for my TV show – six hours a day for three days a week followed by time with family and weekends with fraternity.”
For an actor who is known to be a bankable star, owns a film studio and a production house, in-house advisors in the form of his wife – an accomplished actress and an activist herself, you would think he has done it all – feel-good romances, action entertainers, period films etc. “But I still have not played the kind of mythological roles my dad ANR (Akkineni Nageshwar Rao) has played. I still haven’t done an out and out period film where I play a dashing warrior prince. That is still not checked off my list of things to do. I am still looking for an a role that reminds my fans of dad,” he says.
“I will tell my sons not to stop themselves from doing anything. Nobody really prevented me from trying out stuff and I think I turned out alright. So, I will tell them to give everything that is legal and permissible a shot”
Life after ANR
Two years after his dad passed away, Nag and his siblings say he is only missed, but never remembered as he was never forgotten. “A man has to have had lived really well if his family smiles long after he is gone instead of feeling sad. Dad has always been such a positive person that even on January 22, his second death anniversary, we all smiled and laughed at how dad must be looking at us from above remembering all the good times we had. For a man who never went to school, he has lived an inspiring life every minute,” he remembers fondly. Nag’s last movie with ANR was Manam in which the latter plays his son. “He hastened to complete the dubbing part instead of resting despite being detected with cancer. It shows his concern for the hundreds whose livelihood depends on movies and speaks of his values,” he says.
At 56, Nag has an impressive body of work and many prestigious awards. What does he pine for now? “I used to be obsessed with cars. I am done with them. Now, I only want to do movies that count. It’s not fair to be obsessed with anything other than what has made me the man I am today. Hopefully for the rest of my life, I will stay obsessed and blessed with movies,” he ends.
Need of the hour: An ocean holiday
outside India, where I won’t get mobbed
Favourite work spot:
The Alps, always
Best party place in city: My room. Parties are where you chill out and there is no better place than my bedroom where it is quiet and for a change, I am not solving problems, but just unwinding
Hashtags that define him: #OneDayAtATime #SleepWellWakeUpFresh #ChillDon’tPlan
Best time zone: 9 pm, when
I hit the bed blissfully
Bidri is hosting a Himachal pop-up menu with a vast array of veg and non-veg dishes
Pop-up menus are finding favour in Hyderabad. Keeping this in mind, Bidri at Marriott Hyderabad has organised a pop-up menu of lesser-known mountain food straight from picturesque Himachal Pradesh. What’s more special about it that chef Sherry Malhotra, former Miss Shimla was there and cooked a vast platter of gourmet delights ranging from Channa Madra, Dahi Ke Chaanp to Onion Spinach Fritters and unheard of desserts like Khus Khus Aur Makhaney Kii Kheer.
We started from Channe Kii Tikki , a pan-fried chickpea galette. It had a tangy tomato filling. Next was Arbi Aur Moongphalli Kii Seekh; it was a colocassia and peanut kebabs grilled in tandoor. On the non-vegetarian platter were starters like Dahi Ke Chaanp which resembled and tasted like Tabak Maaz of Kashmir. Murgh Chaanp was unique marinated with paste of fenugreek and fennel seeds. What we liked best was Channa Madra: a light preparation of chickpeas cooked in yogurt, powdered spices and lotus seeds. We even cooked the same dish at the kitchen of Bidri. There were more dishes like Sepu Wadi, Maash Kii Daal and rotis like Babru. Our pick was Nashpati Kii Sabzi: ripe pears cooked with light condiments. Chef Sherry explained, “We use a lot of yogurt in our dishes and often soak pulses in dahi water.” Chef Yogendra Pal, too, was there. The dessert took the cake. We were served Khus Khus Aur Makhaney Kii Kheer – a sweet preparation of lotus seeds, poppy seeds in milk and other nuts. The festival entitled ‘Fresh Off the Mountains’ is on till February 28. Price per head: `1,400++ taxes (Non-veg). Details: 27522999
— Saima Afreen
South Asian delights
The Square, Novotel Airport is offering cuisines from across Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand. The menu includes unlimited alcohol, dim sums, sushi, noodles, herbal sorbets and much more. Date: February 26. Time: 7 pm. Price: Rs 1,849 ++ taxes. Details: 66503082
24 Mantra Organic revamps its menu with ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat items. You can get juices of fruits like orange, cranberry and apple in packets. In the food category too, they have packets of food ready-to-cook such as Millet Dosa, Ragi Idli, and Kanda Poha. Price: Rs 49 onwards. Details: 7702278958
Enjoy Odyssey Food Festival at Ninety Six, Trident Hyderabad. The bartenders have curated a menu with Trident specials like Hyderabadi Pan Martini, Keralam, Sharabi Lassi, Patiala peg from Patiala House of Punjab. On till February 28. Details: 66232333
Glocal Junction is the new one to join the block of restaurants that are offbeat in the city
THERE’S a lot happening in the food world and you get surprised when you enter a restaurant and you wonder if the construction work is over yet. Well, this is the new thing happening. The newly opened restaurant Glocal Junction, at Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad has precisely that look.
The moment you enter the restaurant you feel the paint work is yet to be done, floors yet to be scrubbed and tables yet to get the sparkling marble tops. But observe closely and you find swarms of young people enjoying their cocktails and trays of pasta without bothering much about the surroundings.
You then see bunches of wires hanging from the ceiling and inverter-like boxes blinking with red and green lights. Explains Sanjay Vazirani, CMD of Foodlink Restaurants, “We have given it the industrial look. It’s the new thing as people are tired of dining in embellished restaurants. They want to experience something new and quite off-beat.”
As you wonder about the ambiance food is served to you in canteen style meal-trays. Starters too were served in the same style. There was an array of mutton, chicken, fish and shrimp grills served with grilled bhutta. The taste was good, but the mutton could have been marinated long er to make it softer. We tasted Bombay Tawa Pulao. Served on the meal-tray much like canteen of some government office the pulao looked appealing but had overdose of red chilli powder which made us grab the bowl of whipped yogurt. What we liked was cheesecake wrapped in betel leaf. The young betel shoots were coated with chocolate from inside and filled with cheese. Other items on the platter were Coorgi Murgi Dry Fry, Chaat Pizza, Biryani Risotto with Khakra Chura, Tuna Salad with Hajmola etc. The desserts are a delicious array of Masala Chai Panacotta, Firni Creme Brulee and even Beeramisu (Tiramisu mixed with beer). Prices are regular. For example per head it’s approx `700++ taxes. Time: 11 am-1 am. Details: 65308999
Spoons, knives and forks are shaped like wrenches and other small industrial tools. The tumblers in which drinks are served are shaped like some industrial-liquid-storage-container in which instead of straws, plastic tubes are used. Another interesting thing we noted was ice-cubes in quirky shape of a skull. The cocktails on the menu are of exotic fruits with Indian flavours. The bar also has different menus for noon and evening. The day menu boasts of interactive cocktails whereas in the evening there’s quick serve menu such as Glocal Long Island Tea, Toxic Box. But it might be a bit too much for your appetite when you have to wipe your mouth with tissue paper shaped liked a toilet roll!
— Saima Afreen
Travelling will now be easier and well organised with these designer suitcases
From the house of V.I.P. Industries, the leading luggage brand in India presents Richmond, designed for the wedding season. This lightweight premium collection is made with superior lush fabric with Teflon coating for stain and water resistance.
The 360 degree wheeling makes it super easy for travel. Enhancing its offering, the strolleys are made with premium hexa-sectioned interiors to give one six compartments for easy and organised packing. With a detachable toiletry pouch, separate sections for chargers, documents, accessories and two shoe pouches, Richmond helps you sort your luggage.
This collection is available in three sizes and two colours, luscious Cocoa and pleasing Olive. Avail your travel bag across select
Blue was the colour and brisk business was the credo in the social circles this week
The week seemed to have a perfect planetary position for launches and business growth. The Stone Life Store had its first anniversary celebration which showcased exclusive stone displays and threw in innovative concepts of how artistically stones can be used for décor – a much needed success recipe for an aspirational store. Although blue seemed to dominate the dressing preferences of the guests, a splash of red and creams was a welcoming delight too.
The launch of La Finesse designer studio by Payal brought in women with fashion love under one roof. Manjula dressed in stripes of white and yellow on a blue background carried a serene blend of colors. Karishma dressed in a denim outfit reflected the charms of a petite beauty.
The debut of Iccha Vastra exhibition by Sirisha and Sridevi was a well-presented platform of how saris can be a synonym of feminism and divinity. Sirisha, dressed in an unusual combination of pastel blue with a red print jacket, complemented the traditional ethnic sari appeal of Sridevi.
The FICCI Flo Event ‘Bricks & Clicks’ with speakers Srikanth Sundarajan and Rakesh Biyani saw the members dressed in a varied spectrum – a true representation of Indian dressing. Shweta, Shoba and Harish took part in the recent tree planting drive near Gandhi Hospital to ensure they had a productive weekend.
All in all, the week was a blue week with business as the main theme.
(The writer runs her own organic cafe, spa, salon Meghavi and is a people’s person with a pulse on the city’s happenings)
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