Home Archives 2016 March 18

Daily Archives: Mar 18, 2016

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    A 150-year-old house and a curated stay that includes bronze casting and Vedic chantinga��just a hint of what boutique hotel, Svatma, has to offer.

    Ita��s the little things that strike me as the car weaves through Thanjavura��s narrow streetsa��old houses standing cheek-by-jowl with the new, the vimanam of the mighty Brihadeeswarar peeking over its fort-like ramparts, and children playing in the street with the cheerily bulbous Thanjavur dolls. I am tempted to stop, savour and Instagram. But I desist, deciding to first check into my weekend getaway hotela��the six-month-old boutique property, Svatma. As I enter the gates, I realise the towna��s sensibility has been carried forward into the 45,000 sq ft luxury space.
    Housed in an acre of lush green, it seamlessly blends a 150-year-old colonial home with high-vaulted ceilingsa��with distinct Tamil architecture, like the beautiful pillars lining the verandahsa��and a new Millennium Wing. The latter is marked by a fun twist to history, like lift doors with digital prints of gopurams and a pool that looks like ita��s being filled by waters from the garbhagriha (sanctum).
    As I walk to my room, after a welcome fit for a queena��an arati for good luck, jasmine for my wrists and an angavastram around my necka��I realise the light dims in stages, with my suite being the dimmest. A conscious effort, I realise later, to mimic how people move from the bright exteriors of the temple to its cool, dark interiors. And such attention to detail abounds in the hotel, designed and developed by Krithika and Sumanth Subramaniam, of property developers Sumanth & Company. Krithika, who feels strongly about the government not preserving our heritage, says, a�?A town like this woulda��ve been beautifully restored had it been in the West. Here, there are just monuments being mismanaged and 1,000 biryani kadais.a�? So with her companya��s debut venture into the hospitality industry, she felt she had to celebrate our culture. a�?I want people to come here, eat our food, see our dance, listen to our music and experience our beauty,a�? she adds.
    The heritage wing is where you need to be. While the spacious hall downstairs hosts chamber music concerts and Vedic chanting sessions conducted by a temple priest, upstairs, the bedrooms hark back to a sepia eraa��with old wooden four poster beds from nearby Chettinad, throw cushions made from old saris, and Thanjavur rugs. You can see Krithikaa��s eye for detail in the terracotta toys that form a simple centrepiece, the old uruli thata��s been converted into a wash basin, and the quotes from the Thevaram (Tamil texts of devotional poetry) inscribed on the walls.
    When not at Saukyam, their well-appointed spa, quick stops at Palaharama��for their coffee and local snacksa��and Nila, their rooftop bara��which serves a great martini and an unparalleled view of the towna��take up my time. In fact, if not for the promise of curated tours to visit traditional craftsmen, nothing could have enticed me to step out.
    Rooms from Rs 16,000. Details: svatma.in

    pg31-1By the stove
    I must confess I spent a bit too much time at Aaharam, their all-day fine-dining restaurant, where the chefs serve up organic vegetarian food. Continental and Maratha cuisine (a lesser-known remnant of their rule) also find a presence. My favourites are the thali with 14 scrumptious dishes and the thayir sadam that resembles a baked Alaska. But the highlight: learning how to make kadubu idlis (steamed in jackfruit leaves) as part of their complimentary cooking demonstration.


    Out about town

    Temples tour: Svatma has nine curated experiencesa��like Thanjavur doll making and visits to a weaving unit. But you cana��t be in the capital of the Cholas and not visit their majestic temples. Wait until evening (unless you enjoy blazing hot afternoons) and Arunmalia��a guide well-versed in history and architecture (who also speaks French)a��will tell you why Kailasa is depicted on the vimanam and how the carvings are so intricate, you can thread a string through some of them. Rs 1,500 plus tax


    pg31-2Bronze casting: Arunmali also accompanies us to the house of Kathirvel, a bronze caster who learnt the art from his parents and grandparents. Ita��s fascinating to watch him dexterously shape a beeswax-and-resin mould in his backyard, encase it in mud, heat it till the wax melts, and then carefully pour in molten panchaloha (a mix of brass, copper, silver, lead and gold). The finished product is then polished and sold for anything between Rs 1,000 and a few lakhs. Rs 1,500 plus tax


    pg31-3Veena making: The making of the Saraswati veena (or Thanjavur veena) is almost a dying artform. Only a handful of families still make it the traditional way. R Kausalya, the former principal of Thiruvaiyarua��s music college (and, incidentally, the granddaughter of the house Svatma is based in) will accompany you, as you explore the lumber yard where jackfruit trees are chopped into shape, and visit M Narayanan, whose family has been making veenas for generations (each takes at least 25 days to make).
    Rs 1,500 plus tax

    Maratha Palace: A visit is a must, though the graffiti and lack of upkeep is saddening. While a gallery displays bronze and stone sculptures from the Chola period, the Indo-Saracenic architecturea��incorporating European, Indian and Mughal stylesa��is stunning. The paintings on the ceilings date back to the 17th century, and are as fresh as the day they were made using natural colours. Drop by the Saraswati Mahal Library, which houses over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts. Entry at Rs 50

    pg31-4The swing vote

    With many private jet-setters flying in from Europe and elsewhere (much of their clientele till date), a little touch of drama and tradition is warranted. So what better than renewing your wedding vows? The hotela��s staff will help you slip into a madisar (nine yard sari), as a garland maker puts the finishing touches on the flower swathes. A temple priest will take you through the ceremony, as you sit on a traditional wooden swing. And going by the French couple with Cheshire grins, whom I saw renewing their vows, ita��s well worth doing.

    a��Surya Praphulla Kumar
    The writer was in Thanjavur on invitation by Svatma

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      A special BBQ, music at DakshinaChitra and workshops on sustainability a�� this week has both fun and gravity

      Friday fix
      Get your weekend off to a rollicking start with the Rock Your Soul concert tonight. The trio from Aurovillea��comprising Anna Taj, Pierre Fuladou and Saga Devana��will entertain diners at Mango Hill with signature classic rock numbers. Italian singer Taj will also croon a few original compositions from her album, Golden Heart. From 8 pm onwards. Details: 0413 2655491

      Forward thinking

      Founder of Auroville Today, Alan Herbert, is back with his week-long residential workshop, Exploring a Sustainable Future, at Auroville. He will present it along with former professor of IIT Madras, R Rajagopalan, and others. Expect sessions on waste management besides practical applications of sustainable principles. The last day for registration is Sunday. April 3-9. `19,000 inclusive of accommodation, food and transport. Details: 09442593448


      Like the French

      Offering champignon cappuccino (mushroom soup) and soupe A� la��oignon Francaise (French onion soup), Le Dupleixa��s SoirA�e FranA�oise is a four-course French meal. It also features appetisers like moules cuits avec de la��ail (mussels in garlic, white wine and herbs). Mains include coq au vin and aubergine parmigiana, while mille feuille and cannelle crA?me brA�lA�e are the desserts. Meal for two at approx `2,100. Till March 21, 7 pm – 11 pm. Details: 0413 2226999


      pg29-3Write art
      Get caught up in the many shapes and stories in Aiyana Gunjana��s calligraphic artworks, exhibited at Maison Colombani. Hosted by Alliance Francaise, the Moving Finger solo show includes watercolours, photographs and mono-printing by the Delhi-based artist. Curated by art historian Alka Pande, the display is complemented by the artista��s reflections in writing. Till March 25, 10 am to 5 pm. Details: 0413 2338146

      pg29-4Salute to musicians
      AR Rahmana��s Sunshine Orchestra, along with the Miami University Global Rhythms Orchestra, are coming together to celebrate compositions by greats like the Mozart of Madras, Corelli, Purcell, Piazzolla and Pandit Ravi Shankar at Taal Chaal, a musical programme at DakshinaChitra. With Srinivas Krishnan as the artistic director, the 45-member orchestra will also play The Prayer (Celine Dion and Andrea Boccelli). Sunday, 6 pm. Details: 24462435

      pg29-5Around the world
      At Grills by The Promenade, order from a new menu, which includes barbequed chicken breast, tiger prawns, baby octopus, squid and more. Besides the variety of meats, the marinades are also a big draw. Pick from global flavours like chermoula, harissa (Tunisian condiment), coffee spice rubs and Jamaican jolt spice. Menu starts at `1,800. At the Blue Line restaurant. Till March 26, 7 pm – 11 pm. Details: 0413 2227750

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        Expect colour-filled balloons and foam machines at CPFa��s Holi Festival.

        EVENT organisers, Connecting People Forum (CPF), is back with another foam party. The last one wasA� at Aqua in January, and now they are ready for the first edition of their Holi Foam Festival. Expect machine sprayed foam at the outdoor event, at the beach side of the Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay Mamallapuram. There will also be balloons filled with coloured powders, intended to burst and spread gulal. a�?The powders we are going to use are organic and have been sourced from the city as well as Bengaluru. They are safe and do not react with the skin,a�? says Felix Calis, co-founder of the group, along with Ajish Joy and Michael Rua Alex. As for theA� foam, Calis reveals that the machines are sourced from Delhi. a�?We have not received a single complaint about the foam from anyone who attended our previous parties,a�? he assures.
        Over 1,000 invited
        This event is the first in line of many, as the group is planning to make it an annual one. Over 1,000 people are expected to attend, and why not? As, besides dancing under the shower panels in your beachwear, revellers can also shake a leg to a dose of EDM and commercial music by some of the citya��s most popular DJs, namely, Rudy, Arjun Nair, Parthiban and others. a�?We have also brought DJ Prashanth Amir on board. He has assisted us with production, right from our very first foam party at Aqua,a�? Calis shares, adding that there will be counters of kati rolls, pasta, sandwiches, biryani, barbeque snacks and ice cream set up, to add to the food provided by the hotel. Itching to stretch a bit? Test your skills at frisbee and beach volleyball, on the lawn area and court, respectively.
        Open only to couples, the event starts from11 am onwards. Entry at Rs 1,500 per couple (Rs 500 off if booked through the Little app). Details: 9176754919

        a�� Karan Pillai

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          Pondy Nautic gives you an alternative look at The Promenade, with a cruise.

          Away from the bustle of the North Boulevard, past the New Lighthouse, across a short bridge, a bumpy road ends in a quiet expanse of backwater fringed by mangroves. A tiny boat with white sails drifts on the Thengaithittu estuary, heading towards where the Ariyankuppam River empties out into the Bay of Bengal. Another spanking new boat bobs in the water, contrasting with the colourful fishing vessels moored on the river bank. Newly-launched Pondy Nautica��s sea cruises take off from this tranquil spot.
          In the deep
          a�?When I used to drive my son to his playschool, Ia��ve often stopped on the seafront and thought it was a shame that there was no sailing in the sea,a�? says CA�cile Hoorelbeke, who founded Pondy Nautic with husband NathanaA�l Mallard, who runs Ultramarine Boats that builds custom-made boats and yachts. The enterprise was born out of the idea to offer more activities that allow travellers to engage intimately with the sea. a�?We already know how to build boats and handle them, but Pondy Nautic is about sharing the pleasure of sailing in the deep sea,a�? says the Normandy born sea-lover.
          While all-day sailing on catamarans and game fishing will be launched in the months to follow, speedboat sea cruises have already taken off with the 10-metre Naarei (Tamil for heron). The 250-HP motorboat, modelled on the south-eastern American-style fishing boat, can seat 20 passengers. The one-hour cruise begins at the Thengaithittu estuary, with the guide pointing out egrets and herons, and sharing tales of Arikamedu much further along the river, before picking up speed to cruise along the harbour and the New Lighthouse.
          All for the view
          It is only when the boat crosses the pier that one gets a rare perspective of the Pondicherry coastline a�� a view from the sea of The Promenade flanked by heritage buildings. The boat, on its return from Gandhi Thidal, treads deeper waters and revs up to the estuary, for an extra thrill. a�?More than the view, it is the physical experience that travellers have found exhilarating a�� you can feel every wave in the sea along with the salty spray,a�? grins Hoorelbeke. The morning tours can be extended for an extra half-hour where even non-swimmers can dive into the sea near the old pier and float with life jackets on, while moored to the boat.
          Customised tours offered. Speedboat sea cruises can be booked for 6.30 am, 8 am and 4 pm. From `900 per head. Details: 8220125027

          a�� Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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          Friday, March 18

          pg26-2 Kahaani (Mystery/Thriller),
          Star Gold HD, 10.55 pm
          Cast: Vidya Balan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
          Two years after a poison gas attack in a Kolkata Metro Rail compartment, a heavily-pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Balan) arrives in the city with aA� single-minded purposea��to find her missing husband, Arnab. He had come to Kolkata claiming to be on assignment for the National Data Centre (NDC). But Vidya had soon stopped receiving calls from him. Worried, she had followed him to Kolkata, but once there, she finds that no one by his name has been employed by the NDC. Will she succeed in finding out the truth? The movie is considered as Nawazuddin Siddiquia��s breakthrough project.

          Man of Steel (Superhero/Action),
          Movies Now, 11.25 pm
          Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams
          After the destruction of Krypton, their home planet, scientist Jor-El (Russel Crowe) and his wife send their infant son, Kal-El (Cavill) to Earth. There he is adopted by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha (Diane Lane) Kent who name him Clark. Soon the boy learns he has superpowers and dons the secret identity of Superman, to help those in need. But when Earth is attacked by General Zod, a citizen of Krypton, the Man of Steel finds his powers are not exclusive. He is aided by news reporter Lois Lane (Adams) in his mission to stop Zod. British actor Cavill is the first non-American to depict Clarka��s role.

          pg26-4Saturday, March 19

          Interstellar (Sci-Fi/Action), HBO, 5.41 pm
          Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway
          The sci-fi movie depicts Eartha��s futurea��an almost uninhabitable planet due to a global crop blight. An intelligent NASA scientist, Professor Brand (Michael Caine), works on a plan to save humans and finds a way to transport them to a new planet, through a wormhole. But first, he sends NASA pilot Cooper (McConaughey) and his crew, which includes Branda��s daughter, Amelia, to evaluate the habitability of the planets that show potential. How long will it take before Cooper can reunite with his daughter, whom he leaves behind for the sake of the mission? The film has influences drawn from multiple movies, like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars.

          X-Men: Days of Future Past (Action/Superhero),
          Star Movies Action, 9 pm
          Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy
          The sentinel robots that were deployed to wipe out mutants from the face of the Earth are now targeting humans, too. Professor Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and his team of mutants must do everything in their powers to stop the machines. However, the sentinels were created 50 years back, using the DNA of the mutant Mystique, thereby giving them shape-shifting powers. Soon Xavier comes up with a plan to use the powers of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to transport Wolverine (Jackman) to the past and alter events to change the course of the future. Will Logan make it back in time? This is Jackmana��s seventh portrayal of Logan/Wolverine.

          pg26-5Sunday, March 20

          Ishqedarriyaan (Romance/Drama),
          Zee Cinema HD, 6.43 pm
          Cast: Evelyn Sharma, Mahaakshay Chakraborty
          Luvleena��s (Sharma) family has a bitter past with billionaire Aagam Diwan (Chakraborty). Diwana��s fathera��s business was set up with fraudulent money extorted from Luvleena��s folks. But that does not stop him from declaring his love for hera��even though he knows that she fancies Arjun (Mohit Dutta), a musician. Can Luvleen forget the past? Urvashi Rautela, who represented the country at the Miss Universe pageant last year, was the original choice for Luvleena��s role.


          Dilwale (Comedy/Drama),
          Sony, 8 pm
          Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol
          Randhir Bakshi (Vinod Khanna) and Malik (Kabir Bedi) are the heads of two gangster clans that are constantly at war with each other. Randhira��s adopted son, Raj (Khan) has proven his mettle in carrying out some of the clana��s risky businesses. But when he meets Meera (Kajol), Malika��s daughter, he loses his edge and falls in love. A roller-coaster romance follows, only to culminate in a betrayal by Meera and her clan. Fifteen years later, Raja��s brother, Veer (Varun Dhawan), falls in love with Meeraa��s sister, Ishita (Kriti Sanon). Will history repeat itself? Tusshar Kapoor was initially considered for Veera��s role.

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            The actress on taking up a mana��s role in her upcoming war thriller, Eye in the Sky, and what went into it.

            Helen Mirren surprised host Stephen Colbert with a kiss on the lips in last weeka��s The Late Night Show with Stephen Colbert. Last month, the English actress cracked a whip and how, while shooting for Vanity Faira��s Hollywooda��s Fiercest Women. Clearly, the 70-year-old is game for everything, even a role written for a man. In the upcoming British thriller, Eye in the Sky, the Academy award-winner plays a military intelligence officer, Colonel Katherine Powell, who plans a secret mission to capture terrorists in Nairobi. Read on to find out why she applauds director Gavin Hood and how the cast and crew overcame financial restraints.

            Recently we lost a great actor, your co-star in the movie, Alan Rickman. What was it like working with him?
            Unfortunately, in this film, Alan and I shot our pieces separately. But I have worked with him on stage. I think he woulda��ve been proud that this was his last movie. Though we see his intelligence, wit and authority in all the other characters he has played as well, the Alan we see here is closer to the real Alan.

            How did this project come together?
            When I received the script, I didna��t know it was originally written for a man. I applaud Gavin (Hood) for thinking of casting a woman. I think it makes it universal. It is a great film about the terrible moral decisions of any war. There were a couple of other projects around at the same time, but I said to my agent, a�?If there are any conflicts, Ia��m telling you, this is the movie I want to do.a�?

            Can you talk about the research you did for the film?
            We had a British military man who was on set all the time. I had long conversations with him about Colonel Powell. So what kind of a girl decides to do that, what abilities have brought her to this position of authority? He gave me guiding points about what he felt the sort of woman she (Powell) would be. Also, he was helpful when it came to things like the way you wear your uniform and behaviour.

            What about the still moments in the movie? They are incredibly powerful and intense.
            The film happens in real time, over the two-hour period. Certain scenes, for instance with the politicians and drone pilots, had to be shot separately for financial reasons. It was extraordinarily complex. Basically, very roughly, we shot the whole movie, as far as my character was concerned, in one direction. Then, we turned around and shot the whole movie, from beginning to end, in another direction. It was the most economical way of doing it.

            In doing this film, what surprised you about drones and fighting?
            I had no idea how far technology has gone, and how far it will go. It made me consider the reality of it and the way in which warfare has changed. I do remember my parents, who went through the Blitz in London, said the most terrifying thing about being bombed was the Germansa�� new invention back then, the Doodlebug. It made a sound similar to that of a drone. Mother said the terror was when the sound stopped, because it was then that it dropped bombs.

            What are you working on next?
            Ia��m about to start working on Collateral Beauty, with Will Smith. Wea��ll be shooting in New York.
            Eye in the Sky releases today.

            a�� Team Indulge

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              The Program

              Director: Stephen Frears
              Cast: Ben Foster, Chris Oa��Dowd, Dustin Hoffman A tense thriller based on the life of Lance Armstrong (Foster), and his meteoric rise and fall as the champion of Tour de France, the film traces his return to the sport after a tough battle with cancer in 1999. Determined to win again, he develops a sophisticated doping programme with the help of infamous Italian physician, Michele Ferrari, and team director, Johan Bruyneel. A journalist, David Walsh (Oa��Dowd) uncovers the truth behind the sportsmana��s success. A must watch.

              a�� Team Indulge

              Triple 9
              Director: John Hillcoat
              Cast: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kate Winslet
              The phrase a�?too many cooks spoil the brotha�� is perfect for this heist thriller. It has too many sub-plots that make sitting through the film annoying, as if the heavy-duty action scenes werena��t enough. It follows a gang of crooked cops, led by Terrell Tompkins (Ejiofor), who plan the murder of a transfer officer, Chris Allen (Affleck). Meanwhile, they perform an audacious bank robbery, on the orders of Irina Vlaslov (Winslet), a Russian mafia queen. The roles dona��t do justice to the eclectic cast. An extremely average film.

              a�� Team Indulge

              Kadandhu Pogum
              Director: Nalan Kumarasamy
              Cast:A� Vijay Sethupathi, Madonna
              Low on violence and high on humour, the plot (credited to a Korean film) centers on the unusual bonding between a kind-hearted rowdy and a pretty girl seeking a job. Refreshing in its take, it has the lead pair putting in splendid performances. The chemistry between the duo is just perfect. Its light, redemptive ending will make one smile.A� Engaging in its crafting and narrative style, the film is a rewarding watch.

              a�� Malini Mannath

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                The actress speaks to us about her upcoming movies and her childhood obsession.

                With the resolution to step out of her comfort zone this year, actress Priya Anand chooses to play a village girl in her upcoming Tamil movie, Muthuramalingam. She has also signed a Malayalam and Kannada film for the first time. Clearly, the Chennai-born actress, who has always played urban characters onscreen, is now out to challenge herself.
                We catch up with Anand at the launch of Ariela��s new campaign in the city, where she tells us that she is a�?just a girl from Chennaia�? who dreamt of acting in movies. The 29-year-old whose earlier claim to fame was Aedho Saigirai, the song from her debut Tamil movie Vaamanan (2009), has studied communications and journalism in New York. She considers herself lucky to have worked with her a�?childhood obsessiona�?, actress Sridevi (in English Vinglish), and come this far, with 17 movies to her credit so far.

                On the sets
                Her eyes light up when she talks about the action drama that she is currently shooting for. Ilaiyarajaa��s 1,001 film, Muthuramalingam is rumoured to star Kamal Haasan. a�?Gautham (Karthik,A� co-star) and I are learning silambam and Ia��ve already managed to whack myself a couple of times while practicing it,a�? she confesses. Did she accidentally whack Karthik too? a�?Not yet,a�? she laughs.
                Her hands are full now with the Malayalam movie, Ezra, opposite Prithviraj, and Rajakumara, the Kannada film opposite Puneeth Rajkumar. How many languages does she know, anyway? a�?Not many, actually. But if you ask me the same question at the end of this year, I hope to add Kannada and Malayalam to my list,a�? she says.

                a�� Seema Rajpal

                  0 161

                  Ike Hari gets behind the camera to direct him first movie, a family thriller setA� to release later this year.

                  The apple does not fall far from the tree, so they say. And this has come true in the case of Ike Hari, whose lineage comprise the illustrious MR Radha (grandfather), actor Radha Ravi (uncle) and actress-producer Raadhika Sarathkumar (aunt). Busy shooting for his directorial debut, Sangili Bungili Kathava Thorae, in Palania��which will release later this yeara��Ike talks to us about the journey so far.

                  Stepping stone

                  It was his uncle, Ravi, who encouraged him to join film school and take up direction. a�?I went to Digital Academy in Mumbai and, after completing my course, my uncle took me to director Priyadarshan who would become my mentor for the next few years. I started with Bhagam Bhag (2006) and went on to assist him in eight movies,a�? informs the 35-year-old. Ikea��s next big break came when he was called to be part of Kamal Haasana��s Vishwaroopam. He later worked on the sequel as well. a�?Working with these stalwarts was most fortunate and it helped me learn firsthand the craft of filmmaking,a�? he says. While working on Vishwaroopam, he managed to secure his first solo project, Sangili Bungili Kathava Thorae, with director Atleea��s production house, A for Apple. The movie is now being produced as a joint venture with Foxstar. The film features Jiiva and Sri Divya, and the plot revolves around a family that comes together to ward off evil spirits who invade their home.

                  Cinema scope

                  a�?I believe that everyone should have fun when they come to the cinema. I think that a directora��s job is to tell stories that entertain the audience and ensure that they get their moneya��s worth.A� I am inspired by real-life incidents and most often I find that life is stranger than fiction,a�? shares the commerce post-graduate who loves family-themed stories.

                  His family is equally excited about Ikea��s foray into direction. In fact, both Ravi and Radhikaa Sarathkumar are part of his debut, playing pivotal roles. Ike feels that Tamil movies are metamorphosing and that young directors are leading that change. a�?I think the advent of multiplexes and the access to international films and national cinema have helped change audience expectations.a�?
                  When not busy shooting and travelling to locations, he says, a�?I used to race cars in Coimbatore in the Single Seater Formula Category. But nowA� that has literally taken the back seat. Standing (on my feet) twenty four by seven is my idea of a workout and eating without a second thought is my idea of a diet,a�? concludes the director with a laugh.

                  a��Rahul Dev

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                    Why you need to know about the White Rainbow Project and raid your closets this weekend

                    Life has come full circle for a pre-loved turquoise blue silk sari that was donated by a Chennaiite as part of a sari donation drive held last year. The sari, collected by not-for profit White Rainbow Project, was upcycled into an evening dress, which eventually won a sari design challenge held among designers in California. The evening dress a�� along with other garments created from saris, and some jewellery a�� will be brought back to the city this Saturday, as part of the next sari collection drive. Held for the second consecutive year at Maalgaadi, the only sari collection centre for the project, Maalgaadia��s co-founder, Shahin Ansari, says we can expect beaded jewellery using paper, wood and metal beads, and kimonos- upcycled from saris. Artwork portraying the plight of the widows in Vrindavan, infamously described as the City of Widows, by artist Anbu Jacob, will also be auctioned at the event. A short film of the work done by the organisation will be screened, too. With over 200 saris collected last year, they are planning on making this an annual event, she informs us.

                    pg23-4Greater good
                    For the US-based White Rainbow Project (registered as Open Home in India), which trains widows in Vrindavan to upcycle the saris into scarves and bags, the fashion contest is an initiative to spread awareness about the cause. a�?The contest winner, Madison Acri, also gets to visit India, meet the widows and teach them some sewing techniques,a�? explains Katherine Gilliam, a US-based volunteer. a�?The work done by White Rainbow Project is an initiative to socially accommodate widows, who are often ostracised even by their kin, and to give them a means of livelihood,a�? explains Asha Jacob, who manages the centre in India, along with her husband James Jacob. White Rainbow Project is an initiative by US-based couple Linda and Dharan Mandrayar, since 2010.

                    The event is at 6 pm tomorrow at Maalgaadi, 4th Main Road, Besant Nagar. Details: 42103242

                    a��Sharadha Narayanan

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