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Monthly Archives: April 2016

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    Reebok’s new brand ambassador on her fitness routine and why it is important for women to up their game.

    If it weren’t for the big banners in Reebok shop windows, showing a fit Kangana Ranaut working out with battle ropes and weights, we may have missed the news that the Queen actress is now the sports and fitness brand’s ambassador. Can we be faulted, when all recent headlines about the 29-year-old has been focussing on a certain tussle with a leading Bollywood actor. But we must concede, the way she has been conducting herself gives credence to Reebok’s tag line, Fit to Fight.
    Known among the fitness fraternity as an ectomorph (with a lean, delicate body), Ranaut doesn’t strike you as someone who needs to work out. But she insists that she does some form of physical activity for at least  an hour a day. “I like to keep it varied—from Pilates to horse riding and even ballet—so I don’t get bored,” she says, adding that mental and emotional fitness is as important. “I do pranayam and yoga, and make sure that I balance things with spending time with my family, my dog or listening to good music.”
    Sense and sensibility
    While Ranaut has worked on her body to suit the films in hand—a fit yet curvaceous look for Kites, where she worked on her posterior and calves to mimic the body of a salsa dancer, to improving her upper body strength for her role as a cop in Nikhil Advani’s next—she does not put any stock in fad diets. Common sense, she believes, is half the battle won. She eats small, frequent meals; snacks on fruits, toast and cookies in between shots; and even ensures she has cheat days when she indulges in her mother’s besan ka halwa. However, what she does advocate is being prepared (she never travels without her skipping rope and yoga mat), and breaking from routine (she uses her surroundings to work out —so functional fitness, anyone?). And, for a fashionista like herself, dressing right. “Wearing technologically-advanced apparel keeps your body cool, which is essential for a great calorie-burning session. It also gives you a confidence boost,” says Ranaut.
    Warrior song
    But more than anything else, the actress wants to inspire. She acknowledges that women sacrifice fitness first in their rush to balance work and home. “Today’s women are warriors, with a number of roles to play. But what many don’t realise is that you need to be  fit physically, mentally and socially to win everyday battles. I want women to take some time out and do at least one fitness activity. This will keep them going the whole day and make them stronger, better versions of themselves,” she concludes.

    —Surya Praphulla Kumar

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      When designers extend their collections to include a line for children, but with a similar aesthetic.

      In June, French couture brand Balmain will launch a kidswear line, joining others like Gucci, Burberry and Stella McCartney. Following a growing trend, the Balmain collection will replicate adult styles for their young clients. This concept of ‘mini-me’ versions of an existing adult line is now seen back home, too. Masaba Gupta’s collection for children, to be launched this week and featuring her signature funky prints, is a case in point.

      Kukoon Junior - Owm Emb CapeKukoon
      With quirky motifs like alien heads and robots, Noida-based Sneha Mehta’s Kukoon is out with its spring summer collection featuring capes, jumpsuits, dresses, skirts and tops in kids’ sizes. But she draws the line on embellishments on kidswear, “because kids might end up with scratches. We have even done away with sleeves to keep our line hassle-free (for kids),” says the 33-year-old designer. Rs 1,500
      onwards. Details: 9953088800

      Vivek Karunakaran
      Chennai-based designer Karunakaran’s kids collection is equestrian-themed. With fabrics like silk, linen and cottons and linen silk jacquard, this collection has tuxedos, bandhgalas, bandis and more. “We constantly keep adding new silhouettes to the collection, the most recent being silk kurtas with panchagajam,”
      he adds.  Rs 3,500 onwards. Details: 7708107430

      Hemant & NanditaHN-2463 SL-40 (A), HN-2585-SL-40 (K)
      “For family functions, my two boys would wear the same designs as Hemant. When this started gaining appreciation, we turned it into a line,” says the Noida-based Nandita Lalwani, 34. Featuring tassels, pom poms, fringes and beads, their new kids collection uses flowy cottons, georgettes, crepe and ikat. Rs 3,300 onwards. Details: 09711166170

      Kukoon Junior-Blue Bug CapeRehane
      Apart from borrowed motifs from the adults line, another global trend, that of florals, has found its way into Rehane’s designs for children’s wear. “I do a lot of occasion-based clothes. I am currently doing three gowns for children — using silk georgette, shimmer and organza,” says the designer who points out that in summer, parents are easily persuaded to opt out of heavy garments for kids. Rs 6,000 onwards. Details: 65195850

      Text: Seema Rajpal





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        Sugar rush

        Eggless goodies rule at Pi-Bakes’ sale, that starts tomorrow. Expect to find vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, orange tea cakes, muesli
        cookies and more. Tomorrow and Sunday.  Prices from Rs 20 to Rs 200 per piece. Details: 9940676484

        Burning biteburgerking
        Get ready for a fiery trip with Burger King’s Angriest Whopper sandwich. Featuring red buns baked with hot spices, it is filled with Habanero sauce and jalapenos and is layered with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  Rs 159 onwards. Details: 33011714

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          Perzen Patel, a food blogger from Mumbai and founder of Bawi Bride, gets ready to prepare Parsi celebratory dishes at Ashvita Bistro.

          PERZEN Patel’s journey from a food blogger to a home chef is well documented. However if you haven’t heard her story yet, here’s a short introduction. The bawi from Mumbai started posting recipes of home-made Parsi dishes in 2013 and in no time launched her food delivery service, Bawi Bride, delivering across Mumbai, catering for occasions, conducting cooking classes and pop-ups. You can get to know more about the lady at her first pop-show in the city. Here for three days, the chef is going to whip up a grand menu of Parsi wedding dishes at Ashvita Bistro, and going by the rate of registrations so far, around 400 people are expected to turn up.
          History revisited
          Parsis have a rich culture of their own that dates back to over 1,000 years when they first immigrated into the country from Iran. And all along, weddings have remained a crucial pillar of their society’s development. Patel remarks that no other occasion gives Parsi food as much attention as a wedding. “Parsi wedding food is served in a very different way — at a long community table, on top of a banana leaf — and always features a menu with specific dishes like a patra ni machhi or mutton pulao,” she shares, adding that even though there is a small Parsi community in Chennai, the city does not see many Parsi weddings. Thus was born the idea for the pop-up in Chennai. Moreover restaurants and cafes like SodaBottleOpenerWala in Mumbai and Batliwala & Khanaboy are instrumental in the general awareness about their food in the country, she feels, adding that the best way to experience Parsi food remains the weddings.
          What to expect
          “At the workshop, I will be preparing a five-course menu,” she says. As for the ingredients, apart from locally sourced meats and vegetables, she is bringing down Kolah’s vinegar from Navsari, Gujarat, and spices from Mumbai-based Motilal Masalawala. Although, Parsi food is mostly non-vegetarian, she has ensured there is a special vegetarian course with dishes like kaju paneer. The top five dishes to expect at the event would be the patra ni machhi (pomfret), vegetarian dishes like lagan sara istoo (a vegetable stew) and pulao dal, anjeer chicken and a dessert called lagan nu custard. Other classic dishes include bharuchi akuri (scrambled eggs), sali chicken, tokri nu paneer and more.
          April 29 to May 1. 12.30 pm to 9 pm. Vegetarian course at `999 plus taxes and non-vegetarian course at Rs 1,200 plus taxes.
          Details: 42109990

          — Karan Pillai

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            Take stock of the new collection of single origin bean to bar chocolate from Vietnam.

            Artisanal chocolate is no longer a strange sight in our city, with bean-to-bar brands like Mason & Co (from Auroville) and Earth Loaf (Mysore) available in select gourmet and organic stores. Created with passion, from beans painstakingly sourced from farmers in Kerala, the organic chocolate come with almonds and sea salt smoked over cacao husks, or in flavours like masala chai. Orange and dark chocolate is a popular flavour at Mason & Co. The precious slabs are often faintly bitter and an acquired taste, but are quick to see converts. It explains why workshops by UK-based chocolatiers David Belo and Angelika Anagnostou (Earth Loaf) in Bengaluru are well-attended, or why tourists track down Jane Mason at her factory in Auroville for a tasting. They are both expat couples who came to India and discovered their alternative chocolate careers here. These brands are also available on Cocoatrait, a fine chocolate platform by Nitin Chordia. Thus it is interesting that the newest brand on Cocoatrait is also in the French tradition. Hailing from Vietnam, Marou is artisanal, single origin chocolate made near Ho Chi Minh City, and was featured in The New York Times only last month. The two Frenchmen behind the brand, Samuel Maruta (former schoolteacher) and Vincent Mourous (an advertising professional), sure know what they are about. There are five varieties on Cocoatrait, for now, and they come in vibrant packaging. The chocolatiers are fans of dark chocolate and local ingredients, so look out for the full-bodied Tien Giang (70 per cent), the spicy and earthy Dan Lak (70 per cent), the aromatic Ba Ria (76  per cent) and others.
            Priced at Rs 790. Details: Cocoatrait.com

            — Team Indulge

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              Delectable baby back ribs meet smoked burgers at American grill bar, Chili’s first branch in the city, besides a host of other appetisers and steaks.

              OH,  if only more pigs would fly — precooked from Spain, grilled and on to my plate. Till such a utopia (for me at least) comes to be, there is Chili’s. The American casual dining formally opens in Chennai for business on Monday at Express Avenue, and I have three words for you: baby back ribs. Smothered in a barbeque sauce and served with fries and corn on the cob, it’s the key attraction at the 120-cover restaurant, the chain’s 18th in the country. It almost makes up for the outlet being their first in the country that does not serve alcohol. Ashish Saxena, CEO, and Nishant J Dholakia, business head (Chili’s) of Tex Mex Cuisine, the company behind the brand in India’s south and west, with their old married couple banter, are good ambassadors, given their obvious fondness for the cuisine. They also take pride in how the food has attained a level of consistency such that it tastes the same everywhere.
              Burger hunting
              Saxena takes charge of the ordering: we get a triple dipper — three appetisers with dips — chicken wings, a boneless version and calamari served with cool ranch. The wings lean towards the tangy, but the calamari is perfection. Saltier than healthy for you, but tasty. The Sante Fe quesadilla chicken or paneer are cheesy and vaguely addictive, but not in a particularly memorable way (indeed Saxena says he could eat it any day, any time.) Vegetarians wouldn’t necessarily be miserable here, but vegans (practically everything has cheese) and those with lactose or gluten intolerance may as well stay home. Chili’s is a meat-lover’s delight, evidenced by the small juicy burger named Southern Smokehouse that is placed before me. I am intrigued to discover how the Jack cheese used is made exclusively for Chili’s by a company in India and how the nachos come from China.
              Global exchange
              ​Perhaps in a nod to those terrifying listicles that tell you how​ many calories a Cheesecake Factory pasta has, it does offer small, lighter​ choices — soups, salads sans cheese, and a few grilled proteins —​ ​with a calorie count that ranges from 125 to 595. But let’s face it,​ we’re not eating at Chili’s for our health, or even to please a nuanced palate.​ We’re there to eat a bunch of salty, cheesy, crispy stuff that satisfies​ our inner child. And the ribs, of course. They will offer home delivery (through Swiggy, for starters) and cater party platters for groups of 20 and above.

              Meal for two at around Rs 1,000. Ribs at Rs 1,095 plus taxes. Details: 28464167

              — Ranjitha Gunasekaran

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                Herbs and fresh  fruits feature in Park Hyatt’s new cocktails.

                With increasing orders by patrons at Park Hyatt for customised concoctions with sprigs of basil, lemon grass and even thyme in their choice of drinks, the hotel now has a special nook for those who wish to opt for the healthy recourse. Launching the Garden Bar at its Flying Elephant restaurant, the section sports a garden pot filled with around 15 herbs grown at the hotel and is the perfect place for a tall glass of something cool, fresh and infused with unique flavours. The new collection of cocktails features lots of salutary flavours and stimulating spices, coupled with fresh fruits. The twist lies in the local ingredients that the bartenders add, like the narthangai (citron) in their white rum-based Chennai Express.
                The curiously-named Murugan Colada is in-fact named after one of their bartenders, Murugan, who has brought together fresh coconut, curry leaves, and spices like cinnamon and black pepper in this refreshing variant of the pina colada. In Cine Pop, plain popcorn get soaked in vodka, is mixed with apple juice and is topped with basil to create the perfect drink for matinee hours. “The glass is served inside a box of popcorn, and is also a part of our Sunday Matinee Brunch,” says Bhanu Gupta, assistant director of food and beverage.
                At Rs 800 per glass. Details: 71771234

                — Karan Pillai

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                  He is the youngest radio presenter in the city, but Shyam Renganathan packs a punch: be it on his radio shows on Fever FM, his theatre work or his stand up comedy. He sounds like a friend on-air and that makes him identifiable, and the listeners love it. Here’s what he had to say:
                  How has the radio experience been?
                  The experience has been overwhelming. I had never imagined I’d become a radio jockey. I was hired as a producer initially, but my team had the confidence that I would be a good RJ. What followed was practising, recording links, getting constant feedback, and trying to improve over the next couple of months. And voila, one day it happened—I was live on air and it’s been going great.

                  Tell us about your shows?
                  I host two shows. The first is Chennai Express (from 11 am to 1 pm) where we talk about ‘namma Chennai’ and how people from the city are making Bollywood what it is today. It also feature talents from our city. I also host a lighthearted request show called Request Dotcom (from 1-2 pm).

                  Response to Hindi music?
                  I love Bollywood music because I’ve grown up in the North, thanks to my father being in the army. Initially I was skeptical about its reach and acceptance in the city. But I must say the response we’ve been getting is phenomenal. The jock talk is in ‘Tanglish’ and the songs we play are all super hits. I feel that Chennai and its insanely-talented people will continue to find success in Bollywood, be it Mani Ratnam, AR Rahman, Kamal Haasan, director Shankar or Dhanush.

                  Word out to your listener?
                  You guys are the best. I hope to keep surprising you, making you laugh and trying to make you think about important issues.

                  Catch Renganathan light up Fever 91.9 every weekday. See you next week.

                  — talkingradio@gmail.com .
                  The writer’s views expressed here are entirely in his personal capacity.

                  Niladri@radiowave 

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                    Food photography apps make your dishes look different and quirky.

                    #Foodporn is not a new concept, with apps like Instagram and PicsArt helping us edit our food clicks to look more appealing. Now a new set of free photo-editing apps, specially created for food photography, promises to help make our pictures look better than ever. With clever filters and effects, here’s what they have on offer.
                    Foodie – Delicious Camera: While taking an overhead shot of your dish, this app will tell you when the camera is at the best angle. It also lets you choose from over 26 filters—from  fresh and crispy to yum. Launched last month, it has a special mode for dimly-lit places, making it perfect carry-along for candlelight dinners. Details: play.google.com
                    Food’s Life Camera : You can now make your burgers smile, give eyes to your fries or help your fish fry swim with a pair of hands, thanks to a range of stickers available on this app. Launched this February, it packs a punch, even without filters. Details: play.google.com
                    Yummy effect: Yummy Effect was launched two months ago, with filters and special editing adjustments, like vivid, emphasis, light and saturated. Also adjust the focus while clicking a picture, with options like circle and linear. Details: play.google.com
                    Photo Editor Food: Just like Food’s Life Camera, this app offers face stickers (around 100), along with accessories like hats, ties and a pair of glasses. Merge existing photos from your phone’s gallery with your food shots. Moreover, with basic editing features, it is an all-round option for other kinds of photos too. Details: play.google.com

                    —Saloni Sinha

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                      jackontourJack in the mix
                      April 29 | Savera Hotel
                      Get ready for a fun musical experience. City-based bands, RJD and Vertigo, will be performing at Bay 146 today, as part of Jack Daniel’s Jack on Tour. A part of Nikhil Chinapa’s Submerge, the event will feature the best of the band’s original music across various genres. From 9 pm. Entry forcouples only, at Rs 500.
                      Details: 9710976876

                      Play right
                      April 30 | Adishakti
                      Theatre groups Perch and Rafiki are coming together to perform How to Skin a Giraffe, as part of Adishakti’s Remembering Veenapani festival. Directed by Rajiv Krishnan, it is an adaptation of German playwright, George Buchner’s satirical play, Leonce and Lena. On April 30 and May 1, at 7.30 pm. Details: 9535779953

                      At the movies
                      April 29 | SPI Cinemas
                      It took Tiger Shroff two years to come back on the big screen, but it seems worth the wait. Baaghi, that releases today, sees Jackie Shroff’s son opposite Shraddha Kapoor, with the actor showing off some impressive martial arts moves improvised over months of rigorous training. Directed by Sabbir Khan, it is said to be based on the Telugu hit, Varsham.Details: 6473805

                      Fabric connect

                      May 1 | Fairtrade India
                      Play your part in Fairtrade India’s Show Your Label movement. An initiative supporting the International Fashion Revolution campaign to commemorate the 2013 Rana Plaza garment factory disaster in Dhaka, it propagates ethical fashion and urges people to click pictures (wearing their labels out) and upload them online with hashtags. Also Sense Organics is launching a new store. More on P 15

                      lektrifyParty hunter
                      May 2 | Lektrify
                      Hot on the heels of two-month-old Buzzinga comes another city-based clubbing app. Launched last week, Lektrify identifies the most happening places, lists offers at watering holes, and provides reward points for every check-in and feedback entered through its Bar‘o’meta feature. Available on Android. Details: play.google.com

                      Game on
                      May 3 | Gujarat
                      Former Chennai Super Kings icon, Suresh Raina, will face a tough challenge when his Gujarat Lions take on Delhi Daredevils in a crucial match next week. Both are enjoying a good run, and are placed below table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders—at second and third positions, respectively. A win for either will propel the team to first place. 8 pm on Sony Max.Details: iplt20.com

                      Science on sand
                      May 4 | Bay Of Life
                      There’s more to the beach than just surf and sand. Help your child learn the science behind some of the most common phenomena found on the coast—like longshore drift, rock formations and wave erosion—at the camp being organised by Bay Of Life. To be supervised by their team of experts, it promises to be an eye-opener. Open to children between eight and 15. Registrations from Rs 950 onwards. Details: 7667075875

                      karllagerfeld1Karl’s focus
                      May 5 | Factoria Habana
                      Cuba is turning out to be the flavour of the season. Ever since USA resumed diplomatic ties with the country, artists like Major Lazer and Rolling Stones have delivered landmark performances there. Now, ace designer Karl Lagerfeld is showcasing 200 of his photographs at the Factoria Habana gallery for two weeks. He is also set to launch his new Cruise Collection for Chanel next week. Till May 12. Details: chanel.com

                      Past perfect
                      April 30, Phoenix MarketCity
                      Music from the 80s will come alive at the Rewind Retro Music Festival, courtesy Ottawan and Kaoma, two bands who revolutionised disco and pop back in the day. Ottawan’s hits include D.I.S.C.O and You’re OK, while French-Brazilian pop group, Kaoma, became a rage with the Lambada song in 1989. Tomorrow, from 6.30 pm. Rs 250.More on P 19. Details: 30083007

                      CAR & BIKE

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

                      SPECIALS

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

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