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Monthly Archives: July 2016

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    Friday, July 29

    Annabelle (Horror), WB, 8.30 pm
    Cast: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard
    This second installment of The Conjuring series starts with John (Horton) and Mia Form (Wallis) living peacefully in Santa Monica. When Mia conceives her first child, John gives her a present—a doll she has been trying to find for a while. But things turn bad when Mia witnesses their neighbouring couple, the Higgins, get killed by police on grounds of Satan worship. Following a series of paranormal activities, Mia finds out that one of the satanic worshippers’ soul now possesses her doll giving it demonic powers. But getting rid of the doll is no longer an option. The movie’s background score also includes tracks from The Conjuring.

    Black Swan (Mystery/Drama),
    Star Movies Select HD, 9 pm
    Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis,
    Vincent Cassel
    Nina Sayers (Portman) is a successful ballet dancer living in New York. But she finds it difficult to crack the upcoming performance of Swan Lake due to her inability to portray Black Swan, a sensuous character in the routine. Soon she’s advised by her director (Cassel) to let go of her inhibitions and observe Lily (Kunis), another dancer who lacks in technique but showcases uninhibited performances. As Nina tries hard to decipher the character of Black Swan, she finds herself flitting through surreal moments even as her distrust of Lily’s intentions grows into paranoia. A psychological thriller, the movie required Natalie Portman to undergo a year of ballet training.

    Saturday, July 30

    ​Baaghi (Action/Romance),
    Zee Cinema HD, 9 pm
    Cast: Tiger Shroff, Shraddha Kapoor, Sudheer Babu
    Baaghi chronicles the twists and turns in the life of Sia (Kapoor), a wannabe actress, who has been abducted by Raghav (Babu), a martial arts champion. Though her father Khurana tries frantically to get his daughter back, due to Raghav’s influence even the cops refuse to help. With all his options running out, Khurana finally decides to turn to Ronny (Shroff), Sia’s long lost love. Can he save Sia? The plot of the film is loosely based on Telugu film Varsham (2004) and Indonesian film, The Raid: Redemption (2011).

    Tere Bin Laden—Dead or Alive (Comedy), Hotstar
    Cast: Manish Paul, Pradhuman Singh, Sikander Kher
    Sequel to Tere Bin Laden (2010), the film opens with Sharma (Paul), a struggling filmmaker from Delhi. When Sharma finally lands his directorial debut—a mission incognito in the US —Paddy Singh (Singh), a splitting image of Bin Laden, is assigned as the main lead in this project. But Sharma’s project falls into jeopardy soon owing to the global political scenario. He has Taliban on his trail looking for a Laden-doppelganger in order to make the world believe that their leader is alive whereas the US franchise wants a video of Laden
    being killed. A satire based on the war-on-terrorism policy of the US, the movie was banned in Pakistan.

    Sunday, July 31

    ​Tallulah, Netflix India
    Cast: Ellen Page, Allison Janney
    Set in New York City, Tallulah follows the story of Lu (Page), a free spirited young woman. When she decides to take custody of a baby girl who’s being neglected by her mother, Lu lands in trouble as she is perceived as a kidnapper by those around her. To avoid losing the baby, Lu asks help from Margo (Janney), her ex-boyfriend’s mother, while tricking her into believing that it’s her granddaughter. But the child’s real mother soon catches up with the farce. Tallulah sees Ellen Page and Allison Janney together after a nine year hiatus.

    What If (Comedy/Romance) Romedy Now​, 9 pm
    Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park
    Wallace (Radcliffe) has become a recluse since being unemployed and failing in his relationships. Sharing a home with his sister and nephew doesn’t help the cause either. But things change when he meets Chantry (Kazan), his best friend’s cousin, at a house party. Despite the mutual interest, they are unable to proceed as Chantry is already in a relationship with Ben, a UN official. While they decide to stay friends, the situation gets complicated as Chantry’s boyfriend moves to another city. The movie’s title was changed from The F Word to What If in order to avoid R rating in the US.

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      Take a break from the games with our pick of extreme adventure sports

      There’s more to this Brazilian city than carnivals.
      Try skydiving from a height of 12,000 ft at Barra da Tijuca (xtremespots.com), or read on for options:

      Kiteboarding, Araruama
      Attach a kite to your surfboard and shred the surf at 60 kmph, by the Brazilian coast. At Fernando Prado’s Kite Boarding School (certified by the International Kiteboarding Organisation), they offer hour-long sessions, from safety instructions to launching (to a height of 10 meters) and landing a kiteboard all by yourself. Basics from Rs 11,000. Details: araruamakitesurf.com.br

      Rappelling, Cachoeira da Feiticeira,
      Ilha Grande
      If working your way down a slippery waterfall sounds like fun, Ilha Grande, just two hours off Rio’s coast, is the place to be. Set at a height of 50 feet, the hour-long hike trail to the top of Feiticeira is of medium difficulty. The 40-minute steep descent leads to a natural pool at the bottom. Rs 3,000 onwards. Details: overde.com

      Slopestyle Mountain biking,
      Corcovado National Park
      Put your balance to the test at the seemingly treacherous slopes and curves in Rio’s highlands, with a two-day guided mountain bike tour by TCP Xpower. Riding downhill from the Corcovado peak (2,300 feet high) and Sugarloaf (396 feet), the team offers two different trails leading to the pristine beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.Rs 90,000 onwards inclusive of stay. Details: tcp-xpower.com

      Deal finder
      Cox & Kings’ Olympics Rio Special is a five-night/six-day package that includes airfare with accommodation. You will also get transfers to stadiums such as the Maracana Stadium, Barra and the Copacabana Beach. Rs 1.10 lakh per person (on twin-sharing basis), not inclusive of visas and taxes. Details: coxandkings.com

      — Arya P Dinesh

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        With the Rio Olympics 2016 running for two glorious weeks, here’s what tourists can do to mix things up a little

        IT’S that time once again, when the torch is lit, the athletes are ready and the stadiums are awaiting thronging crowds. And since the Olympics is in Rio, we expect very little sleep on most itineraries because there is a lot to take in besides the games. “There is considerable interest among Indians to travel to Brazil to watch the sporting spectacle. While some are going to see either the opening or the closing ceremony, many are keen to attend hockey and athletics at the Olympic Stadium,” says Thomas Thottathil, head of Corporate Communications at Cox & Kings. “We are also getting inquiries for visits post the Olympics, when hotels rooms are available at a discount,” he adds. While it’s not the season for festivals, the city has something to offer tourists all year—from adventure sports to heritage walks and, of course, fantastic cuisine. Read on.

        Find some structure
        Rio is not all about beaches and bikinis. The cityscape includes some amazing architecture. A half-day Rio de Janeiro Historical Architecture Sightseeing Tour will help you get up close to some beautiful workmanship. Walk through the National Library, visit St Benedict Monastery (founded in 1590), admire the baroque, neoclassical and neo-Renaissance architectural influences of the Church of Our Lady of Candelária, and stock up on selfies at the Imperial Palace (built in 1743). The four-hour tour includes hotel pick up and drop off. `6,500 approx. Details: viator.com

        Plate up
        The best way to know a culture is to get out and be where the locals are. And a food tour gets you right to the heart of things. Eat Rio conducts daily tours, each lasting approximately six hours, where they will take you to bustling street markets, little bars and small restaurants that only the locals know about. Get to try staples like moqueca (fish stew) and brigadeiros (truffles) to exotic fruits (jabuticaba or the cupuaçu), Amazonian dishes, Brazilian beers and more. Rs 6,600 approx.. Details: eatrio.net

        Meet the locals
        To sample the real vibe of Rio, get out of your plush hotel and experience how the majority of the citizens live. Rio Adventures organises Favela (ghetto) Tours, where you get to meet families and break bread with them in their homes. All at Rocinha, Rio’s biggest favela, which also boasts many historical and cultural icons. Rs 2,000 per person. Details: rioadventures.com

        Afro history
        Rio’s Afro-Brazilian heritage is an essential part of the culture. A five-hour walking tour will give you a better understanding of the history of the descendants of slaves who were brought to Brazil during European rule. Besides visiting the Afro-Brazilian museum, you will walk through ethnic neighbourhoods and visit local sites. Rs 7,800 approx. Details: getyourguide.com

        Colour correct
        Rio is home to some amazing art, and quite a bit of it is urban art in public spaces. Take for instance Rio artist Adriana Varejao’s colossal seascape mural at the Olympic Park’s aquatics stadium.
        A four-hour tour will take you on a tour of all the major sites—from the colourful murals and surreal stencils at Santa Teresa, to Escadaria Selarón (the famous steps covered with tiles, ceramics and mirrors by Chilean-born artist, Jorge Selarón).Rs 1,500 onwards. Details: likealocalguide.com

        Learn samba
        You may have learnt some of the moves at your local dance school, but there is nothing like getting lessons in the birth place of samba. Rio Samba Dancer School will give you a quick one-hour crash course, with English-speaking instructors. Designed for single men, women and couples, the school is also a great place to meet other travellers. Lessons from `3,700 onwards. Details: riosambadancer.com

        Crosses and aisles
        Irrespective of your faith, if you are in Rio, you must go church hopping. A pinnacle of Catholicism brought by the Portuguese, experience up to
        11 historical churches from
        the 17th century onwards.
        Also do not miss the Metropolitan Cathedral located at the centre of Rio, which is built based on Mayan
        architecture. Rs 5,000.
        Details: ipanema.com/
        citytour/churches

        Forest walk
        Rio is home to the largest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca rainforest. With an area of 32 square kilometres, hike to the highest point in Rio, Guanabara Bay, from where you can get a view of the entire city. Take a dip in the waterfalls and also visit the Mayrink Chapel, a monument built in 1860, deep in the woods. Opt for a one-day jeep tour of the forest for Rs 5,600. Details: viator.com

        —P Peter & Surya Praphulla Kumar

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          Shining bright
          Kabali may have got its share of flak. But Dhanshika is elated by the praise that has been coming her way for her portrayal of the assassin. Initially apprehensive, she signed up after she was charmed by Rajinikanth’s ‘humility and no-tantrum’ attitude. Dhanshika is currently shooting in Malaysia for Rani. “Set in Malaysia, it has a woman-centric theme and you get to traverse the whole plot through my character,” she says. Talented and with a striking screen presence, the actress seems to be finally getting her due.

          Charm of 13
          The number 13 may be considered unlucky by many. But director Pugalmani seems to have an affinity for it. The director, whose earlier film was titled 13am Pakkam Parkka, has gone a step further and titled his new venture Vellikizhamai 13am Thethi. “My first film with a 13 in it earned me praise. So I thought I’ll continue with the number,” he says. Incidentally, while the earlier one was a pure horror flick, this is horror blended with comedy.

          Selfie frenzy
          Sandikuthirai is wrapped up and ready to release. Debut director Anbumathi who has been associated with the small screen, has penned innumerable short stories and directed commercials. The director says that his is a contemporary theme, “a take on the younger generation’s obsession with the mobile phone, particularly their act of capturing themselves on selfies.” Rajkamal, a popular face on television, plays the lead.

          Malini Mannath

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            Reality check
            Four years ago, at the time of the release of his debut film Desi Boyz, director Rohit Dhawan had told me what was on his wish list. Right on top was a desire to make an action film followed by the wish to work with two actors — brother Varun and childhood friend Ranbir Kapoor. With this week’s release Dishoom, Rohit scratches off two of those desires. A buddy cop film and action comedy, Dishoom stars Varun Dhawan along with John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez and Akshaye Khanna. Back then, Rohit said that his induction into filmmaking was a result of growing up on the sets of his father David Dhawan’s films. It was an “unintended education that happened at home,” he said adding that the front row seats to the filmmaking process gave him a reality check early on. “I realised at a very young age that this profession is not glamorous; it is not what it looks like. I also saw how long drawn the process was. I clearly saw that this is not an easy job and you do bring your work home.”

            Season of shorts
            Short films truly are the flavour of the season, with Radhika Apte, Manoj Bajpayee and Naseeruddin Shah having recently appeared in high profile and well publicised shorts. Filmmakers too are finding the medium worthy of experimenting with. Among them are Shirish Kunder and Milap Zaveri, both of whom are making genre shifts by exploring dark themes in their respective shorts. Kunder’s Kriti was stoked by controversy, but it allowed him to show his craft after the debacle of his last two feature films — Joker (which he also directed) and Tees Maar Khan (which he wrote and edited). For Milap Zaveri, Raakh, a dark revenge thriller, is an opportunity to move away from the pigeonhole of sex comedies like Mastizaade (which he also directed) and Great Grand Masti (writer). Raakh stars Vir Das, Richa Chadda and Shaad Randhawa. Sunidhi Chauhan, an acclaimed singer who has also forayed into reality TV as a judge, is going to experiment with an acting stint in a short titled, Playing Priya. Arif Ali directs this fantasy thriller, and for all we know, this might be a launch pad for
            Chauhan the actor.

            Jones vs Jatt
            Reactions to the trailer of A
            Flying Jatt have ranged from
            amusement and intrigue to plain bewilderment, largely for how tacky it looks and for its length which seems to give the entire story away. But fans of international wrestling and the multiple Oscar-winning movie, Mad Max: Fury Road, are flummoxed by the casting of Nathan Jones. Australian strongman Jones played baddie Rictus Erectus in the crazy dystopian action drama. So to see him getting pummeled by young Tiger Shroff is a bit of a shocker.

            Redefining Jacqueline
            While Dishoom is clearly heavy on testosterone, Jacqueline Fernandez adds glamour and romantic interest. Fernandez seems to have cornered the market on playing army candy with little intelligent contribution to the narrative, as seen in Kick, Bangistan, Housefull 3 and the upcoming A Flying Jatt. Not that it seems to bother her. After all, movie-making has fringe benefits, such as visiting destinations on your bucket list. So while Dishoom was being shot in Morocco, Fernandez was able to take time off to visit the city of Casablanca. For an actress who prides herself on her social work, fitness and comes across as a thorough professional, one wonders why she isn’t choosing roles that challenge her acting skills. Perhaps one needs to wait and watch what she has pulled off in director James Simpson’s British horror-thriller, Definition of Fear, which has so far screened at only a few second-rung film festivals.

            -Udita Jhunjhunwala

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              Experimental use of props and set designs set the mood for Short + Sweet theatre fest finals.

              FROM using steel pump covers as robot heads to a lightsaber used for a Star Wars inspired Hamlet scene, the plays selected for the Short + Sweet final round are pushing the boundaries with innovative properties and their experimental usage. Here we pick three from the 11 plays, for their unusual treatment of their sets — Set in the future, Chennai Pattinam 2065 is a play about how “technology isolates people,” says director Mathivanan Rajendran. While heads of the robots are made of steel water pump covers, their bodies are made of paper and wires, and faces with tubes and buttons. “(We) stole from everything in the dressing room and made it on the day of the show,” laughs Rajendran. Their entire set design, is just blocks that were available at the venue “which become different things during the play.”
              A Tale Of A Tall Girl, as the name suggests, is the coming of age  journey of a girl who is is rather tall. Following the natak mandli format, “minimisation of costumes and props becomes essential,” says the director Sunil Vishnu K. The two significant props used are an aluminum ladder and wooden frames. While the ladder is used to denote everything from a college staircase, a building structure and a cinema theatre, the wooden frames are used variously as a handbag, windows, pictures of Gods, a plate and binoculars.
              In Shakespeare – As You Like It, “Shakespearean themes and storylines (are) loosely used to talk about the concept of entertainment in today’s time,” explains director Bhargav Ramakrishnan. There are three actors playing multiple roles on a stage bereft of sets. The props are used to mark the change from one character to another. For instance a white cloth is used as a toga during Julius Caesar and a ghost during Hamlet. “Props lend themselves to be very irreverent in the play,” Ramakrishnan says while adding that Romeo and Juliet sequence is portrayed as a football match where Juliet is herself a football.
              At Alliance Francais. July 29 to31. Rs 200. Details: eventjini.com

              —Simar Bhasin

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                A photography exhibit aims to provide a rare glimpse of our past.

                Dedicated exclusively to photography, the decade-old Bengaluru based gallery (active in more than 5 cities), Tasveer is coming to the city with its new exhibition. Titled Maharanis: Women of Royal India, it has been showcased  in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Featuring a collection of 68 photographs chronicling the royal women of Princely India going back to roughly over half a century (from the late 19th to the mid-20th century), the exhibition will also have a preview of a book on the same lines produced by the gallery in association with Mapin Publishing. Among the 130 images are rare reproductions  such as that of Victoria Gowramma of Coorg, the earliest known photograph (1854) of a royal Indian woman.  Contributor and editor Shilpa Vijayakrishnan calls it “the first significant volume of its kind.”

                Beyond grandeur
                The exhibition and the book seek to redress the pictorial underepresentation of royal women from our history, “not with reference to their jewellery or fashion sense, but as significant historical players of the time,” the 27-year-old says. One such example is of the  first Begum of Bhopal, Begum Qudisa, mentioned in the book, who was illiterate and only 18 when she declared her infant daughter Sikandar as the ruler and herself as regent, upon the death of her husband — a marvellous stroke of political strategy, writes Vijayakrishnan.

                Of scandals and more
                Sharing the many interesting stories of the lives of these women, “from political to the juicy,” Bengaluru-based Vijayakrishnan talks about the iconic Gayatri Devi who had “the most expensive wedding in the world at the time that earned her a Guinness Record and a second Guinness Record for receiving the largest margin in a democratic election.” Plus there was a “scandal caused by her decision to marry the twice as old, and already twice married Maharaja of Jaipur.” She   picks the portraits of the Rana women of Nepal ( late 19th and early 20th centuries) as one of her favourites. In their “extraordinary gathered skirts, with sweeping trains, piled up hairdos and striking headdresses and bold jewellery,” these women were  associated with Indian royalty through marriages.
                July 30 to August 14. At The Folly, at Amethyst.  Details: 9886942096

                —Simar Bhasin

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                  Centred on women, the Diva Music Festival debuts with musicians from across the country.

                  IT’S A festival celebrating women, alright, but it’s music that will take centre-stage at the two-day Diva Music Festival which is a shout-out to women who can shred, slap and beat. The festival — organised for the first time by the Phoenix Marketcity—will bring in diverse sounds (with six performances) that have been inspiring millennial women musicians from across the country.

                  Setting the tone
                  The Diva Collective started off as a one-off gig bringing toge ther notable female talent of the city. “Gender is not  an influencing  factor on the  numbers we  perform,” says one of the vocalists Kavita  Thomas, a 29-year-old lawyer, who is now a full-time artiste and founder of The Madras Stage which promotes music events in the city.  She does acknowledge though that girl bands will always get tagged and be appealing for that very reason. The multigenre collective hopes to perform some jazz, soul and RNB numbers at the event, with five women vocalists and three accompanying instrumentalists.

                  First impressions
                  Delhi-based The Vinyl Records (a band of four girls from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam) will be debuting in the city. What started off as a band by schoolmates united by their love of rock, today finds inspiration in girl bands like the Swedish, all-women power pop house, Sahara Hotnights, and Brazilian rock band CSS. “We’re looking at playing some of the tracks from our next album, yet to be titled.  The tracks are just about life really, some do touch upon feminism,” says Minam Tekseng, the band’s bassist from Arunachal Pradesh. The six-year-old band— comprising women in the 25-30 age group —with one EP titled Whims to its credit, also looks to perform Blood Red Shoes’ It’s Getting Boring by the Sea.

                  Chasing a song
                  For songwriter and vocalist Shakthisree Gopalan, the gig will be an opportunity to present songs of women songwriters she admires. Accompanied by four male instrumentalists, she plans on playing covers of the American songwriter Jill Scott, besides British songwriter Imogen Heap, whom she hails for singlehandedly writing, producing and mixing her own music. She also plans on a groovy track by Grammy-winning songwriter, Esthelle Swaray. “I will perform Wake Up from an upcoming experimental and electronic collaborative work with Prashanth Techno,” says the 27-year-old.The festival also features gigs by the finalist of the singing reality show, TheStage, Soundarya
                  Jayachandran, Dehradun-based YouTube sensation, Shraddha Sharma, and Mumbai-based songwriter and vocalist, Alisha Pais.
                  On July 30 and 31, at the Courtyard from 6 pm onwards. Details: 30083007

                  —Sharadha Narayanan

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                    Besides Bob Bowman’s Golden Rules: 10 Steps to World Class Excellence in Your Life and Work, there are a host of new books to choose from this sporting season. From Sania Mirza’s autobiography to James Patterson’s special Private book set in Rio, here’s what you should not miss.

                    Ace Against Odds
                    Published by: Harper Collins
                    Price: Rs 499
                    After tennis star Sania Mirza’s epic retort to journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s uncharacteristically sexist question became viral, the book was all over social media timelines. Launched by Shah Rukh Khan in Hyderabad, Mirza says about the book, “It is an ode to me. It is to my fans and family to know about how I felt during all the struggles.” The autobiography talks about Mirza’s journey of becoming the World’s No.1 player in women’s doubles and the struggles and difficulties she faced.
                    Details: crossword.in

                    Shoe Dog
                    Published by: Simon & Schuster
                    Price: Rs 599
                    While Nike India’s advertisement campaign — with female athletes encouraging and inspiring women to take up sports — is a rage online, this memoir penned by the brand’s creator Phil Knight is a must read for all non-fiction fans. The New York Times bestselling novel was published earlier this year and speaks about the US Olympic team co-sponsor’s journey from its early days as a start up to one of the world’s most profitable brands.Details: crossword.in

                    Ringside With Vijender
                    Published by: Juggernaut Books
                    Price: Rs 30
                    Authored by Rudraneil Sengupta , the book traces the decision of India’s only Olympic medallist in boxing to go pro and the controversy surrounding his choice. Available exclusively on the Juggernaut Books app, the book provides an insight as to why Vijender Singh made that decision and also chronicles his struggles, the training he went through besides some trivia on his personal life.
                    Available on the Juggernaut Books app.

                    Enter The Dangal: Travels through India’s Wrestling Landscape
                    Published by: Harper Sport
                    Price: Rs 350
                    With the release of Salman Khan’s Sultan and the heavy buildup to Aamir Khan’s Dangal, wrestling has taken centre stage and how. Chartering the history of the centuries old sport is Rudraneil Sengupta’s recently released novel that talks about the akharas and a way of life that exists far from our urban realities.
                    Details: amazon.in

                    The Games: A Private Novel
                    Published by: Little, Brown and Company Price: Rs 269
                    Part of the bestselling thriller writer James Patterson’s Private series, the novel set in Rio, centres around a threat of sabotage at the Olympic Games. Banking on the hype around the sporting event, the book, co-authored by Mark Sullivan, caters to the thrill-loving fan base of Patterson and promises to keep you at the edge of your seat.Details: amazon.in

                    Getting to an Olympics itself in majority of the sports is a Herculean task.

                    18 A 8Digvijay Singh Deo believes that it was one gold medal that changed our perception of the Olympics. After shooter Abhinav Bindra won the gold in 2008, the sports journalist — whose book co-authored by Amit Bose was launched earlier this month — agrees that now “the Indian audience wants winners.”

                    Changing perspectives
                    As he talks to us about the idea behind the book, My Olympic Journey: 50 of India’s Leading Sportspersons On The Biggest Test Of Their Career, Deo’s passion for the sporting event and the athletes comes across immediately. “All my career (of 13 years) I have followed the Olympic athletes not cricket or anything else and I always felt that the narrative that we used to get among the athletes was very one-sided,” says Deo, adding that often an athlete’s worth was his rank and the fact that qualifying for the Olympics, in itself “a Herculean task”, was overlooked. He explains how he was prompted to write this book in an attempt to show the athletes’ perspective of the Olympics. The stories and their individual journeys “to and at an Olympics game” written in the first person account, chart the history of Olympic athletes through 50 sportspersons in India from 1948 — when India competed as an independent country with Balbir Singh Dosanjh winning the gold medal — to the upcoming 2016 Olympics. Here the 35-year-old author shares his journey from conception last July to the final draft of the manuscript being submitted to Penguin Random House in February this year.

                    Fielding stories
                    From hockey player Balbir Singh Dosanjh winning the first ever gold for the tricolour and the national anthem being played at Wembley in 1948 to Bindra admitting (being both shy and reclusive) that he hated every moment of the furor that followed his win – the book has a lineup of hitherto unheard stories. There is the human element and the frustration and struggles that make up the life of an Olympian. One can also expect personal insights like archer Deepika Kumari opening up about her loss at the London Olympics laying “bare the deepest emotions in her heart, saying that she was so shocked she couldn’t even cry.” From travelling to Imphal to shoot with Mary Kom to planning around the rigourous training schedule of the athletes, Deo and Bose have a lot of interesting stories to share. Once, when shooter and Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar, who is serving in the Indian Army, had turned up at the shoot without his medal because it would only be returned to him after he retired, he suggested that Deo borrow wrestler Sushil Kumar’s medal who had also won a silver. While Kumar complied happily, Deo recounts the anecdote with great pride, and tells us how that moment showcased the innate camaraderie the achievers shared with each other.The book, riddled with anecdotes like wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar being inspired to become Olympic medallists when they saw Leander Paes on the podium in 1996 (a fact that even Paes was unaware of), currently ranks as the number one bestseller in Amazon’s Active Outdoor Pursuits category.

                    Published by Penguin Random House. Rs 299. Details: amazon.in

                    —Simar Bhasin

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                      From visualisation techniques to workout regimes, world-class athletes and trainers tell us how they transcend mundane routines to achieve success both on and off the field. 

                      THE human body is capable of amazing physical deeds. Any highlight reel from past editions of the Olympics is proof enough of a toptier contestant’s seemingly superhuman spirit. But you don’t need extraordinary physiological gifts (think Michael Phelps’ double-jointed size-14 feet) to become a good athlete. Bob Bowman—one of the most successful coaches in Olympic history— believes that the common man can imbibe the athletic spirit by dreaming big, developing the right attitude, setting goals and taking calculated risks, to prosper in life. In fact, intelligent training, strict dietary plans, a strong positive mindset and a good coach, will assist anyone to get one step closer to the finish line. “Entrepreneurs adhering to an athlete’s daily disciplined routine of rising early and challenging their physical limits can also benefit from this lifestyle. They tend to develop strong work ethics, better time management skills and can function well independently or in a team,” explains Dr Mini Rao, a Chennai-based psychologist, who cites transcendental meditation, regular rehabilitative massages and strong emotional ties with loved ones, as the best ways to cope with the immense psychological strain of brutal competition. Vasudevan Baskaran, who captained the Indian hockey team which won gold at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, claims that the best time to start training is at the age of 10. “It’s when children should be allowed to develop an inkling for a sport of their choice and slowly hone their skills (with the help of supportive parents). Engaging in sports will also help children gain confidence, develop leadership skills and build their concentration and focus (which helps academically). Therefore, playing sports enables them to embody the Olympic spirit, both on and off the field. Starting young (like Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci) will also improve their speed, strength, mental toughness and endurance,” shares Baskaran. We speak to top trainers, coaches and athletes to find out what it takes to think and train like a worldclass athlete.

                      Olympians

                      Table manners 1
                      Commonwealth gold medal winner and table tennis star, Sharath Kamal, stresses that when it comes to routine practice, it’s not about the hours you put in, it’s the years. “My advice to aspiring athletes is simple. Concentrate on physical training regimes that don’t wear you off, prior to big events. Also, remain positive and remember that all losses lead to a bigger win. I believe, it’s all in the mind,” explains Kamal, who is ranked 69 in the world by the International Table Tennis Federation. Prior to his 2016 Rio Olympics appearance, 34-year-old Kamal is following a strict carb-heavy pre-workout diet, which includes bananas, bread and cereals and a high protein post-workout diet, with easily digestible proteins like milk and egg whites. Details: twitter.com/sharathkamal

                      Matter of faith 6
                      Mohammed Anas is probably one of the most celebrated athletes in the Indian Olympic contingent. Selected for the men’s 400 metres, this 23-year-old is the third Indian athlete (after legends like Milkha Singh and KM Binu) to achieve this feat. “I follow a two-hour workout (cardio, stamina and lactate threshold training) in the mornings and evenings in the days leading up to the Olympics. Unlike many others, I don’t follow any special diet–I just consume homemade rice and curries,” says Anas, who broke the 400-metre national record before securing a berth in Rio. Hailing from a humble background in Nilamel (Kollam), Anas states that he’s worked hard and is leaving it up to God’s will. “Whenever I fail or feel down, I pray to God to give me the strength. I believe he will help me during this crucial event,” says Anas, signing off. Details:facebook.com/anas.exa

                      TRAINERS

                      The big splash 3
                      Fitness writer, Deanne Panday, an advocate of holistic nutrition, claims that the world class athlete’s diet is changing. In fact, she explains that many Olympians (including renowned MMA fighter and 2008 Olympic judo medalist Rounda Rousey) are turning vegan or vegetarian! “Go clean and pure. Grab a heavy breakfast, lunch, light dinner and few mid-day snacks with all-colour veggies and fruits, walnuts, pasta, rice and lots of greens,” shares Panday, who trains Bipasha Basu and Lara Dutta. If swimming is your forte, she explains that a great coach (think luminaries like Nihar Ameen or Pradeep Kumar) is essential to catch-up with the big fish. Water resistant sunblock (like Kiehl’s superfluid SPF 50+) and moisturiser (think Kiehl’s ultra oil-free lotion) are highly recommended by the trainer, for proper skin care, due to the long hours spent training in the pool. Details: twitter.com/deannepanday

                      For swimmers
                      Caloric intake: 3,000 to 8,000 calories daily
                      Basic workout pattern: Cross fit, pilates, tabata), yoga, specifically pranayama
                      Training patterns: Two intense sessions (early morning and noon) of 45-90 minutes
                      Sleep: 7-8 hours

                      Conquering the mind 4
                      Mumbai-based, Satyajit Chaurasia, a fitness expert for stars like Hrithik Roshan and sportsmen like Sachin Tendulkar believes in the power of visualisation. “Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain is a book I recommend to anyone who dreams of becoming a track and field Olympian (as they will have to deal with thoughts of imminent failure and an immense amount of stress at the world class level). It teaches meditation and breathing techniques which enables deep relaxation (post-workout), improves self-esteem via mental imagery and positive reaffirmation,” explains Chaurasia, adding that, what differentiates a good athlete from a great one, is the acceptance of failure and pain as teachers. Details:barbrianpowergym.tv

                      For track and field athletes
                      Caloric intake: 3,000 to 7,000 calories intake (low sugar, low oil, sprouts, tofu, salmon, egg whites)
                      Basic workout pattern: Free squats, monkey jumps, walking lunges, duck walks, leg curls, seated calf raises
                      Training times: Early morning for 120 minutes
                      Sleep: 8-10 hours

                      Adapting to the grind 2
                      Weightlifting is an unforgiving sport. It takes years of gruelling daily practice to attain near-perfect form for an event which lasts only a few seconds. If training like a world-class weightlifter is on your mind, then finding a Russian coach is paramount, stresses Rahul Bhatt. But pay heed to the old adage — the world’s best players make for the world’s worst coaches. The Mumbai-based fitness enthusiast—who’s trained actors including Richa Chadda and Aamir Khan—states that the Russians (think legendary coach R A Roman) have perfected the Eastern European bloc training method, which highlights the science of strength training, advanced ergogenics and mental fortitude. “Weightlifters should also use the right performance enhancers like the International Olympic Committee approved creatine monohydrate,” explains the 33-year-old. To acclimate mentally—with the challenging three-hour daily workout routine—Bhatt suggests deadlifting while blindfolded to improve concentration, postural understanding and kinesthetic awareness. Details: rahulbhatt.net

                      Coaches

                      8The right mentor
                      The one thing that Coimbatore-based hockey player Adam Sinclair would want you to keep in mind is the importance of the off-season. “Off season is the key as that’s when you can strengthen your body and get all the muscles back to proper shape. Do intensive training only when necessary, and keep your training schedule organised. My personal opinion would be to train thrice a week and give your body good rest on the remaining four days,” shares Sinclair, who represented the country at the 2004 Athens Olympics. For those currently training, the 32-year-old recommends early mornings (think 5 am-7am) as the best time to train. Currently an entrepreneur, Sinclair admits that he gets offers from institutions and organisations where he visits, to coach students. “Choosing a coach is very important. Someone who has a personal attachment to his trainee would be a big motivation for kids who start off early. Also, the right place to train with good infrastructure is very important because it’s the little things that make a big difference in the long run,” he signs off. Details: facebook.com/Adam.Sinclair24

                      Starting young 5
                      If you’re a sprinter aspiring to become the next Usain Bolt, coach Mohammed Nizammudin warns that it takes at least 12-14 years to make a mark. Having mentored athletes like Jasbir Singh—who stood fourth in the long jump category at the 2012 Olympics—Nizammudin knows what it takes to win on the big stage. He currently trains track and field athletes at the Achievers Athletic Academy (Tamil Nadu). “Ideally, a disciplined athlete who started training just before puberty strikes will peak by the age of 24-26,” shares the 48-year-old, who has represented the country in around 17 international tournaments, including the SAFF games and Asian Championships. Details: twitter.com/AchieversAAA

                      7Centre of attention
                      Half the work is done when the right training centre is chosen. CK Sankar—the biomechanic analyst for the 2012 London Olympics national hockey squad who gauged the errors in a player’s movement and gave them tips on how to correct them—strongly adheres to that principle. Certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and American Council of Exercise (ACE), Sankar currently trains students in sports like football and badminton at D-Camp (Coimbatore). “The infrastructure should meet Olympic gaming standards. Things like flooring material and sporting material have to be focused on while selecting a training centre,” says Sankar. Taking a cue from the increasing demand for healthy food, Sankar recommends the need for a qualified sports nutritionist. “He/she can formulate a customised diet plan for an individual sport and season, which will benefit in the long run,” he concludes. Details: 9047765522

                      By Anoop Menon with inputs from P Peter & Karan Pillai

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