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Monthly Archives: August 2016

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Poetry takes on a new form at this exhibition

Images speak a thousand words, but sometimes they need a context — an insight into the thoughts of the photographer who captured those poignant moments. Bridging this gap, between the artist and the art connoisseur, is husband and wife duo Philip John and Bernadette Lobo, with their exhibition that brings together photography and poetry. Entitled Somewhere In The World, the ‘photo poem’ exhibition and sale, is a result of their travels through Europe. “I have been writing poetry for a long time. I have a page on Facebook called Labyrinths where I upload my poems along with a relevant image, not necessarily my own. I wanted to take it to the next level and realised that in order to do so, every aspect of my art has got to be original. So I teamed up with my wife, a photographer, to create this new genre of art,” explains John, whose page has close to 6,000 likes.
Making their way across Paris, Amsterdam and Prague on their ‘long overdue’ European getaway, the couple found inspiration in the most common, everyday settings and situations — things one would normally overlook. “We didn’t set out to find stunning landscapes or architecture for our exhibition. Our aim was to have fun, and capture images that spoke to us in the process,” shares Lobo.
Printed on high quality matt paper, some of the images featured include a landscape of tulips both black and red sharing space on the field, harmoniously. “This goes along with a commentary on living together despite differences,” reveals Lobo. Another is a shot of an imposing, historical church with a lone man seated on its giant stairs. “We thought how ironic it is that this non-living man-made structure is talked about in history books, but the man, full of life, is insignificant,” John adds.
The poems cover themes such as emotions, relationships, solitude, introspection and nature, while the pictures reflect a soulfulness that makes its viewers think.
Rs 1,000 upwards. Till Sunday. 11 am. At MG Road. Details: 22969265

— Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo

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    Hai Apna Dil Toh Awara
    Director: Monjoy Mukerjee
    Cast: Sahil Anand, Niyati Joshi
    The plot follows the lives of three young couples. Set in the stunning backdrop of Kashmir, the film deals with how they find love and strive to keep it.
    Did you know: Made under the banner Monjoy Joy Mukerji Productions, the film revives legendary actor, Joy Mukerji’s banner Shri Joy Mukerji Enterprises.

    The Shallows
    Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
    Cast: Blake Lively
    This is a thriller set in the open ocean. A surfer, Nancy (Lively) is attacked in the shallow seas in an uninhabited beach by a great white shark. The movie is about how she uses her skills and ingenuity to overcome the challenge.
    Did you know: A lot of the filming took place inside a giant
    swimming pool.

    Fever
    Director: Rajeev Jhaveri
    Cast: Rajeev Khandelwal,
    Gauhar Khan, Gemma Atkinson, Caterina Murino
    This thriller revolves around a contract killer (Khandelwal), who loses his memory in an accident. You will see him struggle to regain his identity, while crossing paths with three women (played by
    Khan, Casino Royale star Murino, and British actress-model Atkinson).
    Did you know: To ease budget issues, Khandelwal and Khan
    cut down their fees and didn’t take their staff along, to shoots in Switzerland.

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      IT goes without saying that this week was swept up in the Harry Potter mania, so much so that everything else almost paled in comparison. And I don’t mean this in terms of scale-of-grandness or celebrity attendees but the sheer excitement that accompanied the launch of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, the latest book in the series. While celebrations were on across the city at various venues, I found myself at what felt like ground zero, Phoenix MarketCity, where fans had gathered by the hundreds, to be first in line for their copies. Right from the entry that had been transformed into the famed platform, complete with the Hogwarts Express, to the floating candles and broomsticks that hung from the ceiling, to people of all ages dressed up as every type of character from the book, it was something you had to see to believe. In the wait leading up to the launch, prizes were given out for everything from best spell casting to best dressed, with top prizes, interestingly enough, going mostly to the villains. A seven-year-old ‘Dobby’ did manage to steal our hearts though and walk away with first place. Across the city, The Brew Room also saw ‘Potterheads’ enjoying the book at an exclusive book launch party, dressed as everything from broomsticks to Hedwig the Owl.
      The literary trail this week also included the launch of Amitav Ghosh’s latest book, The Great Derangement, at Taj Coromandel, with the added bonus of the author himself being present for an interactive session. While there were lots of fans in the audience, in this case the excitement was of a more subdued variety. Steering the conversation was Gopalkrishna Gandhi, addressing Ghosh’s groundbreaking return to non-fiction.
      Elsewhere, at Sir Mutha Venkata-subba Rao Concert Hall, the grand finale of the K-Pop contest saw some fierce dance moves and serious vocal talent, where  the first prize went to Delhi-based dance group, Plus 4 Crew, in the dance category. We also dug into some Korean delicacies there — like kimchi, ramen and banana milk. Next up was the finale of the Short + Sweet Theatre fest at Alliance Francaise, with  the humorous  A Tale of a Tall Girl directed by Sunil Vishnu K winning the best production prize. The clever use of wooden frames and a ladder as makeshift props definitely had our vote!

      Paloma Rao

      —  paloma@newindianexpress.com

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      With a new lab and a food show nominated for the 68th Emmy Awards, Gaggan Anand, Bangkok’s rockstar among gastronauts, has much to celebrate.

      GAGGAN ANAND’S futuristic food laboratory has been a long time in the making. Now, six years after it was launched in Bangkok, his eponymous restaurant is ready to open its chamber of secrets to a select group of worthy diners, handpicked from the reservations for each day. Gaggan (the chef and restaurateur goes by only his first name) promises an ‘up close’ experience for about 10 people. The $700,000 project also sees him confident about presenting the most unexpected modern experiments with food. With a waitlist of two months at the restaurant and Gaggan-imitators sprouting up across the world, his popularity is evident. It also helps that Gaggan has twice topped the San Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards and is currently No 23 on the World’s 50 best Restaurants list (from No 10 last year).
      Gaggan’s brand of progressive Indian cuisine has takers everywhere; Chennai too has seen inspired dishes like nitrogen-frozen dhoklas pop up in the last three months at the restaurant J Hind at Grand by GRT Hotels. “When you play sports and get to the top, people soon discover your weak spots. I need to go back to the nets to rediscover myself,” says the chef bluntly, adding, “The lab will improve my food and this is the future of my cusine.” That the Kolkata native is not keen on the ‘molecular gastronomy’ tag is evident, despite his scientific prowess in the kitchen. “I do not have to make smoke on my table!” I’m not surprised to learn that  the former drummer is a fan of progressive rock, with Deep Purple topping a list that includes Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. It’s his choice of music that will play at the lab, possibly via handcrafted Sonus Faber speakers.

      Living in the moment
      Born to Punjabi parents, Gaggan, 38, is brutally honest about his early struggles. There is his graduation from the Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Thiruvananthapuram (during which  his businessman father suffered financial losses), an unsuccessful catering business in Kolkata, the move to Bangkok to an Indian restaurant, and a failed marriage and restaurant consultancy. But then came his internship of two months with the groundbreaking Spanish chef of El Bulli fame, Ferran Adria. It turned his world around. “I don’t forget that I come from nothing and I have nothing to lose. Perhaps that is why I am fearless,” says the chef who has been known to show even celebrity diners the door if they try to dictate what he should cook. He admits that with fame comes enemies. ‘‘Everything that is negative, I turn into something positive.” At this compact restaurant, which sees 65 diners daily for dinner, and a workforce of 72 (“which doesn’t include me or the valet,” chuckles Gaggan), he has surrounded himself with chefs from Russia, Canada, South America, Spain and Asia. Gaggan is the cheapest restaurant in the world’s top 10 list and this, together with his overheads and expensive ingredients for his 15- and 23-course tasting menus, means he’s not really making huge profits. But the chef is not complaining.

      Made in India
      Known to make quiet research trips to India, Gaggan admits that his much-publicised plans to expand here were abandoned a few months ago. “The first 100 diners will cover landlord fees, the second 100 will take care of costs and only the third 100 guests will contribute to profits. It’s impossible. Everybody will use you like a lemon,” says the self-confessed dreamer, continuing, “But I am insatiable.” He shares that he hopes to make a lot of money at some point, and promptly bursts into laughter. Besides his talent, it is Gaggan’s indefatigable spirit and irreverent side that find him a growing army of supporters. They include the Ambani family and Bollywood royalty like Abhishek Bachchan, among others. So even when famous journalists criticise him for “bastardising Indian food” he shrugs it off with a mild comeback – “Don’t put me in a box of what you think is Indian food!”

      Keeping it positive
      With menus changing every three months and the new laboratory accounting for about 40 new dishes, there is a lot of pressure in the kitchen to perform. “I have fired many of the radicals on my team – four in one day alone – and have got new chefs on board. But I am really a people’s person,” he adds quickly, exhibiting a few characteristics of a superstar chef. The obsession over perfection is one. Non-dependance on ‘best of’ lists is another. “These lists are very volatile. No doubt, I would never have become so big without the awards but perhaps next year, I won’t even be on it,” he muses. What is important to him, he says, is being in his restaurant during a full house. “If I was into fame, I would have opened five more restaurants.”

      Back to the future
      Taking pride in changing the perspective of Indian cuisine internationally with his modern treatment, Gaggan has decoded many a traditional street food recipe. Tightlipped about the new menu till the lab opens a fortnight from now, he relents to share his experiments with Kashmiri morels that are dried, cooked and stuffed with paneer and mousse with an ice cream texture. They are freeze dried and sliced. “Losing moisture when freeze-dried turns the morel into a cookie at room temperature. I add a cream of cardamom, milk and saffron and it turns into a ‘morel oreo cookie’!” he says. Another experiment will see fatty tuna from Japan in a sushi with a difference; instead of rice, he’d use a breadless miso soup burger. ”

      Earlier menus have had showstoppers like the ‘bloody’ Who Killed the Goat? (now replicated at a leading London restaurant). Or Charcoal, that is like its namesake in appearance, only to have undergone molecular gastronomy and sous vide techniques to become the delicious Kolkata fish chop in disguise. There are nuts in bags of edible plastic. And snow-like dhokla, thanks to a nitrogen bath and microwave. Then there is the produce, sourced from the best places in the world. “I don’t compromise and the fish and scallops must come from Tsukiji market in Japan every day. But the fruits and chicken are from Thailand.” It is this respect for integrity that got him into El Bulli. “They knew I had a great cause which was taking their philosophy and putting it forward with Indian food. So I was like a seed of their knowledge in Asia, which would blossom into what we call modernist cuisine today,” he says. It may also explain how, like El Bulli’s sudden closure in 2011, Gaggan believes that every restaurant has an expiry date. For his temple to modern Indian cuisine, that date is 2020.

      To the Steakhouse
      While Gaggan hopes to lend his culinary expertise to Kerala and Rajastani cuisine at some point, Gujarati street food is next on his menu. At the moment, though, it is the success of Meatlicious, a steakhouse, that gets his attention. Launched in January as a project for his current wife, it focusses on cooking techniques with wood and charcoal, with the meats sourced from around the world. ‘‘It has  broken even in seven months. I go there when I need inspiration, and send Gaggan chefs there too,’’ says the chef. He dreams of starting a 10-seater weekend restaurant in Japan, and calls it the land of perfection. For now, GohGan, his collaboration with Chef Takeshi Fukuyama in Fukuoka, keeps him busy several times a year.

      Telling a story
      Netflix’s acclaimed original series, Chef’s Table, has an episode on Gaggan, which has been trending for the last few months. Nominated for the 68th Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Directing for a Non-Fiction Programme, it tracks the chef’s journey, from his simple beginnings to where he is today. ‘‘I wanted to prove that Indian food could be fine dining,’’ says the chef. The new dad (he has a three-month-old baby) recalls having to deliver chicken curry and rice to employees of a pizza chain, to make ends meet.
      When we speak, we get Gaggan to share three best-kept food secrets of Bangkok: Khua Kling Pak Sod for authentic southern Thai food;
      Ginza Sushi-Ichi for the best sushi in town; and Peppina, for pizzas.

      By Rosella Stephen

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        Defending faith
        If you love legal dramas, don’t miss the season 13 premiere of Law and Order on Colors Infinity. The show, regarded the best in its genre, started in 1990. In this episode, suspense builds as a Muslim citizen of the US defends himself against murder charges of an academician who had questioned his religion and belief. Wednesday, 11 pm, on Colors Infinity.

        Puppet prank
        Life in Pieces is a sitcom about the Short family. In today’s episode, John, a retired airline pilot, makes a wooden puppet named Cheeto for
        baby Lark. But the puppet is used by the family members to scare and surprise each other. Tonight, 8.30 pm, on Star World and Star World HD.

        Beat the heat
        The Great Human Race show has contestants surviving nature like our early ancestors did. In the Thirst episode, contestants Bill Schindler and Cat Bigney are on a mission to locate dried riverbeds in the Arabian Desert and follow them to the seasonal monsoon area along the coast. But will they be able to overcome the heat and the sands? Tonight, at 10 pm, on National Geographic Channel.

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          The first Friday of every August has been deemed International Beer Day and we must comply. With Bengaluru being dubbed the brewery capital of the country, it’s no surprise that pubs across the city have something lined up. This International Beer Day, sign up for beer workshops, participate in a brewery tour or simply take advantage of the special offers.

          Wolf Of Crawl Street
          Covering some of the most popular haunts around Vittal Mallya Road, this pub crawl is sure to be a wild one. It starts at The Open Box, where you can participate in a pub quiz. From the rooftop venue, the scene shifts to the Biere Club. Sip some of their signature brews while unwinding over some live music. Once you’re through, stop over at an undisclosed location in UB City before heading back home.
          Tickets (`1,200) on
          bookmyshow.com

          Windmills Craftworks
          Windmills Craftworks offers patrons a tour of its brewery, through which you can see how your beers of choice are created. In addition to getting a peek into the workings of the brewery and an unlimited supply of beer, you can also take home merchandise and sample one starter, one main course and one dessert. Rs 5,000 for two. 11.30 am to 3 pm. At Whitefield. Details: 8880233322

          The Irish House
          The Irish House at VR Bengaluru is curating beer buckets for guests on the occasion. Starting today and on until the end of the month, you can have a pick of all your favourite hoppers. This new bar has beer buckets with three pints of different beers of your choice from a range of options including specials like Tsing Tao and Krombatcher.
          `1,395. At Whitefield.
          Details: 46524251

          Whitefield Social
          Social will hold a beer workshop today. Blogger John J Eapen, who blogs at Tales of Froth, will be the host. The workshop will have guided beer tastings and DIY sessions, where guests can make their own LIIT with their pick of beers. Also expect quizzes and games.
          `1,000. 6pm. At Whitefield.
          Details: 7259487321

          Beer Cafe
          Grab your International Beer Passport at Beer Cafe. Sample beers from four countries — Belgium, Holland, Spain and Germany to get the passport. The fifth beer will then be on the house and you can choose from any country on the menu.
          Till August 31. Across all outlets. Details: 40982456

          — Anagha M

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            Whole nine yards
            Chennai-based label, Mayuri comes to the city for a two-day pop up. Designer Thangam Mathai will showcase some of her latest saris and fabrics in cotton and silk. Featuring a vibrant line-up of shades, such as sunshine yellow, bright blues and fuchsia, materials used include raw silk, tussar, Kota silk, Chanderi and more. `2,700 upwards. Today and tomorrow. At Rain Tree, Sankey Road. Details: 22354396

            Diamonds forever
            Tanishq announces a discount of up to 20 per cent on their products. Valid till September 4, you can take your pick from exquisite collections like Queen of Hearts, Niloufer and Zuhur. At Dickenson Road. Details: 9243462487

            Seeking tradition
            This weekend, Basava will showcase a collection of saris and stoles by Ssaha from West Bengal and hand-stitched leather bags by Kris from Bengaluru. Made from khadi muslin, Ssaha’s saris aim to engage and sustain artisans, while Kris seeks to reinvent
            traditional crafts. `500 upwards. Till tomorrow. At Kanakapura Road. Details: 26561940

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            Five things you must not miss at the Bengaluru Poetry Festival this weekend

            Over a span of two days, 10 workshops, 34 reading and Q&A sessions with noted poets, four performances, and a photo exhibition, the Bengaluru Poetry Festival will explore the art of writing poems, translating them, and getting them published. If that’s not enough, you can also get your hands on the latest books, and even those that are out of print. With eminent authors included in the list of speakers, you can get these valuable volumes signed by them too! “The aim is to celebrate poetry in its different forms, and throw the Romanticists’ idea that poetry belongs to a particular group of people out the window,” says Lakshmi Subodh of Atta Galatta, who conceptualised the fest with her husband, Subodh Shankar, and writer Shinie Antony (festival director).

            Poet extraordinaire and lyricist
            Javed Akhtar will open the fest with the session, Poetry His Art His Heritage. He will read out poems by his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi, and talk about his journey as a poet. Then BJP MP Feroze Varun Gandhi, who has written two poem books —The Otherness of Self, and Stillness, will highlight the  importance of pauses and silences in verses in the session, Stillness. Music mix

            Music mix
            A song is nothing but poetry set to music. Poet-musician Anand Thakore,
            singer Vasundhara Das, jazz artiste Radha Thomas, and music manager Simon Napier-Bell will explore this liaison at the session, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. Then, Bollywood lyricist Raj Shekhar will recite his verse, Majnoo Ki Teela to the tunes of a guitar. The multi-talented Piyush Mishra, who will hold a talk about his film career, might have a musical surprise in store.

            Folk factor
            Day one will conclude with a Pandavani recital, Ektara Ditties,
            by Padma Bhushan awardee Teejan Bai. The folk singer has traveled all over the world, from her home state, Chhattisgarh, to Paris, keeping alive the tradition of Pandavani — narration of tales from Mahabharata.
            Bai is particularly known for her
            powerful voice.

            Just out
            Two anthologies will be launched at the fest. The first one is 40 Under 40, and collates the works of 40 poets, aged 40 or under. It covers topics such as media, culture, music, aspirations and capitalism. The other, titled Po’try, is a
            collection of 157 poems,
            shortlisted from a contest that the team ran last month. Maithili
            folk-poet, Vibha Rani will also release her new book, Samrath, about cancer survivors.

            Fishy tales
            The venue will include a photo
            exhibition by Selvaprakash Lakshman. Titled Life In Troubled Waters, it offers a glimpse into the deplorable lives of the fishing community of South India. To go along with the black and white photographs, writer Amruta Dongray
            has drafted an English-Malayalam poem that talks about similar themes.

            August 6-7. At The Leela Palace. Details:
            bengalurupoetryfestival.org

            — Barkha Kumari

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              Breezy blues
              Celebrate the International Blues Day, with The Blues Project, comprising members from rock band, Girish and The Chronicles. They will belt out covers by noted classic and blues rock artistes suhc as Muddy Waters, Albert King,Gary Moore, BB King, ZZ Top, and more. August 6. Tickets (Rs 400) available at the venue. At The BFlat Bar, Indiranagar.9 pm. Details: 41739250

              Night out
              g77 Cafe is the newest venue for an exciting ladies night. Called Night of Glamour, it will offer unlimited cocktails, mocktails, wines, and sangrias, while DJ Sid spins the biggest EDM hits. August 10. At Indiranagar. 8 pm. Details: 45128719

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                Days of glory
                August 5 | Brazil
                The biggest sporting event of all,
                the 2016 Rio Olympics, starts today. Watch
                out for superstars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Novak Djokovic who are expected to rack up a lot of medals. India’s hopes rest on names like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Gagan Narang and a new-look hockey team. Catch the Parade of Nations at opening ceremony, which will have performances by supermodel Gisele Bunchen, actor Judi Dench and many others. Till August 21. On Star
                Sports. Details: olympic.org

                Love and laughter
                August 5 | That Comedy Club
                Amit Tandon, also known as ‘the married guy’ of standup comedy,
                takes the stage at That Comedy Club. Having completed 700 shows across the country so far, his style of observational comedy will sure have the audience in splits. At Church Street. Tickets (Rs 499) on bookmyshow.com

                Now showing
                August 5 | PVR Cinemas
                Featuring a stellar cast including Viola Davis, Ben Affleck, Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, and Cara Delevingne, Suicide Squad finally hits the screens today. When faced with a mysterious and dangerous entity, intelligence officer, Amanda Waller (Davis) bands together a group of jailed supervillains to fight the threat and save the world.

                Bollywood rewind
                August 6 | Manpho Convention Centre
                Singer Krishna Kumar Kunnath, better known
                as KK, makes his way to Bengaluru. Hosted by Sindhi College and Alive India Music, keep your ears
                open for some of his popular numbers such as
                Tadap Tadap, O Meri Jaan, and Tu Hi Meri Shab.
                At Hebbal.Tickets (`1,000 upwards)
                on bookmyshow.com

                Crafted with care
                August 7 | Cinnamon
                Cinnamon will play host to conceptual jewellery artist Eina Ahluwalia, who is bringing her first exhibition to Bengaluru, and fashion and textile designer Sunita Shanker. While the former is known for her handcrafted, delicate filigreed designs, the latter is loved for her reinterpretation of traditional bandhani. At Gangadhar
                Chetty Road. Details: 41634220

                Art central
                August 8 | Art Corridor
                Artchutney.com presents Heterogenous, a group show featuring curated works by artists Anand Panchal, Gautam Mukherjee, Jagannath Paul, Romi Revola, Sachin Jaltare, Sunil Sarkar and more. The highlight of the month- long show is the Art Car, an environment-friendly electric car painted by Farhad Hussain. At Taj West End, Race
                Course Road. Details: 66605660

                Lanka calling
                August 9 | Tuesday
                Sample Sri Lankan flavours at Cafe Mozaic’s Sri Lankan food festival. Making their way from Vivanta by Taj, Bentoto, chefs Kalinga Lalith and MA Palitha Chandana will present a decadent spread featuring dishes such as, Cashew garlic curry, Elumas ala curry (mutton with potatoes), Sweet athirasa (rice cake with jaggery), and more. Rs 1,500++. Details: 66604444

                Creative congress
                August 10 | Lahe Lahe
                Want to drive away those mid week blues? We suggest you head  to Lahe Lahe with a musical instrument in hand. The performance art space will host a music jam, where anyone and everyone is welcome to showcase their skills and make music with other talented musicians. Entry Rs 50. At Kodihalli.
                Details: 9886294444

                Sound escape
                August 11 | Hard Rock Cafe
                Rap rock band, Anthracite pays tribute to Linkin Park. Influenced by the likes of Limp Bizkit, and Rage Against The Machine, apart from Linkin Park, the band has to its credit a demo album released three years ago, and two music videos. Their next album is set to launch in a few months. At St Marks Road. Tickets (`1,000)
                on bookmyshow.com

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