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Monthly Archives: October 2016

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From the home-grown supercar DC Avanti to the latest Harley-Davidson, there’s something for every motorhead at the upcoming Express Auto Expo

Isn’t it a little overwhelming when you think about how the Indian automotive scene has exploded in the past few years, especially when it comes to luxury and lifestyle vehicles? If you think that keeping track of all the new cars and bikes is getting too much, here’s your chance to experience all the major brands at one place in a gathering unlike any other. Come November 5 and 6, the Chennai Trade Centre will be the centre of the Indian automotive universe with The New Indian Express’ Express Auto Expo — an event that you simply can’t afford to miss.
Going all-inclusive
On display will be a huge range of some of the best machinery money can buy — ranging from regular hatchbacks to premium motorcycles. The star of the show is set to be the DC Avanti, India’s first home-grown supercar from ace designer Dilip Chhabria. Those in the hunt for luxury will get to witness the top names in the business with all the models on display. So go ahead, indulge yourself in the finest technology that vehicles have on offer. The Express Auto Expo is also a great place to come shop for your next dream car, with exclusive offers from dealers at the event. Everything from premium and luxury sedans and UVs to rugged SUVs will be showcased at the Trade Centre.
Fans of motorcycles will also get to experience models from Honda to the latest Harley-Davidson. For those who prefer four-wheeled transportation, manufacturers such as Ford, Fiat and Chevrolet will show up with their latest models. There will also be the presence of many dealerships, including Lanson Toyota, Skoda Gurudev Motors and Transcar. The way we see it, there could be no better way to satisfy your appetite for all things automotive this festive season.

Play safe
The Express Auto Expo isn’t just about browsing the finest automobiles in the country—the event will also emphasise the importance of safety while on the road. With demonstrations on better driving habits, precautions and, of course, promoting the use of seat belts when in a car and helmets when on a motorcycle, this is a great place to inculcate the importance of safer motoring. There will also be tonnes of contests at the two-day expo along with entertainment events lined up for the showgoers. Apart from the cars themselves, there will also be a huge collection of accessories to spruce up your cars and bikes with. Bring your cameras and smartphones along because there will also be loads of photo-ops with your favourite machines. All-in-all, there’s a whole lot to do at the expo.

Need to know
What: Express Auto Expo
Where: Chennai Trade Centre
When: November 5 and 6
Time: From 10.30 am to 8 pm
Entry: Free

—Team MotorScribes

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    As the animated film, Trolls, releases next week, Anna Kendrick tells us what to expect.

    With her book, Scrappy Little Nobody, set to release next month and her comedy, Table 19, releasing early next year, American actress Anna Kendrick is one busy star. While the Twilight Saga star’s recent release with Ben Affleck (The Accountant) has received more bad reviews than good ones, the 31-year-old is all set for her next, Trolls. Playing Poppy, the funny and fearless leader of the happy bunch who reside in a Utopia-like land in this musical adventure, Kendrick tells us how it was working with Justin Timberlake (who plays Branch, the reclusive troll) and anecdotes from the sets.

    What led to you accepting this role?
    To be honest, I probably would have done anything that DreamWorks had asked me to do. They told me about Poppy, using a lot of visual references, and, after a while, I was waiting for them to stop talking so that I could say ‘yes’.

    Who is Poppy?
    Poppy is the happiest of all the trolls. She wants everything to be rainbows and parties and cupcakes all the time. We discussed the fact that, in real life, I am not really as relentlessly happy as Poppy, and I said I’d like to add some layers to her personality. The directors embraced that idea. I was surprised by how much they encouraged me to be a little feisty and mischievous.

    What do you think of the Trolls’ hair, their distinguishing characteristic?
    Their hair has a life of its own. The trolls can hide stuff in it, use it to pick stuff up, and they can even fight with it. It makes you wonder why your own hair is not really useful (laughs).

    How interesting was it for you to do a musical?
    It is a dream to do animation, comedy and music in one film. There is a lot of throwback music, and I think Justin (Timberlake) has tried to incorporate that sound into the new songs. It was great singing covers of classics like The Sound of Silence and Move Your Feet . Or our version, Move Your Hair. It does feel a bit like I’m singing in the shower and getting paid for it.

    What was it like working with Justin Timberlake?
    He is an exemplary co-worker. He acted as the vocal producer for every session and it was great having him shepherd those performances. For example, I was doing a certain riff at the beginning of the song, Get Back Up Again, and he said, ‘You should save that riff until the end of the song so that it builds.’ He gave me notes that I would not think about.

    How was your experience working with the directors, Mike Mitchell and Walt Dohrn?
    Mike and Walt are so much fun to work with and they were in there with me reading the dialogue (in the sound booth). It got to the point where they were doing impressions of Justin, James Corden, Russell Brand and Zooey Deschanel. Even though they do terrible impressions (laughs), I understood what they were going for, so it was actually really helpful to have them so willing to make fools of themselves.
    Trolls hits theatres on November 4.

    Timberlake’s take
    Besides starring as the voice of Branch, you were in charge of the music. How did you manage both?
    Playing the character is like jumping into the eye of the storm, with Anna and her character Poppy. Being involved in the music is all about helping to tell the story. It is like being a mile away from that storm, looking at it and helping to move it in a certain direction and, hopefully, making it sound good. The jobs were informing each other for me. I got to see so much of all the characters while creating music for certain scenes, and I could observe their little idiosyncrasies. Then I would jump back (into the acting). But there was a whole team of people contributing to the music; it was not just me saying, ‘I think we should do this song here.’ It’s great to get the points of view of the directors and producers.

    — Team Indulge

     

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      Chance (season one), Star World Premiere HD, Tonight, 10 pm Catch the premiere episode of this  psychological thriller, which will detail the adventures of Dr Eldon Chance (Hugh Laurie), a neuropsychiatrist. Chance tries to help a patient, who was involved in a road accident, cope, while also getting sucked into the incident owing to a case of mistaken identity and police corruption.

      The Mentalist (season seven), FX, Monday-Friday, 10 pm This crime solving drama follows the exploits of Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), a former psychic who is hired by the police for his superior mind-reading and  observational skills. When a woman is kidnapped for ransom, multiple police units are brought in and all of them start questioning Jane’s unorthodox ways of solving crimes.

      Man with a Plan (season one), Comedy Central, Tomorrow, 9 pm What happens when a contractor becomes a stay-at-home dad? Friends fame Matt LeBlanc appears as Burns, a man who decides to take care of the kids to support his wife. Burns soon realises how strenuous it is supervise a bunch of naughty children, and that his construction work is comparatively easier.

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        Friday, October 28

        Hitman: Agent 47 (Action/ Thriller)
        Star Movies, 9 pm
        Cast: Rupert Friend, Hannah Ware, Ciarán Hinds
        A genetically-modified super soldier and assassin, Agent 47 (Friend), works for the International Contracts Agency and is looking for his creator, Doctor Litvenko (Hinds), who has vanished without a trace. He hopes to find him by following his daughter Katia (Ware), who is also desperate to track down her father. But when Katia teams up with John Smith, an operative of the rival organisation, Syndicate International, Agent 47 shoots Smith. That is when Katia observes her own super human abilities, leading her to question her relationship with Litvenko. Paul Walker was originally scripted to play 47 before his demise in a
        car crash.

        Under the Sun (Drama), Netflix
        Cast: Lee Zin-Mi, Yu-Yong, Hye-Yong
        Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky is invited by the North Korean government to make a documentary about an eight-year old girl, Zin-Mi, a model citizen who is eager to join the Korean Children’s Union. Mansky realises that the whole documentary is a farce as everything, including Zin-Mi’s enthusiasm for her father’s profession and her family’s whereabouts are fake. There are even strict government agents, who coerce more emotions out of people while filming scenes. As Mansky secretly begins filming real clips along with the scripted documentary, it results in a mix of humorous takes and disturbing perceptions. Under the Sun’s popularity in film circles irked North Korea and it called for Russia to destroy the documentary and punish the filmmaker.

        Saturday, October 29

        Aligarh (Biography), Zee Classic, 10 pm
        Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao,
        Ashish Vidyarthi
        Based on the life of late professor Ramchandra Siras (Bajpayee), an academic at the Aligarh Muslim University, the film is a statement on the rampant prejudice against homosexuality in our society. Siras is wrongly accused by a female colleague for sexual harassment and is even caught on camera having sex with a man—all orchestrated by the university management, who feel he is an embarrassment to the institution. Amidst the animosity and his isolation, Siras finds some solace in a young journalist, who hounds him for the truth. Nawazuddin Siddiqui was originally scripted to play Siras but dropped out of the project as he had differences with director Hansal Mehta.

        Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (Comedy/ Drama),
        Rishtey Cineplex, 7 pm
        Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sunny Nijar, Omkar Kapoor
        Gogo (Aaryan), Chauka (Nijar) and Thakur (Kapoor) are best friends and flat mates. The trio find themselves in trouble with their respective love interests. Gogo is annoyed with his girlfriend for spending too much time with her best friend. Chauka’s girlfriend is reluctant to commit to him despite his caring nature. And Thakur’s girl is not supportive of his business plans as she fears he will stop spending money on her. The rest of film follows their shenanigans as they oscillate between the urge to be single and missing being in a relationship. Aaryan’s seven-minute monologue in the movie earned him acclaim.

        Sunday, October 30

        NH 10 (Action/ Thriller), Zee Cinema, 9 pm
        Cast:  Anushka Sharma, Neil Bhoopalam, Tanya Dobhal
        Couple Meera (Sharma) and Arjun (Bhoopalam) take a road trip to celebrate Meera’s birthday. When stopping to refill gas, they are approached by Pinky (Tanya), who tells them that some men are after her and she needs help. Soon a group of men reach the spot and manhandle Pinky. When Arjun tries to intervene, they attack him, warning him to stay away from the girl who is their sister. When they drive away with Pinky, the duo follow them and end up witnessing a horrific crime. Unfortunately for the couple, the perpetrators are now focussed on them. Sharma learned to smoke
        for her role as Meera.

        Pitch Perfect 2 (Comedy), Sony Pix, 9 pm
        Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld
        Set three years after the events of Pitch Perfect, Barden Bellas, the all-girls Georgia College cappella group, find themselves becoming unpopular after Amy (Wilson) loses her pants while performing before the US president. Banned from competing in the national championship, the Bellas now look for ways to salvage their image. The group decides to compete in the World Championship of Cappella, which means they must take on current champions, the Das Sound Machine, an all-boys German cappella group and win, which no American cappella group has ever done before. Many American celebrities like Rosie O’Donnell, Snoop Dogg, CJ Perry and Rosie Perez make cameo appearances in the movie.

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          With thrillers and horror films as his forte, Rajneesh Duggal on his upcoming projects.

          Ever since we saw him in the Bombay Vikings’ song, Chodd Do Aanchal—sporting sideburns and doing the retro routine—Rajneesh Duggal had our attention. The model-turned-actor’s big screen debut was the horror thriller 1920 (in 2008) and it seems to have set the precedent for more in that genre. While his last outing, Beiimaan Love, starring Sunny Leone, failed to impress, his upcoming releases —the thriller, Wajah Tum Ho and horror film Saansein—seem promising. Starring Sharman Joshi and Sana Khan, the former sees the Mumbai-based actor donning a layered role. “We all have a grey side. I just tried to tap into mine. My director, Vishal (Pandya), was very clear about what each individual character was going to play. On a personal level, I do watch a lot of dark movies,” shares the Dangerous Ishq actor, who, ironically, is not too fond of horror films.
          Meanwhile, in Saansein, Duggal plays a romantic character. “I look at two things while selecting a script. The story should be interesting, something that I would want to watch, and the role, whatever it may be, should be strong and important,” says the 34-year-old, who studied business administration from Delhi’s Apeejay University, before stepping into the fashion industry as a model. With film Udanchoo (slated to release next year), starring Sayyeshaa, in his kitty, the former Mr India signs off hinting at a television show.

          Saansein is set to release on November 11  and  Wajah Tum Ho in December.
          ­

          —Saloni Sinha

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            As the voice of South cinema’s leading ladies, MM Manasi is taking the industry by storm.

            It was just another day at the recording studio for the music team of Nirnayam, the Raana Vikram and Regina Cassandra-starrer, in 2013. But for singer MM Manasi, it was the beginning of new innings. After her rendition of two of the film’s songs, the singer found that director Selvaganesh had other plans for her voice. A few dub tests and a little persuasion later, she ended up doing a voiceover for Cassandra. The talented artiste has since dubbed for over 40 films in Tamil and Telugu. “I love experimenting and this has been a great career opportunity, aside from the fact that dubbing and singing are quite complementary,” says Manasi. Having voiced for Trisha Krishnan in Kodi and Sri Divya in Kaashmora, both Diwali releases, the artiste speaks about her career change, trends in the film industry and much more.

            Winning over
            In a recent interview, Tamannaah Bhatia lauded Manasi for her work in her last four films, Baahubali, Thozha, Dharmadurai and Devi. Later, Krishnan took to Twitter to praise her work in Kodi. Ask her how she feels about all the appreciation and Manasi gushes, “It’s great when the actresses whose character you’re trying to complete pat you on the back for a job well done. At the end of it, the character needs to be complete and authentic,” she says. Gone are the days when dubbing artistes met the actors they were voicing to understand their body language and vocal patterns. Instead, now “it’s all about understanding the character and getting into their shoes,” says the management graduate from DG Vaishnav college. The artiste picks Baahubali – The Beginning (2015) and Radha Mohan’s Uppu Karuvadu (2015) as her favourite projects to date. “The former for its sheer scale and masculinity of the warrior princess, and the latter for the versatility of the two shades of a character (both played by Nandita Swetha). Devi also comes close,” Manasi explains.

            Changing times
            Pondering the challenges of the profession, she sheepishly concedes that it hardly has a downside. “I myself didn’t know much about dubbing or the artistes behind the voices we hear on screen until I became one. Today people realise that a character comes alive with equal contribution from the actor and the voiceover artiste, and I am glad we are getting our due,” she adds. She notes that Tamil cinema has come a long way, going beyond girlish voices to more personalised voiceovers for its leading ladies. She wishes to dub for Deepika Padukone someday, and will be dubbing for Nandita Swetha in Nenjam Marapadhillai soon.

            — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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              With food  pop-ups and  exhibitions, the soon-to-be opened Art Bistro at Grand by GRT  promises an  experience like  no other.

              As soon as you enter the revamped Grand by GRT lobby, you are surrounded by all things beautiful and unique. From the custom made glass lights from Delhi-based Klove on the ceiling— meant to remind one of temple bells—to the Indian restaurant, J Hind, which is replete with pop-art by Krsna Mehta of IndiaCircus, to each floor having separately-themed works by artists Muralidharan Alagar, Manoharan Natarajan and G Raman. When the decision was taken to redo the place after the floods, there was a conscious shift from business hotel to a boutique one—with a contemporary touch catering to a new target audience, COO Vikram Cotah tells me. The opening of the Art Bistro (in place of the earlier restaurant, Azulia) was an extension of this idea.

              Planning ahead
              Walking me through the soon-to-be-launched 50-seater cafe-cum-gallery, Cotah tells me about the plans they have for the space, which will also be made available for niche events (such as wine tastings). “We will have pop-up restaurants with chefs like Sanjeev Kapoor or Vikas Khanna,” he says, adding that the bistro will also have a carefully-curated menu of teas and single origin coffees and a range of  hors d’oeuvres. Called ‘art on a platter’, these small bites will have varying themes—from Punjabi street food to Japanese cuisine. Also on the cards are meet-and-greet events with celebrities (filmmakers, musicians, authors) and a host of cultural events, like standup comedy nights, theatre productions and art appreciation workshops.

              Talking art
              Journalist and founder of Vanjula’s Art Atrium, Sujatha Narayanan, along with her partner, Devasena Subramaniam, has curated the art works for the bistro. “This is one place that will exhibit, display, sell,” she says, adding that the idea is to make art affordable and accessible. With price tags ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 5,00,000, the space will have renowned painters and upcoming artists and sculptors showcasing their works. “It’s not going to be elitist. We want art to be commercial not just in terms of money, but in terms of reach. I want art to be mass. Like a Rajini film. And for that there must be emotion, colour and form,” Narayanan states, explaining how she spends time with individual artists to understand their styles and markets for curating purposes. Right now you can find artist Viswam’s abstract oils and Veera Santhanam’s acrylic Tree of Life, Kamadhenu and other works in the space, with sculptures expected from Kumbakonam.
              Details: 28150500

              — Simar Bhasin

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                Second Coming

                More than a couple of decades after he debuted on the Tamil screen with Veettai Paar Naattai Paar, Thulasidas returns with Thiraikku Varadha Kadhai. “I thought I will make my re-entry in Tamil only after I get a fresh script,” says the veteran director of Malayalam films, who has worked with the likes of Mammootty and Mohanlal. A bilingual (titled Girls in Malayalam), the supernatural suspense-thriller releasing today is sans any horrorelements. Its USP, however, is that it has an all-female cast that includes Nadhiya, Iniya  and Eden.

                The last lap
                Rum, helmed by debutant Sai Bharath, is in its post-production stage. Touted as a heist-horror-thriller, the film has Hrishikesh playing the lead. Singer-composer Anirudh’s cousin (who has crafted the film’s music), the actor had essayed the role of Dhanush’s younger brother in Velaiyilla Pattadhaari. Sharing frames with him are Sanchita Shetty and Mia George. Incidentally, Rum, which means ‘verdict’, is slated for a year-end release.

                Leap of faith
                He has had a handful of releases, but is yet to get a strong foothold in the industry. But Kadalai (slated for a Diwali release) could well be a game changer for Ma Ka Pa Anand, a popular TV anchor. “It is a full length comic-family entertainer,” says debutant director Sagaya Suresh about the film. Suresh adds that he has conveyed a relevant message for today’s youth  ‘without sounding preachy’.

                Malini Mannath

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                  Fast fashion brand H&M to open at Express Avenue next week.
                  The most anticipated fashion event on Chennai’s sartorial calendar this year is finally within sight. Global fast fashion brand, H&M, will open its doors in the city next Saturday, almost a year after their celeb-studded India launch in New Delhi’s Select Citiwalk. The first H&M store here and the country’s twelfth will be spread over two floors encompassing a space of more than 34,000 square feet. The brand’s India spokesperson and PR head, Dhatri Bhatt, tells us, “Besides the timeless basics, the store will also have H&M+, which is current fashion in larger sizes, H&M’s maternity line, Mama, and fashionable athletic wear, H&M Sport.” The brand, which is sought the world over for its trendy, high-quality apparel for men, women, teenagers and children, is a big draw for its prices, too, which are more accessible than its counterparts.

                  Fashionably late
                  Chennai’s fashion-forward are no strangers to fast fashion with Zara, Gap, Forever 21, Vero Moda, Mango and even Marks & Spencer having already opened in the city as far back as 2008. For those who are wondering why the Swedish retail giant delayed their entry, country head Janne Einola’s explanation of the brand’s stand (at the country’s first store launch) should answer that. “We are in India for the long term. We are looking at many options currently and we will open only when we get the right location. This has been our establishment principal since 1947,” he says.

                  Sustainable chic
                  It is heartening to know that H&M advocates sustainability in fashion. You can see it in the garments with the H&M Conscious label, which are fashion basics in all departments, as well as collections with high fashion content made from environmentally-smarter materials (such as organic and recycled cotton, recycled polyester and recycled wool, organic hemp and Tencel®4). “Sustainability is an integral part of everything we do and we are committed to changing the way we make, use and dispose our clothes,” affirms Bhatt.

                  What’s hot?
                  Shoppers can expect the latest autumn line, sold globally, at H&M. We liked the quirky printed tees and formal work shirts for men, and the floral printed dresses, ruffled shirts and bow-tie blouses for ladies. But we are a tad disappointed that the brand’s famous designer collaborations—the latest is a limited line with couture favourites Kenzo—will not be available in Chennai just now.
                  Opening on November 5, at Express Avenue. Details: 28464646

                  — Shibi Kumaramangalam

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                    Watch it
                    Make time stop with Titan Raga’s latest
                    collection, Aurora. Crafted using techniques like cameo, alalone and gilded gold, with layered dials encrusted with Swarovski crystals, these will lend a touch of chic. Rs 4,495 onwards. At Titan, Ampa Skywalk, Aminjikarai. Details: 426860003

                    Festive charm
                    Suit up gentlemen, with Corneliani’s latest men’s collection. With a wide range of apparel—from jackets and ties to silk scarves and cuff links in vibrant colours—get the urban luxe look and make a statement this festive season.  Rs 11,000 onwards. Details: corneliani.com

                    Polo passion
                    Paris of the 1940s and 50s, and the sophisticated lifestyle of polo player and soldier, Porfirio Rubirosa, has inspired La Martina’s autumn/winter collection. Find jackets, coats, T-shirts and tops in fabrics like  viscose, wool and polyester. The grey,  pastel and black colours bring out the raw look.  Rs 8,630 onwards (approximately). Details: lamartina.com

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