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Daily Archives: Nov 4, 2016

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Hawaiian stand-up comic Paul Ogata about millennials and his mantra for a happy marriage on his debut show in India

We all have that friend who has always managed to crack up the whole class with his wit and humour. Paul Ogata, who began his career as a clown in his classroom, is one such. This stand-up comedy tycoon began his journey 11 years ago. The Hawaii-born comedian left his hometown in 2006 after a successful career as a top-rated morning radio personality in a local station. He stepped into the stand-up comedy industry after winning the 32nd Annual San Francisco International Comedy Competition which then put him in the league of biggies like Dana Carvey, Sinbad, Doug Stanhope and other comedy greats.
Visiting India for the first time, Paul says that he will be talking about his own experiences. “I can assure that you will hear about how millennials killed my grandfather and how they are ruining the rest of the world. “I‘ll also explore the secrets of a successful marriage. And then explain how people around the world are more alike than we are different,” says the 47-year-old comedian, who also writes screenplays and pitches television shows.
So does the international performer plan to tone down his content for the rather conservative Indian audience that took umbrage to the AIB Roast? “Are you easily offended? Then don‘t watch it. Simple. While what I do is stand-up comedy, and not a roast, buttons will still be pushed and boundaries will be tested. It‘s more subtle. But in the end, my goal is to have you laughing despite your sensibilities,” says the comedian. Paul was also tapped to act alongside various adult film stars in the cult favourite motion picture Porndogs.
Trump or Hillary? What‘s the Los Angeles-based funny man‘s take on the US elections? “By the time of my Hyderabad show, we‘ll know for sure whether the majority of Americans are stupid or if Hillary won. And depending on the outcome, I may end up staying indefinitely in Hyderabad.”
Ogata will be performing at the Altitude, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention on November 10 from 8 pm onwards. Tickets for group of three for `1,099
Details: in.bookmyshow.com

— Nishad Neelambaran

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When the city gets divided into‚ ‘for and against ’ the celebrations

AHEAD of every festive season, there is a soft war, thankfully, between the traditionalists and reformers on how a festival should be celebrated; and backers of rituals fend off against those who would put environment concerns at apex adulation, and worship.
When it is Ganesh Chaturdhi, this soft war manifests as organic clay idols propagators punching at a notch up and seeking to stop immersing of chemically painted Ganesha idols in the Hussainsagar lake. During Holi, it is the colours. During Diwali, yes, the crackers and sounds, the smoke and pollution.
I have no bone in the fight. I won’t claim to know which side pleases the gods more. Does Ganesha wish to be painted with chemicals and dumped into a lake more than being made of clay; or does Lakshmi bless those with more money who burst loud crackers over those who keep the affair silent?
But this year, the debate was slightly settled; what with reports claiming lesser air pollution over the airs of Hyderabad thanks to the unexpected rains. Both sides had a view, again. The environmentalists blamed the rains on global warming, aided by previous years’ crackers and all having their iota of contribution – and maybe silently thankful at the irony that a weather system screwed by global warming rescued them. Those who deny global warming stands a chance before the divine aura felt it was God’s way of subduing the festival, and maybe silently cursed the unexpected showers.
I asked the little six-year-old birdie in our building, who along with her friends had been leading the crusade for a silent Diwali for a week, and who was looking wistfully at the sky on Sunday afternoon, – “what are you praying for – Diwali or rains?” She considered for a while, before adding, “Diwali. But rain is also good – my doggie is so afraid of the rains.”
I pushed the onus on her brother, three-odd-years older than her, who needed not a second to retort – “Diwali. Not that rains can stop me or my friends. We will still burst all the crackers.”
I would have loved to have asked their dog, but it was obviously hiding under a bed. And its vote was for a heavy, heavy rain than would render the bombs wet and useless. And the Godhead, if there is one, heard the dog’s prayers more than the humans. Maybe there is still some hope. And yes, I lied – everyone has a bone in this.
Tailpiece: The middle-aged fox told me that my piece applies only to half the city; which is Hyderabad. Because it did not rain in Secunderabad. Now, who amongst us can really say which is which?

—  (Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel Autobiography of a Mad Nation. He writes for international media including The New York Times and BBC besides organising debates at Hyd Park)

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Actress Seema Biswas to highlight abuse of women with her play at the Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival

The fiery actress who continues to inspire every generation with her sterling performance in the 1994 controversial movie Bandit Queen, is all set to floor Hyderabad with her interpretation of Tagore. Seema Biswas will don the role of a director and an actor, as the city gears up to pay tribute to the legendary theatre artiste from Hyderabad – Qadir Ali Baig in the upcoming theatre festival. She will be performing in the city after four years. At the seven-day event, she hopes to bring alive the Bengali letter Streer Patra / The Wife’s Letter on stage.
On how she adapted the letter format to a stage play, the 51-year-old actress says, “I travel a lot to villages and the women have often said inspiring things that I wanted to pass on to the world. I felt that I could connect Tagore’s work about women to what they said,” she explains. About the relevance of the play to the youth in India, she says, “They need to get the message that enough is enough and we women need to be safe too. We cannot achieve this without the co-operation of the men. Change begins at home.”
An alumnus of the National School of Drama, this is Seema’s third visit to the city. Surprisingly, what she loves about Hyderabad is the long drive from the airport. She will also be conducting a workshop about the craft of acting and how to become an actor. “Listen to your heart, not your brain. I believe that it will never guide you in the wrong direction,” she concludes. Seema will next be seen in Mohit Suri’s Half Girlfriend that will release in December.
Along with a performance by Seema Biswas, the festival will witness performances by artistes like Lillete Dubey, Tom Alter, Mohammad Ali Baig, Noor Baig, Mahesh Dattani at the 11th edition of Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival at multiple venues in the city. Season tickets for `3,000. Details: in.bookmyshow.com

— Nishad Neelambaran

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New restaurant Tang introduces the city to some authentic Chinese cuisine

THERE is Indian Chinese. Then there is authentic Chinese. While the former is what Hyderabad loves, there is a slow yet steady rise in patronage for the real one. For those like me who recently visited Taiwan, the difference is obvious. Attempting to bridge this gap is new restaurant Tang that is part of the China-based hospitality enterprise, Greatwall Group.

Right basics
Right from the wall hangings imported from China to the menu written in both Chinese and English, Tang makes efforts to stay true to its oriental roots. Also, the principal staff including the chefs and the general manager, have been flown in from China. The restaurant located on the topmost floor of Forum Sujana Mall in Kukatpally. “I have been in India for the last three years and I’ve noticed that there aren’t many restaurants that serve this kind of food,” says Fiona Yang, the chief executive officer of Tang.

Palatable platter
The start to the meal with a six-colour Guantang package bun of six dumplings in different colours was rather dramatic. Vegetarians will particularly enjoy this dish as it can easily pass off as a comfort food. What stands out in the dumpling section is the steamed bun stuffed with fresh soup. Chefs use hot chicken or lamb soup as the filling for this dish, popular in Eastern China. Diners are advised to nibble the outer layer of the dumpling first as it is steaming. Tang offers a variety of noodles. Hand-pulled noodles with hot and spicy sauce was definitely the highlight. However, keep in mind that “hot and spicy” is as per Chinese standards so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Tang opens to public on November 5. Price for two: `1,200 ++. Details: 9542976567

— Suhas Yellapantula

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Seasons Bar & Lounge at Taj Krishna has revamped to become a gin lover‘s haven

Considering the legendary London brand Sipsmith has been commissioned just this week to create a new type of gin designed especially for the British Parliament, it‘s official that the spirit of juniper berries enjoys a new, elevated status. Perhaps taking a cue from London is Seasons Bar & Lounge in Taj Krishna which has undergone a revamp to introduce a wide array of gin-specialised cocktails going much beyond gin and tonic. Yes, we are talking about the Tanqueray 10 connoisseurs, who know their gin with a sniff and a sip. The team at the bar which opens on  November 10 has put in copious hours of research and development in association with United Spirits Limited-Diageo.

Luxe liqueur
“With our new line of cocktails, we aim to use locally obtained, seasonally variable  ingredients. Imagine sipping on a gin cocktail with dhania seeds,” says Nipan Talukdar, assistant manager, Seasons Bar and Lounge. There’s a lot of craftsmanship that goes into every glass.
Those like the Berry Berry Floral, the first one in the list, have a story too. Management trainee Sandeep informs, “One day I just walked into the bakery and saw Nipan making some fresh blueberry jam. I casually asked if it could be incorporated into the drink. That‘s how the cocktail with Tanqueray No. TEN (which the connoisseurs will know  is named after the still number of its origin, and is known for its perfection) was born. The Tanqueray No. TEN-based cocktails in the menu have been created with infused ice that combine the flavours of citrus fruits, cucumber and celery, lime and orange (depending on the season) grapefruit, Moroccan mint etc. Indeed a refreshing idea for Hyderabad’s warmer climes.

Flavour burst
We were one of the first few in the city to taste East India Company, one of their exclusive cocktails. The name is a tribute to the historic trivia that suggests gin and tonic originated in India in 19th Century. You are hit by a whiff of different aromas as you take a sip like Earl Grey tea syrup and dhania seeds. None of them is overpowering though. Just like the carefully frozen infused ice, all the syrups are prepared in-house.
Cigar with chandeliers
The decor has been redone to suit the taste of the modern-day party-goers but at the same time the plush Nizami heritage is retained. “The maroon velvet cushions and chandeliers are a tribute to that era while the brand new giant LCD reflects the changing  times,” says Kulbinder Singh, Assistant Director, F&B. Cigar enthusiasts will be happy to know that they have a corner for by the pool exclusively for cigar and cognac.
Price for two: `4,000 inclusive of taxes. Details: 66293328

— Paulami Sen

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 Designer Divya Reddy gives ethnic couture a D-I-Y spin for the ongoing wedding season

WHEN it comes to desi couture, the blouse is of prime focus and giving it a life of its own is city-designer Divya Reddy with her Fall/Winter collection titled Urban Quaint. It is now available at Elahe, Banjara Hills and set to be the staple for the wedding season.

Embroidery on skin
At a recent showcase of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) collections by renowned designers at Elahe, Sonal Chauhan wore Divya’s designer peach and green, heavily embellished lehenga and looked every inch like a Nizami princess. One cannot help but notice that the blouse with a combination of sheer and intricate embroidery looked almost as if the work had been done on the skin. “This collection may have an ethnic tone, but it has a fun and has a do-it-yourself element to it. My patrons will have the freedom to mix and match. For instance, you can pick up the lehenga of one set and wear it with a well-cut and edgy blouse from another,” informs the Hyderabad designer who had a successful show at last season’s LFW.

Twisted norms
The designer who does not play by the rules says that the speciality of the collection are the blouses and the lehengas: “While the latter is mostly high-waisted, the cholis look longer than usual. This gives one a stately posture as the torso gets highlighted. Besides, there is also the freedom to drape the dupatta any way you want,” she informs. The blouses, which come in various cuts and silhouettes can also be worn with plain chiffon sarees or a skirt in solid colour like black, white or beige. Which is why she has worked with only three to four solid colours like yellow, pink and green and darker shades of red, that are in sync with bridal wear. The designer and her sampling team and karigars have worked in tandem for close to two months to get the pieces ready. Since the outfits are all hand-embellished, it is a time-consuming affair.

Homegrown haute
In line with her signature style, Reddy has incorporated beads in the embroidery and has ensured that all of it is done by hand. “I love adding a local element, from the city or the state, to my collection. That is why this line includes ikkat, from closer home in Pochampally,” asserts the designer who works best when she is given a free hand. “When actress Sonal Chauhan wore my creation for the LFW showcase, she let me experiment as I please. That certainly allowed me to work more creatively,” says the designer.
Rs 55,000 onwards, Details: 23350130

— Paulami Sen

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The Diwali bashes gave way to Halloween fun

The ladies had a blast at the pre-Diwali bash hosted by Poonam and Kamini Saraf at Taj Krishna. Good food, music and friends – it had everything to get the party going. Everyone was dressed to the nines and got together to celebrate the festival of lights. Designer Shilpa Reddy attended the bash too and was seen mingling with the ladies, happily getting clicked and looked stunning in a scarlet red Benaras silk long skirt paired with an off-shoulder asymmetric top and accessorised it with matching bag and traditional gold necklace. A messy side braid and a bindi completed her festive look.
City socialite Anju Jain’s party was equal fun. She looked ravishing in a shimmer gold floor length gown. The guests enjoyed the classy evening soiree and bonded over sumptuous dinner. Dr Kamala, Sonali, Kavita and Esha were among the invitees.
Soon enough, it was time to get a little spooky. This weekend, HyLife Brewing Company hosted a quirky event followed by a fashion show inspired by Halloween. Freaky spiders, skeletons and zombies added to the eerie feel. Tollywood actors Mumaith Khan, Poonam Kaur and Sreedhar Rao walked the ramp.

Rina Hindocha

(The writer is a yoga exponent and co- founder of Touch a Life Foundation. She loves connecting with people)

In cinemas
November 4 | Banjara Hills
An official remake of Shoojit Sircar’s 2012 blockbuster Vicky Donor starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam, Naruda Donoruda is a Telugu adaptation of the Bollywood flick starring Sumanth in the lead role. The film is produced by Nagarjuna Akkineni under Annapurna Studios banner. The movie also has Pallavi Subhash, Tanikella Bharani and Suman Shetty in important roles.
Details: in.bookmyshow.com

Cultural extravaganza
November 4 | Kothaguda
Confulence 2016, a three-day music and dance festival which will begin today, features a Sufi recital by Mahesh Joshi and a dance performance by Ananda Shankar Jayanth titled Kavyanjali. The performances begin at 5 pm daily.The fest be held at the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training concludes on November 6. Entry `500
Details: meraevents.com

Dropping beats
November 5 | Shamshabad
Bacardi NH7 Weekender debuts in the City of Nizams today. Coined as the ‘happiest music festival,’ the two-day event will be held at the GMR Arena, behind Airport Novotel Hotel. Nucleya, Indian Ocean and Parikrama will be performing among others on the opening day. Farhan Akhtar, The Raghu Dixit project and Django Django will be taking on the stage with others on the second day.
Entry `2,500 Details: insider.in

Journey jottings
November 6 | Banjara Hills
What happens when an artist like Sudip Roy, who has created realistic, figurative works as well as monumental Charulatas, turns to the matrix of moody momentousness? Kalakriti Gallery presents Sudip Roy’s Odyssey – an abstract journey that has gripped art lovers in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai as well as the India Art Fair this year. The exhibition is on till November 30. Details: 66564466

Movie buff
November 8 | Banjara Hills
Directed by Anshul Sharma, Gateway to Heaven is a film based on a true story about a man who has done the last rites of 12,000 unknown and unclaimed dead bodies in Hyderabad. His work has won many accolades at film festivals in the country and abroad. The movie begins at 7.30 pm and is being screened at Lamakaan. Details: 9642731329

Theatre time
November 9 | Banjara Hills
Lamakaan will be hosting the play titled Aaj Ki Taza Khabar. Presented by Rangeen Sapney Theatre, it is a satire revolving around two neighbours. The adaptation of a short play has won five awards in Dramanon skits 2015 competition and was staged by Kalpanik. Rajnish Songara, Kajol Dubey, Anumeha Rai Nikhil Jadhav, Ved Parkash and Snigdha Bawa play the lead roles. Details: whatshot.in

Laughing chambers
November 10 | Tank Bund
Hyderabadass Comedy Club will be hosting US-returned stand-up comedian Sanjay Manaktala along with Arun Govada at Hyderabad Marriott from 8 pm onwards. Tickets for three: `1,099
Details: in.bookmyshow.com

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    With a slew of remakes coming out, here’s our pick of actors essaying hit characters of yore.

    WHILE it might seem like a gamble to revisit hit movies with new faces, directors like Roar Uthaug and Alex Kurtzman have figured out the winning formula by roping in superstars like Tom Cruise and Alicia Vikander to play the leads in their upcoming remakes of The Mummy and Tomb Raider, respectively. We look at others who are pulling out all the stops to do justice to the actors they are replacing.

    Naomi Watts
    The remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s cult horror classic, The Birds, has been in the works for quite some time.
    Tippi Hedren’s lead role, as the socialite Melanie Daniels, will be essayed by Watts.
    The 48-year-old actress—who is currently spending time with her two sons after divorce from Liev Schreiber—is also shooting for a Netflix series,Gypsy. It remains to be seen when the shooting of The Birds’ remake will start. Last heard, Dutch filmmaker, Diederik Van Rooijen, will
    be directing it.

    Channing Tatum
    Tatum is on a hot streak. After commendable performances in critically-acclaimed movies like The Hateful Eight (2015) and Hail, Caesar! (2016), the Step Up star has been cast in a Disney movie. Titled Splash, it is the remake of the original
    Tom Hanks-starrer of the same name. But here’s the catch. Tatum will be playing a merman, as opposed to Daryl Hannah’s role as the mermaid in the 1984 movie. He will be accompanied by his 22 Jump Street co-star, Jillian Bell, who will reprise a female version of Hanks’ role.

    Bradley Cooper
    The American Sniper star has been given the green light by Warner Bros for his debut directorial venture, a remake of the 1937 movie, A Star Is Born. He will be reprising the role of Norman Maine (played by Fredric March in the original), a struggling movie star who helps launch the career of Janet Gaynor’s character, Esther Victoria Blodgett—to be played by none other than Lady Gaga. The Bad Romance singer will also compose songs for the movie, and looking at how good her recent album, Joanne, is, we can expect a sterling soundtrack.

    Bruce Willis
    Willis is known to play high-octane characters, a la John McClane in Die Hard or the CIA agent Church in Expendables 2. But perhaps his most challenging role awaits in the upcoming remake of Death Wish (1974)—a story of a revenge-hungry husband hitting the streets to locate the criminals who assaulted his family. He will be reprising the role of Paul Kersey, played by the legendary Charles Bronson. The remake—which is also based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Brian Garfield—will be directed by Hostel director, Eli Roth.

    Michael Ealy
    Get ready for a supernatural ride when the remake of the 1990-cult psychological horror movie, Jacob’s Ladder, hits theatres. Tim Robbins  had portrayed the character of Jacob (a field veteran suffering from post-war hallucinations) rather convincingly and his role will be re-essayed by Ealy (think The Perfect Guy). Directed by David M Rosenthal, the movie will also star Karla Souza and Jesse Williams.

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      Workshops on dance and music to keep you busy, and a French movie festival for some art.

      Do the twist
      Here’s your chance to learn some cool new moves. La Casita is hosting a belly dancing workshop by Bengaluru-based instructor, Vaishnavi TN. Designed for beginners, the two-hour event will take you through the basics of the dance form. Vaishnavi is also trained in Indian, Western, contemporary and freestyle dance. Entry at `500 for members and `600 for non-members. On November 13, from 10 am onwards.
      Details: 7639405194

      One for mums
      Starting tomorrow, Kala Kendra in Auroville is celebrating motherhood with an exhibition of paintings by Italian artist and sculptor, Marco Feira. Taking cues from various interpretations of a mother—be it the religious avatar of Kali or the more common avatar of a parent—Feira’s bright, expressive acrylics on canvas are impactful.
      Till November 24, from 9 am onwards.
      Details: auroville.org

      By the bloom
      Bhuvana’s Flower Venis, a store in Neelangarai, is conducting a one-day workshop on how to thread flower garlands or venis. Learn how to make the perfect brooch shape, and create venis in two styles—flat and round. November 19, from 9 am onwards.  `3,800. Details: 9710290965

      Behind the lens
      This one is for budding filmmakers. Take part in the first edition of the French City Film Festival and show off your talent in short filmmaking. Organised by OneStop Media (to be held on November 26), it has categories like Short, Micro and Nano. You can submit films (between two and 30 minutes) in any genre—comedy, sci-fi or animation. Last date for submissions is November 10. Prizes worth over `3 lakh up for grabs. Free entry. Details: 8870682728

      Three to see
      At DakshinaChitra, catch the work by three artists. City-based Anamika’s I See What I Draw is her depiction of the human body. Meanwhile, portraits of men and women feature in the paintings of Antony Raj, while Ramu’s realistic portrayal of the many moods of a villager is arresting.
      At Varija and Kadambari Art Gallery, from 10 am to 6 pm (daily, except on Tuesdays). Details: 24462435

      Franco beats
      Fresh from the release of his first album, Mantra, Jean Du Voyage is gearing up for his upcoming DJ workshops at Alliance Francaise de Pondicherry. The French DJ is known for his electronic beats and incorporates music elements from different cultures. Open to both beginners and professionals, the workshops will culminate in a concert on November 20. Register for free. Details: 0413 2334351

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