Daily Archives: Nov 18, 2016
Be it through their words or mudras, they engage and educate you
These artistes change with the changing times, yet are rooted in tradition. While Sandhya Raju and Vangala Nivedita enthralled the city with their classical moves, vocalist Parnika Manya gave a new spin to divine chants. Meanwhile, the radio jockeys formed an instant connect with the city youth. Meet the six performers who give you a slice of Hyderabad
with their creativity
Have you heard of Hindu wedding rituals performed in a ballet in Kuchipudi? Dancer Vangala Nivedita is mastering this unique style. She learnt it from her relative who researched in shlokas and rituals for marriage and later essayed it in ballet. What is noteworthy is that the danseuse wears traditional Kuchipudi attire and performs sans ballerina shoes. Her performance was staged in Chennai. “I’ll soon be performing in Hyderabad,” says the dancer, who is in her 20s. She plans to expand her routine and also explore the importance of divine women to whom the shlokas are dedicated.
Radio Jockey at Radio City
Watching a Rajini movie in India in Tamil or Telugu is what every fan of Thalaivar will do. But watching his movie in Japanese, in a theatre in Japan with his fans there? Now, that’s what RJ Potugaadu has in his bucket list. Dinesh, better known by his on-air nickname Potugaadu, compares his work to that of celluloid stars. “They deliver blockbusters on screen. I create chartbusters – every single day – on air,” he says. This 20-plusser who won the Indian Radio Forum 2016 award for best packaging for his show on 91.1 FM believes that the epicentre of his existence lies in the Gladiator philosophy – “What we do in life echoes in eternity.” As he gets ready to host his next show, he reels off his bucket list: Bungee jumping from AJ Hacket Macau. Scuba diving in Maldives. Daredevilry at Devil’s Circuit.”
She made her first appearance on the small screen five years ago on ETV. But her ticket to fame was Pataas. “The show featured youngsters and they could connect well with me,” she explains. Another feather in her cap was hosting the audio launch of Gentleman at Shilpakala Vedika. “The hall reverberated with my name when I came on stage. That was one overwhelming moment for me,” she gushes. Last year, she hosted four shows on four channels. “My best year so far,” she admits. Apart from the shows, she will also be seen in two movies next year. What plans for 2017? Shed some pounds, she says.
Last year was quite eventful for Kuchipudi danseuse Sandhya Raju. Her performance in the recital Tales of Gods & Love, made her a popular name amongst the city’s dance enthusiasts. When the short film Natyam released, she became a household name. The film directed by Revanth Korukonda garnered over 1,152,873 views on YouTube. The narrative is about the journey of a woman who seeks to find her identity through dance. “Many people related to the character and was inspired to take up the art form they had abandoned due to circumstances,” says Raju. Not only that, she added other feathers to her cap as she walked the ramp for friends Anushree Reddy and Moni Agarwal. In the coming year, she is looking forward to putting up more Kuchipudi dance tutorials online. “Even a dancer in Melbourne should be able to use my videos as a textbook,” says Raju. That apart, she is also looking forward to becoming the Chairperson of YFLO this year, organising events and inspiring the women she works with.
Parnika Manya started as a chorus singer in 2008 and today she is a playback singer with a discography of more than 50 songs including many blockbusters. “Until tenth grade, I hated learning music. But after that I magically fell in love with it. I was inclined towards Carnatic music, but destiny had other plans,” she says talking about how she ventured into singing for Tollywood. Last year, she performed in the United States, Dubai, Bahrain and many more cities including the twin states. “I had even released my first single Ayigiri Nandini which became a hit overnight,” shares Manya who has 29,000 followers on her Facebook page. She has a special message for her fans: Expect many more innovative albums in the upcoming year.
Radio Jockey at Big FM
She began her journey a decade ago and has enjoyed staying on the crest of airwaves since then. Naomi Grace a.k.a RJ Grace is a true-blue Hyderabadi who loves to entertain her audience in the Telangana dialect. About the roller-coaster ride she has had this year, she says, “This is how it should be when it comes to growth and learning. The straight line indicates death.” However, it was more of ups surely for Grace. The shout-out moment for this 27-year-old RJ was when she became the first among her peers to share video content on Facebook. “People discuss and share the content I upload, not just on the radio but on social media too,” she adds. One thing she promises to deliver in the coming days is to highlight many issues in the city through her online videos. “I love this city and I want to show people how beautiful it is. And along the way, make a difference to them,” she concludes.
Pics: Vinay Madapu, Sayantan Ghosh
Text: Purnima Sriram, Nishad Neelambaran, Paulami Sen & Saima Afreen
Not just badminton, the city is a training ground for emerging stars in shooting, boxing and roller skating too
With PV Sindhu bringing in the Olympic silver this year, the city’s sporting grounds are bursting with more energy than ever before. Now, a whole new brigade of players feel the need to live up to the city’s reputation of sending champions to international tournaments. This time around, we certainly have hope not just in badminton, but other sports too. Take a look at the five promising sportspersons from the city.
Shooter and Olympic debutant
Kynan Chenai was barely 14 when he realised that he wanted to be a shooter. This 25-year-old who represented India at the Rio Olympics was still in his teens when he had mastered the technique to hold, aim and shoot. “The best thing about shooting is that even while training, one can feel the adrenaline rush. Even while you are not really competing with another, the sheer act of shooting gives me joy.”
Although he could not crack into the top ten club at the Olympics, Chenai says the training for the sporting extravaganza will always stand him in good stead. “Everyday was a learning experience at how to better myself at the game,” he says. Like a true sport, he has put behind Rio and is moving ahead for the championships. “I hope to make it to the team for the upcoming Asian and Commonwealth Games. I am also looking to be in top form for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Hyderabad is now in the big league and I have to live up to its reputation,” says the Commonwealth gold winner.
Her journey began when she was six and Shivani started off her International circuit one-and-a-half years ago. However, the highlight of her career is when she defeated PV Sindhu in the South Asian Games finals this year. She garnered a few other accolades in the last 12 months which included Bangladesh Challenge and the recently-concluded Russian Grand Prix. She is 19 and she is world number 50. A stellar women’s singles player, Shivani is keen to play doubles now.
This Hyderabadi badminton player kept everyone hooked to their idiot box during the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Although he did not come home with a medal, he won the hearts of Indians with his sincere game. India’s highest ranked male player, Kidambi’s brother Nanda Gopal is also a badminton player and a young Kidambi set foot in the academy while accompanying his brother for his practice sessions. He attributes his success to his guru Pullela Gopichand. He started off as a doubles player in 2009, but he credits his good form to the coaches at Pullela Gopichand Academy. For Kidambi, the year gone by has been about Rio and a few other tournaments. “I am happy that I won couple of tournaments last year,” says the 23-year-old. He is currently gearing up for the World Championships where he hopes to secure a medal.
Anup Kumar Yama
This golden boy of artistic skating is back in the city after winning two gold and two silvers in different categories at the 17th Asian Roller Skating championship held at Lishui, China, a week ago. Amongst other laurels, he also won the Arjuna Award last year. So what is it that he looks forward to next year? “I have practised a lot with my father and brother who also coach roller skaters,” says Yama. The training institute at his home in Secunderabad keeps him busy and the talent of young kids inspires him. His wish is to see India win in ice-skating. “Next year I want to focus on Indo-Western style,” says the stylish skater.
Zareen was once told that boxing was not a woman’s cup of tea. She was determined to prove them wrong. The boxing champion in her early-20s says, “I have been boxing for the last six years and my goal is to win a gold medal in the Olympics.” Zareen, who bagged the Devi Award this year, says, “I won my first senior national boxing at Assam last year and I was elated. I want to win gold in Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018.” Zareen says that her bucket list is nothing but being the best and breaking stereotypes about girls.
Pics: R Satish Babu, Sathya Keerthi
Text: Purnima Sriram, Saima Afreen & Nishad Neelambaran
Homegrown artists are making the city fall in love with new and experimental art forms
Young artists, who you may mistake for collegians, have taken over the city’s artscapes to paint it in brand new hues. Be it beautifying the city with street art or bringing together installations for a social cause, they are using every means to get art into people’s hearts.
Dia Mehta Bhupal
Artist and photographer
Her tryst with art is as old as her love for photography. This glamorous
artist weaves magic in breathtaking installations that transform commodities of daily life into objets d’art. Take a look at her art installations and you get to see the insides of an aeroplane with an aisle dividing blue chairs. An alumnus of Parsons School of Design, New York and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, Bhupal has cultivated a penchant for photography. A lot of her artworks are made from waste paper. For a project of St+Art India Foundation, she was asked to give an artistic touch to 15 hoardings near Punjagutta flyover to de-clutter the visual pollution in ‘privatised’ public spaces. She’s going places this year. Her participation at the Yinchuan Biennale, For an ‘Image Faster that Light’ at The Museum of Contemporary Art was quite an achievement. Bhupal is participating at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016 in December. She defines herself in three words, “Contemplative. Compassionate. Curious.”
Photo realism exponent
At 26, this artist has a lot to offer to the art world. Afza’s work is rooted in issues of femininity – as reflected in her autobiographical series, her choice of pastel shades and themes such as of sparrows twittering on her canvasses. She was part of the Dubai Art Festival and will be travelling to this dream city again in March, 2017. Ask her about a day spent in her studio and she says, “Since I work on my canvases with a lot of coffee and use salt for texture, my studio looks like a tiny kitchen with jars and cans strewn around.” This Devi Award winner is focusing more on day-to-day experiences and people for her artworks in the time to come. “I take a deep look at common objects, be it bananas being sold on the roadside or the milkman’s jingling milk-pots. I’d like to include such themes in my artworks,” says the artist who holds an MA in Fine Arts from JNAFAU.
Doe-eyed, with flowing long black hair, this artist conveys a lot of power in her artworks. Recently, she floored art lovers with an evocative art-performance – ‘I am Will,’ held in the city. It was packed with much action that blended well with her installations. Aelay, in her mid-20s, works long hours in her Somajiguda studio along with her father, artist Laxman Aelay. Her artworks focus on social issues taking metaphorical forms in the shape of flora and fauna. She focuses on autobiographical elements in her opuses. She’s planning a show of sculptures the next year. “Along with that I am also planning an art-performance.” Priyanka was part of the prestigious Street Art Festival held recently in the city.
Shrishti Art Gallery
Originally an investment banker who studied at Boston University, Nambiar is flamboyant when it comes to handling one of the oldest galleries in the city – Shrishti. After her mother Ramani Nambiar passed away, she took charge of the space and organised the second edition of the Ramaniyam festival, held at the forsaken heritage structure Hill Fort Palace at Basheer Bagh. “I wanted to evoke sensibilities for art in people. Around 3,000 people appeared for the show. I see it as my growth, my achievement,” says the gallerist in her 30s. Ask her what’s on her wish-list and she replies, “I want people in the city to come on their own and appreciate art.” And what are her plans for the next year? Lakshmi shares, “Now, our annual memorial event Ramaniyam will happen once every two years. I am waiting eagerly for 2017 to make it more elaborate.”
Text: Saima Afreen
The new foodpreneurs of the city, mostly in their 20s, are tweaking old concepts to go truly national
While one introduced the drive-in concept in Hyderabad, the other took the city’s signature dishes to other metros. Then there are others who tweaked the idea of breakfast and brews. No wonder, the gastronomic map of the city has changed drastically in the last 12 months.
Partner, Autumn Leaf Cafe
She’s as fresh and vivacious as the ambience around her new joint Autumn Leaf Cafe at Jubilee Hills. The place offers delicious and unique continental food like Avgolemono, bruschettas and more. The lush green garden café always buzzes with people. Shares the bubbly restaurateur, “This year has been a big learning curve for us when we were setting up the café. It was all about balancing the elements.” She and the other partners of the cafe are working on introducing a brunch, thanks to the success of their English breakfast recently. Expansion is on the cards. What’s an average day at work, we ask. “Full of surprises. The garden offers something new every day – a flower, a butterfly or a strange plant taking roots in the garden,” Deepti beams.
Owner, Gallery Cafe
This 22-year-old Hyderabadi who graduated in Business Economics had always aspired to open a café where art lovers
discussed their favourite subject over delicious food. Gallery Cafe, which she started in 2015, has now become one of the favourite places to host events and stage plays. Daughter of gallerist Rekha and Prshant Lahoti, she says, “We have an exotic range of coffees such as Colombian, Kenyan, Turkish and Arabic kahwa, along with a range of others from India including filter and Bella kaapi.” Their teas such as hibiscus, chamomile and jasmine to the classics – Darjeeling and Assam tea – have also been a hit with the café loyalists. In the coming year, she hopes to open another branch in the city. Currently, she is busy expanding the dinner menu with new Mexican and Lebanese platters.
Qutub Alam Khan
He runs Chicha’s, the restaurant that offers homemade delicacies, Hyderabadi style. On a regular day, you can see this six-footer running around overseeing the preparation of Pathar Ka Gosht or checking the taste for the right mix of condiments. Opened last Ramzan, the place has been frequented by every foodie in the city which this Nawab says is ‘quite an achievement in such a short span’. Coming up next is a branch in Mumbai. “It was singer Talat Aziz’s idea. We will curate an elaborate menu at the new joint,” says Khan. Early next year, there will be another Chicha’s at Hi-Tec City area. The best time to meet this 30-plus restaurateur is past midnight, after he wraps up work. “These are the initial months and I don’t want to compromise. I want to be hands-on,” he says.
Owner, 36 Drive Inn
Arjun Goud, 28, realised very early that the best way to enter a Hyderabadi’s heart is through his stomach, even better through a drive-in. Thus he started 36 Drive Inn at Jubilee Hills in December last year, one of the first in the city. Goud’s masterstroke was to incorporate his food stall Junoon – which serves Lucknowi delicacies to the Hyderabadis – in the concept. It serves the choices Nalli Biryani, Raan Biryani and kebabs in the city. “I owned a piece of land and I decided to put it to best use by picking the best of the food joints that are popular in the city and lining up them under one roof. From engineering their kitchens to tweaking their menu, I handle a lot of things. I get a royalty of three per cent and nominal rent,” says the B-school boy who loves to travel to learn new cuisines. His to-do list for next year is to start drive-ins in Bengaluru and Goa.
Partner, Nawab’s Dine
Buddies GJ Prasad and Goutham, both 24, have three things in common. They are Hyderabadis, share their birthdays and their passion for biryani. When they stepped out from the Pearl City to Chennai to pursue B Tech from SRM University, they realised they were missing their hometown’s delicacies. “In 2010, we decided to start our unique food joint to feed those like us. That’s how Nawab‘s Dine came up in Chennai. In two years, we expanded to Mumbai and in the city too,” says Prasad, co-founder and managing director. The client list of the techie-turned-hoteliers includes big corporates such as Flipkart, Max, Landmark group, Baxter and Instakart. “We started our catering service last year. From daily lunches to conventions, and other corporate events, we look after every catering service. We deliver nearly 2,700 packs a day to our corporate clientele. We hope to touch 10,000 by the year-end,” Prasad says excitedly.
Text: Saima Afreen, Paulami Sen & Purnima Sriram
Here’s introducing you to the poster boys of the budding tech and business space
Hyderabad has given an impetus to various start-ups and entrepreneurs – from diagnostics, media to apparel. Be it Samarth Bajaj from Krsala, Arshad Azad of Oh’Look, Karan Kurani from Doctor C or Pallav Bajjuri of Saddahaq.com, they have all added another dimension to the world of business.
This 26-year-old is on a mission to ‘empower men’ via the fashion route. Oh‘Look is a clothing line start-up that rents out shirts to men, five days a week. A set of five branded shirts get delivered at your doorstep every Sunday. After using them for a week, the delivery guy again picks them up on Saturday. The process repeats for four weeks. One can renew the services on a monthly basis. “The idea is to replace ‘lets shop for shirts’ with ‘Lets Oh’Look’ for them,” says Arshad Azad, the chief executive officer. And if figures are anything to go by, in the first month, they had 150 orders. “We had to change the ‘order now’ option to ‘request now’. This overwhelming response was a major boost to us,” he shares. The five-month-old start-up is now aiming to expand to Bengaluru by the year-end and Delhi in the first quarter of 2017.
In October, the homegrown couture jewellery brand, Krsala, commemorated its tenth anniversary with the launch of Éclat Collection, inspired by PV Sindhu. The other change that happened was that Samarth Bajaj joined his mother Bunty who spearheads the brand. The newly appointed director had initially planned to make a foray into the world of films, but confesses, “Krsala was too exciting an opportunity to pass up.” His interest in jewellery was piqued only after he started working in the industry. After majoring in entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, he moved to his hometown with the idea of nurturing the brand. However, later he started focussing on the finer aspects of jewellery-making. “I learnt from my mom that there is no shortcut to success and no substitute for hard work,” says Bajaj, who reveals that the team is working on a unique collection for the upcoming year. “It will comprise rose cuts, polkis and precious stones,” concludes the director of Krsala.
CEO, Saddahaq.com & Kahaniya.com
This 20-something is an engineer who graduated from Boston University. However, this techie wanted to do something more exciting than a corporate job. Pallav Bajjuri, founder of Viven Infomedia, has two wings that he helms – Saddahaq and Kahaniya, online platforms for social journalism and fiction respectively. Kahaniya.com is what he feels bullish about this year. “Next year, you will see us improve the quality of regional language content,” says the entrepreneur who started the venture after realising there are more like him who love regional literature. Although the third quarter looks chock-a-block, he says that this December, he wants to tick off adventure and leisure activities from his bucket list. Bajjuri may come across as a hardcore management graduate when he adds corporate jargon to his words, but was a computer engineer before he started to ride the online and app wave. “Given the quality of our work in both the domains, this fact surprises a lot of people,” he said with a chuckle.
DoctorC, the health-tech start-up touted as the “Make My Trip” of medical tests, recently launched its online pharmacy in the city. “We also started experimenting with applying artificial intelligence techniques in the medical field – the initial results have been very encouraging,” shares co-founder and chief technology officer, Karan Kurani. The idea to create a revolution in the healthcare sector took birth in 2013 with its then founder, the late Dr C Dayakar Reddy. “I got onboard because I saw potential in the start-up,” says Karan. DoctorC enables consumers to compare prices and quality across various tests like MRI, CT Scans, Ultrasound, Blood tests, ECG, and the likes, across a variety of diagnostic centres in the city, book appointments and also avail discounts. Selling at an annual run rate of over a $1 million worth tests per year and with presence in Bangalore (besides Hyderabad), the start-up is working on its expansion plans. “We want to further expand our services and also develop more of our in-house technology. We will probably also raise some funds to accelerate our expansion plans,” says the 29-year-old entrepreneur.
Text: Sadaf Aman, Paulami Sen & Nishad Neelambaran
The time when bankers got popular and their Twitter following surged
Life came to a standstill with everything being swept aside and under as our city, just like every other Indian metro, was sucked into the greatest existential question – ‘How many `500 and `1,000 notes do I have?’ Organisations and public places, politicians and economists, media and common folks – everybody had only one thing to discuss – is this a great move by Modi? Was this a horrible mistake by the Prime Minister? And did our neighbours know about it beforehand?
For a city renowned for its creative juices with a Hyderabadi twist, we cracked our jokes, shared the shares, liked those posts, retweeted the tweets by everyone else, and gave a view about it wherever it was asked, whenever it was asked, hoping whoever will listen to us, too.
The politically motivated, and indifferent, both joined the war dividing us all into camps for or against it, with hashtags as our principle weapon. Roads became less busy, traffic reduced, pollution fell; but it was the queues outside ATMs that held our attention.
“There is indeed some such thing as 15-minutes of fame for everyone,” said a little birdie. “Normally, we enquire with each other – do you know any politician, any bureaucrat, police officer – to seek a favour. When movies are released, we wonder if we can get someone in the theatre to get us tickets, passes for events, or tickets for cricket matches. After over a decade of internet banking, phone banking and mobile banking, credit cards and debit cards, we are looking around for friends who are working in banks. We don’t even know our banker personally anymore.”
Bank employees are getting more Facebook friend requests than ever before. Their number of Twitter followers are increasing. Anything that can help us get some notes exchanged without having to stand in a queue.
I called my bank friends, and each one texted back – “Let us meet up for New Year’s party.”
The big wolf, however, spoke of his long experience in a queue. “Imagine, I don’t have more than `5,000 in all, in the form of big currency. But if this great period of time passed without me having selfies in a queue outside the bank, what would I tell my grandchildren some day?”
Who will benefit most, we asked. Mobile wallet companies? Credit card companies? When will a chai bandi go on to become fully digital money-driven? Food delivery companies and cab services made hay while cash businesses wore a sad look. The debates raged on meanwhile on social media, and over chai. If you had cash to pay for it.
My online story in July this year, advocating demonitisation and the way forward including the PM’s nnouncement of currency declared null and void from midnight, and the idea of only bank-counter deposits and exchanges, came in for lot of discussion. Interestingly, when I paid `100 at a tea shop, a young man joked – hey, how come you have `100. Ha, ha, ha! I knew this was happening since July, I replied. He gave a sad look and I moved on.
(Sriram Karri is author of the bestselling novel, Autobiography of a Mad Nation. He writes for international media such as The New York Times and BBC besides organising debates at Hyd Park.)
The funny five who made Hyderabad a global platform in the stand-up arena in the last year
Until this squad arrived, Hyderabad seemed to know only ribald jokes with their trusted gang of friends. They came, they conquered and unzipped the bag of laughter gas to lead the youth to open up to stand-up. Every weekend, these enthusiasts aged between 20 and 40, arrive at the Hyderabadass Comedy Club venues such as Altitude Bar, Heart Cup Coffee and Mocha cafe for their weekly dose of ROFL, LMAO, LOL time. Here are the five musketeers of the Hyderabadass Comedy Club you need to know.
Avinash is the club’s Russel Peters. Looking back at his journey which began in 2012, he says, “Last year has been a boom, especially for the Hyderabad comedy scene because of the club. We brought a lot of structure and focused energy into our space. We have had a bunch of good shows, some really talented and edgy comics coming up, and that has only helped us gain more momentum and a stronger foothold in the business.” Well, he is not called the Indian Russel for no reason. Sounds far-fetched, but Agarwal is not the one to stop dreaming big. On his bucket list are “Hosting the Oscars, appearing on the cover of TIME magazine and winning the Nobel Prize (for Chemistry),” he says, with a laugh.
What we need to know: He has started a new social initiative called ‘The Billion Laughs Project’, where he goes to audiences who are not exposed to this genre of comedy and helps spread laughter.
She claims that she is a dedicated homemaker. “Only when my mother-in-law is around,” Banerjee adds, as an afterthought. Not surprisingly, her wry sense of humour makes her the city’s first female stand-up comedian. The Kolkata girl moved to the city two years ago from Bengaluru to turn into an IT professional. While she found Biryani everywhere, she could not get her dose of laughs. She turned into a comic to fill that void one year ago. What she has accomplished so far has been to get a hang of dark and sexist comedy. Seeing how accomplished comedians handle hecklers is what she thinks she needs to learn.
What we need to know: She was invited to give an orientation speech at ISB, Hyderabad. “I somehow passed my engineering and I don’t have an MBA. So going there felt like Shah Rukh Khan asking Tiger Shroff for acting tips,” she quips.
This journalism grad from the University of Hyderabad set his foot into stand-up comedy in 2013, but calls his initial years ‘blurry’. “Must be the beers after the shows,” he laughs. Going up on stage was not that new for him. Ranjan has been writing humour blogs for a decade now, and also directed a few comedy plays while at school. An unrequited writer with three unpublished books, he found respite in comedy. “If not for stand-up, I would have been a dysfunctional sociopath today.” About his plans next year, he says, “I am writing for my one-hour show. A few podcasts and videos are also in the
What we need to know: He taught at a government school in Kurnool for a year.
Born in Hong Kong, raised in USA and now working in Hyderabad. Arun Govada says his life’s very trajectory is funny. This self-confessed ‘always-returning-Indian’ is the founder of the comedy club. He began his journey on stage five years ago when he accidentally walked into an open mic event in a place somewhere between Hong Kong and Shanghai. After he started working in Hyderabad, he found the comedy scene boring and started the first platform for it in the city. The club, along with Govada, has seen a tremendous growth in this genre of comedy in Hyderabad. “From Guangzhou to Boston and Hyderabad, I performed almost everywhere in the world. I was also a finalist in the 10th Annual Hong Kong International Comedy Competition,” he avers.
What we need to know: Arun and Vasu Primlani will launch the first ever app-based comedy festival – the Masala Mayhem Comedy Fest next month. They are bringing 80 comedians for the 16-day event.
The pocket-sized bomb of the gang, this Hyderabadi-Punjabi guy has scaled great heights since his first show last year. He is the favourite opener for popular comedians who visit the city. When not doing stand-up, he sits managing the console as an radio jockey at 95.0 FM channel. The flying Jatt of the Hyderabadass Comedy Club points out that this genre of comedy is a self- learning process. “I look back at the comic I was the previous day and I hate being that guy. To experiment every day is what I think forms the learning curve,” this 20-something comedian says.
What we need to know: “Last Valentine’s Day, the 15-minute feature spot I got was the worst show of my life. It was 15 minutes of silence and one giggle. I cried all along the way back home.
This year, the same venue reverberated with riotous laughter.
Text: Nishad Neelambaran
Meet the A-list designers who are pinning Hyderabad on the fashion map with their cutting-edge creativity
Hyderabadis love dressing up. “You will never see them repeat outfits for events,” says designer Mrunalini Rao. No wonder that the top fashion designers always have their hands full. A significant few of them have also managed to break the fashion moulds in the year gone by to put the city on the national fashion map. We speak to the cream of them about their aspirations and predictions for the upcoming season.
Brand: Mrunalini Rao
For this 26-year-old designer who has dressed leading ladies of Tollywood such as Trisha and Lakshmi Manchu, it wasn‘t tough to design for this year’s Fall/Winter collection, The Midnight Bloom. This National Institute of Fashion Technology – Hyderabad graduate incidentally was about to study medicine, but fate had other plans. “I had to fight to make my way in fashion,” says Rao, who interned at an export house and later assisted designer Anushree Reddy, before starting her own boutique in Banjara Hills. She participated in two leading shows last year – India Beach Fashion Week in Goa in May and her first Lakme India Fashion Week in August. Newbie Rao says she has already started working towards the summer collection. “I would be experimenting with pastels and outfits with finer surface embellishments”, says Rao. Her ensembles feature in boutiques of Dubai and London, but she is eyeing more cities this year. So what are the top trends she foresees for next year? Drapes and creative embellishments.
Brand: Shriya Som
Did you know that the designer who got a thumbs up from Bollywood star Alia Bhatt for her work got into fashion by accident? “I had applied to Parsons The New School for Design, New York, to be a fine art major. In my first year, I got placed into a fashion class by mistake, and that’s when I designed my first outfit called ‘the runaway bride,’ a wedding skirt that would turn into a backpack. At the end of that class, I realised what fun it was creating that outfit,” says the 27-year-old who launched her label Shriya Som and made her debut at the Lakme India Fashion Week in March. So what keeps her going? “Black coffee, Red Bull and my team.” Her goal for 2017: To apply for the Fashion Design Council of India Fashion Week in Delhi.
Brand: Architha Narayanam
Who would have thought the bylanes of Varanasi can make her the toast of the national fashion circuit? “We worked day in and out for to get our Fall/Winter collection, Kasika Bazaar, ready in time for Lakme Fashion Week. But actress Karisma Kapoor walking the ramp as the showstopper was the best thing that could have happened,” says the 29-year-old, basking in the glory of the collection inspired from the temple town. Known for experimenting with out-of-the-box designs like bridal lehengas with pockets, Narayanam believes that shows like Lakme Indian Fashion Week and India Runway Week 2016, are always a learning experience. “They teach me how to be a hands-on designer. You have to do a lot in five minutes,” says the designer who credits her success to the ability to multi-task. So what’s on the cards for her? A store in the US.
Brand: Divya Reddy
In 2010, she ventured into designing after studying fashion in New York and Chicago. Cut to 2016, her ensembles find a place in leading designer boutiques throughout the country. “My upcoming collection for Spring/Summer 2017 will have Indo-Western ensembles with 100 per cent handlooms. I am sourcing all the wild cotton from local farmers,” says Divya Reddy. The 32-year-old single mom has made it her mission to use handloom from the state to give them a pan-Indian visibility. “So many brides from all over the world want to wear my designs. And after this year’s Fall/Winter 2015-16, the clientele has multiplied. Previously, we used to cater to one branch of one store in the city. After the shows, we started catering to multiple branches,” says the Hyderabadi designer. She thinks that handwoven fabrics and breathable clothing will be the trends in the new year. Her de-stress mantra: Hanging out with her toddler after work.
Brand: Archana Rao Label
She managed to impress buyers at national runways and international trade shows this year, but she thinks the highlight was the unveiling of her store in Banjara Hills. “Now when my clients walk into my store, they can feel my brand,” says the 31-year-old designer who gets inspired by poems and places. An alumnus of Parsons College of Design, New York, she says trade events such as Capsule in New York, which attracts designers and artists from all over the world, help her grow. This NIFT graduate made news with her Spring/Summer 2016 collection titled A Petticoat which used outerwear as the innerwear. “It makes a woman feel modest, yet attractive”. She does not want to stop there. Her new focus: Unconventional material in conventional garments.
Text: Paulami Sen
A nip in the air and a severe cash crunch did not dampen the spirit of Hyderabadi partyhoppers. In fact, this week saw a decent turnout at high-fashion dos for causes and belated Halloween bashes. The townsfolk joined their hands for the new disc jockey in town – Kiran Dembla. When this well-known celebrity fitness trainer debuted as a DJ under the stage-name KD Belle, none other than actress Tamannaah made an appearance. Is there anything Dembla can’t do?
The ladies from Femmis Club organised a fashion show titled, Let’s Walk For the Hope. The glitterati of the social circuit were spotted hobnobbing with the T’Towners like Ritu Verma and Sanjjanaa. They also sashayed on the ramp to raise funds for the organisation for their new foundation Ek Umeed.
Meanwhile, a few other socialites brought their spooky side out by dressing up for the Halloween bash put together by the members of Phankaar Ladies Club at the nightclub, Pirate Brew. Hosted by Sushila Bokadiya, the do had a gamut of competitions like the scariest make-up, best costume, scariest selfie, etc. Another city-based club, Bond With Best, organised a cookery competition at A’la Liberty, spearheaded by former Masterchef contestant Puneet Mehta. The participants took notes of the tips he gave.
The week ended on a heartwarming note as Vibhuti Jain, founder of Touch a Life Foundation, celebrated Children’s Day with underprivileged kids, making them smile with music, games and cake cutting.
(The writer is a yoga exponent and co- founder of Touch a Life Foundation. She loves connecting with people.)
November 18 | Banjara Hills
The sequel to the 2011 action blockbuster Force is set to hit the big screen today. Force 2 has John Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha in the lead roles. Directed by Abhinay Deo, the film also has Genelia D’Souza in a special appearance. Tahir Raj Bhasin, Paras Arora and Narendra Jha play important roles in the movie. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
November 18 | Saifabad
As a part of the South Indian Cultural Association’s 58th Annual Art Festival, noted flautist Pt. Ronu Majumdar will be in the city for a jugalbandhi with his peer, V Vijaygopal. Majumdar is known for his unique style of playing the flute and for rendering a raga that is blends Drupad Gayaki with Laykari. The concert begins at 4 pm at Ravindra Bharathi. Details: 9440884863
Seek thy self
November 19 | Secunderabad
The Hyderabad chapter of Prasanna Trust is organising a talk on ‘Personal Excellence through Bhagavad Gita’ by spiritual guru Swami Sukhabodhananda. The three-day event ends on November 20. The sessions will be conducted at Keyes High School for Girls from 6 pm onwards. Entry free. Details: 27703219
November 20 | Banjara Hills
Daniel Fernandes, who bid adieu to his advertising career and took to stand-up comedy as a full-time profession last year, will be in the city to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe. Expect front row shenanigans, travel travails and his take on 69 failed relationships. The comedy night begins at 9.30 pm. Entry: `1,000. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
November 20 | Banjara Hills
This Sunday, check out the weekly organic bazaar at Lamakaan. The market will have stalls selling organic fruits, vegetables, homemade breads, baked goodies, organic lunches, handicrafts, handlooms and handmade jewellery. It will be held every week till December 4. Details: 9642731329
November 21 | Banjara Hills
Check out Harlequin, a painting exhibition by self-taught painter Pratima Jandhyala at Alliance Francaise. Pratima is an abstract artist who has been painting since she was two. Jandhyala, who has got the stamp of approval from none other than late President APJ Abdul Kalam for her ‘quality and creativity,’ did her schooling in Hyderabad and is currently pursuing graduation at Christ University, Bengaluru. Details: 23554482
November 22 | Hitec City
The city will host Cyber Security Conclave 2.0 which will address strategic cyber issues of Indian industries. The conference will feature ex-National Cyber Bureau Chief Rami Efrati, Israeli strategists Ram Levi and Shay Shabtai and IIT Kanpur Prof. Sandeep K Shukla. Entry: `10,000 Details: meraevents.com
All that jazz
November 23 | Banjara Hills
Melt Trio, the Berlin band, will be in town for a live performance at Goethe-Zentrum. The band has Peter Meyer on guitar, Bernard Meyer on bass and Mortiz Baugartner on drums. Catch them perform from 7 pm onwards. The band is known to play authentic music even without traditional jazz instruments such as the saxophone. Details: 23350040
November 24 | Banjara Hills
HRC will host the hard rock band Girish and The Chronicles (GATC) who will pay a tribute to the rock legends AC/DC. GATC, originally from Sikkim, features Girish Pradhan, Suraz Karki, Yogesh Pradhan, Nagen Mongranti and Annutri Kaushik. Entry `1,500 Details: meraevents.com
“In the last 12 months, the music scene in the city has grown exponentially. My band is barely two years old, but we get to perform about 20 shows a month. That speaks volumes about how we are evolving.” — Meghna Dundi, Singer – The Meghna Dundi Trio
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