How I made more than a million men miserable and pushed them to extreme envy, conjured stupid collective plans bordering on starvation and hell-level aerobics, imposed gruelling self-hatred, reduced biryani sales and increased gym memberships. That should have been the title of actor Aamir Khan’s unique Dangal promo video.
Mister Perfectionist has made men of all ages, shapes, and sizes, repeat shapes and sizes, to take selfies and profiles while nearly naked, frontal and sideways, and rushed to make crazy impossible resolutions on re-shaping and re-sizing, and setting ab targets. Gyms and personal trainers are laughing their way to the… well, let us leave the banks and ATMs out of this subject for a while.
Meanwhile, biryani joints already been hit by the cash crunch and are tearing apart posters of Khan as they may have to reduce the spread of crazy diet ideas hurting their businesses. Cash-starved men have decided to make the most of their cashlessness to starve themselves; buying sports shoes and jogging suits, skipping ropes and dumbbells, wristbands and wearable devices; and re-looping the YouTube video in which Aamir makes becoming like Salman Khan damn easy.
Strange because this was the kind of push neither Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar nor John Abraham were able to achieve; nor was this vain inspiration made possible or enabled by Katrina Kaif or Deepika Padukone or Priyanka Chopra. Everyone is juvenile again, especially those well past their mid-way mark of hope in life… like on a steroid-induced hysteria of watching a fast-track ‘Papa Kahte Hain… Bade Body Banayega…’
But like fresh flowers and cheesecakes (okay, that was a Freudian slip on what must be on top of my mind), resolutions don’t live long. They will die out soon, sooner than it will take to get a ticket for Dangal. When admiring the work of Khan, we will realise how futile it all was; and rush during the intermission to buy stale samosas. With a new found zeal for digital payments, of course.
Every Tollywood hero has to a have a body of envy. Rana Daggubati set a high benchmark, Prabhas was always right up there; Allu ‘Bunny’ Arjun fits the bill, NTR Jr did his bit, and now Ram Charan has chiselled his abs to perfection. But trust me, like money, fitness never satisfies you. They will all envy Aamir too…. And a large part of it will be for acting.
(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)
Comic Jeeveshu Ahluwalia on a fat guy’s life and his over- optimistic mother.
HE claims to be allergic to Mondays. So it’s no surprise that Jeeveshu Ahluwalia turned to stand-up. He’s a familiar face on Comedy Central and even had a role in the Ranbir Kapoor- Deepika Padukone road movie, Tamasha, directed by Imtiaz Ali.
Visiting for the first time for a public show in Hyderabad, the 39-year-old comic promises to deliver a night filled with humor and sarcasm. “I am an observational comic, so I will be talking about my life and my take on a few things in my surroundings. Apart from this, generally, I also speak about a fat guy’s life and also failed attempts to please my over-optimistic mother, whose dreams are to get me married, thinner, taller
With just three years in this line, this performer has already done over 1,500 shows so far, and his journey from corporate board rooms to the biggest clubs, college auditoriums and comedy festivals has taken him across the country and beyond — to locales like Singapore, Dubai, Doha, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia. Thanks to his on-stage performances, the ‘Laughterpreneur’ as he claims to be on Facebook, is just a few 100 likes away from reaching the 50K mark on his page.
When asked about his take on social media these days, he jokes, “I like people clicking selfies. It only goes on to show that even though they have almost 5,000 people in their friend list, they did not have even one single person to hold the camera for them. It just proves to me how lonely people are.” At Aqua, The Park, Somajiguda on December 15 from 8 pm onwards. Catch him live along with Shyam Tenali and Rohit Swain. Tickets at Rs 499 per person. Details: in.bookmyshow.com.
Nari Shakti Puraskar awardee and stand-up comedienne Vasu Primlani goes to town with demonetisation.
From inspiring many young women to becoming one of the best stand-up comediennes in the country, Delhi-based Vasu Primlani, a former faculty member of IIT Delhi, now has our attention with her video on demonetisation that has gone viral with more than 20,000 hits. The 43-year-old comedian, motivational speaker and activist, is currently training for the Ironman Triathlon and will be back on stage at the final act by East India Comedy on December 16. Here, the Nari Shakti Puraskar winner talks to us about what to expect and her other interests.
Having done stand-up comedy for eight years now, what has drawn you to this genre?
Live stand-up comedy is different from even writing comedy. It is probably three times harder to first write the jokes and then perform in front of an audience. Public speaking is considered greater than the fear of death, and there are situations where you just need to come up with some jokes spontaneously, which makes it even more challenging. These factors excite me.
Is there a side to you that is not seen on stage?
Well, I am a somatic therapist and work with the most severe cases: of ADHD, Autism, rape survivors, child sexual abuse survivors, depression and abandonment. I lived and worked in the US for 17 years, and founded and ran one of the most innovative and effective non-profits
What can the crowd expect from you this time?
I went birdwatching at the Ananthagiri hills with some friends. Now, I have a set on birdwatchers. Also, a new set up about demonetisation and transportation. Apart from this, I will also be talking about how hard it is to be Indian-American, and communication problems when I came back from the US. At the Masala Mayhem Comedy Festival at Heart Cup Coffee, from December 10 onwards. Tickets: Rs 199 onwards. Details:in.bookmyshow.com
On Donald Trump
Fidel Castro achieved his goal. He said that by the time he died, he would see America destroyed.
On banning porn in India
Isn’t it strange that porn was banned in India, but was being viewed in Parliament?
On Delhi smog
Thanks to the smog, I quit smoking. Now I smoke 90 cigarettes a day for free.
On black money
Demonetisation is a noun, but it has become a new product developed for the government of India to convert black money into white, using fair and lovely. Also called unfair and ugly.
Creating a special menu of nutritious food for the winter are the Chefs at Plaza Premium Lounge at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Comprising pasta, lasagna, falafel and ratatouille, the menu also features traditional Indian options like Methi Murgh Masala and Gajar Mutter Gobhi Masala. Expect an abundance of seasonal vegetables replete with antioxidants, fibre and nutrients, in their Winter Special menu.
Those on a look out to satiate their love for desserts can try gajar ka halwa, gulkand phirni and carrot olive mint salad.
Talking of the specialities available this month, executive chef Ankit Mangla says, “In this season, the body craves high energy and
protein rich foods which provide warmth along with nutrition. We use fresh vegetables like carrots, radish, yams, garlic, spinach, mustard leaves, goose berries, oranges and guava. A lot of protein-rich foods such as paneer, ghee, butter, cheese and khoya are also used. Whole grains like millet and corn and whole spices with anti-microbial properties are also part of the diet plan.” This specialised menu is also available in Bengaluru and Delhi airports till February.Lounge access starts at Rs 1200++ Details: 8800982161
Cayenne pairs exotic wines and local delicacies with cheery results
If there is a nip in the air in Hyderabad, it means it is time to celebrate and raise a toast to our benevolent winter. On cue, we have Chef Vinay Kumar and his team at Cayenne, the all-day dining restaurant at Mercure Hyderabad KCP at Somajiguda, where they have curated a dinner menu that ushers in the festive spirit.
The hotel has teamed up with Fratelli Wines for the event, which is on till December 15. “They have their own vineyard at Motiwadi near Solapur. It is the first in India to take up viticulture locally,” informs Surender Reddy, Assistant Manager F & B.
Reds and whites
Cayenne’s three-course set dinner menu serves Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc across the meal. Bhindi Kurkure served with purple berry chutney and Haryali Macchi, red snapper marinated with coriander, mint and served with pickled beets, seemed a fine accompaniment for the Chardonnay. For the local touch, the chef has ensured that there is Nizami Shank, slow-cooked lamb with turmeric, yoghurt and freshly grounded spices. He pairs it up with the Sangiovese.
The dessert, however, is a dark horse. The Orange Poached Pear with Poornaalu (a Telugu delicacy) served with the Sauvignon Blanc is a winner, all through. `1,799 per head. Details: 7888888
Reviving the Mughal flavours, Taksh expands its reach with a second restaurant in the State.
Indian delicacies reminiscent of the Nizami hearth, or the grills of Punjab, has always been a local favourite. And that is why it is no surprise that the couple of months old multi-cuisine restaurant, Taksh, has won over the foodies in the city. “Our mantra is to stick to basics and get them right,” says co-owner Koti Rao, who runs the restaurant along with friend Tummala Yugandhal. The Banjara Hills outlet is their first in Hyderabad, after its original one in Khammam, another district of the State. The ambience has evident Rajasthani influence and is opulent. The colour combination of ivory, beige and cream is beautifully complemented by the golden gleam of the chandeliers. The curtains create the illusion of separate chambers and the royal touch is reflected in the pristine crockery of white and gold.
While the menu also had Chinese cuisine, we zeroed in on the the Nizami and Punjabi offerings. “We get the best of the spices, herbs and other components that go into our dishes,” Rao explains, adding that we could customise the spice preferences to suit our taste. From the
gravies to the pulaos, there’s a lot on offer. We started our lunch with the Murgh Banjara Kebab – fried pieces of chicken, soft and crispy, and lightly peppered with spices. After this dish of deep-fried perfection, we sampled the Ulavacharu Chicken Biryani. Fragrant and light, the rice staple was a hit with us. The special Mughlai Vegetable, finely chopped vegetables in thick gravy, can be paired with tandoori roti and made for a filling main course. That apart, the chef’s special, Lahori Chicken Tikka, also could be a good fit for the Indian bread.
After this rich and satisfying meal, it was time to indulge the sweet tooth – with the Kaddu Ka Kheer. The garnish with finely sliced cardamom and nuts made it quite a delicious preparation of grated bottle gourd cooked in flavoured milk, till it is thick and consistent. “We plan to branch out to Bengaluru and Delhi by the end of 2017,” lets in Rao, who is happy with the increasing footfalls.Price for two: Rs Rs 1,000. Details: 8688186881
REVAMPING its online module, the five-year-old jewellery brand BlueStone.com is launching fresh concepts this season. Chief operating officer Arvind Singhal says, “Our brand aims to change the philosophy behind jewellery purchase. We want to offer easy browsability and inculcate 3D design techniques for some of the collections.
The whole idea was to let people look at as many designs they want without compulsions.” He recently unveiled the Design Week that will see five different collections on each weekday, starting from December 12. Five collections called Tropical Paradise, Standing tall, One Two One, Showstoppers and Florentine are crafted by expert designers, based on an eclectic range of inspirations. For instance, where Tropical Paradise derives inspiration from the bamboo plant, One Two One is an avant-garde collection that combines both white and yellow gold.
The site has solitaires, pendants, bracelets and even mangalsutras, and features customised options too. “When we can have made-to-order apparel, why not customised jewellery,” asks Singhal, telling us how the e-commerce venture aims to turn the game around with options like a three-day-money-back policy, certified jewellery and the choice of lifetime exchange. Offering yellow, white or rose gold paired, their designs feature precious stones and diamonds. The brand is currently delivering to 18 cities and also offers the home-try-on option.Details:www.bluestone.com. Price: Rs 9,000 onwards
Jewellery brand Quirksmith goes online with their statement pieces in silver
With patrons like the alternative fashion poster girl and fashion blogger Toshada Nilekar, and emerging Bollywood fashionista and actress Swara Bhaskar, among others – Quirksmith has our attention. At times flashy, attention-seeking and at others subtle, the Bengaluru-based jewellery brand now hopes to emerge as a national player in the field with their just launched e-store. “We make jewellery for women with a strong sense of self. All our pieces have so much character,” says Pragya Batra, who left her corporate career to join her jewellery designer sister Divya to start this brand in 2015 via Facebook. The many enquiries and patrons from Hyderabad spurred the siblings to go online to reach their out of town clientele. Featuring ear-cuffs like the Aham Brahmasmi (that translates into I am the infinite reality in Sankskrit, the collection that is made of 92.5 percent silver and promises to “announce your arrival”. Having worked with Amrapali Jewels in the past, Divya, who has a degree in jewellery design from NIFT, Gandhinagar, is the design head of the brand. Pragya who studied at IIT-Delhi and later INSEAD, adds, “We derive inspiration from strong women who we see around us — our friends who have chosen a different path, for instance, and done well for themselves.”
Apart from ear-cuffs and brooches, the online jewellery portal has quirky and kitschy earrings, pendants, bracelets, nose pins and septum rings. The septum rings, though designed for women, saw a following among men too. While the tribal silver danglers from their earrings section have a vintage look, the five-paisa earrings are kitschy. The RamRam septum ring or the sun nose pin can both be worn without a piercing. And as an ode to those who love and wear their designs, they have added a chapter called Quirkheads in their site, where you can post a selfie wearing one of their pieces, which will be then posted on their Instagram page. From Rs 600 onwards, Details: Quirksmith.com, 8861086220.
Ear-cuffs inspired by a Hindi soap you might remember from a decade ago, Dekho Magar Pyar Se
Five-paisa earrings remind you that Rs 2,000 notes from demonetisation aren’t the worst possible thing
Jazz up your house parties with Diageo Bar Academy’s brand ambassador Afzal Kaba recommendations.
Christmas and New Year are around the corner and the festive season has begun. There is a tingle of cheer and joy in the air, and along with that is the upcoming holidays riddled with fancy house parties. So, even if you are strapped for time and help, get those jolly parties jazzed up with some impressive drinks that you can mix in your kitchen. Afzal Kaba, brand ambassador, Diageo Bar Academy using Smirnoff Red No 21 Vodka and Royal Challenge Whisky, tells us how to make Smirnoff Snowball, The Red Gift, Pink Rudolph and Vanilla Eggnog at home.
Termed as Santa’s favourite, this vodka mix drink uses white grapes and pears. The fruity mix also requires lemon juice, castor sugar and basil leaves. The cocktail is prepared with 60 ml of Smirnoff No 21 vodka and should be served in an old fashioned glass filled with ice. You can also garnish the drink with chopped pears and white grapes. The crushed basil leaves give the drink a minty note that we love.
Pomegranate and Rosemary Fizz
Made of Smirnoff Red No 21 vodka, this drink has Pomegranate and Rosemary in a large topped glass with lime juice and soda. The ingredients impart a sweet and sour flavour to it. The drink is best served in Collins glassware with rosemary sprig as garnish.
Royal Apple and Cinnamon Pie
Made of 60 ml Royal Challenge Whisky, it has cinnamon syrup, apple juice, and angostura bitters. Fill the old fashioned brandy balloon glassware with ice cubes and pour the mix. One can garnish the drink with apple fans, cinnamon sticks and sparkles.
Last week, Hyderabadis, were in for double the fun as revellers could gorge on different kinds of cuisines and also enjoy Sufi music at the Hyderabad Ultimate Food Festival. The three-day fiesta was inaugurated in the presence of former Indian skipper, Mohammad Azharuddin. Organised at the Hitex Exhibition Centre, the extravaganza saw more than 35 stalls of lip-smacking offerings ranging from haleem to biriyani and sumptuous kebabs.
The renowned collective of Rajasthani folk musicians with Kutle Khan cast a mesmerising spell on the audience with their melange of folk and sufi tunes. Also on stage was Champe Khan on harmonium and Dayam Khan with the khartal, Gafur Khan playing the bhapang and morchang, Roshan Khan with the tabla and dholak. People sang along to the popular numbers like Kesariya Balam Padharo Mare Des and Dum Mast Qalander. Also, spotted in the audience was badminton player, Jwala Gutta, relishing the music and the food.
Meanwhile, Tollywood hunk Rana Daggubati and actress Madhu Shalini launched an automobile magazine at N Convention. The actor seemed quite at home in the company of other automobile enthusiasts, looking dapper in a well-tailored waistcoat. From Daggubati’s sartorial choices to budding fashion designers — Hamstech Institute of Fashion and Interior Design conducted its first convocation at FTAPCCI, Red Hills. Well known interior designer, Sona Chatwani, and Yeshwant Ramamurthy, founder of Studio One Architects, were the chief guests.
Moving on, the Trendz Exhibition at Taj Krishna featured their latest collections for shopaholics looking for a wardrobe overhaul. Tollywood actress Diksha Panth inaugurated the designer expo that showcased the latest collection of designer saris, handbags, kurtis, jewellery, shoes and clutches. Perfect time to hunt for that year-ender dress I thought.
From shopping, we move to getting our dance moves right. The members of the ladies club, Bond With The Best, organised a dance workshop at Air Live to pick up some groovy moves from a professional choreographer. On Saturday, wine and food connoisseur, based in Hyderabad, Jyotiee Balani, hosted a fashion show and cocktail evening at Oakwood Residence Kapil Hyderabad, Gachibowli. Designers Riddhi and Siddhi from Goa, known for their label MapxencaRS, showcased their latest women’s collection at the soirée.