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Monthly Archives: January 2017

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    Tim Olyphant, the star of Justified, on playing a cowboy-like US Marshal

    Ever envisioned a US Marshal living in the modern world as a 19th century-style Old West lawman? Well, that is exactly what Raylan Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant does. He plays a character whose unconventional enforcement of justice makes him not just the problem child of his boss at the US Marshals Service, but also a target for criminals. Timothy Olyphant takes us into the world of Justified, a neo-Western drama based on the book Fire In The Hole by Elmore Leonard.

    Challenge of playing Raylan Givens: The character is a joy to play. It’s more just about the beast of television production and just trying to keep your head above water and stay in front of it.

    Inspiration for the character:  I didn’t look past the books. After that, I drew inspiration from whatever floated my boat. But, I spent a lot of time with the source material and I spent time with the actors and writers.

    On playing a modern-day cowboy: It is all cowboys and Indians when it comes down to it. It so happens every now and then, that you put on an actual cowboy hat and it kind of brings it all home. Cops and robbers is fun, and in this case it’s more like cops and hillbillies, but it still is a blast.

    Season 1 of Justified premieres on AXN on January 30, and airs every Monday at 11 pm.

    — Team Indulge

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      Michael Fassbender gets candid on playing Steve Jobs

      Michael Fassbender was planning a well-earned break surfing the Australian waves when Aaron Sorkin’s script for Steve Jobs arrived and changed his plans. It was, he says, “simply too good to turn down”. Sorkin’s compelling story is a take on the life of Steve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple and a man who helped shape the way we live. Directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs is set over three acts. For Michael, personally, it represented a massive challenge of trying to portray Steve Jobs, the global icon, as a human being, interacting with the most important people in his life and  learning huge chunks of Sorkin’s razor sharp dialogue. Here’s more, from Michael himself.

      Steve Jobs has been described as both a hero and an antihero. How do you see him?
      I never really spent much time thinking about it. I think he was somebody that changed the way we live our lives, in so many different ways. That’s the kind of person that I was trying to fill the shoes of. The good and the bad come with it. I treated him like a human being.

      How extensively did you research the man? The other actors had the advantage of portraying living characters who they could speak to.
      I watched whatever was available on YouTube, and googled interviews. If I wasn’t filming, I was at home learning lines.

      Were you concerned that you don’t look enough like Jobs?
      I did think to myself, ‘Jeez, I don’t look anything like this guy, so how is that going to work?’ But I met up with Ivana [Primorac], and Danny and then we sort of said, ‘we’re not going to try and do that at all’. I think audiences accept things when you lay them out clearly for them. So, at the opening of the film, you see I don’t look anything like him, and you go, ‘He doesn’t look anything like him. We can get over that now and watch the rest of the movie.’ We just put our faith in that. Then, as we were going, and we were filming the second act and getting to the third, I was like, ‘you know what, I’d really like to wear the polo neck’.

      Are you personally interested in technology? What apps do you use?
      I’m actually pretty awful with technology, which is kind of ironic. Doing this film has made me realise that with iPhones, it’s like an extension of us now; it’s like an extra limb. People start to suffer from anxiety if they don’t have their phone, so obviously it’s intrinsic to the way we live now.

      Steve Jobs premieres on Sony Pix, on January 29, 1 pm and 9 pm.

      — Team Indulge

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        Setting a precedent
        Independent maker R Aravind’s debut film Karma, a psychological suspense thriller, released online a while back. He explains, “Being an experimental film for a niche audience, I’d realised that a theater release wouldn’t be a viable proposition.” The producer-director also informs that this was the first Indian film to have an online commercial release and that he had recovered his investment within a month. Aravind is on to his second venture now. “The script is ready and it’s a woman-centric plot,” he reveals. Aravind adds that it would be on ‘a bigger canvas, part Indie-part commercial and with known actors.’ And this time he would be opting for a theatrical release.

        Finding his feet
        All industry kids don’t have it easy. Like Shakti, son of director P Vasu, who has yet to get a strong footing in films. But Shivalinga could well be a game changer for the actor. The film, a blockbuster in Kannada, has been adapted to Tamil, with Vasu helming the Tamil version too. Shakti is reprising the role he had played in the earlier version, of a tormented soul exposing his detractors. His was an inspired performance and his best to date. The film is certain to give his career a new lease of life.

        Out of the comfort zone
        While his earlier films have been home productions, Vijay Antony has now opted to act in an outside banner. Antony’s upcoming film is to be bankrolled by Sarath Kumar-Radhika’s production house. It was for a Sarath Kumar-starrer that Antony in his initial days as a music composer had scored music for. And now with his stardom on the rise, Antony seems to be returning the favour. With his films like Pitchaikaran doing well in its dubbed version in Andhra, this one would be a bilingual (Tamil/Telugu).

        Malini Mannath

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          Raees
          Director: Rahul Dholakia
          Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan
          This Robin Hood-esque film has Shah Rukh Khan playing the mobster with a heart of gold. Despite his brooding, kohl-eyed look and killer acting chops, the film (reportedly based on the real-life story of a liquor baron), ends up becoming a mish mash of something we have seen in virtually every Bollywood film. Apart from the doe-eyed Mahira Khan, the only silver lining seems to be an intense performance by Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

          –Team Indulge

          Kaabil
          Director:  Sanjay Gupta
          Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy
          What happens when a visually challenged couple gets hitched? They light up each other’s lives, of course. However, trouble brews in their paradise when Supriya (Yami) is raped, and Rohan (Hrithik) sets out to avenge her. While the moral of the story may indicate that revenge is a dish best served blind (in this case), it is Hrithik’s virtuoso performance that holds this film together, in what could have been a ‘heavily inspired’ plotline.

          –Team Indulge

          Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga
          Director: R Parthiepan
          Cast: Shanthnu, Parthiepan,
          Parvathi Nair
          The plot revolves round a cab driver, his attractive wife and an NRI. As the viewer tries to fill in the blanks, the leisurely pace poses a speed breaker. With a promising beginning, the screenplay takes a dip midway through, pepping up again towards the end. Despite a wafer-thin plot, the actors give nuanced performances, particularly Shanthnu.

          — Malini Mannath

           

           

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            Rohin Venkateswaran on his debut directorial venture

            ADHE Kangal is a labour of love for its director Rohin Venkatesan. It takes a little prodding to get the man talking about the story. “The film is about a blind chef’s journey through newfound love, retrieved vision and a whole bunch of twists, turns and answers along the way,” he says, as he grudgingly obliges to divulge details about this romantic thriller. Rohin, who holds a Masters in Film Direction from LV Prasad Film Institute, has earlier worked as an assistant to director Vishnuvardhan.

            “Everything I know about direction, I learned while working with Vishnuvardhan. I worked with him on a Telugu film called Panjaa, and I was impressed with the way he planned his shooting schedule, and the way he designed the entire look of the film,” he says. Speaking about the challenges of shooting Adhe Kangal, the 30-year-old points out, “We had to wrap the film up in about 35 days, and we were shooting at live locations in Chennai, Kanyakumari and Erode. Making the live locations seem realistic on screen was the challenge. But it is an engaging film till the end, and that has really worked.” The film hit theatres yesterday, cashing in on the long Republic Day weekend, and Rohin is hopeful the audience will remain engaged till the very end. While his next project is still in its nascent stages, he asks us to look out for a rom-com in the coming months.

            Adhe Kangal stars Kalaiyarasan, Janani Iyer, Sshivada and Bala Saravanan.

            — Nandita Ravi

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              Bollywood’s biggest female sufi voice talks about why it’s a great time to be a singer

              LAST month, singer Sona Mohapatra initiated an important discussion on her social media page, asking why female performers can’t headline events sans the entourage of men. Having headlined several concerts and gatherings across the globe herself, singer Harshdeep Kaur agreed with a sigh. “Sona is speaking from experience. I think it’s subjective, however, because we see people flocking to say, a Sunidhi Chauhan concert as well,” she says, not wishing to blindly lay a stamp. Basking in the success of her latest number for the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Raees—Zaalima, the Mumbai-based artiste talks about the changing tide in the country’s music fraternity and why reality shows may not be the tickets to success they once were.

              Collateral damage
              She may have sung for a Pakistani film before, but hasn’t had an experience of the studio environment there, considering she recorded through Skype, lending her voice to Mahira for Balle Balle from Bin Roye (2015). Talking about the difference in the characters of the two fraternities, she points out a blatant difference in the barter of talent, saying, “Artists from there have come here and made a huge name for themselves, but the flow back from us to Pakistan isn’t balanced. That does, however, even out if you look at the popularity of our content and performers there.” Meanwhile, she also throws light on how times have changed for performers across the spectrum. “Today, people look at the comfort of singers a lot more than they used to before. For instance, earlier, the track was prepared and we had to go and sing over it. Now our individual pitches and scales are also considered, as are our timings,” she points out, referring to how Arijit Singh and she recorded their parts for Zaalima separately.

              Quantity over quality
              Winning two reality shows left her with the title ‘Sufi ka Sultana’ and a string of chartbusters that cemented her position in the mainstream. However, she insists that the glorious days of reality show successes are nearing the end. “We have five to six shows going on at the same time. Usually, we had one show that we would dedicate all our time to. Now that’s not possible. So that affects recall value. The number confuses the audience,” says the Heer singer. Busy with her concert schedules for the next few months, Harshdeep will be seen crooning for a number in the Naseeruddin Shah-starrer Irada. She also hints at a few independent singles this year.

              — Lavanya Lakshminarayanan

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                When life is a 24/7 zumba party, minus the jet lag

                How does one go from social anxiety around the office to dancing on stage in front of thousands? For Sucheta Pal, the last seven years have seen a 360 degree
                shift. The celebrity zumba trainer takes us back to days when she could barely afford vada pav to hopping planes and gearing up for Season 3 of her TV show
                Zoom Zumba Fitness Party.

                Secret to beating social anxiety
                What shifted for me was finding my passion and discovering that anxiety happens when your energies are focused on yourself. The moment your energies are focused on adding value to other people, whatever you’re suffering from — whether it’s a mental or physical block, everything vanishes. I think that’s what helped me overcome all my anxiety disorders, and of course the high that I get after teaching.

                Zumba with the mother-in-law
                From being someone who never worked out before, my mother-in-law, who is 64, trains under three instructors now and all of them adore her. She beat her arthritic pain and even takes pictures with all the ‘yo’ signs and she does it in a salwar kurta. (Smiles) But for me, the most special part is to share a stage with her and watch her just rocking it in front of a thousand people!

                Finding quiet amidst the noise
                Every artist needs their own space and I find mine waiting for hours at an airport. (Laughs) Half my life is spent at airports and hotel rooms! But it’s uninterrupted time like this that I use to read, educate myself and create  choreography.

                Living on vada pav and a dream
                When I quit corporate life early on, I began a spree of jobs including one as a transcriber making `500 per cassette. I used to work in Dharavi for a fashion house, not the glamourous part, but sitting with the karigars, as well as selling books on commission to municipal schools in Mumbai. Between all of this and six hours of dance every day with my dance company, travelling by the local train — I could barely afford vada pav back then.

                Army wives turned zumba instructors?
                My goal for this year is to take zumba fitness to the next level. We’re targeting tier II and III cities to do this. Like I was in Jammu last month to teach army wives, and they became zumba instructors. Also, Season 3 of my  TV show Zoom Zumba Fitness Party is coming up on Zoom, and I’m so excited to be and travelling through India, sharing zumba stories, and how people’s lives have changed.

                —Sonali Shenoy

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                  Laugh more. It’s good for your core, says celebrity trainer Namrata Purohit

                  Namrata Purohit has got to be the only 22-year-old who coaches everyone from Jacqueline Fernandez to Varun Dhawan. And believe it or not, it’s all thanks to a life-changing fall off a horse. Refusing to accept her prescription medication of staying off sports, she turned to pilates to overcome the nagging pain in her knee and at 16, went on to be certified as the youngest Stott pilates trainer in the world. That’s a contemporary version of pilates, in case you were wondering. When she isn’t making people sweat, Namrata is usually on the dance floor, scuba diving or playing squash.

                  We’re not sure when she ever ‘sits’. This Mumbai-based femme fatale tells us how to maximise our days and what it was like curating a fitness edition with Sugarbox (a subscription-based gift box), likely conceptualised on the back of a horse!

                  Tell us about the fall that changed your life.
                  Sometimes a fall just teaches you to stand up taller and watch where you’re going, and that’s what this fall did to me. Today I feel like I am doing what I’m doing thanks to that fall. It was tough initially, but it also motivated me to do a lot more, and to get moving. As it’s said,‘every dark cloud has a silver lining!’

                  You help some of the hottest celebrities in B’town sculpt their bodies — at 22! What’s the most fun workout memory you’ve had?
                  I think we have hilarious moments almost every other day. From getting into laughing frenzies to doing something really silly on the equipment there are a lot of funny moments. One moment I remember was when Anusha (Dandekar) was trying to do an exercise and got confused, after that she basically couldn’t stop laughing at herself. We spent 15 minutes laughing that day! But well, laughing is good for health and works the core too!

                  Tell us about the fitness edition of Sugarbox.
                  It’s a fun fitness edition! I believe fitness should be fun. And the box has things that are going to help you make your fitness journey extremely enjoyable. The Fitness edition contains a gym duffle bag, an edgy workout T-shirt, a quirky gym bottle, skipping rope, quinoa puffs, luxurious coffee body scrub, and The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Being Fit book written by me. As per the theme, the edition has an array of products in the category of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and gourmet — and all the products are full sized as opposed to samples and with a value of more than double. It’s an absolute steal!

                  Last we heard you dance, play squash, ride horses and go scuba diving when not with clients in your pilates studio. Are you adding anything new to that list in 2017?
                  I really want to learn surfing this year and also wind surfing! I’m practicing classical singing as well and learning karate.

                  And how do you find the time to do it all?
                  I wake up really early to get the maximum hours that I can from a day! This ensures I get enough time to fit it all in.

                  Also, we have to ask: is there anything you like to do that involves sitting down?
                  Singing! That involves sitting down, at least most of the time. And writing my next book, that involves sitting too. I also enjoyed going through the various products that needed to be selected in curating the Fitness Edition with Sugarbox. It was exciting and not something I’ve done before and needed some serious sitting down.

                  —Sonali Shenoy


                  Fitness goals 2017
                  I want to be able to do the human flag on a pole. It’s a really really tough one but I’m definitely going to try and get there.

                  One must-have in your gym bag
                  A healthy snack, such that is available in the Fitness Edition with Sugarbox.

                  A wellness tip you want more people to know
                  It’s not about how much you do, but more about how much you do right. So focus on your form and work hard, but work right.

                  Three foods that rock your world
                  Haha, three! I honestly love eating fruits, especially pineapple, kiwi, grapes and apples. I love paneer! Anything that has paneer. And I enjoy eating Italian food once in a while.

                  Best song to do ab crunches to?
                  Rinse and Repeat by Riton ft Kah-Lo.

                   

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                    A Korean artist offers her visions of nature in a new show

                    In an age where children are taught the importance of preserving nature, it is heartening to see artists like Mi Yeon Kim trying to do their bit for the same. The Korean expat who is hosting a show in the city this week, has majored in Food and Nutrition (from Yangsan University, South Korea), but she prefers to direct her love for nature on canvas. “I started painting three years ago. Right now, I have 15 paintings in my kitty, and I am working on a few more,” says Kim, adding that she finds inspiration to paint even in her own private garden. As they say, charity begins at home.

                    Kim specialises in working with the traditional hanji paper (handmade using the inner bark of the native paper mulberry tree in Korea). Inside her tool kit you will find acrylics, pastels and colour pencils, using which she has come up with most of her signature works. Some of these are currently on display at the InKo Centre. With nature in prime focus, the paintings stay true to the traditional Oriental style of painting.

                    When she is not brushing strokes, Kim keeps herself busy with a number of other hobbies, for example, playing the piano, which she learnt when she was very young. Her piano prowess inspired her to learn the cello as well. “Playing instruments gives me  peace of mind that helps me while I paint,” she says. But if you really want to see her in full bloom, try spotting her painting a flower or two in any of her drawing classes. Don’t forget your palette in the process and learn a trick or two from the lady herself.

                    Exhibition on till February 22. 10 am to 6 pm (except Sundays). At The Gallery, InKo Centre. Details: 24361224

                    —Karan Pillai

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                      The Chennai-born singer’s latest EP promises a rush of blood to the head

                      She started off in Chennai as one of the city’s few front women in a band (she was the lead vocalist of a band called Bass-in-Bridge), but Maalavika Manoj (Mali) today is slowly carving a niche for herself in the music industry. A ’90s kid through-and-through, Mali’s musical influences feature everything from The Corrs and Alanis Morrissette to ABBA and The Carpenters, thanks to her musically conscious family —her grandfather loves a good jazz LP and her mom got her the first guitar she ever owned. A BBA course that she pursued in Chennai took her to France, and upon her return, she moved to Mumbai in pursuit of the quintessential musical dream. The musician just dropped her newest EP, Rush, which she says is all about doing what you love. Here’s Mali on her latest EP, her many musical collaborations, and what this year has in store for her.

                      What is the inspiration behind Rush?
                      Rush is an EP about doing what you love. My move to Mumbai was something that I did for myself and for my career. It wasn’t easy starting afresh in a new place. I went through a breakup, I had to embrace who I was, and I had to say hello and goodbye to many people. Rush is sort of inspired by all these events. The EP is named after its title track, Rush, which is about how love is like a drug, and how achievement is also very addictive. There’s a race to get what you want. It’s everyone rushing through their lives, but not living the journey out and enjoying it. So Rush is about appreciating the journey. The songs on the album are Poor Girl’s Dream, Changed Situations, Rush, Dreaming, and Sooner or Later. Walk Away, too, was a strong contender for the EP, but we didn’t include it because it wouldn’t have fit the sound.

                      You’ve been keeping busy with a lot of stage shows the lately. What was the most memorable one?
                      I think my most memorable shows were last year, when I played at the NH7 Weekender editions at both Shillong and Pune. Though we played early sets at both places, we got a wonderful response from the audiences. I recently got called all the way to Bangkok for a gig. It’s a big deal when you go to another Indian city for a show, but leaving the country for one is a different kind of high.

                      Apart from Rush, what is 2017 looking like?
                      Once the EP launches, I will be planning an all-India tour to showcase the music live. I’m looking forward to travelling a lot in 2017. I will definitely be releasing more music this year and collaborating with other artistes.

                      Tell us about the last song you’ve written.
                      The last full song that I wrote is called Mango Showers. It might be a single that I release sometime this year.
                      Rush launches online today and is available on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and SoundCloud.

                      —Nandita Ravi

                      On her playlist

                      Somebody Else: The 1975
                      Make it Holy: The Staves
                      Versace on the floor: Bruno Mars
                      Love On The Weekend: John Mayer
                      Am I Safe: Ryan Adams

                       

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