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    Great ideas designed for hosts most wanted, so you can bring in 2015 on your terms

    Avoid traffic snarls, obnoxious strangers, tardy bar service and slow buffet lines this New Year’s Eve and throw your own memorable bash with help from our home-friendly services instead

    1. In tune
    1Cover1Bring in some classical and contemporary jazz to the party with the talented Raman Iyer on the saxophone. Nicknamed Saxman, Iyer will serenade the crowd with his repertoire of Bollywood, retro and popular numbers too if you are not a jazz aficionado. Available for solo performances or along with his band, you can have an evening with ambient music or a concert feel for Rs.10,000 including professional sound. Details: 9845181485

    2. Sing along
    With experience in karaoke jockeying at various pubs across the city, Aditya Rao supplements crowd-sourced karaoke performances with his light humour and entertainment. He’ll even help break the ice if you have a large mixed group. Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Coldplay and Blake Shelton are his favourite hits to get people in the mood as ‘it is all about getting even non-singers to belt out a tune’. Retro tunes, Bollywood numbers and current hits are also high on his list. Rs.40,000 for a night. Details: 8884961454

    2Cover13. Shutterbug
    A master behind the lens, Devika Raman is also the ideal person to add some quirk to your photographs. If you force her to do plain old candid shots she will, but do encourage her to turn your party photos into an interesting story. Capturing the moment effectively, Raman is also great at adding subtle humour to photographs. Photobooth sessions and pre-party planning is also part of her repertoire. Rs.5,000 upwards for four hours. Details: 8861064480

    4. Take one
    1stDecember Films, led by Atul Kattukaran, has won Lions at the Cannes film festival, so you can only imagine the talent you are bringing on board to film your party. They specialise in making the video different from the usual boring documentary style by adding lipdubs, comic lines and more importantly, setting it up to seem like the film is all candid. Water shoots and stylised ones are their forte. Rs.45,000 upwards. Details: 1stdecember.com

    3Cover25. Laugh out loud

    If you’re looking for a big dose of humour, USA returned Sanjay Manaktala, is your guy. A stand-up comedian who has worked with big companies, The Comedy Store, theatre and several pubs across the country, he is also the founder of Bangalore’s longest running stand-up collective, Polished Bottoms. His jokes cover IT geeks, airline stewardesses, social stereotypes and even audience-inspired gags. Give him enough time and details on your invitees, he’ll even personalise a show for you. Praveen Rao, known for his observational humour and Soapy Rao, who is great with audience rapport, are other city-based comics to add humour to the do. Details: sanjaycomedy.com / comedianpraveen.com / sundeeprao.com

    4Cover6. Treasure trove
    The brain-child of Divya Jaising and Kirti Samant, Marigold Diaries adds some mystery to your party and will have the entire troop on a treasure hunt. “We work better with themes as then clues are more distinct and entertaining that just a generic hunt. Although if kids are involved, we do make it simpler,” says Jaising, adding that they also do food hunts, leading people on a culinary trail and are tailor-made to suit your needs so clues will be either easy or cryptic based on your brief. “But the point is to have fun, not be fiercely competitive,” she says. They charge up to Rs.3,000 per person, for the whole hunt, but that also includes theme-based props and manpower, as it sometimes extends city-wide. Details: 9916139182

    6Cover17. Prop it up
    Choose from a variety of themes like retro, Bollywood, wild wild west, Mardi Gras, bikes, punks, pirate or princess. And then head over to Party Mania where Sandeep Kumar will guide you with the most colourful and entertaining props in store. From crowns and costumes to feather boas and crazy glasses, he will dress up your party. Throw in some wigs, wall decor, tableware, casino chips and we assure you The Strip in Las Vegas will be in competition! Props start at Rs.100. At Phoenix MarketCity, Whitefield. Details: 67266229

    8. Art of design
    Sketch prides itself on fresh and innovative designs. They’ll also make invitation cards, design photobooths and give away packages that range from cutesy paper photo frames to hangover kits. Thankyou notes will make your party more personalised too, but do get founder Natalie Mankani to design coasters, stickers, tees and picture frames to keep your party bang on theme. Illustrator Nirupa Rao will add in graphics and sketches to match designer Mankani’s ideas. Rs.300 per piece of art. Details: 9980542667

    7Cover29. Street hustle
    Calling his style the simpler version of Criss Angel and David Blaine, Vamsi KV has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Especially if there are cards involved. With sleight of hand and smooth-talking, the young man will wow you with his bag of tricks and switches. “Essentially, card tricks are all about being fast and it is great to have someone willing to suspend their rationale for a few minutes,” he tells us. At a party with drinks flowing, we think that won’t be a biggie. If you can, convince him to fix you an exotic cocktail as he also moonlights as a mixologist. Rs.5,000 for two hours. Details: wildcardentry2010@gmail.com

    10. Tag, you’re it
    Convert your home into a laser tag arena with Evibe. The team arranges laser tag equipment that includes 10 guns and 10 Jackets for three hours, with other equipment being charged extra. Rs.8,000++. Details: 9035009897

    11. Strings attached
    Aneesh Vidyashankar, 23, is just back from a world tour of 23 countries and has played the violin for the likes of Abdul Kalam, Deepika and Prakash Padukone, and Sheetal Malhar’s fashion show. The young lad blends hip-hop, EDM, alternative and rock music with classical Western and Indian sounds. Hire him for Rs.80,000 upwards. Details: 9844308222

    9Cover112. Arabian nights
    Add some glamour to your evening with belly dancers from Tarantismo. Founded by Arati Punwani Sunawala and Deepthi Shetty, the school specialises in belly dancing, having performed at Florida and Cairo. They’ll not only spice up the party, but give you a lesson or two for the rest of the evening. RS.10,000 upwards.Details: tarantismo.in

    13. Dial M for murder
    Feeling like a good old murder mystery? Ring Riti MD, a former journalist, who organises murder mystery parties. The stories are glamorous and urban, often along the lines of a popular actress found murdered in her pool, with Riti and her team serving as suspects. Rs.10,000 upwards. Details: rmglearning.com

    14. Military style
    Kind of an obstacle course with natural objects serving as obstacles, parkour is defined as getting from one place to the next in the most efficient way possible. Chethan Ramshi D’Souza of Shootfighters can give you a session or performance to add some action to your party. Rs.8,000 upwards. Details: 9945131947

    15. Crooner’s corner
    A finalist in Saregamapa, Sinchan Dixit made her Bollywood debut this year in Yeh Dil Ramta Jogi. Happiest in intimate gatherings where she can interact with the audience, she’s open to taking requests. (`60,000 upwards. Details: facebook.com/sinchan.dixit). Or choose Rishikesh Basu for Bollywood, Bengali and Sandalwood songs. “Around 20 people is ideal crowd to take requests, and chat in between songs,” he says. His set is usually two hours long, with time for special requests. Rs.5,000 upwards. Details: 9886118953

    16. Jam time

    An alternative folk rock band, One Girl Shy is a group lead by singer Akhilesh Kumar (formerly of Solder) and includes a bassist, violinist, drummer and two female singers. The result is a fresh, vibrant sound that would get any party going. The group ideally requires a 15-foot stage, but for smaller gatherings special arrangements can be made, for acoustic sets with just two members. Rs.40,000 upwards. Details: facebook.com/1GrlShy

    10Cover217. Groove master

    Best known as the resident entertainment manager at Skyye Bar and Blimey, DJ Deepak is also much in demand as a
    private deejay, to pump out the music at exclusive gatherings, including a number of functions at Catholic Club. While his signature sound is most definitely EDM, he’s happy to throw in some Bollywood numbers to get the crowd onto the floor, and has established a reputation as a
    versatile master of the decks. Rs.3 lakh upwards. Details: facebook.com/djdeee

    18. Balancing act

    If you want to liven up a party and teach your guests a few new skills, then Gunjan Saraf is your man. An expert in contact juggling, poi performance art and hooping, he’s also adept at passing on his skills, as he runs regular workshops and tutorials for all ages across the city. He’ll bring all the necessary props with him, so you and your guests just need to be open to trying something different. Rs.10,000 upwards. Details: gunjansaraf.com

    19. Drawing inspiration

    A cartoonist and caricaturist, Balraj KN has captured faces at high-profile events like Comic Con, as well as catering to private parties and corporate events. The sketches can be done in pen and ink, or straight onto his iPad using a stylus, so that they can be mailed directly to you. Each sketch takes between five and 10 minutes. Rs.3,000 per hour upwards. Details: balrajkn.com

    Bar code
    if you can’t get a bartender, Install THE My Cocktail Bar app and never be short of Exotic drinkS. If you input the spirits, fruits and other ingredients that you have, it will give you a list of suggestions, and a step by step guide on how to execute them. On android. Details: play.google.com

    20. Spice it up

    Led by India’s Got Talent finalist and salsa champion Richard David Tholoor, the team at the The Richard David Tholoor Dance Project will come in and get your party started. They’ll first storm the dance floor with a routine, before giving a workshop to get your guests moving. The price varies depending on the seniority of the dancers who attend. Rs.25,000 upwards. Details: richarddavidtholoordanzproject.blogspot.in

    21. Loose ends

    If you’re holding an elaborate event with lots of different elements, it might be worth hiring an MC to knit it all together, and make sure that your guests don’t miss anything. MC Anu is an expert, with over 650 events to her name. Rs.25,000 upwards, approximately. Details: mcanu.in

    22. Shooting colours

    There’s nothing quite like a splash of outdoor colours to liven up a party. We highly recommend you turn your garden into a paintball arena for some multi-hued fun. Yuyutsa, The Paintball Arena will help you set up a war field in your very own garden. A heads-up though – a minimum of 100 guests and 10,000 square feet are the pre-requisites. Rs.600 upwards per head. Details: 9980027289

    23. Behind bars

    Avalon Byford and his team of flair bartenders are experts at adding that special touch to a gathering. They’ve catered for groups of up to 3,000, but also handle smaller gatherings. The price for each flair bartender is around Rs.6,000 upwards for an event, and you can expect them to flair two or three times over the course of the evening. Regular cocktail mixers are also available, and they provide everything aside from the
    alcohol. Details: 9845164770
    Light up
    Stylus Sound and Lighting Offers audio and lighting to make your party look like a carnival. Based on your requirement or budget, they will set up the place with concert effect, smoke machines, moving lights, DJ console, laser lights, amplified sound and disco lights. Rs.10,000 upwards. Details: 9620216310

    24. Grilling session

    An offshoot of burger destination Pepper Zing, this home-catering barbecue team is a great dinner option for a winter evening. If you fancy doing it yourself then you can buy marinated meat (including chicken, lamb, beef and even squid) by the kilo, otherwise the team will come in and take care of the grilling from start to finish, even clearing up at the end of the designated three-hour period. Rs.750 upwards per head. Details: 9742578988

    25. Pole position

    For a dance performance that’s sure to set your party apart, you can call on the Maya model agency in Delhi, which specialises in providing world-class performers across genres, including pole dancing. The international pole dancers specialise in pure Oriental pole dancing, and are willing to travel for private functions, at your expense. Rs.1.5 lakh onwards (expenses additional). Details: maya-models.comm indulgebng@newindianexpress.com
    — Aakanksha Devi, Rashmi Rajagopal
    and Maegan Dobson Sippy

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