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WEEKLY MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 16, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times


WEEKLY MAGAZINE, SEPTEMBER 16, 2012 Free with your copy of Hindustan Times

Hunt for the perfect reading chair

Zen and the art of apartment maintenance, Neha Dhupia-style Pump up the volume by creating a sound room

Shelf life – how to increase your wardrobe space

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Minimal Benefits Neha relaxes by the window of her Mumbai apartment which she likes to call her ‘Zen temple’

VIR SANGHVI

Go the whole hog

SANJOY NARAYAN

Pied pipers of Pakistan

SEEMA GOSWAMI Tribe spotting

RAJIV MAKHNI

The patent wars


B R E A K FA S T O F C H A M P I O N S

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SUNNY ON WEBCAM No kidding! Seriously. We really did get her to hook on to Skype and open up. If there’s anything you want to know about pornstar/actress Sunny Leone, we’ve got a story to tell. It’s all in BrunchQ. PS: She looks even better on webcam

LETTER OF THE WEEK!

NOW ON Have you gotten STANDS, hold of BrunchQ yet? Bollywood. R100 Bromance. ONLY! Bangkok. Beauty. And much more. There’s a little something for everyone. That’s ample reason for you to grab a copy now!

Is only ‘small’ beautiful?

YOUR COVER story, The Tyranny Of Size S hit the nail on the head... Leave aside size L, even for a size M person, shopping tends to become a herculean task because of the complete apathy of brands towards the real woman. Instead, there’s pandering to the stereotype of ‘small is beautiful’. — KASHMIRA MIRZA, via email

Fashion is about aspirations The Tyranny of Size S was was delicately handled to suit both the small sized and big sized women. Thank you for this wonderful issue. It was an absolute treat on Sunday — HARISH DHURI, via email

The best letter gets a Flipkart voucher worth R2,500!! The shopping voucher will reach the winner within seven to 10 working days. In case of any delays, please contact chirag.sharma@hindustantimes.com

BrunchQ’s Sprawling Web

THE BRUNCH POST-ITS: This week, For those of you who didn’t read the previread Booked For Life by ous issue of BrunchQ (how many of you are Saudamini Jain. A love affair there anyway? Raise your hands and say with everything in print

‘never again!’), we’re uploading it all on the Web, bit by bit. This week, it’s celebrity siblings – whether birth order makes any difference at all. Presenting: Kunaal, Aditya, Siddharth Roy Kapur; Soha and Saba Ali Khan; and Shantanu & Nikhil. Log on to hindustantimes.com/brunch

Cover Design: PRASHANT CHAUDHARY Cover Photo: KALPAK PATHAK

Cover Photo Styling: White dress by Prashant Chauhan Hair - Ridhima Sharma Makeup - Pallavi Symons

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he homes of the well-heeled “20 minutes to needn’t be loud or ostentatious. Are load this page?? That’s we moving away from what architect Gautam Bhatia famously not a good enough called Punjabi Baroque? Tour the excuse” Bandra apartment of actress Neha Dhupia and you’d tend to agree. A sensibility that is minimalist-yet-vibrant is not an oxymoron in Neha’s case. After all, living well involves enhancing the quality of your living spaces. So, go ahead, create a sound room, curl up on a reading chair and make the most of your studio apartment.

Sift 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup cocoa & 1 tsp baking powder.

Add 3/4 cup butter and 2 tsp vanilla essence. Fold dry ingredients till well blended.

Something Starry

WHAT I DID LAST TUESDAY

Add a dash of milk and chocolate syrup. Finally add chopped nuts and mix well. Pour batter into square greased tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree Celsius for 25 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar and OD till they’re over!

by Saudamini Jain

by Aasheesh Sharma

by Shreya Sethuraman

After your brownies are done, cool them and cut them into tiny squares.

1. Ranbir singing Fatafati 2. Andy Murray 3. Gangnam style Korean music videos 4. Kashmiri Bana Crorepati 5. Late night TV show marathons

PUNJABI BAROQUE R.I.P

YUMMY BROWNIES

Beat 3 eggs into 1 3/4 cups sugar.

Kashmira wins a Flipkart voucher worth `2,500. Congrats!

On The Brunch Radar

Brunch Opinion

The step-by-step guide to...

1. Absurd sedition laws 2. Long Distance Relationships 3. Clint Eastwood's invisible Obama 4. Asha Bhosle to act. ‘Nuff said. 5. The Disco Song EDITORIAL: Poonam Saxena (Editor), Aasheesh Sharma, Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Rachel Lopez, Mignonne Dsouza, Veenu Singh, Parul Khanna Tewari, Yashica Dutt, Amrah Ashraf, Saudamini Jain, Shreya Sethuraman, Manit Moorjani

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

Photos: THINKSTOCK

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Richa Chadda, actress It’s a beautiful evening in Mumbai – the city has been washed clean by the incessant rain that has been pouring down since last night. Actress Richa Chadda stayed in and has just finished watching Mike Nichols’ Closer, and she can’t stop talking about it. “I can watch it 100 times more. It works at many levels. The story is a revelation of modern relationships and questions the notions of fidelity, love, commitment and a happily-ever-after,” says Richa. And what does she like munching on while watching movies? “Punjabi food, obviously,” she laughs. by Amrah Ashraf

Economically Speaking

HOLD ME LIKE YOU’LL NEVER LET ME GO by Abhijit Patnaik

Studies have suggested that just holding an item in a store can create an attachment that makes you willing to pay more for it. The feeling of it being ‘mine’ begins as little as 30 seconds after first touching something. A study allowed subjects to handle coffee mugs for 10-30 seconds before auctioning them. They were told that the mugs were priced about four dollars. People who held the mug for 30 seconds bid more than the retail price four out of seven times! Hello precious, you’re mine. DESIGN: Ashutosh Sapru (National Editor, Design), Monica Gupta, Swati Chakrabarti, Rakesh Kumar, Ashish Singh, Suhas Kale

Drop us a line at:

brunchletters@hindustantimes.com or to 18-20 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001


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hindustantimes.com/brunch LEATHER EDITION B546

Brand: Natuzzi India White leather sofa with lever on the side, which when pulled, converts the sofa into a recliner

A Hunt For The Perfect Reading Chair

CURVED SOFA

Brand: One and Only Made of teak wood with duco finish and upholstered in soft, squishy blue tapestry

Relax, stretch your tired feet and snuggle up with your favourite book. It’s time to read by Shreya Sethuraman

SHOE CHAIR

SUPER LOUNGE

Brand: Ebony Gautier

Brand: Raus

Upholstered with brown leather, this easy chair has a manual recline function and stainless steel legs

Recline on Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes! High back chair with wooden legs, upholstered in velvet

CHILI LOUNGE

Brand: Ebony Gautier

THE LAZY READER’S GUIDE

Now that you have the ideal reading chair, enhance the experience with any one of these bestsellers

TOP 10 FICTION TITLES

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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The Immortals of Meluha: Amish Tripathi The Krishna Key: Ashwin Sanghi The Secret of the Nagas: Amish Tripathi Fifty Shades of Grey: EL James Revolution 2020: Chetan Bhagat I Too Had A Love Story: Ravinder Singh Life is What You Make It: Preeti Shenoy Chanakya’s Chant: Ashwin Sanghi Can Love Happen Twice?: Ravinder Singh 2 States: The Story of My Marriage: Chetan Bhagat

(Data Courtesy Nielsen BookScan India week ending September 1)

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LL YOU want to do this weekend is have a steaming cup of coffee and curl up with your favourite author. But your bed isn’t the perfect place, it has no arm support, after all. And your dining chair only reminds you of food. So where and how do you go hunting for that perfect reading chair? Punam Kalra, creative director of IM Centre for Applied Arts in Lajpat Nagar, Delhi, says comfort of the buyer is crucial when it comes to designing chairs. “Comfort and upholstery are two prime factors that buyers look for when shopping for reading chairs,” she says. Obviously, comfort comes first. And since people tend to spend a lot of time sitting, it’s okay to invest a fortune in a good chair. Depending upon features such as brand, built quality and ergonomics, most decent reading chairs are priced between R25,000 and R1 lakh. Nitin Bahl, country manager of interior furniture brand Natuzzi India, adds, “Our objective is to sell a comfortable chair with a fair amount of lumbar and back support. Many buyers also ask for ottomans.” For the uninitiated, an

Futuristic triangular chair upholstered in red revello fabric, with steel legs

ottoman is a piece of furniture LEMON with a padded, upholstered seat, OCHRE CHAIR usually without a back or arms. Brand: One and Only While some of us are content stretching out on the Teak wood chair quintessential recliner (a upholstered in leatherite, huge leather sofa with a with antique lever, which when pulled, duco finish makes it a recliner) Bahl calls it an old concept. Chairs now come armed with automatic reclines and even multiple reclines customised for your head and other parts of the entire body. Shipra Sharma, an interior designer with furniture store OMA, suggests rocking chairs or recliners to provide the comfort factor. As Bahl says, “Buyers today are particular about every nuance SOUND of what they’re buying, IN PELLE LUCIDA whether it is comfort, Brand: Natuzzi India multiple density (ergonomics are difBright shiny black leather ferent in each chair), chair with stainless steel or the add-on features.” leg and leather With designs and footrest technology that’ll make reading a breeze, it’s time to read. shreya.sethuraman@hindustantimes.com

That cushioned footrest that becomes a seat when extra guests arrive? Call it a POUFFE SEPTEMBER 16, 2012


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You Can Save Your Closet

DO MORE WITH LESS Re-imagine that lone rod taking all the weight of your hanging suits, trousers and dresses. In most cupboards, especially steel almirahs, there’s usually space to add one or two more rods below. Use those for lighter clothes you don’t want to fold. Get the multi-utility hangers that store three to four items together. Stock formal wear at the Use bottom, and the stuff you multi-utility hangers to hang wear frequently on top. three-four items Don’t ignore the door. If there isn’t already a rod together installed, get one, or put in hooks to hang small items like necklaces, belts and scarves. If the door is deep enough, you could hang bulkier clothes there too. Dimple Kohli, a designer with Qboid Design House, suggests, “You could use that space to create small entrapments and store precious items, which usually take up valuable space in the main body.”

Even if it’s bursting and you still can’t stop stuffing it with, well, stuff by Yashica Dutt

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OU KNOW that sinking, ominous feeling, a premonition that something bad is going to happen? The one that Imtiaz Ali immortalised on screen by having Kareena Kapoor run after a train in Jab We Met? I have that feeling every day, when I stand in front of my closet, after all its contents have tumbled on top of me.

This clearly happens to everybody, considering the collective cheer that went around the newsroom, when I proposed to find ingenious ways to maximise your wardrobe space. So after days of research and unearthing advice that went beyond just-buy-abigger-effing-cupboard, here’s what I found: there’s always extra space.

Even if you’re the king or queen of recycling, there are still things you’d never wear!

FRESHEN IT UP

Photos: THINKSTOCK

GIVE IT AWAY NOW

MAKE ‘ORGANISED’ A RELIGION

Order! Order! There’s no Coming from the religion of escaping it, if you want more fashion and believing in the room for all the shoes and gospel of never throwing anyshirts you want. Arrange your thing away, I’ve realised that cupboard once every 10 days the biggest culprit is the to accommodate your new hoarding instinct. Sure, I could stuff. “Keep all skirts, jackets, use that piece of indigo raw jumpers and trousers togethsilk as a scarf or team the er,” advises freelance stylfrayed tee with a maxi dress. But some things I know I’ll Fold never wear. So, ditch those away the jeans you hope to once COME OUT OF stuff you rarely again fit into. Promise yourself an even hotter pair use. Leave hanging Not everything room for daily when you do get to your needs to fit into desired weight. Still holding that slim vacuum of wear on to that sweater your mum wood you call your cupknitted when you turned 10? board. Chunky knits can be Instagram it and paste on sealed and stashed away. And your door. Spring clean not just on top of the closet. at least once a Think about the empty space year. Sure it hurts, in the kitchen or under the but every year, bed. Store your clothes in there’ll be less to sealed plastic containers, so discard. Oh, and they don’t attract bugs, damp more space. or dust. Store your shoes sepa-

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ist Rin Jajo. “It’s better to grab and go.” Group belts or ties together. Store undergarments and socks separately in smaller boxes. And always, always pair your socks. Nothing’s more frustrating than tumbling out your entire closet to find the missing one.

THE CLOSET rately if you don’t already. Get shoe bags or nail short, rectangular planks at a 45-degree angle to the wall to give them a proud display. Also, if you are cubbyholing accessories like glasses, bags and ties and belts all in one space, stop. Dangle them on hangers outside the cupboard, line them along a fancy rope, or put corkboard on your dressing table to jam earrings in.

I could give you some pop theory about how nice-smelling cupboards always remain clean, and I will. Try it. If your clothes smell like a bunch of fresh oranges or woody cinnamon, there’s little chance you might want to throw them at the back of the cupboard.

Wardrobe Secrets of the Starry Kind

Struggling with space? Apparently celebs do too. Here’s how they cope ■ Pop sensation Mariah Carey has more than 1,000 shoes stored in a climate controlled room spread with high-voltage lights to give them a dream display. ■ Oprah Winfrey is known to give amazing gifts to you, you and you. But the best gift she’s given is to herself. Her closet is a mansion-like 1,200 square feet area, with chandeliers, miles of of space and even an LCD TV. ■ Fashion designer Anna Sui didn’t bother about a big closet. She just got another apartment to store her clothes. It has custom shelves to fit all her shoes and clothes. yashica.dutt @hindustantimes.com

The big rotating tray at the centre of the dinner table? Call it a A LAZY SUSAN SEPTEMBER 16, 2012


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Neha’s Nest Of Nirvana

THE ZEN COUCH

Going with the minimalist theme, the central sofa arrangement is in simple beige

Her two-bedroom Mumbai pad is earthy, minimalist and chic. We take you on a tour through the apartment Neha Dhupia calls her ‘Zen temple’ SINGULARLY DHUPIA

by Amrah Ashraf

There are so many single women living on their own in different cities but how is Neha Dhupia’s house different from other girls? Here’s what she said... “Even if you barely know me, the moment you enter my space, you will know it’s my house. It is just like me – calm and uncluttered. I believe positive vibes bring in positive vibes and my house is all about positivity and harmony. I have these beautiful Buddha statues in my living room that either light up or I light a candle around it. They make the whole environment so serene. “Candles add character to your home. In the evening, you can light some around the house and read a book in a corner. Your house should reflect your personality. There is no point in creating a space that looks chic in every inch but doesn’t really reflect who you are.”

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OU KNOW you are welcome in a house when the host opens the door with a big smile. That is exactly what happened when I went to Bollywood star Neha Dhupia’s flat in Bandra. “I always open the door for my guests. It brings in positive energy,” says Dhupia. She offers me green tea and promises to be back soon. And that’s just what I need, complete access to her two-bedroom Bandra apartment all by myself. The first thing that one notices about Dhupia’s house is how minimalist everything is. There are no jarring colours, no over-the-top decoration, no pictures of her staring at you from every corner of the room. It’s clean, simple and airy. “When Ninad (Pardesi) was designing the house, he told me that he was going to create a space for me that I would never want to leave. And ever since I moved in here, everything is still the same – the décor, the minimalism, the illusion of space and the colours,” says Dhupia, who has been living in this fourth floor apartment for the last seven years.

she needed a space of her own that she could use and abuse. “Having your own space in a city like Mumbai gives you such a sense of security, especially if you’re a single girl. When I bought this house, I knew that I had found a footing here,” she remembers. “And even today, my home is my Zen temple.” Dhupia loves her French windows and ends up spending a lot of time sitting there, surrounded by her

LIFE IN A HAPPY SPACE

When she bought this flat, it came in its skeleton form – absolutely stripped bare with no furnishings whatsoever, but Dhupia knew that

LIVEN UP YOUR LIVING SPACE Do you live in a tiny apartment and don’t have the money to spend on getting a top interior designer to space manage for you? Fret not. We asked Neha Dhupia to help us and here are her top five tips to liven up your space without spending a bomb.

MIRCHI LIGHTS Apt lighting can do wonders for a house. Just throw some mirchi lights (R200 for a string) in a bowl or wrap around a window. It not only creates a beautiful ambience, it also creates an illusion of space.

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cushions, reading. And really, if you had an extended ledge that beautiful, overlooking the old-world tiled roofs of Bandra, you would also spend most of your time there. “From up here, I get a feeling of then and now. These trees resting their weight on the roofs down below give me a glimpse of yesterday and I love that feeling. This ledge has seen many nights of reading, pondering and relaxing.”

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COLOUR IT WILD If you live in a tiny apartment with monochromes all around you, then add a splash of colour to your living space. You can go for kitschy cushion covers that occupy little space but cheer up your room.

LET IT BREATHE Air out your house. Most people keep their windows shut all the time and inhale the same old stale air for days. Just open all your windows and you’ll notice how fresh and lively your home will feel.

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ELEGANT AND SERENE

One thing that caught me off guard about Dhupia’s pad was the silence, even though she lives two lanes away from Mehboob Studios, one of the most bustling landmarks of Bandra. “I like the quiet this house offers,” she says. “It really feels like living in a treehouse. You’ll notice that from every window and balcony, you can see only trees.” Dhupia tries to

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Photos: THINKSTOCK

UNLEASH FLOWER POWER Throw out the plastic flowers. Buy some fresh ones and arrange them across the house. Their scent and beauty will definitely add verve to your apartment.

TURN IT ON When everything else fails, you can always rely on music. Play it in the house or plug in your iPod.

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OCD? YOU DON’T SAY!

COLOUR, NATURALLY Neha loves how flowers liven up a place the moment you throw them in a vase. “It’s a great way to add natural colour to your living space”

HAUTE PLATE The limestone plate in the living room catches people’s attention because of its texture and colour

CUSHIONING THE EFFECT

Photos: KALPAK PATHAK; Green dress by Bodice; Hair: Ridhima Sharma; Make up: Pallavi Symons

The walls are a shade of white. “All I do is throw in some colourful cushions to create contrast,” says Neha

ensure everything in her house is natural and earthy. Her flooring is simple unpolished stone, there are limestone artefacts, soft wooden panelling, stone Buddha statues, fresh flowers, and hay-like texturing on the walls. And when she can’t play with earthy textures, she prefers muted tones with a burst of colour peppered here and there. “I am obsessed with white. Not just white, but shades of white. My walls are a certain shade of white and so are my linens. If you look at the sofa arrangement, even that is done in simple beige. All I do is throw in some colourful cushions to create contrast,” says Dhupia. “I love flow-

A bigger wardrobe would be nice. I have so many clothes!

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ers. I love how they liven up a place the moment you throw them in a vase. It’s a great way to add natural colour to your living space.”

THE BIBLIOPHILE

Another prominent feature in Dhupia’s home is her collection of books. They are strewn around the house, some resting on her centre table (mainly coffee table tomes on fashion and travel), some stacked next to her bed, others hanging on for dear life on shelves and some staring into nothingness from her window ledge. “I love sitting curled up with coffee table books,” says Dhupia. “But they have to be everywhere in the house so I

A PALETTE FOR PEACE

Neha prefers muted tones with a burst of colour peppered here and there can just lounge around and read whenever and wherever. That’s why my books are all over the place.” It may not be a mansion, but the sparse furniture and earthy tones create an illusion of space. And Dhupia’s balcony abutting the living room adds to the effect. A white beach chair, a small coffee table and a wind chime that sings in the breeze. Is that where she finds nirvana? “No. Actually it’s my dresser and bathroom – I spend 10 minutes lounging in my massage chair after work. It relaxes me,” she says. “But your entire house should be your shortcut to nirvana. Not just one room.”

“Very few things in my house actually have legs. Things are either fixed to the floor or suspended from the ceiling. I don’t like the idea of furniture having legs. I am also very very particular about my bedspread. I only like a specific shade of white and only that linen is spread on my bed. Another thing I fret about a lot is cleanliness and putting things back in order. I have a very nasty habit of cleaning up in the middle of a party or a conversation. If something is out of place, I can’t stop looking at it. My friends hate me for that!”

IN A LITTLE CORNER OF HER APARTMENT... THE ANTIQUE CLOCK “What I really like about this clock is how it breaks the monotony of the room. It is so out of place and yet so beautiful. It’s a lovely juxtaposition of the clean lines of my furniture with this voluptuous clock”

THE LIT BUDDHA “There are many Buddha statues in my house but this one is my favourite because it’s carved inwards and lights up. It creates beautiful silhouettes on the wall”

amrah.ashraf@hindustantimes.com

That funny chair on which two people can sit in opposite profiles? Call it a TETE-A-TETE SEPTEMBER 16, 2012


There’s no point restricting the use of pork to the breakfast menu or the Chinese kitchen. It’s time to introduce it to the mainstream

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Vir Sanghvi

Y FRIEND, Gautam Anand, told me the story of Nagpal’s which he regards as one of the more influential restaurants in post-Partition Delhi. According to Gautam, Nagpal’s was owned by refugees from West Punjab who fled to Delhi and started all over again by popularising kulchas and tikkas. The kulchas were justly famous but it was the tikka that had the most fans. The flavour was so delicious that nobody worried too much about the meat it was made from. Then, one day, word spread that the tikka was made from pork. It is easy to see why this would have provoked outrage in Pakistan. But for some reason the news that Nagpal’s used pork caused great consternation in Delhi. Public opinion swung against the restaurant and by the time its owners became embroiled in a series of other problems – a dispute with the municipality and the construction of a road across the restaurant – patrons had begun to stay away. Photo: BIAKI Eventually, says Gautam, Nagpal’s closed. But HANGSHING for people like Gautam, who must have eaten there as a small boy, the excellence of its pork tikka lingers in the memory. Gautam says that he has rarely come across a pork tikka of that quality again. And while I have only heard the story of Nagpal’s rise and fall from him, I SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

have to go a little further: I have never come across a decent pork tikka of any kind anywhere in India. I don’t know why this should be so but even though Hindus face no religious injunction against consuming pork, north Indians have traditionally been reluctant to introduce it into their cuisine. According to the food historian KT Achaya, this reluctance goes back many centuries. In the 5th and 7th centuries, Chinese travellers wrote that pork was forbidden meat to many inhabitants of India. There are two interesting things about this aversion to pork. The first is that wild boar – which is basically a kind of pig – seems exempt from this disdain. Rajputs treat the wild boar as a great delicacy and many recipes of royal cuisine call for wild boar meat. The second interesting thing is that this aversion does not extend to other parts of India. In Kerala and Coorg, they are quite happy to eat CHOICE pork. In Goa, it is considered a delicacy. And in CUT the north-east, it is the staple diet for the majorThe pork ity of the inhabitants. tikka at Why should the rest of India not share the north’s Bangalore’s reluctance to eat pork? One theory is that pork is ITC a non-Hindu meat. In Kerala, it is the Christians Gardenia who have the best pork dishes. The north-east is hotel was largely non-Hindu. And in Goa, the consumption terrific of pork was loaded with religious significance. When the Portuguese converted Goan Hindus to Catholicism, the church insisted that they eat pork to indicate the complete severance of ties with the Hindu community. According to Lizzie Collingham’s definitive study, Curry: A Biography, at first uppercaste converts were uncomfortable with pork but eventually they decided that their best course was to identify completely with the lifestyle of their Portuguese masters. The great pork dishes of Goa all emerged out of this identification with Portuguese culture. For instance, those delicious Goan sausages are no more than an attempt to imitate the Portuguese chorizo. Vindaloo is an adaptation of the Portuguese dish, Carne de Vinhos e Alhos, which means meat cooked in vinegar and garlic. The word ‘vindaloo’ is simply a Goan mispronunciation of Vinhos e Alhos. Because Goan Hindus – even the non-vegetarian ones – do not like pork much, the consumption of pork dishes became a means of asserting a Catholic identity. The Goan chef, Julia Carmen Desa, who now runs Delhi’s Tres restaurant, says it is not unusual for a Catholic feast to include three or four dishes all made from pork and all with some Portuguese influence. Julia is less sure about where the famous pork curry of Coorg has its origins. But its base is the black

rude food

Photo: JASJEET PLAHA; Location: WELCOMHOTEL SHERATON, NEW DELHI

LIVING HIGH OFF THE HOG

Photo: CC/DIRKLAUREYSSENS

indulge

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THE GRAVY TRAIN

Pork cooked in a gravy is popular in the north-east


Photo: THANGPU SAMTE

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local vinegar of the region and on the whole, it was the colonialists who popularised vinegar in India. Certainly, the pork dishes of Kerala seem to have either colonial or Christian roots. I am less sure about the north-east’s affection for pork. It could be the Christian influence in the area. Or it could simply be a geographical thing: in Burma and Thailand, pork is a popular meat and perhaps there was an intermingling of cuisines over the centuries. Certainly, the north-east rivals Goa as the centre of pork cookery in India. I asked my former colleague, the journalist and food writer Hoihnu Hauzel, who grew up in Manipur, what memories she had of the local cuisine. It turned out that Hoihnu’s memories were largely pig-centric. In common with many other families in Manipur, she recalled, her parents maintained a pig sty in their backyard. They would look after their pigs and lovingly fatten them by cooking a special meal of wild yam and rice every day. (Lovingly? Well, up to a point. Eventually, they would kill the pigs and eat them.) Hoihnu is a member of the small Christian Paite tribe (around 60,000 people), one of the 33 tribes of Manipur. According to her, nearly all of the tribes have a pork tradition though she says, perhaps a little harshly, that some of the recipes are quite primitive: chunks of meat cooked with ginger, garlic, mustard leaves, chillies or local herbs. All over the north-east, pork is readily available. In many towns you will see pork shops selling meat from freshly-slaughtered pigs. If there is too much pork to consume at once, it is salted and sundried. Preserved this way, pork can last for a long time. In Manipur, it is not uncommon, says Hoihnu, to put a slice or two of sundried pork in a dal or a vegetable dish to give it more body. I asked both Julia and Hoihnu whether they worried about the diseases traditionally associated with the consumption of pork, tapeworm for instance. Hoihnu said that fresh pork that was well cooked rarely caused any health problems. Julia agreed that pork from diseased pigs could be a problem but said that Goans had been eating pork for so long that they were careful about the quality. The question is important because one reason offered by Indian hotels and restaurants for keeping pork off the menu is that the risk of parasitic infection is high. Until about a decade ago, most chefs at Indian hotels would advise you to steer clear of pork. Wherever possible, they would try and find pork substitutes: hence the popularity of the chicken sausage, a disgusting, tasteless, plastic-filled cylinder of gunk served at many five-star hotels. That’s changing now because of a rise in pork farming and the easy availability of imports. Ananda Solomon says that field-bred pork from Goa has a good flavour and can easily be used in sausages EXPERT AT HAND

Goan chef Julia Carmen Desa makes magic with pork at Tres

BELLY DANCE

Julia Carmen Desa from Delhi’s Tres restaurant says that although she was advised not to put pork belly (above) on the menu, it is now her most popular dish

PORK TIKKA (Chef Madhu Krishnan’s recipe) INGREDIENTS 500 gm imported pork loin 30 gm black pepper powder 20 gm mace powder 20 gm cumin powder 10 gm kebab chini powder 15 ml lemon juice 75 gm brown onion paste 50 gm ginger-garlic paste 20 gm red chilli powder 30 ml vinegar 80 gm hung curd 25 ml ghee Salt to season

METHOD ■ Cut the pork loin into cubes measuring 1.5”. Retain the fat. ■ Marinate the pork with salt, ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice; allow it to rest for 20 minutes. ■ Mix the rest of the spices in hung curd and beat it to a smooth consistency. ■ Incorporate the curd and the pork and allow it to rest for 1 hour.

■ Take the marinated

pork cubes and cook on a medium hot grill or pan sear it. ■ Baste the pork cubes with butter once during cooking. ■ It is optional to serve the pork with a squeeze of lime juice.

PORK IN DRY GRAVY

If you want to cook a nice south Indian-style pork dish at home, this recipe is for you. It is fool-proof and designed for the home cook. I use local pork bought from my neighbourhood Godrej Nature’s Basket INGREDIENTS 500 gm pork, cubed FOR THE MASALA PASTE: 3-4 dry red chillies 2 tsp dry coriander seeds 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 3-4 tsp black peppercorn 1/2 tsp fennel 3-4 cardamom pods (take only seeds) 2 cinnamon barks 2 bay leaves 4-5 cloves 7-8 garlic cloves finely chopped (keep aside 1 tsp for later) 1 medium sized ginger, finely sliced (keep aside a pinch for later) 3-4 button onions or 2 shallots 4 medium-sized onions, finely sliced 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 2 tbsp vinegar 1/4 finely-sliced fresh coconut Curry leaves and chopped coriander leaves 2 green chillies, deseeded and spilt in the middle 1 tbsp cooking oil; Salt to taste

METHOD ■ Blitz all the ingredients for the masala into a smooth paste. ■ Marinate the pork in this masala for an hour or so. It softens the meat. ■ Cook this marinated pork by adding the ginger, vinegar, salt and water. Take off the heat once 3/4th done. ■ Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet, pop the mustard seeds, curry leaves, chopped garlic and then fry the finely sliced onions to golden brown. ■ Now take the pork, remove excess water (this will help pour out the excess pork fat too in case you are a health junkie), and mix into the onions. Let the gravy mix and cook together till the pork is done (do the fork test to know if the pork is cooked). Throw in the finely sliced coconut, coriander leaves and sliced green chillies. Cook for a minute or so, mixing it all in. ■ Serve with rice or bread. Photos: MCT

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

Photo: THINKSTOCK

WHERE YOU CAN PIG OUT

The north-east rivals Goa as the centre of pork cookery. At markets (left) in places like Imphal, Manipur, you will find a special kind of pork sausage that is roasted (above)

or vindaloo without any loss of taste. But, he adds, as do many other pork-lovers, that farmed pork, while safe, can also be bland. Hoihnu has difficulty with pork in Delhi because it does not have the flavours she is used to in Manipur. One of Julia’s most popular dishes at Tres is the pork belly. She says she tried hard to use Indian pork but the dish just didn’t taste right. Eventually, she switched to Belgian pork. The success of dishes such as Julia’s pork belly suggests that hoteliers and chefs are being needlessly cautious about introducing more pork dishes on their menus. Ananda says that till a few years ago, guests would ask where the pork was from before they ordered it. But now, they don’t care. Concerns about safety seem to be a thing of the past. Julia was advised by nearly everyone not to put pork on the menu – people in Delhi don’t like pork, she was told – but went ahead anyway. Now that it is her most popular dish, she feels vindicated. Of course I’m not sure we’ll ever get something like the Nagpal’s tikka. But you can’t say that Gautam is not trying. Last year, he encouraged chefs Manjit Gill and Madhu Krishnan to make a pork tikka (marinated in malt vinegar) at Bangalore’s ITC Gardenia hotel. I was among the lucky guys who got to try it. Perhaps it was like the Nagpal’s version or perhaps it wasn’t. I don’t really know. But I do know that it was absolutely terrific. If only more hoteliers and chefs would show that kind of courage! There’s no point restricting the use of pork to the breakfast menu or the Chinese kitchen. It’s time to introduce pork to the mainstream. And yes, it’s time to go the whole hog.


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TECHNO WARFARE

IS THE VERDICT FINAL? DID SAMSUNG PAY APPLE IN 30 TRUCKS FULL OF NICKELS?

Nope, Samsung can still appeal. And many feel that the jury verdict is flawed and came in too quickly in a case as complicated as this. Thus, till the fat lady sings... And, about the 30 trucks of nickels worth a billion dollars as payment to Apple – that was a typical but very well circulated Internet rumour.

Rajiv Makhni

DOES APPLE REALLY NEED $1.05 BILLION?

All you need to know about the multibillion dollar Big Battle

A

S I WRITE this column, the iPhone 5 (or whatever it’ll be called) is hours away from being announced. While it’s not possible for me to get in any more details (the magazine goes into print NOW and unfortunately Apple doesn’t care two hoots about my deadline), next week’s column will go into explicit detail on the all-new iOS device, its new features and exactly what impact it will now have on the competition and the consumer.

DWARFING THE NEW iPHONE

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Yet, even as the launch of a new iPhone is once again a big event – it’s dwarfed by what all has been happening in the world of mobiles in the past month. The very business of mobiles is about to change forever. Today, a new phone launch and what goes into it may not be formulated by scientists and engineers, but dictated by lawyers and litigators. It’s a technological abyss where innovation and creativity may no longer be the driving force – rather patents and trademarks will be the force majeure. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is already being called the first smartphone designed exclusively by lawyers, right down to the last screw. Soon, that might become a standard. To understand how we’ve reached this stage, we’ve got to dig a little into history. This is a story with many characters, companies, rivalries, past history and a stake of a multibillion dollar personal device market. At stake is the future of many brands as well as us, the consumer. Let’s start this intriguing tale from the start. GOING ALL LEGAL

A new phone launch and what goes into it may not be formulated by scientists and engineers, but dictated by lawyers and litigators

BOMBING AND CONFUSION

In 2006, Google’s then CEO Eric Schmidt sits on Apple’s board of directors. A short while later, Google comes up with Android as a mobile OS. Steve Jobs considers Android a stolen and copycat product and threatens to go ‘thermonuclear’ on Google. With Apple winning a verdict of $1.05 billion against Samsung, consider that thermonuclear bomb dropped! While it sounds like typical corporate warfare – the implications here are many as is the confusion around this verdict. Let’s take up the most critical questions that are popping up from all quarters.

WHY SAMSUNG?

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

SAMSUNG CAN’T SELL PHONES AT ALL?

Nah! This mainly concerns Samsung phones that are already end of life – old phones that date back a year or more. So while there are financial implications for Samsung – it really doesn’t hurt their current and future portfolio much.

DOES APPLE HAVE THE MOST PATENTS?

Far from it. They actually bring up the rear end. In the mobile sector of patent families – Samsung has around 32,000, Microsoft holds about 9,000 and Apple has about 1,900 and mainly in the user interface area (exactly what they sued for). Thus having very few patents, Apple tends to defend its turf hard. Very hard!

WITH SO MANY PATENTS, WILL SAMSUNG & OTHERS...?

Yes, they will and are. Counter suits, serious allegations and more patent litigation is now in court more than ever before. Samsung, Motorola and many others are hitting back. In fact, the rumour mill is strong that Samsung will have multiple points to sue Apple on the iPhone 5, including use of LTE (long-term evolution).

AREN’T PATENT WARS BAD FOR INNOVATION?

Good point. You go to the top of the class for that one. It truly does. Patent wars and litigation slow everybody down, time is wasted in courts rather than in R&D, and most scientists and innovators are usually looking over their shoulder rather than cracking the next big thing. Even Apple founder Steve Wozniak feels that the fallout of patent wars is less innovation and more expensive products. And while Samsung and Google and Apple slug it out – companies like Microsoft and Nokia may just be able to pick up the gauntlet and run fast – taking away market share from both OS bases.

It’s easier to take on Samsung than it is to take on Google

That’s a good question. With so many other Android phone makers, why single out Samsung? Well – it’s called maximum impact through a slightly softer target. Worldwide, Samsung is Apple’s biggest competition, and hitting them hard helps. This is mainly a proxy war on Google through whipping boy Samsung. It’s easier to take on Samsung than it is to take on Google.

Putting aside the fact that you can’t be ‘too’ rich, this really isn’t about money. Apple wants others to not copy its design and methodology in making devices and this sends a clear message out to all. It’s not about protecting its current portfolio – but Apple devices of the future. In fact, Apple was able to achieve its true intention way before the verdict. Most companies made special efforts in the last one year to steer clear from anything ‘Applish’.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

There are two scenarios that may take shape in the future. The first would be that the mobile and device business becomes a boring little place where every company treads carefully around the other and bring out ‘safe’ products. The other could be a thriving eco-system where there are no copycat ‘metoo’ products and each company goes into overdrive with fantastic new innovations that are real game changers. I’m truly hoping for the latter but bracing for the former! Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, CellGuru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com /RajivMakhni


THE KARACHI TRIPPING POINT

PLAYING THE PIPES

Basheer (above), the debut album by the duo Saad Munzar and Salman Younas Khan of Basheer & the Pied Pipers (below) sparkles with originality

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Sanjoy Narayan

T’S THE trippiest music that I have heard in the past six months and it comes from Karachi. Yes. That’s right. Karachi, Pakistan. It’s a band called Basheer & The Pied Pipers and they make a top notch variety of original experimental rock music. The band was formed by two medical students – Saad Munzar and Salman Younas Khan – and their debut album, Basheer, is available for free download. It’s a gem of a find. I’m no longer surprised at the strange ways in which one can discover new bands. I learnt about Karachi’s Basheer & The Pied Pipers while listening to an excellent (if a bit verbose) podcast from Song By Toad, a music blog based in Scotland. On a recent episode of the podcast (it’s called a Toadcast, by the way), the playlist included Circling Nowhere, a track off Basheer & The Pied Pipers’ debut album. It’s the kind of track that makes you instantly take note of the band. It’s got a post-rock, ethereal ambience that reminded me of the Icelandic post-rock band, Sigur Ros. But Basheer & The Pied Pipers are not a rip-off of that band. Their music is very original. Many of their tracks are primarily instrumental but there are vocals on a few too with lyrics in English and the duo – essentially a bassist-cum-guitarist and a drummer – appear to draw upon a host of influences. After listening to Circling Nowhere I couldn’t wait to try more of the Karachi band. That’s when I discovered Basheer, their debut album, which you can download on bandcamp.com. The tracks on Basheer (there are 10) sparkle with originality: very melodic and yet improvisational and sometimes quite hypnotic. Basheer & The Pied Pipers love jamming but their music doesn’t become self-indulgent. In fact, their debut album can become quite endearing. I put it on repeat after I first heard it. When I tried learning more about them on the Internet I was rather surprised to find very little. Dawn, the leading Pakistani newspaper, had an article about their origins and the debut album but not much else. The band, says Munzar who plays the guitar and bass

download central

They’re a band called Basheer & The Pied Pipers and they make top notch original experimental rock music

THE JUKEBOX han Marshall, better known by her stage name, Cat Power, is a gifted American singer-songwriter but her career graph has been erratic, marked by hiatuses and struggles with various problems. But her discography is studded with great work. In 2000, she released The Covers Record, her fifth album, which almost entirely comprised covers of songs including, notably, a powerful and almost unrecognisable version of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction. Then, there was The Greatest (2006) followed by another covers album, Jukebox (2008). Now, after a four-year gap, she’s released Sun, her first original after The Greatest. On Sun, Cat Power abandons her earlier sparse minimalism and embraces more instruments, notably a synth as well as AutoTune. A good album to rediscover the complicated artist or, if you haven’t heard her, to introduce yourself.

ALL FROM THE SAME STABLE

Karachi’s / /orangenoise (above) is a metal-inspired hard rock outfit

(drummer Khan also plays synthesizers), is influenced among others by Radiohead, Sigur Ros (that often shows in their music), Mos Def and Massive Attack. But their music is nowhere close to being a clone of what these leading bands do. Also, the band has tried to steer clear of doing the usual eastwest fusion sort of rubbish that many “new age” bands from the sub-continent fall prey to. Flutes and eastern percussion instruments do sometimes stray into their music but they’ve abstained from doing ‘it’s-ethnic-therefore-it’s-exotic’ kind of compositions. Good, because, frankly, I find that sort of stuff boring. Before this year’s release of the debut full-length, Basheer & The Pied Pipers had Paperclouds, an EP out. That too is available easily on the Net. What isn’t, however, is more details about the band. Karachi and Lahore have a vibrant underground music scene and while this side of the border is familiar with the Sufi rock band, Junoon (I’m sure there are fans of that band teeming out there but I’m not one), there are many more hidden gems that are worth discovering. It’s not easy to find them but there are ways to do so. One such is Uth Records, a youth-based music show on TV whose website says that it “provides talented young musicians a professional music platform for their original work to be seen and heard across Pakistan, irrespective of age, gender, language and background”. That’s where I discovered another interesting Pakistani band. Also from Karachi, //orangenoise is not an ambient, experimental rock band like Basheer & The Pied Pipers but a full-blown metal-inspired hard rock outfit. They too have a bandcamp.com page where some of their albums, an EP, a single and remixes, can be downloaded. Worth a try. To give feedback, stream or download the music mentioned in this column, go to http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/download-central, follow argus48 on Twitter

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

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Photo: GETTYIMAGES

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URBAN TRIBES

Photos: THINKSTOCK

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Seema Goswami SIMILAR AESTHETIC SENSE

They are quite easy to spot; and each one has its own distinctive look

WHAT’S YOUR TYPE?

There’s the ‘artistic’ lot who wear a lot of vegetable dye, teamed with cloth bags (below); the ‘nerd’ corner where the accessory of choice is a pair of blackrimmed spectacles or the ‘cool’ kids ready to flaunt their designer loafers (right)

Do the blue-jean ladies come together because of their love of denim? Or do they infect one another with their love of casual chic as time goes on? Or, to put it more simply: do the blue-jean ladies come together because of their love of denim? Or do they infect one another with their love of casual chic as time goes on? Ditto, the short-dress brigade. I haven’t quite figured that one out as yet, but there is no denying that no matter where we go, we are surrounded by urban tribes, who stand out because of their shared tastes. And that these tribes come in all ages, shapes, sizes and genders. There are the stroppy teenagers who skulk about in oversized jeans that reveal their knickers (and sometimes, a generous dose of bum-cleavage as well). There are the gym rats (both male and female) who squeeze themselves into body-con clothes to show off the pectoral muscles honed over months of diligently working weights. There are the young professionals who wear their tailored suits like a badge of pride. There are the middle-aged ladies who personify the phrase ‘mutton dressed as lamb’. And then, there are the men who cope with their mid-life crises by dressing like their teenage sons (think lots of denim, leather and sneakers). In offices, everyone seems to follow the non-verbal cues sent out by the bosses. So, if the man or woman in charge has a relaxed, casual vibe, then everyone else down the food chain tends to adopt that as well in their style of dressing. And if the boss lady or man is a stickler for formality, then even without being explicitly asked to do so, everyone else dresses very ‘proper’ too. When it comes to the professional world, discretion is the better part of valour. And what could be more discreet than following in the footsteps of the boss (you know what they say about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery). But then, almost every profession itself has its own default look. The NGO sector can be recognised by the profusion of khadi kurtas, handloom saris, large maroon bindis and the oversized jholas that have spawned the phrase ‘jholawallah types’. The banking sector has made the boring grey suit its own. And media people have become known for a certain innate scruffiness, turning up defiantly in jeans and T-shirts even when attending formal functions. That said, quite the best place to observe the phenomenon of urban tribes is a university campus, where every clique and gang has its own uniform, so to speak. There are the ‘artistic’ lot, who tend to wear a lot of block-print and vegetable dye, teamed with cloth bags and scuffed kolhapuris. There is the ‘nerd’ corner, where everyone wears loose, faded jeans and T-shirts and the accessory of choice is a pair of black-rimmed spectacles. There are the ‘cool’ kids, who flaunt all the latest designer labels, right from their trendy sunglasses to their leather loafers. And so on. Actually if you think about it, the university campus is like a metaphor for the world itself, with its collection of urban tribes who band together on the strength of both shared interests and a shared aesthetic – no matter which one comes first.

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AVING LUNCH with my girlfriends is always an excuse to indulge in our favourite group activity: people watching. Which is, of course, followed by a little gentle bitching about the people being watched. (Now, don’t get all judgemental on me; you know you do that too.) Last Saturday, as we fetched up to eat at our favourite restaurant, we were particularly intrigued by a group of young women – all in their early to late 30s – who had taken over the private dining room to celebrate some sort of special occasion, judging by the champagne resting nicely on ice. As they trooped past our table and into their glass-encased bubble - decorated with balloons and streamers and an oversized cake occupying pride of place – we couldn’t help but notice just how similar they all looked. They all had suspiciously smooth skin, with bright, shiny foreheads, with nary a wrinkle in sight. They all had blonde highlights in their hair, which they all wore down below their shoulders. They all had their slim, exfoliated legs on display, wearing either short dresses or short skirts. All of them sported skinny belts around their impossibly-tiny waists, which were nicely set off by their oversized (and overpriced) designer handbags. Hell, they even had the exact same pout (or, as one of my friends sniggered, the exact same plastic surgeon). It was almost as if they had come straight out of Central Casting: ladies who lunched a lot; and then threw up promptly afterwards so that they could fit into their size zero wardrobes (which were so alike as to be virtually interchangeable). I would have liked to scoff at them, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the ladies on my table were also dressed in a manner that was strikingly similar to one another. We were all in the regulation journowear of blue jeans paired with Anokhi or Fabindia-style kurtas. We all had on chunky platform heels to give us height with minimum discomfort and were carrying totes large enough to lug our laptops/iPads around in. Okay, we didn’t have identikit hair, with lengths varying from crop-top to below the waist, but nonetheless there was a strong common aesthetic binding our look together. All of which got me thinking: so, which comes first? As in, do women who have the same aesthetic tend to bind together? Or do women who stick together tend to develop the same aesthetic sense? SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

seema_ht@rediffmail.com. Follow Seema on Twitter at twitter.com/seemagoswami


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twitter.com/HTBrunch

The Sound And The Fury

Double layer glass with sound absorption glass outside to reduce the din

Cover the walls with sound absorption panels

Neighbours hate your playlist? Here’s how to get your own listening room

W

HEN WAS was the last time your neighbours set the dog on you or dialled 100 to muffle your musical ambitions? This may seem farfetched but it’s a common occurrence for many musicians. Ask Parikrama percussionist Srijan Mahajan. “Initially, my neighbours would keep calling my number and ask me to stop. But I played on. Now that I play at studios or at a reasonable hour, they are more tolerant.” Apart from hostile neighbours, acoustic-unfriendly rooms and discordant echoes can prove jarring to the ears of connoisseurs and lay listeners. But converting your study or living room into a personal sound room isn’t as tough as it, well... sounds. You don’t have to be a professional to listen to clearer music in your own room. Using simple steps, you can dampen and soundproof your room to an extent that there is a

CHEAP ENOUGH! Creating a sound room out of your regular-sized room costs a minimum of R10,000 (for 2-3 acoustic panels) for basic sound absorption and bass control. These costs can go up to R2,00,000 depending on the level of soundproofing and sophistication.

?

WHAT’S IT

CALLED

rich sound inside, and the neighbours, too, can keep to themselves. A good listening room is one where your ears feel comfortably numb, as ever-present background sounds are absent. You shout, and your voice doesn’t echo. You hear a single sound, nothing overlaps. Architect and sound engineer Arsh Sharma says the most important sound control factor is to avoid the bass frequency boom, which isn’t part of the original soundtrack. “All speakers have an added distorted sound emerging from the back, apart from the main sound. A wall of acoustic panels right behind the speakers, and another in front, is essential to create a good listening environment,” adds Sharma.

DO-IT-YOURSELF

Certain simple ideas in a room can produce great results when it comes to sound dampening (see Sound Advice). “Use a lot of filled bookcases, and have plenty of cushions, mattresses and fabric,” says Sharma, who is also a guitarist with Delhibased experimental rock band The Circus. Sharma has built a basic sound recording room in his South Delhi house, which has acoustic panels all over the room to cover all visible space on the walls and ceiling. Sound designer Debjit Mitra, who

Photo: RAJ K RAJ

by Manit Moorjani

Double layer carpets with a thick rug over the entire floor to absorb sound HOME MADE RECORDING

Audio engineer and guitarist Arsh Sharma in his sound room has handled the audio engineering for stand-up comedy groups such as Delhi’s Cheese Monkey Mafia and Mumbai’s Culture Shoq, has put up acoustic panels in his bedroom. Mitra says bass sounds are toughest to soundproof, and one has to select sound-absorbent materials. “Acoustic panels with foam sheets and pinboards are handy. Don’t use egg trays, they don’t work,” he says. If you can afford it, go for wooden false ceilings. “And if the room is being built, make sure to not have an even number of surfaces. A hexagonal-shaped room works well,” adds Sharma, who also plays for the electronica band Fuzzculture. So what are you waiting for? Turn up the volume! manit.moorjani@hindustantimes.com

SOUND ADVICE

Here’s what you can do to create a basic sound room without hiring a fancy (and expensive) expert ■ Fill the place with bookcases filled with books to absorb sound ■ Furnish it with cushions, rugs, thick mattresses and carpets ■ Add more cloth and fabric to the room – tablecloths, blankets on sofas, chairs, canvas, other thick fabric ■ Use wood (as much as possible) ■ Install acoustic panels ■ Use double-layer soundproof glass ■ Install false ceilings ■ Get a soundproof door bottom ■ Use acoustic insulation to fill gaps and edges of windows ■ Paint it right. Some professionals even have soundproof paint Here are some age-old garage band tricks that might come in handy ■ Hang thick rugs or old mattresses against the walls ■ Just fill the room with stuff – even if you need to place store-room racks

That coaster-like thing you put under a hot bowl before placing it on a table? It’s called a TRIVET


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India Bana Pardes A Pardesi Watches Bollywood a three-part series PA R T 2

The Alpha

Agneepath is what we could call the tale of the alpha beta – the son who claims to be dutiful but aggressively overturns the legacy of the beloved father by Jonathan Gil Harris

K

ARAN MALHOTRA’S Agneepath is one of the biggest box-office hits of the year. It may seem to represent a return to an older Bollywood style: Agneepath is, after all, a remake of Mukul Anand’s 1990 cult classic tale of revenge, and like the latter, it is a highly stylised melodrama in which the hero suffers terribly, schemes patiently, and ultimately succeeds both in avenging the righteous and killing the bad guy. So how can this self-conscious throwback be considered an instance of the new wave of India Bana Pardes movies that I discussed in last week’s article? In some ways, Agneepath would seem to be the opposite of Don 2, the exemplary “India Becomes Foreign” film. That movie imagines an Indian world in which India curiously no longer exists, as everyone in it is a rootless NRI, shape-shifting across international borders and identities in the manner of global capital. Agneepath, by contrast, doesn’t set foot out of India, and its characters remain resolutely themselves, rooted in a strong, old-fashioned sense of family. At first glance, this film’s shaping logic is anything but India Bana Pardes: On the contrary, it might seem to be India Bharat Vaapis Bana. Yet the film provides an illuminating variation on the theme of India Bana Pardes. What is pardes in Agneepath is not a foreign culture or country. Rather, it is a foreign element that haunts the structure of the Indian family itself. In particular, the film mines something in the nature of the father-son relation that brings out the other meaning of Bana Pardes: Becoming Strange or Becoming Estranged. Agneepath shows how the reverence that the son is supposed to extend to the father can easily cam-

HE’S A NEW MAN

Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay (above) works for a quartet of crime bosses. Hrithik Roshan’s Vijay serves his underworld apprenticeship with a new ganglord

The new Agneepath is an exceedingly violent movie that dismembers as much as it remembers the original ouflage a violent repudiation of him. And it does so in a way that subtly illuminates India’s complex relations to its past traditions in an age of economic liberalisation. Agneepath is a story of a loyal son seeking to honour his father – not just in the film’s onscreen narrative, but also in its production history. Much has been made of how Karan Johar wished to do a remake of the original Agneepath, which had been produced by his late father Yash Johar. Though now regarded as a cult classic, the original had bombed on its initial release in 1990. Karan has described its failure as a major trauma that devastated Yash Johar SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

both emotionally and financially. In commissioning Karan Malhotra to script and direct the remake, Johar has sought to pay tribute to his late father, as the Dharma Productions homage in the opening credits (“we miss you”) makes clear. Which is to say: Johar has produced a film whose very story mirrors the conditions of its production – a son trying to salvage his father’s lost honour. Yet this conceals one important detail about Agneepath’s father-son relation. Although the hero Vijay claims to avenge his father, his seeming act of filial memory is really an act of forgetting. His father, Dinanath, is a Gandhian pacificist;

after Dinanath has been falsely framed by the evil Kancha Cheena, and has been violently assaulted and hanged from a tree in the village of Mandwa, Vijay smoulders with a decades-long desire for righteous vengeance. But that desire means that even as he insists on remembering his father, he forgets Dinanath’s path of ahimsa and takes the opposite course – a course of violence learned in the Mumbai underworld. A similar forgetting in the name of remembering afflicts the parallel story of the film’s production. Even as Karan Johar has paid tribute to Yash Johar with Agneepath, he has produced a movie that differs greatly from his father’s. The basic foundations of the story are the same, but the remake literally loses the plot once Vijay leaves Mandwa for Mumbai. In the original, Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay works for a quartet of crime bosses whom he knocks off, one by one; his sidekick is a Tamil nariyal paaniwaala and his love interest is a Christian nurse. All are missing from the new version, in which Hrithik Roshan’s Vijay serves his underworld apprenticeship with a new ganglord, Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor) and has a new love interest, Kaali Gawde (Priyanka Chopra). It’s not just the story that is different. The original Kancha Cheena was played by Danny Dengzongpa as a somewhat effete, pipe-smoking villain; this time round, Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha is an oversized monster looking remarkably like The Lord of the Rings’ Gollum if he’d spent two decades beefing up on a wrestler’s diet and doing daily workouts at a


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gym next to a tattoo parlour. Because the new Vijay has to overcome a limb-tearing adversary who would give even the Incredible Hulk pause, the result is an exceedingly violent movie that dismembers as much as it remembers the original. The effect of both Vijay’s and Karan Johar’s forgetting in the name of remembering is a Bollywood counterpart to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. That play’s title character also seeks to honour a beloved dead father and avenge him; but even as the ghost of the father exhorts his son to remember, Hamlet keeps forgetting what he is meant to do. This simultaneous identification with and resistance to the will of the father distinguishes a psychodrama in which forgetting is the form that apparent remembrance takes. Bachchan’s own father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, wrote the poem that gave the film its title; Amitabh’s Vijay memorises it without ever fully comprehending what it means as he pursues his career as a gangster. (The poem is an ode to virtuous perseverance – tu na mudega kabhi – not to murderous violence.) But Agneepath’s complex father-son drama is made even more glaringly evident in the remake. This is in no small part due to Hrithik Roshan’s unusual performance as Vijay. As a star whose boxoffice successes and flops are very much associated with those of his own director-producer father, Rakesh Roshan (Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai, Koi… Mil Gaya, Krrish, Kites), Hrithik comes to the film with the baggage of being a daddy’s boy. But Roshan’s performance alternates between a robotic

brutality of a kind not seen in the original Agneepath and a desperate neediness for the mother who rejects him because of his embrace of criminal violence. This vacillation transforms the film into an extended nightmare in which Vijay completely forgets the lessons of the father he idealises. At the end, after he has returned to Mandwa, executed Kancha Cheena following a particularly gruesome fight, and is dying in the arms of his estranged mother, he asks her: “Maine thikh kiya? [did I do the right thing?]” Rather than answer in the affirmative, she says simply that she hopes he will be reborn as her son in her next life. Her non-committal response underlines the long distance Vijay has travelled from his father’s and her own non-violent path. So what does all this have to do with India Bana Pardes? Perhaps we can see in the drama of a remembering that is really a forgetting Karan Johar’s own personal psychodrama, of needing both to honour his father and establish his independence from him. But the chord Agneepath has struck with its audiences suggests that its power has to do less with a personal than with a larger national psychodrama. What Vijay’s estrangement from his family speaks to, I would argue, is a sense of historical rupture in the wake of economic liberalisation. Manmohan Singh’s economic reforms began in 1991, the year after the release – and failure – of the original Agneepath. The reforms have promised brave new futures for some; but they have also threatened an irreversible break with certain national traditions. Even

Agneepath’s complex father/son drama is more evident in the remake

T H E BA D B OY G E TS W O R S E

A WHALE OF A DIFFERENCE

The original Kancha Cheena was played by Danny Dengzongpa (right) as a somewhat effete villain; Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha (above) is an oversized monster as India continues to call Gandhi Rashtra Pita or Father of the Nation, it cannot help but move away from his and Nehru’s legacy under the pressures of globalisation, urbanisation, and a widening gap between rich and poor. In the process, just as Vijay violently estranges himself from the Gandhian father he honours, so has India in the age of liberalisation become pardes or estranged from the Gandhian ideals of non-violence and equal opportunity to which it still pays lip-service. At the level of national fantasy as much as individual character, Agneepath is what we could call the tale of the alpha beta – the son who claims to be dutiful but aggressively overturns the legacy of the beloved father. The film does what the revenge movie genre asks it to do: The hero salvages the honour of his father and slays the evil-doer who killed him. But it has also paid lip-

service to the father’s memory while violently repudiating everything the father stands for. It’s often the case that, the more thoroughly we break with tradition, the more we will idealise it. And the more violent our repudiation, the more we sentimentalise that which we have repudiated. Sometimes we do need to separate from the father. But we must be careful not to disguise this estrangement as a starry-eyed tribute. brunchletters@hindustantimes.com

Next week: The Musical Ghosts of Dilliwood (Rockstar) – The author is Professor of English at George Washington University in Washington DC, USA

“Ye mahaan drishya hai; Chal raha manushya hai; Ashru swed raqt se; Lathpath, lathpath, lathpath; Agneepath, agneepath, agneepath” – Harivansh Rai Bachchan, poet


PERSONAL AGENDA

20

facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch

Fashion designer/stylist

Aki Narula if i could... I WOULD WRITE A SCRIPT

INTERN WITH GULZAR

HAVE BREAKFAST IN TULUM [AN ISLAND IN MEXICO]

SUN SIGN Virgo

HOMETOWN Kolkata

BIRTHDAY PLACE OF BIRTH September 6

Kolkata

SCHOOL/ HIGH POINT COLLEGE OF YOUR LIFE La Martiniere, Lakme India Fashion Week Kolkata in 2000

Aki, is that really the name your parents gave you? Yes. Aki was the name given to me by my parents and my grandfather. Have you ever worn makeup of any sort while facing the camera? I often use concealer for the undereye area because of my small eyes and dark circles. If you had to dress the Queen of England, what look

Photos: THINKSTOCK

TAKE MY FATHER TO PARIS, LONDON AND VIENNA, WHERE HE STUDIED

LOW POINT OF YOUR LIFE

CURRENTLY DOING

When I lost my mother

would you give her? A customised suit by Vivienne Westwood. Which of your designs or collections has got the most flak from the media? Thankfully, none of my work has received any flak from the media. My film work has also been received really well. It was always seen as out of the box. Would you rather cheat or be cheated upon? None of the above. Who do you think has the best style among the current crop of Bollywood actresses (you can’t name any of your clients)? I have worked with almost all the top-ranking film actresses, but I feel that Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone are the best styled. What is the biggest mistake most Indian women make when they dress up? Indian women wear everything at once when they are dressing up. They should understand that

HOW MANY PAIRS OF BLUE JEANS DO YOU HAVE?

Hosting What Not To Wear - India on TLC right now

Around 40

‘less’ is in, and complements their personality more. You have to send a cheesy greeting card to your sweetheart on completing one month of togetherness, What do you write? “Sunny side up, please!” If you had to spend your life wearing just one kind of outfit, what would it be? A black Pathani suit. Tell us when you last got drunk out of your mind and what happened next. I still don’t remember anything. If you were given a chance to remake one film, which one would it be? A film that’s a combination of Mausam and Aandhi. One song that describes your current state of mind? A song by Nicolas Jaar – Just with a glance. The one part of your body you would never get tattooed? My nose. The one lie you got away with? The last one. If you could peep into anyone’s house, whose would it be? All my ex-lovers’. I would love to spy on them. The one actress you would love to dress on screen? Dimple Kapadia. The last line of your autobiography would read? Tum aa gaye ho noor aa gaya hai or the other option would be, “Each one of us is, successively, not one but many astonishing contrasting personalities”. — Interviewed by Yashica Dutt

SEPTEMBER 16, 2012



Hindustantimes Brunch 16 September 2012