SOUTH INDIA'S PREMIER UBER LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
JULY 2013 VOL 9 ISSUE 12
FOCUS WE DECODE THE RECENT RULING ON PREMARITAL SEX WITH A HEATED DEBATE
PLUS GREAT FOOD, TREND-SPOTTING AND LOTS MORE...
TO HANDLE! A FABULOUS COMPILATION OF THE SEASON’S BEST CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES FROM TOP DESIGNERS IN OUR FASHION SPECIAL
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
As we near the 9th anniversary of RITZ, I look back at how this magazine has shattered norms, altered perspectives, set new benchmarks and has kept soaring higher with each month. It has been a stimulating challenge to run Chennai’s ﬁrst successful lifestyle magazine, which now stands tall as a premier pan-South India publication. Along the way, we have managed to touch lives, put inspiring personalities from across several ﬁelds in the spotlight and ensure South Indian icons get their share of nation-wide recognition. It’s been a fabulous journey so far, guys. Watch out for power-packed editions every single month!
From sporty trends to cobalt monsoons, a love story from Nepal to the design aesthetics of Neeta Lulla and Sunil Mehra, and a good measure of Qboid Furniture and Symetree Jewellery: you’ve got some really Haute Stuff brewing, baby!
ON OUR RADAR
We’re buzzin’ about all that’s new this month
Who’s glamming up the air?
SNAPPED We came, we saw, we captured…
A guide to what the wealthy do best, collecting art
PORTFOLIO Suhani Pittie’s fantastic new line of jewellery will bowl you over
Premarital sex has everyone in a heated debate. And here we are, playing devil’s advocate!
OVER A CUPPA
An invigorating chat with Apsara Reddy on her perspectives as a transwoman
Top Indian designers showcase their best this Autumn/Winter
VIEWPOINT Sujaya Chandran adds a new perspective to a slice of life with her wry humour
Take a peek into our Cape Town diaries
In our selection of a book, two movies and a zippy chat with actor/entrepreneur Karthik Kumar
Vidya Singh gets together with a bunch of fashionable jet-setters for some haute dining
THE RITZ READER
Tanvi Shah on her idea of luxury
EDITOR & PUBLISHER ARUNA R KRISHNAN EDITORIAL CO-ORDINATORS KIRTHI JAYAKUMAR & SHRUTI SUDHAKARAN CONTRIBUTING WRITERS KIRTHI JAYAKUMAR, MARCUS A. CLAY, MINAL KHONA, POORNIMA MAKARAM, RADHIKA RAJAMANI, RICHA TILOKANI, SUJAYA CHANDRAN, URMILLA PULLAT, VIDYA SINGH, VIRA SHAH GUEST COLUMNISTS SHARAN APPARAO, SUJAYA CHANDRAN, VIDYA SINGH DESIGN PURPLE MANGO CREATIVE SOLUTIONS MARKETING MANAGER PRAVEEN KUMAR M MANAGER- CLIENT SERVICE ANJANA B NAIR SENIOR MEDIA EXECUTIVE â€“ FILM PROMOTIONS SANJAY.G FEATURES PHOTOGRAPHER ARUL RAJ EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER, CHENNAI M.GURUNATH PRABHU EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER, HYDERABAD SYED ALIMUDDIN
To advertise in RITZ, call Praveen Kumar on 9841973090 / 044 42113871 All correspondence should be addressed to: RITZ, 7th Floor, Sigma Wing, Raheja Towers, 177, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002. Contact: 42113871 / 2 Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Edited and Published by Aruna R Krishnan from 7th Floor, Sigma Wing, Raheja Towers, 177 Anna Salai, Chennai 600002. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. RITZ is not responsible for unsolicited material. RITZ assumes no responsibility for the veracity and authenticity of the advertisements published herein. Readers are requested to make appropriate enquiries before incurring any expenses or acting on medical recommendations or otherwise in relation to any advertisement or article published herein. Also views in articles published herein are those of the respective authors only. RITZ does not necessarily subscribe to these views.
The Mango mania is still on and going strong, despite the end of the season for this King of Fruits approaching. Courtyard by Marriott has whipped up mango surprises that are sure to pamper your taste buds. If you have a sweet tooth, then dig into Mango mousse, Mango sundae, Mango cheesecake, Fresh Mango Gateaux with Strawberry Coulis and more. And if you prefer eating mangoes with a tiny hint of alcohol, chef has got a little something for you too! Tuck into Mango Belinio, Mandarin, Magic, Alfonso Delight and more. Walk into Courtyard by Marriott and let the much-loved fruit talk to your senses. Courtyard by Marriott, 564, Anna Salai, Chennai.
Fancy a huge spread of delicious dishes in the middle of the night? Head to the Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers! Dig into a lavish midnight feast as you ﬁnd the most delectable dishes set out for you in the heart of the night. Enjoy the last leg of the delicious Midnight Breakfast Buffet all this month at Cappuccino, at the Sheraton Park Hotels and Towers. Sheraton Park Hotels and Towers, Lobby Level, Chamiers Road, Alwarpet, Chennai.
Craving Thai food? Indulge in it, royal style. Benjarong is hosting the ‘A-harn Chao Wang, the Royal Thai Food Festival’ for the ﬁrst time in Chennai at its TTK Road restaurant from July 11 to 29. The unique culinary feast will feature the most authentic Thai cuisine style to date, the ‘Royal Thai Cuisine’, which is still the style served to the current Thai Royal family. Benjarong, No. 146, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600018.
Gaga over Gamberoni Make a beeline to the Accord Metropolitan to try Gamberoni Japanese the dish from Seasons, the all-day dining restaurant. A dish comprising crispy shrimps served with Wasabi Mayo, the Gamberoni Japanese is made with 5 simple ingredients. Japanese Panko crumbs, a very special coating, made from wheat ﬂour to impart the right texture, is used in the dish. It is served with Wasabi Mayo, which has a sharp and tangy taste, thanks in full to the famous wasabi (Japanese horseradish). On the pocket: ` 495
A hot favourite of: Kazumasa Kuboki San, the President of Japanese Trade Organization. Head to: The Accord Metropolitan, GN Chetty Road, T-Nagar, Chennai.
Lobster Lobby The Hilton Chennai has the delicious Zaffrani Lobster, at Ayna, the contemporary Indian restaurant. Grilled on charcoal and having a strong ﬂavour of saffron, the recipe is simple. Devein the meat of the lobster without breaking the shell, marinate the lobster meat with salt, ginger-garlic paste and lemon juice and set it aside for 20 minutes. Take a bowl and mix cream cheese, almond paste, cashewnut paste, saffron, green chilli, chopped javetri, cardamom powder, white pepper powder, cream, salt, salad oil and butter. Marinate the lobster again with the ingredients above and set it aside for 1 hour. Then cook in a moderately hot tandoor till done. Apply butter on top. On the pocket: ` 1900/- plus tax A hot favourite of: Many celebrities and industrialists across the country. Head to: Hilton Chennai, 124/1 J.N.Salai, Guindy, Chennai.
At this year’s Lakmé Fashion Week, Sabyasachi Mukherjee will present his collection as the Grand Finale designer. His Finale presentation is set to be one of the season’s most awaited shows, after a hiatus of ﬁve years. Popular for his design philosophy known as the ‘personalised imperfection of the human hand’, Sabya recently drew enormous ﬂak for his styling of Vidya Balan at Cannes. But to his credit, Aishwarya Rai who also wore a black and gold sari from Sabyasachi’s collection on one of her appearances at the same event looked fabulous.
KEEPING TIME NEVER GOT COOLER! Craftsvilla.com has a range of stylish pieces of wall clocks that match your décor, made for different personalities, in accordance with their sun signs. These clocks not only tell time but also inform you about your lucky day, stone, colour and qualities. They are designed from stainless steel and have a matt ﬁnish. Price: ` 449.
Can’t get enough of Sex and the City? Well, here’s something you’ll like! Bracialeto has introduced the perfect line of charms and accessories for the ultimate SATC fan. Truly an ode to the sitcom, the accessory collection contains cocktail rings, shoes, bags, lipsticks and everything else that reminds you of New York City’s fabulous four!
THIS MONTH WE LOVE...
As the rains rumble around the corner, the 2013 Spring Summer Collection of Givenchy is a gentle way to end the season of unabashed heat. One look at Givenchy’s sober palette of luxe separates, and you will know that Riccardo Tisci has clearly outdone himself this time! From ﬂares to oneshoulders, from double-breasted to rufﬂes, the collection has a hint of the Bohemian with a generous dose of class. Great way to wind down summer in style!
The Tonka Pump in suede from Louis Vuitton has us in a tizzy. Embellished with an LV insignia on a handmade couture bow, this classy peep-toe leather platform pump, is super chic. If references are made every time a design makes its presence felt from the LV mill, you can be sure that the Tonka Pump is no different. The patent pointy-toed pump is a sexy leaf taken out of the 1960s, and thanks to its 9-centimetre heels, you will literally tower over the rest!
Despite stiff competition from rom newbie brands like Charlotte + Olympia and others, Jimmy Choo is holding up quite well. Think romantic expressions with a cutting modern edge. Think suede, python and soft calf leather. Think fringe, tassels and coin charms. And you’re there! We’re all eyes at Dream, which is a strappy sandal made of rock python leather with orchid woven ankle ties decorated with bright coloured silk tassels and coin charms. We’re really feeling the Manous, a calflength gladiator lace-up sandal and needless to say, it is next in our line of must-haves.
What’s new, doc?
Vira Shah takes you through some of the newest and coolest products on the block
Mango launches kids’ wear brand, Mango Kids Trendy clothing, accessories, footwear and underwear for children aged between 3 and 12 - that’s what’s up the sleeve of high street fashion behemoth Mango. An exciting concept is ‘minime’, where the best sellers from the women’s collection will be adapted for the little girls. Mango Kids is all set to roll out from July 18.
New social fashion app for tablets and mobiles Imagine being able to layer different pieces of the latest designer apparel and accessories on a virtual mannequin and then having a chance at winning the complete head-to-toe look. By merging technology, fashion, m-commerce and gaming, COVET fashion is bringing a new way to discover and interact with fashion brands. The app will feature fashion insiders giving their expert fashion advice and contribute features to develop deeper connections with the user. Stylist Rachel Zoe will be the ﬁrst of the many collaborators with the app, inspiring users to discover the most fashion-forward styles and shop with conﬁdence.
Where celebrations become grander
Trousseau packing | Gift boxes | Gift packing | Garlands and more...
Sanskrriti offers a range of custom-made, ethnic, and innovative wedding trousseau packaging, corporate gift hampers and festive giveaways to complement any celebratory occasion. Sanskrriti works closely out an inimitable style to your celebrations, making every moment count. Weekdays: 10am â€“ 7:30pm | Closed on Sunday
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Givenchy re-launches watch line After discontinuing their previous watch collection in 2009, Givenchy is now launching a new series of unisex watches called Seventeen. The new timepiece features stainless steel and sapphire glass housing a Swiss-made quartz movement. The style will come in six colour combinations, including black, red and green, with interchangeable straps in raw-edged leather or nylon. The new line of Givenchy watches will be sold through exclusive concept stores worldwide.
GLAM BRIGADE All hail the Ladymatic A showcase of the Ladymatic line of watches from the Swiss watch major, Omega, saw the movers and shakers of Hyderabad enjoying the display. The very elegant event was certainly a joyous occasion and saw the likes of art aﬁcionado Amrita Poddar and actress-producer Lakshmi Manchu admiring Omega’s beautiful collection of watches.
d Anju Po
Suhani Pittie, Stouvanth
A cuppa fashion A “Fashion Tea” with Suhani Pittie in Hyderabad had the who’s who of the city, congregating over a cuppa’ chai to mark the unveiling of her limited edition jewellery line. Suhani presented a spectacular range of jewellery themed on exotic tea varieties.
Aarthi erthi &
Vinita P Sneha Karuna
Swetha & Mamta Singh
RITZ AND RITU KUMAR IN HYDERABAD Fashion behemoth Ritu Kumar and South India’s top lifestyle magazine RITZ came together to present the couture collection of ‘Panchvastra & Chanderi’ and to unveil the June 2013 edition of RITZ featuring the gorgeous Shilpa Reddy on the cover. The combination of both powerhouses brought together an evening of style and panache with a unique blend of the contemporary chic and the classical Indian fashion ethos. Featuring a fashion presentation of Ritu Kumar’s Chanderi Collection, an ode to the textile traditions of Chanderi and the signature Panchvastra collection that pays tribute to the Mahabharata, the event also marked a strong foray of the magazine into Hyderabad. Cover personality Shilpa Reddy looked dazzling in a dress which was from her own eponymous line while the charismatic Lakshmi Manchu who received the ﬁrst copy was the special guest of honour for the evening.
SNAPPED JULY 2013
A RAY OF JOY Lisa Ray registered an aresting presence at the launch of the Rado HyperChrome collection in Chennai recently. The naturally beautiful Ms. Ray chose her clothes well and did the brand proud, by coming across as the perfect ﬁt for the elegantly eye-catching wrist piece. The event was well attended by Chennai’s who’s who.
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Master of the
Art could be for art’s sake, or it could be for proﬁt and passion investing. The marriage of art and commerce not only gave the artist his due, but the impresario much to mull over. Marcus A Clay gets to the heart of collecting art…
If you’ve found yourself admiring a painting and wondered how much it would cost to have it on your wall, it’s probably time to give the art aﬁcionado in you a chance. Or, if you’ve already bought three sprawling bungalows, a luxury yacht and a business jet, and are looking to put the money that’s lying around into something sensible and brag-worthy, maybe you should make a splash into the fascinating world of art? After all, among the perks that the high life brings, little else commands respect and admiration as a Rodin on your wall.
Art not only brings life to a living space, it is a good conversation starter, it works wonders on your psyche and if bought prudently, its creative mystique and potential for soaring values could mean extra bucks in your bank account. After the demand for art fell in 2011-2012 as the economy world over slowed, the last year has seen the Indian art market making steady progress and, driven by new wealth, becoming more buoyant. What was once only in the domain of the traditionally
hyper-wealthy, is now very much a part of the lives of anyone with an aesthetic eye or who understands the value of art – not just monetarily but aesthetically too. The proﬁle of the art buyer/collector has seen a sea change with younger people ﬁnding their feet in art. Well-known artist Parvathi Nayar says there’s never a bad time to buy art, and it has even emerged as an asset class that most moneyed people love to have in their investment portfolio. “If you
Do the footwork So, what do you do once you’ve decided to pick up a few frames for your wall? Well, the ﬁrst thing is to get in tune with your inner feelings. Drop in at your local gallery and spend some time taking in the sights and feel of everything, be it oil on canvas, watercolour, charcoal, pencil drawings, installations… the works. Look online; get to know a few artists, their work and lineage. Then, ask yourself why you want to buy art. If it’s purely for investment, it’s quite simple: you can go in for the work of a select category of blue chip artists like MF Husain, Gaitonde, Raja Ravi Varma and Akbar Padamsee, to name a few. Then, there are those from the next category – Jitish Kallat, Laxma Goud, Atul Dodiya, Ganesh Haloi and others. Pick up work of artists whose prices rise signiﬁcantly over time. Whether your tastes are classic or avant-garde, art being a tangible commodity is viewed as a hedge against the volatility of the stock markets. But before you sign a cheque at a gallery or raise your bidding paddle at an auction, read the disclaimer: art too comes with its own risks and expenses. Read the ﬁne print If you’ve decided to leap head-ﬁrst into the deep end of art investment, it’s necessary to understand the risks involved before you take the plunge. Get a grasp of the basic art concepts. Many investment experts concede that the lack of expertise is the main obstacle when it comes to investing in art. Most people are not comfortable buying expensive works merely on recommendations from a socalled expert. Says Parvathi, “When it comes to passion investment, always trust your instincts. Take expert opinions, but go with your heart and back it up with sound homework.” A great way to start On the other hand, if you’re looking to beautify your home or ofﬁce, your choices are much wider. You can go in for originals or even prints. Original paintings by contemporary artists come with price tags ranging from several thousands to a few lakh rupees. But, if you ﬁnd yourself unable
to justify the price of an original, you can pick up a selection of the same artist’s work for a humble sum that’s a fraction of what the original would cost, if it’s a print. A print (or giclée) is a machine-made reproduction printed on ﬁne paper or canvas with exceptional colour and clarity. But it’s still a copy. Parvathi agrees that prints are a great way to start. “There’s no denying that prints put ﬁne art within the reach of many enthusiasts. The price is much less, giving one the latitude to pick up what one truly likes, after all, one’s taste changes with time,” she adds. “Don’t spend your entire budget on one piece of work; be discerning about what you want and spread out your purchases over a period of time,” she advises. But, remember, copies are meant for your eye and won’t pull in any future income for you. “When it comes to copies, while a certiﬁcate wouldn’t lend much value to a reproduction, make sure it’s at least a limited signed print. That would make it a lot more special to you, even if the value does not appreciate.” When it comes to actually purchasing a piece, you have a whole range of genres, styles, and media. So, before you fall head over heels in love with one piece, it’s best to expose yourself to as much as you can. As far as paintings are concerned, artists use different media like acrylic, pastels, fresco, gouache, oil tempura, watercolours and water miscible oil paints. Each medium gives a work a different feel, and artists sometimes specialise in particular styles or using a certain medium. If you’re looking to improve the overall look of a home, or a room, think of what would suit the room’s décor. And, if you’re too overwhelmed, you could hire a professional to help out. Do your homework Before you buy art, take all the time you need to make up your mind and to do your homework. Whether the piece is going to be hung above your dining table or if it’s going to be part of your diversiﬁed investment portfolio, the one aspect that artists and gallery owners agree on is homework. “Never discount the value of research, and don’t go merely by popularity,” adds Parvathi, “Buy only what speaks to you.” When it comes to doling out the moolah,
remember to think with your head. Emerging artists produce wonderful work and at perfectly affordable prices. Much like working with penny stock in the stock market, one can always pick up art from emerging artists for as little as a few thousands. “Don’t devalue something just because it is priced less than what you think good art should be priced at,” says Parvathi. “I always tell clients, if you really like a piece, buy it whether it is 5,000 rupees or 50,000 rupees, and before you know it, you would have started a passionate affair with your canvasses, even as your networth goes up several notches,” says a reputed art gallerist in Chennai. However, he says, one of the concerns is what qualiﬁes as good art. How is art valued? What is good art? “Several factors determine the value of art – the size of the edition, that is, the number of prints the artist makes of one work; the signiﬁcance of the work; the condition of the piece; and whether it is signed and numbered by the artist,” he adds, “In the art market, it is rarity that bestows value. Remember, a low run of limited edition prints is more valuable than a massproduced image.” And, if you want to ﬁnd out how much a piece of art is worth, it’s best to talk to several reliable dealers. You could also go online and check auction houses for prices. Unlike the stock market, the art market is not as transparent and a work of art is not necessarily priced uniformly by everyone. A certiﬁcate of authenticity, which should be acquired when a painting is bought, helps when it comes to pricing. Authentication is when the seller will have to give details of reliable purchase source. This can be done by getting it done by the artist himself or from a reputed dealer. This helps make sure your painting is not a fake. Avoid morning-after remorse Besides landing up with fakes, another pitfall newbies should avoid is ‘buyer’s remorse’. Lured by what you’ve heard or what people have told you about an artist or a particular piece of art, many ﬁrst-time buyers make snap decisions and end up owning a painting you don’t really connect with, and what’s more, you could be a few hundred thousand rupees poorer.
buy something you like, and if sensibly bought, a work of art is always a good investment,” she says.
“Buyer’s remorse happens when you are not convinced but someone hard-sells you into picking up some piece of art,” says Parvathi, “So, if you want to steer clear of this hurdle, don’t make snap judgments. You can always delay your purchase or make a reserve bid.” Remember, the bottom-line when it comes to buying art, as Parvathi plainly puts it: “Go with your heart, and no matter what you buy, just be sure it’s something you really love. So whether the price goes up or not, you still like it.”
Art–efacts Lighting on a painting should be dimmed at night and brightened during the day Fluorescent light causes more fading of artwork than incandescent light Added lighting almost always enhances any painting, regardless of style or colour Most couples, initially, do not agree on artwork for the home!
When Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1912, 6 replicas were sold as the original, each at a huge price, in the 3 years before the original was recovered Picasso could draw before he could walk, and his ﬁrst word was the Spanish word for pencil Rodin died of frostbite in 1917 when the French government refused him ﬁnancial aid for a ﬂat, yet his statues were housed in museums
Spend in Style (some of the highest-priced paintings) The Scream Scream sold for as high as $119,922,500 and is easily the highest ever priced painting. The auction took place in New York and was carried out by prestigious auction house Sotheby’s. Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves And Bust This Pablo Picasso painting was the
previous record holder for most-expensive painting, and was sold to an anonymous purchaser for US$106,482,500. Boy With A Pipe Pablo Picasso’s Boy with a Pipe was sold for US$104.1 million. Dora Maar Au Chat Another Pablo Picasso painting, Dora Maar Au Chat was sold for US$95.2 million in May 2006. Picasso painted it in 1941. Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer II This painting by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt was sold in November 2006 for US$87.9 million.
THE SPIRIT OF LIFE Radhika Rajamani takes a look at Suhani Pittie’s fantastic collection of jewellery.
In ancient times, Man, Nature and Earth were intertwined in a harmonious relationship whereby the circle of life went on peacefully. In primitive cultures which practised some form of Paganism, jewellery was more than just an ornament of beautiﬁcation. As designer Suhani Pittie says, “Jewellery was connected with spirituality and typically revolved around the concept that souls or spirits exist in humans, as well as in animals, plants or inanimate objects. Ornaments became a celebration or an offering to a Spirit in nature that they considered a deity.” Invariably jewellery was found as offerings to the dead in tombs as well. Suhani’s latest Spring Summer Collection 2013 symbolises this. The designer uses the ancient metal of copper to fashion exquisite pieces where the ‘circle’ of connection forms a key shape in the collection – whether it appears in a calm, clean spiral bangle or a ﬁerce ‘spoke’ neckpiece. Various elements like coloured cord coils, intertwined trellised vines, and ﬂora and fauna in the forest-inspired motifs emphasise that all nature is one and life is intricately interlinked. “Acrylic is used as an almost ‘aloof and distant’ element to signify an opposing world disconnected from the earliest wisdom we all once had,” says Suhani. Suhani’s collection includes hair bands, ‘borlas’, ear buttons, ear ‘kanautis’, necklaces, belts, cuffs, bangles, armbands and anklets. In the next few pages, we capture a few stellar piees from the collection.
PORTFOLIO JULY 2013
PORTFOLIO JULY 2013
Vira Shah shows you the way to sporty glam
Stella McCartney Spring/Summer 2013
Channel your inner Sporty Spice with garments made out of high-tech fabrics and silhouettes with high performance. Read: board shorts, mesh skirts, exposed zipper detailing and racerbacks. Make your look sophisticated and glamorous with soft fabrics, plenty of colour and great styling. Neon accessories will pull the look together with sports watches and vividly coloured satchels and totes making an eye-catching statement. This season, designers have been inspired by all sports ranging from tennis to track athletics and have offered a variety of looks to match your personal style. Basic silhouettes with the sporty accents of a neon watch, baseball cap or statement sunglasses create a huge impact.
DKNY Spring/ Summer 2013
Gaurav Gupta Spring/Summer 2013
Missoni Spring/Summer 2013
Namrata Joshipura Spring/Summer 2013
Nishka Lulla Spring/Summer 2013 JULY 2013
Tom Ford Spring/ Summer 2013
HAUTE STUFF Drawstring top by Chloe
Zipper detail top by Kazo
Striped racer back tank top by Pepe Jeans
Ombre tank top by Diesel
Activewear Parka by Paul Shark
A-line dress by Forevernew
Pastel zip hoodie by Superdry
Wrap mini skort by Zara
RufďŹ‚e zipper dress by Armani Jeans available at Luxxe Box
Leather effect shorts by Zara
Olive baseball cap by Pepe Jeans Board shorts by Superdry
Neon mesh skirt by Chalayan
Transparent heels with pop colour by Diane Von Furstenberg
Laceup wedges by Pierre Hardy
Sneaker wedges by Giuseppe Zanotti
Neon accent wedges by Charles & Keith
Sporty stilettos by DKNY
Transparent monochrome heels by Michael Kors
Lime green watch by Versace
Colour-blocked sporty cuff by Fendi
Shaded Wayfarer sunglasses by Ray Ban
Mirrorred aviators by Victoria Beckham
Chain drop earrings by Ayesha Accessories
Pop red nylon strap watch by Salvatore Ferragamo
SIlicon strap watch by Adidas
Neon satchel by Jimmy Choo
Mesh panelled backpack by Mango
Perforated tote by Reed Krakoff
A Nepalese Love Story Vivek Upadhaya and Anjul Bhandari have launched their label, which has found favour with the likes of Madhuri Dixit and Kajol!
Anjul adds that this way they could utilise each other’s expertise to get bigger together, so the best way forward was a new label together as they both were earlier working independently. “We design together, but the production is done in India as it is more economical even though the hand embroidery inputs are received from Nepal.” Anjul understands what urban
women want – Ikats from Orissa, silks and brocades from Benaras and embroideries from the Kashmir Valley. With the combined effort of Anjul and Vivek, the label is already creating a buzz among celebs. Vivek gets uncomfortable if you quiz him about his cousin Manisha Koirala who is recovering from a brutal cancer surgery. “It is very unfortunate, what happened to Manisha. Cancer is a debilitating disease. She is a beautiful person and a great actor. She has a soft and calm beauty. If I were to dress her, it would be in lighter shades of soothing blues, powder pinks and whites that would bring out a glow on her face. As she is quite tall, she would look great in long Afghan-style straight kurtas with high slits on the side to make her look slimmer. We all grew up watching her in ﬁlms like Bombay, but my personal favourite is 1942 – A Love Story.” Tucked away in picturesque Nepal, Vivek and Anjul’s Beatiﬁcation Boutique in Kathmandu was inaugurated in January 2010 by the former Queen Komal Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah who has always been of great support to the duo. “Nepalese royalty is quite subtle in its fashion choices – the queen for instance, wears a lot of peaches,
pinks and sea greens. Heavy blouses with sarees which have light embroidery are ideal for the evenings and printed French chiffons with vintage Benarasi borders work during the day. Rajya Laxmi prefers nets and georgettes as they are both delicate and luxurious,” he adds. Interestingly, Vivek was a former sous-chef who left a cushy job at the Taj Palace, Dubai to follow his dreams. Today, he has no regrets that he spent 10 years in ﬁne dining. From his being a chef to now working with a queen, Sitashma Shah, daughter of the late Prince Dhirendra of Nepal, it has been quite a journey for Vivek. “I’ve been close friends with her ever since childhood and it wasn’t tough to convince her to join in as a business partner. In fact it is because of her and her ﬁrst cousin Rochana Rajya Laxmi Shah, who is a director in our company that I am where I am today. Our Queen and her family are very simple. They are very appreciative of my designs and I am truly grateful for their patronage,” he conﬁrms. Taking about Nepalese fashion, and what Princesses like to wear, Vivek confesses that they have an eye for beautiful things. “They opt for French chiffons which are either hand-painted or printed. They
Born into the same family as international sparkler Prabal Gurung and being the ﬁrst cousin of Manisha Koirala, Vivek Upadhaya is blessed with the creative gene. But Vivek did not begin his journey in the world of embroideries and cuts. Instead he opted for currying “ﬂavour”. After a degree in Hotel Management and Chefs Training from Westminster College, London, he worked in the hospitality industry. Vivek then realised that designing clothes was where his happiness truly lay. Being the greatgrandson of Nepal’s ﬁrst attorney-general Kali Prasad Upadhya put no pressure on Vivek to succeed. “I am conﬁdent about what I’m doing. There has always been support from my family and they are very happy about my decision. When I teamed up with Anjul Bhandari, it was the perfect harmonization,” says Vivek.
The whole process of making a bridal gown can take a long time and like in India,
Nepalese too follow different religions. Velvet gowns with trails are a hit in Nepal, while some like to incorporate pure Benarasi brocades with velvets, heavy zari and salma-sitaras. “These may take anywhere between four and nine months for production. I have many clients coming to me with samples of their grandmother’s or even their mother’s clothes, asking for tradition with a twist. In such cases I use stones or crystals to make the clothes look appealing,” explain Vivek and Anjul. With celebrity clients like Kajol and Madhuri Dixit, two ladies Vivek has been a huge fan of, saris have proved to be his forte. “I just could not stop looking at Kajol – her posture, complexion and just everything about her is perfect. She roots for simplicity and prefers
beige, mostly saris with mokaish work or ones with a plain velvet border and heavily embroidered blouse,” he smiles. Vivek also got an opportunity to dress Madhuri Dixit, who he calls ‘the Goddess’! She chose two outﬁts for her show Jhalak Dikhla Ja, last season. The ﬁrst was a heavy mokaish saree in blue and the second was the pink net saree with a purple velvet blouse, which was voted one of the ten best sarees of the year 2012 by NDTV. Vivek has what is needed to make it big in fashion – the right connections. But the designer says that he would like to take it slow and easy – by retailing in two places in Mumbai. “No shortcuts for me,” concludes Vivek.
also like wearing ethnic Indian clothes – Anarkalis and lehengas, while some of them opt for Western ensembles,” he adds. Interestingly, Nepal produces many fabrics like brocades and ﬁne cashmere, which Vivek incorporates in his line. However, he feels Indian workmanship is unique, and with the inﬂuence of the Hindi ﬁlm industry there is a growing demand for Indian wear like velvet jackets. “We have to do a lot of sourcing from India but since I work from both Delhi and Kathmandu, it isn’t a problem. My partner in India Anjul Bhandari is a great help and working towards creating fashion together makes life much easier,” he adds.
& Love Haute Stuff Monochrome Skater Dress ` 1,199
onoch rome Print Dress ` 799
The 9 0’s jeg gings ` 699
Zebra Flash Dress ` 799
What’s new in the world of Monochrome?
Stalk, Buy and Love. What a cool motto, right? stalkbuylove. com is a premier fashion portal for women that offers instant access to internationally inspired styles, making the latest trends and fashion just a click away for the fash-forward pack. With monochrome dresses reigning supreme on the ramps, stalkbuylove.com has captured this trend in their range of ‘Charismatic Monochrome’ dressing.
Check out the wide selection of dresses in two-tones of black and white. Go for stripes, zebra prints, or zigzags from the wide range and style it up with high heels and smoky eyes and you’re all set to rock the party. There’s no room for gray this season except for the monsoon sky, so for the ultimate in two-tone, go monochrome! Price starts from ` 400 Onward Availabilityhttp://stalkbuylove.com/
Sailor Top ` 649
Haute Stuff Carlotta Dress ` 1,199
Calvin Klein’s CLASSY COLLECTION The Calvin Klein 2013 Optical Collection offers quite a variety. Here’s a glimpse! With all kinds of shapes and sizes that are colourful, youthful, and fun, sleek lines and universally ﬂattering shapes are the raging trends of this collection. Different interpretations of the CK logo are subtly displayed on the temple end-piece. Classic and vintage inspired styles are reinvented to create a bold and youthful eyewear line. The price ranges from ` 6900 to 2,00,000.
LACOSTE EYEWEAR 2013 OPTICAL COLLECTION The 2013 LACOSTE Optical Collection embodies preppy chic. The men’s collection pays homage to the brand’s history and DNA, even featuring a style inspired by LACOSTE’s 80th anniversary. The heart of the brand, polo shirts and complementing color combinations, inspires the women’s collection. Signature LACOSTE details are prominent throughout the collections. Pique texture is laser etched onto the brow and temples. The signature LACOSTE croc is layered on to the temples JULY 2013
Available at leading stores countrywide.
Price on request
Sunil Mehra’s collection for men has us excited.
Lush linens, lavish summer cashmere and supreme tropical blends coupled with sophistication and clean lines – designer Sunil Mehra’s range encapsulates it all. With a collection ranging from splendid signature tuxedos and suits to jacket combinations, jawahar jackets and stylish, chic pants, submit yourself to the cool and natural for the season ahead. Complete in spirited blues, greens, subtle yellows and the calming white, the collection is tastefully woven in natural threads with careful detailing. Available at: Sunil Mehra, M-66, M Block Market, Greater Kailash 1, New Delhi
Qboid Design House brings a collection of furniture with geometric designs.
The Fluence Console is Z-shaped, inspired by the ﬁne line between the straight and ﬂuid lines. Somewhere deep down it celebrates the balances inside a human mind and how it allows us to coexist with different personalities. The textured wood representing still waters giving life to the lotus furthers the symbiotic balance we see in nature. Avaan, which is a contemporary-
style ofﬁce desk exudes a sense of calm movement in sombre ofﬁce spaces. Abira is a multi-directional utility cabinet that can effectively divide spaces. As a unit that opens in all four directions, it can even serve as a bar and a console cabinet between living and dining spaces. The Tabelle Contrasto is a nest of tables that can be used as a side table set for beverages, snacks and other small items. The straight line design uses HDF exterior grate and black and white high gloss deco. The Baron, which uses Grey William marble at the head is a combination of black and white Mother of Pearl (MOP) work knitted together. The set
is named Baron, which is derived from the Latin term Baro meaning ‘Free Warrior’. This name is appropriate considering its sturdy appeal. The White Lotus Table is a side table that is a fusion between a straight-line top and oriental styled legs and body. The tabletop uses glass, and the legs of the table use teakwood venge polish. The Labyrinth, which has a maze-like pattern on a black and white straight-lined coffee-table is truly unique. It uses HDF exterior grate with high gloss deco paint and would be a great ﬁt for a TV lounge. Go Qboid for a real décor makeover!
Clearly presented and highly detailed, Qboid Design house presents an exclusive Geometric furniture range. Solid colours & extravagant patterns are particularly prevalent in this collection.
KEEPING THINGS NEET We took a look at Neeta Lulla’s collection for the season and came away impressed
Neeta Lulla’s collection for the season comprises tunics, kurtas, straight pants and shirts in neons and sheers. We teamed up one of her straight pants with a colourful shirt. What a way to bring out that healthy summer glow!
Fashion If you thought fashion lacked a heart, you are in for a surprise!
he new label Ticket to Timbuktu (TTT) promoted by Neena Rath Gupta is all about giving back to artisans, promoting education through design and creating eco-friendly products. How did the idea of TTT come about? The idea was to create a brand which not only focused on the consumers’ aesthetic needs to wear the product (consumers’ vanity!) but also to complete the consumers’ responsibility towards society. The brand gives them a chance to do both without making an additional effort. Also, in this mass market world that we live in today, there is a need to create a link between the consumer and the producer (artisan) so one can value the product and its origin. Though India is one of the fastest growing nations in the world, the illiteracy problem is still rampant nationwide. Ticket to Give is a small step towards educating
underprivileged Indian children who do not have access to reading material apart from their school books.
be able to design with recycled materials or natural materials like jute for the Green Line seems only but natural to TTT.
Tell us about the company and why did you plan to make it socially relevant?
Fashion with a cause! How do you help the underprivileged?
Good design has always been a balance between functionality and aesthetics. Fashion (clothes and accessories) covers both aspects. However, it is solely focused on enhancing an individual’s outer appearance. By making the products ‘ethical’, TTT is able to add value to that appearance by making the individual socially responsible without the individual making an additional effort.
We do not consider the underprivileged ‘needy’. We believe that we are all equally empowered but lack opportunities and means for growth. We only lend support to the underprivileged whether it is providing employment opportunities to artisans or educating children. Our products are a catalyst or a path that we have chosen to promote our cause instead of it being viceversa. They are a means to an end which is to support and spread education. By purchasing a TTT product, the consumer is directly being educated about the products’ journey (history, NGO collaborations, etc) and also indirectly supporting our cause. For every pair of shoes purchased, TTT gives a book to an underprivileged child in India.
By collaborating with NGO’s which promote Indian artisanal work (Red Line), TTT is able to use ancient embroidery techniques with modern design whilst reviving the endangered art form. The concept of recycling in India in inherent in its culture. To
Our products are ‘Made By India’ which means that from raw material purchasing to ﬁnal manufacturing it is all done in India by Indians using Indian products. What is the price range? INR 5500 - 6500 What are the products you are offering? Footwear for women. Why TTT? What an unusual name? Apart from being a town in Mali in Western Africa, Timbuktu in English also refers to an imaginary, remote place on the other end of the earth. The idea was to create a virtual realm for responsible world citizens – a type of Utopia where people are conscious of their contribution to society and the
environment. Ticket connotes a chance – a chance to go to Timbuktu and experience this Utopia. What do the red, green and blue lines symbolise for you? Red Line – Cultural Sustainability: With constant collaborations with organisations that support artisans, TTT is able to revive endangered art and craft forms and give recognition to the artists’ traditional skill and talent. Thereby, we are able to provide them with employment opportunities and improve their future prospects while helping them hold on to their history. Green Line – Environmental Sustainability: TTT educates consumers and producers about the 3R’s of ecological awareness – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Every season we collaborate with NGO’s who work towards environmental causes and help promote their cause. We even incorporate
eco practices in the development process from manufacturing to ﬁnal retailing.
to merge international current trends with traditional techniques.
Blue Line – Communication Sustainability: We encourage intercultural interaction among like-minded urban travelers on topics based on current urban movements by using the product as a medium for communication. We give urban artists from all over the world a chance to showcase their talent and communicate their thoughts on present urban developments and urban sociology. We also collaborate with non-proﬁt organisations that work towards urban social causes and donate a percentage of our proﬁts to them.
How do you plan to expand?
How much of Indian craft do you work with? Every season we aim to pick a different craft, NGO or a cause. For our maiden collection, we chose to focus on
Chikankari as a part of the RED LINE. We collaborated with artisans working in Lucknow Mahila Sewa Trust – an NGO who not only promote the craft but also help in improving the socio-economic condition of women. We also worked with a voluntary organisation in South India named Sabala which helps to empower tribals, destitutes, widows and physically challenged women. For the GREEN LINE, we focused on recycled plastic from KHAMIR – an NGO in Gujarat creating livelihood for villagers who were affected by the post 2001 earthquake. Also, we chose to embroider obsolete videotapes on shoes using the traditional adda embroidery technique. Who have been your style inspirations? India as a country – the culture, the artisans and the children primarily - has been our biggest inspirations. Since we are an ‘ethical’ brand, we have the opportunity
We’ve started with shoes for women but will eventually move to children and men in the second quarter of 2013. Eventually we want to create travel accessories, fashion accessories and clothes with the same look and feel as our shoes. But one step at a time! For our Ticket To Give movement for which we contribute books to remote schools in India, we aim to create more awareness in schools and public institutions so that we can create mini libraries in schools and donate books periodically. Can we buy products online? Our products are available on our website – www.tickettotimbuktu.com. However, our payment gateway does not allow for us to sell
to clients holding Indian debit or credit cards as of now. One can email us their choice and we can send the details accordingly. How do you channel funds back to the artisans? We make sure that the NGOs that we collaborate with are Government registered and well above board with their work ethics and practices, which means they give fair wages to the artisans who work with us. Also, as explained earlier for every shoe sold we buy a book for underprivileged children. Which are the areas you work in India? So far, we have worked with NGO’s in Lucknow (UP), Bijapur (Karnataka) and Kutch (Gujarat). Our designing, developing and manufacturing base is in Delhi and Noida. What remain your design sensibilities? Ethical, Current and 21st Century India!
Where do you source your products from?
Royal splendour Symetree launches their exclusive monarchial “Almas-e-Nizam” collection. Almas-e-Nizam meaning the diamonds of the Nizams, is an intriguingly aristocratic subject considering the massive public interest, display and documentation which the original jewels have created worldwide. It reﬂects regalia and evokes the opulence of the bygone era. The essence of the collection lies in its huge uncut diamond Polkis and chunky emeralds garnished with tourmalines and pearls. It has unique crown settings, the parabs (foils), the chilai (etching) and the chitai (repousee) techniques. The range encompasses neckpieces, rings, cuffs and earpieces to brooches, achkan buttons, sword heads and sirpechs for the gentlemen. Designed as a tribute to the Nizam dynasty – the legendary connoisseurs of the ﬁnest craftsmanship and rarest jewels – this exquisite collection comprises more than 100 dazzling vintage-inspired pieces. “This retro assortment of Almas-e-Nizam will take you back in time to the splendid durbars of the Deccan royalties. It’s a legend of mammoth gems, intricate detailing and secret craftsmanship of this plateau kingdom: preserved tactfully by generations,” shares Abhishek Haritwal, design entrepreneur and the founder of Symetree.
It’s raining Cobalt!
A mélange of cobaltcoloured bags are up for grabs. The range reﬂects the glamour and beauty of monsoon evenings. Here is a fantastic spread for your viewing pleasure!
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A dollop of
Designer A look at what many of India’s best designers have to offer fashion sophisticates everywhere.
The 2013 Autumn/Winter line that scorched the ramps at the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week was a grand mix of East Meets West and International trends. With a beautiful permeation of different art forms into the aesthetic intelligence and acumen of each designer, there was plenty and more for the fashion junkie. On the one side, old crafts made a comeback in a grand way, but their feel and ﬂavor remained contemporary as the infusion of designer value upped the style quotient. With rich weaving and printing heritage, the garments were made in silk, khadi, brocade and many desi fabrics enhanced with typical desi crafts - be it block-printing, kalamkari or tie and dye, and ﬁnally embellished and glamorized with embroideries.
Urvashi’s signature style in her AW collection is titled FEZ. It presents a relaxed aesthetic characterised by ethnic nomadic ways. It showcases elements of minimalist luxury in an autumnal palette of russet leaves, amber yellows, forest greens, petrol blues, sand and sky grays. The crushed fabric and the rouching technique do well together, offering classy deconstructed layering in loose shapes, innovative folds and ﬂuid drapes. A healthy mix of slouchy and stiff silhouettes creates a perfect balance, indeed. Her collection doubtless scorched the ramps with engineered placements of twisted tie-dye technique evoking the Bandhej tradition. Tailored with precision, the forms are quite assertive. The silhouettes come alive with the use of hand woven textiles such as matka, tussar, chanderi and linen silk. Reﬁned fabrics like lightweight wool cashmere and modal jersey with silk ﬁbers and chiffon lend textured ﬂuidity to the collection. Peplum vests, blouses, wrap jackets and overalls along with Moroccan salwars and loose oversized pants conﬁrm an unmistakable nomadic theme.
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For a smorgasbord of fantastic design, colour and class, the best of the lot is easily Manish Malhotra. Be it in the typically rustic charm or in the urban man’s version of the traditional salwar kameez, Malhotra’s magniﬁcent work shines through and through.
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If anyone can bridle cute, sexy and digniﬁed in one outﬁt, that would be Manish Arora. From colours of all kinds – greens, yellows, pinks and oranges – to bold prints and monochromes, the design sense that Manish Arora brings forth is simply fantastic.
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The enigma that is the sadhu’s style – a sea of unending fabric mysteriously wrapping itself upon itself, to create an aura, a cocoon, a sensuous drape – ﬁnds itself engineered into the modern, structured, sensual drape, characteristic of Tarun Tahiliani, to mark the Autumn-Winter collection.
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Bold is the new awesome: whether in the shades or in the deﬁned cuts. Rina Dhaka’s collection is a celebration of the bold look this autumn.
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RAJESH PRATAP SINGH
If autumn’s picturesque beauty lies in its many shades of red, orange and gold, Rajesh Pratap Singh’s line for the season is a celebration of the glorious autumnal colours. In blacks, blues and grays, the collection is perfect against the golden hue of the season. Rajesh Pratap Singh’s sense of design can simply be deﬁned as cerebral. With an incredible knowledge of textile engineering and an unmatched design record, Rajesh Pratap Singh traces his roots, with this collection, juxtaposing the masculine and the feminine.
Having been assisting her husband, ace designer Rajesh Pratap Singh for over a decade, Payal launched her eponymous label Payal Pratap three years ago. For autumn, she presents a crossover collection that fuses our rich Indian vintage with the modern boho.
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PAYAL PRATAP SINGH
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SHANTANU & NIKHIL
Shantanu and Nikhil’s designs are for those who love making style statements. A perfect ﬁt that brings out the personality of the wearer, the duo’s collection has a fantastic charm to it that brings out the best in the wearer.
Eclectic tastes, unique cuts and neat silhouettes are just about a tip of the iceberg introduction of Nida Mahmoodâ€™s work for this autumn.
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HAUTE HAWK STUFF EYE
The recent Tamil Nadu High Court judgement on premarital sex, live-in relationships, illegitimate children and maintenance has got everyone chirping in a frenzy. At ﬁrst, it seemed as though people were prematurely judging the judgement harshly. Well, after reading the judgement myself it is clear that the judgement intended premarital sex = marriage-like relationship, and the absence of sexual relations = invalid marriage. Rightly so, people are shocked. Right from Khushboo’s quote on premarital sex to the recent decision by the Madras High Court, anything with the words “premarital sex” in India has tended to be misunderstood. Though a cultural taboo of sorts in many Indian communities,
premarital sex still exists. Swept under the carpet or shut tight in a closet, this is one issue that has many people in a tight-lipped spot. And yet, there are the liberal-minded ones, people who don’t believe in the need of cultural preconceptions coming in the way of consenting adults. What do both sides bring to the table? What represents the reasoning behind a hardliner and a liberal ideology? We attempt to ﬁnd out.
What was the decision about, really? The case was ﬁled by a Hindu woman, against a Muslim man. The two of them had lived under one roof, engaged in sexual relations and also had two children in the period from 1994 to 1999. Documentary
proof existed to the effect that the man was indeed the father of at least the second child, and that he had applied for a “family card” for himself, the Hindu woman and the two children. But, there was no record of a marriage between them in the Islamic marriage register, which is known as the Nikkah Book. In 1999, the man deserted his wife and two children. The next year, the woman ﬁled for maintenance, to the tune of 5,000 rupees per month from the man for herself and for her children, claiming that he earned 25,000 rupees. For his part, though, the man denied that she was his wife, and called her a dubious woman who was his co-worker, and asserted that there was no documentary proof of religious solemnisation of marriage between them.
The debate on premarital sex and pregnancy is gathering force as people on all sides of the table come forth to lock horns. This month, Kirthi Jayakumar, Poornima Makaram, Richa Tilokani and Urmila Pullat take you to the eye of the storm.
HAWK EYE When the matter came up before the Family Court, it was observed that though both children did indeed belong to the man and were each entitled to a maintenance of 500 rupees per month from him, and while the woman was entitled to 1,000 rupees per month from him towards all her litigation expenses, she was not his wife since no document proved that she was indeed married to him. She decided to appeal before the Madras High Court, which then ruled that a performance of customary rites are not necessary to solemnise a valid marriage, and as long as there is no legal bar to their marriage, while they have also had children together, the woman’s status has been elevated to ‘wife’. In addition to this, the Court also ruled that if a man and a woman of marriageable age had a sexual relationship and the woman becomes pregnant, the couple will be treated as husband and wife. Even when there is no pregnancy, but there exists strong documentary proof of a sexual relationship, the couple will still be treated as having been married. If after having a sexual relationship the couple decides to separate, the husband can only marry another woman after a decree of divorce from the wife, and accordingly, either party in such couples can approach a family court for declaration of valid marriage.
Legalese: Of implications and ramiﬁcations The Madras High Curt’s ruling has indeed given the debate on premarital sex a whole new angle. The Court has ruled that a man and woman of permissible age engaging in premarital sex will be treated like a married couple in the eyes of the law. Naturally, the ruling has garnered supporters and detractors alike. In this particular case, the High Court judgment is laudable as it gives legitimate status to the two children born to the couple under question, while declaring the petitioner the legitimate wife of the respondent. But there are people on the other side of the fence who claim that this decision changes the connotation of the entire institution of marriage. Some detractors even say that with youngsters changing partners every few months, can they be considered to be married to all of them? What about the possibility of pregnancy out of wedlock?
Sex. The word elicits all kind of public responses - giggles, embarrassed stares, frowns and blushes. In India, it is even construed a bad word, when used in public! We are scared of it, we yearn for it and we are embarrassed of it. Why is sex such a controversial topic? Both sides of the fence are as vociferous about their feelings about premarital sex as the other. This is as moralistic a debate as it gets. Sex in India is deﬁned as before and after marriage and if it happens before marriage, well… it shouldn’t. We are a country obsessed with hymens and that blood on the sheets on the ﬁrst night so much so that women who have had intercourse before marriage spend a lot of money getting an artiﬁcial hymen reconstructed, through a procedure called hymenoplasty.
sex. So they justify engaging in it by saying that since it is very common now, it is also acceptable. They are comfortable in their thinking, and their decision-making is based on their conviction. Many parents are yet to come to terms with this trend and would obviously not be cool with such a lifestyle choice.”
Sandhya Ramaswamy, a young practising advocate at the Madras High Court says, “The law on premarital sex and pregnancy is a grey area. On the one hand we have judges with their interpretations of premarital sex, like the recent Madras High Court (and) on the other hand we also have the Domestic Violence Act giving a little more latitude with regards to what constitutes a domestic relationship… but the bottom line being we are yet to have a clear precedent . Maintenance battles are where what constitutes a valid marriage becomes an issue... that’s where the lines blur and it is time we adopt the test of stable and signiﬁcant cohabitation. That way a one-night stand or indulging in consensual and/or casual sex wouldn’t lead to serious consequences.”
Psychologists say that the decision to engage in premarital sex is a complex one and a lot of factors come in to play. The decision-making is inﬂuenced by the socioeconomic class of the couple, the level of education, upbringing, prevalent cultural norms, peer inﬂuence etc.
Live-in relationships are becoming quite common and there is a clear viewpoint that it is better to be completely compatible (sexually as well) with one’s partner before taking the leap of faith that is marriage. There are no moral overtones to it; the freedom to do as one wills with one’s body is a huge part of the freedom of choice that we all hope to exercise. The sexual mindscape is slowly, but surely changing.
Psychtalk These questions need to be addressed by the society, by ﬁrst understanding the reasoning process and attitude of the modern generation. Says psychologist Arundhati Swamy, “The younger generation sees a lot of people engaging in premarital
Of course, it is possible that the older generation was also into premarital sex but people then were not very vocal about their private matters. Adds Arundhati, “Today’s youngsters are frank about engaging in premarital sex and discussions about pregnancy are also out of the closet. With a lot of information on their hands, they are questioning the old norms and making their own decisions.”
Agrees a young professional (name not disclosed), who says, “It is a lifestyle choice for some of us. It is a conscious decision we have made and we take full responsibility for it. There is no use blaming the inﬂuence of western society or the rise of social media platforms. Times have changed and it is all the better if the society becomes more progressive.” Sharing her concerns Arundhati says, “I am also worried about those who are making these choices without understanding the consequences like pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases etc., especially if it is a college or a pre-college student. And if the relationship does not have an equal power balance, then the girl can feel obliged or pressured by the partner into it. Girls who don’t have good decision-making powers or are totally dependant on their partners will also give in to them.”
Socially speaking Our society generally hits the panic button when it hears the words like premarital sex and pregnancy in one sentence. But it needs to be proactive and learn to handle the challenges and consequences associated with premarital sex. Youngsters
To come back to the judgement, the reactions that it elicited are a fair assessment of how common premarital sex has become in India. Most youngsters I have spoken to regarding premarital sex and pregnancy usually have the same opinion – that premarital sex is okay, it’s a personal choice and something that should be done when one is completely sure. There are also a lot of young people who engage in casual sex – one night stands, ﬂings and friendship with beneﬁts. It is a veritable sex revolution. Kirith Lobo, a young sailor with the merchant navy says, “I have no issues with premarital sex…it is completely a personal choice. I will not say the same about pregnancy and abortion though. It is important that people have responsible sex, that does not result in having to decide whether to abort or not as I feel abortion is wrong…” When I posed the same question to a much older person, we are immediately thrown across the fence. “…Premarital sex?! What is the value in that…If everything is done before the wedding, then what is there to do after? Sex is a precious thing, something that you must wait for…” My mother, my aunts and all their contemporaries will say similar things, save for the odd exceptions. That sexual intercourse is something that one must indulge in with only your husband is a notion that is still deep-rooted in the older Indian’s psyche. But this is changing and young Indians are beginning to view it as completely natural, a given in the trajectory of a relationship. There is also the view that sex being natural and pleasurable is not something that one must wait till marriage for. Carpe diem. Seize the day, indeed.
And we think....
“Premarital sex has always been disapproved of in Indian society as it is supposedly not conforming to the norms of ‘Indian Culture’. Personally, I think it is a lifestyle choice and one should feel free to make that decision. The stigma comes from the fact that most opinions intellectually conservative minds have in our society are black and white. For a country like India, which is developing not just economically, but culturally as well, the fact that premarital sex should be considered taboo is a bit ridiculous. Of course, we have to respect the heritage and ideologies of the traditionalists who occasionally seem to be double up as the moral police too. But I’m sure that can be done without forbidding two consenting adults from living the lives they want to. A lot of times, conservative belts blame the media for “colouring” the minds of the masses, by acclimatising them to premarital sex. Perhaps, that’s why they are called the ‘conservative belts’. Statistically, premarital sex is on the rise and it shouldn’t be surprising that the media is being wrongly (arguably) blamed for it. The world is getting smaller and many young Indians go abroad and come back with a broader mind. I also think it would be foolish to assume that the ‘masses’ are naïve enough to blindly let their minds be ‘coloured’ by the media. Change is inevitable. The sooner everyone realises that, the better.”
“Human beings will be human beings, social codes of conduct are what bind us to what is wrong and what is right. I guess to a teenager sex is exploration, to a young adult it is a medium of feeling closer while to a parent who has teenage kids, it is a reason to worry. I think it’s something that is a natural occurrence when you reach a point of comfort with the other person. Love has no bounds and rules. Wrong social conduct in the eyes of our conservative societies and governments can often result in narrow-minded decisions and the passing of laws that forbid even the display of public affection. As a teenager I was curious, but I had sex much later. Ultimately it comes down to a good upbringing and maturity. Now, as I am going to be a father, I am sure I will be concerned when my child grows up. It is just how people work, as parents they get overly concerned that their kids will make bad decisions in life. I would say the media needs to keep educating young people in order to have a healthy attitude and guide them towards methods of safe sex. Education and sensible upbringing can contribute to a drop in rape crimes. The more parents and conservatives impose threats and laws on the younger generation and treat it as taboo, the more they are distancing themselves from a trusting relationship. My folks trusted me and I turned out just ﬁne.”
need counselling before they engage in premarital sex so they can avoid risky behaviour and also to mitigate its emotional impact. Instead of brushing the issue under the carpet or wishing it away, parents can take the lead and discuss the pros and cons in a balanced manner with their children. This will make them less susceptible to peer pressure and give them all the information they need to make the decision which is best for them.
OVER A CUPPA
‘Regret is not in my DNA’ Ask anyone who is successful, and they’ll tell you about the unshakeable faith they have in themselves. Epitomising just that is Apsara Reddy, who has held enviable positions helming the features operations of two leading national newspapers. Kirthi Jayakumar in conversation with the super conﬁdent transgender woman who is now seeking to further the impact she made in journalism by foraying into television, in style.
I grew up in a large family ﬁlled with lots of laughter and warmth. Dad comes from a political and agricultural background while mom is from an inﬂuential family of landlords in Nellore. My holidays were spent with my relatives from both parents’ sides – but I thoroughly enjoyed my maternal grandfather’s sprawling garden home in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh. I had horses, geese and even wild pigeons in the backyard. My mom is my best friend, and she always taught me to be myself. I share everything with my mother. She is my hero. Both my folks have let me follow my heart, always. I’ve never really had to ask for support or convince them about anything. I am never apologetic about my choices, and my folks have encouraged me in all that I choose to do or be. Even when I told them about my sexuality and wanting to be on hormones to transition, mom said to me, “As long as it’s done in a safe way, we will support you.” My dad did have severe reservations about his own family and how they’d react. Perhaps, it was a man’s ego at play. Still, he said to me, “I may never understand what you’re going through or feel it, but I will back you all the way.” I am very lucky to have had the backing of my folks, my bosses at work and my close group of friends. I ﬁnd that most people are happy to second-guess your intentions or brand you. To me, the only thing that matters is success and whether or not I’m keeping those close to me happy. What was it like, dealing with other children at school? At school, my classmates were very judgemental and rather rude. But I refused to be bogged down and paid no heed to catcalls or rude remarks. I performed very well academically. I topped the commerce stream at school and my life even then was ﬁlled with activities – horse riding, pottery and dance lessons. I had no time to mull over some silly kid’s remarks. But today, I have received a number of apologetic texts and emails from my schoolmates. I chose to accept it and I do keep in touch with a few of them, too. Some even invite me to open their stores or launch their businesses. Life does come a full circle (laughs). Have you faced situations of discrimination? Tell us how you have handled such incidents.
Of course, there have been times of despair, disillusionment and disappointment but I’ve never let people’s sarcasm or baseless analysis affect me. People used my identity as a transwoman to spread uncharitable, unkind and very cruel gossip. It hurt my family deeply. Lots of people did write me off, many said that I would never make it and took a dig at my choices. Even some former work colleagues thought I’d never survive but I only believed in myself and in god. There were times when close pals would ask, do you really need to be so open about it? But this is who I am, so why be ashamed or apologetic about it? There are millions of men and women in sham identities, often cheating on their spouses, engaging in all sorts of pleasures. In fact there are so many men who’ll make sick, derogatory jokes in front of a group but later call and chat you up. These experiences have strengthened my resolve to be who I am and never pretend. I don’t believe in negotiating a space for myself, I feel every space is created for me as much as it is for anyone else, so I just access it. What has the attitude of men been towards transgendered people as partners/life partners? I’ve had two very meaningful relationships, both long-term. One was a hotelier’s son in London and the other a real estate magnate from Chennai. And things didn’t work out because at one point we decided we wanted different things out of life. But no one has ever treated me badly or used my sexuality against me. They were both proud of me and always stood up for me. I ﬁnd that by and large the attitude of people towards transgendered individuals has changed because they have begun to realise that sexuality is so ﬂuid, lots of people dip in and out of their primary sexuality and no one today is so rigid on the ‘norm’. The ‘norm’ today is what one is comfortable with and doesn’t violate anyone else’s space. Many men seem to think that transgendered people are ‘easy’. It seems to be a very chauvinistic stereotype. Your comments on this? Not just transgendered people, many men think they can have what they set their eyes on. Sadly, that’s not true. What men do need to realise is that women, including transgendered women have standards, qualities that they go for and a sense of self-esteem. Just because you ﬂash your smile, no one is going to land in your lap.
There is so much talk about gender issues and gender-mainstreaming. But it’s always about men or women – why does the world so easily forget transgendered people? That’s because transgendered people have chosen to settle for the comfort of niche groups and the sidewalk. But things are changing, there are lots of transgendered people around the world who are in great careers and are calling the shots. I have run newspapers, been a news presenter on BBC Radio, was an elected student leader in college and took active part in socio-political lobbying, I have been invited to prestigious forums to speak, have been the Asian ambassador on the Mayoral ﬂoat at London Pride, opened exhibitions at the V&A musuem in London and addressed large gatherings of corporate honchos. Instead of lobbying for mainstreaming, transgendered individuals must build themselves to a level where we are counted. It doesn’t matter what you keep asking for, I believe you need to be that person who cannot be ignored. You have always said you have led a life that hasn’t been very difﬁcult unlike the plight of many transgendered people. What do you think are the reasons? How accepting has society been of your identity? My life hasn’t been difﬁcult because I chose to ﬁght every form of stereotype that exists. The root of any oppression stems from the mental conditioning that there are only two ways to be: male or female. From the moment we are born, we are assigned into either male or female. This declaration is more than just a statement of what’s between our legs. It is a prescription of how to lead our lives, whom we should love, how we should live, what we should wear, what kinds of jobs we can do and what roles to assume in a relationship. But the very existence of people like me – whose identities, bodies, and experiences do not conform to gender norms is a proof that this archaic belief is ﬂawed on so many levels. Society’s acceptance or denial comes from your portrayal of yourself. If you respond to every criticism or dignify every observation, you just end up being defensive. In my case I studied what I wanted to, applied for jobs I thought I’d be good at, worked on building trust amongst my peers and colleagues and automatically things fell into place. I’ve been invited by colleges as a chief guest for graduation ceremonies, I have addressed groups of
OVER A CUPPA
Tell us a bit about your childhood. How difﬁcult or easy was it to establish your own sense of identity in a traditional family?
OVER A CUPPA youngsters, activists and corporate professionals, so acceptance is certainly there. And my advice to other gays, lesbians or transgendered people is this: Be yourself, believe in yourself and stand up to those who wish to crush your spirit. Tell us about your new show. How did it come about? What inspired you to take it up? Natpudan Apsara is a unique chat show where for the ﬁrst time in the history of Tamil television, a transgendered host will ask direct and intimate questions to the stars. I will engage the viewers in a heart-to-heart with celebs from different walks of life. The show will bring out the friendship I share with the stars and also place before them questions that have never been answered before. The appeal of the show is the ease with which stars open up on issues they aren’t comfortable talking about. The show doesn’t stress on the fact that I’m a transgender woman and it is the ﬁrst step in Tamil television to mainstream micro communities. Unlike afﬁxing roles for transgendered people and presenting them in a certain light or expecting them to handle only serious issues as done in the past, this show breaks that stereotype. It’s a Sunday night show on Thanthi TV, available under Tamil channels on any set top box.
Apsara Unplugged: You want to be born, to live, and die with dignity – so do we! You want the freedom to express the uniqueness of being you, share your talents, live your dreams – so do we! You want to cuddle the ones close to you, nurture your siblings, share your lives with a partner…achieve a lot and contribute to society – so do we! My humble plea to all those parents rushing their kids to psychiatrists or saints who can cure them is this: instead of ﬁnding alternate ways to “cure your child”, it’s important to cure yourself of the malice and small-mindedness.
Tell us about a few interesting incidents involving stars in your sets. Simbu, a dear friend of mine waited for three hours as I was getting ready for our shoot. He in fact bought my entire team cold coffee and kept my spirits up despite it being 2 AM! Dhanush who was so busy promoting Raanjhanaa in Mumbai ﬂew in just for the show and even sang for me. I was so touched by what he had to say to me on the show. He’s an awesome human being and I really wish the best for him. He kept giving Amala Paul encouragement to fall into the ‘traps’ I was setting for her. The poor thing actually said some controversial stuff. Namitha surprised me with some yummy homemade vegetable sandwiches and a lovely saree. We hung out in my caravan and ate so much. Simran while entering the set showed me how to do her famous
‘iduppu’ dance. I was amazed at how soft and sensitive a person she is when she opened up for the ﬁrst time on her sister’s sudden suicide years ago. Taapsee brought along with her a very animated makeup artist who just brightened everyone’s mood on the set. Priya Anand surprised everyone with her salwar look when all along she kept telling me she’ll come in something short. It was good fun just seeing her pose later in saucy ways for her personal iPad pictures. What are your future plans? I would love to do interesting shows on TV and work with the right people. I want to institute a conference called the ‘Opening Minds Conference’ in the future that will be held annually and would be a talk-shop with bright minds on religion, sexuality, politics of change and human development. Most deﬁnitely in the future I will write a book and also want to get into concept homes where I can design and build signature homes that are vibrant and serene at the same time. In ﬁve years from now, I might enter politics as I feel we need to be part of shaping social policy. Also violence and attack tactics by fringe groups against minorities is what I feel strongly against. Empowering the youth of this country would be my goal. Tell us something about your thoughts on settling down with a partner and your expectations from a romantic relationship I would love for a monogamous relationship to happen, but I am not in a hurry. I feel relationships just happen and planning for them just takes your focus away from everything else. I like sorted men who know what they want. I don’t mind taking the backseat and managing home. I love spending time at home and cooking, but I want to do it for the right man. I would hate to be in a relationship just for the tag of being coupled. I want it to be an exciting life with lots of travel, fun friends, great family and a man who shares a common dream. So many so-called happily married women cry on empty sheets, so deﬁnitely a man who believes in monogamy and pampering his princess.
Singleton in the city
Renting a place to stay is a very tough task indeed. I know of people who have been on the brink of a nervous breakdown due to the stress of hunting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a.k.a accommodation. I have been in Chennai city for many years and can attest to the fact that real estate has yielded great returns on investment. However rental prices too have shot through the roof at an alarming rate. Now at a time when ﬁnding a place to stay is difﬁcult for everyone, many people today are faced with the additional obstacle of being….wait for it…..Single! I’d say in today’s scenario, ﬁnding a spouse is more feasible for single women than securing a place to rent. I cannot believe the song and dance people create when you view their property as a singleton. It seems that being single carries a stigma which disadvantages you in a matter as simple as ﬁnding a place to stay. You can be the CEO of a company, a superstar or a professional. But as soon as a landlord hears that you are single, it’s a game changer. I accompanied a friend who was new to the city on a day of property
inspections she had lined up. She’s from a wonderful family ﬁlled with professionals but they live in another state and she had been transferred to Chennai on work. The ﬁrst place we visited was a nice home, simple, clean, in a decent area and with local transport links. The house owner welcomed us and we were quite impressed with the viewing. After the viewing the owner sat us down and offered us tea and asked my friend sweetly where she was from. She informed him that her family resided in another state. He then asked her where her husband worked. When she replied that she was not married, he seemed puzzled. “If you’re not married and your family live in another state, why have you moved here alone?” She replied that she had moved for work and therefore was alone. The demeanour of the landlord changed. He told us that he had already promised the place to another family and apologised and sent us packing. Surely if the place was promised to another person, it shouldn’t be open to viewing.
seeing this place through a real estate agent. We met him outside the property and as we were walking in, he told us to say that my friend’s husband was away on business. We became irate and reminded him that she was not married and we had clearly explained earlier that the property was for a single girl. The broker whispered to us that today hardly any landlords would give their properties to rent to a single girl. What on earth does he mean? Of course singletons can rent places! Surely renting a property cannot come with a prerequisite of being married? But surprisingly, it does seem to be the case. Being single it seems, means that you will be drinking and partying all night long, with unwelcome visitors gracing the doorstep at all hours of night. Living in a city which is so modern, multicultural and metropolitan, surely being single cannot be a crime! It’s hard enough getting a place if you have a pet, work a night shift or eat meat. Being single apparently tops the list!
Feeling that this was just bad luck, we went to property number 2. We were
I guess singletons in the city may be expected to be homeless too.
Sujaya Chandran uses her unique brand of wry humour to highlight the plight of singles in the city trying to rent residences
Cape Town Diary Hereâ€™s a glimpse into the diaries of Vishwaprasad Raju as he cruises through Cape Town 78
Writer | Photographs: Viswaprasad Raju
1652: On April 6, the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East Company lands in the Cape to plant lettuce, and in search of a new promised land. And, the rest, as they say, is history. A poignant history that saw the ﬁrst slaves being purchased; the Great Trek; The British and the Boers ﬁghting a war; The Union of South Africa being born; The Sharpeville massacre; Nelson Mandela being jailed, released from Robben Island after serving 27 years in prison, and, eventually, becoming South Africa’s ﬁrst black President.
It took the Dutch, the French and the British, with a signiﬁcant inﬂuence from Malaysia, and the Khoi-san and isi-Xhosa immigrants from the Eastern Cape, to give Cape Town a cultural mix that’s as unique as its Rooibos Tea, made by rooibos (red leaves). The Cape Town vibe can’t be missed as I slowly surrendered to the Cape Jazz, a style with a distinct African spice; the multi-coloured streets of Bo-Kaap, the Malay quarter; the Greenmarket Square with its quirky souvenirs and African folk art. The Long Street, reminiscent of styling from the Victorian era is where all the Capetonians have a jolly good time. At the end of the day, I realised Cape Town is not a city; it’s a cradle of many cultures. It’s this diversity that has given Cape Town the zing, the cool edge, to be chosen as the 2014 Design Capital of the World.
I paused at the City Hall, an Edwardian building built in 1905 from limestone imported from Bath in England, where Nelson Mandela addressed thousands from the balcony after he was released from Robben Island in 1990, and I could see myself walking down the city’s timeline. I delved deeper into the ‘Mother City’ at the award-winning community museum; District Six, which takes you back in time when the ruling government declared the area ‘whites only’ and over 60,000 of its residents were forcibly moved to Cape Flats. I discovered a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit at Robben Island. I admired the resistanceart by anti-apartheid artists at The South African National Gallery. I was moved.
Day 3 The craggy, spectacular and ever-present Table Mountain, standing at 1086 metres above sea level, and approximately 3 km wide, part of the famed Table Mountain National Park, just can’t be missed. It looms large over the ‘Tavern of the seas’ and has an eye over you as you discover
its attractions: some well known and some off the beaten track. It was time for some up close and personal moments with Table Mountain through my journey to ‘the end of the continent’ also known as Cape Point – a World Heritage Site, a nature reserve, the meeting point of Two Oceans – all rolled into one. The road itself was the journey, offering some fantastic views, with sunshine and rain in equal measure. Scenic beaches, mighty cliffs, atmospheric towns and a throbbing sea kept company as I spotted the odd pair of cavorting baboons and lazy ostriches. But I had to stop: to waddle down to a penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach, where the charismatic jackass penguins (so-called because of the crude braying sounds they make) stay put. Always thought penguins were ducks dressed in their Sunday best. I was wrong! The Cape Point came into horizon and the history I picked up on Day One came back in a ﬂash. I walked along the cliffs, marveled at the lighthouse, indulged at the Two Oceans, and imagined the Dutch taking their ﬁrst steps into the continent. As a reminder of my visit to the Cape of Good Hope, I picked up a memento: Two-oceans-water-in-a-bottle, apart from the mandatory I-was-at-CapePoint photograph. Dankie (Thank you in Afrikaans), Cape Town. You have made me richer, in more ways than one.
Fun! Author Vibha Batra is back with her second novel Seventeen and Done (You bet), following the success of Part 1, Sweet Sixteen (Yeah, right!) published by Penguin. She shares that the protagonist is a lot crazier this time around, in a freewheeling chat with RICHA TILOKANI. Seventeen and Done (You bet!) by Vibha Batra chronicles the trials and tribulations of its seventeen-year old protagonist Rinki Tripathi. Her teenage life is strewn with the usual challenges – exams, parents, relatives and friends to name a few, but Vibha handles them in a refreshing manner. The book is not preachy or moralistic, but comes across as a witty take on a teenager’s life and all the sticky situations that come along with it.
Vibha’s ﬁrst book Sweet Sixteen (Yeah, right!) published by Penguin was very well-received and led to talks of a sequel. But that is something she had already planned for. The ﬁrst book starts with Rinki moving cities from Kolkata to Chennai, just like Vibha did at a similar age but this is where the similarity ends. The second book follows Rinki’s life as she tries to form her own identity amidst parental and peer pressure, earning the wrath of the no-nonsense Princy, while balancing the Board year and grappling with matters of the heart. The book touches upon challenging teen issues like late night curfews, the frustrating deadline at pubs, the one upmanship at social networking sites and job pressure in a light-hearted manner. Seventeen… also drives home the message that not all 18year olds want to be doctors or engineers and it is best to pursue your passion. The protagonist wants to become a fashion stylist and writes her own blog dishing out fashion gyan. The characters are interesting and real, be it Mausiji, her parents or her friends. While Rinki is fashionable and opinionated, Google is gregarious, fun loving, resourceful and believes in working
smart. Adit, on the other hand, is Rinki’s voice of reason – he is a straight arrow, who believes in working hard. The usually studious Robin is in a long-distance relationship with Sriram (from book one!), so she is a little distracted. Sudha is a sweet girl, and a devoted follower of both Rinki and Robin. Written in a breathless, rollercoaster style echoing the thought process of young Rinki, Seventeen is a fun ride you wish you could go on, again and again. Young adults (at whom the book is targeted) will easily identify with the characters and will be sure to enjoy the book, peppered as it is with Facebook status updates, BBM messages, blogs and pop culture references. For the older reader, the book will make you want to go back to your school days- the best days of your life when you had zero responsibilities and maximum fun. Read on a quiet afternoon and relive the days of fun, friendship and freedom. (Seventeen and Done is part of Inked, Penguin’s new imprint for young adults. To connect with Rinki and learn more about the book, visit www.facebook.com/ seventeenanddone)
Karthik Kumar shares his reading interests with Kirthi Jayakumar.
Over the years as one reads and evolves, the perceptions of the same book and new ones tend to change. For Karthik, who authors adaptations for stage productions, reading takes on a more detailed lens. “Having authored adaptations for stage, I realise the beauty of detail that a writer must linger on – the depth of the moment and the feeling it evokes, whereas the stage and cinema are all about the action in the context of that mood!” That said, he has no speciﬁc genres that he is drawn to. “I ‘don’t read a lot of genres and authors – I read very speciﬁc works.”
When he was a little boy, Karthik would walk alongside his mother on her many trips to Chennai’s famous Easwari Lending Library. The love for books started young and stuck on. “I must have kicked off with the Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton. Since I have ‘lived’ most of the books I have read, I was a member of the Secret Seven, secretly.” And with that, he strikes a chord with me. How many of us grew up designating a soft toy as Scamper, a trusted friend as another member while the remaining four would be invisible, yet around?
Ask him about his favourite author is, and he is quick to chime in with, “Agatha Christie!” Why, though? “I have never been able to ﬁgure her sleight of mind. She will ﬁnd inﬁnite ways in which to hide the obvious, and especially when viewed through the monocle of Poirot!” Following that crest, I ask him to share something about the worst book he’s ever read. “I died reading (okay, trying to read!) “100 Years of Solitude.’ I could not get past pages without getting lost in the sentences and the lack of punctuation. I began hating myself and then ﬁnally realised it was not worth killing oneself over it!”
Karthik’s reading rituals comprise a rather intriguing mix of things. “I read a few pages for several hours and I wander into images. It is a combination of ADD and hyper imagination. And I cannot read unless I am left alone.” Currently reading Backwards and Forwards, Karthik is enjoying “a book about the staging of a play from page to stage – a gift recommended by a friend.” With a huge collection of books in his “already read” list, Karthik is coveting one book for his collection. “I want a hardbound edition of ‘My Experiments with the Truth’; someday soon I will ﬁnd one quaint and gorgeous enough.” Karthik’s choice has a reason behind it. “Ah, one of the joys of an artistic biography is that it gives a sneak peek into different artistic approaches and that is liberating because you do not have to be stuck with your own approach always. In that regard, I read a lot of director’s and actor’s autobiographies about their creation process.” Before we sign off, I ask him who his favourite character from a book is. “Peter Pan!” he says, “I have delusions that I am he!”
A powerhouse of talent, Karthik Kumar is the thinking woman’s actor. Speak to anyone that leans heavily towards intellect and you’ll ﬁnd that they all share one common interest: reading. A big chip off that block is Karthik. Ask him about his all-time favourite books, and he reveals a good collection. “The Fountainhead, Peter Pan and The Little Prince. I love metaphors and ideology I guess, and am becoming increasingly disinterested with straight ﬁction. I currently stick to philosophy or any kind of hypothesis.”
INDULGE biggest concert was at PepperFest, at NIT, Calicut. “The crowd started singing along with us. We completely zoned out and just sailed on the high of connecting with as many as 5000-6000 people in one go! It was just priceless.”
Jammin’ with Jhanu A new band’s risen on the block. Making music and jamming like pros, these four guys are ready to set the stage on ﬁre. Kirthi Jayakumar talks about the Jhanu experience. If you’re a hardcore physics buff, you’d be very tied to the principle of the law of conservation of energy. But Jhanu? Well. They have a different story to tell. If your science tells you that energy can only be transformed from one to another, Jhanu’s art tells them that they can create energy. A paroxysm of ethereal spirit bursts through you, and you are instantly sure that these guys know what they’re doing. It isn’t surprising that they tell you about their genesis in four words. “Energy, power, mass, belief. All of that’s what made the magic!” says Jhanu, the lead guitarist. Intriguing that the band is named after the lead guitarist, right? We thought so too. But when you ask Jhanu, the guitarist, on the choice of name for the band, he offers a simplistic riddle in response. “Yes I named it after myself....Why not?” The band comprises four powerhouses of talent. On the guitar is Jhanu, who formed and played in several bands that included the likes of Wreckage Avenue, Asteroid and Oxygen, and then Slingshot, which was his longest stint, before Jhanu began. The voice of the band is Lawrence, who has a massive repertoire of songs from 25 ﬁlms in Tamil to his credit. The crown jewel of the lot is ‘Cable Raja’ from the movie Vaanam.
Besides composing music for the movie ‘Doo’, Lawrence has also appeared on screen in two Tamil ﬁlms - Pugai Padam and Uthamaputhiran. The band also has Bharat on the drums, and Hairy (yes, Hairy!) as their bassist. Jhanu, the guitarist, resonates entirely with the philosophy underlying the band’s existence. “Both, as a band and as an individual, I’d say Jhanu exists because of music.” To Bharath, Jhanu gives him a chance to lose himself. “I lose myself when I play music!” Lawrence looks at music as a path for life. “Music is my life. And my life is a journey. Naturally, I choose to travel with music!” Hairy actually has a name, which is Harkirat Singh Sangha. Abbreviated as Harki and Hairy, the bassist is all about national integration. “I am Punjabi, but I play Tamil Rock!” Just setting foot into the world of music, Jhanu hasn’t cut an album yet. But they have songs that are very popular. “We have this song called Arakkan. It seems to set ﬁre wherever we go. The song speaks about the concept “destruction”, from the perspective of Lord Shiva’s ideology of ‘destruction’ as ‘puriﬁcation’. The idea is that all that starts has to end, to start again.” Wisdom in a capsule, anyone? I’ll take one for sure. Headlining the fest at the KCG College of Engineering has been one of the most important shows for Jhanu. “We were surprised and very, very happy to see the students from the fest attending our shows regularly after that! That is the sort of thing that gives us as a band, the motivation to continue doing exactly what we believe in!” Jhanu explains. Their
As much as Jhanu’s philosophical twist gets you intrigued, their individual musical talents have been inspired by different artists. “For me,” says Jhanu-the-guitarist, “It would be Michael Jackson.” Bharath likes a different variant, picking Megadeth, Pantera and Whitesnake. Drawing inspiration from every manifestation of artistry possible, Lawrence casts his net wide. “My inspiration would be Rajinikanth, MR Radha and Charlie Chaplin!” Hairy prefers to look at Lamb of God and RATM for inspiration. As a band, though, their unanimous choices are Ozzy, Judas Priest, Daft Punk, Jim Morrison and Joe Pesci. Jhanu, the guitarist, is from Kotturpuram. “If we had a choice, we would love to perform in our area, Kotturpuram! Do not be surprised if we end up playing in any of these political stages set up in the area...” Jhanu says. Pausing for a moment, he adds with a grin, “And yes, we are open to playing for marriages as well!” All set to release their music video on a song called Prachanai, this summer, Jhanu will be touring down south. “We’re looking to travel all over Tamil Nadu, starting and ending at the Marina Beach, traveling to Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai and Tanjore. “We have been touring with Skrat for about a year now, and will be continuing for a while with them. They are a great bunch of musicians. Whenever we see them on stage, we lose all sense of time. When we are sharing the stage with them, we lose our senses! Skrat has been around since our school days. When I got back to Chennai after my architecture training”, begins Jhanu, “I met Skrat again after 7 years. That was when the SKRAT+JHANU shows kick-started!” So is this a collaboration for the life of the band, I ask. “Collaboration might not be the right word. I guess you can say that Skrat is a part of Jhanu and vice versa.” Jhanu is on its path to reinvent its presence as a rock band in the music business. “Bands themselves do get good attention. We’d say that there has been a reasonable growth both in the quality of events and artists in the last ﬁve years. The days of rock bands composing movie tracks are not that far away!” We hope so, too!
KOREAN MASALA Verdict: You are drawn in and
out, confused and at your seat’s edge. A stunning ﬁlm for sure!
Language: Korean Director: Park Chan-wook
Hot: The plot! This is some story!
Cast: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae,
Not: This is not a movie that can be easily stomached by all.
ld Boy is a strange Korean ﬁlm. This is a much celebrated movie, one that makes the best movies lists. I was warned that Korean movies might be a little difﬁcult to stomach with their strange themes and blood and gore. Well, I am yet to decide whether this is a great movie or just a disturbing one. Maybe it is both. Old Boy tells us the story of Oh-Daesu (Min-sik). Daesu is imprisoned in what looks like a hotel room. At ﬁrst, we can see him angrily bargaining with his captors while they bring him food, begging to be told how long he will be kept captive. They refuse to speak and his frustration is palpable. Daesu has no idea why or who has imprisoned him and as time passes we see him making a list of all the people who could be responsible. As we watch, we wonder – what could possibly be the reason to have someone in solitary conﬁnement in a hotel room with a TV as companion?
The years pass and Daesu tattoos a line on his hand for every year of this torture. He watches TV and falls in love with the TV show hosts. At night a strange gas ﬁlls the room and puts him to sleep. He grows his hair and works out, building his strength for his revenge. He starts chipping away at the wall hoping to make an escape. And 15 long years pass in this fashion! Finally one day, he is released. Just like that. He goes to a Japanese restaurant and falls in love with Mido (Hye-jung), the sushi chef there. She takes him in and looks after him. He sets off his mission to ﬁnd out the reason for his sordid fate. Slowly, he pieces together various bits of the puzzle and ﬁnally ﬁnds his captor – Woo-jin (Jitae). And he does not know who he is, even while staring at him! He gives him till July 5th to ﬁnd out the reason. Daesu searches and searches and ﬁnally realizes that Woo-jin is his classmate from school.
Lee Soo-ah, his sister dies in school. And how and why? Therein lies the mystery of this squalid tale of vengeance and mind games. Soo-ah dies because of a rumour that was apparently started by Daesu, when he witnessed her and Woo-jin making out in a room at school. This tale of incest and the rumour leads Woo-jin to plan and implement his elaborate graph of vengeance. Who is Mido? Where is Daesu’s daughter who was 3 when he was captured? I cannot reveal this for I will sully the very heart of this movie. One that you must discover on your journey of Old Boy. This movie won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and countless other awards all over. It is also the inspiration for the Sanjay Dutt starrer ‘Zinda’.
This month, Urmila Pullat reviews two completely different movies from South Korea.
Christmas in August
Verdict: A nice, simple movie. Rating: 3.5/5
Hot: Extremely natural performances and strongly etched characters.
Not: Slow…and no particular story line.
Cast: Han Suk-kyu, Shim Eun-ha
his is a sweet little movie of impending romance. Jung-won (Suk-kyu) is a young photographer who has a small studio and shop. He is affable and effervescent, extremely friendly with all his customers. Darim (Eun-ha) is a parking cop who comes to his shop one day to have some photos developed. They notice each other and we see the beginnings of a longensuing flirtation. Darim is quite forward, playfully asking Jung-won his age. When he says “late twenties”, she quickly replies “that means you are 30 or older!” Their easy friendship begins and we see in Jungwon a strong, positive character full of life and laughter. Darim, on the other hand is slightly sardonic, and obviously attracted to him. She comes to his shop again for some photos and then without
reason, just to see him. This becomes a regular feature and they begin to develop a small romance, one that involves bike rides, long walks and laughing at stupid stories. The movie gives an insight into South Korean family life. I was especially curious about the way the houses were constructed, big open spaces and rooms with sliding doors. People sat on the floor and slept on the floor on mattresses. As the story progresses (albeit slowly) we realise that Jung-won has a serious illness. The illness is not revealed to us but we know that it is terminal, and that he will die soon. This explains why the romance between the two progresses so slowly. For Jungwon does not want to unfairly lead Darim on, only to reveal later that he is going to die.
The movie just sort of dries up after he is admitted in hospital for his illness. During this time, Darim has no idea where he is, and is increasingly becoming both sad and annoyed. In a fit of anger one night, she throws a brick on the glass pane of his shop! The movie does not pick up from this as the two lose touch, Darim finally reconciles to the fact that she and he do not have a future. At last, we are taken to the memorial service at Jung-won’s funeral. This is a nice movie, enjoyable but with no real story or romance. It is a romance waiting to happen but one that painfully cannot bear fruition. Watch it for the strong characterization and refreshing simplicity of storytelling.
Director: Hur Jin-ho
Photography by Abhay Kumar
From left to right: Shreya Kamalia, Vimmi Deepak, Vivek Karunakaran, Vidya Singh and Lakshmi Krishnaswamy.
Vidya Singh checks out Rhhappsoodyy at Courtyard By Marriottt, Chennai, with a grouup of frieendds. Hereâ€™s a glim mpse at thhe coonversatioon thaat unffolded over the dellecctablee delights.
Rhapsody is well known to Chennai as Courtyard by Marriott’s Italian restaurant, that has an attached bar and serves up some home style Italian cuisine. Simple and elegant, it is a space that is designed to instantly make you feel comfortable. Chef Sridhar Sigatapu, new though he is to Chennai, is certainly not new to Italian food and he brings with him sixteen years of experience from around the world. As my dining companions I had an interesting mix of fashion-forward friends from the city. Vimmi Deepak is an extraordinary lady who lives her life with great courage and dignity. She brings style and pizzazz to all her ventures and Attitude, her exhibition of a collection of designers from around the country is always eagerly awaited. Lakshmi Krishnaswamy’s Luxe 214, has found its space in Chennai and is making waves among the fashionistas in our city, allowing Lakku, as she is known to all her friends, to experiment and be creative. Fitness and food are also her interests and she loves to travel and check out restaurants wherever she goes. Chennai’s uber cool designer Vivek Karunakaran and his lovely wife Shreya are excited about the wedding gown that they had just designed for a client in New Zealand, telling us that as it was an outdoor wedding, the bride’s dress was worked to look as if the ﬂowers had fallen on it from the trees. Vivek is a perfectionist and says that the most important thing is presentation, whether it is an outﬁt being brought out to be shown to a client or a plate of food being brought to the table. And it began to happen, as Chef Sridhar began to send out the starters to the table. There were both vegetarian and nonvegetarian selections, all of which looked so pretty on the platters. The grilled Courgettes
with Mozzarella Pesto were excellent and so said all of us! The Tomato Mozzerella bruschetta had the right amount of olive oil and tasted excellent, while the Pumpkin and Greek Feta Crostini had the right blend of ﬂavours. But the Cep and Trufﬂe Arancini, with garlic aioli had all of us in raptures. The non-vegetarian starters got some kudos as well, especially the spicy dip and the Fondant potatoes bolognaise, which sent Vivek into a discussion as to how he would replicate this in his home kitchen! Seafood Fritters and the Phyllo Tarts with chicken were interesting as well. The conversation at our table ranged from food, not surprisingly, to exercise, deﬁnitely no surprise there as well, and of course, to fashion. We were deﬁnitely a rather fashionable bunch of people! It was a perfect accompaniment to the stylish food that Chef Sridhar was showcasing to us. The mains were just outstanding and got a ten on ten for all of them from us. Risotto Verde with its open Lasagna and a Ratatouille of vegetables was just great and everyone wanted a second helping of the dish. I would deﬁnitely order it again when I come back to Rhapsody. Chicken and Rosemary Polenta was a super hit and was unanimously voted the best. The dish was just delicious with the taste of the herb coming through aromatically. The creamy mashed potatoes had a mint ﬂavour to enhance the lamb. There was also a chicken served with a soft polenta and Gorgonzola that again, got the thumbs up. We were all eagerly awaiting the dessert presentation and were certainly not disappointed. The Panacotta with orange rind and dark chocolate was my favourite, as I loved the blend of bitter and sweet. The Tiramisu had a twist as it was presented as a cheesecake. It was rather yummy and I had to literally stop myself from polishing it off! Rhapsody and Chef Sridhar are here to stay and have deﬁnitely carved for themselves a space in Chennai’s very vibrant food scenario. It is a stylish restaurant that serves up excellent food that is also completely unpretentious.
The dictionary deﬁnes rhapsody as an instrumental composition, and as an ecstatic expression. I think our dinner that night was certainly both, as we had a composition of Chef Sridhar’s latest offering to Chennai’s Italian food scene and we each of us had some of that expression at different times, as we tasted the different choices of food that were sent out to us.
THE RITZ READER
Grammy Award-winner Tanvi Shah is multi-faceted and has a keen sense of fashion and design. Truly artistic with exquisite taste in clothes, jewellery and interiors, Tanvi enthralls with her impactful and unforgettable voice while also sending the fashion barometer soaring with her fantastic sartorial sense and of course, her new clothing line. She shares her take on luxury with us. What does luxury mean to you? A quiet weekend or a fun holiday with a good book, on a hammock, maybe, somewhere away from all the hustle! What is the one luxury you cannot live without? My SUV and this new kind of a pen called “inkling” that I got for all my designing.
What is the one holiday destination you’d go back to in an instant?
What according to you, is a colossal waste of money?
Actually, make that two holiday destinations: London and Coorg.
Buying something super fancy and not being able to use it.
Which luxury brands are you a fan of?
What inheritance would you like to leave behind for your children?
Bally and Mont Blanc
What luxury do you insist on when travelling?
If you were to buy a surprise gift for your boyfriend/husband, what would it be?
I am not very fussy. The basics would do just ﬁne. But yes, I deﬁnitely need my Bath and Bodyworks Shampoo and Conditioner and brand Tansha T-shirts!
Ideally something that they could use and that I could borrow and use at some point too! So I’d say a wrist watch.
So many things! My pen collection for sure, my company “Tansha” and as of now my design table, which I made myself. How would you deﬁne ‘the good life’ in your own words, and what would the best way to live it, be? Being able to sleep peacefully, and being able to dream, achieve and live the dream!
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